Some 80 Financial & Insurance Conference Planners members and hospitality partners shrugged off below-zero temperatures and gathered at Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel for the Northeast Region’s 2011 Winter Meeting January 23–25.
The overall theme for FICP regional meetings this year is “Demonstrating Your Value,” and the Northeast region’s four speakers each took a different approach to tackling that theme. Here are three takeaways from each.
Take Control of Your Energy
Motivtion expert Andy Core, a researcher in human performance, came at the idea of value from the point of view of health, personal productivity, and work/life balance. His big three ideas:
1. Get better sleep. Add one hour of sleep and you will be 25 percent more productive in the afternoon. Adults need six to seven hours of sleep. But don’t stop reading if you simply are not able to get that much. Core suggests trying for better sleep. Better sleep happens when you spend time in your deepest (“delta wave”) sleep. That’s when your body rejuvenates. Many people keep cycling in and out of shallow sleep, which is draining rather than energizing (and is just one reason why hitting the snooze button is a huge mistake).
So, how to go deep? One hour before bedtime, set your thermostat for 67 degrees. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 65 and 69 degrees. This helps your body lower its core temperature, which is necessary for deep sleep. You also help your body lower its temperature by keeping hydrated, because releasing moisture is the primary way your body releases heat. The prescription: Drink 60 ounces of water a day. (It’s not hard, he says. Bring a 30-ounce bottle of water to work, drink it by lunchtime, fill it up again, and drink it before you head home.) But stop drinking two to three hours before you go to sleep. (You can figure out why, right?)
2. Be physically active.
If you exercise regularly, you’ll be 47 percent more productive between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
3. Take a break.
Make this nonnegotiable. Taking one three-minute break every hour can increase your productivity by 39 percent.
Are You Presentable?
Author and corporate trainer John A. Jenson asked attendees to consider how they present themselves, their departments, and their organizations at the highest level. Here are his big three ideas:
4. Consider your presence.
What words do people use to describe you after they meet you? “You need a strategy for how you present yourself. You must be ‘on’ and strategic at all times,” according to Jenson. Ask yourself what words are not being said about you that you would like people to say. Have that word or words as the goal toward which all of your actions are driving you.
5. Refine your message.
Presence is nothing without a compelling message about what you do. A good message is a combination of certainty and simplicity; it’s not a list. “The more you give me, the less memorable you become,” Jenson said. “Don’t give me a pile that I have to sort through later.” Instead, create a message that captures the essence of what you do, but that leaves just a little mystery so that people are drawn to asking you more.
6. Walk your talk.
Presence and a great message are nothing if you can’t execute. When you execute on your message, you make your presence bigger and stronger.
Resumes: They’re Not Just for Job-Seekers
Even though career coach Karen Liuzzo, director, counseling services, at Career Strategies Inc., said she’d rather have root canal that update her own resume, she encouraged attendees to keep theirs up to date—even if they have no plans to change jobs. In fact, she said, 80 percent of resumes are used for internal purposes. For example, you might share it with a new senior vice president or you might be considering a change within your organization. Here are her three big resume ideas:
7. Go hybrid. It used to be that the question was whether to create a functional resume or a chronological resume. Liuzzo advocates combining the best of both: Put a summary statement at the top that concisely states your qualifications and experience. Follow with a chronological list of your positions.
8. Dig deep. Before you create the summary statement, do a thorough inventory of who you are and what you have done. If you can’t afford to hire someone to help you, work with a friend who will ask you probing questions.
9. Collect keywords. Your resume may be scanned by a computer before it’s scanned by human eyes, so you must hit as many keywords as you can. The same function may have different names at different companies—be sure to translate your keywords into the lingo of the organization you’re looking to join. Or, if it’s a position within your own company, collect internal job postings so you can get acquainted with the keywords your company considers relevant.
Consultant Mike Hoefer, of Hoeferweb Internet Marketing & Strategy helps companies with their Web presence, and was on hand at the FICP Northeast meeting to help attendees with their Web presence. Three of his big ideas:
10. Pay attention to your online presence.
When you create an account on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, invest in a great photo, and take the time to write a great biography, whether that’s the full profile on LinkedIn or a pithy description on Twitter. Also, watch your Facebook settings. Put all your Facebook settings on “friends only.” Otherwise there are potentially tens of thousands of “friends of friends” who could be getting a less-than professional view of you. (To prove the point, Hoefer showed an old college photo of himself that a friend had posted on Facebook a few days earlier—not his best look, let’s just say that.)
11. Try Google alerts.
Pick a search term and get an e-mail every day with the latest search results. This is a great way to keep tabs on a what’s new in a destination, happenings at a venue you’re considering, or even where your own name or your company’s name is popping up online.
12. Share something!
If you’ve seen a news item or great idea, happened upon a great Web site or mobile app, or traveled to a terrific destination, share it with your social network.
The Value of Giving
Keeping up FICP’s tradition of giving back to the community in which its meetings take place, attendees at the January event donated 80 loaves of bread to a Haley House, a Boston soup kitchen and food pantry. But the donation didn’t just benefit Haley House—attendees had a chance to network and learn how to make bread in the process! With materials, equipment—and, most important, instructors Michelle Kupiec and Susan Miller—provided by the Baking Education Center at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vt., attendees donned aprons and paired up to mix, knead, and braid bread dough which was later baked by the Fairmont Copley Plaza before being donated to Haley House along with peanut butter and jelly (compliments of the hotel). The project, which got high marks from participants, was organized by Erin Longo, CMP, manager, Prudential.
FICP’s Northeast Region co-chairs are Ali Ginnett, CMP, independent event planner, and Sheryl Krongold, CMP, senior meeting planner, Prudential. The region’s next meeting is scheduled for July 31–August 2, at a location yet to be named. Keep watching the FICP Web site.