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Write And Speak Your Way To Career Growth

Write And Speak Your Way To Career Growth

If you have career ambitions, whether in your current company or a new job elsewhere, you need to work towards the next job well in advance by becoming a recognizable and marketable commodity and building your personal brand.

You can do this by being a thought leader in your field and building a portfolio that will impress your next boss.

Two ways you can do this is by writing articles and delivering seminars and presentations within your profession or industry. It’s a great way to build your network, exposure and credibility by contributing your knowledge and opinions to the industry.

Write Articles

Whatever your profession is, there are probably trade magazines related to what you do. They may be independent or produced by your profession’s association. Magazines read by your clients are also good options, since you should be able to write about things they are interested in.

While some will pay freelancers for articles, most rely on free articles from professionals in the industry in exchange for exposure and a by-line.

And while it helps, you don’t need to be a crack writer to get published. Editors are used to polishing up articles, they are more interested in a compelling topic that is well thought out and provides readers with valuable information.

The first step is to contact the editors directly and tell them you’d like to write an article. Read several issues to get an idea of the type of articles are printed first, then pitch a few ideas. After your pitch, also ask if there is a topic they feel hasn’t been covered.

Don’t pitch something that looks and sounds like a marketing piece. For one, you shouldnt be writing to pitch your product, you should write to promote your knowledge and expertise. It’s about you, not your product or service.

The editors won’t want an article about your latest product, but if there are certain issues that people who may need your product should be aware of or questions to ask before buying or using it, that would be ok as long as it wasn’t product specific.

If you get a go-ahead from an editor, follow their guidelines to the letter and don’t be late with your article or that will probably be the last time they ask you to write something. If they don’t give you their editorial guidelines, ask. If they don’t have anything on paper, at least get some minimal info and then read the magazines articles to get a sense of what the editor prints.

After it’s published, and in particular if it’s published on-line, promote it within your social network and add it to your resume as your professional credits.

Give Presentations or Seminars

Associations related to your profession as well as those representing your suppliers and your clients are always looking for good content for their conferences or monthly meetings.

Some of the same considerations apply as with written articles - it can’t be a sales pitch. Look at seminars and speakers from past meetings and conferences, often available on-line, and consider the kind of seminars they have been running. Don’t duplicate them, find gaps to fill in or a new angle on an old topic.

For your first presentations, try local monthly meetings, where they often have just one or two speakers. Once you have some of those behind you, try for larger conferences.

Like trade magazines, organizers seldom pay speakers for their seminars and conferences unless they are the keynote speaker. They feel you are getting exposure and that’s enough compensation. If you are lucky, they may pay all or some of your travel expenses if it’s out of town.

Many conferences do a ‘call for presentations’ as much as 9 months ahead of time, so plan accordingly. You usually need to submit what is essentially a proposal for them to compare with others and pick the one they thing will suite the conference best. This is where your sales skills will be important.

If you are selected to present, promote your appearance in your social network and even invite key clients or others to your presentation if possible.

Your presentation can’t be a dull corporate affair. You have to impress, entertain and inform the audience and the organizers if you want a good review and a reference you can use for the next one. Before you get to this stage, you should have attended other conferences to watch seminars and presentations yourself to see what works and what doesn’t - so you can become an excellent presenter.

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About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

Posted in: Career, Communication

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