“INTERNal Input”

By Ashlee Bishop

As a returning Intern in GRAEF’s Corporate Marketing group through the Earn and Learn Initiative, the importance and effectiveness of my position are often issues of concern, for me personally. In an Intern position, one may find they are assisting others more than actually shadowing a specific position per se or learning independently rather than matching class based instruction with on-the-job application. So to the weary intern, entry level employee or self-proclaimed stagnant, veteran employee I have a few things you can do to increase your “range of reach” on the job:

First things first, take an inventory of your skills and talents. This may seem easy and it is; however, there are some things you should keep in mind; Skills and talents are two different things. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines talent as “natural endowment(s) of a person.” This is something you really don’t have to try to have to accomplish while others do. Skills on the other hand are “developed aptitudes or abilities.” Slightly different from a talent, these attributes can be picked up along the way from any aspect of life and development. Both of these qualifications are vitally important to this professional appraisal.

Next, practice perfecting said professional attributes.  Once you made your list of things you can do and the things you do well; use them! Whenever, wherever and with whom ever; practice, practice, practice, this the only way you can surely mature an expertise. Plus the added experience, I think adds to your work-related worth. Now as my grandma would say, “Now, you’re cooking with grease!” Not only have we uncovered your skill set but we are using them often.

Then, I want you to lend a helping hand! Help any and everyone, where applicable. Offer up your assistance frequently but not to the point where it becomes bothersome. Go off the feedback you are receiving, if the person appreciates your help, is always happy to have you and usually has something for you to do then, very well carry on! But if their facial expression changes when you enter their presence, even though you are only looking to help, ask that person a little less. While you are “on the job” with each person and their project you’re assisting with, go above and beyond even if you are not being paid. This way, you can let your work reflect your worth!

In addition to now knowing your professional capabilities, so do the people you work with. One last thing, don’t be afraid to inform or remind others of what you can do or have done. This way the things you are allowed to do may expand. If people don’t know of your mentoring abilities or the team-oriented attitude even when you are not the leader, then perhaps they will not consider you for projects that call for these attributes. So go ahead, when your team/ department is discussing upcoming tasks, mention your “outside of the office” experience with something similar and don’t forget to mention the results. This can cause others to become more flexible with your work assignments and in essence value your skills and assistance.

Hopefully these tips allow you to define your standing in your current position, increase your status/organizational prestige, and augment your responsibilities within your organization!

Push to be a Technology Company and a Publishing Company

By Kelly Gibson

Executive Using Cell and Computer

When I was in high school, my dad plugged a phone line into our computer and, voila, we were connected to the internet. But in 1995, there really wasn’t much out there. Actually, there were 23,500 websites, but I don’t remember much more than clunky search engines and a ton of discussion forums.

In the late 1990s businesses decided they all needed a website. Most were form-based and contained a few pages of contact information and their locations. The sites weren’t pretty – lots of bright colors, many different fonts, pixilated images – all competing for your attention.

In the 2000s, businesses decided their websites needed to stay updated. The downside was most companies made longer websites with more tabs and just added to their many pages of information.

Around this time the first smartphone came out. The first BlackBerry was released in 1999, followed by Android in 2003. Larger companies began to develop a second website, a simpler mobile site that could be viewed on a much smaller screen. Other companies began to follow suit as smart phone and tablet usage continued to rise. This year, in fact, marked an information access shift. Smartphones are now the primary access point for people to the internet.

Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter began entering the mainstream business climate in the mid to late 2000s. Social media conferences began popping up everywhere to teach marketing, communications and sales professionals the business case for using social media. I was able to attend a few of these seminars. At one such program earlier this year the speaker said, every company must be a technology company and a publishing company. Not only does a firm need to have a strong website, but they need to be writing and posting articles. Expectations are high. Smaller firms and business-to-business firms such as ourselves are judged the same as large company sites as we are all consumers.

So I wondered, how do businesses, especially small businesses without a website or social media department, find the time to post on several social media sites in their already busy day?

Our solution at GRAEF has been to enlist the help of marketing, administration and technical staff as bloggers. Like the old adage, many hands make light work. Though many social media experts teach how important it is to have one company voice, having representative voices from different areas of our firm really does speak to the full service of our firm.

At GRAEF, we are still learning about social media and how to best connect with clients and potential clients. Technology will continue to bring us to new ways to communicate and reach clients and we must adapt to stay relevant.

Ten years ago, I didn’t have internet at my house. I didn’t order anything online. I didn’t have the consumer confidence. Whereas today, I do the majority of my shopping online- clothes, shoes, books, and even food.

Technology changes, people change and business development changes in a cyclical fashion. And while I probably won’t ever be the first one using the latest technology, after a little trial and error, I always enjoy using and evolving with it.