7 Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks
Emma Siu
October 9, 2020
7 Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks
5 minute readNavigating social media can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your experience a little easier.1. Don't overwhelm yourselfChoose one to four social media apps to begin with. Don't juggle too many medias. That can lower the quality of your content.2. Assess your goalsThink about your goals. Followers are easy to track, but gaining followers probably isn't your end goal. What do you want your followers to do? Do you have a website you want to direct people to? Do you have content you want your followers to see? Do you want a certain amount of donations? Identify your goals, and then create steps to reach them.3. Make sure your posts are “on message”Everything you post on your social media should be related to your goals. Stay on message. If you post unrelated topics and content, people may stop following you.4. Identify your audienceFind which demographics you want to target based on your goals. The tightest and most effective social media strategies are informed by social media demographics. These data-driven insights will guide your strategy, and help you select which social media channels to use. The insights will also help you facilitate the most relevant, targeted approach possible, which in turn will increase your chance of conversions.5. Engage with your audienceInteract with your audience. Reply to comments, react to your followers' posts, respond to DMs, and follow popular hashtags. Start conversations within the hashtags you frequently post to and it will help you build a likeminded community and bring followers to your page. Regular audience engagement will make your account feel genuine and help you gain a loyal following.6. Listen to your dataSocial media sites let you easily track your data. From there you can see your follower demographics, peak engagement times, and interactions with posts. See when your peak engagement times are. These times are your most important times to post. Your data can also show which posts perform better than others. Take note of this and see if you can replicate the result with similar types of posts in the future.7. Be patientNo one gains a following overnight. It takes time to grow a strong organic following. The only way to attract users quickly is to spend significant money on advertising, and even then, the results will not be immediate. With constant nurturing your account will steadily grow and help you achieve your goals.The Leadership Institute's digital training team trains activists on digital and political technology across the country. They host many online trainings, several of which are at no cost to you. Grow your digital skills here.
Plan Now for Life After November 3rd: An Open Letter to a Young Campaign Staffer
Lee Jackson
October 8, 2020
Plan Now for Life After November 3rd: An Open Letter to a Young Campaign Staffer
Dear Over-Caffeinated, Underpaid Worker Bee:Congratulations! You made it to October.By now, every day is a new adventure. You're working seven days a week, you're hooked on the campaign high, and you're back and forth between having the time of your life and wanting election day to just get here already.But we need to take a moment and talk about life after November 3rd. Right now, it's probably hard to envision.I had been working for my candidate for roughly a year by the time Election Day rolled around on my last campaign. That means for a year, my boss was the most important person in my life. For a year, he and I had traveled the district together, hoped and dreamed about the future, and he became a second father to me. The most important thing to me was getting him re-elected. I felt that I owed him victory and, for so many personal reasons, failure was not an option.Because of the loyalty I had to my candidate, I felt guilty thinking about life after Election Day. Every second I spent doing so was a second not being spent to give my boss the victory I had promised him. However, I was wrong to think this way -- and he likely would have been disappointed if he had realized what was going on in my head.One of the many things the Leadership Institute is known for is Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process. If you have never read them before, I would encourage you to read them HERE.I always had a copy of the laws framed in my office for campaign volunteers to read.One law that stuck with me was number 18: You can't save the world if you can't pay rent. When I first heard this law, I took it to mean candidates who want win must raise money. Heaven knows I said it to my candidate countless times, stressing how important call time was. However, it rings true for you as an individual as well.The hard truth is, some of your campaigns will win, others will not. For better or worse, elections have clear winners and losers. The good news is, if you win (and work hard), your campaign is likely to offer you a job.Now is the time to start planning your life on November 4th without your current candidate in the picture.If you want to stay in the political arena, start networking now. It's a cruel joke that just as our campaigns need us most, we have to start seriously considering our future. I would recommend having four or five solid leads and a failsafe. For a while, my failsafe was going back to McDonald's.Each year, there are operatives who decide campaign life isn't for them. That's okay. Many of them go back to school or join a sales team and excel in those roles.If you want to stay in the public process, I encourage you to check out the Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs HERE.Conservative Jobs is your free job bank, connecting recruiters and job seekers of all experiences across America. If you have questions about Conservative Jobs or would like someone at the Leadership Institute (LI) to review your resume, you can email my coworker, Kelsey at kmix@leadershipinstitute.org. LI is proud to be a resource placing conservatives in government, politics, and the media.I also encourage you to look at states that have elections in 2021.During off numbered years, I packed up my car and moved to Virginia to work on a campaign. For better or worse, Virginia doesn't have campaign contribution limits, so local House of Delegate races could be more than a million dollars. Working on campaigns every year allowed me to learn more skills and move up the totem pole twice as fast as many of my peers.No matter what you do next, you owe it to yourself to start planning.I always consider the time between one campaign and the next as my “funemployment.” Don't forget to take the time to unwind and relax too.My final words of advice for the next three weeks: stay away from pizza, try to sleep at least six hours a night, start thinking about life after Election Day, and keep day dreaming of that well-deserved tropical vacation to get you through one more walkbook.Keep on knocking,Lee
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Lee Jackson
September 25, 2020
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Every year, young people around the country ask me what they can do to make a difference as the country inches closer to election day.As someone who has been responsible for volunteer recruitment and Election Day Operations, I am always going to point you to your closest campaign and tell you the best thing to do is to volunteer. Here is a list of five things you should do prior to election day (in addition to voter contact):1. Check Your Voter Registration Status After spending roughly one million dollars, I won my last election by less than 500 votes. Believe me when I tell you that every vote counts. This November, positions from School Board to President of the United States will be on the ballot. Do not miss out on exercising your right to vote because you forgot to register to vote or you are registered to vote at the wrong address. I have seen students turned away from the polling booth because they thought they were registered to vote at school, but they registered to vote at home. You can check your voter registration HERE. 2. Vote EarlyI'm not aware of a single state in America that does not give the option to vote early in one form or another. Although the terms and guidelines vary from one state to the next, you should have the option to vote early regardless of where you are currently located.You never know what's going to happen on election day. Vote now and get it out of the way. Additionally, there are likely a few races or referendum questions you did not expect to see on the ballot. Getting your ballot early will give you a few days to research this new-to-you-content and allow you to vote responsibly. You can find more information about how to vote early HERE. Side note: Don't let the lingo about voting early intimidate you or stop you from doing so. In Maine, we don't have early voting, but we do have in-person absentee voting. Which is a fancy way of saying you vote absentee, in-person, prior to Election Day -- aka early voting. Also, a lot of jurisdictions are allowing voters to drop of their completed ballot at some sort of drop-off box or track where their ballots are in the mail. Make sure you leave plenty of time for the postal service to return your ballot after you vote. Like I said, this is going to be the year of close elections. Every note needs to count. Double check to see if you need a stamp.3. Keep an Eye on Campus Administration Classes, meetings, and liberal bias: three things a conservative student is pretty much guaranteed to experience during any given semester. When it comes to liberal bias on college campuses, the best disinfectant is always sunlight. If you see something that doesn't pass the straight-face test, you can send an anonymous tip to Campus Reform HERE.4. Take an LI training As we get closer to Election Day, the Leadership Institute (LI) is laser focused on training as many conservative activists as possible, so you can play your part in the upcoming election. LI hosts safe, in-person and online trainings. Many of these trainings are available to you at no cost thanks to the generous donors of the Leadership Institute. You can find LI's upcoming list of trainings HERE. Additionally, the campus leadership team has created three-hour trainings for club leaders and members. These Youth Leadership Workshops (YLWs) are flexible and range from Media and PR to how to recruit on campus. If you would like to organize one of these trainings for your group, you can email me at LJackson@LeadershipInstitute.org.5. Volunteer (Get Paid) to be a Poll Worker on Election DayHave you ever thoughts about what it takes to run an election? Not a campaign, but the administration part of an election? One of the crucial pieces of running an election is poll workers, who help check-in voters, answer clerical questions, and do tasks throughout the day. Due to coronavirus, election administrators are struggling to find people to work the polls. Not only do poll workers protect the integrity of elections, they can also get paid more than $100 for a days-worth of work. You can find out more information in this video by Campus Reform's Editor in Chief, Cabot Phillips. Decide now. What will you do to make a difference for your conservative principles as the country inches closer to election day?
Lead Your Future: College Students Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
Tiffany Roberts
September 12, 2020
Lead Your Future: College Students Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
Do you want to make a difference, but you don't think your vote is enough? According to the NY Times, less than 50% of Americans think their vote will make a difference. Not only are they wrong, but there's far more than just voting that you can do to make a change.The mark you can make is far bigger than you likely realize. Youth and grassroots campaigns are absolutely vital in politics. According to Forbes, college age voters dramatically swayed the 2018 elections with double the turnout of 2014. If you're in college, it's prime time to get involved.Around 20 million students attend college in the US every semester. That's 15% of the voting age population at your fingertips. Less than one fifth of college students vote in congressional elections. If you want your candidate elected, you can easily have a hand in making that happen. In Episode 7 of the Lead Your Future Podcast, you will learn about all the information you'll share and gain, the impact you can have, and how you can start getting involved right now!1. Help Educate Your PeersThe vast majority of people on college campuses don't know who their representative is, let alone what they're doing. When students learn how policy affects them, they head to the polls in much higher numbers. When you help other students learn, you can easily become an expert on the relevant policy issues. Most college students tend to have very internally conflicting beliefs. Youth campaigns give you an opportunity to help countless students educate themselves.2. You Can Impact Elections and PolicyBelieve it or not, you can be an integral part in turning the tides of elections. The hours you volunteer may be easy for you now, due to class schedules; but they are invaluable to any campaign. You may be saving a campaign thousands of dollars just by volunteering some of your time. Moreover, your impact is long-term. Statistically speaking, when you start voting a certain way at 18, you're likely to vote the same way for the rest of your life. When you campaign as a college student now, you help nurture fellow students into lifelong supporters of causes you believe in.3. Learn How to Get InvolvedThe first step is to attend “the bootcamp of politics,” the Youth Leadership School. This will teach you everything you need to know about the ground game of youth campaigns. The next step is to seek out organizations like the Conservative Leadership PAC and help lead the future of grassroots movements.Joining a youth campaign is not only a rewarding way to beef up your resume, but it's an invaluable opportunity to help shape a brighter tomorrow. Listen to Episode 7 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more from a youth campaign leader and veteran. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter
Learning How to Talk the Talk Isn’t Always the Easiest
Lee Jackson
August 26, 2020
Learning How to Talk the Talk Isn’t Always the Easiest
Growing up, my mother did her best to limit my screen time and discouraged me and my sisters from playing video games. However, this did not stop my grandparents from surprising us one Christmas morning with a brand-new Wii and a set of games to go with it.As boring as it sounds, my favorite game on the Wii was golf. I spent countless hours after school working on my drive and reached the title of “Pro” long before any child ever should. The kicker? I had never actually hit a real golf ball in my life. To this day, I can talk golf with friends, coworkers, or pretty much anyone, but I am always “busy” when it is time to play.When I started working on campaigns, I did not have Wii golf to teach me the lingo (and the West Wing only got me so far). Thankfully, I had people who took the time to explain campaign terms and answer my questions. Even though I had people around me who took the time to help me, it was still intimidating when I was in a meeting or on a call and didn't understand half of the words being said. Over the years, I realized my junior staffers and interns went through the same discouraging process. Like those before me, I took the time to clarify any questions they had. However, I am sure there were several times when I missed the signs that they were confused.The Leadership Institute is a proud non-profit that teaches future elected officials, staffers, and members of the media how to be the most effective at their job. In short, LI teaches people how to walk the walk. I am glad to be able to share this new campaign glossary with you, so you can get a head start on learning how to talk the talk as well.You can download How to Speak Campaign 101: A Campaign Glossary at no cost right here, thanks to Leadership Institute's donors.
Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout I Lead Your Future Episode 6
Christopher O'Neil
August 14, 2020
Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout I Lead Your Future Episode 6
You're floating in the clouds, your childhood friend you haven't seen in ten years flying next to you until a blaring siren strikes you from the sky like Icarus. You half open your eyes and face the grueling task of deciding whether or not to hit snooze. You may resist it and sun's ruthless, unforgiving rays with every ounce of your being, but you must arise. The world is counting on you!If you've ever lived through that saga, you're probably familiar with workplace stress. It's imposing, formidable older brother is something you may have also contended with: burnout. You may have had a good laugh like I did at the dramatic story above, but burnout is no joke.Symptoms include demotivation and detachment from work, ineffectiveness, feeling a lack of accomplishment, emptiness, self-doubt, self-isolation, a neglect of personal needs, and even a desire to drop out of society completely. It can even lead to depression, memory loss, sleep problems, alcohol abuse, weakened immune systems and poor job performance.Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, unchecked buildup of stress across long periods of time and it has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace. The line between stress and burnout can often be hard to draw, but they are two very different things. Dr. Cregg Dyke explains how it's difficult to pinpoint where stress becomes burnout, but stress always comes first. Sometimes, burnout can be harsh enough that you won't even recognize who you used to be beforehand. This can all seem rather overwhelming, but you're not helpless to stop it. Don't be discouraged, and don't think for one second that you're alone.There are three steps you can take to stand your ground.1. Get Help!Work with your employer to change your circumstances. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant says “burnout is not in your head, it's in your circumstances.” That means you must take charge of your surrounding stress points. Your organization plays a large role in your circumstances, so it's their duty to take part in the solution.There are three ways you can work with your employer to change your circumstances. The first is to reduce the demands of the job. There's no shame in recognizing that you've been given more than you can handle. No one can carry the weight of the world. The second is for the organization to give you more control to manage the load you carry. Finally, an organization can provide plenty of resources for support and help in the form of counseling and other methods to help you cope. 2. Find Purpose!We, as people, are meaning seekers. Without it, life can look pretty bleak; and whether we recognize it or not, we need meaning in our lives. Author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Bob Bufford referred to “smoldering discontent” as something many workers contend with when they build their lives of success for decades, and then realize their lives have no deep significance to them. Psychologist Adam Grant says the strongest buffer against burnout is a sense of daily progress. Take small steps forward every day. While they don't have to be large, be sure to keep them consistent.3. Track, track, track!The best way to stay on track is by keeping track. Make a list of everything that makes you feel anxious, stressed, and worried. For each item, write at least one way to modify or mitigate the stress you face. Find a routine that addresses behaviors that contribute to your stress and meet it with solutions at every change you get!To learn more about how you can help yourself and others take arms against the ferocity of burnout, be sure to listen to the Lead Your Future Podcast Episode 6, called Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout. In the second half of this episode, Patti Rausch, the Director of Career Programs at the Leadership Institute shares her own story with burnout. She took a leave of absence to work on a campaign where the weight of a family member's death placed an immense weight on her shoulders, and she came face to face with the foreboding force of burnout. The only way she was able to conquer it was by working with her supervisor, recognizing the burnout was only temporary, and facing it head on together. In order to fight burnout, remember that you are not helpless! You can stop it! Be sure to know your needs, know your circumstances, and develop effective coping mechanisms that work for you. You can get out of bed in the morning with an energy you don't think you have, don't let depression win, and listen to Episode 6 of the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter.
The New Normal – What to Expect When You Return to the Office
Spencer Evans
August 10, 2020
The New Normal – What to Expect When You Return to the Office
Each organization will develop its own policy weighing up the benefits of returning to work with employee safety.Many have announced indefinite remote policies until a vaccine becomes mainstream, others are waiting to follow the lead of government guidelines, and some are considering phased returns now as they put measures in place to prevent wide spread infection among their staff.This situation is unprecedented. No one can know for sure when working culture will be back to normal.When you return to the office, bear in mind that even with safety measures in place your colleagues will expect you to act in a way that keeps them (and you) healthy. Returning to in-person work does not mean you are returning to normal.You are unlikely to have the water fountain hangouts with your coworkers, or any big sit-down lunch breaks.It is likely that when you return to work, your employer will require you to wear a mask. Be generous to your employer, even if safety measures appear excessive, remember that they are liable for what happens in your office space and may have little control over the policy.To avoid trouble with your boss, keep multiple masks on you or around you at work. Do not risk losing it and having to return home or missing out on meetings because you are not welcome in the room.If you are the boss, you will be expected to set an example. Your staff will follow your lead. Make sure you communicate what's expected of your staff in order to avoid any unpleasant conflicts between members of your team later on.But probably the most important aspect to prepare for is the cultural difference you will see. Simple things like shaking hands and sharing an elevator may become awkward. People may not wish to share your office supplies and expect you to wipe down common areas, such as the printer area or kitchen, after use.The important thing to realize is that these precautions are not personal. Your employer puts them into place to keep their staff safe. Even if you think it's over the top, respect your company policies and co-workers' safety precautions. You do not know what is going on in someone else's personal life, so give them grace. They could be living with their grandparents or have a baby at home.Don't be offended by your colleague's extra caution, even if it seems excessive. Communication is key. Be polite and let people know what you expect from them. If you are nervous about a colleague's lack of care, talk to them. But do not be the office grandmother either. Your HR department is on hand should you need them.Everyone is excited to get back to normal. No one is enjoying this. If you communicate with colleagues and practice safe working practices, you can make returning to work a smooth process when the time comes.
3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Boss
Spencer Evans
July 14, 2020
3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Boss
Looking at my watch, I anxiously pace back and forth in the hall. I was supposed to talk to my boss 10 minutes ago, but I was too nervous. I planned to discuss innovative ways to improve the office. I was intimidated and unsure of myself, but I pushed on.Many people struggle with talking to their bosses. Whether discussing time off, salary, or problems at work, everyone has to deal with these conversations at some point. To help you succeed, let me share with you three of the best ways you can effectively communicate with your boss.1. Be confident and have a plan.This should be self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. If you go to talk to your boss, they can tell if you're not confident. When you communicate with your boss, you should be confident in your speech, body language, and demeanor.Easier said than done, so how exactly do you become more confident? The best way to achieve this is to produce a plan. Before you go into the meeting, plan what you are going to talk about. More importantly, consider possible responses to what your boss might say.For example, let's say you talk to your boss about taking some days off for vacation. Before going in, you should have an idea of how many days you want to take off, what you have done to earn the days off, and what you will complete before you leave. This plan allows you to walk in with exactly what you are going to discuss and how you will respond to questions. This makes you look confident and makes it easier for your boss to say yes.2. Be solution oriented.When you communicate with your boss, make sure the discussion is solution oriented. People don't like listening to others complain or rant about their problems. This is especially true with your boss, whose time is limited. But, good bosses are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the business.If you find something that is time consuming or causes problems for staff, try to figure out a solution to the problem. Anyone can present problems. You're hired to find solutions.Going in with this mindset will serve you well. Your boss will not only take you more seriously as an employee if your solutions work, but they will see you as a future leader.3. Be honest and know when to say no.Your boss wants honesty. Honesty builds trust, which you'll need to earn. Don't be the person who lies under pressure, or takes on too much because you're afraid to say you're overworked. You'll be respected all the more for prioritizing correctly and knowing your own limitations.For example, John is a new employee who enjoys his job. But, this past week, he was taking on too many assignments, to the point where it was too much. He couldn't say no to his new coworkers and bosses, because he wanted to make them happy. But he was lagging, and people were starting to take notice.His new boss called him in for a meeting to discuss what exactly was going on. John, after walking in, immediately started complaining about how they were issuing him too much work. How he had only just started, and they were forcing everything on him. How everyone else didn't have nearly as much work as he did.Do you see any problems with this? I hope so, because this is the opposite of what should have happened.From the beginning, John should communicate with coworkers, explain his current workload priorities, and establish healthy boundaries. Failing that, he should go to his boss with a plan and establish realistic deadlines. That way, he and his boss can look at his current work and reprioritize. If John waits until it's gotten out of hand and he's overwhelmed, he's already made a bad impression.Final Thoughts…Talking to your boss can be extremely difficult and nerve-racking. But if you approach with honesty, present a confident plan, and show your boss you are solution-oriented, you'll do great. Each and every one of us will have to talk to a boss at some point in our lives. When the day comes to take action, you'll be well prepared.
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Spencer Evans
June 12, 2020
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Hearts pounding, anxiety going through the roof; the whole room went quiet as the final results came in. I was six months into the Louisiana Gubernatorial Election, and we were going into a highly contested primary. I had spent countless hours at the office and in the field doing everything I could to win this election for my candidate. All the while, I was taking 18 hours of college classes. I had my fair share of challenges along the way to manage my time and balance both a rigorous workload and the demands of college classes. Let me share with you the three steps I used to successfully balance both a 3.9 GPA and win a primary election.1. Be a Master of Your TimeTo be a master of your time doesn't mean you have a crazy calendar and have everything preplanned and written down. It just means you effectively use the time you have to your advantage. In the middle of work and school, you have a lot of things flying at you at once -- like assignments, due dates, and personal life. It can seem very hectic at times, but don't panic. Instead, prioritize what you must get done first, then go from there. Often, people get overwhelmed with how much they have to do. Instead, you can focus on what needs to be done and do it effectively. The best thing I did was set a timer for myself. This did two things for me. It allowed me to dedicate a certain period of time to one particular project, then once the time was up, switch to the next item. It also pushed me to get the most work done in that time. I created a competition for myself. 2. Turn Off Your PhoneThis one should seem self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. I don't know how many times at work or during a school assignment I would take a “break” on my phone and it turn into a 30-minute Twitter scroll. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a notification, and not being able to answer it.Instead, just turn off your phone. I would say, “I'm not turning it back on ‘till I am done with this work project or school assignment.” You will be surprised how much time you will save and how much more work you will get done.3. Communicate with your boss and professors Probably the most used relationship advice phrase ever is, “communication is key.” This couldn't be any closer to the truth. Having a good relationship with your boss and professors is very important. You need to communicate with your boss often in order to establish that connection with them. A great way to establish that connection, is to prioritize their time. I'll give you an example. Let's say you have a school assignment due next week and you know it'll take a good chunk of your time to complete. Instead of telling your boss the week of, tell him, “Boss, I have a big school project coming up and it's going to take a lot of time. Is there anything I can do for you early, so I can have more time later in the week?” They love this, because it shows you care about their time and getting your work done. Likewise, the same goes for professors. They will appreciate you communicating with them, and you'll be surprised on how many professors will give you the homework early or give you an extended due date. Final Thoughts…Managing both a job and school is very tough; it is not for the faint hearted. You'll have to make many sacrifices to effectively get everything done. You have actively taken the first step in balancing your job and education. If you incorporate these small steps into your daily life, you will be well on your way to success.
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Chris O'Neil
June 11, 2020
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Do you ever struggle to stay focused? Does your to-do list ever look overwhelming? If so, you're far from alone. According to the American Psychological Association in 2017, more than 60% of Americans cite work as the highest source of stress in their lives.Stress can be a serious barrier to your progress in the workplace and life in general. Your health suffers, your productivity slips, and your happiness falls with everything else. Job stress is a set of harmful physical and psychological responses that can occur when the requirements of the job do not match your capabilities, resources, or needs. While it can manifest in many ways, the most common you'll recognize are inability to stay focused, inability to meet expectations, and money. It can often feel like a constant battle.But don't be discouraged! Your stress is not going to win. The Leadership Institute's Lead Your Future podcast addresses your stress in Episode 5.Here, you'll find three steps to reduce your stress.1. The Nose MethodDon't look further into the future than the end of your nose. Thinking about the future compounds stress, even if it's only 5 minutes in the future. “Taking the burden of the future and dumping it on today, makes today unnecessarily heavier.” “The future of our nation” is cited as the most common stressor in America today, according to the American Psychological Association.2. Replace ExpectationsOften, you and I can treat valuable ideals like being confident, relaxed, respected, or reciprocated as expectations. In cognitive behavioral therapy, they call this “shoulds” and “musts”. This phenomenon can be a serious source of stress, and when we expect them, we are not being fair to others or ourselves. Not only will you be happier, but also more likely to achieve them when you treat ideals in a much healthier way.3. AwarenessCognitive Clinician, Alicia Anderson, explains how being aware of your stressors is one of the most vital steps in solving them. There is even healthy, beneficial stress called eustress. Increasing your own self-awareness can help you make the most of it. The more self-aware you are, the more this enables you to get help when you really need it. Stress is corrosive. It damages your relationships, physical health, and even compromises your immune system and cognitive functions. Don't be discouraged though! With the right methods, you can overcome it.Listen to Episode 5 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more about these tips from a cognitive behavioral expert. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: Youtube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Smallest Gestures Make the Biggest Impact – How Colleagues Pull Together
Ben Woodward
May 19, 2020
The Smallest Gestures Make the Biggest Impact – How Colleagues Pull Together
In years from now, when you think back to 2020 and your darkest periods in self-isolation, I'm willing to bet that your happiest memories will be the ones of individual people going out of their way for you.I have noticed people do incredible things in times of crisis - that is certainly true of my colleagues at Leadership Institute (LI). Here are my five favorite stories, and some touching takeaways.A new businessA colleague of mine, who happens to be one of the most talented cooks I know, launched his own bakery delivery service. He supplies bagels, English muffins, and bread to customers across much of Northern Virginia.If ever there were an example of making the best of a bad situation, this is it. Colleagues have shared his website on their social media and, of course, enjoyed their own purchases. Key Takeaway: Your colleagues have lives outside of work. They may play in bands, act, volunteer, and more. If you can support them by attending their events, sharing their content, and donating to their causes, please do! GraduationAnother colleague completed her Master's Degree in Communications -- years of hard work which she balanced with a full-time job at the Leadership Institute. Sadly, like so many students around the world, her graduation was canceled. Naturally, this wasn't going to fly with the staff at LI. One colleague took it upon herself to arrange a graduation celebration over Zoom. The colleague wore a graduation hat and ribbon, and celebrated with about 20 of her colleagues. Key Takeaway: Celebrate each other's successes. It might even give you an excuse for a staff party.Free t-shirtsAbout two weeks ago, I received a mysterious text from a colleague asking for my address so she could deliver a present. Wanting a present, I of course confirmed my address but after a few days, it slipped my mind. About a week later, a package arrived in the mail with a custom-made Leadership Institute Zoom University t-shirt inside. The t-shirt, given as a gift to colleagues who frequently present in webinars, is a perfect fit and you'll no doubt see it in a webinar very soon.Key Takeaway: Every organization should have a Chief Morale Officer. They are awesome, and company swag is a great idea. Sip and Chats On each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, several of my colleagues come together to drink coffee and eat breakfast. What initially started off as a replacement for ‘water cooler talk' has become a staple of our mornings, allowing colleagues to give updates on their lives and compare isolation weekend plans.Key Takeaway: Make sure you're keeping in regular contact with your colleagues, even if it's not about work. Having that interaction is an opportunity to bounce ideas around and it's also your chance to help others. A pick-me-upFinally, I couldn't write this blog without sharing my own story. A few weeks ago, a news announcement created uncertainty in my life. More information wasn't released for several days, but luckily the further information lifted the cloud.The worrying and the stress is behind me, but here's something I won't forget -- a large number of my colleagues, including senior executives, former interns, and friends collaborated to surprise me with a Zoom chat to remind me that I wasn't facing the uncertainty alone. It is my favorite memory of quarantine. Key Takeaway: Don't be afraid to reach out to your colleagues when you need them. Most of the time it'll be a work challenge, but you'll be surprised how much people care about you.
Do you know these work from home secrets?
Christopher Olson, Communications Training & Studios Intern
May 5, 2020
Do you know these work from home secrets?
Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say you are equally productive working from home as you were working in the office?If you're one of roughly 95% of Americans impacted by stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, odds are you've had to ask yourself this question.For some, the benefits are overwhelming. Eighty-five percent of businesses reported an increase in productivity since their staff began working from home. For others, working from home includes endless challenges that hinder your productivity.Working from home has turned me from an early riser who went to the gym before work, to someone who sleeps in and sits on the couch watching Netflix in my pajamas while trying to complete the workday.Luckily, on this episode of the Lead Your Future Podcast, Tiffany Roberts sat down with Leadership Institute's Director of Digital Training, Abigail Alger, to discuss some of her best advice for working from home.Here are three of her tips.Tip #1 -- Set a morning routine.Your morning routines are important. Most of us have a morning routine before a normal workday, but these routines tend to crumble when you work from home. Keeping your routines helps you to get started on work, and to work productivity. A routine is a way to get your mind in the right place, so you can perform the tasks required for your job to the best of your ability.Tip #2 -- Choose your workspace wisely.Set yourself up for success. Find a place or several places in your house where you are removed from distractions and can focus on work. This can be tough because, for many of us, our tendency is to sit on the couch and watch a show or movie while we try to work. We're at home, so we figure we might as well make ourselves comfy. If you notice you are struggling with productivity, think about changing your scenery and removing yourself from distractions.Tip #3 -- Maintain communication with work. Virtual meetings can take much longer than in-person meetings, and nobody likes long virtual meetings. To curb this, make sure you update your boss and supervisors by email to keep them in the loop. This is easy to forget because one of the benefits of working from home is not feeling like your boss is breathing down your neck. Keep your boss updated regularly, so you are still able to enjoy that freedom and not get tied down in virtual meetings.Don't wait! Listen to this new episode of the Lead Your Future Podcast and start working more effectively from home! Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Sound Cloud, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
How to Succeed as an Intern
Christopher Olson, Communications Training & Studios Intern
May 5, 2020
How to Succeed as an Intern
If you're a young professional looking to enter the workforce, you probably know the importance of an internship all too well.You've probably been told multiple times the importance of an internship on your resume and the experience it brings. But has anyone ever given you the steps to make sure you are the best intern you can possibly be?Your internship is where you will make your first connections in that line of work. You don't want to just be good enough to put the internship on your resume, you want to have your supervisors so impressed that they can't wait to offer you a job, or help you find one elsewhere.Lucky for you, this week the Lead Your Future podcast gives you some tips and tricks on how to be a great intern. You'll hear from my fellow interns here at the Leadership Institute, so you can learn from their experiences.Here are three tips to succeed as an intern.Tip #1 – Be on time.This one is straightforward. Be on time. Do not be late. Try your best to be early, but if you can't be early, do not be late. Once your supervisor sees you come in late a few times, it's a trend, and they will start to assume you're unreliable. Supervisors understand interns are often young, but you want them to think of you as a young professional, not as a kid who's always late. So be on time.Tip #2 -- Don't treat it like a 9-5 job.Oftentimes putting in extra work requires getting in early and staying late. So, don't walk in at exactly nine o'clock and leave right at five. Stay late and come in early when needed. If nobody in your department needs extra help, then start volunteering your time to other departments. Whether it's a non-profit or for-profit, time is invaluable. Put in the extra time outside of the 9-5 hours, and it will go a long way.Tip #3 -- Discover what's inside your toolbox.Take the time while you're interning to navigate and discover your strengths and weaknesses. Your internship is the perfect time to identify your strengths and how to use them, while you work on your weaknesses. You may even discover that you hate the line of work you're doing or discover something you're passionate about.Listen to Episode 4 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more about these tips and real intern experiences. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Sound Cloud, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
Ben Woodward
April 21, 2020
Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
I was catching up on Saturday Night Live yesterday evening and the show depicted the struggles of comedians as they attempted to hold meetings from their homes with hilarious consequences. One only has to take to YouTube to enjoy a long list of videos where professionals make the most embarrassing possible mistakes because they fail to realize their web cameras are switched on. Luckily, no such embarrassing moments have happened in Leadership Institute (LI) meetings or webinars yet. For years, Zoom, Teams, and other platforms have been an excellent tool to reach audiences who cannot attend LI training in person. During the pandemic, webinars are now critical to deliver LI training. This requires professionalism and high standards translated digitally. Here's how you can ensure – whether you're hosting or presenting a meeting or webinar – you make it as professional as possible.LightingIf possible, you should face natural light on camera. Your entire face should be illuminated. Failing that, order a simple ring light online, they're inexpensive and make a big difference. Remember, just like in a real meeting, people will respond to seeing your face and your expressions.You should always avoid light that shines behind you, which can overshadow your face. SoundTo avoid feedback and other distractions, use headphones and limit outside noise. You should also do a test of your microphone before your presentation to ensure the sound works and your computer is set up correctly. SpeakingIt is a good idea to write a script for you webinar or meeting introduction and sign off. What do you want to say? Is there anything you should advertise or someone to introduce? Keep notes by your side in case you lose your place.Be confident in your presentation style. Practice speaking and record yourself to pick up on any filler words or lack of eye contact. Always try to maintain eye contact with your camera (aka your audience). You can also ask your audience questions during the webinar. It's a great way to keep them engaged. DisplayPower points or other types of illustrations can be very helpful to the viewer, who might otherwise get distracted if you're reading from notes. Make your presentation easy to follow. Most of the information should come from you. Your presentation should simply act as a guide to your key points. Make sure you dress appropriately and hide anything unprofessional in your background. Custom backgrounds are a helpful tool. OtherKeep water on hand during your webinar in case you get a dry throat, and make sure you use the bathroom. Even if someone else is speaking, you may not be able to walk away from your screen once you start. Email instructions to your attendees at least half an hour before your webinar. I also recommend you email them upon registration so they know what to expect. Finally, security is important. As the demands on Zoom and other platforms increase, prevent unwanted attendees with password protection and by disabling guest screen sharing.If you follow these simple steps, you'll conduct webinars and meetings that demonstrate your professionalism and ensure they are as close to the in-person experience as possible. If you would like any further assistance with your webinar and meeting needs, you can attend the Leadership Institute's free webinar: Effective Communications in Business on April 29, 2020.
New Lead Your Future Podcast
Christopher Olson
April 6, 2020
New Lead Your Future Podcast
Take the next step to take control of your future and achieve your goals with Leadership Institute's newest podcast series Lead Your Future.The Leadership Institute offers 47 different types of in-person and online trainings, and now you have another way to sharpen your skills while on the go, in your car, or from the comfort of your couch.Throughout the Lead Your Future series, you will learn the tips and tricks to up your career game.Plus, get exclusive content with experts from the conservative movement. These experts will offer their best practices and advice to equip you for your future.LI has already released the first three episodes for you to listen to and share with your friends, family, and fellow conservatives in the movement.Episode One – Business CardsBen Woodward of LI's Career Programs gives advice on all things involving Business Cards in this podcast. You'll learn about design, how to most effectively use your business card at your next networking event, and how to properly follow up with new contacts. Episode Two – Your Personal BrandStephen Rowe, Deputy Director of Digital Training at the Leadership Institute will give you the details on personal branding. You'll learn WHAT a personal brand is, WHY you should have one, and HOW to start building your own.Episode Three - How to be Productive Working from HomeAbigail Alger, Director of Digital Training at the Leadership Institute, talks through working from home. Working from home does not have to be a challenge. Two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home increase their overall productivity. Learn from this advice how to be one of those high-performing employees.If you want to take the next step in taking control of your future, then the Lead Your Future podcast is just for you!Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Sound Cloud, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
This is No Time to Rest
Christopher Olson
April 2, 2020
This is No Time to Rest
In this difficult time, businesses have slowed down, many schools have closed, and some elections have been pushed back. The economy is hurting, and travel is restricted.But this is no time to rest.You have an excellent opportunity to empower your principles and learn the tools to win.“You owe it to your philosophy to learn how to win." Leadership Institute President, Morton Blackwell, says that often.He goes on to say that if you don't take the time to learn how to win, and your opposition does, "they will beat you no matter how right you are — and you don't deserve to win."Those of us who have heard Morton Blackwell say these words know they ring true. They ring even truer today with the COVID-19 pandemic flooding our society.For those of us in the conservative movement, this is not time to stop. You and I must keep moving forward. Our work is never done.What are you doing during your quarantine time, and how are you preparing yourself for leadership?Thanks to our generous donors, the Leadership Institute is here for you during this difficult time.The Leadership Institute (LI) has moved trainings online and added many more. In April alone, you can participate in more than 35 elite online trainings and events. Learn to win from the comfort of your home while you practice social distancing.You cannot beat a plan with no plan. This pandemic too shall pass. When it does, businesses will reopen, the economy will begin it's comeback, and campaigns will kick into full speed.Are you prepared?You owe it to your philosophy to become a skilled and principled activist in the conservative movement. Don't let the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 affect your opportunity to become one of tomorrow's leaders.According to Forbes, great leaders are charismatic, empowering, and great communicators. Leadership Institute teaches these qualities and more in our communications workshops, including Debate, TV, Speechwriting, and more. Sharpen your communication skills at one of LI's six online workshops. Learn how you can make a difference as a conservative on a campaign, as an activist, and in your community at one of the Leadership Institute's more than 40 online trainings and events this month.
Full Circle – How Welcome to Washington Helped Me from Both Sides of the Stage
Ben Woodward
March 13, 2020
Full Circle – How Welcome to Washington Helped Me from Both Sides of the Stage
In 2015, an ill-experienced but enthusiastic professional, eager to succeed, attended Welcome to Washington. The event was hosted at the grand offices of the American Enterprise Institute in central Washington, DC, and organized by America's Future Foundation. This person was me, a 22 year old politico just a few weeks into an internship at the Leadership Institute. The internship would change my life, not least because I learned skills that would help me to succeed.Fast forward five years. I had the opportunity to sit on the other side of that stage as a panelist with the heavy responsibility to pass on these lessons, along with three other brilliant speakers. Washington, D.C. goes full-circle. Today's intern is tomorrow's panelist. So what are these lessons? What did I learn at Welcome to Washington and throughout my internship which would subsequently land me a job here? 1. You are only as employable as your reputationWashington, D.C. is the biggest small town you can imagine. It's a large city, but somehow everyone in D.C. seems to know each other. Forget six degrees of separation, more like one at most. Within your professional circle, reputations spread quickly. A foolish error as an intern will follow you around for a long time. On the reverse, a strong reputation among the right people will accelerate your career.2. There's a lot of job seekers to compete with, but it's easy to stand-outLet's start with your resume, which should be one side of regular 8.5 x 11 paper. There are few exceptions to this rule. The resume must be flawless in spelling, grammar, and consistency. In addition, your cover letter must explain why you want to work for the organization you're applying to.In preparing for interviews, make sure you know the organization inside and out. It's important that you not only demonstrate your motivation, but how your skills and accomplishments will allow you to succeed. 3. Networking is not a dirty word There's a right way and a wrong way to network. Ask any professional, and they've all met someone who showed no interest in them as a person at all, only in their job and the extent they can be used. If your interactions with someone aren't sincere, you're not likely to remember a person positively or want to work with them.The best networkers are sincere. They show a legitimate interest in the person they meet and exchange business cards at the end of the conversation. To continue building a connection, send a follow-up email within 48 hours. If you seek to build a strong professional relationship, ask them to coffee to learn more about their work. 4. You can lead without authorityMany of those attending Welcome to Washington were interns and students, so naturally the question arises – how can you stand out in your internship, despite the fact you're without much decision-making capacity?Lead without authority. The best interns are the ones who become a presence in the office. They help other departments in addition to their own. And they introduce themselves to as many people as possible. Within their department, they take the initiative by anticipating their boss's needs. They communicate their ambitions. And they have a commitment to excellence. 5. There's a life outside of your job Obsessive politicos become tiresome. Find passions outside of your work and politics that excite you and give depth to your character. Washington, D.C. has a rich culture and no shortage of wonderful opportunities. Go discover them!…And finally,If you haven't yet had the opportunity to attend Welcome to Washington, make sure you follow America's Future Foundation to find out the dates for 2020. There's also an abundance of opportunities to learn essential career skills. The Leadership Institute's Career Services are on hand to assist you with training, job recommendations, and free, personalized, one-on-one consultations.
From CPAC to DC Intern
Christopher Olson
February 25, 2020
From CPAC to DC Intern
The biggest conservative event of the year is coming up this week and the Leadership Institute will be there in full force!If you have never been to CPAC before, I highly recommend it!CPAC 2019 was when I was first introduced to Leadership Institute. Fast forward one year and I am interning in the Communications Department at LI.On top of all of the speakers and happy hours, CPAC really can open many doors for you. If you are looking to get involved politically or looking to further your political connections, CPAC is a great place to be.Leadership Institute will host One-on-One Career Consultations, co-hosts the CPAC Job and Internship Fair with the Heritage Foundation, and even has a Student Communicator Competition with the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform.Check out the details for CPAC 2020 here: www.LeadershipInstitute.org/CPACAnd watch this video for a throwback to CPAC 2019. Maybe you're in it!Hope to see many of you there! This really is a can't miss event!
The American Conservative Movement – An Outsider’s Perspective
Maguelonne DeGestas
February 14, 2020
The American Conservative Movement – An Outsider’s Perspective
As a French woman, before my arrival at the Leadership Institute I had rarely heard the word "conservatism" so much. Now, all the time I hear: this politician is a "conservative", this media outlet is "conservative", and this principle is "conservative". Not only does American conservatism exist, but it is firmly anchored in the political and social vocabulary of the country.In France, are we as comfortable with this word "conservatism"? I believe we are not. Conservatism as an ideological force lacks presence in France's political landscape, to the detriment of the public policy. For conservatives like me, it is difficult to practice conservative philosophy as a career as one can in the United States by working in the conservative movement.Unlike in the United States, in France we don't have a large political movement that unites conservatives and classical liberals. It seems indeed eminently difficult in France to maintain a conservative-classical liberal position and succeed in governing sustainably.On the other hand, the US experienced a "conservative boom" between the 1970s and 1980s. The American right gained ground, notably thanks to the emergence of conservative intellectuals who defined a political line and the momentum built by numerous organizations in the movement.In France, on the contrary, we experienced during this same period a left-wing emergence, which advocated the overthrow of the moral sense of French society.Sadly, French conservatism has not enjoyed the same enthusiasm as in the United States.But today, things are changing. More and more French people are trying to take root again, in a specific place and community, with their own way of life. Conservatism in France still has much to do to defend – a common heritage, future, and freedom in policy.Let's hope that the next municipal elections in March will be the occasion to elect candidates capable of bringing a real conservative line in the political field.
The Power of Campus Clubs
Christopher Olson
February 6, 2020
The Power of Campus Clubs
What happens on high school and college campuses today happens in Congress tomorrow. How does that make you feel?In a recent interview with the Leadership Institute, Representative David Schweikert of Arizona described his introduction into politics by joining a conservative group on campus, as well as his relationship with the Leadership Institute and Morton Blackwell.Rep. Schweikert, an elected member of the U.S. Congress, described his coming into politics as an “accident”. “In my high school, there was a Teenage Republicans Club, and I ended up accidently at one of the club meetings. The next thing I knew, I was the club treasurer.”That club membership “demystified” politics, he says, “and made it accessible. So, I ran for the state legislature my first time, when I was 26 years old.”I too accidentally found politics by engaging with Turning Point USA. Rep. Schweikert and I are not alone in this matter. A large percentage of my colleagues here at the Leadership Institute have similar stories and were engaged with the conservative groups on their campuses.From my time as a Field Representative with LI, I can tell you first-hand the chaos that is the modern-day college campus.Those of us engaged in politics know how crazy many campuses have become. They are now a breeding ground for socialism and leftism, without any regard for debate.As a result, many conservative organizations are now organizing on college campuses. These organizations, like the Leadership Institute, organize students and educate them on conservative principles such as free speech, free markets, and limited government.These conservative organizations offer an opportunity for students to be introduced to politics and conservative principles. They bring the battle of ideas straight to the students.Representative David Schweikert served in the Arizona House of Representatives for 4 years and is currently serving his 5thterm in the United States House of Representatives, representing Arizona's 6thCongressional District. He currently sits on the Ways and Means Committee and is the Senior House Republican Member on the Joint Economic Committee. Rep. Schweikert has also been a member of the House Freedom Caucus since its inception in 2015 and The Heritage Foundation gives him a generous 98% conservative approval rating based on his time in congress. Rep. Schweikert even helped teach some of Leadership Institute's trainings before he was an elected member of Congress.What happens on campuses today, happens in Congress tomorrow. How are you and I stacking up in the fight for our futures? Conservatives cannot afford to stay out of this battle.Click here to watch the full interview with Rep. David Schweikert.
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