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.
When You’re Burnt Out
Ben Woodward
January 15, 2020
When You’re Burnt Out
As the resident Englishman in the office, many of my colleagues have stopped by my desk in recent days to ask my thoughts on the recent announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex regarding their withdrawal as senior royals.I know what you are thinking; you clicked on this link looking for career advice, not to read more about Harry and Meghan.Though most of us will never have to deal with the intense public scrutiny the royals do, you may relate to the feeling of burn out at work. Recognizing it in yourself, your colleagues, and your subordinates is important.What is burnout?Not to be confused with the normal stresses of your day-to-day work, burnout results in a lack of motivation and deep sense of negativity at work.Your productivity declines and you find it difficult to become excited about your projects.How do I resolve burnout?Lighten your workloadThis is not to be confused with neglecting your essential projects. However, many people burn out because they take on too much responsibility and do not delegate work to those who should be responsible.Be stricter with your calendar and realistic about what you can accomplish that week. By saying yes to every favor your colleagues ask, you will load your plate too high. Focus on your priorities, and do not be afraid to delegate work to colleagues if it falls within their responsibility. If you are unclear about what your priorities are, talk to your supervisor.Take relaxation seriouslyKnow what you need to do during the day and in your personal time to relax. For me, I take my lunch hour every day without fail, and I leave the office. If I have to work late or come in early to complete my tasks I will, but my lunch hour is essential to keep myself motivated throughout the day.You may find you can work through your lunch hour and remain motivated throughout the day; however, when you get home and before you leave for work, make sure you are giving yourself time to unwind.Organize your personal lifeProfessionalism requires you to keep your personal life from affecting your work life. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, which requires an element of self-discipline. If you wake up tired and go to bed with too much energy, then you need to re-balance your sleep schedule.Likewise, money can often be a source of stress. Make sure your finances are under control; your payday should not come as a source of relief. Be in control of your spending and build a savings account that you can use to give yourself the occasional treat to relieve burnout.Be health consciousYour health has a tremendous effect on your work and your mental state. Staying hydrated throughout the day will prevent headaches. Excessive reliance on caffeine or sugar will cause fluctuations in your mood.In addition, it does not take a genius to work out that eating right and regular exercise will improve your state of mind and give you the self-confidence you need to excel. Know when it is time to move onBefore you consider moving on, talk to trusted colleagues and your supervisor about ways to improve your current work situation. If they do not know there's a problem, they won't find ways to help you. However, if you decide that enough is enough, it may be time to consider looking for a new opportunity. If that is the case, find a job that fulfills gaps in your existing work life that caused burnout. Make sure you leave your current job on good terms.Consider an internal transfer as your first option; if that does not help, or is not possible, look elsewhere. Make sure you retain your current job while you seek a new one.FinallyBurnout is a difficult challenge to overcome and there is no easy fix. If you are truly unhappy at work, find a way to resolve the problem. If you notice burnout in others, reach out, and offer help.
When the job market slows down for Christmas
Ben Woodward
December 16, 2019
When the job market slows down for Christmas
When the job market slows down for ChristmasIt's December, and for many recruiters the holiday season slows down their hiring process. Recruiters have just returned from Thanksgiving break and they are spending their days like most professionals; catching up on emails and other priorities before year-end. Combined with a feeling that they cannot train new hires until New Year, you have a perfect formula to dry up recruitment.As a jobseeker, applying in December can be incredibly frustrating. However, that does not mean you cannot find opportunities or even use the season productively.Here are three ways to make the most of your job search during the holiday season.Just because applications aren't being reviewed, doesn't mean you can't prepare them.Without the pressure of pending interviews, you have time to produce high quality applications. You can browse jobs and prepare thoroughly researched resumes and cover letters that articulate why you aspire to work for the organization.The pressure of a tight deadline can prevent applicants from taking the necessary time to proofread their work -- do not fall into this trap. Over the Christmas period, ask your friends to read your applications for quality control. Come January, you will have exceptional applications ready to go. Christmas is the period of holiday parties; get off your laptop and meet recruiters in person.You can do some of your best networking at Christmas. As the holiday parties begin, monitor social media events, newsletters, and organization events pages carefully to find opportunities for great networking. Everyone is in a good mood during their holiday party, so it is a good chance to get to know people.Make sure you remain professional, especially when there is an open bar. Follow-up with the people you meet within forty-eight hours of meeting them, though it is likely that networking coffee will not take place until New Year. Focus on your strategy for 2020.A New Year is often great inspiration for new beginnings. If you are considering a career change, use the break to consider your ambitions and make a plan for how you will hit the ground running come January.Your plan may include where you will apply, preparing your references, editing your resume, and talking to your network.Finally… Just because the Christmas period job market is slow does not mean you cannot use your time productively. Remember, ConservativeJobs.com is here to help.Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
A Note from One Mentor to Another
Ben Woodward
November 18, 2019
A Note from One Mentor to Another
From Morton Blackwell to Kay Coles James, the conservative movement has numerous highly accomplished leaders who have dedicated their lives to mentoring and fostering a new generation of talent.As someone only a few years into my career however, I sometimes wonder at what point I will feel qualified to give people advice. Just yesterday, a friend came to me following a fantastic job offer, asking about salary negotiation. Throughout our meeting, I could not help but feel the weight of my advice given that he was about to go into a conversation with his future boss.You will likely find, if you have not already, that soon into your career people will begin asking for your opinion from small things like how to respond to an email to larger, more pressing career questions.While there is no formula to good mentorship, here are 4 rules which have helped me along the way.Be generous with your time and expertiseThinking on the times when you have not been the high quality mentor, you would like to be, I am willing to bet it came down to one of two things; you were too busy, or you became impatient with the mentee. It is easy to become wrapped up in your work and to be frustrated when someone does not appear to take your advice. Remember that people invested in your development, and you likely frustrated them at times. It is important to communicate clearly and to remember that this good practice for you too. After all, you will mentor many people in your career.Understand that you are developing tooIt can be daunting to mentor others when you are new to the workforce. You will likely continue to rely on mentors yourself for many years to come. However, your fresh perspective may be what your mentee needs, especially since you remember better than anyone what it was like to require similar guidance.There are occasions when you will say, “I don't know”It is imperative that the advice you give is informed from your experience and will help the mentee. Remember that your words carry a lot of weight; do not make the mistake of giving advice simply because you do not want to let your mentee down.A good example of this is when a mentee asks me about whether they should go to college or not, or sometimes if they should drop out. Despite my own personal opinion, I will always advise the mentee to speak with their family and with their professors. Sometimes “I don't know” is the best answer.Make a long-term investment in your mentees Your commitment to your mentee does not end when they find a job or move away. That is not to say you should chase them down to give advice -- and if your mentee stops asking then let them take their own path. However, follow-up from time to time, and make sure you are on hand to assist should they require it.Remember, the people you mentor today could be your colleagues and coalition partners tomorrow. Invest in them and it will be both rewarding and pay dividends.
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