Top 6 Digital Skills Employers Look for in Employees
Emma Siu
January 7, 2021
Top 6 Digital Skills Employers Look for in Employees
Whether you are looking for a job or seeking a career change, these skills will help you become the most desirable potential employee in 2021. If you don't have these skills yet, don't worry. Leadership Institute offers a variety of courses to help you learn the skills you need to win.ProgrammingHTML, Python, Java, and SQL grow as more businesses need to improve their online presence. Just knowing the basics of one of these languages can show employers you can incorporate programming into your decision making.Data AnalyticsBeing able to take large quantities of data and transform it into meaning is invaluable. Employers look for individuals who can find trends in data and come up with actions based on the trends. The Leadership Institute offers an Introduction to Google Analytics course to help you get started.Social Media MarketingSocial media marketing goes beyond knowing how to use social media casually. This means understanding algorithms, the associated analytics tools, learning how to gain followers, as well as knowing how to create a high-quality post to send a message and gain attention.SEOSearch Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is how to direct people to your website and its resources. When you know how to boost your ranking and generate unpaid traffic to a site, you will be set up for success. UXUX, or User Experience, is how someone interacts with a website or app and how users feel while using your product. When you are skilled in user experience, you will be able to use tools such as heatmaps and analytics to determine how people are using a product/service. Understanding user experience is great, but being able to anticipate the problems or roadblocks a product/service might cause is invaluable.CommunicationBeing able to communicate with a team as well as customers is very important. Online communication mediums such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Slack, Meets, SMS, and Email are all important to cultivate relationships. When you know how to use these tools to connect with others, this will get you ahead of the game.
5 Ways Technology Can Help with Your Resolutions
Emma Siu
January 7, 2021
5 Ways Technology Can Help with Your Resolutions
Here are some ways to use common technology to help you stick with your new year's resolutions.1. Find online accountability partners.This could be a friend or coworker with a resolution similar to yours. Make sure your end goal is the same and set a schedule with steps to accomplish your goals. Set a schedule for check-ins and rely on support from your group when you feel unmotivated.Create a group of accountability partners, this can be as simple as using a group chat for communication and an excel sheet to keep track of progress.2. Post your resolution.Put your resolution on your Facebook wall, or tweet it for the world to see. The more people you reach the more accountable you will feel to reach your goal.3. Create or join a motivational social media group.This can be something as simple as a motivational quote of the day, or a community that works towards the same general resolution. You can find new friends with similar interests who uplift you, maybe even a new accountability partner. If there is no group that fits your needs, start one on Facebook and invite your friends.4. Gamify and Compete.It's easy to set goals and lose motivation quickly. Continue your interest by turning objectives into a contest or gamifying targets. Many apps have built-in competition features to compete with strangers or friends. Language apps like Duolingo are very popular. Stay healthy with MyFitnessPal or FitBit. Do you want to gamify your daily chores? Try Habitica
Six Reasons to Recruit Young People Now
Lee Jackson
December 21, 2020
Six Reasons to Recruit Young People Now
One of the biggest misconceptions about campaigns is how much work and preparation it takes to be successful.My all-time favorite alliteration is prior planning prevents poor performance. As my Algebra 1 teacher used to say, “People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan, Mr. Jackson.” This was true for those of us who struggled with Mr. Quimby's class, and it is even more true for political candidates.As the country recaps and tries to understand the breakdown of the 2020 election, now is the time for you to start thinking about your 2022 campaign. As you build your campaign plan and chart your road map to success, do not overlook what young people can do for your campaign. They can propel you to victory.Below, you'll find six reasons why you should make young people a pillar of your campaign.1. Provide VolunteersIf you spent any time looking into running for office, you might have been overwhelmed at all the things a campaign has to do to be successful. From scheduling to knocking doors, organizing events, building and placing yard signs, and more. It does not matter if you are running for dog catcher or President of the United States, there are only 24 hours in the day. You will need a dedicated team of volunteers to make sure you win.After spending more than one million dollars, the last candidate I worked for won by fewer than 500 votes. Our campaign had more than 70 active young volunteers. My candidate would not have won without their help.2. Provide VotesThere is a common misconception that young people do not vote. If 2020 taught us anything, it's that young people are voting more than ever before.According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), 55% of eligible voters between the ages of 18-29 voted in 2020. Young voters are also growing as a voting bloc and make up a larger share of the electorate in years past. In the November 3rd election, young voters counted for 21% of the entire vote in Georgia.It's hard to win an election if you ignore one out of every five voters.3. Create a Youthful ImageHaving young people around you will also create a youthful image and, let us be honest -- youth sells.If you were to turn on the TV right now, you would find commercials full of young people. Even commercials targeted to senior citizens have actors that are a little too young for the roles they are playing.Candidates who surround themselves with young people look like they have a large range of support, more energy, and are more likely to win.4. Create a Win PsychologyThere is a lot of insider baseball in campaigns. One of the most complex elements in our game of 3D chess is to show that you are beating the other side on the campaign trail. You can do this with endorsements and fundraising numbers, but the easiest way to get it done is to surround the candidate with enthusiastic young people. More young people walking with the candidate in parades, more young people in photos of social media.Young people help you show that you have a diverse group of supporters who will carry you to victory.People like to be on the winning side. Sports teams have the greatest number of fans when they are having a strong season. Those fans come out and support the team, attend the game, and buy merchandise.Having young people on your team presents you as a winner. If people expect you to win your campaign, more people will donate, and more volunteers will show up to knock doors next Saturday.5. Train LeadersIt is frustrating to see, but the truth is fewer people are involved with their community than generations ago. Instead of spending the evening at a Knight's of Columbus or Rotary meeting, most people just decide to head home.Regardless of your political ideology, everyone can agree that more people should be involved in giving back to their communities and taking a leadership role.A great way to give a local young person leadership training and get them more involved in your community is to enlist them in your campaign now. A young person on a campaign will learn important skills like public speaking and how to lead and organize a team.Early involvement in your team will provide crucial leadership opportunities for the next generation. These opportunities will lead to more community leaders, to better neighborhoods, and maybe even to a candidate of the future.6. Make Good CitizensThe bedrock of our republic is individual participation. From a very young age, people are taught to make their voices heard and be involved. A great example of this is when children disagree on a game's rules on the playground. Instead of running to a teacher, most groups of students will say, “majority rules” and ask their peers to vote on the final rule verdict of a rule or what just happened. There is no instant replay in four square, but the third graders watching will vote and make their voices heard.Some young people who volunteer on your campaign will end up voting for the very first time. If they enjoy their time on the campaign, they will continue to vote every election down the road. And more active local participation in the political process is good for society.Those may be the top six reasons, but there are countless reasons why you should make young people a pillar of your campaign.When planning, you spend a lot of time on data, fundraising, and endorsements. All these things are important, but do not overlook your local college campus or high school. If you find the right students, they will be worth their weight in gold and do much more for your campaign than 90% of the formal endorsements your campaign announces.If you find young people in your area who are willing to help you, send them to one of the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership Schools, and our staff will teach them how to organize and get as many votes for you as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at LJackson@LeadershipInstitue.org.
5 Actions to Ensure a Successful Career Strategy in 2021
Kelsey Mix
December 14, 2020
5 Actions to Ensure a Successful Career Strategy in 2021
1. Make a plan for one career-related activity in early 2021.This could be anything -- attend a Leadership Institute training, read a book related to career development you have been putting off, or spend 30 minutes to polish your LinkedIn profile. 2. Volunteer with a cause or organization that is important to you.This serves as an opportunity to give back to your community in a meaningful way. While in-person volunteering may look different this Christmas, there are still ways to get involved if you put in the time.Bonus, who knows who you may meet. These days, meeting new people is a challenge. Take this opportunity to engage with others outside of a professional environment. Maybe you will meet someone who could be a part of your professional network. 3. Set calendar reminders for early 2021 tasks. For example, set a reminder for early February to ping five contacts you have not spoken to in a while. A short email, not asking for anything. Simply reconnect and ask how their holiday was. 4. Find an accountability partner for your biggest 2021 career goals and make an action plan together. I am a big believer in accountability partners. Accountability partners are often referenced in the health, exercise, or money fields, but not in the career field.Find a partner and schedule a standing monthly call to discuss your progress at work. Review what went well, what you need to work on, and make sure your actions align with the strategies you set at the beginning of the year. 5. Write letters to a few people who have made a difference in your year. Write personalized handwritten notes sharing how grateful you are to have them in your life.It could be people on your team, a boss, or a mentor who helped you this year. Maybe they provided career advice or direction. Perhaps they connected you with someone who turned out to be meaningful for you professionally. Maybe they make zoom calls more enjoyable.Whoever they are, send them notes telling them you appreciate them.
How to Invite Someone to Interview or Speak
Emma Siu
December 9, 2020
How to Invite Someone to Interview or Speak
7 minute readWhether you ask someone to speak at an event, or ask someone for a podcast interview, it is important to know how to request someone's time. Showing due respect will help you Everyone likes compliments. Respectfully highlight their accomplishments and explain why they are the right person. Let them know the value they can bring to your audience and why you want their time. Good invitations are clear, easy to read, and contain all background information your guest needs to decide in your favor. Keep it short People do not have time to read essays. Keep to the point, and make sure you clearly ask for what you are looking for. A helpful hint: use a combination of bullet points and bold words to make it easier for your reader to get the gist of an email by quickly skimming it. Do not fear rejection You do not know if someone will reject your offer until you ask them. You may be surprised by the number of people who will accept your invitations. Dream big and send requests to people even if you think they are out of your reach. You never know who will say “yes.” Be persistent Cast a big net. Ask a wide variety of interesting people, and do not be afraid to follow up if there is no initial response. But remember, there is a fine line between persistence and annoyance. If someone politely declines, find another person to ask. Follow up If your potential speaker responds, always follow up. If the response is positive, thank them for accepting your request. “A prompt, generous letter of thanks can seal a commitment which otherwise might disappear when the going gets rough,” writes Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell in his Laws of the Public Policy Process.Ideally, you will send them a calendar reminder and follow up again at least twice before the event. If the response is negative, nevertheless send a thank you. Thank them for considering the request. Try to leave the interaction on a positive note. You may be able to find a win-win scenario in the future. Structure your requestDo not overthink it. Here is a simple structure to make sure you are concise while getting to the point: Greeting, introduce yourself and your cause, ask for what you want the interviewer to do, include details such as dates and topic points, include the value that the speaker/interviewer will bring, thank them for their consideration, and sign off.
How to Know if an Email is Real
Emma Siu
December 7, 2020
How to Know if an Email is Real
7 minute readHackers and scammers have become more cunning when it comes to creating false emails. What is a malicious email? Malicious emails are created by scammers, bad actors, and hackers to trick you into downloading a virus, paying money, or giving up your personal information. These malicious emails can look virtually identical to legitimate emails, and do not always get caught by spam filters. Some of these emails might appear to come from your friends and colleagues who may unknowingly have been hacked. So, this begs the question, how do I know if my email is real? These five steps will help protect you to make sure your data remains protected. Before you respond, remember S.A.I.L.S. SAILS is an acronym to remind you to check five aspects of the email you're looking at. It stands for Sender, Ask, Information, Links, and Scope. Sender Check the sender email address to see if this is suspicious. You can do this by hovering over the email and making sure the email address they gave is legitimate.Ask If this email seems a little unusual, or even the least a bit suspicious, ask your IT team, call the sender, or google the first few lines of the email to check the legitimacy.In the wise words of Ronald Reagan, “trust, but verify.”Information or Money If an email is asking you to give money or provide personal information, that should be an immediate red flag. Any time an email asks you to share personal information or make a transaction, you must always verify the sender. Links Do not immediately click on links, even if you think the link is sent from a trusted source. Quickly hover over the link and double-check the URL. Make sure the link is taking you somewhere you recognize and not a third-party site.Scope Is this kind of email within the scope of your position? If an email is asking for banking information or other people's emails, stop and make sure you are the one who normally handles these requests. If this is an email you plan to “forward” a co-worker, you should verify the sender. The last thing you want to do is forward a malicious email.
4 Tips to Use in Your Next Online Meeting
Emma Siu
December 4, 2020
4 Tips to Use in Your Next Online Meeting
5 minute readLook like the professional you are while you participate in online meetings.Camera Location Whether you are using a separate webcam or the one built into your laptop, make sure the camera is at eye level.This may mean putting some boxes/books under your laptop, but it is worth it. A camera at eye level provides a flattering angle and is how your coworkers would view you if you were in the office. Lighting Make sure your face is well lit, and visible. The light should be behind your webcam aimed at your face. Ideally, your light will come from a window because natural light is the most flattering. You can also purchase a ring light for a more professional appearance. When purchasing a light, find one that changes the intensity of light and brightness. If you wear glasses that get the ring glare, a bar light is a great alternative that will reduce the glare on your glasses. If you do not have time to buy a light, you can always use floor lamps to get the desired effect. Background You want your background to be professional and not too distracting. Sit in front of a blank wall and make sure there are only simple things behind you. Remember to avoid a cluttered background, the focus should be you and not your background. Bookshelves, plants, and paintings are great ways to create a virtual office background. Remember Camera Etiquette When you are speaking, speak to your webcam, not to the screen. Put a sticky note behind your camera with some eyes drawn on to help you remember where to talk. Unless you have turned off your camera, you should always be sitting in a professional way. Avoid leaning on your hand or putting your head down on the table at all costs.
A Better Way to Manage Google Chrome Tabs
Emma Siu
December 2, 2020
A Better Way to Manage Google Chrome Tabs
5 minute readNo matter how many tabs you use online, Google Chrome makes it easier to organize everything with tab groups.What are tab groups? Tab groups are colored labels you can apply to certain tabs you open in Google Chrome. You can pick the color, name the group, and choose what tabs you want in each group. The tabs will expand and retract when you click the group name. Tab groups will keep all your tabs out of sight but not out of mind. The best part: your tab groups will be saved when you close and reopen Google Chrome. What are the possible benefits? Tab groups help you stay organized. When on a personal device, you can create separate work and personal tabs to keep organized. For example, you can create a group for your Christmas shopping and retract it so no one can see what you were buying. I like to use this feature for work and create different tab groups for different projects. How can you make your first tab group?Right click (ctrl + click on Mac) the tab you want to modify and select “Add tab to new group.” Select the color and name your group. After you create your first tab group, you will be able to right click the other tabs you want to include in the group. Then select “add tab to group” and select the appropriate group name.
So You Won, Now What? Next Steps for Winning Candidates
Ron Nehring
November 23, 2020
So You Won, Now What? Next Steps for Winning Candidates
In a competitive race, elections become all-consuming. For those who win, the next phase is where a new kind of work begins.The Leadership Institute trains conservatives to win not merely to hold offices, but to then put conservative ideas into action to benefit the American people. If you won, your objective should be to do something, not just to be someone.What should you as a successful candidate do following a victory?1. Analyze the results. Complete precinct-by-precinct election data is typically available in the weeks following Election Day. Carefully review this data objectively: where was the campaign most successful? Least successful? What are the surprises, and how can they be explained? Compare where you and your opposition directed activity and determine what worked, what didn't, where support should be maintained, and what are the opportunities for growth?2. Go deeper. Top level reviews of data can be interesting, yet there are many more lessons to be learned when you go deeper. Compare for instance election performance to census data, looking for correlations.3. Produce an after-action report. While failure can be the best teacher, you can learn a lot from victory too. Compile a report on the campaign quicky, before the details of the effort are lost in time. What were the surprises? Challenges? What worked particularly well? What should be included in a memo to the next campaign? The report should include a compilation of everything your campaign produced, such as mail, phone scripts, lists, website, digital materials, research, and data. If you used campaign consultants, do not allow all this data to rest with the consultant. Everything the campaign bought and paid for should be transferred to the candidate.4. Thank the voters. This could be done by leaving your campaign signs up for an extra week while affixing a “thank you” sign to each. Reach out beyond the campaign staff, volunteers, and friends and extend appreciation to voters. No one is entitled to an elected office – expressing thanks conveys humility while reminding everyone you know the voters are ultimately in charge.5. Thank your team.Thank your supporters in the most personal way feasible. Include your volunteers, donors, members of your kitchen cabinet, those who endorsed you, and anyone who contributed in some way to your success. Generic emails and letters are a good start, but they become more memorable when you personalize them.6. Set priorities. Candidates who are about to become officeholders should set priorities in alignment with what the voters consider important. What needs to get done, and how can you as the officeholder work with others – inside and outside of government – to reach those goals?7. Keep focused and avoid pitfalls.History is full of examples of candidates who, once elected, commit various acts of bad judgment. Winning means working under the scrutiny which comes with the offices. Make sure you strictly abide by the highest ethical standards in your professional and personal life, avoiding any conduct that goes beyond “normal and customary,” in the most aspirational sense of that term. 8. Keep visible and frequently engage with voters.Strong officeholders frequently engage with voters to keep people informed of issues, efforts, progress, and setbacks. If you allow a vacuum to form, you're inviting your detractors to step in and define you to the voters in anticipation of the next election.9. Set reasonable expectations. In the American system of government, checks and balances require the consent of more than one person in government to create action. Unrealistic promises of what you will accomplish in office sets the stage for future disappointment. You should be clear about your priorities and where you want to go, while also being clear about who else needs to be persuaded in order to reach your objectives, and keep voters and stakeholders informed along the way.10. Borrow on the objectivity of others.Candidates and elected officials always lose a degree of objectivity about themselves by virtue of holding the position. Smart officeholders maintain a kitchen cabinet of trusted friends and advisors who are on the team but are not involved in the day to day activities of the office. The purpose is to not only provide good advice, but for the officeholder to borrow upon the objectivity of these kitchen cabinet members. This objectivity can be useful to you when you make judgments concerning what situations merit a response, and when a response would be an overreaction. Finally, officeholders must recognize the next election cycle has already begun. Make early determinations about your intentions for the next election, and what must be accomplished in the months ahead for those intentions to be fulfilled. Make friends and allies along the way. Don't make enemies except on purpose. And always remember the purpose in holding the office is not merely to be someone with a title, but to advance sound policy ideas to improve the lives of others and secure their liberties.
Do Antifa’s Bad Ideas Make Them Bad People?
Christopher O'Neil
November 22, 2020
Do Antifa’s Bad Ideas Make Them Bad People?
Have you tried and tried to be the voice of reason and others sometimes just don't get it?Did you know that when you disagree with someone, parts of your brain literally shut off? Your pMFC (posterior medial frontal cortex) tells you about others' convictions, passions, and confidence and it just stops working. This means you dehumanize people close to you like friends, peers, and even family over pointless disagreements.Explains quite a bit, doesn't it? Well, no need to accept it, because as long as you have GRIT, you'll be the real voice of reason in every pointless division and actually bring people together. Even better, people will actually listen to you. How would you like to be the one who finally helps your dad and your aunt realize they agree on more than they disagree at the next family gathering? If you would like that, Lead Your Future Episode 9 is definitely worth your time. You'll even get to hear an ex-Antifa member share his experiences and how he began to think differently. Let's take a look at how science and history teach us how to have GRIT.Grace - “Be ready to be wrong”Socrates teaches us that we can only be certain of our own mistakenness. Treat conversations like a dance instead of a war to be won. If either of you is focused on winning, you'll both lose. Be ready to be wrong, forgive yourself, and people will find that you're right far more than they would otherwise. Respect - “Apply the golden rule”Social Psychology tells us that listening is a universal form of respect and that if you listen well, people will listen to you. Always remember that if you express genuine respect for the other person and their perspective, they are far more likely to listen to you. Make sure you understand their viewpoint and can make a case for it in a way that they would agree.Identity - “Separate idea from identity”Your opinions aren't who you are. Without knowing this, we severely limit our ability to learn and to avoid some pretty meaningless fights. To learn the truth, we have to listen, understand, and empathize. Charles Munger, partner to Warren Buffett said, “I never allow myself to hold an opinion on anything that I don't know the other side's argument better than they do.” Ties - “Find common ground”The ultimate goal is to reach what psychologists refer to as “shared identity,” where you and your conversational partner are seeking truth together. As long as you work your way here with grace and respect, all while recognizing that your ideas don't define you, you should hear a lot less yelling the next time the family comes together for a barbecue and someone mentions “The Donald.” We all know how that normally turns out…Learn more about GRIT in Lead Your Future's Episode 9, where ex-Antifa member Gabriel Nadales explains his experience as a radical. 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.
So You Lost, Now What? A Letter to the Candidate Who Lost
Steven Sutton
November 19, 2020
So You Lost, Now What? A Letter to the Candidate Who Lost
Stay involved. I was going to start by saying, "Run again in 2022," but that might not be the best advice for everyone who lost in this past election. What does apply universally is for losing candidates to stay involved.There are many ways to separate candidates for office. One that is especially important to voters is whether a candidate is running to do something or if they are running to be somebody.Candidates who are running to be somebody look at campaigns like a sprint with Election Day as the finish line. It is the end of the race, one way or another. If those types of candidates lose, it is more than likely you will never hear of them again. Don't be that person.But for candidates who are running to do something, campaigns are more like a marathon and Election Day is simply a milestone along the way. It tells you how far you have gone and how far you still need to go. If those types of candidates lose, they evaluate where they are along the journey and what they need to do next. Likely, they were already very involved in their community, and they will continue to be, but with an even greater impact. Stay involved. You now have a tremendous organization you built over many months of hard work. Keep them engaged as well. Here are some ideas.1. Get more involved with your local party. Were they helpful to your campaign? No doubt, there were areas that could have been better. Get your campaign volunteers more involved with the local party as well and make improvements so the next candidate (maybe it will be you again) will have more resources the next time.2. Get more involved in the issues that matter most to you. Hold office-holders (especially the person who defeated you) accountable. Organize groups of your volunteers to follow the issues most important to them. Show up at public meetings. Organize petition drives. Create phone trees to call officeholders to bring pressure to bear at key times. Write letters to the editor and post comments online. Become an even greater force within your community.3. Get your best volunteers (and yourself too) additional training. Who were your rock star volunteers? After your campaign is over, have conversations with each of your best volunteers and help them to get more training and experience for the next round of elections. (The Leadership Institute can help with the training bit. Find resources here.)Leftists understand that governing is simply campaigning by different means. They never stop their efforts to destroy America as we know it. They aren't going to go away. Are you?So stay busy. Your next milestone is only 719 days away.
Write an Op-Ed, Get Published, and Land on the News
Christopher O'Neil
November 18, 2020
Write an Op-Ed, Get Published, and Land on the News
Are some things obvious to you that others don't seem to understand? Do you often believe that if only you can get your thoughts out there, people might change their minds? Sometimes it doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to crack the case, but maybe you're just the one for the job. Let's answer the riddle of how you can shape your thoughts so people can't keep their hands off them. An Op-Ed, shorthand for Opposite the Editorial, is an opinion piece. Episode 8 of the Lead Your Future Podcast will give you the invaluable insights from Beverly Hallberg, Director of District Media Group, on how to maximize your exposure. In order to successfully write an Op-Ed, you should know its anatomy. After we dissect topic, contents, and follow-through, you'll find all the puzzle pieces you need to take your ideas public. Topic Before you dive in, you need a worthy topic. It's easy to find something worth writing about, but finding one worth reading can be much more of a challenge. A good topic for an Op-Ed is one that is: 1. Timely: It fits the news and is relevant enough right now that a wide audience would seek it out. 2. Meaningful: Choose a topic that you care about. People will feel your passion (or lack thereof) through your writing. 3. Well-founded: We all have opinions, but they won't mean much if you can't support them. Choose a topic you can lend credibility to in your work. You'll be thankful you did. With these three boxes checked, you're ready to ask the question: how do I actually start writing? Contents An Op-Ed is a gateway to bigger and better work. This is where you can show off your writing abilities and show your reader you mean business. Harvard's Communications and Government Department has a structure you can follow to tackle your next case: 1. The perp: Reel the audience in with a good hook, give them a basic run down of your topic, and establish your goals and overall point. 2. The hole: Explain the central issue. 3. The patch: Break down your solution, how it works, and why. 4. The competition: What do other people say who disagree with you? 5. The call to arms: Remind me why you're writing and drive it home so that the reader won't soon forget! With these five elements, you'll lead the reader right where you want them. Follow-through Great! You're done writing, but you've only just begun! An Op-Ed is a gateway to bigger and better work so it's time to aim higher. The next step is to follow the news closely so you catch every relevant idea you can. Be an avid reader and develop your point of view, network, and credibility. Don't forget upcoming and seasonal events like presidential debates, the 4th of July, and other “evergreen areas” that you can use as a framework. Build the habits of success. Most importantly: Don't get discouraged when you get rejected! Even the most successful writers and journalists in the world know what it's like to be shot down. But, as Sherlock Holmes always said, when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is undeniably within your grasp. Learn more about writing an Op-Ed in Episode 8 of the Lead Your Future Podcast. 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
Your Post Election Resource Guide
Morton Blackwell
November 17, 2020
Your Post Election Resource Guide
Click here to download the full Post Election Resource Guide with open positions and training opportunities.Dear Fellow Conservative, Elections have consequences. While some elections present an exciting opportunity for new talent to staff the White House and Congress, other elections are a harsh reality for those who lose their jobs. Fortunately, either way the election goes, conservative organizations are hiring! In my Leadership Institute's Post Election Resource Guide, you will find a comprehensive overview of the opportunities available. Please use this guide to discover how you can apply your talents in a new role! Enclosed, you will find:Summaries of organizations and their open positions;points of contact to apply;upcoming trainings at the Leadership Institute; anda ConservativeJobs.com flyer. In case you are not familiar, let me tell you about ConservativeJobs.com -- it is the Leadership Institute's free, online solution that connects conservative job seekers with potential employers. You can create a detailed profile, browse job postings, and apply to new opportunities with a single click. If you have any questions, contact a member of my careers staff at resumes@leadershipinstitute.org. Good luck in your job search!Cordially,Morton C. BlackwellPresident, Leadership Institute
How to Win Your Next Job Interview
Emma Siu
November 12, 2020
How to Win Your Next Job Interview
10 minute readYou've already got the interview, now all you have to do is win your employer over. Here is a helpful guide to common interview questions, answers, and closers to help you succeed.1. Do your research.Research the company you are interviewing for thoroughly. Know the company mission statement, goals, successes, and even their pain points. Research your interviewer as well. This might tell you what kind of questions they could ask or give you the ability to connect on a personal level. Remember, your interviewers are human so it's important to get along well with them to show them you can fit well with their team. When you can imagine yourself working at an organization, the interviewer can too.2. Find the questions.The internet can be overwhelming with the amount of interview questions available. Make sure you find common interview questions as well as ones specific to your field. Here is a downloadable Question and Answer Guide with 8 popular interview questions. You should also have questions to ask the interviewer. Make sure to ask a closer question to quell any doubts your interviewer may have about you.3. Practice interviews.Find a few friends or family members to do practice interviews with you. Take this exercise seriously. Have your allies create their own questions for you, so you can get a sense of answering questions on the spot. If you get flustered by a question you can't answer, tell them: “That's a great question, let me give it some extra thought.” That way you can pause for a few seconds to give yourself more time to think up an answer. Practice in the same format as your interview (phone, Zoom, in-person, etc.) to help reduce your anxiety the day of your interview. Get your practice interviewer to give honest feedback afterwards. It can be hard to accept criticism, but it's best to hear it from a friend before your interview.4. Prepare your cheat sheet.Create a list of key points about you, important details of the organization, and your closing questions. If you have a phone or video interview, put your list in front of you, as well as paper to take notes on important things your potential employer says. In an in-person interview, you must memorize your key points. In addition, you should bring a copy of your cover letter, resume, and a pen and paper for any notes you may wish to write down.5. Present yourself well.Depending on the format of your interview, presentation can mean a lot of things. If you have a phone interview, dress nicely to put yourself in a professional mindset. If you have a video interview, make sure your background is professional. Find a blank wall or office type background. Remember to keep lighting in mind. Ring lights are great for lighting but not necessary: try plugging in lamps near your interview space so you can control the lighting. Make a test video to ensure you can be seen and heard correctly. If you have an in-person interview, make sure you are dressed well and are organized. In any interview your phone should be out of sight and on silent. Focus on the interviewer, smile, and ensure there will be no interruptions.6. Follow-up with your interviewer.Right after the interview, send an email thanking the interviewer for their time. Make sure you thank interviewers for the opportunity regardless of how the interview went. This is not only courteous, but will show interviewers your professionalism and dedication.
6 Photography Tips for Social Media
Emma Siu
November 12, 2020
6 Photography Tips for Social Media
7 minute readLearn how influencers make their photos pop and how you can take your photos to the next level.1. Think about the message you want your picture to send.It's easy to snap a quick picture, but you should focus on the message you want to convey. What message do you want your viewers to receive? Pin down the message you want to send, then choose and place your subject matter. Think about how you can stage a picture to present your message. Every little detail contributes to help you present your message through the feeling a picture prompts in your audience.2. Choose your camera and settings.Take more pictures. You can take high-end photos with most cell phones. Play with the settings on your phone's camera. Include where you want the focus to be, whether you want to see a grid, and the size of the picture you plan to take. Professionals should invest in a DSLR camera to improve image quality. The more details you can control with your camera, the higher quality your outcome will be. You want your original picture to be as perfect as possible, so you have minimal edits to make.3. Play with the lighting before you take a picture.You can change lighting in the editing phase, but ultimately there is no substitute for good lighting in the original picture. Make sure your subject is not backlit and that light comes in from multiple angles (not just an overhead or direct light), to make the subject look natural. Play with the lighting before you take a picture to make sure you get your desired effect. Natural light will look the best, so use it if possible. There is a reason you see influencers talk about “golden hour” as it is a golden opportunity to take some amazing pictures.4. Take multiple shots.The perfect picture is not likely the first shot you take. Take several shots from multiple angles with different kinds of light. What looks good in the moment may not look as great in the editing process. Take many pictures and you'll have more options.5. Edit your photos.No picture should go directly from your camera roll onto your social media. Each image you post should be carefully edited to send the ideal message. Editing your photos in Adobe Photoshop will give your photos that refined look that influencers seem to effortlessly achieve. Photoshop will be a great asset and is an important skill for you to build in photography. Learn how to use Photoshop before the end of this year at an upcoming digital training with the Leadership Institute.6. Post timely photos and tag them.Make sure you tag photos correctly so your image can easily draw your audience. Your tag system depends on which platform you post on.Look at your competitors and friends and see what tags they post that you can take advantage of. Check out hashtags your community follows and include the relevant tags in your post. For places like Facebook where hashtags are not as helpful, make sure you post at a time of day when your page or group draws the most traffic.
A Personal Letter to the Staffer whose Campaign Lost
Lee Jackson
November 10, 2020
A Personal Letter to the Staffer whose Campaign Lost
So… you lost. I get it. I would call what you're going through a gut check, but that term doesn't seem to be strong enough. For one reason or another, your campaign came up short. I have been where you are right now. I've been there multiple times. You put your life on hold for months, you're mad at the world, you're mad at yourself, and you probably question if it was even worth it.Trust me, it was. Campaigns are cruel and unforgiving. It's a sick joke that your campaign could have done everything perfect and still lost. Throw in human slip-ups and unforced errors and it's almost like it's game over from the start. It's like it's your turn on Family Feud, your family already has two Xs, and Steve Harvey has asked you to stand on your head, drink a glass of milk, and name the third reason why the chicken crossed the road.To make matters worse, it probably feels like you got the answer right. You and your team outworked the other side and factors beyond your control prevented you from the victory you have been chasing. Or worse, someone on your team wasn't doing their job and, if they had, the outcome may had been different. Either way, the race is over.It's okay to be upset. You're going through a mixture of feeling professional whiplash, questioning what the purpose of your life is without a candidate to please, and it hurts in a way that can only be compared to the first time you had your heart broken.Just remember you are not the first person to lose. And losing does not mean your career or your time in the public policy process is over. I lost two major campaigns in a row before I won my last race in 2019. Don't forget, Abraham Lincoln lost his U.S. Senate race five years before he was elected President of the United States. Take the time you need from this race to decompress. Go home and watch the Sound of Music with your mother. Trust me, it will make her happy. Sleep in until 2:00pm after watching The Office for 12 hours straight.Remember you learned a lot this last year. I promise you could run laps around the person you were a year ago. Even though your campaign came up short, that doesn't mean you didn't grow as a person. You harnessed new skills that can slingshot your career forward. Send me an email when you're ready to sharpen your skills in order to re-enter the arena stronger than ever before. One of my favorite Morton Blackwell quotes is “You owe it to your philosophy to learn how to win.” Yes, that means you. You can also see the list of upcoming LI trainings here.And when the fire in your stomach is back, go looking for the next campaign. Don't wait for 2022. For example, Virginia is going to have some competitive elections up and down the ballot in 2021. Winning a tough Virginia election is a great way to redeem yourself. Just remember, Rocky always had his best fights after he got his butt kicked in front of the entire world.
Virginia Allen: Podcast Co-host
Emma Siu
November 9, 2020
Virginia Allen: Podcast Co-host
15 minute readI got the chance to interview Podcast Co-host Virginia Allen. Here's her story. Virginia Allen is a news producer at The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation's multimedia news outlet. She writes on a range of topics and co-hosts The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Virginia Allen earned a bachelor's degree in government from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After graduation, she moved to South Africa for a year to serve as a missionary volunteer, and worked with vulnerable children and youth. Upon her return to America, she moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue new opportunities. Before she joined The Daily Signal, Virginia worked as the administrative assistant in Heritage's communications department for nearly two years. 1. How did you become involved in the Problematic Women and Daily Signal News podcasts?I began my journey at The Heritage Foundation as an intern and then was blessed to get a job in Heritage's communications department in the spring of 2018. I remember observing my colleagues, as they hosted “The Daily Signal Podcast” and “Problematic Women,” and frankly I was quite intimidated! I secretly thought podcasting might be a medium I really would enjoy -- as someone who loves to connect with people and discuss important issues -- but I was nervous to leap into the unknown. One of these colleagues, who helped on “The Daily Signal Podcast” Monday edition, moved back to Texas a little over a year after I started at Heritage. My supervisor, Rob Bluey, asked me if I would be interested in stepping in to help on the show once a week, and I said I would! I still remember how nervous I was the first time I walked into the studio to record. It took months before I finally felt comfortable speaking into a mic, but I work with excellent people and they were so supportive. I helped with the podcast for a few months before Lauren Evans, co-host of “Problematic Women,” asked me if I would consider helping with the show while another colleague was out on maternity leave for a few months. “Maybe,” was my response to Lauren. “Problematic Women” is a high energy 45 to 60-minute show with a good mix of interviews, commentary, and straight news reporting. I was used to only doing interviews and one short news story a week so “Problematic Women” was going to be a big leap! But Lauren convinced me, and after only one episode I was all in. I loved reporting on issues I care deeply about and having the opportunity to be creative and craft a dynamic and fun show with a fellow staffer and friend. Then, about seven months ago, an opportunity opened up on Heritage's Daily Signal team to take on the role of both news producer and regular co-host of “The Daily Signal Podcast.” I was thrilled to take on this new role and again stretch my podcasting abilities. I am loving the opportunity to co-host two very different podcasts and continue to grow in this great field.2. What do you feel is the biggest difference between writing an article for print media and creating a podcasting segment?We all speak a little differently than we write, so even when making notes for a segment, I try to think about how I want to verbally communicate the information in a way that is relatable. Segments on “Problematic Women” tend to be a little more conversational than those in a written news story. Interviews for a written story versus a podcast are very different, both in regard to the content used and how the content is relayed. I may spend half an hour talking with someone for a written story, and then pull four or five quotes, or bits of information, depending on the nature of the piece. When doing a podcast interview, on the other hand, I guide the conversation, but the guest chooses what they will share.3. What does your decision process look like for finding someone to interview?I love personal stories, and so any time I hear about someone who has firsthand experience around a policy issue or a situation in the news, I am eager to have them on the show. I think a person's “lived experience” is powerful when we are considering how policies created in Washington, D.C. actually impact people. But I cannot take all, or even most, of the credit for finding great people to interview on either podcast. My colleagues often send me the names of people they think would be a good fit for “Problematic Women” or “The Daily Signal Podcast.”4. What are some strategies that you use to build a loyal audience?My co-hosts and I want our listeners to feel like they can always trust us to report the news honestly; and that they are a part of a larger community of people who love America. We are especially focused on building community on “Problematic Women” because the show was created as a platform for conservative women to have a voice. We recently started a weekly Twitter poll question on the show, which appears every Thursday morning on my Twitter page, @Virginia_Allen5. The poll provides a fun way for our listeners to engage with the show and share their thoughts with us.5. What has been the most difficult part for you when creating and hosting a podcast?I have learned a lot about my own voice and my own speaking idiosyncrasies as a podcaster. You quickly realize that you repeat certain words way too often or that you have a tendency to slur certain words. It has been challenging learning to pay close attention to how I sound, and critiquing myself, as I seek to communicate in the clearest way possible. I am very much still learning in this field!6. What would you say differentiates a professional podcast from a podcast that is just starting out?Podcasting is frankly quite new, so many podcasters have only been hosting shows for a year or two -- yet they may already have a very large audience. Often the difference between a new podcaster and an old pro can be heard in the level of confidence and voice control they exhibit. And of course, production quality really makes a big difference when it comes to podcasting. A skilled editor can truly make all the difference!7. What advice would you give to someone looking to start a podcast, especially with a saturated topic like politics?Find your niche! It is much easier to start a podcast when you know who your audience is -- moms with young kids, or basketball players, or nature enthusiasts. If you want to launch a more general podcast, then take time to think about what your “value add” is to that field. There are a lot of political podcasts out there. So, if you want to speak out on policy issues, maybe brand your show as a podcast that takes issues in Washington, D.C. and explains how they will impact people in your home state.8. Has creating a podcast changed the way you listen to podcasts?Yes. I am always listening to how podcasters ask questions of their guests, and how they discuss issues. Some podcasters are really good at making you feel like you are just sitting on the couch with them and a part of the conversation. That is something I aspire to, especially on “Problematic Women” because it is more conversational in nature.9. What are some of your favorite podcasts right now?I do enjoy listening to Joe Rogan's podcast because he is very talented at keeping interviews interesting and engaging for the listener. The stock market always has fascinated me, so I frequently listen to “Snacks Daily,” which is an entertaining business news podcast. I also really enjoy “Heritage Explains” because the episode are short, very informative, and the production quality is excellent.
Keep Your Cool When Things Get Heated Online
Emma Siu
November 8, 2020
Keep Your Cool When Things Get Heated Online
5 minute readWhether it's an internet troll or someone with different views, it's important to know when it's time to participate, and when it's time to move on with your day.What is an internet troll?An internet troll is someone online who aims to make others angry. Trolls love to get people on all sides riled up just because they can. Still, not everyone who makes you angry online is an internet troll. They may just have a different opinion. Usually people who want to discuss ideas or topics will use facts in their argument, where internet trolls will use broad generalizations that are known to get angry responses.Decide whether or not to engage.If there is a comment on your page or in your group with an opinion or stance you disagree with, it's okay to write a comment in response to your stance. Remember, the comment section is not the place for a debate. Try not to respond more than twice. Ask truly interested parties to move to Direct Messages or communicate in a place for debate. If someone is “trolling” in the comments or on one of your posts, it's best not to even dignify them with a response. Not every comment needs to be answered. If a comment is excessively malicious or inappropriate, report and delete.Give level-headed responses.When you decide to write a reply, make sure you are not angry. It's easy to quickly write out a sharp-tongued answer, but that's not necessarily what you want. If you are mad, don't respond right away. Walk away, take some deep breaths, and come back in five minutes. The best way to reply, if you still choose to, is to respond with facts. Never resort to name calls or threats online, which will put you on the fast track to be banned or shadow banned. Before you hit the send button, think “would I be okay with saying this out loud?"Make sure you stay on message.Responding to comments is a great way to build your community, if your comments align with your online goals. Your comments must be on brand. You don't want to send mixed messages or detract from the message you try to convey.
Thank Your Donors: Three Tips to Better Fundraising with Thank You Notes
Kirsten Holmberg
October 21, 2020
Thank Your Donors: Three Tips to Better Fundraising with Thank You Notes
With 2020 wrapping up, you still have much to do to ensure your fundraising efforts end on a high note. Don't let the global pandemic stop you from cultivating strong relationships with your donors, and what better way to do that than with a simple but sincere thank you letter? It's no secret non-profit organizations would be unable to achieve their missions without their generous donors. Unfortunately, not all organizations remember to prioritize donor thank you notes. Not only are thank you letters critical for proper fundraising etiquette, but thank you notes also reap financial rewards. Thanking your donors helps your organization forge better relationships with supporters, and better relationships are closely tied to increased contributions. Here are three tips you can use to craft successful and personal thank you letters.1. Be sincere. Sincerity goes a long way in a letter, and lackluster thank you notes are easy to spot. Even with the rise of digital communications, snail mail has not lost its effectiveness. Who doesn't enjoy receiving a letter in the mail? Take advantage of the reader's initial excitement and enclose a sincere message that communicates your organization's gratitude. One way to do that is to avoid generic language. For instance, never end a thank you letter with “thanks to people like you.” Does that help communicate to the donor that you value them as a unique individual? 2. Make it personal. In an in-person meeting, you wouldn't read from a script. The same should be said for your thank you notes. Avoid sounding rote by considering to whom you are writing and make it personal. Personalizing your thank you letters requires time and research, but it makes all the difference. As you learn about your donors, use that knowledge to craft your thank you notes. What makes a thank you letter more personal? Here are a few important features of a personal thank you letter. Address your donor by name. Reference their specific donation. Describe how their contribution helped. Make the donor the hero in the story of your organization. For instance, write to them and tell them how their gift made a difference to your organization's mission or the conservative movement as a whole. 3. Be prompt in your thank you notes. Timeliness is essential for maintaining strong relationships with donors. Make sure your development team is committed to a quick turn around after a donation comes in. Aim to have letters in the mail within 48 hours. A quick response communicates sincerity and enthusiasm for their contribution and shows the donor that they were not overlooked. 4. Focus on saying thank you. A common mistake in fundraising is using the donor thank you note as a vehicle to ask for more money. Do not solicit new donations or mention upcoming events. That is not the purpose of the letter. Focus on saying thank you and show your organization's gratitude. Unquestionably, this year has had its ups and downs, but one thing is for sure, you can end the fundraising year strong with a “thank you.” Your thank you letter should be sincere, include personalized content, and be sent in a timely manner. Crafting effective but personal thank you letters will help your organization forge better relationships with donors, which results in a stronger fundraising program.The Leadership Institute's Kirsten Holmberg manages LI's fundraising trainings to help conservatives succeed in their missions. After all, as Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell says, you can't save the world if you can't pay the rent. Kirsten hosts many online trainings. Grow your fundraising skills here.
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.
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