Networking Essentials: Warming Connections
Emma Siu and Patricia Rausch
February 10, 2021
Networking Essentials: Warming Connections
With limited in-person events, you'll find many new barriers and obstacles to networking. Everyone faces one glaring challenge -- how to turn a cold connection into a warm one. When you cultivate your current network to connect you with new people, you'll find greater success than going it alone. What is a Cold Connection and why is it bad?A cold connection, or cold call, is an unsolicited request to connect or act when you don't already know the person or have common ground to work from. These attempts to connect can be off-putting to the receiver, who is more likely to decline or even ignore your connection, request, or ask because it feels “cold.” In order to warm yourself up to people, you should find a mutual connection to help with the introduction. This is where your network comes into play.Identify Your Current Network Stakeholders1. Who do I already know?Create a spreadsheet or database of everyone who you consider part of your personal network. This should include friends, current co-workers, past colleagues, mentors, etc. Include how you met, where they currently work, perhaps some of their past employment history, email address, phone number, address, birthday, social media accounts, and any other information you would find helpful to remember.2. Divide that list into two categoriesEveryone you are connected to in some way can be defined as part of your inner circle or your outer circle. Your inner circle is likely family and close friends who you go to for very personal advice and counsel. They're likely to have your best interests in mind, but may not always give the best advice. They also might not always be willing to mix business and pleasure. This is why you should have an outer circle too.Your outer circle contains your coworkers, friends, and colleagues at other organizations or businesses, bartenders at your regular happy hour spot, fellow Junior League members, etc. While you may not interact with them on a regular basis, these individuals, statistically, are more likely to connect you with other people than your inner circle ever will. You'll soon realize it is of mutual benefit to you and other members of your outer circle to enjoy a healthy reciprocation of IOUs and, as Morton Blackwell says, you should not keep a careful tally. Now that you have your network mapped out, let's work on that cold call.Three Ways to Turn a Cold Call into a Connection 1. Determine if the person you're trying to contact is a connection to someone in your network.The warmest connections will always come through your friends and network. Ask your friends to introduce you to people you want to connect with. An introduction increases your social credibility to new connections.If you are running a conference and you're looking for a speaker for a specific topic, you might learn that an executive at another organization would be perfect for it. Unfortunately, your attempt to send an unsolicited email will likely be met with silence. The smart networker will notice they have a former colleague who works at that organization and ask them if they would be willing to make an introduction.2. Build your reputation in mutual interest groups.Another way to warm a connection is to connect through mutual interests. Post in multiple online groups, comment on posts, and use relevant hashtags so your name becomes more familiar before you send a connection request.You may see a job opening on a company's website, but you want to know more before applying. Unfortunately, there isn't an email address listed, so you can't reach out to someone in the organization. You think you'll be clever and find someone who works there on Facebook and message them for more info but unbeknownst to you, they don't read messages in their “other” inbox and find it invasive when job seekers try to contact them in that way. Luckily, you know there are some standard industry Facebook groups and a few of the staff of that company are members, so you join too. When you start to engage in the conversation and interact with them, you end up bringing new people into your outer circle. You can then use this mutual group to get help from someone in your network. 3. Send a personal messageLastly, you can warm a cold connection when you send a personalized message along with your request -- especially on LinkedIn or by e-mail. Your message should emphasize the motivation behind the connection request and make the recipient feel special by emphasizing their skills or talents as well as the value you will provide them. Do your research to find out what that message should look like for each unique contact. You can note the exchange of industry knowledge, quality content, future introductions to people of interest, or even how they'll make a difference in a field they care about.You could be growing your small consulting business and come across a business you think would do well to pay for your services. Unfortunately, it happened by chance, and you don't know anyone who works there and don't know any groups to which the owner belongs. But what you do have is a knowledge of their industry. You know what you can do to help them, successes you've had with similar clients, how success would look for them, and the overall benefits they'll get from working with you. If you are able to truly tailor your initial contact request to them, you're much more likely to get a response. The TakeawayContinue to cultivate your existing network and always be courteous. The key to warm up a connection is to make connecting feel natural. Find common ground, connections, or interests.Make sure you continue to provide useful content, value, and quality conversations to your network. If you have a big ask, now or in the future, it will not feel like it is coming from a needy stranger, but from a helpful friend or connection.And remember, even if someone declines a request, make sure you thank them for their time. Courtesy can go a long way and leave a memorable and positive impression.
Know Your Enemy: Facebook Ad Library
Emma Siu
February 8, 2021
Know Your Enemy: Facebook Ad Library
Learn from your competitors' successes and failures.What is the Facebook Ad Library?Facebook Ad Library is a compilation of active and inactive advertisements. These ads run on multiple Facebook-owned platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Ad Library makes it easy to view specific advertisements, the audience it reached, the organization who funds the advertisement, and the cost of the ad.How do I use it?The library works like most search engines. In the search box you can search for a keyword, specific organization, or advertiser name. Above the search bar, you can select from multiple popular categories to narrow a search – most notably the category “Issues, Elections, or Politics.” Once you complete your initial search, apply additional filters to get the most useful results. You may filter your search by region, active and inactive advertisements, potential reach, and impressions. In the far-right hand corner, you'll find a “sort by” drop down which organizes the results by impressions. Impressions are important to track because they show how many times an ad was viewed. When you use the “sort by” option to sort by high to low, you will see which advertisements were seen the most. Underneath each ad, you will see the option for summary data. Here you can quickly see additional audience details, such as gender and location, as well as how much was spent on a particular advertisement.Information and CampaignsThere is no better way to know your enemy… ahem, competitor… than look at who they target and how they perform. When you analyze your competitor's target audience, the message they send, and the medium through which they send a message, you can better prepare to create counter arguments and advertisements. Look at the most successful ads and brainstorm how you can replicate that success to spread your own message. Make sure to note unsuccessful ads. Take note of those and you'll learn what ads did not resonate with your audience. That way you won't waste your money to replicate the same mistakes. How you budget is everything in a campaign. You can advertise smarter when you look into what works for your opponent, and make it work for you.
One Simple Tactic to Boost Your LinkedIn SEO Today
Emma Siu
February 5, 2021
One Simple Tactic to Boost Your LinkedIn SEO Today
The default URL for LinkedIn profiles is an unhelpful jumble of numbers and letters. You'll raise your online ranking and appear at the top of LinkedIn search results when you customize your LinkedIn URL. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays a key role to get your content viewed online and outrank your competitors. SEO is what dictates how visible your profile is when searched, based on factors such as keywords and high-quality content. You will rank higher within LinkedIn Search (and Google) if you add your name as a keyword to your custom LinkedIn URL. This is especially valuable for people/brands with common names. When you rank higher it increases your visibility with important connections and recruiters. What is a good LinkedIn URL?Your URL should include your proper name. Avoid spaces or special characters. A safe bet is to type your name all in one word or separate out the name with a dash or underscore.Example: https://www.linkedin.com/in/Jon_DoeHow do I change my LinkedIn URL?Login and click on your profile icon located in the upper right-hand corner. Then select “View Profile.” On the upper right-hand side of your profile, select “Edit public profile and URL.” When clicked, this will open a new page in a separate tab. In the upper right-hand corner of the new page, under “Edit your custom URL,” select the blue pen icon, and type in your new LinkedIn URL.It's that simple. You're now easier to find online!
How to Navigate Telegram: 5 Useful Tools & Tactics
Elias Coop-Gonzalez
February 2, 2021
How to Navigate Telegram: 5 Useful Tools & Tactics
In the era of Big Tech, the popularity of encrypted and secure messaging services continues to skyrocket. One of these new services is called Telegram. Telegram, a free mobile app, is an industry leader in speed and security. Telegram is for “everyone who wants fast and reliable messaging and calls,” according to their website. When you use Telegram, you can send messages, photos, videos, and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc.). You can also create groups for up to 200,000 people or channels to broadcast to unlimited audiences. Below for you are five useful tools and tactics to get the most out of Telegram.1. Organize Your ConversationsTo create a folder to organize your conversations, select “Settings” at the bottom left of your home screen. After that, tap “Chat Folders.” To see all of your chats together (without folders), you'll find them in “All Chats.” 2. Schedule Your MessagesChoose a time to send a message to yourself or to other users. To schedule a message, compose it and hold down the send button. A “Schedule Message” option will appear. Select that and set a time to deliver your message. To send a message to yourself, go to “Settings,” tap “Saved Messages,” and repeat the process. 3. Send More Video and Audio MessagesFind the microphone or camera icon at the top right of your mobile keyboard. To toggle between video and audio, tap the icon. Hold down the icon to begin recording. Release it, and it will automatically send. To delete it while you are recording, swipe the icon to the left and discard the message. If you mistakenly send a message, you can remove it. Simply tap and hold that message and select “Delete.” 4. Use Group Polls to Increase EngagementLocate the attachment (paper clip) icon on the bottom left corner and tap it. From the list of options, select “Poll.” You will be in a page that says “New Poll” at the top. Here you can create your poll, adjust its accessibility, and even its anonymity. You can even select “Quiz Mode”, which allows a poll to have right or wrong answers to a question.5. Exchange Contact Information on TelegramSelect “Contacts” at the bottom left of your homepage. In your contact list, you'll see an option labeled “Add People Nearby.” When selected, a list of people near you appear. Tap on their profile and add them to your contacts. To add someone, they must also be at the same page on their device. If you are worried about who can see your phone number, you can adjust the privacy levels in settings.
LI Trained 230,788 Graduates Since 1979
Karla Bruno
January 12, 2021
LI Trained 230,788 Graduates Since 1979
Did you know the Leadership Institute (LI) offers 47 different conservative training programs? And did you know that LI training continued strong in 2020? In 2020, LI helped prepare 14,874 trainees – students, activists, and leaders – to win for their conservative principles. LI provided an average of 41.9 hours of live training every week.LI training gives committed conservatives the tools they can use to be successful in campaigns, the media, and public policy. Nothing about 2020 was easy, but thanks to LI's experience, skills, and donor support, LI pivoted smoothly into increased online training while continuing in-person training where possible. LI's training falls into two major divisions: Campus Programs and Political Training. Campus Programs is by far LI's largest program, with Campus Reform (CRO) its most visible component.Conservative students often face intimidation and hostility in an arena once prized for open debate, intellectual curiosity, and balanced discourse.The Leadership Institute helps conservative students fight back against liberal abuse and bias on campus, training them with proven techniques. The Campus Leadership Program (CLP) organizes conservative students and trains them to restore balance on American campuses, making them once again places for freedom of thought and diversity of opinion.Campus Reform (CRO) uses a news platform and a national network of conservative investigative student reporters to expose flagrant examples of liberal abuse and bias on college campuses. You may have seen LI's Campus Reform reporters, who appear often on Fox News.In 2020, Campus Reform published 1,957 stories, earned 6,106 republications in other media and 461 national and local TV hits – and 36 victories. A victory is defined as any policy change, apology, or administrative/faculty firing resulting from Campus Reform coverage.Campus Reform's website attracted 11.8 million pageviews; Campus Reform's YouTube channel attracted 34.2 million views.LI's National Field Program trains student leaders to organize conservative student groups and teaches them how to combat liberal bias at America's universities.In 2020, LI's field program now includes 2,001 active student groups, with 287 new groups added, and 29,837 conservative students newly identified. Students held 2,648 on-campus events and 1,219 online events.Youth Leadership Training recruits promising conservative students and teaches them proven techniques to organize and lead conservative youth organizations and activities for candidates and causes of their choice. In 2020, LI's Youth Leadership Workshop (a 3-hour session) trained 1,042 students. LI's Youth Leadership School (YLS – 29 hours of intensive training) trained 428 select student leaders, with 71 YLS graduates going on to work on conservative campaigns – that includes 16 Youth Coordinators.LI's Normandy Coalition helps students fight for free speech on college campuses. LI leads the Coalition of 30 groups which includes 5 pro-bono legal defense organizations, 15 national conservative youth organizations, and 10 conservative non-profit organizations.Since its creation in 2017, the Coalition has held 9,384 campus speaker events using 4,197 conservative speakers on 681 campuses.Forty-seven anti-free speech protestors have been arrested. Damages from 34 lawsuits filed in protection of free speech total $816,800, with 52 free speech victories on record. LI's Political Training encompasses all programs not included in the Campus Program: Activism, Campaign, Communications, Career, Fundraising, and Digital. All combined, these trainings produced 6,428 of LI's total graduates in 2020.Notable LI graduates include Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02), Jim Jordan (R-OH-4), Kat Commack (R-FL-3), Katherine Timpf (Fox News), Amanda Carpenter (CNN), and Tom Fitton (Judicial Watch).If you are motivated in 2021 to use your talents for conservative activism either on campus or in your community, visit LI's website for the complete list of 2021 trainings available. They are low-cost or no-cost to you, thanks to Leadership Institute donors. Go to LeadershipInstitute.org/Training and sign up now to be successful in 2021 and for years to come.If you are interested in seeing more Leadership Institute 2020 accomplishments, click here.
How to Avoid Zoom Fatigue
Emma Siu
January 7, 2021
How to Avoid Zoom Fatigue
An increasing reliance on technology keeps us connected. It's easy to turn to Zoom meetings as a replacement for in person interactions. This increase in virtual meetings creates the frequently used term “zoom fatigue”.Here are some tips to keep your staff engaged and free of fatigue in your meetings:What is Zoom fatigue?Zoom fatigue is a term used to describe the feeling of dread or disdain for online meetings. Does this need to be a meeting?If the information you want to share can be sent in an email or message, then you might not actually have to have a meeting. Meetings should be reserved for when you need to present information in a quick way or in person. Keep the meeting productiveSend out an agenda ahead of time to keep things on track, so your attendees know what to expect. Address only topics that affect every participant. If only one or two attendees could use that information, it should not take up the time of the other group members. Keep your meeting relevant and productive. That will help your members stay engaged. Large group eventsGroup events are a fantastic way to keep the team close, but events can fall flat when attendees are not engaged. Add a schedule of events so attendees know what to expect with an included start and end time so attendees can schedule the rest of their day. Avoid prolonged periods with only one person talking and focus on group activities that help attendees connect. Start an event with a competition to get everyone excited and engaged. An at home scavenger hunt, group trivia, or costume contest with a small prize can get the excitement flowing. Use breakout rooms to help attendees have more meaningful interactions with each other.Small group eventsZoom fatigue can hit your more introverted or anxious staff harder than others.Have optional and frequent events such as lunches or happy hours so those who are interested can still stay connected. Make sure everyone knows participation is voluntary. Don't pressure people to join. Create a sign-up sheet with limited spots to keep events small and meaningful. These more casual events typically do not need a group leader. Treat your teamOccasionally schedule fun activities. This can be something as simple as sending your team an Uber Eats gift card, or something more exciting like hiring a chef to do a group cooking class. Make sure this is an activity that everyone on your team can participate in. Treating your staff to a fun non-work-related activity will not only give your team a break. It will make your team feel more valued.
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.
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