Welcome to Illinois! Our chapter is pleased to be writing this week’s blog posts and even more pleased to be hosting the Annual Conference in 2012. We’re already pulling together to wish you a warm welcome (it will be July after all).
We are a diverse chapter of 500 members; our members are also hold leadership roles in many of SLAs divisions. Two iSchools are resident in Illinois and we have students from virtual programs across the country.
So welcome to Illinois. Please comment on our posts, and give your ideas in person, next year, July 15-18 in Chicago. Our enthusiastic conference committee has already started to develop the Hospitality wiki so check it out as it develops.
by Lorene Kennard, Illinois (2011 President) and South Carolina Chapters, Business & Finance and Leadership & Management Divisions
One cannot be Future Ready alone. One must have connections and contacts in many networks and locales no matter one’s chosen profession. To stay connected to everyone, one must have three important communication skills: public speaking, email management and writing skills.
Public speaking gets a bad reputation because a long ago survey showed that people are more afraid to speak in front of people than they are of dying. If you are willing to speak in public, you will have an advantage over many people. Start small. Ask your chapter program planner if you can introduce the speaker at your next meeting. Then, find one or two more people and co-present on a chapter or division webinar on a topic on which you are very knowledgeable. A few days before the first time I spoke in front of my SLA IL chapter, I had a slight bout with vertigo. Every time I turned to gesture to the screen, I was worried that I would spin right over and fall down on the table holding the projector. After that experience, I figure it cannot get much worse. Your first time speaking probably will not be as bad as that. The more you speak in public, the more comfortable you will be in front of an audience. Public speaking is a great skill to have in your toolbox.
It is important to regularly check one’s email. While this may seem obvious, I know people who say they are ‘bad with email.’ How can one be bad with email? This is the main platform on which business and professional communication takes place. If one is not good with managing one’s email, one will miss a lot of important opportunities and timely information. Everyone gets too much email, so I recommend an Inbox review to see who exactly is sending all those emails. I like to organize my emails into folders. I have rules set up to sort certain types of emails, like listservs posts, into folders. Also, I unsubscribe from e-newsletters that are no longer relative. My Inbox generally contains only those emails that I need to address. I can check the folders at my leisure to see what is being posted to listservs. Once your email Inbox is decluttered, it will be much easier to manage your incoming messages.
Writing opportunities remind some people of the chore of writing term papers in school. But, as grown-ups, we can write on topics we know and love without strict parameters. As with public speaking, start with your chapter or division. Interview someone for your unit’s newsletter. Then, ‘cover’ your next chapter meeting and write it up for the chapter website or blog. Include a link to your writing in your email signature file. The list of potential writing opportunities is long. Your employer may have an internal newsletter or blog. Your local newspaper may be looking for bloggers. If you volunteer in your community, write up local meetings or activities for the newspaper. Writing well is a skill that can come in handy when you least expect it.
I am always trying to improve my public speaking, email management and writing skills. What are your secrets on managing these skills? Please comment below.
Lorene Kennard is the owner of the freelance research business Walnut Avenue Research. She is active in AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) and is 2011 President of the Illinois Chapter of SLA. She enjoys writing and speaking on her career path, entrepreneurship and owning a small business. If you email her, you can expect a quick reply. She and her chapter are excited to host SLA 2012 in Chicago!