Professional Development During a Pandemic

It’s become clear that for the next little while, networking events and conferences featuring live speakers which you can see standing in front of you, are not going to be returning anytime soon.

So what can you do to continue with professional development during this time?

Here is what I’ve been doing.

  1.  I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts. Over the past few months, I’ve subscribed to all kinds of marketing, business, travel, and design podcasts. I then download them to my phone, making them available offline and I head to the park with my portable Bluetooth speaker and binge on two or three podcast episodes, taking notes and moving forward with that new information.
  2. I’ve added business and marketing videos to my YouTube subscriptions. With YouTube, you have to be careful because it can be a bit of a distraction especially with those recommended videos. You intend to watch the video about marketing your business and suddenly you’re watching a video that is completely unrelated. However, I have been pretty disciplined with my viewing habits and have been able to work in some more marketing-focused videos into my scheduled watch time.
  3. I’ve started posting multiple videos to my LinkedIn profile. The videos cover mostly marketing and business topics. This has helped me dust off my video production skills while also allowing me to become more comfortable speaking on camera, which is a skill that is becoming more and more important in our new virtual world. Connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to be alerted the next time I publish a video.

What are you doing to develop yourself as a professional during this pandemic?

Quick Tip: Design Inspiration For Marketers

Marketers need to be great visual storytellers. The reason for this is simple: photos and videos help to build trust with our audience.

If you’re struggling for inspiration here is a quick tip that has helped me in the past.

Whenever I’m out on public transit, whether it’s on the bus, train or metro, I like to take a look at the various advertisements inside the train carriages, outside at the stations and the on platforms.

On my phone there are dozens of photos of products and services that I have no intention of buying, but I’ve saved them, so that I can refer back to them when I need some inspiration for a design task.

Take a look around you next time you’re out on your commute or just riding the bus and have your smartphone camera ready, because you might find something that inspires you.

Re-share Your Content Regularly

I encourage you to get into the habit of re-sharing your content.

The harsh truth of the matter is that your audience will not see your post if you share it only a single time.

The algorithms are cruel.

This is particularly true on Facebook. Likewise on LinkedIn, while you may boast a few hundred connections, only a fraction of those are active on a daily basis. Many people go weeks without checking in on their LinkedIn feeds. Twitter feeds move at lightning speed. Your tweet will be gone in an instant.

Don’t feel as if you’re spamming people by re-sharing. If someone happens to have seen your post already, they’ll just scroll past and move on. They are unlikely to unfollow you unless you’re really blatant and sharing the same thing four or five times in a very short period of time.

As marketers, we need to put our ego aside. Yes, we do spend a lot of time on content calendars and planning themes, but many in our audience won’t even notice what we’re up to. They will only see an occasional, sporadic post. So while it’s good to plan, don’t get too attached to those plans and stop worrying about posting things out of order. Much of your audience are going to be jumping in midstream and won’t even realize the theme or the order of things you have planned.

Quick Design Tip: Create Better Presentations by Using Canva and Unsplash

This article was first published on my LinkedIn profile. 

Improve the quality of your PowerPoint presentations by using Canva templates and enhancing them with images from Unsplash.com.

Canva’s Presentations library offers many free templates that you can use to build your presentation. They’re great to use because they combine good design with vibrant images.

Finding good images that relate to your presentation can sometimes be a challenge. A lot of stock photography is pretty bland.

That’s where Unsplash comes in.

Unsplash provides free, high-resolution images that you can use for whatever you like.

The website is searchable and categorizes images into different collections. This allows you to track down images related to the theme of your presentation.

Download your favourite images from Unsplash and then upload them into your Canva workspace. The drag and drop nature of Canva makes it easy to insert your images.

This method is faster and easier to use than traditional PowerPoint software. The finished product is also much more pleasing to the eye.

Make your next business presentation stand out by combining these two resources.