Monday, 28 May 2012

Social Media and Suits - The Myth of Sophistication

"When do you work? 
You always seem to be online!"

A question I asked of a social media forward fundraising consultant I was learning from in 2011. Yesterday, finally a peer asked that of me. 

So the time has come for me to spill my secret because when it comes to my social media abilities ( and my style of dress ) the work guru is being raised too much. And I despise the work guru almost as much as I despise the word schmooze... yuck.

Yes. It's true. I'm not half as sophisticated and tech friendly ( or suit happy ) as people think.

See lots of tweets during the day?
Sorry, I'm not even online.
I am robo-tweeting.

How inauthentic Paul! Like anything, it's about time management. In 2011 I learned that I needed to schedule my tweets. 80% of which used to take place between 9pm and Midnight when I'm online most after my family goes to sleep ) . Now I schedule tweets during the three most popular twitter-reader times of the day for my network:

Work skills content: 9am to 10am
Sector information content: 2pm to 4pm
Community content:  7pm to 8pm

And thanks to Tweetdeck and my Blackberry I get notifications when someone mentions me and I can engage only when it works for my time. Am I on during the day? You bet!

Why do you think I've become a public supporter of Twitter and LinkedIn, because it's fun?! Let me assure you, it's about cash-money revenue-line business.

Just today I was coordinating a deal, answering questions for a prospect and solving a client problem via twitter 'direct messages' because that's the medium THEY prefer. Faster than phone and email combined.

If we want to walk our talk of donor/client service, it's time we go where they live. Web, tweets, text are growing as service mediums. If we try to force those we serve to use  only the mediums WE prefer well...think about the service situations in your life when you can't get a person, just voicemail. No person, just a web-form or mailing address. Do you feel good about giving them your hard earned cash?

On this note of what I'm AFP Fundraising Day last week someone said to me "you always look like you came right from Harry Rosen" - yes, a very kind compliment. 

But I'm a charity guy at heart so bank or no bank let me disclose that I get physically angry shopping for clothes. That's money I could have given to the poor, the community, a person who needs job skills to feed their family. And like Sir Richard Branson says the tie has become a barrier - entrepreneurs are anti-tie and so am I.

Most people who know me know that I only buy suits once a year from Toronto's own Tom & Tom Jr. . I was the happiest man alive when Costco started selling dress shirts and I don't own ONE tie over $25 - for the past two years all my ties are less than $15 and pocket squares under $5 - and I buy them all on ONE road trip in June.

So myths dispelled dear network. 
You always knew I was a dork, sorry, nothing's changed.

Remember - I'm ALWAYS at your service to share the secrets I've learned from the best social media experts...

And my annual tie/shirt road trip happens this weekend. I'm taking orders if you're interested, if we're forced to wear suits why not have a little fun? Why not express yourself as Antonio shares below. Whether outgoing or as I used to say when I worked for charities "polished but poor" - be yourself, but be your BEST self.

Remember. This is work.
So work it.


Psssst Men on twitter! Follow:

Friday, 18 May 2012

AFP Fundraising Day

There aren't many places fundraisers can go to feel normal, understood...

To talk shop, to meet people who not only "get" what you do but who can help you do it better!
On May 23 AFP is going to gather a few hundred people like you and we're going to have a great time learning how to do better for causes that matter most.

If you're wondering why it' so awesome, here's my story
If you want to get this most out of it, read these tips

There is still time left to join us!! 
I'm grateful and excited to be presenting with the ever-awesome Clare McDowall on my 2nd favourite topic behind planned giving... LinkedIn! 

A quick tip, wonderful book booth host Dean has made a bunch of my most recommended "LinkedIn Log" available for sale! Don't miss out on this great price and best LI resource!!

As usual though, I'll be running my open networking dinner afterwards at Marche Brookfield Place

And YES for those of you who can't make it or can't afford it, this is a dinner for you too! No RSVP, no cost, just networking...

Meet at 5:30pm at the MTConvention Centre registration table and we'll make our way to Marche for 6:30pm- follow the twitter hashtag #AFPFrDay or me @UinvitedU for on the spot updates!

See you there!


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Video killed the brochure star

Please forgive me dear network,

I don't usually hide contacts but I had to be sure about the integrity and quality of work on this one.

Sometimes people seem too good to be true.

Right now I'm working on a few projects, for my work, professional associations and links to educational institutions and they all focus around the power of video. And one awesome company/dude.

Now, for many of us, for-profit and social-profit: Budget is the problem.

Jeff Morris with Two Dogs Media is our solution.

I can sum up his attitude with his own words:
"We love our clients. We respect their budgets"

How can he afford to offer HD Video with all the digital trimmings ( green-screen, logo stuff etc... ) at low cost? 

Why he has a studio right downtown, on the PATH right above a subway station. 

Much of his work is done for fortune 500 corporations and organizations that use it for internal use.. and I don't want to seem like I'm plugging my employer... so I'll simply connect you with Jeff and encourage you to call or tweet him for a quote.

You and I both know a 2 minute video will do more for your website than any downloadable PDF especially in the age of smartphones and tablets - so get to it dear network! 

Yeah so ummm Jeff. This post may come as a surprise but it's because you're awesome and everyone who has worked with you told me so - again, it's wrong for me to keep your name to m'self. Please take care of my network who call. I highly value them and want success for them, which is why I wrote this - I know you're the guy for the job.

With gratitude and respect,


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Why I enjoy being unfair

People often tell me
"I didn't hear about your event..."
"Why did you choose that person to help.."
"You're hard to get a hold of (outside of work)"
How I spend my time with others is connected to my twitter handle @UinvitedU , that it means excellence, my personal definition of it.

Last month at a Humber Fundraising Program event I was lucky enough to win a cool prize, a full day tour of two Niagara wineries! 
and I promised to donate the prize back to the class in gratitude for all the program has done for me (I'm not a graduate).

But like donors can be tricky
as a fundraiser there is NOTHING more delicious than being a pain the butt donor.

So HOW did I choose the winners?

A couple years back I was hit with a professional setback, much like the one Steve Jobs talks about below. It changed my outlook on work - that I needed to give myself permission to be a jerk on my own time. After all, who am I? Nobody! So I can be a jerk who lives viciously by my own values and beliefs, because we're all just one layoff and accident away from failure and death - I know that sounds harsh but it can be a liberating thought ( seriously, watch the Steve Jobs thing ). 

I'm a big fan of the Successories brand. Some people consider them to be an 80's throwback but I find they can be truly inspirational - and that passion capital is something I felt missing very often in the grey cubicle-filled offices so many fundraisers work in. Integrity of character, I believe is the root of professional excellence, the path to success and worth the trouble it often causes to keep. 

After all, values mean nothing to have - until they are costing you something to keep

So as usual like every year I tested the Humber class. Observed and gave people chances to stick their neck out, participate in my crazy networking shenanigans and went in search of Character. Winner of the "stick my neck out" is Jane Leaver and winner of "who classmates feel has character, integrity and will make an impact on the profession" Kyla Makela. Congratulations ladies. This is just a tiny nod of respect from me, and your peers.

But of course, being Mr. Networking I wanted this to be a day of relationship building, learning and fun! And what better teachers than two of my favourite Golden Crabs, Clare McDowall and Humber Alumni, Brock Warner who will also be going on the trip as the prize is for four people. 

Have a great time crew. And to you kind reader, I encourage you to start being totally unfair in your life, start expressing your most deeply held values - right now I'm coaching ten people to host their own networking event, speaking session, mastermind and award

A shout out to the man who helped create the platform for a special program at Humber. Ken Wyman, what a guy ( click and read why ). Did you know Ken's going on a sabbatical for a year? I'm going to be toasting him in June at an unofficial networking event, stay tuned for details...

In our jobs and professional lives we HAVE to be politically correct, "fair", impartial, sensitive - how @!?$#*% boring. I'm tired of it. I want to reward integrity, kindness, awesomeness, guts and I'm tired of a world that rewards playing it safe, kissing butt and entitlement. 

If you haven't seen it, tough out the 15 mins it's worth it. One of the greatest talks ever given by the late Steve Jobs - another well known jerk who lived by his own rules and ended up changing the world. 

It is one of the greatest hints at the roots of character I've seen in a while - enjoy!


Monday, 7 May 2012

A lesson at the Opera

A confession.

I was an English Literature major in University
I am a classically trained Violinist
I am a published poet
But I'm not really Mr. Culture. 
My closest friends know me as the guy who hates pants ( if it was socially acceptable to wear shorts 24/7, I would )

So, when my beloved Globe published this article:
I was offended ...but secretly feared they were right. My hyper-connectedness is something I relish with delight, the speed in which I can now find, ingest and share information can be consuming.

So! Off to the Opera I went. Thank goodness a friend guided me and sent to me the Canadian Opera Company's upcoming run of Semele. "If you're going to try out Opera, this is the one to start with". 

I'm not going to lie, the first hour was hell. 
I WAS twitching, itching and aching. It reminded me of the first time I tried to really meditatively pray to (my personal) God.It was uncomfortable, but in the end, equally healthy for my body and soul. 

Now, again, I'm no culturatti - but why didn't anyone tell me Opera could be cool, edgy, funny, racy, raunchy and outright fun? 

This particular production is a special treat. 

Here we have a hundred year old Opera, given new flavour by fascinating artist Zhang Huan

I had JUST read about everything he is doing in Toronto ... I'm looking forward to visiting his AGO Exhibit

Check out the cool 450 year old stage he rebuilt and yes, there IS fighting Sumo wrestlers....

So, have you been wondering about the Opera? A beautiful new home, clear subtitles ( this one is in English ) and always great stories make it worth trying out. 

To me, Opera is to art what Classical is to music.
I love movies, I go a lot. 
But Lou Bega's 5th Mambo is no Mozart's 9th symphony.

As much as I love LinkedIn and Twitter, they help me to express thoughts...we need more mediums that help us to make space to reflect and think.I certainly walked out of this production, in a thoughtful mood.

Thanks as always Globe and Mail and the Canadian Opera Company!