Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christmas is only 58 days away! Are you ready yet?

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Holiday visions of a beautifully decorated house, the aroma of cookies baking in the oven and gifts wrapped and placed under the tree are meant to portray the perfect holiday setting. But let’s face it, for many of us, the holidays can quickly become one big ball of stress. Between the shopping, visiting family, parties, wrapping and baking, there is just a lot to do.

So I have decided to create my own holiday tradition: Do as much activity and holiday prep as I can using technology. This will include:
  • I’ll get my holiday shopping started while sitting on the couch and visiting my favorite websites. Don’t you just love Cyber Monday?
  • No worries about a holiday card this year! I’ll just pick a photo of the kids from one of the many dozens I have stored on my computer (who prints out pictures?) and make my own e-card to send to everyone in my email contact list. 
  • My husband is impossible to shop for. Instead of wandering around the mall, I’ll just send out a quick tweet asking anyone following me for suggestions. Or maybe it should be a Facebook poll…
  • Kid’s holiday concerts are at two different schools at the same time. Not a problem. My husband and I will divide and conquer. He’ll Skype me in via his cell phone while at my son’s concert and I’ll do the same for my husband while I’m at our daughter’s concert. Multi-tasking at its very best. 
  • Cookie baking will be a breeze this year. I’ll just whip up as many cyber-cookies as I can with my new Cookie Maker app. I can “mix” the batter and even decorate my cookies and send them to friends. It’s just as good as the real thing and no calories to count!
Actually, I’m just kidding. I might do a few things using a bit of help from technology, but for the most part, I plan on taking a few photos (which will still probably never get printed) and then plan to put the electronics away to enjoy the time “live and in person.” The holidays may be a crazy time, but can you really picture it any other way? I mean, really… a cyber-cookie?

What I’m wondering, though is if there are any good apps or websites that other people use to help make holiday prep a bit easier. Please share!
Oops… our countdown lost a few minutes… better get started!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Link Up with LinkedIn

By Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

This past week, I gave a presentation for a Green Bay Chamber of Commerce event about LinkedIn and how to use it for networking, a job hunt, recruiting and to grow your business. There were a number of great questions and it got me to thinking that a little refresher on the basics of LinkedIn might be helpful. 
  • Networking. Search for people you’ve recently met at business or networking events, former and current co-workers, professional friends and industry leaders.
  • Adding connections. When adding connections, mention how you know the person in your invitation. For instance, “It was great meeting you at the Chamber breakfast yesterday and chatting about social media. I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”
  • Groups. Search for and join groups that will benefit you professionally. Look for groups that are specific to your industry, alumni associations or groups that interest you. Groups offer forums for discussions on a variety of topics.
  • Job Search. There are a number of ways to search for jobs on LinkedIn. Job opportunities can be posted in any group, on a company’s home page or you can search for positions right from your profile page.
  • Profile. Make sure your profile looks professional. LinkedIn is not as casual as Facebook. Start by making sure you have a nice headshot as your profile picture, not one of you on the beach during your last vacation. In addition, keep your work experience, education and specialties up-to-date. You never know when the right person might be looking at your page.
  • Complete your profile. Make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. LinkedIn will make automatic recommendations on people you should connect with and jobs you may be interested in based on your profile. The more complete your profile is, the more accurate your recommendations will be.
  • Accepting connections. Remember that one of the main purposes of LinkedIn is to network and connect with others. If you don’t know a person that asks to connect with you, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and say you would like to know more about them before you connect.

LinkedIn can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to networking, looking for a job and growing your business.
What aspects of LinkedIn do you utilize the most? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tribute to a Visionary

By: Cole Buergi, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

The world lost an icon and visionary when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs lost his battle with cancer. I consider Jobs to be the Ben Franklin of our time, pioneering some of the greatest technological advances in computers and portable technology which has forever changed the world.

It seems almost impossible now, but try to imagine our world without smart phone technology; lightweight, portable music players; or powerful, tablets designed for ease of use and portability. For many, the world would seem to stop if we couldn’t text, share a post on Facebook or Tweet an update from our phone.

Add in the ever expanding world of apps that was created to fuel this technology and you would be hard pressed to find anyone in the world that hasn’t been impacted in some way by Jobs’ vision.

I was in grade school when Apple first competed head to head for the public’s growing appetite for personal computers, ultimately losing out to the PC in much of the business world yet managing to secure a stable following in the school systems.

Reflecting back on his life, I wonder how things would have been different had Apple computers become the standard for the business world in the 80s and 90s. Instead of playing catch up for much of those two decades, what kinds of wonderful technologies could have Apple, with Jobs’ leadership, created?

We’ll never know but I thank Jobs and Apple for the technology they did create. I currently own an iPod and iPhone 3 and I’m looking forward to getting the iPhone 4s when it’s available locally. These are just two of the many technologies that have bettered my personal and professional life.

Thinking about your own life, how has Jobs’ vision impacted your daily activities?