As the year comes to an end, we’re entering the season of stocking stuffers, family gatherings, and of course, New Year’s resolutions. This is often the time when people reflect on the past year and look forward to what they expect the next year to bring, like these industry experts did with association management.
I usually take the last two weeks of December to do the same with my own personal and professional life. I like to ask myself, “What do I want to achieve and what are the steps I need to get there next year?” That’s why I found it so timely that Erik Qualman spoke on digital leadership at the ASAE Technology Conference & Expo last week. Here are a few takeaways from his Opening Keynote that inspired me to make “becoming a digital leader” my professional goal of 2017.
Keep It Simple
The first habit of digital leadership mentioned by Erik was “keeping things simple.” He challenged us to simplify our days and not assume that getting more things done was necessarily better. Actually, he emphasized that multitasking makes us less efficient. Apparently when we multitask, our IQ drops 15 points – the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours!
When we’re pressed with competing deadlines, juggling multiple assignments at once, and trying to maintain a work-life balance, it can be hard to keep things simple. But the first step to making any change is to acknowledge you want that change, right? So in 2017, I will set top priorities for each day and keep my to-do list simple, so that I can be a more efficient and productive leader.
Make It Flawsome
Flawsome: a hybrid of flaw and awesome.
Do I admit my digital mistakes and do what’s necessary to fix them? Erik stressed that as easy as it is to make mistakes online, it is also an opportunity to evaluate our failures and make “digital lemonade with digital lemons.” Members and/or clients are much more likely to be committed to our organizations if we take the time to acknowledge and fix our mistakes.
Being “flawsome” is an attitude I definitely want to adopt in the upcoming year. Living in a digital age, almost all of my interactions with clients and prospects are facilitated online: e-mails, social media, webinars, etc. I’m bound to slip up and leave mistakes under my name in the digital space. What’s important is how I will react. Will I be quick on my feet (or fingers on the keyboard) and show my dedication to fixing these mistakes? Can I be “flawsome” as a digital marketer?
Smiling Is Contagious
At the end of his keynote, Erik had everyone in the room stand up and form pairs with the people next to us. He then asked us to look at each other close up. One person in each pair was directed to smile while the other was challenged to try to keep a straight face. In most pairs, the latter gave in and smiled right back. I thought this was a really simple but powerful representation of the fact that smiling is contagious.
As an events marketing coordinator, this is a concept that comes naturally to me when I’m onsite at events. I put on my biggest smile and try to make sure it “infects” every attendee that I come across. But when I’m not onsite – when I’m behind my screen helping people with registration, hosting webinars without a webcam, or writing blog posts like this one – how do I make sure I can get my smile to be contagious? This is a challenge that every digital marketer faces. How do we prepare and present content that is insightful, easily consumed, and leaves the consumer with a smile? I think it all comes down to two things:
- Knowing your audience. Using data and trial & error to present the content they want and in the format they are looking for.
- Crafting content with a smile. It sounds cheesy, I know. But just like good food made with love cannot be trumped by factory packaged food, I believe that whatever attitude you put into your work will show on the other end of the screen.
So there you have it! These are my takeaways from Erik Qualman’s keynote that have become my steps to achieving my New Year’s resolution for 2017: become a digital leader.
I’d love to know what your takeaways were from the opening keynote or any other session from #TECH16. Send us a tweet @Aptify or leave a comment below.