In line with my post on collaboration as the central tenet of virtual city membership, and my posts on multifaceted learning for multifaceted living, I want to propose a few strategies to maximize your impression in a multifaceted world. There are many more strategies than the six that I provide here, but adopting these in your own life can help to provide a structure to the presentation of self. Make these your own by adapting them to your personality and individual style. Anyway, here they are:
(1) Use a blank business card. Yes, a blank one. Get a box of blank cards on a quality card stock and hand-write your card in front of the person you are giving it to. Include what it was that you were talking about and how to contact you. Every time I use this technique people remember me. Part of being a multifaceted worker entails having a host of skills that are not easy to capture on a single business card. I feel that the generic “consultant” label is so unoriginal and non-descriptive (& I have consulted in four different fields: Italian fashion for Japanese women, Discourse analysis in translation, Strategic planning for small foundations, and Process modeling). When you write this business card pick a word that epitomizes the skill that you are offering to that one particular person you are giving the card to…CUSTOM MAKE this card on the spot.
(2) Volunteer. But don’t just do things willy-nilly, strategically decide what you will do, when, and why. For instance, I am currently volunteering on a committee that is designing some policy statements around sexual conduct and communication. My primary interest is in developing a skill set that includes a strong ethics background.
(3) Learn a few ways to diagram ideas. Being able to articulate your own ideas in diagrams is useful, but it is more useful to other people if they are in an intuitive format that makes sense, this is why there are visualization standards…You don’t need to develop a complete set of graphic design skills (leave that to the professionals) but you can develop a better way to talk about information. Check out some of these modeling languages and tools for graphically thinking:
- IDEF5 for modeling Ontologies and Meronymic Networks
- Process Modeling
- Blending Diagrams
- Rapid Viz
- Designing Interactions
- Diagramming relationships within a textual work (see Sam Pott’s diagram of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest)
(4) Do an annual report, this is your résumé…Want an AWESOME example? Check out what Nicholas Felton does on Feltron.com You can do your own version for your own bookshelf, it’s a nice way to spend December remembering what you actually accomplished during the previous year. Self-publish a copy of it through services like Lulu.com.
(5) Read about tribal cultures and their notions of relationships. When I was working as an ethnography intern in Papua New Guinea the ethnographer I worked with taught me this lesson about the people we worked with: “Relationships are everything and giving is the basis of relationship.” Think about how that enriches your own interaction as a human being…even if you are a bond company stooge.
(6) Adopt a code of ethics. I am currently helping an organization adapt and adopt a code of ethics for their international development work. This is a great experience for me and got me thinking about my own ethical positions. I have come to believe that it is imperative for me to have my own personal code of ethics in writing to use as a benchmark in my decision-making process. Think about doing this for yourself. Look up codes of ethics from associations and organizations within your discipline and consider how your behavior, attitudes, and thoughts line up with the line you say you follow. Nothing works better for self-organization on a grand scale than if individuals self-organize themselves first, and since self-organization happens on its own, make sure you don’t organize around unethical behavior. Compare and contrast yourself and then adapt as necessary.
More to come…