It‘s that time of the year again; the time when Black professionals from around the nation travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the nation’s premier policy conference for and about the issues that are important to Black People, especially those in low-income and minority communities.
IMPACT’s mission of linking young professionals together to enable them to leverage their individual and our collective strengths to solve many of our most pressing challenges is one of the many reasons why IMPACT looks forward to ALC. This newsletter is designed to ensure that you are fully aware of the events that will best help young professionals and emerging leaders maximize the 2011 Annual Legislative Conference.Read More
When you’re looking to expand your professional network and position yourself for career growth, it is important to have an online presence that accurately represents your personal brand. Social media, when used strategically, can help you connect with people who can assist you with achieving these goals. These digital tools will be critical as you make the panel and reception rounds during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can showcase your skills and expertise in an immediate way, while keeping you informed about important events to attend throughout the week. Plus, the content on your profiles will help you maintain contacts you make at ALC, while cultivating and elevating your conversations with them.
Here are some tips to ensure a successful ALC experience through social media:
1. Follow, Friend and Like the right people and organizations. The first thing you should do is to make sure that you are connected to the right people. Start by liking IMPACT on Facebook and following on Twitter @teamIMPACT. You should also follow @CBCFInc and like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Facebook, too. They will post updates on the conference, including room changes, speaker announcements and new special events. Use hashtags like #41stALC, #IMPACTYourWorld and #preview11 to participate in the conversation surrounding these events. You should also identify leaders in your field that use social networking sites to find out which events they will attend and participate in.
Additional people to follow include IMPACT directors @Joebriggsesq @MrDavidJohns @Angela_Rye and staff @kiarapesante and @micheleperry
2. Use your real name. This may sound silly and obvious, but I’m saying it for a reason. Use a recognizable name, either your real one or a commonly known nickname to identify yourself. If your Twitter handle is something like @MzGetEmGurl04, no business contact or potential employer will take you seriously.
3. Do not keep everything private. Online privacy is very important – there is no question about that. However, if you’re keeping every account private, why are you even on these social networking sites? If people are trying to find you to interact, and can’t do that, you’ve defeated the purpose. If you only want your “friends” to have access to you, stick to emails, instant messengers and text messaging. If you are trying to build a name for yourself and connect with thought leaders in your field, unlock your accounts.
4. Think before you post. Thanks to smart phones, access to social media is instant. But – just because something pops into your head, it doesn’t mean it should be shared with the world. You are at ALC to network and grow. Don’t tweet and post everything you think of. This also applies to pictures, links and trending topics. You may be tempted upload a photo of your favorite politico at the wine reception, or lend your thoughts to #thingsblackpeopledo, but DON’T. Social media are powerful tools that can positively #IMPACTYourWorld. If used improperly, your personal brand can be adversely affected.
5. Make your tweets and statuses comprehensible. Tweets are limited to 140 characters and some users have implemented shorthand or “text speak” to get their point across. This is OK in some cases, like when you are trying to express humor (LOL) or agreement (!). It is fine to abbreviate when necessary, just try to use shortcuts your audience will widely understand. Facebook and LinkedIn allow more room for complete words and sentences. Remember, you passed college English and these tweets and statuses represent you to the world – make a good impression.
6. Network outside your circle. If your social networks only involve people who agree with you or that you already know, you’re sadly missing out on the wealth of knowledge and information out there. Plus, if the people you already follow/friend were enough, you probably wouldn’t be attending ALC in the first place… right? Expand!
7. Never underestimate the power of apps! Applications are a form of social media that are designed to make our lives and networking experiences simpler. Some that may be helpful during ALC include: Bump, which allows users to tap phones side-by-side and instantly exchange contact information; WorldCard Mobile, which allows you to scan business cards into a digital rolodex on your phone; UrbanSpoon is great for someone unfamiliar with DC – it helps you identify restaurants and bars based on the neighborhood, price point and cuisine you want.
Keep these things in mind and you are sure to have a great ALC. Good luck!
Kiara Pesante is a political communications and public relations professional who specializes in digital campaigns and brand development. She is a recent Master’s in Public Administration graduate from Howard University, where she was a Trustee Scholar from 2010-2011. Her thesis, “Obama and the Internet: The Impact of Social Media on the 2008 Presidential Election” is tentatively scheduled to be published in the fall of 2011 and earned her the Outstanding Scholarship Award for the Department of Political Science. This year, she served as IMPACT’s first Social Media Fellow. You can learn more about her at www.KiaraPesante.com and follow her @kiarapesante, Like her on Facebook and connect with her on LinkedIn.
Each year, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation produces the Annual Legislative Conference, a four-day event held in September at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Thousands of elected officials, business and industry leaders, celebrities, media, emerging leaders and everyday Americans descended upon the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) and its dozens of policy forums, general sessions, massive exhibit showcase, job fair, book signings and vast networking opportunities. This is the PERFECT opportunity to network, build Rolodex contacts and strengthen relationships with policymakers, professionals and leaders. Here are a few tips on how young professionals can make the most out of the Annual Legislative Conference:
Pick the right events. The ALC has a TON of events to attend, so make sure you go to the events that have the type of people you are looking for…which means the first thing you’ve got to do is identify exactly who it is you are wanting to meet, and what you want to accomplish by networking. Sure – we all love to party, but what types of relationships are you looking for? And how will they benefit your future career goals?
Be sure to start with IMPACT sponsored events including:
Preview: A Red Carpet Affair
The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Be prepared. Always carry business cards and several copies of a resume in a portfolio. You never know who you will bump into!
Sell yourself. Tailor your “elevator pitch.” You never know who you will meet, and those 30 seconds can make the world of difference – or even change your life!
Maintain relationships. No relationship students make will be of any value unless they formally follow up. Doors are opened at ALC, but the deal is sealed with follow through. Immediately following a networking session, panel, or reception take time to jot down everything they remember about the people they met, including names, appearances and conversation details. Email a short follow-up note within 24 hours. People check their emails often, and set their schedules electronically, so get your name on their list before it fills up. Make the message personal by referencing a specific part of the conversation to show attention to details and help jog the person’s memory. And don’t be scared to follow up!
Gentlemen, Dress to Impress: Capital Style CBCF ALC Etiquette
By: Robert and Mtokufa
The annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) conference (“CBC week”) brings together influential leaders, emerging leaders and those otherwise concerned with the mission of the CBCF from around the country.
Throughout the weeklong conference are panels and receptions, and attire is the first and most critical aspect of personal presentation while at these events. After all, what you wear is your first impression. Gentlemen must remember that this is a professional gathering, so proper work attire is a must. This is not a fashion show, so “work attire,” means a suit and tie.
There is a time and place for many things, but the CBCF conference is not the time to dig out your club gear or that suit you bought that hasn’t yet found its occasion. At Capital Style, we suggest mastering the basics, that is, a darker suit paired with a lighter colored shirt. Within the paradigm of modern-traditional professional attire, there are many variations and techniques that show both professionalism and individuality.
Suit: Go with a dark suit – preferably grey, blue or brown. The go-to patterns should be solid, pin stripe, chalk stripe or a traditional plaid, like glen plaid. Most importantly, the suit should have no more than three buttons.
Shirt: White, blue or pink shirts give various options for suit and tie combinations. A subtle shirt is always appropriate. Think of it as a blank canvas. French cuffs or button cuffs will do, but it should go without saying that long sleeves are required. And, for an added element of style, the spread collar shirt is a modern, but very professional, look that fits almost all body types and sizes and goes well with most suits.
Tie: A necktie or bow tie will work, but either must be a self-tied tie. We suggest a tie with (season appropriate) color and pattern, which will give some life and style to your outfit. When the suit and shirt are understated and clean, your tie will bring together the outfit.
Shoes: Black or brown, period.
Finishing touches: A pocket square or handkerchief is a style capstone that many forget. If you are unsure what color and fold to use, the best option is the white, cotton handkerchief with a 007 or square fold. A simple web search will answer all!
Things to avoid:
The dark suit – dark shirt combination
The light or bright suit
The short tie (the point of your tie should hover right around the middle of your belt buckle)
The long jacket (you know who you are!)
Mixing patterns if you are unsure
Remember that simple works very well. A little understatement goes a long way. And, if you are traveling to D.C. for the CBCF conference, please travel well and try not to wrinkle that suit!
Robert and Mto
kufa are the creators of Capital Style, a D.C.-based blog dedicated to real-world style for men. For more, please visit: www.capitalstyle.me.