Suzanne Conway

Suzanne Conway

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The Learning Curve

After you’ve been doing the 9 to 5 for some years, you learn a good deal about yourself, others and the working culture. Here are a few of those learned lessons to keep in mind for the daily grind:

Learning to be proactive

There is nothing worse than discovering problems with a project at the last minute. While it can’t always be avoided, in some cases you can nip things in the bud before they even have a chance to cause an issue. If it is a new project you are working on, make sure you have all of the details you need: the purpose, the client’s wishes, when they expect to see it at different phases, etc. It can be helpful to jot down a list to have this information handy and remember to look at a project from all angles to minimize the risk of unexpected problems.

Learning to ask for help

This one can be difficult to do at times, as being in control of all aspects of an assignment is a hard thing to give up. But, you will realize you are not superhuman, and need to delegate a task now and then to someone else. It doesn’t mean that you can’t handle it all; rather, it means you have enough sense to realize either the project or you will suffer if you try and do it all on your own.

Learning to offer suggestions/ask questions

Voicing your ideas, concerns, and questions is necessary and helpful to everyone involved in a task. Your thoughts are valid and you have the right to ask questions and give an opinion. So speak up at that next meeting, and you may be surprised how beneficial it can be to you as well as your coworkers.

Learning when to let it go

As mentioned above, offering suggestions and opinions is always useful in projects. However, what you believe is a great idea may not always end up as the right direction for the final product. Ultimately, either a majority decision or manager’s decision has the final say, and you need to accept it.

Learning to work as a team

Working with others is vital to a successful project, but working with different personalities isn’t always easy. It’s important to recognize your differences, but to make an effort to accept them and keep the project as the center of your focus. If a disagreement does come up, set time aside to address it openly, come up with a solution or compromise, and move on.

Learning to accept that we all make mistakes

Yes, even you, who may have a perfect track record or think you will never make a mistake. We are all imperfect and occasionally things happen that make us wish we had a rewind button. It’s important to own up to your mistake and then learn from it. Whether it’s being more careful proofreading in the future or taking your time to ensure all pieces are included in an email. Don’t beat yourself up too much over it, and just keep it in mind for future projects.

We’ve all been there−faced with the task of writing an article, company newsletter or content for a blog. Staring at the computer screen, you imagine award-winning copy pouring into the word document (or perhaps you are more realistic and think, how will I ever write this?). Alas, 20 minutes have gone by, and you have barely got a sentence out. As an editor myself, I face this challenge often. So here are some tips I've learned along the way that can help remove the writer’s block and lead you to compelling copy.

Write about your passions. If you are not interested in the subject, it will most likely show in your writing. Now you don’t always have the liberty of choosing your subject, but you can always put your own spin on it. If you are fortunate to have free reign, take something you enjoy and turn it into great copy. Love cooking? Let others in on that recipe you just mastered. Golf on the weekends? Why not share some tips on perfecting your swing. The bottom line is if you are excited about your topic, it will show in your writing.

Know your audience. Be bold, witty and humorous if the arena calls for it (a personal blog or edgy magazine). Be more refined, structured and direct if it is for a corporation or news outlet. You must determine who will be reading your copy and what they will expect from it. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution, keeping it more subdued and professional.

The first sentence is always the hardest to write, so skip it. If you are like me, coming up with that power opener is always a task. So why not jump right to the meat of the story and come back to it when you have a good grasp of your story direction.

Keep it simple. Don’t get caught up in trying to make yourself sound like a wordy intellectualist. Most people want to understand writing easily, so deciphering 15-letter descriptive words will only cause people to lose track of the heart of your message.

Editing is always encouraged. Don’t think that you have to get it perfect the first time (this is not Top Chef). It is perfectly acceptable to come back and change copy multiple times. Better yet, leave it for a day, and look it at with fresh eyes the following day. But it is important not to drive yourself crazy with the backspace. There comes a point when you have to run with what you've created. As Tina Fey said, “It's a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go. You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it...You have to let people see what you wrote.” –from Bossypants.

Now that you have some tools to work with, sit down, take a breath, and master that next writing task.

The Daily Huddle

A few years back, MVI created a daily “huddle,” which as the name suggests, consists of all of the employees gathering around a “huddle board” to start off the morning. On this board, we list weekly goals, issues, our daily schedule, and who will be telecommuting on a given day. We’ve found this practice serves a few different purposes:

1) Helps to visualize your day ahead- Part of our morning huddle includes each employee’s “plan” for the day. This allows you to roughly estimate your goals for the day, and gets you in tune with what each other’s hurdles may be that day.

2) Builds Camaraderie- Some of us work with each other consistently, while others work primarily on their own. This brief meeting in the morning allows us all to gather together, as a group, to get more connected with one another. Those who are more on the shy side have said this daily routine has made them more comfortable talking with others in the company.

3) Enhances Communication- The huddle serves as a great arena to air any difficulties you’ve been experiencing, to alert others to when you may be out of the office, to announce company-wide notices, etc. Things run much more smoothly when everyone is on the same page.

4) Allows for Grievances to be Aired- Is someone swiping your food from the fridge? Are you sick of the lousy weather? Are we out of coffee? (You know, all of the important stuff). While it can and does include those annoyances, it also gives us a platform for discussing problems with projects or timelines. Or, if you’ve encountered a technical issue that could affect everyone, this would be a good time to let everyone know. This part lets everyone have a moment or two to vent, and more importantly, allows for brainstorming of solutions.

5) Allows for Recognition to be Heard- Has someone done an excellent job on a recent project? Are you grateful for a coworker who helped you out with a computer issue? This part of the huddle is a perfect time to shout out some praise.

Whether you term yours a huddle, meeting of the minds, morning jumpstart, or something completely unique to your company, this daily routine can bring unity and motivation to your employees.

“What is dangerous is not to evolve.” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com

Just as the leaves have changed colors in New England, spurring the start of another new season, change is inevitable. The business world is no different—employees come and go, technologies continue to evolve and you must adapt to these standards or risk falling behind.

As much as some people do not like change, in terms of business, it is pivotal to a company moving forward. Looking for ways to progress? Here are some ways to give momentum to your company.

New Hires

New people bring a fresh perspective, different strengths and can move a company towards greater successes. New management can be beneficial in reassessing a company’s goals and outlook, while new employees may have skills that can open up new avenues for your business. We’ve found there is always a learning curve to adjust to in the beginning stages, but ultimately new hires can lead to real growth for our company.

New Advancements

Growing with the times is equally as important to continued success. Especially in recent years with the emergence of social media on the forefront of connecting to potential consumers, it is almost unheard of for a company not to have some sort of connection on this level. MVI has made strides in this arena, developing Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts that are actively used, as well as the addition of Social Media Management to our repertoire.

New Perspective

If you are willing to change and step outside of your comfort zone, then you are willing to risk failure. I think many successful entrepreneurs and business leaders would say some of their greatest successes came out of their biggest setbacks. Through these hurdles, you learn what not to do in the future and are greater equipped with the tools you may need in your next endeavor. We’ve had ideas that did not take off as expected, but each has pushed us into reworking things or learning what not to do for future projects.

Innovation

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” –William Pollard

Continually seeking bigger, bolder products and inventions is what propels companies into the limelight. The key is not to give up on your idea, even if there are some naysayers or initial rejection. The most successful ideas usually come up against some sort of resistance. MVI recently launched a brand-new magazine, Snapshot, targeting potential new residents and businesses looking to move to the city of Stamford. We were up against ad sale goals, deadlines and a plethora of other obstacles, but with a lot of hard work and dedication from all parties involved, we were able to produce an outstanding piece. And since there is nothing like it out there right now, we are hopeful this unique magazine will continue to succeed and allow us to expand in the future to other cities.

A company that does not embrace change will go stagnant. One that accepts, implements and seeks change will always advance. We like to think of ourselves as the latter.

About Us

  • You’ve got an audience to reach, we’ve got you covered. Whether you need a company newsletter, magazine, chamber directory, local map, visitor guide, social media management or anything in between, MVI has the expertise to deliver your product, in print, digital or mobile format.

Testimonials

  • Bridgeport Regional Business Council

    We have found Tracy McCarthy and her staff to be competent, knowledgeable, and very easy to work with. They are essentially the face of the Business Council when contacting members about advertising, and we have every confidence in their professionalism when dealing with our members. Each year, they propose several designs and work with us to determine the “look” of the Directory and try to keep some sense of continuity while also differentiating it from the prior editions. Tracy and her staff also work with us on the timeline, meet the deadlines that they have agreed to, and provide tremendous assistance and flexibility in helping us stay on track to produce the Directory in the designated timeframe.

    Karen M. DelVecchio, IOM

    Executive Vice President

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Media Ventures, Inc.
101 Merritt Blvd.
Suite 210
Trumbull, CT 06611

203.852.6570 x249

203.852.6571 FAX

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