Dueling Heads

Millennials vs. Boomers: Finding Common Ground

Note: Originally published in Marquis Messages.

Often amusing, sometimes infuriating, and only occasionally insightful, editorial pieces are constantly popping up about the cultural struggle between Baby Boomers and Millennials. While different in style or premise, they all invariably reveal one thing that’s true for both sides: most of us are terrible communicators.

“But Sarah,” you may say, “generational differences run deep. It isn’t just how we communicate with each other.” I disagree. I believe thatevery misunderstanding results from a breakdown in communication, and intergenerational discord results from misconceptions that can be addressed through articulate discourse. Continue reading

Low-Tech Wireframing

Is This Current? And Other Website Concerns…

Note: Originally published in Marquis Messages.

At the risk of dating myself, I’ll admit that I remember a time before the Internet was a thing we all had – a time when dial-up connections were only available in affluent households, when getting online was reserved for conducting business or researching for school. Hardly anyone had a website because even if you had one, who would see it? Today, that is a distant memory: if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. But it isn’t enough to just have a website. Your site has to communicate key pieces of information, be easy to use across an ever-widening variety of mobile and desktop browsers, and look good.

It’s also important to evaluate your site every once in a while and make updates to keep your pages accurate and competitively relevant.Have you looked at our website lately? Just this week, we completely revamped our design and streamlined our content. We switched from a more traditional hierarchical architecture to a sleek one-page design, and our messaging now captures the key points we want to share. Continue reading

Tin Can Telephone

Social Channels? Not Optional.

Note: Originally published in Marquis Messages.

Are you one of those leaders who scoff at Twitter, laugh at LinkedIn, badmouth Facebook, and ignore Instagram? I’ve got news for you: social media is no longer optional for businesses that want to continue to grow. Why? Because those channels are where your future customers are looking for you.

“But Sarah,” you’re saying, “our clients don’t find us on social. That’s not where people look for our services.” Or maybe, “Sarah, social is a time suck. We can’t invest our resources in something that won’t get us customers.”

Let me tell you a story. Continue reading

People Meeting B/W

5 Things I Learned @ATDps 2015

Note: Originally published on LinkedIn.

On Wednesday, I attended the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Puget Sound Chapter’s 2015 Workplace Learning Conference. It was a great experience for a newbie to the field like myself, and I left the event with a new perspective on learning, change, and the future of both in the workplace. Here are five of my favorite takeaways from the day:

1. Engagement is at the heart of team cohesiveness, productivity, and ultimately, job satisfaction.

An engaged employee is more likely than a disengaged one to produce great work, contribute thoughtfully in meetings, and stay with a company for a longer period of time. How do you measure engagement? Theresa Kinney of BlessingWhite introduced the ‘X’ Model of Employee Engagement, which maps individual goals and organizational goals to help identify how engaged an employee is. Depending on where your employee falls on the spectrum, you can employ different tactics to reinforce engagement or address problem areas – for leaders, this typically involves asking tough questions and really listening to the responses. It’s especially important, though, to watch out for your own engagement levels. As Theresa said, “a dead battery can’t jump start another.” Continue reading

Reuse, Revamp, Résumé

It’s late (after 1:30am) here in the Emerald City; I would normally be asleep by now, but I’ve had a late-night rush of inspiration and had to ride the wave of energy. I figured, why not share my success story on the woefully neglected blog I keep meaning to update?

I’m officially into my ninth month of unemployment since I graduated from the UW CommLead program (formerly MCDM) and I have to say, it’s been a bit rough. I received a couple of promising leads, but nothing panned out, so I decided something needed to change. I elected to start with the basics: my résumé.

Continue reading

Aging With Technology

I have been using a computer for almost as long as I can remember – you could call me a digital native. I used to need my dad’s help booting games from five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disks, because at six years old I could never recall the right DOS commands. I could touch-type by nine, started my first Geocities website when I was fourteen, and designed my first banner ad during my freshman year of college. I consider myself relatively tech-savvy; I wasn’t building my own computers or writing software, but I can troubleshoot like no other and I’ve always been on the Internet bandwagon.

So, you can understand my distress when, at 30, I feel technologically lost.

Continue reading

Digital Clutter

A few weeks ago, I started having some strange browser issues. While doing some basic troubleshooting, I discovered that my OS was not up to date, and naturally set out to fix it. Technology is pretty slick nowadays so you barely have to interrupt your Facebook games to install updates, but I’m old school and prefer to exit applications and back everything up first. I don’t trust my computer not to screw it up. Unfortunately, my backups are starting to get out of hand.

The first time I backed up my files, I used a 3.5″ floppy disk. The first CD burner I bought (8x write speed, only $400!) changed my life – just in time for mp3s, T3 lines, and Napster. Thumb drives were next, though they weren’t much use at first with their 256 Mb capacity; when I could finally afford it, I bought an external hard drive. I’ve used various cloud services, dumped files onto this web server, and emailed stuff to myself so I will “always” have a copy of it. I’ve changed filing systems, file-naming conventions, and life priorities so many times in the past 10+ years, some files are backed up across several devices and media, while others exist in precisely one location. Continue reading

The Evolution of Internet Privacy

When I was in college, I kept an online diary. If I started it today, you’d call it a blog, except that I didn’t write about things that might be interesting to other people; mostly, I talked about my feelings, but nothing was sacred. I wrote about anything and everything that crossed my mind or made an impression on me.

In addition to recounting the mundane activities of my days in excruciating detail and bemoaning the state of my personal life, I wrote about my friends. Actually, that doesn’t feel like full disclosure: I used my friends’ full names, published contact information (like AOL Instant Messenger handles), and posted pictures of them. I gave details about where they lived, named the people they hung out with, identified where they worked (if they were employed). I noted their birthdays and described the cars they drove. I didn’t think for two seconds about the potential danger my writings might pose for my friends. Continue reading