i got to attend minnewebcon again this year because i’m a lucky girl!
whitney hess was this year’s morning keynote speaker. she spoke about user research, but some of the thoughts i jotted down can apply to any job:
- Empathy builds empires.
- In order to solve a problem, get away from your desk. Get out into the world: explore, learn, understand.
- Talk to people about something you’re trying to understand until you stop hearing new things — then analyze and process.
- See the problems that other people don’t see (and be part of the solution).
when whitney flipped up a slide about soft skills a ux researcher needs to have, i found myself wondering if i have these skills and bring them to my professional (and personal!) life. i would like to think i do, but i could get better in some situations.
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
after lunch, i attended a session hosted by tonya oaks smith in which she prompted us to think about our own communication networks. we are agents of change, but who do we know as opinion leaders? who can help us get our message out into the world?
this was right around the time that i started to realize that i needed to stop being my usual quiet self and get chatting with folks — networking, man. i often let my antisocial homebody-ness take over my brain and i forget that talking to strangers can be a good thing. then tonya pointed me towards a recent blog post she wrote — networking doesn’t have to have a defined expectation! networking is just getting to know people, finding people who have similar interests as you. maybe someday you can help each other, but at the beginning it is just for fun.
have more fun!
and then i went to abbey tosic’s session about standing out and moving up.
- don’t be afraid to brag — no one will be a better advocate for yourself than you will be.
(related: always have an answer for that dreaded small-talk question, “what have you been up to?”)
- figure out what’s holding you back — then conquer it! one success brings confidence to create more success.
- don’t forget to include the things that bring you joy on your “to do” list.
- get out of your comfort zone more often.
“If you’re not feeling a little uncomfortable, you’re probably not pushing hard enough.”
at the happy hour that night, my friend, bertine, and i were talking about sessions we could present. what topics are we confident enough about to share with everyone else? because being an active part of a local (maybe someday global?!) team of web professionals makes me feel excited. (even just writing about this little personal journey i had on monday is making me feel excited.)
and then i asked the geek girls for their autographs on their new book and they remembered me* despite brief meetings in the past and i didn’t want to go home because then i was over-the-moon excited. (i can easily get starry-eyed about people i think are amazing, but hopefully i can also maintain composure in their presence.)
* i should note that meghan remembered me because of my twitter name, @pork_chop, which actually pleases me even more after all of this inspiration. it just reinforces that my personal brand is working! i’m doing something right so far, antisocial or not. 🙂