Well, it’s December now and the first semester of 2013-14 is winding down at St. Lawrence College. Students are busy with final projects and presentations and teachers are equally busy with marking and calculating grades. Still, the learning has not stopped at St. Lawrence College.

On Wednesday, December 11, I had the pleasure of attending a St. Lawrence College exclusive event called TrendsTalk. TrendsTalk is a conference that focuses on the newest trends in social, mobile and interactive marketing. It is a free event that has been held for three years now at St. Lawrence College.

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The audience includes a large number of students and faculty from the School of Business, St. Lawrence alumni, Kingston business owners and many other professionals from the Kingston community and beyond.

One neat feature of TrendsTalk is that, unlike much of the semester, the Integrated Marketing Communication students are the ones teaching and leading seminars. The IMC faculty, while offering assistance and guidance in preparation for the event, really emphasize the role of students as the leaders of the event.

Free swag that I won during TrendsTalk!

Free swag that I won during TrendsTalk!

This certainly is one of the strengths of TrendsTalk as it really helps to highlight the great work done at St. Lawrence College, and specifically in the IMC program. Students get a chance to display their ideas, knowledge and professionalism in front of many of Kingston’s business professionals; potential employers.

Another strength of TrendsTalk is the audience interaction. At the end of each seminar there is a question period where guests can continue the discussion and explore the ideas that were presented. As well, the hashtag #TrendsTalk13 was used throughout the day as another avenue for discussion and even for live tweeting of the event. This hashtag also allowed strangers in the audience to connect and share ideas.

Without further ado, I’d like to highlight some of the seminars I attended and the students behind them.

“Blogging for Business” was hosted by Synde Smythe & Taylor Young and focused on how a blog can be a great way for businesses, especially small businesses, to connect with customers and the community. A blog will not stand on its own, they warned, and must be integrated with other communication strategies to be effective.

The Fortune Cookie Principle by Bernadette Jiwa

The Fortune Cookie Principle by Bernadette Jiwa

“The Fortune Cookie Principle” was a presentation by Shaun Withers & Kristen Deyo. Their presentation was based on the book by Bernadette Jiwa and focused on creating content that is fresh, shareable and engaging, as well as connecting with customers through a good story. (Plus, there was actual fortune cookies, mmmm).

The third presentation I attended was “Multi-Platform Social Media Marketing,” hosted by Hollie Knapp-Fisher & Joshua Hartson. They explained the values and benefits of several different social medias, but emphasized the importance of selecting which platform(s) would be most effective for one’s business and doing them really well.

The final presentation that I attended was “Websites as Your Hub” by Kyle Carr and James Potts. This presentation discussed the benefits of having a main website that links to all of a business’ online presence. Their analogy of a main train station with inbound and outbound tracks was really effective.hqdefault

There were several other seminars which I did not list here or was not able to attend, but I’ve been told they were equally as great as the ones mentioned here. Some of the Powerpoints and Prezis used are available on the TrendsTalk website and more will be up soon (I believe).

I’m sure all who participated in TrendsTalk 2013 will agree that it was an overwhelming success for the IMC students and for St. Lawrence College, perhaps even the best yet.

I am sure that TrendsTalk will continue to be a staple at St. Lawrence College for years to come and I look forward to the day when I have to opportunity to be a contributing part of it.


The Importance of Teamwork

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” — Babe Ruth


Babe Ruth’s 1927 New York Yankees

This is important coming from Babe Ruth because he is best remembered for his individual accomplishments. In particular for his home run record, which stood for nearly 50 years after he retired. What is often forgotten is that Ruth was part of 7 World Series winning teams.

It is rare that any great team is successful solely because of one member. I’m sure even the greats such as Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan would agree with that, and they were often regarded as the leaders of their teams.

I bring up the importance of teamwork because in this past week my classmates and I have become a part of three different teams for school projects. Some teams we chose ourselves and some were assigned.

Our professors have reminded us time and time again that teamwork is going to be a major component of our lives in the workplace, and that most of the time we will not be able to chose who we work with. So, although some of my classmates were displeased with some of their groups, that is part of the learning process.

I found a great article about teamwork on the University of Waterloo website. The article lists four qualities of a successful team: openness, trust, support and respect. I think these hit the nail on the head. All the successful teams I’ve been on have had these four qualities and they seem pretty logical to me no matter how big or small the team is.

It is important to realize that although certain members of a team will be stronger in some areas than others, everyone will have something valuable to contribute.Team Of 8 Blue People Holding Up Connected Pieces To A Colorful Puzzle That Spells Out "Team," Symbolizing Excellent Teamwork, Success And Link Exchanging Clipart Illustration Graphic

It’s undeniable that Babe Ruth couldn’t have won those World Series by himself. Baseball requires offense, defense, pitching and hitting. Similarly, our group projects will require research, writing, editing, and presenting.

Who knows, maybe one person on my team will be the “Babe Ruth” of researching. Maybe another will be the “Wayne Gretzky” of presenting.

You tell me. What makes a good team?