As part of my book promotion tour, my publisher sent me to media training with Clarity Media Group. I thought the media trainer would talk with me about being on television — how to sit, where to put my hands, what to wear. Instead, he focused on how to not be a loose cannon.

I know this about myself — that I have a sub-standard edit button. It is not uncommon that our biggest strength is also our biggest weakness. In my case, I’m good at saying what I really think, but in some situations I need to be better at saying the second thing that comes to mind instead of the first.

A good example of this problem is my sex analogies. I don’t know why, but sex seems like an appropriate analogy for almost every point I’ve wanted to make, ever. My editor at Business 2.0 told me early on that I need to stop writing references to sex in my column, and when I didn’t, he just deleted them without asking me.

Five years later, when I had not gotten much better about it, Marci Alboher, a woman I trust, told me I should stop talking about sex because I risk offending people. Actually, she specified a sex act. Which I reference a lot, but need to stop referencing, and will not say here to prove that I am not too old a dog to learn new tricks.

So, anyway, the media trainer spent a lot of time teaching me how to edit myself better as I’m talking out loud.

Luckily, most of his advice was about preparing beforehand. Knowing what answer you’re going to give way before you have to field a question. This is very similar to advice I have given about getting a job, so you should pay attention whether you are being interviewed by the press or by a potential employer. Here’s a quote from the material my media trainer gave me.

“Don’t try to prepare for every possible question that could arise. Determine the 6-8 topics that are likely to come up during your interview and then:

a. Hone a key message for each topic.

b. Identify anecdotes you can tell that illustrate each message.

c. Prepare specific examples or compelling data to prove your point.

d. Think of clever analogies if appropriate.

Think of these interviews as the equivalent of a good movie trailer, in which your quest is to independently drive to the very best scenes, anecdotes and newsworthy revelations in the book.”

Here’s an example of me putting all that training into action: Peter Clayton interviewed me for Total Picture Radio. He is a total pro. I am not quite there. You will notice that after all that training, I still made a reference to sex.

Here’s how I became a writer. I started writing when I was six and wrote nonstop, about things no one cared about.

Nineteen years later I thought, I like to write, I should get paid for this.

So I went to graduate school for writing, and the first day, the teacher said, “If any of you can imagine yourselves doing anything but writing, you should do that. Writing is hard, and lonely and full of rejection and you’ll never make any money.”

I stayed in school (I had a fellowship – who can give up free money?) but after school I got a job in marketing at a Fortune 500 company. And I made a lot of money.

But I kept writing. For ten more years. I wrote after work, and when my jobs were slow, I wrote at work. I used my vacation time to send writing to publishers who rejected me. But then they stopped rejecting me. And slowly, I realized that I could support my family with my writing. So I took the leap. (And, note, a huge salary cut.)

If you think you want to be a writer, first pay heed to my teacher’s advice. If you still want to write, remember that most writers spend years and years writing before they get published in a national magazine. So keep your day job until you’re sure you won’t starve. Here are three other things to do as well:

1. Rethink your ideas about time and space.
The best way to build up a freelancing career is to have another job with a steady paycheck, to support you while you’re honing your skills as a freelancer. This means that you need to be able to write in small, disjointed spurts of time, because you have a day job, and responsibilities, and you don’t have three days to craft each sentence.

But maybe you’ve already quit your day job as an expression of commitment to the freelancing. That’s fine, but maybe you don’t have a lot of money. Writers do not need their own pristine office and gorgeous PowerBook. I wrote for years on my kitchen counter because our New York City apartment didn’t have room for a desk. It wasn’t great, but it was fine.

2. Accept self-promotion as a way of life.
No one likes to do self-promotion, but the people who really, really want to work for themselves force themselves to be good at it. There is no one to get work for you except you. And it takes a lot of time to get the word out about what you do and why you do it well.

There are a ton of freelancers who can do a competent job at any given job. The freelancer who gets the work is the one who is best at marketing herself. So don’t talk about the injustice of the world and how you are too much of an artist to promote yourself. Instead, set aside 40% of your day for self-marketing. I used to think that as I got to be a better writer I would do less self-promoting. But in fact, it never happens, as far as I can tell. It’s forty percent forever.

3. Give up the notion that there’s one, perfect way to do it.
Not that the perfect word doesn’t exist. But it’s in the eye of the beholder. Who, in this case, is your editor. But look, you’re not writing the next Magna Charta. Maybe you’re writing a how-to piece for a men’s magazine. Or, if you’re lucky, you’re writing some travel piece about a hotel that’s giving you free lodging. What I’m saying here is that the stuff you’re writing isn’t so precious that the editor can’t rip it to shreds and rewrite it in his voice.

So what? You still get a check. You still get to say you were published in that magazine. Don’t write for that editor again if it’s so upsetting to you. But remember that the best money does not come from the best assignments, and there’s a reason for that.

So be flexible. I have found that when I took assignments that I didn’t like, I still learned a lot, even if the editor didn’t love my word choice. Focus on the learning, and the side benefit will be that you’ll have better relationships with editors. For a freelancer, the steady work comes from a combination of good work and good relationships.

Other posts from “A Week in Journalism” series:

Why do journalists misquote everyone (and how I met my husband)

How to move from print journalism to online journalism

Seven ways to get an agent’s attention (by my agent, Susan Rabiner)

One of the biggest complaints I hear from employees is that no one is listening to their ideas. In a large part this is not because the ideas are bad, but becuse most employees don’t sell their ideas to their company properly.

Selling an idea to an organization requires that you understand how the decision makers operate, then you cater your idea to the arcane decision-making process. So stop complaining about office politics and start leveraging them to sell your ideas.

A good example of how to sell an idea to an organization is this ad campaign run by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Whether or not you agree with the politics of the Center for Constitutional Rights, their approach is interesting:

“America’s leading group of constitutional attorneys present the case for impeachment of George W. Bush exactly as it could be presented by the House of Representatives to the U.S. Senate. Clearly and concisely, they delineate the four strongest charges against the president, citing precedence and evidence that you don’t have to be an attorney to comprehend.”

What is notable here is that the organization is trying to sell its idea by doing the work of the decision makers — in this case, the House of Representatives. This is the kind of campaigning you should do in your own organization. When you have an idea, sell from the perspective of the people who can make or break your outcome. Think about what obstacles would stand in the way for the decision maker, and then you do the work of making a plan to overcome them.

It is not easy to learn how to sell to an organization. Jeff Snipes, CEO of Ninth House, an online training company, told me that one of their most popular types of training is how to navigate the corporate process. “People need to learn to take an innovative idea and build a business plan around it.”

Snipes talked about skills to master in order to get your ideas implemented, and, no surprise, it’s all about emotional intelligence:

1. Solve a problem
The person who needs to give you approval has issues of her own. Everyone does. Getting someone to pay attention to your ideas is a sales issue. You are selling your idea. And the only way to sell something to someone is to solve a problem for them. You need to really understand the needs of the person you are trying to get approval from. And if you cannot figure out how you are helping that person, then you can’t really sell your idea to her.

2. Package your idea
You’ll get higher level people involved if your idea is aligned with the strategic ideas of the organization. In order to get people to buy in to your idea, you have to know what ideas they are focusing on themselves. You need to show them that you are presenting a plan to further their strategic goals.

3. Understand funding processes
Each organization has a different system for funding projects. But it’s safe to say that every system is arcane in its own way. You need to ask a lot of people in a lot of departments to find out the best way to get funding for your idea. If you rely on someone else to get funding, then you run the risk of not getting approval, because someone doesn’t want to deal with the financial implications of your idea. Taking care of a lot of this legwork and office politics yourself can go a long way toward getting approval.

While every company is different, the big-picture strategy for selling an idea is the same for most companies; A lot of rules hold true wherever you go. And even if you don’t end up getting someone to implement your idea, the experience of trying to sell an idea through a large organization is good experience in and of itself.

Sales is hard, and selling ideas is harder. But, like most things in life, you get good at it by trying and learning from failures. So try it.

By Jason Warner — One of my direct reports told me I’m wearing VP shoes. Apparently, my Eccos are the most popular shoe brand among vice presidents at Google.

It’s not surprising that I dress like a VP. Because dressing like what you want to become is an important part of an overall career strategy. What surprises me is how many professionals don’t recognize this or simply choose to ignore it.

But it’s not as simple as dressing for success. This is one of those times where too much or too little can make all the difference. The key to dressing like that which you want to become is to only do it 75%. If you go overboard, you’ll distance yourself from your peers, which is why the discussion about VP shoes threw me. I never want to distance myself from the people on my team. You have to be careful about this.

Here are some guidelines you should follow.

1. Don’t look like you’re trying too hard.
It is part of our corporate culture that you don’t have to dress up to be serious, but the groups I support are sales and operations, and they all dress in a business casual. They wear nice slacks or khakis, nice shoes but they wear quality clothing. So I choose to dress like them and buy nice stuff. I try and invest in nice shoes and belts, and also nice quality shirts. You can get away with buying inexpensive pants — Dockers, for example.

2. Don’t put yourself on the wrong side of the middle.
I see lots of people screw this one up. They see that some of those above them dress casually, so then they choose to dress casually. If you choose to dress like those above you, aim for the right side of the bell curve and dress like the successful people. If everyone dresses casually, then you are on your own, but I’ve found that there’s usually at least a light correlation between the best dressers and the best performers.

3. Don’t dress more than 30% above your level.
Okay, so some of you can swing the Rolex watch in your first job out of college, and to you I say, “Great choice in parents”. For the rest of us, the fastest way to distance yourself from peers and those above you is to overdress the part. It creates awkwardness all the way around. The CEO doesn’t want to see you wearing the same watch she does, nor does your counterpart in the next cube who has been with the company twice as long as you. It’s okay to step it up a little, but show some restraint. It is best to be slightly more done out than your cube-mates.

After all of this, I do have to admit that my new career experience at Google (week six as I write this) has got me a little wrapped around the axle however, as the vast majority of Google employees simply wear jeans and t-shirts to work. And those really bad boots — I think they call them Uggs. So now I’m thinking I may have to adjust my strategy some in this new world of work that is filled with Generation Y.

On this, and my VP shoes, I will keep you posted.

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In this age of transparency and authenticity it seems absurd to not tell you my real name. My real name is not Penelope Trunk. Well, in fact, it is Penelope Trunk. Sort of. At any rate, my name is definitely a lesson in personal branding.

My name started out Adrienne Roston. It’s fun to write that because if you Google that name, you will find only professional beach volleyball statistics. But running this post means that finally all my unrequited high school crushes, who surely are desperate to contact me, can find my email via Google.

So, anyway, I was Adrienne Roston, and then I started reading Adrienne Rich’s poetry in college. This lead me to believe that the key to undermining the patriarchy was through words, and I didn’t want my last name to be a definition of the men I was associated with.

So I went to court to change my name to Adrienne Greenheart. As a foreshadow of my complicated relationship with feminism, I was careful to pick a last name that my current boyfriend would take as well, should we get married (we didn’t). So in fact I have a name he picked. (My first choice was Breedlove. Thank god he voted that down.)

It was in the heart of the start of the Internet: GeoCities, EarthLink, CompuServe. So I spelled my name GreenHeart. I policed my family assiduously — they could barely remember to stop using Roston, let alone add a capital H in the middle of GreenHeart.

In court, the judge asked me why I was changing my name (they have to look out for felons, you know?) I said, “I’m changing my name because I don’t want to be associated with patriarchal naming conventions.”

She said, “That’s a great reason,” and banged her gavel.

Changing my name was amazingly easy. I had just quit playing volleyball and I moved to Boston for graduate school. I got there and introduced myself as Adrienne GreenHeart. Done. I couldn’t believe how well it worked.

Of course, there is a thousand-year history of women doing this – changing their last name overnight. So the world is set up for it, in a way.

When I got my first major job, at a software company, I dropped the capital in the middle and kept my name origins to myself. Then, lo and behold, my master’s thesis won a big award in the software industry. I found out because my boss told me. He shook my hand. He said he’s honored to have me on staff.

Then he called me into his office where and said, “Did you write this?” he pointed to the screen where my thesis was unfolding. He said he thought it was pornography.

I didn’t say to him, “you are an ignoramus and Philip Roth won a National Book Award and he wrote about a boy who masturbates with meat.” I did not say that because my boss had been very supportive of my career.

And this time was no different. He said, “You will go very far in corporate America, but not with your name tied to this. If you had your name on this when our board investigated you we probably wouldn’t have hired you.”

So I made up a new name and slapped it on my master’s thesis. I sent news of my award to my mom. I told her to go read my stories online. And she said, “Oh my god, did you change your name again?”

Then, I got my first columnist job from Time Warner. I approached the contract like any other business contract, and I started negotiating. I said, “Do I really need a new pen name? I already have a pen name.”

My editor said, “Time, Inc. does not negotiate with a no-name like you.” So I didn’t say anything when the magazine assigned me the name Penelope Trunk.

The day my column launched, I had my mom go to the magazine site, and she couldn’t find my column, because of course, she did not know my name.

For a long time, I wrote the column in cognito. I actually had no idea how widely read my column was until I wrote about my company’s office party at the beach. I was too specific about details, and I blew my cover. I nearly got fired, but instead agreed to delete from the online archive a small group of columns including the one about diagnosing my CEO with manic depression.

Soon after that, I became a full-time writer, I thought of writing under Adrienne Greenheart, but I already had too much invested in Penelope Trunk. That’s who people had been reading for three years. It was too late to change. So I posted my photo by my column and I became the name officially.

I used to change my email settings when I had to send something from Penelope. But I ended up having so much email for Penelope that I created two, separate email addresses. One for Penelope and one for Adrienne. I was always forgetting which email client I was in, and I sent email with the wrong name on it all the time. And surely you know that people delete email from names they’ve never heard of.

By this point, I also had a lot of people calling me on the phone and hanging up when they heard Adrienne Greenheart on my voicemail. So I took my name off my voicemail.

Before I started writing for the Boston Globe, I seldom interviewed people. I usually just wrote about me and my friends. But the Globe demanded interviews. It took very little time before I was spending more of my day talking on the phone as Penelope than as Adrienne.

Then I started becoming friends with people I interviewed. And I could never decide when to tell people that my real name is Adrienne. If I told people too late in the friendship they would get insulted. So I started telling people earlier, and then I couldn’t remember who knew what name. And then I found myself signing my Penelope emails as Adrienne.

Things were getting complicated. So I took a drastic step and got rid of my Adrienne email. One email account would be much easier. And by this time, almost everyone who knew me as Adrienne Greenheart also knew that I wrote as Penelope. So I thought it might work.

Things just got more and more complicated, and then I moved to Madison. And I remembered, on the plane ride to Madison, how easy it was to change my name in grad school. You just tell people a different name.

So when I signed up for my son’s preschool, I told them my name was Penelope Trunk. My husband had a fit. He told me I was starting our new life in Madison as an insane person and I cannot change my name now.

But I explained to him that it would be insane not to change my name now. I am way better known as Penelope than Adrienne. And my career is so closely tied with the brand Penelope Trunk, that I actually became the brand. So calling myself Penelope Trunk instead of Adrienne Greenheart is actually a way to match my personal life with my professional life and to make things more sane.

At first it was a little weird. For example, we were driving in the car one day and my son said, “Mom, who’s Penelope Trunk?”

But now it feels good to be Penelope Trunk. No more having to figure out what name to give where. No more pretending to be someone, sometimes. No more long explanations and short memories of who calls me what.

Now, even my husband calls me Penelope. He has to. Because if he called me Adrienne in Madison, no one would know who he’s talking about. So, my real name really is Penelope. Now. And you know what? It’s not that big a deal, since, after all, it is the fourth time I’ve changed my name.

When someone says, “So tell me about yourself,” a lot of people stumble. When you craft your answer, you have 10 million hours of information to choose from. Many people actually hate getting this question because it’s so hard to zero-in on an answer.

This is an honest question. Someone wants to know about you. You should learn to choose the right things to say, so you can answer the question in a way that allows people to connect with you and remember you.

“The villain of getting ideas across is the curse of knowledge,”says Chip Heath, Stanford business school professor. I interviewed him about his book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Heath says that when you know something really well, like every detail of your life, it’s difficult to figure out how to tell someone who doesn’t know.

Everyone has a complicated background. You need to pull that background together in a way that creates a single, memorable picture of yourself that is relevant to the person you’re talking to. In high school Ryan Patriquin focused on fine arts, but in college realized he really enjoyed computer-generated art, like “Toy Story.”

He spent a couple of years as a graphic designer. Then, while working at a large company that was going through transition, he got an opportunity to fill in as a product manager.

Now 28, Patriquin was recently interviewing at EBSCO Publishing, a provider of reference, subscription and other information services. In the interview, he said, “I’m a creative person who has product management experience.”

This is a way for him to convey to people that he has two skills without explaining every detail of his life.

When you hear a summary like this, and it sounds obvious, that’s because it is right. But most people cannot see their own history so clearly to convey a short, one-sentence summary of who they are. You have to find your one-sentence if you want people to remember it. Try it out whenever someone asks you, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself.” The answer to this question is a work in progress, and you can judge how you’re doing by how engaged the person’s response to you is.

As for Patriquin, Brenda Kelley, a recruiter at EBSCO Publishing, says “He packaged himself in a way that helped me know he was the right person for the position. And we ended up hiring him.” Patriquin is now a user interface designer for the company.

Sometimes, you only have time for a one-sentence summary of your life – when you are introduced to someone in passing, for example. But sometimes, there is more time for an answer – in an interview, for example. When you have more time, tell a story.

The best way to have people connect with what you say about yourself, and remember what you say, is to tell a story. Most people instinctively list details about their life, “I did this, then this, then this.” It’s not very interesting. Stories are more engaging, so get used to talking about yourself in stories instead of in lists.

Telling stories about yourself takes practice. A lot of it is trial and error. As you’re telling the story out loud, you’ll instinctively feel if it’s a flop or not. When you find a good story, hone it until you’re conveying what you want people to know, in a way they’ll enjoy hearing.

A story I used to tell in interviews is how I made my career choice during an argument with my ex-boyfriend.

Heath says there are three different kinds of plots we can create about ourselves.

1. The challenge plot. You overcame an obstacle to get to where you are. Heath’s example is someone who says, “I’m really good at customer-focused service.” It’s not very persuasive if someone makes that declaration. But this challenge plot makes things more persuasive; “I learned customer service working at an ice cream stand. In the summer the line was twenty people deep and it was a challenge to keep the customers happy.” Now the listener has an image in their mind of you being good at customer service.

2. The creativity plot. In this plot, the turning point in the story is a eureka moment – when an idea comes to you and changes everything. You could say, “My business is about selling textbooks.” Or you could say, “I had an idea to sell textbooks, but I couldn’t figure out how to market them as interesting to the consumer. Then it hit me that no one has a favorite text book, but everyone has a favorite professor. So I needed to use the professors to hook in the customers.”

3. The connection plot. This plot comes in when you are telling a story about bringing a team together. For example, “our toy company merged with another toy company and people were duplicating each others’ efforts to create a new doll line. I convinced the teams to combine designs and work together. We created a doll that dominated the collectible doll market that Christmas.”

Once you’ve practiced a bit, you can relish the moment someone says, “So, what do you do?” If you understand how to talk about yourself, this is an opening to connect in a meaningful way and make a lasting impression.

I have a new column debuting on Yahoo! Finance today. I’m very excited.

Yahoo contacted me in November, right after I moved to Madison. And right after I signed the contract, they were all about the head shot.

This makes sense. Yahoo wants everyone to look good. Totally reasonable. If nothing else, there’s the fact that good looking people are more successful at work than ugly people. (Thanks, Jordyn)

So anyway, I sent Yahoo the photo you see here, on the sidebar. And they were not impressed. In case you don’t know the seriousness that is Yahoo! Finance, you can look at the headshots of the other columnists and see that my photo would have looked really unprofessional.

Probably because it is: My aunt took it of me and my cousin, at a party, eight years ago. So it’s not just kind of old, I also had to chop the photo up to get rid of the party and my cousin.

But I really love the photo. Please notice my eyebrows. They’re perfect. This photo is from the time in my life when the only responsibilities I had in the world were to run my company, please my venture capital firm, and look hot enough to find someone to marry. My eyebrows were always meticulous.

Yahoo insisted on a new photo. I immediately went into panic mode, worrying that I wouldn’t get one I liked.

I do know a thing or two about head shots. I had one taken in New York City when I was writing a column for Business 2.0 magazine. Here’s what happened: I gave birth on a Friday and they demanded that I take a photo on the following Wednesday. I said, No. Forget it. I am too fat. I said, Run an illustration of me until I lose the weight. They still said no.

So I capitulated. The night before the photo session I was up nonstop with the baby, but at 8 a.m., I went, baby in tow, because I had just read about how reliable people are reliable all the time and I wanted to be one of those people.

I went without showering, I brought one, black, dirty shirt, and I had not slept well for weeks. I walked into the room and there were seven people there to take care of all the stuff I needed: hair, makeup, they brought clothes for me, they had a caterer; it was amazing. There was a person in charge of making wind blow my hair. And the photos were incredible. No one would ever know how crappy I looked.

So when Yahoo said I needed another photo, I knew I wanted another miracle-working photographer, but I knew there would be no one in Madison who specializes in wind for hair.

I became a lunatic. Thank god I had signed the contract already because I was literally calling my contact at Yahoo three or four times a day stressing about how to do a photograph in Madison. Or Chicago.

Tech columnist Eric Benderoff writes in the Chicago Tribune about how online photos are the new self-portrait and a form of digital self-expression, and how people judge you as soon as they see the photo.

All stuff that made me a wreck about scheduling the photo for my head shot. But at the end of that article there’s a quote from a photographer who says, “If you portray yourself with honesty, people will respond to that.”

That sounds true to me. And you know what? I had the pictures taken in Madison. There was no wind and no catering, and I brought my own clothes. But I really like the result: Check out the new, Madison me.

Forget the idea that networking is a job-hunting tool. Networking is the job hunt. But networking is not just passing out your business card and e-mailing your friends’ friend. Networking is making yourself buzz-worthy so people want to be connected with you.

This is not the old networking that celebrated extroverts and crushed introverts. Building buzz celebrates the diligent information broker and crushes the relentless self-promoter. Build buzz for yourself by processing information in new ways and connecting people and ideas in ways that are interesting and provide new experiences.

Here are four things to remember when you want to build buzz:

1. Be known for good work.
This is the most powerful tool in your career. Even if you start with no reputation and no connections, it’s not unrealistic to get known for doing outstanding work.

“If you’re great, people will notice you,” says Dana Zemack, founder of Zemack PR & Communications.

David Weekly is a programmer who has built such a strong reputation for having good ideas that popular blogs such as Slashdot, BoingBoing, and Lifehacker reliably post links to his new products.

“I want to build a reputation as someone who comes up with interesting things and tries to be useful,” Weekly said. “I use my reputation as a launch platform for my ideas.”

His current company is PBWiki, which offers a service that gives people a simple way to collaborate online, in a wiki, for example.When he announced the company he got 1,000 customers on the first day, just from being mentioned on those blogs.

2. Contribute to the community.
For Weekly, building buzz is not a single project, but an ongoing commitment to giving quality work to a larger community. And this should be how you think about yourself, as well.

The days of just pushing plain old information out to an audience are ending. Stories, not raw facts, are what people can relate to. “A great way to connect with people is by way of stories,” says Zemack. “When you build experiences or create a story around a something, then it becomes more engaging and personal.”

You can do this many ways but maybe the easiest is to add your comments to blogs. This is a way to broker information in a useful way, sort of like inviting yourself to a party, but it’s OK to do so, as long as you make relevant contributions.

Also, give away good information. There is so much information available that hoarding it will get you nowhere. People will just look elsewhere to get ideas. Instead, share as much as you can with the community, to build your reputation into what you’d like to be known for. “Information is not the main ingredient. It’s knowing how to enact it,” says BL Ochman, author of The What’s Next Blog.

3. Shape your own destiny.
How people see you online matters. For example, most young people would not date someone before Googling them, and we do this kind of electronic research routinely before buying products and services as well. Recruiters also use the Internet to identify job candidates rather than sift through piles of resumes. So you need to manage your online identity to make sure people see you as the person you want to be.

Peter Himler is author of The Flack and founder of Flatiron Communications in New York. His decades of experience in the public relations and communications field includes serving as spokesman for major companies, chairing organizations and giving lectures. He is all over Google, but had little control over what Google served up. By blogging, Himler shapes his online image — his “digital footprint” — because his blog now comes up first when you Google his name.

You can also take control of what people see by removing the bad stuff. There are no guarantees, of course, but if you want to clean up your online identity, ReputationDefender has proprietary resources for both finding the dirt and cleaning it up.

4. Think in terms of experience and get off the sofa.
The more types of meaningful connections you can make with an audience, the more effective the buzz will be. “The best way to generate buzz about what you do is to combine an offline and online experience,” says Zemack.

Advertising industry veteran Steve Hall, editor of Adrants, rattles off many fun examples of effective buzz-generating tactics that do not include a computer. For example, Canon paid couples to carry around its new product and ask passersby to take their pictures. That person who took the picture inadvertently learned how to use the camera. And, if things went as planned, the unsuspecting photographer would also hear a few benefits of using the camera: “We just love the zoom lens, could you use that, please?”

This is an experience you could never have online. (Though today the ethics of this particular promotion seem flawed.)

Also, just like people go to blogs to learn something and have a fun engagement with a community, people like to do the same thing offline. Throwing a party is one of the oldest tools in the box for building buzz, and it still works.

Zemack has made a name for herself, and her communications firm, by throwing ice cream parties and chocolate-tasting parties. The exotic flavors described by well-versed wait staff and perfectly complimentary hipster circles mingling over tasty cones allows people to learn something new, and to make new introductions — just the kinds of experiences Zemack wants a reputation for creating.

One of the mantras of the online marketing world is that if you want to get something noticed, you need an offline and an online marketing plan. Because each type of marketing is more powerful when used with the other type.

Bloggers are generous with advice about how to get mentioned on blogs, but what about the other way around? How do individuals — bloggers and nonbloggers — get mentioned in print?

We all need to get ourselves noticed for what we are doing. Sometimes you will promote yourself as an employee, sometimes as a consultant, sometimes it’ll be a product idea you have. Also, today job hunting is a lifestyle, not an event, and you are always on a publicity campaign for yourself (via CM Access). So advice for bloggers about how to get into print applies to the nonblogging careerist as well.

Here are six tips for getting yourself into the mainstream print media:

1. Don’t pitch yourself, pitch an idea.
Bloggers get popular by infusing their personality into their information, but the mainstream media doesn’t care about your personality as much as your ideas. (This might be why it’s so hard for many mainstream journalists to become bloggers. But it’s also why bloggers are so annoying to many mainstream journalists.)

Also, most articles in print are not about bloggers. If you want to get into the majority of articles, you need to pitch yourself as an expert on an idea. The blog is secondary -it’s like an author’s book. The book or blog is not the news, the ideas are.

2. Pitch an idea with the print audience in mind.
Your idea needs to appeal to the hundreds of thousands of readers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, not the 40,000 readers of your blog. So for newspapers, pitch broad. If you wrote a gardening blog, for example, broad would be ten winter gardening trends.

Magazines are more niche-oriented, but it’s their niche, not yours. An angle for Self magazine is how gardening gets you in shape. And you, the gardening blogger, can be quoted as an expert. An article in Maxim would be how to have sex in a garden. You can still be quoted as the gardening expert – like, don’t do it near rose bushes.

The trick is to pitch a topic that gets the media outlet excited. So you really have to know what they have written about before in your area so you don’t sound redundant.

3. Tailor the idea to the journalist.
Here’s something print journalists and bloggers have in common: They love when you do the heavy lifting for them. And like bloggers, sometimes if you write a pitch well, a print journalist will run the pitch almost verbatim, (even in the New York Times).

Also like bloggers, print journalists have an area they write about, and you need to pitch ideas that are in their area. For example, I write about careers, but not all career stories are right for me; I almost never write topics that are geared toward someone over 60, but people pitch me those topics all the time. (Those ideas are perfect for AARP magazine, which, by the way, has an enormous readership.)

4. Sign up for Profnet.
This service costs a few hundred dollars, but it’s worth it if you really want offline publicity. Journalists go to this site to ask for specific information from a specific type of person. If you meet those criteria, you can send the journalist a pitch via email and if you really are a match, the journalist will contact you. Profnet is a key tool in most publicists’ toolboxes and it’s accessible to anyone (who can pay).

5. Answer questions strategically.
Just because you get an interview doesn’t mean you’ll be in the piece the journalist is writing. You need to give a useful quote.

You will not get a treatise into the San Francisco Chronicle, so when they call, don’t spew one. Give succinct summaries of big ideas because that’s what’s quotable. If the reporter asks for more information after that, then give it.

On a broad topic – like what are the new snowboarding trends? – have three main points. On a narrow topic – like snowboarders break a lot of bones – give a snappy quote that supports the journalist’s point of view, if you can. The person who gives the journalist the key quote is the last person to be cut.

6. Be available.
A lot of people want to be quoted in the paper. And you are probably not the only person who would be appropriate. So respond to an interview inquiry quickly, and be available when the journalist needs to talk. Unlike bloggers, print journalists answer to someone else’s schedule. They are on deadline. Help them and they’ll love you.

This is, indeed, a lot of work, but remember that viral marketing isn’t only online. When a print journalist sees you quoted in one print publication, she is more likely to write about you in her publication.

Conversely, if you gave an interview and you’re not in the article, you did a bad job in the interview and probably won’t get a call from that journalist again. But keep working at it. I have found that the people who give the most interviews are the best at doing them.

And when I interview someone who is great at giving an interview, I realize that this skill is really about talking in a way that makes people feel engaged — a skill anyone can use at any time in their career.

After reading the comments people posted about rankism, it occurred to me that the idea of teamwork is very related. Teamwork that is merely cosmetic (e.g. a department that calls itself a team) reinforces rankism. But real teams are actually the opposite of rankism — they are flat, temporary, and assume equal contribution from everyone, no matter where they fall in the office hierarchy.

One of the defining traits of Generation Y is their penchant, and talent, for working in teams. Enzo Marchio, Antonio DeFabritiis, and Johnny Marchio are equal owners of Enzo and Company, a hair salon, and they are a good example of this team mentality. Unlike entrepreneurs of the past, who were typically loners, uncomfortable functioning in a larger organization, these three would never think of going it alone. DeFabritiis says, “Everything is easier if we work as a team. And it's more fun.” When asked how he learned to work well in a team, DeFabritiis says, “This is how we were brought up.”

Being part of a team is the best way for today's new workers to get interesting high-level work for themselves. However even though reams of research shows the effectiveness of teams in the workplace, Baby Boomer management has had a tough time with implementation.

Bruce Tulgan, founder of Rainmaker Thinking and co-author of Managing Generation Y, explains that, “There was a big shift in parenting, teaching and counseling in the mid 80s because of research in childhood self-esteem.” These kids are very well-versed in getting along with others, collaboration skills, feeling part of a team, and having good communication skills.

Teams appeal to young workers because they have no interest in boring or ancillary workplace tasks, even at the entry level. Well-constructed teams provide an opportunity to be a decision maker and a key contributor early in ones career. According to Tulgan, “Generation Yers like teams because they are pulled out of the hierarchical structure. On a team it's not about what is your experience but what can you do today.”

Older, more experienced workers are more comfortable in hierarchies, especially since they are the workers most likely to be on top. Often, according to Tulgan, the idea of a corporate team is meaningless; “People just change the sign on the door from human resources department to human resources team.” And, if Boomers do form teams, they are often hierarchical teams where there is one leader who tells everyone else what to do.

Jeff Snipes, CEO of Ninth House, a provider of online education, including optimizing team effectiveness, says a hierarchical, leader-oriented team was appropriate for earlier generations: “Traditionally if you worked up ranks for twenty yeas and all the employees were local then you could know all the functions of the workplace. Then you could lead by barking orders.”

“But today everything moves too fast and the breadth of competency necessary to do something is too vast.” The most effective teams today are competency-based teams, where each person comes to the group with a different skill and they work together for a specific duration on a specific project to build something bigger than themselves. On these teams, everyone is an important decision-maker and is able to make a big difference.

Workers who want to make sure they have the growth opportunities that come with competency-based teams should make sure they are choosing to work at companies that use this sort of team. Snipes suggests that you ask these questions of a company you're considering: (Note to managers: Ask yourself how you'd answer these questions. You need good answers if you're going to attract the good catches in the coming years.)

1. What sort of talent development does the company commit to? There are no good teams without team training. A company committed to team leadership trains people to do it.

2. Is diversity important to a company? When it comes to teams, diverse input makes more effective outcomes. Diversity is important not only in terms of race and culture but in terms of the way people think.

3. Is there a reward system in place for teams? If a company rewards individual achievements, only then will individuals have less incentive to make teams work.

But let’s be real. Not everyone can stomach working on a team. Kerry Sulkowicz, Founder of the Boswell Group and advisor to CEOs on psychological aspects of management, says, “There are different types of personalities and it's not as simple as being part of a generation. There will always be some people who feel constrained being part of a group.” Sulkowicz says to think of it as a spectrum; almost everyone needs alone time, just some people need very little and some people need a lot. For those of you who don't do your best work in teams, take solace in the fact that Baby Boomers still run the workplace, and they're not big on teams either.