Paper Matters Blog
Ways To Invest In Yourself During Isolation

My whole career has been in Sales and Marketing. So I’m writing from a perspective of how these tools are relevant to those who ride with me on this side of the business.  Regardless, these tools are resourceful for any discipline and can be useful to keep yourself motivated during these times of isolation.

Work on your graphical presentation skills. Over the last several years from my co-worker from across the state, Laurie Walker, has taken multiple classes available online from a company called Brightcarbon

Brightcarbon is a presentation design agency. They are pros at PowerPoint. They offer paid services for the creation of presentations, advanced PowerPoint training, eLearning creation and a presentation helpdesk.  They offer some services at no charge. They frequently host webinars, typically 30 minutes in duration, where they provide practical tips on how to up to your game. Here’s Laurie’s take on her experience in their virtual classroom. “A colleague introduced me to Bright Carbon three years ago, and I’ve participated in several of their free, 30-minute masterclasses since that time.  The classes offer helpful insights into breaking down complex information to create more visual, less ‘wordy’ presentations, as well as time-saving shortcuts.  The short sessions are easy to work into my daily schedule and have helped me think a little differently when designing presentations.”

If there was a time to invest in creating an impactful presentation, this is it.  Isolation doesn’t have to mean that we stop working.  Their blog offers articles on presentation creation for Powerpoint, Google slides and other online platforms. You can sign up for notifications of upcoming masterclasses, new resources and event he free stuff at

Get with Gitomer

Jeffrey Gitomer has been helping salespeople succeed since 1988. He has authored numerous books on the subject, blogs regularly, records podcasts, has a vast library of helpful videos, like over 1,000 hours worth. I found him by way of a book that he wrote in 2004 titled Little Red Book of Selling. It’s a short read full of practical information that will benefit the rest of your sales career.  Since I found my way to him through the book, I have been a regular subscriber to his weekly newsletter. I used his Ace of Sales program from which I was able to publish my own newsletter. His video training has made me more comfortable with various social media tools.  When I moved into a Marketing role and was about to manage my first conference, I watched several videos that Jeffrey has on how to make the most of tradeshows. He provides more information than you can ever consume.

I can almost guarantee that you will find something on his website that will inspire you or improve a skill immediately if you invest the time.  When it comes to working from home and feeling isolated from the rest of the world, stay positive and inspired is important.

Back to School

In December of 2016 I was offered a move into our Marketing department after 25 plus years of exclusively sales experienced. A few days after making the switch I had one of those moments of doubt, “Oh no, what do I know about Marketing”. I remembered that I had a message in my inbox from the early part of 2016.  My alma mater had sent notification of a free online learning resource called Coursera.  They offer classroom instruction via video led by actual professors/instructors from Universities all across the United States.  The course schedule has instructions on many disciplines.  The videos are recorded so you watch them when it fits your schedule.  The length of time of a session is the same as a typical classroom meeting, around 50 minutes.

I signed up for a Marketing class from my alma mater and binge-watched over the 2016 Holidays. Viewing the lectures provided some confidence and added some steam to my stride as I headed into the 2017 calendar year.  Now that we have all been forced to go into isolation, most universities and learning platforms have similar courses that can prove to strengthen your skills at little or no cost. You just have to want to exceed the expectations.

There you have three options with varying time commitments to fill your time during isolation. I welcome comments with other suggestions from your own experience in continuing professional education.  If you check any of these three ideas out, please let me know about your experience.

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