Monday, September 19, 2011

SMPS Atlanta 2011-2012 Calendar

The 2011-2012 SMPS Atlanta Calendar has been posted! Click to view the calendar on a larger scale and/or print. These calendars will be available online and at every SMPS Atlanta event and program.

We have some great events and programs planned for this year including our always popular Boot Camp Series and a new program titled Group Therapy which will be regularly held to address lessons learned and to  provide open discussion for professional advice. The group will work together to offer suggestions, solutions and follow-up.

Notice anything different? We have a new look! You'll start to see some more changes with our marketing material, flyers, events, social media, and website. We are excited to have a fresh new face to our growing chapter!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SERC: Call for Presentations!

The SMPS Southeast Regional Conference (SERC) Programs Committee invites you to submit a proposal for a breakout session for Get Down In Crown Town, the 2012 SMPS Southeast Regional Conference, March 28-30, 2012, in Charlotte, NC. Please download the Call for Presentations in MS Word format (at the conference website:, complete, and email to Michele Lewis ( before 5 PM EST on September 15, 2011.

Proposal Deadline: September 15, 2011, 5 PM EST

The Call for Presentations will be also be posted on SMPS National’s website:

Monday, August 1, 2011

10 Reasons Why You Should Join SMPS

SMPS can help you, as a member, build your business and advance your career. SMPS membership gives you access to:

1. Networking Opportunities
Make local, regional, and national A/E/C business contacts through SMPS to build your business. Networking suggestions: Attend chapter meetings and programs or participate in Build Business or a national workshop. Volunteer for a chapter or national committee. Learn more about your fellow members in People on MySMPS. Participate in online forum discussions, where you can ask your peers for advice and recommendations and share your own experience and knowledge. Locate potential partners and suppliers in the A/E/C Buyer's Guide.

2. Publications
Read up on trends, best practices, and relevant issues impacting professional services marketing and business development. SMPS membership includes subscriptions to the award-winning journal Marketer and toConnections, our e-newsletter; access to research and white papers funded by the SMPS Foundation; and discounts on industry publications from the SMPS Bookstore.

3. Marketing Resource Center
Take networking to another level with MySMPS, the award-winning online community designed exclusively for SMPS members. The mission of MySMPS is simple: To connect you online 24/7/365 with people, information, and opportunities to make building business easier.

4. Certified Professional Services Marketer Program
Earn professional credentials via the Certified Professional Services Marketer Program. In an industry that values certification, the CPSM program can help you build your personal brand as an expert in marketing and business development, increasing your credibility with employers, coworkers, and peers.

5. Programs and Conferences
Attend national and regional conferences and programs to explore how other professional services firms are tackling the business challenges you and your colleagues face every day. You will return to the office with innovative solutions and fresh ideas your company can put to work immediately.

6. Leadership Opportunities
Develop and practice your leadership skills by getting involved in SMPS: Volunteer to serve on chapter committees, your chapter's board of directors, regional conference planning committees, and national task forces and committees.

7. Career and Recruitment Resources
Plan your career, gain access to advancement tools, and search for job opportunities through the SMPS Career Center. If your firm is seeking candidates to fill an open position, you can post that position in the Career Center and review the resume bank to identify marketers and business developers with experience in the A/E/C industry.
 (SMPS members and their firms enjoy a discount on employment ads posted in the Career Center.)

SMPS also supports the growth of A/E/C companies by providing members with:

8. National and Regional Contacts
Contacts made through the powerful SMPS network to facilitate teaming opportunities, business referrals, and knowledge of A/E/C business practices, trends, and successes.

9. Professional Development Opportunities
Opportunities to present programs, write articles and white papers, and conduct funded research are available at the local, regional, and national levels of SMPS. Through involvement in SMPS, your employees can demonstrate the thought leadership and expertise your firm has to offer clients and teaming partners.

10. A Community for Emerging Leaders
SMPS offers the emerging leaders in your organization access to the greater A/E/C community, introducing them to community leaders, exposing them to big-picture perspectives, and fueling their passion for the industry and their professions—all elements in retaining the brightest and best talent for your company. The connections made in SMPS lead directly to business opportunities with clients and teaming partners.

Heard enough? Join SMPS today!

This article was republished from the SMPS National website

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Social Media is Useful to A/E/C Firms

isThese days, just about everyone has jumped onto the social-media bandwagon. Whether through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or some other medium, millions of people and businesses are constantly connecting and interacting with one another. In fact, social media have become one of the top methods used to collect news, information, or learn about new products and technologies today. But given the significant popularity of these networks and the fact they are virtually all free, why haven’t more businesses in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction gotten involved in social media?

Perhaps those in the A/E/C industry find it counterintuitive to interact with the general population, given that their firms are tailored to such small niche markets? Also, by socializing with the public online, many believe they may run the risk of letting competitors in on too much information or creating a liability for projects and the company as a whole. Granted, these possibilities could very well be true; but an A/E/C firm’s participation in social media is no different than the firm’s participation in trade shows, industry organizations, or networking events: There’s always the possibility that someone could “say the wrong thing.” And much as anyone involved in the business development or marketing side of A/E/C knows, through training, guidelines, and experience, you will eventually learn what to say, how to say it, and what to avoid. Social media work the exact same way.

In the past, the A/E/C industry was very every-business-for-itself, keeping other firms and competitors in the dark about projects and clients. Now, with the recent economic decline, many firms are reaching out to one another to team up, bolster business, and do their best to weather hard times. More than ever, it is imperative that A/E/C firms constantly network and “get to know their neighbors.” Social media are excellent tools not only for learning about other firms, but also for introducing yourself to and building relationships with potential clients. You would be surprised how many federal organizations, municipalities, and developers are on only a click away on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Read the more about Social Media and it's impact on AEC firms in the upcoming August Edition of the SMPS Atlanta Inspiration Newsletter. To get on our email distribution list for this newsletter and other SMPS Atlanta chapter news, please click HERE.

Sarah Zibanejadrad has worked as a marketing coordinator for Oasis Consulting Services, an engineering firm specializing in landfills, geotechnical, and environmental services. Currently, she is a social-media consultant for Rumor Interactive Media, a company focused on developing business Web presences.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Designing a More User-Friendly Web Site

From time to time, firms revamp their Web sites. You want your firm to look current, maybe even cutting-edge. Your Web site is the face you put out there in cyberspace for the world to see, particularly for your clients and your prospective clients. You want to put your best face forward.

For most firms in the A/E/C sector, the Web site is primarily an electronic brochure. You want people to see who you are and what you do. And you want them to be able to find that information quickly. If it isn’t easy for them to find their way around your Web site, chances are they will get frustrated, stop looking, and find another firm.

One of my pet peeves is the beautiful Web site that takes forever to load. If you have the time for all the flash to click in, the Web site is awesome. But if I’m looking for information, chances are somewhere between slim and none that I’ll sit for long waiting for it to load. It’s safe to assume your clients and potential clients feel the same way. They’re not looking for entertainment; they’re looking for information.

Another pet peeve is not being able to find contact information. Sometimes, I just want an address; sometimes, an e-mail address. Sometimes I just want to call someone and ask a question. That’s why on the Greyling Web site, you’ll find multiple ways to contact us all in one page: phone numbers, fax number, toll-free phone number, physical locations, and a few e-mail addresses are all on one page. (Check it out: I’ve actually had people say, “Bless you! I don’t know why more companies don’t do it that way!”

This doesn’t mean your Web site can’t be attractive. In fact, it should be appealing, conveying an image of your firm that will attract the kind of people with whom you want to do business. It just shouldn’t be so complicated that people can’t find what they need with just a few clicks.

In his book Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug explains the basic rules of good Web site design. If the title doesn’t make the point clearly enough, the subtitle does: “A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” The author has spent more than 20 years as a Web site usability consultant for such firms as Apple,, and NPR.

One of my favorite rules is “Omit needless words.” He recommends writing the text, removing half of the words, then removing half of what’s left. People don’t “read” Web sites the way they read books or even magazines. They’re looking for information. Do you design hospitals; and if so, what hospitals have you designed? Do you build bridges; and if so, what kind of bridges? An eloquent, long-winded treatise on bridge building doesn’t cut it. Click, click, click to the bridges. And they’re done.

Navigation is also important. It should be intuitive where to click to get to what you want. A one-click button called “Industry Focus” should take you to a list of the industries your firm serves. A second one-click button should take you to a few words or pictures that answer the question. Then one more one-click button should take you wherever you want to go next: the home page, the contact us page, or someplace else. It should be easy to get what you want and get out.

There are more rules than these, but the book is something you can read on a two- or three-hour airplane ride. (No, I don’t know Steve Krug, nor do I get anything out of recommending his book other than passing valuable information on to colleagues.)

If and when your firm decides to revamp its Web site, this book can help you create a more effective, more efficient Web site. And your best and uncluttered face will be there for everyone to see.

Meike Olin, CPCU, CIC, CRM
Senior Vice President
Greyling Insurance Brokerage

Monday, May 2, 2011

Who is going to sell you?

(originally posted by Mr. Ronald D. Worth on Apr 25th, 2011 on

We live in a world of political correctness while striving to be considerate of others we encounter during work. That is all very well and good, but during the course of a day you need to take some time to focus selfishly on yourself, if you plan to move forward with your career and achieve your goals. No one understands you better than you do. Also no one knows what you are accomplishing or where you are headed. Keep those who have the power or influence to decide your future regularly informed about what you are doing.

Being assertive does not make you aggressive or outspoken, it is just a professional approach to ensuring you are consistently moving forward while encouraging those around you to stay engaged in (or at least knowledgeable about) our aspirations and good deeds. Now is a good time to be visible and recognized for your hard work.

In the book, “Yes, You Can!” by Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, they provide 10 great ways to help you to sell yourself effectively. Give them a try:

1. “First, be certain you have a good product to market. Be very good at what you do.

2. Keep key decision makers informed on an ongoing basis of developments within your area of expertise that are of interest to the firm and/or chapter.

3. Submit articles for publication in your company’s newsletter that highlight your responsibilities and your accomplishments. Offer to write a monthly column.

4. Ask your boss to take you to staff meetings attended by high-ranking company officials. Without being pushy, introduce yourself to any higher-ups you encounter.

5. Ask your boss for opportunities to showcase your presentation skills to upper management. (Sharpen those skills first!)

6. Greet top-level managers whenever and wherever you see them. Use a simple, “Hello, Ms. Roberts.” After a while they’ll begin asking and finding out who you are.

7. Author, or coauthor with your boss, reports that will have high visibility. Make sure you name appears on the cover.

8. Volunteer for assignments that will bring you into contact with a wide variety of new people both inside and outside the company.

9. Be sure your boss sees any written commendations you receive from customers.

10. Be kind and helpful to as many coworkers as you can, and let work of mouth do the rest.”

If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I?
--Hillel The Elder

Feeling sorry for yourself is one of the strongest, most addictive narcotics known to man. It feels so good to feel so bad. Self-pity arises so easily, seems so plausible, and proves so hard to shake off.
--David Powlison

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Social Media- Revolution or Fad?

Interesting video on social media- posted almost two years ago, but still relevant. It's interesting to see how the AEC world is handling social media- we're seeing some firms embrace it and others shirk from it like the plague.

How is your firm handling the social media revolution? Is there really any question anymore to whether it's just a fad?