Amanda Costello

Talks & Workshops

My presentations connect people to their content and one another with humor, honesty, and enthusiasm. Some of my most popular talks and workshops are listed here. I work with each client, conference, or event to customize my work to be relevant to their teams or attendees.

Content (Strategy) for Everybody

one-hour talk

Audiences: Subject matter experts, project stakeholders, content specialists, people who work tangentially with web content.

Maybe you've heard of - or are already working with - content strategy, but for a lot of folks, it's a foreign concept. Content strategy is often brushed aside by many who don't consider themselves "web people."

Hold up! As people interact more and more with companies through the web and social media, understanding the basics of good content is important for everyone in the organization. Find out what makes content good, how you can do your part, and why being a bit of a "web person" is actually great. 


Explain Anything to Your Boss and Grandboss

one-hour talk

Audiences: Anyone! This is my most versatile talk, appropriate for folks who need to explain the what/why/how of their work to others (so, all of us).

When you’re asked by your boss, or your boss’s boss (your grandboss!) to explain your work, what do you say? How can you build advocates in people whose pay grades eat pay grades like yours for breakfast? This is the situation Amanda found herself in when her great-grandboss asked her to speak about her work to senior leadership. Spoiler alert: Nobody was fired. 

This talk gives you memorable ways of talking about your work that stick with leadership, even as they navigate their myriad other duties and responsibilities. Build advocacy for best practices and make sure your voice is heard - even when you're not in the room.


I Don't Have Your Ph.D.: Working with Experts & Specialists

one-hour talk

Audiences: Communications and marketing professionals, educators, trainers, writer, editors, publishers, project managers, and strategists of all stripes.

Every field has its own form of content specialist—faculty in higher education, surgeons in hospitals, and curators in museums. While you may not have the same level of specialty knowledge, you still have to work with these folks! How do you make sense of and promote this expert knowledge if you have no background in that subject area, let alone an advanced degree?

This session will draw from Amanda’s experience as a content strategist and project manager at the University of Minnesota, one of the country’s largest research institutions. Learn how to build an expert’s trust in your knowledge and skills, and get tips for working with difficult specialist personalities, from the complete technophobe to the extreme early adopter. Establish rapport and get your work done, channeling your specialist's expertise into great content.


How Silos Learn: Lessons from the Idea Factory

one hour talk

Audiences: Groups battling siloed workplaces, either their own or those of their clients.

Silos can keep us from doing our best work, but when you're in the middle of a silo - and maybe that silo is inside another silo - can you even make a difference? And where do you start? Bringing together lessons from sociology, sustainable architecture, and the Midwestern landscape, Amanda examines organizational silos not only to better understand them, but teach them a thing or two as well.

This talk mixes high-level organizational theory with immediate take-aways to help anyone in a siloed workplace foster change in both the short- and long-term.


Stakeholder Wrangling: People, Projects, and Politics

Half-day Workshop

Audiences: Anyone working with project management duties, not necessarily with the "Project Manager" job title.

Managing and collaborating well with stakeholders is a key component to any project’s success, but the politics, history, and culture of an organization give this task an extra layer of complexity not often found in project manager training or books.

Drawing from more than a decade’s worth of experience working with higher ed projects and egos big and small, Amanda will get you equipped to roll with whatever stakeholders may throw at you. 

You'll come away with strategies and tactics to listen for what stakeholders are really saying, set workable goals and intentions, and build and maintain trust through the natural ups and downs of any project.