5 Ways to Improve Communication Through Listening

March 2, 2017

Business skills come down to the basic skill of communication. And what makes someone good at communication? Being a good listener. If you can show someone, whether it be your boss, employee, coworker or client, that you care about what they are saying, it will get you a long way. Here a five tips on how to become a better listener:

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  1. Show your engagement. This includes nonverbal communication. It’s not only about what you say, but your body language as well.
  2. Ask questions. This will not only show the other person that you are listening and paying attention, but that you really do want to know what’s going. If you didn’t hear something, ask them to repeat.
  3. Acknowledge feelings. This is important, especially when you don’t necessarily agree with what they have to say.
  4. Keep eye contact. It shows that you are listening and engaged in what they are saying instead of being distracted by things around you.
  5. Just listen. By this I mean don’t interrupt, don’t rush them and don’t try to offer up a bunch of solutions. Be present in the conversation and just listen.

5 Ways to Kick Procastination

February 16, 2017

With the new year over a month away already, we are all starting to feel the lag. Procrastination is something that effects everyone, some worse than others, but it’s always there. Here are a few helpful tips on how to avoid procrastination in your daily tasks, until you make it to your much needed break!

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  1. The first thing is always make a plan. Set a goal for yourself, both short term and long term, and then work backward. Figure out what needs to be done first, and then get working! It always feels good to check something off a list so there is a little motivation to start with.
  2. Then, make sure to switch things up. If you have hit a road block, aren’t sure where to go or can tell nothing productive is happening just move onto another task for a little bit. Just be sure to circle back around!
  3. It’s important not to stress yourself. When making your plan or as things come up during the week move things around. You need to be realistic in your goals because when there are too many things on your plate you become less productive.
  4. Don’t forget to make some time for you. If it’s constantly work and no play you will always be procrastinating and stressed out. It’s vital that everyone has a little down time. When you’re at work that means take a break. Get out of the office for lunch. It also means when you leave work for the day or the weekend try to separate yourself mentally.
  5. The last point, and maybe most important, is be nice to yourself. Everyone procrastinates. Everyone gets stressed out. But be kind to yourself because it’s okay! The hardest part of a project or task (or going to the gym for that matter), is just getting started.

What are your best tips for avoiding procrastination?


The Power of First Impressions

February 2, 2017

You all have heard the first impressions are everything, and you only have one shot at it. As soon as you meet someone new they are instantly sizing you up. It really doesn’t matter what the context is in which you are meeting, the people around you will instantly begin to judge you based on your outward appearance and behaviors. It takes about 4 seconds for someone to make their first judgement or assumption.

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Your clothing, whether we like it or not, is a big factor in how people look at you. A well tailored suit or dress compared to one that is slightly ill fitting instantly gives the impression of being wealthier and more successful. This are assumptions that we as humans make subconsciously, but happen nonetheless.  This doesn’t just apply to clothing either. People look at your hairstyle, bags, accessories, etc. Moral of the story is you appearance does matter, so take a little time to think about the image that you would like to portray to the world.

A strong handshake is also important, especially in the context of business meetings or interviews. The main consensus on handshakes are to keep them short and sweet. No one wants to shake hands with a clinger. And always maintain eye contact! This applies to personal and professional meetings and conversations.

The last piece of advice I have to offer is to get comfortable with small talk. It’s always awkward and sometimes uncomfortable, but it’s important. If you aren’t confident in your ability to hold a conversation based off of small talk, just ask questions. This will always be in your benefit. If at a later date you would like to reconnect with the person you can bring up a good talking point from your conversation so they have an easier time remembering you.


Happy New Year 2017

January 5, 2017

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What will 2017 bring?

This upcoming year brings a lot of change. A new year. A new presidency. Some of you are nervous, some of you are excited, some of you are a little of both. We have many unanswered questions … and I certainly don’t have the answers.

However, I know one thing for certain: I will continue to be concerned about my family, my friends, my business. I know that I will continue to serve my clients and help support their marketing efforts.

Even if we have no idea what the near year will bring, we know we can do our best to prepare and plan for it.

What marketing strategies are you going to implement in 2017? What new ways are you going to reach out to attract new clients? How are you planning on retaining the clients you have?

We need to be resilient in our ideas and follow through with our commitments. New year new me is an unrealistic assumption, but this is the year to know your voice, be creative, and focus on you in order to better your business and client satisfaction.

2017 is the year to return to the basics of human connection. Be present in all that you do, stick to your word, be creative and courageous, hone your strategy and focus on what matters to you.
Don’t let this be the year of resolutions not held.


4 Things to Learn Online Today

November 10, 2016

No matter the field you are in, the internet is your friend. It is your number one resource, so use it! There are so many skills and programs you can easily learn with the click of your mouse so why not take full advantage. These are just a few of the things you can learn.

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  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Of all the skills you can learn this is easily one of the most important. You can boost your sales and customers will be sent to your website left and right. Here are a couple resources.
  2. Languages. This may not be something that would immediately come to mind, but in this day and age so many things are international. If you are new to the job market or simply looking to expand, honing a second or third language will put you far above the rest.
  3. Copywriting. Copywriting is another skill that is of high importance. Being able to write copy that sells people on whatever goods or services you are providing will be a huge success factor.
  4. Web Development. Your website will connect you with the world around you. Being able to create your own design and brand is a great skill that can be carried with you throughout your career.

What skills have you found the most useful in your career?


4 Steps to Get in Charge of Your Own Career

October 27, 2016

It is not always easy making decisions, especially large ones. The career you choose and then the path you decide to go down within your career is one of the biggest decisions you are going to make in your lifetime. It’s important to treat it as such, and it’s always a good idea to ask for other peoples’ opinions and advice. That being said, you need to be firm and in control of your own career path and choices. Learn when to say no, and that it is okay to say no. Stay focused, and know what you are doing and why it is important to you. Success follows determined people. Here a few simple ideas to help keep you on track.

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  1. Avoid negativity. This sounds simple and obvious but it is so important. Don’t let negative people bring you down or feel bad about the choices you are making. Everyone won’t understand what you’re doing or why, but they simply don’t need to. Most importantly, don’t let those negative thoughts deviate you from your plan or focus.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. It’s okay to mess up. Everyone does and everyone will. Don’t let your mistakes make you feel as though you can’t achieve your goals. It’s the only way you will learn, so get back up and try again.
  3. Be okay with change. This can’t be stressed enough. There are always going to be obstacles and the only thing that we are sure will happen is that things will change. You have to be okay and flexible in your plan. Change has the ability to open up great new opportunities, so don’t be upset by minor setbacks.
  4. Work hard. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Always put in your full effort and then some, and be smart along the way. Whether or not it may feel like it, you will stand out and somebody is noticing. The world is your stage so treat it as such.

What was an influential factor that helped you achieve your goals?


5 Ways to Maintain a Positive Personal Outlook

October 14, 2016

Working in the business world is stressful, and often we forget how important it is to create you time. Your mental health is so important, and it’s true that a healthy mind creates a healthy lifestyle. That being said, the importance of creating and maintaining a strong belief in yourself is critical. Here our five suggestions on how to best create a positive personal outlook:

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  1. Maintain physical health. While this may seem arbitrary, good physical health generates positive energy. Mental and emotional health is directly related to our physical health. Taking care of yourself applies to all levels, and if one is out of sync it can affect everything.
  2. Keep good company. You are the company you keep rings true. If you are surrounded with negative people you are bound to be affected by their energy. Be sure that the people in your circle are supportive and positive of you and your ambitions.
  3. Don’t do everything alone. While it’s important to make sure you have good people on your team, you need to make sure you have people on your team. Period. Having one person standing behind you voicing their support and encouragement can make all the difference.
  4. Get inspired. Look to your superiors, your peers and your mentors. Pay attention to those around you and take action on the things that light your fire. Read and learn. Find the things that you think are important and then just go do it.
  5. Think positively. This may be the most important tip of all. No matter if you are trying to start up your own business, move up the ladder in your current company, or just find a job in general you need to maintain a positive attitude. The way you respond to the situation around you is the one thing you will always have control of, so make sure to take advantage of it.

What tips do you have to maintain a positive outlook on yourself and your ambitions?

 


Handling Diversity in the Workplace

September 15, 2016

Working somewhere with a largely diverse staff is a positive thing. New ideas are brought to the table and different perspectives are offered. Unfortunately, while many positives are associated with diversity, it can also make workplace tensions run high. Diversity is a sensitive topic to many so it can be hard to reach a good balance or sometimes even to have productive conversations.

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It’s important to keep in mind that diversity encompasses more than just race or ethnicity. It is religion, socioeconomic statues, gender, sexual orientation, etc. As a manager it’s important to keep this in mind. The definition of diversity is constantly evolving so consider all possible factors.

It’s important to celebrate the diversity of your workplace in order to create an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere. Make all employees aware that it is important to be celebrated, not ridiculed. Oftentimes jokes or possibly unintended prejudiced comments can make people more uncomfortable than an outright insult. Make it clear what language is and is not accepted.

Most importantly, know your staff. Understand their background, their sense of humor, what gets them excited. Ultimately, if you know your employees well everyone will feel more comfortable, thus creating an inclusive environment. As employees it is your responsibility to get to know your peers. Make friends and learn from one another to better improve both yourself and the company.

In what ways do you promote diversity in your workplace?


6 Tips on Making a Great First Impression

September 1, 2016

No matter the industry you work in first impressions are important. In those first moments of meeting someone new you are judging can I trust this person, are they competent, will we get along, etc. It is so important to understand and master the art of first impressions. Here are six tips on how to get started:

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  1. Be on time. This can’t be stressed enough. The person you are meeting does not care about why you are late or what excuse you have, no matter how valid it may be. Being on time is the first vital step in making a good first impression.
  2. Put your phone down. No matter who you are talking to it’s a good idea to give them your undivided attention, but if it is someone new it is even more important. Showing them that you are interested and engaged will make them want to talk to you and continue conversation with you.
  3. Use active listening. This means you should nod or make small comments of acknowledgement. Ask questions. Write notes if it’s appropriate. Summarize and repeat back what is being said to you to show that you are paying attention.
  4. Positive body language. Make sure that your facial expression and gestures reflect the point you are trying to make. Be active in your movements, but not aggressive.
  5. Talk second. Let the other person take the lead in the conversation. This opens up room for you to ask more questions and it builds their trust in you.
  6. Do your homework. Come in prepared with a good knowledge base on the other person and/or the company. Have questions prepared and ways to link your background back to their profession or company.

3 Tips to Best Utilize Idle Time

July 7, 2016

Oftentimes we view time as our enemy, or something that is limiting our productivity. Instead, time should be looked at as our greatest asset. What we choose to do with our time at work, at home, our free time all have the potential to positively influence our lives. Even when you do have some free or idle time it is possible to utilize it to benefit both you and your organization.

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Here a couple ideas for positive ways to spend your free time:

  1. Read books. While this may seem like a mundane task at times, successful people never stop reading. Whether it be fiction, nonfiction, autobiographies, etc. the goal is to further open your mind to the world around you. Exposing yourself to new ideas and cultures can only improve the way you conduct yourself and respond to situations around you. In many cases you may even learn something new or build new skills. Not only that, you build your vocabulary and your writing skills. If reading is really not your thing, take advantage of audio books! Essentially, keep learning.
  2. Exercise. Exercising has been proven to not only improve your physical health, but your mental as well. Take as little as 30 minutes after work or some time on the weekend to get your blood pumping and relieve a little bit of stress. Getting on a regular exercise schedule can also help you become a more disciplined individual, and help reduce long term effects of stress. 
  3. Volunteer. It doesn’t matter where, how, or what you do, but get out into your community and give back. Not only are you helping improve the community around you, but giving back leads to higher levels of happiness. This is not an overly demanding commitment, and you will find the benefits are far more rewarding than anything you could have expected.

There are many, many more things that you can do to maximize your free time, but there are a few that are most highly recommended. They are not stressful, they are not difficult but they will help you become a more educated and relaxed human being. In doing so you are not only helping yourself but all those around you.

What do you do to best utilize your time?