November 2, 2017
Whether you are just starting out in the professional world or have been practicing and preaching for years, interviews can be intimidating. There’s a lot at stake and of course you want to put your best foot forward. Read through these quick tips to see what you can do to better prepare for your upcoming interview!
- Research. Research, research, research. Let me say it one more time…research. This will go miles! Not only does it better prepare you to answer potential questions about the company, but you can learn things to use to your advantage. Try and learn something about your interviewer to make a connection. Learn things about the company, and not just the hard facts. The company culture is just as important. Learn these things and then relate them back to you and how you would be a great fit. Forbes has some great advice on this topic.
- Be on time. This probably sounds obvious but seriously, make sure you know where you’re going and how to get there. It’s better to be early than late and there’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to calm your nerves in the parking lot!
- Think about your body language. This means sit up straight, talk clearly, eye contact, active listening, etc. Overall this means be engaged and professional. Check out our previous post about how to be a better listener.
- Follow up. This is so important. Follow up, and do it soon after your interview. Pull in a piece of information that you talked about that will job your interviewers memory to your conversation. If you want to personalize it even further, handwrite your note! Read up on the importance of handwritten notes and what it can do for you.
This list could go on and on, but it’s most important to remember to be professional, attentive and show how you could excel at this position. Practice your questions and go in confident and prepared. If you think you have valuable interview advice, let us know in the comments below!
September 21, 2017
Maybe productivity is your strong suit..maybe it isn’t. Either way, these are a couple helpful tips that can help you make the most out of your day, whether that be to maximize productivity or to become a better organized person. Developing habits is the easiest way to become more productive, but we all know that actually developing any habit is much easier said than done. According to Phillippa Lally it takes 66 days for something to actually become a habit. This means you need to get started today!!
- Set schedules. While these tips are in no particular order, this may be the most important of all the tips listed here today. Figure out what works best for you in the mornings, and then stick with it. Every day. For me that means everyday I get up, I give my cat some snuggles, I put coffee on and I make two eggs and two pieces of toast. After that I get started with my more productive rituals, like responding to email. Every day. Here is a list of the daily habits of the most successful people.
- Utilize your tools. You guys, there are so many options out there to stay organized. If you’re a person who likes working on your computer, Microsoft OneNote is so helpful. If you like to see things laid out in front of you develop a trusty note taking or list making method. Keep your desk clear with only helpful items out. Even your smart phones carry so many tools to keep you on track. there are timers and stopwatches, a notepad and even a reminders function that is so useful.
- Use a planner. I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes people don’t realize how useful they really can be. A planner is something that you can make your own. Figure out what type of information or things you need to be keeping track of, and go from there. My planner has my day blocked off by half hour increments so I always know what I’m supposed to be doing, where I’m supposed to be and when. At the bottom of each day is a to-do list. Maybe that isn’t what you need for you day to day scheduling. That’s okay! Think about your needs and go from there.
- Don’t get caught up with the little things. This means not every little thing has to be perfect. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard to make everything perfect, so you simply don’t have the time to try and be that level of a perfectionist. By all means, do everything you can to the absolute best of your ability, but know when to stop. This also means you can’t stress about the tiniest of details. Life happens so you have to roll with the punches. Your business will thrive, and so will you.
Let us know about your best productivity tips! We love new ideas and learning what works well for other professionals.
May 11, 2017
Every day is a new and exciting opportunity to get things done, so why not make the most of it and do exactly that? Well, for some of us that’s easier said than done; but not to get discouraged… Below are 5 tips that you can utilize every day to ensure you reach your maximum daily potential and go to sleep feeling satisfied with what you’ve accomplished.
Tip #1: (BREAKFAST)
Everyone needs a good kick start to get their productive juices flowing in the morning; so make sure that when you’re waking up you’re getting the nutrients you need to fuel you for the rest of the day. It can be something simple, like yogurt and granola nuts, or a banana smoothie. Just make sure you don’t skip out on this one simple step because it truly makes all the difference in the world.
Tip #2: (EXERCISE)
Most of us don’t have the time to fit in a visit to the gym before work every morning; but then again, who said you have to go to the gym? Morning exercise can be as simple as getting out of bed and taking a few extra minutes to stretch out and do some aerobics before hopping in the shower. Come up with a simple 5-10 minute routine that you can hold yourself to and try to make as much a habit of it as brushing your teeth. You’ll thank yourself later when that early evening crunch time roles around and you notice you’re not as tired as you used to be.
Tip #3: (ORGANIZE)
Your bedroom, your kitchen, your car, and your office are all things that you should capitalize on when it comes to organizing. Take a few extra minutes before you go to bed each night to put things in their rightful place or to pick out an outfit that you intend to wear the next day. You don’t want to be scavenging through your closet in the morning when you should be eating the breakfast we talked about in tip #1. Try to keep things as neat and easy to find as possible. Not only will it make things easier on you, but it will also help your mind to relax and focus on your daily tasks.
Tip #4: (SMILE)
Cheesy, right? (No pun intended)… But seriously, studies show that people who smile more tend to have higher energy levels than people who have stern expressions on their faces throughout the day and are also more likely to have positive interactions with others. Don’t feel dumb or shame yourself for smiling, you’re doing yourself a favor! Plus people will notice it and you’re more than likely to notice a positive change in your daily interactions. So what’s there to loose? Give it a try!
Tip #5: (NAP)
Nap time is not something that is only confined to pre-schoolers. In fact, adults need nap time just as much if not more than kids do. If your schedule permits it, try to find 20 minutes a day to fit in a power nap. Studies show that the average adult increases their productivity by 5% when they take a 20 minute nap sometime during the course of their typical work day. This is crucial, and if you can manage it, do it! Even if it means using up some of your lunch break.
March 30, 2017
It’s so easy to get discouraged or feel like you’re lacking motivation. When you’re young and early in your career a lot of the time you aren’t doing exactly what you would like, and later on it can feel as though you’re stuck in a rut or tired of where you are. There are many reasons why, and sometimes it is very justified, but if you find purpose in what you’re doing you will find lost motivation.
When trying to find a purpose in the middle of what seem like a pointless task there are a couple things that you should consider. First of all, think about who else might be benefiting from the work you are doing. It is helpful to look at the overarching picture rather than what is right in front of you. Also consider how the things you are doing now can affect you, or others, in the future.
That being said, it’s not always easy. More often than not it will seem like you are working for someone else and not helping yourself as much along the way. You really have to dig deep to figure out exactly what is important to you and why you’re doing the things you are.
What do you do to find motivation?
March 16, 2017
Leading an organized life is important, but maybe not something people think about regularly. A lot of time goals are centered around moving forward or upward, with a lot less focus on the now. This can be a mistake because if you focus on yourself or business today rather than in three months from now, you will inherently get to where you want to be without the pressure and strain. This applies both mentally, as well as your physical environment.
To give a little perspective, here are a few benefits of leading an organized life:
- Increased productivity
- Maintaining a better balance (i.e. work, personal, social, family, etc.)
- Better ability to achieve personal goals
- It is more economical
- Provides the tools to get your job done right
While these benefits are pretty straight forward and desirable, the process of getting there is a little more difficult. In order to achieve these ideals there are a couple things that you should avoid doing:
- Don’t procrastinate
- Don’t try to do everything alone
- Don’t take on too much in a short period of time
- Don’t be a perfectionist
- Don’t trust your memory – – write things down!
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list and in order to succeed you have to find what works for you. Start here, see how you do and then adjust to your personal needs and goals. Empty out all that unneeded clutter this spring and get organized!
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:
- Show your engagement. This includes nonverbal communication. It’s not only about what you say, but your body language as well.
- 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.
- Acknowledge feelings. This is important, especially when you don’t necessarily agree with what they have to say.
- Keep eye contact. It shows that you are listening and engaged in what they are saying instead of being distracted by things around you.
- 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
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.
December 22, 2016
This time of year many of us have busy calendars packed with parties, parties, parties. It’s an excellent time to let people know about what you do and how you can help them.
Or is it?
A better approach, instead of launching into an elevator pitch, is to simply sit back and listen to them. Ask them questions. Let them talk.
In other words, practice active listening. This establishes a clear connection between you and whoever you are conversing with. Active listening shows a mutual understanding between both parties in the conversation. The goal is to show that you care and are interested in whatever is being said to you, so start by doing small things such as nodding and repeating some things back to show you understand what was said. And always ask questions!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few questions to help you get the conversation going:
- “How do you spend your time?” is one of my favorites. They have an opportunity to answer it however they see fit: work, family, charity involvement, sports, etc.
- “Where did you go to school?” is another great question. It allows you to learn about their background and gives them a chance to tell their story.
- “How long have you lived in this area?” allows them to speak about their connection to the community.
- “What’s your favorite holiday tradition?” gives them a chance to tell you a personal story you’ll remember.
The idea is: talk less about you, and learn more about them. You’ll be surprised at how easily the conversation flows.
What are some of your best tips to maneuver holiday parties?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?