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Category: Making a New Start (Page 1 of 16)

How to Make Your Speaking Voice Sound More Intelligent

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Article Written by:  Dr. Nick Morgan, PublicWords.com

You’re standing in the wings, getting ready to go on stage to give an important speech. If you’re like most people, you’re just a little nervous at this point. Well, OK, maybe more than a little nervous. Maybe you’re terrified. And maybe you’re asking yourself, how do I sound more intelligent, confident, dominant, and attractive than I really am in order to succeed with this audience?

Fortunately for you, Susan M. Hughes, from the Department of Psychology at Albright College, has carried out a neat little research study to help you do exactly that.

The results are more nuanced and surprising than you might expect.

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Here Are 5 Ways To Negotiate An Apology

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Article Written by:  Tanya Tarr, Forbes

What’s a key resource in any business? Relationships. Experts point to the value of strong relationships in developing success and leadership at work and in the world. But what if we accidentally jeopardize those relationships? We all make mistakes. Maybe it’s a botched meeting or a tragically double-booked day. Maybe you forgot about a conference call and logged on (accidentally) 15 minutes late. You didn’t calculate time zones correctly, or you just spaced out at your desk. Whatever the case may be, we have all been there. While concrete steps should be taken to avoid future mistakes, the way we recover and apologize can mean the difference between making a career limiting move or repairing and possibly strengthen work relationships.

This all comes down to the art of apology. While you might not consider an apology to be a negotiation, it absolutely is one. While I’ve written about the power of having a strong walkaway plan, there are times when executing your walkaway plan aren’t feasible. It also might be the case that walking away would be more damaging than negotiating the space where the disagreement lives.

Where a negotiation based on price involves a zone of possible agreements, negotiating an apology involves a zone of possible concerns. Respect and trust are the values being transacted. Taking the time to surface the concerns of your negotiating partner (or the person you missed the meeting with) is part of defining that zone of possible concerns. The other part of defining your zone of possible concerns is determining what actions will re-establish trust and strategically communicate respect. Let’s look at five ways to do this:

1. Be sincere, direct and clear in your communication. Principled negotiators often mention the importance of clear and direct communication. That might look like briefly stating the honest reason why something might have gotten fumbled and offer a short, sincere apology. I’m not talking about over-apologizing, which can be a hazard for some. This would be a situation where it’s clear you had direct fault in a negative outcome. The key here is to speak very plainly, own fault where appropriate, and pivot quickly to a solution. That solution might be a discussion on how you can make the situation right or how you will take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

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Stop Making New Goals—Create Habits Instead

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Written by:  Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D; www.psychologytoday.com

Finally become the person you want to be.

The scenario: You declare a change you want to make to achieve the results you desire. You eagerly set a goal and plan the steps. You tell yourself this time, you will commit to your goal.

Then you go back to days full of urgent emails and texts; projects falling behind; messes to clean up; fires to put out; agendas, lists and people who need to be heard out.

You think about your goal between frantic interruptions, but the days feel so overwhelming and out-of-control, you cling to what you have done in the past. You say, “Next week I’ll change when I have more time.” Lapses of distraction and masterful rationalizations crush your best-laid plans.

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5 Ways to Lead Change in a Change-Averse Environment

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Written by:  Jon Lokhorst (https://leadchangegroup.com/5-ways-lead-change-change-averse-environment/)

Despite the constancy of change in today’s global marketplace, the environment for change in many organizations is unfriendly at best. Few organizations have the appetite for change found at Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other innovative firms. I work extensively with CPAs, CFOs, and other technical professionals; a group not known for its propensity to change.

As a leader, you recognize that when the pace of internal change lags the pace of change in the external environment . . . well, it’s not good news. But what do you do in a context that resists change? How can a leader initiate and navigate change in a change-averse industry or culture? Here are five approaches to overcome barriers to change in these situations.

Launch a “CEO for a Day” forum.
Host town meetings with workers from across all levels of your organization to ask what they would do differently if they were CEO for a day. Offer a structured brainstorming conversation that invites new ideas. Start with questions that generate ways to improve current practices. Then move to explore new opportunities.

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5 Tragic Losses Caused by ‘Someday Syndrome’

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‘Either get busy living or get busy dying.’

By:  RAY EDWARDS  (https://michaelhyatt.com/someday-syndrome/)

“You have Parkinson’s Disease,” said the doctor. It was September 22, 2011—the day before my 46th birthday. While not usually fatal, Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease. This means it inevitably worsens over time. There is no cure. I was suddenly facing the prospect of limited mobility as my future unfolded.

In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne says to his pal Red as they sit in the prison yard, “It comes down to one simple decision. Either get busy living or get busy dying.” My life had taken an unexpected and unpleasant turn, but it was not over.

I decided to get busy living.

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5 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do on the Weekends

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How are you spending your Saturdays and Sundays? Here’s how to make sure you’re not wasting them.

If you’re like most people, you probably want to spend your Saturday and Sunday sleeping in, only to roll out of bed and onto the couch to veg out in front of a little mindless TV—but just until it’s time to change out of your sweats and into real clothes for dinner and a fun night of drinking. Right? Yeah, that’s most people, but not entrepreneurs.

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10 DIY Ways to Get More Visits to Your Website

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by Lisa Furgison, http://www.verticalresponse.com”

 Every business needs a website to survive, but is your website getting as many visitors as you’d like? It’s a rhetorical question, really. What business wouldn’t want to increase visits? After all, when potential customers visit your website, you can increase brand awareness, educate consumers and drive revenue.

However, you might be stumped on how to get more folks to visit your website. Not to worry. We’ve created this list of ten ways to increase visits. This list of actionable, do-it-yourself ideas is aimed at busy businesses just like yours.

1. Register your business with online directories

There are dozens of online directories that you can take advantage of. Think of them like electronic telephone books, but better. With online directories like YellowPages you can create a business profile, which includes a link to your website. Here’s an example.

There are several benefits to online directories like this. First, you can make them as detailed as you’d like. From business hours to a profile picture, you decide how much information to put in. Second, they’re free. Any opportunity to increase your audience through a free service is worth looking into.

Below you’ll find a list of the top five most popular business directories with links to get your profile started. You can also check out our post, The Top 20 Places Your Business Should Be Listed Online.

  • YellowPages
  • Google My Business
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Yahoo! Local Listing
  • Merchant Circle

Pro tip: For service-based businesses, Angie’s List is a great online directory. It has become the go-to spot for customers to find reliable service providers. Customers can rate your business and generate positive word of mouth.

If you need some help getting your business listed in directories, our sister company, Orange Soda offers a service called LocalSync to manage your business profiles across 40+ local directories, apps and mapping sites to make sure your local customers get the right information every time.

2. List your business website in your email signature

You’re constantly writing and sending emails, right? Well, every email you send is an opportunity to get your website out there. Make sure your business website is listed and “clickable” in your email signature. If you need help setting up a signature, just check out these support links below:

  • Outlook
  • Gmail
  • Yahoo!

3. Facebook ads

When it comes to social media advertising, you have a lot of options. However, one of the easiest ways to bump your website visits is through Facebook ads. When you set up an ad, Facebook asks you to pick an advertising goal. In this case, you can select ‘increasing website traffic’ as your objective.

Once your objective is set, you have several ad options. A lot of small businesses chose to set up an ad that appears in the News Feed. This ad typically offers a discount on a product or service, which gives customers enough incentive to click on the ad and land on your website to place an order.

4. Leverage your LinkedIn audience

Many businesses don’t have time to write and manage a blog. Instead, you can use your LinkedIn page as a mini blog. LinkedIn has a popular publishing feature that allows you to post articles right to your page. Your connections can see the post in their feeds.

Not sure what to write about? Share your thoughts on recent industry changes, write a post about a news story that involves your line of work or talk about a new tool that’s helped your business grow. You want to write something that’s thought-provoking, not promotional.

This idea is especially helpful for service-based businesses. When you’re selling a service, you want to show your authority in the niche.

Of course, to send visitors back to your website, you have to include links. Make sure you link several spots within your post to lead people to your site.

5. Be a resource for reporters

As a business owner, you have expertise in a certain field. Reporters are constantly looking for experts to help with stories. How do you connect with these reporters? Take a look at this website: Help A Reporter Out.

On this site you’ll find a list of stories that reporters need help with. When you find a story that’s in your wheelhouse, you can send the reporter an email through the platform. If the reporter likes your response, he or she will reach out to you and set up an interview. You’ll be quoted in a newspaper article or blog post, and a link to your website will be included in the article.

You need to set up an account, but you don’t have to pay to belong to it. It’s a great way to get free publicity for your business and drive traffic to your website.

Pro tip: MyLocalReporter is like Help a Reporter Out, but in reverse. Business owners can search for reporters that fit their niche and reach out to them. It puts business owners in control, rather than waiting for a reporter to post a query that fits.

For more tools to get free publicity for your business check out this post.

6. Set up an online store

Does your website serve as an informational placeholder? In other words, does it offer basic information about your business and product with minimal interactive features? If so, it might be time to upgrade. Many visitors expect a more interactive e-commerce experience. 

To get your website up to speed, check out Shopify. Using this do-it-yourself platform, you can create a website that has shopping features. You can set up a digital store, create an online shopping cart, enable credit card payments, collect taxes, set up shipping options and track your sales.

If you don’t want to do a complete website upgrade, you can start by adding a Buy Button to your current website. It’s a nice way to take Shopify for a test run.  

Pro tip: When you use Shopify, you’ll be able to collect email addresses at checkout. VerticalResponse is integrated with Shopify, so all of those new contacts will flow seamlessly into your VerticalResponse email account. You’ll be able to use these new contacts to encourage even more website visits.

7. Send visit-boosting emails

With so many websites out there, you need to remind your audience to visit yours. How? Email. Your email list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have in your arsenal. By sending targeted messages to your customers or clients, you can funnel them to your website to schedule an appointment or make a purchase.

So, which emails offer the visitor influx you’re looking for? While every email has the potential to boost your visit numbers, here are three emails that we suggest sending:

  • Promotional email

Get your customers to visit your website by emailing a promotion or an incentive. If you sell a product, offer a discount or free shipping. If you don’t sell a product, you can still use promotional emails, you just have to be more creative. An insurance business can offer free consultations, a cleaning service can offer 10 percent off services, a software company can offer free demonstrations to any company that sets up an appointment, and a furnace repair company can offer homeowners a free energy audit. There are no limits to promotional ideas. Offer free webinars, small gifts or ebooks. 

  • Email invitation

Hosting an event? Send invitations via email. First, make sure you have a page dedicated to your upcoming event on your website. Make sure that page has all of the event details on it, including a way to RSVP for the event. Now, head over to your email account and prepare an invitation. The call to action in this email will take the reader right to your event page. In addition, the email should contain at least one link to your website’s main page.

  • Announcement emails

When you have a new product or service, share it with your email subscribers. Describe what’s new, how the item benefits them, the cost and how they can get it. Your call to action should direct customers to your website where they can sign up for the service or buy the new product.

Here’s an example of an email that Picjumbo sent out for a new product.

8. Invest in affordable marketing materials

Headed to a conference? Is your business exhibiting at a local trade show? Anytime you’re meeting-and-greeting people, you should be able to offer some sort of “takeaway.”

Of course, you have to be careful. You can spend a lot of money on business swag, so you’ll want to come up with a plan. Have something like a brochure or postcard. Offer an educational reference that allows customers to recall your business or service later on. We also suggest a trinket or fun giveaway. Whether you opt for branded pens or key chains, it’s up to you. VerticalResponse offers a wildly popular brand box with over 1400 promotional items. 

9. Go old school

Handing out marketing materials might seem a little old school, but there are plenty of offline ways to promote your business that you should consider. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put your website on your business card. Every time you hand out a business card, you’re introducing a prospective customer or client to your business. If they want to learn more later on, they’ll look to your business card to get more information.
  • Become a public speaker. Offer to speak at your local chamber of commerce meeting and be sure to include your website in your presentation.
  • Hang fliers in local establishments. Ready to launch a new product? Hosting an upcoming sale? Create a quick flier with tear-off website information and hang them at local hotspots like laundry mats and community centers.
  • Sponsor an event. When local charities are looking for sponsors, consider contributing. Look for possibilities where your name, logo and website are placed in front of an audience. For example, a local theater company could highlight your business and website in its programs.
  • Use your vehicle to advertise. Every business owner travels around town. Why not advertise while you’re headed to the bank or post office? Consider purchasing a sticker for your back window or a magnet for the side of your car that has your business name and website on it.

10. Try something out of the ordinary

When you’re trying to promote your website, it’s good to get creative. Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to turn heads and drive website visits at the same time.

  • Chalk art advertising. Know an artist? Several brands have had success with chalk art advertising. When Planet of the Apes came out, Warner Brothers used these chalk drawings to promote word of mouth and website visits.
  • Flash mob. Ready to get your groove on? Try a flash mob to promote your website. What’s a flash mob? It’s a group of people who meet in a public place and break out into a choreographed dance. Leave your website address in chalk on the sidewalk behind you, or hand out fliers to the audience after.
  • Project your website on your building. Turn heads with a projection of your business name and website on your building. Projection advertising is a popular way to drum up attention, so why not give it a try for your business? You can go all out and hire a company to do something like this, or you can buy a small projector and project your website address in your window at night.

How do you get more visits to your website? Please add to our list in the comment section below.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

How Memorable is Your Handshake?

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By Martin Buckland, MB Speaks Author

Many secret societies and fraternities employ secret handshakes that convey membership in a special club. When it comes to career advancement, it’s no secret that first impressions count, and that a handshake is a major component of that first impression.

In Western culture, there are two appropriate times to shake another person’s hand: when introducing yourself to someone or saying hello, and when saying goodbye. So it’s really about first and last impressions.

When shaking a person’s hand, also look them in the eye at the same time, and of course, smile. While you don’t want to be aggressive or grab onto somebody for dear life, you do want to be the first to extend a hand. It is a gesture of warmth and connection, and tends to make a strong and lasting impression.

There is actually an art to a handshake, and plenty of ways to sabotage your career by getting it wrong. We’ve all probably come across the bone crushers, who try to mince every bone in your hand. And then there is the limpy fish and the power pumper.

You definitely don’t want to be remembered as the sweaty palm. If this tends to be an issue for you, always carry and use a handkerchief or tissue, and wash and dry your hands well before entering a meeting. For severe cases, you can use antiperspirant on your hands, or experiment with natural remedies.

If you’re on the receiving end of a bone crusher, sweaty palm or the like, never grimace or make a comment. Just be polite, patient and kind.

Whose hand are you shaking?

Be sensitive to your audience. If you’re shaking hands with an older person, you’ll tend to want to relax the shake. As well, be sensitive to cultural diversities. For example, in China people prefer a lighter handshake, but it typically lasts longer than a Western one.

A good handshake shows a confident attitude, so stand up tall, reach out your hand, and be memorable!

 

How to Get Management Experience When You’re not a Manager

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by Dan McCarthy, courtesy of management.about.com

Help wanted: Manager. 5-10 years of experience required. Proven track record of effective management.

It’s hard to land a management position when you don’t have the title “manager” on your resume, or be able to provide specific examples of your management experience.

So what’s an aspiring manager to do without holding formal management positions? Plenty! If you are interested in becoming a manager, then here are 5 ways to get management experience without being a manager:

1. Lead a project. The skills required to be an effective project manager are very similar to the skills required to be an effective manager: planning, organizing, setting goals, managing budgets, leading people, and juggling multiple priorities. If you have never managed a project before, then start by volunteering for project teams. It doesn’t have to be a huge project – start small – perhaps volunteering to be a part of the office Thanksgiving food basket drive.  Hopefully, you’ll get to see what a good project manager does. Or, watch what an ineffective project manager does and do the opposite. Then, once you’ve established yourself as a dependable team member, step up and volunteer to lead a project.

Take a course in project management, read a good book on the topic, and interview successful project managers. You can even get certified as a project manager, but that may be overkill, unless you are planning to make a career out of project management.

2. Train, teach, coach, and mentor. A big part of being an effective manager is developing your team. In order to do that, a manager needs to know how to onboard and train new employees, coach experienced employees, and eventually mentor employees.

Of course, in order to be considered for an opportunity to train new employees, it’s a given that you’d need to be very good at your job, or whatever it is that you’re teaching. But beyond being good at something, it’s important to learn and practice the skills of training, coaching, and mentoring. The best way to learn is by doing! Volunteer to develop a training program; volunteer to mentor underprivileged kids or coach a sports team. Learn the art of coaching – learn to ask great questions.

3. Hone your interviewing skills. Many organizations use selection committees, hiring teams, or will involve others when interviewing job candidates. Again, volunteer for these opportunities. However, don’t just “wing it” when it’s your turn to interview a candidate. Develop a list of great interview questions, practice active listening and asking probing follow-up questions, and learn how to establish a rapport quickly. Being able to screen, interview, and select great employees is an essential management skill and can be learned and practiced! For more on how to interview, I’d highly recommend my colleague Alison Doyle’s About.com Job Search site – it’s the best there is.

4. Learn to manage conflict, have a “crucial conversation”, and give feedback. Yes, dealing with those sticky “people issues” is the most challenging part of a manager’s job. We all face challenging people issues – with our co-workers, family members, and friends. Life is “target rich” when it comes to opportunities to resolve conflict. Learn to do it in a positive, constructive way. See:

How to Manage Workplace Conflict

A Proactive Approach to Tough Feedback

How to Hold a Difficult Conversation

I’d recommend reading the book Crucial Conversations and look for opportunities to practice and get good at it.

Being able to provide specific examples of when you were able to handle a conflict, provide difficult feedback, or address a sensitive issue will demonstrate that you have the willingness and capability to handle the “people” aspect of a management position. And believe me, there are plenty of experienced managers that won’t or can’t deal with people issues, so it really will set you apart.

5. Create and manage a budget. As a manager, I would love it if one of my employees volunteered to create and manage a budget for me! While some managers enjoy the number crunching aspect of management, it’s my least favorite part. If you’re good at Excel, you can learn to create and manage a budget. A good place to start is with your home budget.

If you can’t convince your boss to let go of the budgeting responsibility, you can still do what you can do learn finance, budgeting, and accounting. Take a course, learn to do a cost-benefit analysis and ROI, and learn to speak like a bean-counter. See A Finance and Accounting Glossary for the Non-Financial Manager.

There are a lot of more skills you can learn to prepare you to be a manager, including presentation skills, communication skills, leading change, and strategic thinking. However, it’s important to be able to talk about what you have done, not what you could do. The suggestions listed above will give you that practical management experience needed to help land your first management position.

Don’t Fall In Love

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article courtest of John Whitaker, fistful of talent contributor

You’ve heard the meme before, “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers…” right? Sure you have, we all have—it’s repeated more times than you can count. Two things about that:

  1. Bullsh-t
  2. What about good managers?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “good manager,” let me explain.

These are people who trust your abilities. They inspire you. You may feel a strange feeling of accountability, wanting to please him/her for reasons you cannot explain. You don’t work for them, you work with them (at least that’s what you think). You find yourself working harder, feeling better about it, and generally enjoying your professional life.  The sad thing is, until you’ve had a good boss, you may not even realize they exist. Kind of like the first unicorn you catch. When you find yourself working for one, it’s glorious.

Then… they leave.

Shit.

Yup, good managers leave. Fact is, if they don’t leave after 5 or 6 years, they start to over-ripen and cease to be good managers. This is the irony… part of what truly quantifies a “good” manager is realizing when they have served their purpose, prepared their successor, and off they go to bigger and better ventures. Truly, these people are special leaders, and in today’s transitory job market, they are a hot commodity on the open market.

And we often stay at our companies because of them.

That’s right, it’s a total counter-reality to the “people leave managers, not companies” rhetoric. You can find any number of reports to tell you otherwise, but I’ve been in Human Resources for 20 years and can tell you I’ve yet to Exit Interview someone whose motivation for leaving a company was “my boss” unless said employee was describing a boss who was so unreasonable as to expect an acceptable performance level—one more reason not to take statistics at face value.

More often, I’ve seen the opposite: a good manager leaves, creating absolute heartbreak among his or her soon-to-be former team. It’s a dangerous dynamic when a team falls in love with the boss; it becomes an exercise in change management in addition to succession planning, and you use the same basic principles:

  • Act quickly
  • Communicate early and often
  • Identify potential retention losses
  • Establish new leadership quickly
  • Manage the people, not the process

You never forget your first boss-love. But be prepared for the inevitable… (*sniff*)

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