Are We Losing The Art Of Conversation?

It struck me today when I was at lunch just how quiet the kitchen was. There were 5 of us all huddled together, a variety of different sandwiches and salads adorning the table, and guess what, we were all looking at our phone screens, flicking and tapping randomly, furiously and laughing all in our own little bubbles.

Tonight I changed a habit. While having my dinner instead of reading the journal. ie or checking out what was happening on Facebook, I turned the phone off, left the tablet in the bag and watched and listened as my two kids laughed and sang along to the film Frozen. My little girl in particular loves this movie and wants to be Elsa, so as soon as the song “Let it go” came on she started to sing without been prompted. She saw me looking at her in pure daddy awe and smiling that proud, that’s my little girl smile, and she gave me a little wave as if to say “thanks for listening to me daddy”

It touched me deeply because had I been engrossed on my phone I would have missed that moment of innate connection between us, where no words were spoken, but my face and body language expressed 100’s of words, emotions, love and pride.

Don’t get me wrong I think the strides we have made in technology are incredible.

I love social media marketing so much that I went back to college by night to get my diploma in Digital Marketing and Facebook and Twitter have both allowed me to stay in contact with great friends who are now in the four corners of the globe.

But I think we need to just now and then take a check that we are controlling our technology not the other way around.

I first started in Marketing when I was 16 in 1987 (oh god I feel old) working in Arnotts department store as a sales assistant.

Social Media was not part of our lives and a phone was something you dialed on the desk by the cash register. At 16 I was thrust into the world of face to face conversation and having to talk to people I did not know.

I had strangers come up and look me in the eye and ask me to help them find the right shirt, jeans or suit. After all I had the white shirt and tie on, so I was the expert in their eyes, although the mother who asked me to measure her little boy for trousers, who I then proceeded to advise that he had a fifty inch waste, would probably beg to differ. I never did get the hang of the measuring tape!!

However, the point I want to make is that when each of these customers came into the shop in person looking for my help I could not text, email, tweet or Facebook them the answer. I had to stand there in person and communicate to them both verbally and with my body language to find out what they needed, solve their problem and ultimately create rapport.

As business has evolved and the technology has increased we seem to be spending less time talking to each other in person and instead we use technology to do the engagement for us.

Just think about how many face to face meetings you now have for reviews or general catch up with a client in person. It probably is very different to what is was 3 to 5 years ago as we now communicate via non face to face methods. I myself have clients who I have spoken to numerous times on the phone or via email but who I have never met in person even though I have tried to get that face to face meeting. Everyone is just too busy it would seem.

This train of thought was further highlighted when I was recently at a networking event and I found it strange just how many people there were conducting online conversations and staring at their phones rather than talking face to face with the other people in the room.

I recently came across a great article entitled, Saving The Lost Art Of Conversation by Megan of the Atlantic, and in this piece she starts to review these very points that I am touching on.

In her article she recounts her interview with Sherry, a hugely respected psychologist and a professor at MIT. Sherry was working on a new book called “Reclaiming Conversation” and from her research she came to the conclusion that we’re talking all the time, in person as well as in texts, in e-mails, over the phone, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Obviously I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite or that the art of conversation is doomed. I know I am using the power of technology to share this post with you, and don’t get me wrong, I do love all the advances and the ideas of what is coming down the line in the future, such as wearable technology, apple I watch, near field communication etc, but let’s not forget that we are social and tactile creatures, and I hope that human interaction and face to face conversation will not die.

I think back to when I was a teenager and all the excitement followed by utter or was it mortification, and then the elation, when after an hours of eye contact and finally plucking up the courage to go over to that girl I fancied in the disco and asking her to dance and she says yes. Oh the joy and then the fear as I realized I can’t dance!!!

That whole scenario obviously would have been completely different and nowhere as emotionally charged or exciting if done by text or tweet.

So I challenge you, as I will be challenging myself each day, to put the phone and tablet down a little more than you do right now and let your other senses do the conversing.

3 Things You Need To Know About Free Web Hosting Service Providers

It’s common to be excited when you see a company offering free web hosting. Before you go ahead and sign up for the service, you need to know a number of things about most of the free web hosting providers.

Most are startups

Research has shown that many of the providers willing to give you free service are startups and they do it in order to attract potential customers.

Since they are startups, they devise ways of cutting costs. One of the best ways of cutting costs is by avoiding buying some equipment or buying cheap equipment. For example, it’s common to find such companies with cheap and unreliable servers.

Although, you will be signing up for a free product, you have a right of enjoying good service; therefore, before you sign up, you should always research and find out what other people have to say about the provider.

Most lack the level of service agreement

A level of service agreement (LSA) is a document that gives details on how the provider will offer you the service that you deserve. It’s common to find most of the providers without the agreement. Before you sign up always ask for the document.

If the provider doesn’t have the agreement, you should move on and look for other options. If you are given the agreement, you should thoroughly scrutinize it in order to pick out flaws in it. If you find the document full of flaws, you should move on and look for other options.

Most offer a menu of services

Most of the companies offering the free services tend to offer other services in addition to the web hosting service. Since such companies have a number of services to offer, they usually don’t offer top notch service.

Before you sign up for the free service, you should research the service provider and find out what he does other than providing the web hosting service.

If the provider offers other services such as telecommunication services, you should look for other options. This is because the web hosting service is very sensitive and can’t be put on a menu of services.

Bottom line

It’s often said that you get what you pay for; therefore, you should not expect top notch service from a free service. To be on the safe side it’s wise to pay for the hosting and you will be guaranteed of the best service on the land.

Catering Equipment for Year End Functions

It’s that time of the year when holiday cheer is in the air and companies are in full steam with planning their year-end functions. That means they are actively looking for a venue that will make their function a special one. They want to ensure that the venue looks good, food tastes great, and that all the facilities are there to make for a convenient and fun evening. Therefore, it is time for you to prepare your venue for the busy season ahead.

For small to large year-end functions you will need the following catering equipment.

· Robot Coupe Combo Food Processor. Food preparation is usually the lengthiest part of the cooking process. The Robot Coupe Combo Food Processor will enable you to automatically cut, slice, and grate vegetables thus saving you valuable time.

· Anvil Potato Peeler. If you’re serving hundreds of guests you’re going to have to peel a lot of potatoes. The Anvil Potato Peeler is a robust unit that automatically peels 12 kilograms of potatoes in 2 minutes.

· Chafing Dishes. For large numbers of guests, it can be challenging to keep a lot of food warm. They are also beautifully designed with a polished finish. This is a great way to keep food heated while it is waiting to be served.

· Bussing and Transport Carts. You’re going to need to clear up the dishes from at least 10 guest tables if you have a hundred guests. A bussing and transport cart will allow the waiters to quickly clear the tables and move the dishes to the kitchen. This will also minimize breakages.

· Water Jugs. Placing a jug of water and a jug of juice on each guest table will make them feel welcome.

· Dinnerware. For catering purposes you will need more than enough dinnerware such as plates, side plates, cups, and saucers. Also make sure you have drinks, wine, and champagne glasses. If you are serving a hundred people, ensure that you have dinnerware for 110 people. The additional amount of catering equipment is a contingency for any eventuality with breakages or damages.

· Urns. Once guests have had their meal they may want to enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea. Having a coffee/tea station with an urn filled with hot water will keep your guests satisfied.

· Scotsman Ice Machine. A lot of cool drinks and alcoholic drinks are usually served at year-end functions so the demand for ice is very high. You will need to provide ice for hundreds of guests and their multiple drinks. An ice machine constantly makes ice on demand so you won’t run out of ice mid function.

· Commercial Refrigeration. You will need to keep a lot of drinks cold throughout the function so make sure that you have a refrigerator that can accommodate all the drinks.

Package Forwarding Service

As far as international shipping is concerned, you have many options. But one of the best options is hiring a good package forwarding service. Let’s take an example Suppose you reside in Australia or UK, and you want to buy an item from eBay or Amazon. In this case, you have to use a package forwarding service. This service will help you save a lot of money, as you won’t need to pay high shipping charges. it’s not difficult to use such service. Read on to know more.

Registration

First of all, you need to choose a package forwarding site. Once you have a good and reliable provider, your next step is to sign up to get an account. By signing up, you will receive a forwarding address. You will use this address to meet your shipping and shopping needs from time to time.

Make sure you check everything carefully before signing up. The shipping cost shouldn’t be too high. Aside from this, you need to find out about other services offered by the provider, such as package consolidation, repackaging and fees, just to name a few. it’s very important that you take all these things into consideration or you will regret your decision later on.

Address details

As far as entering your address is concerned, you can use the same address you saved at the time of signing up for the first time. Once you have chosen the address, you can go ahead and place your order. This way you won’t have to type your address each time you place a new order. Next, you should wait for the delivery of the package from the seller to your address.

Package handling

Now, you need to make arrangements for your parcel handling like repacking. Another option that you can consider is package consolidation. When you place orders with many retailers, you can try out this option. You can save a lot of money with package consolidation. However, you need to keep in mind that choosing this option may add to the custom duty for some countries. In this case, what you need to do is get the package sent separately instead of paying high custom duty.

Shipping fee

Keep in mind that you will have to pay the international shipping fee if you want to get the package at your doorstep. Once you have paid the shipping, the package will be yours.

Important things to consider

You may want to prefer a forwarder that charges no membership fee
Remember: lower shipping fee can’t be translated to reduced total amount
For package delivery in tax-free states, you can save more.
Consider the membership fees
Make sure there are no hidden fees, such as storage fees
Don’t place your order for prohibited items as they won’t be forwarded

Long story short, if you are going to choose a package forwarding service in the near future, we suggest that you consider the advice given in this article. This will save you a lot of headache down the road.

Why We Shouldnt Be Afraid of Emotions

For so many decades we’ve been taught that Intellectual Intelligence (IQ) is what gets us places in the corporate world, yet nowadays we are seeing that it is more Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that gets us places. IQ is what gets us our position, EQ is what enables us to keep our position and become a great leader.

However we are not taught EQ skills at school, nor at Varsity and certainly not in the workplace. At least not until recently when mentoring and coaching started becoming a profession. And even then, it has only really been aimed at the Senior managers and Executives of an organization.

Its a known fact that the higher up the corporate ladder you climb, it is more about EQ and less about IQ as your day to day duties largely revolve around managing people, teams and divisions to ensure deliverables and business objectives are met.

So what is being done to help the newly appointed junior managers to develop their EQ skills and become better managers and leaders?

If they are the future of a business and are being groomed to take the lead at some point, then surely it should be key for them to as eligible for the development of EQ skills?

There is a huge need to help up and coming managers develop their EQ skills to become better managers. Often they struggle with the transition from being on the same level as their peers to at times having to manage those very same peers.

By becoming self aware of our own emotions and what drives our actions and behavior, we can better self manage as well as others who come into our space by being conscious and aware of the relational space between two people. This is termed as Self Mastery.

If we can practice self mastery in our personal and peer relationships, not only do we become a better, more authentic person, but we also have better quality relationships. Self Mastery teaches us important skills such as: effective communication, hearing vs. listening, conflict and diversity management, empathy, compassion and understanding. It also helps create trust and safety in relationships.

And this is where HR departments can play a big role in creating an environment that enables mentoring and coaching as part of everyone’s career path to help create more authentic, emotionally attuned leaders resulting in a healthier working environment and happier employees all round.

Creating Clients for Life – Thank You

As a parent of four daughters, my wife and I have focused our children on the art of sending thank you notes. We started them at a young age that included a cute piece of paper with crayons through their teens with a formal card and well thought out hand written message. It included birthdays, graduations, recent wedding, and the unusual when a nice gesture was done for them.

As we move into our business careers, many of us forget about that lost art and the powerful impact it still has vs. an electronic email. It is definitely a strategy that can set you apart. As real estate professionals there are many opportunities to drop a thank you card. I have even seen some studies that indicate a person who receives a thank you card will share it with 3 other people.

Make it part of your daily routine to send out at least 5 thank you cards per day and increase it as your business increases. Types of Thank You notes include:

  • Purchased a Home – This is the most obvious and the start of the process to create that long term referral. Don’t forget to offer your availability to help them if they have needs for recommendation for local services etc
  • Home Showing – Working with buyers requires time and patience. Why not send that thank you for the opportunity to show them a home and reinforcing your skills and enthusiasm to continue to find the client their dream home
  • Listing – Thanking that home owner for selecting you and remind them on why they did select you along with some of the marketing already in place.
  • Referrals – We all work for referral, so thanking that customer for a referral, whether or not that referral selected you will continue to bear future fruits
  • Listing Appointments – Meeting with homeowners that are looking to make that decision to sell their home requires the thank you be sent immediately. Timing becomes critical. Pick that one moment from the meeting that you felt you connected with the home owners and include that in your note
  • Cold Calling/Prospecting – When meeting someone for the first time, and follow-up with a thank you for their time and offer them a personal contact method.
  • Rejection – There will be times that you do not get the home listing or do not find the buyer that home. A thank you and keeping in touch for future developments may lead to future business.

Make sure each thank you note is hand written, has a stamp (not metered), is signed, and includes your business card

How to Exude Power: A Few Practical Steps

Let us start by clarifying that this article is not meant for those who were lucky enough to be born powerful. First of all, unlike money and other material things, power is an abstract concept which we should analyze and understand in order to use it to our advantage. In fact, rich and poor people alike can easily trick others into believing that they are powerful, thus making it easier for them to attract friends, clients, customers and even success. For example, every experienced salesman will tell you that people analyze every single aspect of your personality and appearance in order to get a general idea of who you are and what you can do for them. If we keep this simple and yet extremely important rule in mind, it will only take a few easy steps to start exuding power.

Personality and Tricks: Whether you are confident or insecure, you cannot exude power while interacting with people unless you pretend to be confident about yourself. Look into their eyes, be firm, talk about things nobody would disagree on, such as higher values (i.e. the importance of friendship, ethics, morals, love, and professionalism). If you are not a born smooth talker, stay quiet and get others to talk more than you by asking them key questions about their work, family, love life, general views etc. Always try to stay away from sensitive topics, such as religion and politics, as if you disagree with your interlocutor, he will lose his interest. A very useful piece of advice most personality coaches give their patients and clients is that people love hearing their own names, which is why we should do our best to say their names as often as we can during a conversation. Last but not least, do not mention sad or depressing stories and do not talk about your problems, otherwise people will not see you as a charismatic, powerful leader.

Looks and Appearances: If you want to exude power, it is very important that you start paying attention to what your clothes say about your social status and professional achievements. What kind of clothes do powerful people wear? Dolce & Gabbana suits, Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Tommy Hilfiger chinos, designer sunglasses, leather briefcases and expensive smartphones. “Cool, but I can’t afford to spend a fortune on clothes every month!” you may say. Well, most of us can’t, so relax. Fortunately for us, there are alternative ways to get clothes and accessories that can help us exude power. Auction websites, promotional offers and used clothes are your best bet! Nowadays, it is very easy to find cheap designer clothes and expensive accessories online. Look for special offers and used clothes (make sure that they are in excellent condition, though), and stay away from fake clothes as wealthy people who are used to wearing designer clothes and accessories will notice straight away and at that point, they will not respect you anymore.

Things To Know About The Decision Making Process

Meetings are a crucial part of any business to make sure that all business operations are running smoothly. The decision-making process matters most when it comes to discussing issues that surrounds your venture. It is true that groups are oftentimes being dominated by an individual in order to agree on a certain course of action. By using a structured process of discussing issues, meetings can become more efficient and the group’s performance can be enhanced.

Some Basic Processes That A Chairperson Or Members Can Facilitate

Brainstorming – This process will generate a lot of spontaneous and diverse ideas within a short time frame. Some of the rules that you must adhere to when using this process will include no criticism on any point, everyone must participate, and the ideas must be recorded until they are exhausted. All the ideas are recorded on a board so that everyone can see it. After the brainstorming, the list will be screened and points would be clarified. All the members will then choose their 5 priority items and decide on a course of action.

Prioritizing Technique – Every participant will think of ideas or perhaps solutions that are written on a chart or board. It is from these ideas that the group will develop different options or solutions. In order to arrive at the option which the majority supports, participants may be asked to rank the options by using a scale of 1-5, where 5 points represents their 1st choice, 4 the 2nd, and so on. The desired option is the one which accumulates the highest total score. Apart from giving points or ranking the options, another way of determining which option does the majority supports is by giving every individual 5 sticky dots and have them place the dots beside the option they want. They can actually select 5 individual options or perhaps place multiple dots on the option they really prefer. The course of action will be determined by the option having the greatest number of dots.

SWOT Analysis – This process will determine the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats of a certain situation. This analysis will greatly help the group in determining the right direction.

Force Field Analysis – This process is a great way of graphically showing the forces which drive for changes or perhaps forces that restrain changes in relation to a certain situation.

These are the different decision-making processes that businesses use in order to come up with the best option when dealing with a certain issue. Apart from knowing these processes, another important thing to consider in order to ensure a successful meeting is to set-up a work-efficient meeting or virtual room.

All Important of Business Card

Graphic Design for Small Businesses and organizations isn’t only offering a product or service and having cash in on it. Once you start a small business, there are several features, which have to have a personal and professional focus. One of those is promoting your brand. There are a few things too, which form the foundation of promoting and one of those is the business card. The principle function of promoting is to attract the target market. When accomplished in the correct way, it can yield wonderful results. Marketing experts and graphic designers, who specialize in graphic design for small businesses, have the knowledge and experience to attract your specific client or buyer through distinct marketing and promotional tactics. A business card (or minute card) should have every piece of information essential for someone to interact and conduct business with your company or organization. There are many styles of cards, and in fact, it is necessary to decide on the appropriate style for your firm. This is why hiring a professional whom specializes in graphic design for small businesses is so important.

The product or service themselves won’t always draw in buyers or clients when shown to individuals in a prepared way. To get to the customers who will use, buy or interact with your company, one of several methods used in promoting is choosing the right business card. A card with the very best graphics, typography and layout that connect emotionally with your perspective client is the key. Every single color and color combination possesses its own meaning. There are many benefits and consequences to the use of color when contemplating the feelings and emotions of the people you’re trying to attract. Which means, a hues participation in the overall design is an essential part in selecting the most appropriate appearance of your business card. Imagine if the colors (or hues) used in your card were actually repelling your target audience you are trying to attract.

The visuals that happen to be loved by people of a distinct audience change by age and gender as well. An example is flowers; if your business makes products that are devoted to girls, then introducing flowers as visual elements (graphics) of your card will most likely attract more buyers. If though, your target is a more mature female audience, the use of flowers could be conceived as contrived and repulse your buyers. Selecting the most appropriate graphics for the business card is about the mindset of the buyer and not the business owner. Let me repeat that so you truly get it. The look, feel and emotions tied to your business card are about the buyer, not you, the business owner. If your buyer connects a personal emotion with the artwork, or possibly a design and style, employed in the card, then almost absolutely that buyer will choose the firm utilizing that artwork, design or style. For this reason alone, it is very important to work with a professional that knows and understands graphic design for small businesses.

Why have a business card in the hands of everyone that works for you? A nicely manufactured card affirms the level professionalism regarding the organization. You need a business card that is designed well with accessibility to information for your customers to make contact with you. It must be styled to create a personal connection with the buyer as well. Your reputation is riding on your business card. The primary function of your business card is to get clients to call you. Your logo should be prominent to let people know who you are the minute they see your card. After this, your business card should clearly provide methods for the client to contact you. This can be a website, a smart phone or email but it is highly recommended to have all three. A marketing expert or graphic designer whom specializes in graphic design for small businesses can help point you in the right direction for the content for your particular niche or market. Business cards with the proper visuals, content and style can help you do this. Are you ready to secure a professionally designed business card right now?

Maximize the Potential of Your Business Presentation

Business presentations are a collateral reflection of who you are. A glimpse of your personality could be seen in the ways and the content of your presentation.

The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, deliver your sentences, tackle tricky questions with confidence and successfully convey your message, speak volumes about your personality.

Still, there are much more ways in which you can support your business presentation to reach its maximum potential.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR SUPERPOWER

A positive way to keep your audience attentive to you is to show them that you are worth their time and trust. Rather than speaking about your achievements and future goals, speak about your credibility because if even little points will exist with which the crowd will not feel connected to then the tables will instantly turn.

Talk about your goals within the first few minutes of the presentation

Choose your presentation design which corresponds with your goals, which should be introduced to your audience as early as possible. This will help your audience to correlate what you are expressing with the ‘why’ and ‘what’ you want to achieve.

Never underestimate the impact of a powerful image/quote

A business presentation is usually a collection of fertile ideas, knit together as one to illustrate a larger picture. So, the smart use of different images/quotes to introduce different ideas will supply more power to your presentation. Vocalizing the quotes or speaking few important words out loud will bring your presentation to life, especially if the presentation has numerous bar graphs, bullet points, and pie charts.

GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE THE POWER TO BRAINSTORM OVER YOUR QUESTIONS

One of the unbeatable ways to make your presentation more interactive is to begin it with a question which you, yourself will answer. Like you can start with “I asked myself what all can my team will be able to do and contribution for making this project a success?”. So, based on this question you can build up your presentation. Be alert to all the questions from your audience as they are icebergs of curiosity. The more you will suffice your audience, the stronger their trust will grow in you.

Be ready to tackle tough questions

Always be confident and logical at answering the questions from the audience. There will always be questions whose responses if given without solid facts and coherence, will put your image down in your crowd’s eyes. If you know your topic as well as you’re your audience, then always keep your business binary clean and do not ever shelve any question from the audience.

KEEP YOUR OWN QUESTIONS READY IF NOBODY ASKS YOU ANY

It could be a possibility that your audience is shy or somewhat hesitant to ask you questions about your presentations. Always remember, if you face this kind of a situation, then always compose a question to yourself because ‘zero curiosity’ turns into ‘zero interest’ overnight.

Take your crowd on a final journey

Always take your crowd on a final journey before you wrap up the presentation. Highlight all the important points and tell the crowd how they will be productive if given proper attention by the appropriate crowd.

Keeping the immense support in mind which we get from the PowerPoint presentations, one should also be able to support her/himself equally well during the closing moments of the presentation because humans invented the PowerPoint and not vice versa.