Interpersonal Relations

Get The Fundamentals Right

Get The Fundamentals Right

Get The Fundamentals Right

By: Kevin Sinclair

To succeed in business on the Internet, or in the off-line world, requires an understanding of the fundamentals of business and using them to your advantage. In this article, I will outline what I consider the fundamentals of business success are.

Believe in Your Product or Service
First, you need to believe in your product or service. If you don't believe in it, you will have a great deal of difficulty selling your product or service to other people. You also need to have confidence in your ability to provide and promote your product or service. An old saying sums this up best by stating: "All things are possible to he who believes".

Aptitude for the Business
Secondly, you need to have an aptitude for the business. You will also need the motivation to acquire at the very least basic skills and experience before you start your business. If you were to set yourself up as a web designer but did not have any skills or training in this area, then you will almost certainly fail. However, if you are employed as a bookkeeper and you enjoy the job, then setting up your own bookkeeping service would be a sensible choice with a greater chance of success.

Be Responsible
Thirdly, you need to be responsible to your customers. This is achieved by only making commitments you can keep and by not engaging in misleading or dishonest advertising. If you want to build long-term success in your business, then you need to develop long-term satisfied customers. When their needs are being satisfied, customers are at their happiest.

Aim for High Quality
The next principle is that you need to have a high quality product or service. This will be your best advertisement. Inferior quality products usually generate poor customer satisfaction. A dissatisfied customer can be very dangerous for your business. Usually they tell on average about fourteen other people who will then be disinclined to buy your product or service based on the experience of that one dissatisfied person. Therefore, always aim for a top quality product or service.

Make a Profit
However, it is not enough to have a top quality product or service. You also need to have a product or service that will generate enough income to cover all your business expenses and give you a satisfactory wage. A friend of mine once said that business is only about two things: satisfying customers and making a profit. A simple statement but very true.

Sufficient Start-up Capital
You also need to have access to enough cash to set up and run your business, and enough income to meet your private expenses during the start-up phase. A major problem with many home and small businesses is that they fail to have enough money available to ensure their success. There is nothing more discouraging than having a great idea, getting it started on a shoestring, not being able to expand due to cash shortages and seeing a competitor come along and steal your market.

Start Small
Another fundamental principle of home business success is that you start small. This will enable you to minimize your overheads until you are confident of your success in the marketplace. For many of you, this would mean starting part-time while retaining your full-time income source. When you can, expand your business into a full-time venture. This is a great way of minimizing the risk of failure.

Be Well Organized
Successful businesses are well organized. They have a system for keeping track of expenditure and earnings. This level of organization in your business will help to ensure that you are providing your customers or clients with a top quality product or service. It will also ensure that you have enough information available to maximize your profitability and to satisfy your legal requirements for record keeping.

Be Prepared
Preparation is another key ingredient in your business success. This preparation will include being aware of the regulations and laws affecting small and home business. Armed with this knowledge, you should not have any nasty surprises from unintentional violations of the law.

Have a Business Plan
Finally, successful businesses have developed a comprehensive business plan. This is their road map to success. It tells them where they are going and how they are going to get there. There are a number of good resources about business planning on the Internet. Here are some:
www.bplans.com
www.businesstown.com/planning/creating.asp
www.bizplanit.com/vplan.htm

Conclusion
It has been said that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. The same can be said about business success. Without having the fundamentals in place, a great business idea will usually fail. Set yourself up for success by considering each of the points raised in this article.

 

Author Bio
Article by Kevin Sinclair, CPA, of Personal & Business Success Resources. Visit his website at www.business.ksinclair.com.

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Working the Room and how to do it

Working the Room and how to do it

Working the Room and how to do it

Let's cover an area of working the room with which people often struggle... the actual moving around the room. Disengaging with one group and breaking into groups. Finally I will cover the bridge process and explain the importance of the follow up after we have met new people.
Perhaps you have recently had a chance to meet people at a business networking event or social event, a conference, or seminar and have taken the opportunity to go up to someone standing alone. The problem comes when you wish to extricate yourself from this person but don't know how to go about it. Here let me give you some practical ideas. If you are both fellow guests at a function you don't owe it to this person to spend the rest of the evening with them. Think about it for a moment, the chances are that this person wishes to move on as much as you do but like you they simply don't wish to offend or cause any embarrassment.
You can do one of three of things:

  • After you have finished speaking you can simply say "Well, Jo, it's been great meeting you, enjoy the rest of the evening. Please excuse me as I promised to go and talk to Gerry over there".
  • You could say, "I'm going to get another drink, would you like to come?"
  • The coward's way out is "Please excuse me, I need to go to the loo!" and make sure you move well away from the person.


Whichever you use please do it with respect, integrity and politeness. Good manners is essential when working the room and is good business; bad manners brings no business.

The important aspect here is to move around the room with or without your new found friend. Again can I remind you that if your conversation is dry, they too probably want to be off working the room as well. You are doing them a favour by using your superior business networking techniques

Using the second idea of moving to the bar is an opportunity to park the person with someone else or for them to park you. It's rare both of you will be at an event where you don't know anyone so moving to the bar usually has the desired effect. When you do bump into someone you know even though you are a guest at an event act as a host. Don't just say "Hi Lou this is Jo" and leave it there. You have been chatting to Jo for some time and you obviously know Lou ... so play host. Say something like this, "Lou let me introduce you to Jo who I've just met this evening. He has a fascinating business selling sand to Middle Eastern Companies and, Jo, Lou here and I have been friends for years. He runs a business helping growing exporters raise finance from people who are looking for high-risk high return opportunities". These introductions are designed to get the two of them to talk quickly and with ease and reassurance. Who knows what may happen. You just might have created some potential for both of them? Business networking isn't just about what you can do for yourself, it's about what you can do for others. If you help someone, they will remember you when they hear of someone who needs your services. This of course makes it so much easier for you to move on and meet other people. This exercise is what I call parking. Like your car do it carefully, watch all angles and don't hit anything!

So now you have a parked Jo with Lou you have freshened up your drink. You look around the room and you see clusters of people or groups chatting to each other.

"Help... What do I do next?"

It's easy. Work the room! Look for a group of three people and move over to the edge of the circle. As you are moving towards the group, look at the faces of the people and decide who seems to be the most welcoming. Stand opposite that person at the edge of the group and smile. I can assure you the following will happen. The person you have smiled at will smile back and one or both of the other people will turn towards you and both will take one step to the side making a space for you. When you first do this, it's not easy. I'm not pretending it is but it always works. Ask in a gentle voice "Good evening please may I join you"? Again I have to tell you, you will not be rejected. The chances are someone will put their hand out and introduce themselves. I often play a game at the start of a business networking seminar or prior to a sit down meal by asking my newfound friend if they would allow me to use them as a Guinea Pig. I get them to go up to people they don't know, try out what I have just said and it always works. I do this simply to ensure that whenever I write about the matter or speak about it at the presentations and seminars I deliver that I feel confident in the advice I give.

Once you have successfully joined a group, don't change the subject matter and wait for them to start asking you questions. Bear in mind again, the chances are these people are from the same business or have known each other for a long time but haven't got the self-confidence to break away and meet new people... So you are a big relief for them!

When you are in a group, you will know the time to move on, instinct will tell you. I don't need to. So go to the top of this article and remember the tips about working the room.

Author Bio
I qualified as a chartered accountant in 1971, aged 23 and stayed in practice for the next 30 years.
I ended my accountancy career as the senior partner on merger with a national firm on May 31 2000. The next day I set up Kintish to show people in the professional, financial and service-based communities how to attract more business and clients.

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Educating Your Children: The Home Schooling Option

Educating Your Children: The Home Schooling Option

Educating Your Children: The Home Schooling Option

By: Colin P

An ever growing number of thoughtful parents are concerned about the status of public schools in many cites across North America. At the same time, a good number of families are struggling to make ends meet. They simply do not have excess funds available to send their children to private schools. One solution that many families are embracing is home schooling. With each passing school year, more and more families in North America -- indeed, in many countries around the world -- are electing the home schooling for their children.

There are some definite benefits and specific drawbacks to choosing home schooling for your children. Turning to the positive elements of home schooling first, chief amongst them is the fact that parents have greater control over the education of their children.

One of the more significant complaints frequently expressed about both public and private schools is the lack of input and control a parent has over the education of his or her child or children. While there are certain educational standards that must be met when it comes to home schooling, a parent has a significant degree of discretion over how his or her child or children will be taught.

In addition to more control over the educational process, most parents who are involved in the home schooling of their children believe that their children are obtaining a far better course of education. Many of these parents simply believe that public schools are not up to muster and that home schooling ensures that their children will be properly educated.

Of course, when contrasting home schooling with the private school alternative, educating your children at home is significantly less expensive. The tuition costs and other fees associated with most private schools continue to increase each and every year. As a result, many families simply have been priced out of the private school market all together.

People who are involved in home schooling believe that educating children at home works to develop a stronger bond between parents and children. The very fact that children will be spending more time with their parents because of being schooled in the home enriches the relationship between the generations.

There are some drawbacks to home schooling as well. The primary complaint that some education experts have in regard to home schooling is based on the need for children to interact socially with other children. These experts maintain that one of the most important components of attending school -- be it in a public or private setting -- are the opportunities for children to interact with each other. These opportunities are more limited when a child is home schooled.

With that said, there are now different organizations and associations that have been formed that bring children who are home schooled together for different activities and events. Home schooling advocates assert that these activities and events allow children who are home schooled ample opportunity to interact with other children their own ages.

Most education analysts believe that the trend towards home schooling will continue onward into the immediate future. These experts believe that an ever growing number of parents are going to elect to educate their children at home as an alternative to problematic public schools and expensive private schools.

 

Author Bio
More information on Home Schooling

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Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research

Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research

Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research

By: Celeste Bishop

Frequently I am asked "how do you get information about the competition?" Most people are surprised when I tell them that getting useful competitive intelligence is actually the easiest part of managing successful business competition. One of the best methods to gain valuable competitive intelligence is so simple, straightforward, and productive that I have put it on my list of Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research.

The benefits that Win Loss Research routinely delivers include:

  • Increasing your rate of successful wins in competitive sales situations
  • Enhancing your product management and development initiatives
  • Reducing the level of uncertainty involved in sales forecasting
  • Strengthening top and bottom line results for your business
  • Improving the efficiency of your sales cycle process
  • Setting the stage for future business growth

Win Loss Research is a succinct, guided discussion with decision makers and influencers who have been involved in your recent win and loss sales decisions. The goal is to learn what key distinctions they saw between you and your competitors, the importance of those distinctions and the value they assigned to each competitor. While the focus of this research is on gaining insight into how your competitors operate and how you fare in comparison, it is inevitable that you also gain valuable customer information in the process.

Win Loss Research drills down beyond standard pricing issues and gets into territories such as: decision process, sales team approach and professionalism, company reputation, product attributes, service issues, and handling of proposals. Although pricing information is involved, it should not be the centerpiece of the research unless it becomes apparent that it really was the key issue that drove the decision. The goal of Win Loss Research is to provide you with competitive insight you can act upon - actionable competitive intelligence - for sales process improvement and better results.

Typically this research is conducted either over the telephone or in a face-to-face interview. The latter is more common in places and cultures where that is the preferred communication modality. Getting the results that you want out of Win Loss Research is a combination of art and science; art being the skill of the researcher in eliciting the intelligence that you need; science being the development of a research guide that facilitates the discovery of actionable competitive intelligence.

As with almost anything worth doing, focusing on Critical Success Factors (CSFs) increases the likelihood that you will get what you need. For Win Loss Research, focusing on the following CSFs will greatly increase your likelihood of obtaining productive competitor intelligence:

1) Use professional competitive researchers who are skilled in drawing out actionable competitive intelligence. They will also be perceived as unbiased, thereby ensuring candor.

2) Selecting the optimal mix of win and loss opportunities to research is a reasonably complex task which must be done correctly to ensure that you are gaining insight from the target markets that matter most.

3) Development of a stimulating research survey that operates as a guide rather than a questionnaire is the backbone to outstanding results.

Surprisingly, the tone and quality of the initial research request can make or break your ability to get robust participation.

A common pitfall among companies that report doing Win Loss Research is that they have their employees, typically the sales representatives, perform the research. You do need to have your sales people find out what happened. This should precede Win Loss Research which goes beyond the limited conversation from your sales reps' debriefing. Also, it defies human behavior to think that the customer will feel comfortable being candid with a sales rep who has not met their expectations or that the sales rep will be candid in passing along information that may be construed as unfavorable to them.

An extraordinary thing about Win Loss Research is that any size or category of company should be able to implement this as an ongoing business practice and see steady gains in their customer acquisition and sales. This form of research is not particularly costly or difficult to do, yet it does take a certain willingness to expose yourself to news that may make you uncomfortable at times.

One of the most frequent comments our researchers hear is a compliment to our clients for taking the time to learn and improve from their experience. Once you establish a practice of doing Win Loss Research routinely and take action on the results, your company will realize the benefits of implementing this business competition best practice.

 

Author Bio
Celeste Bishop is President of Bishop Market Resources a Competitive Services Agency that provides a breadth of traditional and online competitive intelligence services, including business research and sales process improvement research. For more learning resources check Brain Food at: www.bishopmarketresources.com/competitive-intelligence-brain.html

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Runaway Meetings Are The Top Time Waster At Work

Meetings Are Top Time Waster At Work

Runaway Meetings Are The Top Time Waster At Work

By: Barbara Bartlein

A new nationwide survey finds that "runaway" meetings are the biggest time waster in the workplace. More than 27 percent of workers polled said meetings are the largest culprit for inefficiency and lack of productivity.

The survey was developed by Office Team, a staffing service specializing in skilled administrative professionals. With responses from 613 men and women, all 18 years or older, the findings are part of the "Office Team Career Challenge," a project to help administrative professionals advance their careers.

With today's lean staffing levels, there is increasing pressure for employees to manage their time effectively. Yet, many employers actually sabotage time management with runaway meetings and interruptions. Industry Week calls meetings "the Great White Collar Crime" estimating they waste 37 billion dollars a year.

Some 'red flags' that can indicate a mismanaged meeting:

  • No one in charge. If the leadership of the meeting isn't clear, there is a tendency for attendees to waste time, pontificate their points and not draw any conclusions.

     

  • Not starting on time. This practice 'trains' employees to come late and expect additional time for socializing.

     

  • Lack of objectives or agenda. With no clear purpose or agenda to follow, it is easy for the meeting to get off track. Participants may not be clear as to what needs to be discussed or for how long.

     

  • Lengthy guest list. As a general rule, the more people at a meeting, the less work accomplished. When the list of attendees is extensive, it is often because there is a focus on not excluding anyone, not because each member's participation is necessary.

     

  • Just part of the routine. Regularly scheduled meetings can lose value as circumstances and staff change. All routine meetings should be periodically evaluated to determine whether they should be held at all.

     

To learn how to make meetings more productive, I contacted Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP, who wrote the book, I Can't Take Your Call Right Now, I'm In a Meeting. The former president of the National Speaker's Association, she works with clients to help employees learn faster and work better. She offers concrete ideas to make your meetings more effective.

  • Idea #1: Not every meeting should take place. The right times to schedule a meeting are when conflicts need to be resolved, groups of people need to start working together or information needs to be shared at the same time. Meetings are a group activity so they can be effective when a group needs to reach consensus or rally around an idea or plan.

     

  • Idea#2: The person who calls the meeting has more to do than reserve the room. They need to also consider other logistical issues, including; time, equipment needed, and food/beverage. They need to take ownership of the content including preparation of an agenda and distribution of review materials. It is important to have a system to follow up on assignments and monitor the results of the meeting.

     

  • Idea #3: Meetings are no better than the people attending them. According to the Warton Center for Applied Research, the primary cause of unproductive meetings is not having the right people in attendance. The most effective participants at any meeting are: people who have the information you need, people who can make decisions, and people who will implement the decisions.

     

  • Idea #4: What gets recorded at a meeting has a chance of getting done. All meetings need some form of collective, agreed-upon memory. Without documentation, consensus can quickly evaporate. Meeting notes need to summarize the decisions made, itemize the actions agreed upon, fix accountability and document the deadlines for all actions.

     

  • Idea #5: Meetings that end without assignments are doomed to be repeated. Groups are often very good at decision making and unbelievably poor at implementation. There needs to be an identified person to implement each decision within a specific timeframe. Watch to make certain that everyone is getting some of the responsibilities.

     

  • Idea #6: Teams that evaluate their meetings have better meetings. Take two or three minutes at the end of each meeting to evaluate the process. Use index cards and answer the following questions: Were the meeting's objectives met? Was the meeting's format effective? Was the meeting of value?

     

The true value of any meeting is what actually happens after the meeting takes place. Make sure that individuals are held accountable for meeting results. And remember, if you don't measure it, it won't happen.

For more ideas on effective meetings and building productive teams, please visit: www.chrisclarke-epstein.com

 

Author Bio
FREE E-MAIL NEWSLETTER. Sign up at www.ThePeoplePro.com. Barbara Bartlein, CSP, is the People Pro. She offers keynotes, training and products that help you build your business and balance your life. She can be reached at 888-747-9953, by e-mail at barb@ThePeoplePro.com. Visit her website at www.ThePeoplePro.com.

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Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

By: Lydia Ramsey

Has it ever occurred to you how much you are saying to people even when you are not speaking? Unless you are a master of disguise, you are constantly sending messages about your true thoughts and feelings whether you are using words or not.

Studies show that your words account for only 7% of the messages you convey. The remaining 93% is non-verbal. 55% of communication is based on what people see and the other 38% is transmitted through tone of voice. So think about it. In the business setting, people can see what you are not saying. If your body language doesn't match your words, you are wasting your time.

Eye contact is the most obvious way you communicate. When you are looking at the other person, you show interest. When you fail to make eye contact, you give the impression that the other person is of no importance. Maintain eye contact about 60% of the time in order to look interested, but not aggressive.

Facial expression is another form of non-verbal communication. A smile sends a positive message and is appropriate in all but a life and death situation. Smiling adds warmth and an aura of confidence. Others will be more receptive if you remember to check your expression.

Your mouth gives clues, too, and not just when you are speaking. Mouth movements, such as pursing your lips or twisting them to one side, can indicate that you are thinking about what you are hearing or that you are holding something back.

The position of your head speaks to people. Keeping your head straight, which is not the same as keeping your head on straight, will make you appear self-assured and authoritative. People will take you seriously. Tilt your head to one side if you want to come across as friendly and open.

How receptive you are is suggested by where you place your arms. Arms crossed or folded over your chest say that you have shut other people out and have no interest in them or what they are saying. This position can also say, "I don't agree with you." You might just be cold, but unless you shiver at the same time, the person in front of you may get the wrong message.

How you use your arms can help or hurt your image as well. Waving them about may show enthusiasm to some, but others see this gesture as one of uncertainty and immaturity. The best place for your arms is by your side. You will look confident and relaxed. If this is hard for you, do what you always do when you want to get better at something - practice. After a while, it will feel natural.

The angle of your body gives an indication to others about what's going through your head. Leaning in says, "Tell me more." Leaning away signals you've heard enough. Adding a nod of your head is another way to affirm that you are listening.

Posture is just as important as your grandmother always said it was. Sit or stand erect if you want to be seen as alert and enthusiastic. When you slump in your chair or lean on the wall, you look tired. No one wants to do business with someone who has no energy.

Control your hands by paying attention to where they are. In the business world, particularly when you deal with people from other cultures, your hands need to be seen. That would mean you should keep them out of your pockets and you should resist the urge to put them under the table or behind your back. Having your hands anywhere above the neck, fidgeting with your hair or rubbing your face, is unprofessional.

Legs talk, too. A lot of movement indicates nervousness. How and where you cross them tells others how you feel. The preferred positions for the polished professional are feet flat on the floor or legs crossed at the ankles. The least professional and most offensive position is resting one leg or ankle on top of your other knee. Some people call this the "Figure Four." It can make you look arrogant.

The distance you keep from others is crucial if you want to establish good rapport. Standing too close or "in someone's face" will mark you as pushy. Positioning yourself too far away will make you seem standoffish. Neither is what you want so find the happy medium. Most importantly, do what makes the other person feel comfortable. If the person with whom you are speaking keeps backing away from you, stop. Either that person needs space or you need a breath mint.

You may not be aware of what you are saying with your body, but others will get the message. Make sure it's the one you want to send.

 

Author Bio
Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of MANNERS THAT SELL - ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS. She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Investors' Business Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman's Day. For more information about her programs, products and services, e-mail her at lydia@mannersthatsell.com or visit her web site www.mannersthatsell.com

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Simple Tips for the Best Super Bowl Party Ever

Simple Tips for the Best Super Bowl Party Ever

Submitted by: KC Kudra

The final football game of the season is coming up. You want to invite all your cronies over to enjoy the biggest game of the year with you. However, how will you keep them content and fed? The good news is, there are lots of ways to not only keep your guests happy, but you can enjoy the game, too!

Think about all those tailgating parties you attended during the football season. You can plan your Super Bowl party the same way! Use lawn chairs in your living room for extra seating. Make great tasting snacks and set them out like a buffet so everyone can eat, as they like. Stock up on heavy duty paper plates and plastic silverware... it will make your cleaning up a breeze. Use those memories of tailgating to create a theme of camaraderie at your party.

Supply plenty of cold beverages. Soda, water, and beer will be the easiest to serve as well as what is expected. Keep them cold in chests full of ice. We are invoking that tailgating fun remember? Screaming and cheering brings on a lot of thirst, so be sure to stock enough!

Now for the food. You must have food for a good Super Bowl party. Snack foods are the best. They are easy to make and easy to eat while you are yelling at the game. Think of things like chicken wings, meatballs, nachos, pizza... anything that tastes great and you can eat with your fingers. Other foods like chili are always welcome, too. Serve everything up on platters or in crock pots so everything is ready when your guests want to eat.

Sub sandwiches are a great Super Bowl treat. Pile them high with cold cuts, lettuce, and tomato. Serve it up with lots of chips and dips. Finger foods like pigs in blankets and sausage rolls are super simple to make and they taste great. Keep it simple and fun so you can enjoy the party, too.

Not everyone is a big football fan, and it is inevitable that there will be a few who just do not care too much about watching. Let them congregate in a nice corner with lots of goodies to eat so they can visit and have a good time. If some guests are bringing children, set up a play room with toys they can enjoy during the game. Give them some snacks and they will have a great time.

Making Superbowl party food should be stress free and simple. You should be able to enjoy the game if you wish, or stay with the guests who prefer to visit. Either way, choose foods that make it easy for you. If you can prepare some the day before, all the better. Offer the food throughout the afternoon so it is not all gone at one time.

You should be able to relax on Super Bowl Sunday, or at least join in the mayhem as your team makes the winning touchdown. Football fans do get intense at times. Either way, you should revel in feeding your guests delicious snacks and having a ball.

About the Author: Making easy Superbowl party recipes means that you can prepare all your snacks well in advance and relax with your guests when the game starts. There are lots of Superbowl recipes to choose from and meat snacks, like chicken wings, ribs and hot dogs, are always incredibly popular. http://www.EasyAppetizerRecipes.net You Make the Appetizers, We Help You Make Them Delicious.

Source: www.isnare.com
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Kiss the Ring: Hierarchy Matters (It's not what you think)

Kiss the Ring: Hierarchy Matters

Kiss the Ring: Hierarchy Matters (It's not what you think)

By: Dr. Karen Otazo

Excerpted from The Truth About Managing Your Career... And Nothing But The Truth.

Someone once asked a Washington insider how to deal with important people whom you can't stand. His reply? "You put on your respectful face and you don't blink." This strategy is known in business circles as "kissing the ring." Its origins lie in a much earlier era, when royalty and clerics wore rings of office denoting their status. Bowing your head as you kissed their rings was how you showed respect for their office, while not necessarily feeling that sentiment towards the characters themselves.

Why go to the trouble to show deference to someone you don't personally like or respect? In the cut and thrust world of business, as in the political sphere, it's all about survival. Or, to look at it more positively, enlightened self-interest. Like it or not, the business world is structured by a strong sense of hierarchy. Why else would we be so fixated on gaining promotions and better titles? Those high up can have a significant impact upon your reputation and career: positive if they like you and see you playing by the rules, negative if they feel slighted by you in some way. Showing them the appropriate respect helps keep your career path obstacle free.

"Kissing the ring" might mean responding in a neutral to positive way when someone important says something off base in a meeting. Or staying positive with your boss when he or she doesn't understand what you're trying to do or say. However irritated or amazed you feel, keep your facial expression kind and free of negativity, a kind of poker face. It's worth practicing this in front of the mirror so that it's ready to put on when you need it.

"Kissing the ring" doesn't mean being sycophantic though. It's just about treading carefully around egos. There's nothing wrong with telling a senior person that you think there might be a better way of doing things, but just make sure that you think strategically and don't react there and then, especially if there are others present. If you are genuinely concerned about something you might want to bring it up in private in a neutral way but not make a big deal out of it. You do this by talking about it in a low-key way, tactfully introducing your point by saying, "By the way, what do you think of... " or, "Is there is a case to be made for this other point of view?"

Are there "don't kiss the ring" moments too? You bet. As soon as anything looks the slightest bit immoral or illegal you need to stop and think. Don't jump to conclusions, but once you've confirmed that something improper is up, do everything you can to extricate yourself from the situation before you get into trouble. If, for example, your company requires that the highest level person at a dinner should pick up the expenses then you might hesitate before paying for something so that your boss doesn't have to put it on his or her expense report. While illegality is something that you should always report, without exception. There are ex-employees of Enron or Health South, currently in jail, who probably wish they had spoken up, or even left their jobs, rather than keeping mum.

"Kissing the ring" is one of a repertoire of respectful behaviors that will serve you in good stead with high ranking people. At some point in your career you will have to suck in your gut and show deference to a senior person whom you can't stand. Be prepared for it.

 

Author Bio
Dr Otazo is an author, consultant and global executive coach. She worked in multi-nationals in US, China, Indonesia, India, France. See more about Dr. Karen Otazo at www.globalleadershipnetwork.com

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Where DO you get the time?

Where DO you get the time?

Where DO you get the time?

By: Stephanie Foster

Why does it so often seem like you turn around and it's midnight when you're raising your kids? It seems like no matter what you do sometimes, there's still a lot more work to do by the time you are ready to go to bed. What can you do?

The first thing you need to do is figure out where your time is going each day. Try making notes one day about what you do and how long it takes. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can try this for a week, since every day is going to be different, but even one day will give you an idea as to where you're using up all your time. It may feel like you're wasting time writing these things down, and they will slow you down a bit for that day, but it can be a big help.

Take a look at what you spent your day doing. Now assign a priority to each. How much time would you prefer to spend on each?

Now if you add all these up, you'll probably find out your day is more than 24 hours long if you include time to sleep. That's how it is being a parent.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what items can be done less often. Can you stand a little mess in the house? Can everyone else? Can you get more help from your spouse and the kids in keeping the house clean? You'll have to decide which solution is right for you.

What about time spent surfing the internet or watching TV? Give yourself time limits on each of these. If you have a Tivo or a VCR, try recording your favorite shows and watching them a little later, skipping the commercials. Not only does this allow you to choose the time you watch your shows, it can cut down their length.

Sometimes it can be hard finding enough time in your day to be with your kids, yet most parents will call this a priority. Just remember that time with your kids isn't just about having fun. Even small children can help out with making dinner, which can be a great time for talking with kids of any age. My three year old daughter has been helping make salads since she was two. The lettuce ends up in either rather large or very small pieces, but she has fun helping and we get some great time together. Older kids may or may not appreciate this time, but it's good for them to help out.

I definitely do not recommend cutting back on whatever meals you insist on eating as a family. This is a great thing to do as a family, and if you aren't making time for family meals, find a way to do so! Even if it's just dinner one night a week together, no activities or sports to run off too, your family needs the time to relax together.

Finally, are there things you can cut out all together? If you feel as though you've been pushed into doing things for others because you're at home and "have time," don't feel guilty about telling people that you do not have the time to do things they want you to do. Your family comes first. If you really want to volunteer, think about either cutting back the number of hours when you need more time for yourself or your family, or volunteering for something you can do as a family.

There are only so many hours to a day, and so many things you'd love to get done. Take a good look at what you need to do, want to do and don't really need to do, and you can find ways to feel a little less overwhelmed most of the time. You'll go through times where there just aren't enough hours in the day even when you know your priorities, but you can cut down on the less important stuff and relieve a lot of your stress.

 

Author Bio
Stephanie Foster is the owner of Home with the Kids, a site for stay at home parents. If you want to learn more about time management as an at-home parent, please visit www.homewiththekids.com/time-management/

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Five Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking And How To Overcome Them

Five Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking And How To Overcome Them

Five Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking And How To Overcome Them

By: Lydia Ramsey

The ability to connect with people is essential to success in any business. Professional networking events present opportunities to interact with others on a personal level and to develop profitable relationships. These occasions are critical for anyone who wants to grow a business or promote a career.

Many people are simply not comfortable walking into a room full of strangers and striking up conversations. Here are five common stumbling blocks that you may face and tips to help you overcome them.

A RELUCTANCE TO TALK TO STRANGERS. You were taught at an early age not to speak to people you don't know. It's not safe. In certain situations today this is still good advice. In business, however, talking to strangers is a way to generate interest and support for your products and services. If you only talk to the people you already know, you will miss out on opportunities to make new connections and establish valuable contacts.

To get past your discomfort in talking to strangers, set a goal for yourself before you attend any networking event. Decide how many new contacts you want to make or how many strangers you want to meet. In some cases, you may specifically target individuals whom you'd like to know.

Next come up with some icebreakers or conversation starters. Have questions prepared that you can ask anyone you meet at the event. You may want to inquire about other people's business, their connection to the sponsoring organization or their opinion of the venue.

LACK OF A FORMAL INTRODUCTION. It's much easier to make a new contact when there is someone else to handle the introduction and pave the way. If you wait for another person to make the move you may not meet anyone. At networking events, the goal is to meet as many people as possible.

This is the time to take the bull by the horns, walk up to people you don't know, introduce yourself and start a conversation. You can do this if you have prepared your self-introduction in advance.

You will not introduce yourself the same way on every occasion. Perhaps it is your first time to attend an association meeting. In that case, you might want to say that as part of your introduction. Let people know who you are, why you are there and give them a reason to ask more abut you.

FEAR OF BEING SEEN AS PUSHY. You may think that you will turn people off if you are assertive and that if they want to talk to you, they will make the first move. If this is your line of thinking you will find yourself spending your time alone at the reception or meeting function and leaving without a single new connection. Being open, friendly and interested does not turn people off.

You will not come across as overly aggressive if you seek out the "approachable" people. These are the ones who are standing alone or who are speaking in groups of three or more. Two people talking to each other are not approachable because they may be having a private conversation and you would be interrupting.

THINKING THAT OTHER PEOPLE MAY NOT LIKE YOU. There is always the risk that the other person is not interested in you and doesn't want to meet or talk to you. It happens. If that is the case, don't take it personally. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. When you get a cold shoulder, smile, move on and say to yourself, "Next?"

HAVING YOUR INTENTIONS MISUNDERSTOOD. Approaching someone of the opposite sex to begin a conversation may seem more like flirting than networking. This is more of an issue for women than men. Women have an equal place in the work arena and need to make professional connections the same as men do. Women in business can no longer afford to hold back when there is opportunity at hand.

Neither men nor women will have their motives misinterpreted if they present themselves professionally in their attire and if they keep the conversation focused on business issues or topics that are not personal or private.

Whatever your stumbling blocks, face them before the next networking event and devise a personal plan for getting past them. Once you do, you will find yourself connecting with confidence and courtesy on every occasion and the results will be reflected in your bottom line.

 

Author Bio
Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of MANNERS THAT SELL - ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS. She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Investors' Business Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman's Day. For more information about her programs, products and services, e-mail her at lydia@mannersthatsell.com or visit her web site www.mannersthatsell.com

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