Getting a conversation started

One of the most intimidating situations for most people is to enter a room where they know virtually no one. It feels uncomfortable. This is where the art of networking come in. Networking is all about making connections with people to see if there could be a reciprocal relationship built around helping one another. Sometimes it’s challenging to just get that conversation started. Here are three tips to help make it easier:


Cellphone use in Business Settings


Cellphones are a visible symptom of our addiction to technology. We use them for everything; we can’t be separated from them and we clutch at them constantly – even obsessively. Since habits and addictions often become automatic, it’s important to do a bit of self-analysis sometimes. Our all-important interactions with our cellphones can have a big impact on our professional image. Consider that colleague who is constantly rushing to the office bathroom or kitchen to have “personal” conversations which everyone can overhear anyway.

Here are a few simple office phone ethics to consider:

1. Avoid private topics in the office

Surely the whole office doesn’t need to hear about your sick child at the day care centre? Of course, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care – a sick child should be high on your priority list – but it shifts the focus away from work and puts the spotlight on your personal life. This not only shows disrespect to your colleagues but also adds to an unprofessional image. So rather leave the room and find a place where you can talk away from the office. Or if a call catches you off guard, offer to call the person back and take a break somewhere private where you can give the conversation your full attention without evoking the empathy of the whole office and messing with the work dynamic. Some companies offer a separate cellphone for business purposes which does help to makes a clear break between your personal and private calls.


Go Google Yourself

(Editor's Note:  This article caught our eye and of course what did we do?  We searched ourselves using Bing instead of Google, just to be cute!!  Doesn't matter which search engine or social media site you use.  Your online persona is more important than ever! Check them all out.)

How does the world see you? It may not be the way you see yourself. Either way, it's time you find out! 

Recently I typed my own name into a series of search engines to see how well known I was. Surprise surprise! I learned in England I am a soccer star with adoring fan clubs and celebrity status; in New Zealand I'm a playwright, author and editor. Stateside I am either a Gastroenterologist in Kalispell, Montana or a gospel singer with 4 CDs to my name in Ohio. Who knew!
My point? We need to know how our customers regard us. Is there market clarity or market confusion? Are customers as clear about who we are and what we can do for them as we are? If not, it's our responsibility to send a clear and consistent message about who we are and what's special about us.


Winning an Argument via eMail

An American proverb goes, “The more arguments you win, the fewer friends you have.” Well, possibly – but the fact remains that in business you are going to have arguments sometimes, and you are going to try to win them. However, as long as you stick to a few golden rules, you should be able to keep the process friendly.

Of course, resolving disagreements in writing is clearly not the ideal way to do it; it’s always better to talk face to face or pick up the phone. But in our increasingly interconnected world, much of our communication naturally happens in written form, via letters, emails and instant messaging. And when you’re trying to make a point in writing, without the clues of tone of voice, facial expressions and body language to help you, misunderstandings may occur. You therefore have to be extra careful about the words you choose and the way you phrase them.

Here are some tips to remember next time you find yourself indignantly sitting down to write an email:

1. Logic and reason win arguments. Most people are fairly reasonable, so if you can appeal to their sense of what’s right, you will probably win them over to your way of thinking. Stay professional at all times: remember, you’re trying to solve an issue, not taking this opportunity to express all the anger and frustration that has been building up inside you for ages. Even if you’re having a lot of problems with this person, concentrate on one issue. Don’t make personal accusations – you will simply anger and alienate your reader and you risk losing your focus, your temper and your argument. So stay logical, stick to the facts, explain your reasoning properly, and you will stand a better chance of getting what you want.


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