Meetings can be a great platform to get yourself recognised professionally, and if you present yourself confidently they can often help to advance your career.
Yearly Archives: 2016
December can be one of the most challenging months of the working year, and keeping employees engaged and focused on their work can be tricky. According to a recent study, two-thirds of employees will use paid time to do their online Christmas shopping at their desks, meaning that businesses could stand to lose hundreds of hours in productivity. There often ends up being fewer man hours to get the same volume of work accomplished, and for some, end-of-year targets need to be met and budgets and planning for the year ahead finalised. Juggling work with personal family commitments can create a number of pressures and distractions, and so it’s no wonder that during the festive season, employee morale and motivation can dip.
I’m aware there’s a certain irony in me writing this post, as I still have an awful lot to accomplish before Christmas! I’m sure it’s the case for many, and so before we get swept up in the usual Christmas panic, here are some ways in which we can maintain our normal pace of work, and focus on the things that really matter. Once we’ve cleared the decks, it will mean that we can leave the office with a clear conscience, switch-off from work and have a truly restful Christmas…
Christmas is just around the corner and this brings with it the chance to curl up with a book that might have been sitting on your ‘to be read’ pile since the start of the year. While I usually manage to read daily, it’s often just before I go to bed which I’m sure is the case for many; opportunities to read during the daytime are few and far between. This makes me wonder how some of the world’s busiest and most successful business people find the time to read so voraciously and plough through several books a month. Surely they’re not sat in bed every night reading until 3am? Or are they?
You’ll need yourself at your best if you want to succeed in any type of job. Of course, no one is born perfect, so you’ll have to go through some trial-and-error before you start noticing your mistakes and improving upon them. You shouldn’t feel discouraged because you made some mistakes; you should look at them as lessons for the future! Luckily, there are ways that you can improve yourself without having to learn through errors. Here are 10 practical and proven ways to improve yourself professionally!
First impressions count for a lot, and we only get one shot at it. Have you ever begun a new job, only to find that your workspace wasn’t properly prepared for you, IT hadn’t organised your logins and no one had been officially assigned to greet you? Beginning a new job can be an incredibly isolating and nerve-wracking experience, and even more so if it feels like no one is expecting you. Helping a new employee to feel welcome and part of company culture can make all the difference and be instrumental in encouraging them to deliver their best from day one.
Small organizations need to be efficient and use the most out of their resources. A lot of people think that just because there is a small team involved, that everything will run smoothly. It is true that the overall workload might be smaller but this doesn’t mean that the people individually have less work on their hands.
At the end of a big presentation or conference, it would be unusual to see the speaker or host pick up their belongings, put on their coat and leave, without any sort of closing speech. Generally, they would take a few minutes to deliver a summary, thanking the audience for their attendance and participation, and leaving them with a final thought.
By now, we all know about the business case for webinars — they bring in warm, pre-qualified leads for sales opportunities. In order to capture those leads, you first need them to be aware of the fact that you’re having a webinar. Much like a tree falling in the forest with no one around (which doesn’t make a sound), a webinar being hosted on a given Wednesday with no viewers doesn’t make much of a sound either — and definitely not in terms of leads.
Successful businessman, entrepreneur, self-confessed ‘geek’ and philanthropist Bill Gates is a bit like Marmite. While some love him for his achievements as an entrepreneur and his contribution to technology, others who maybe aren’t Microsoft fans, find it tricky to connect with him on any sort of personal level. Famously publicity-shy and socially awkward, he has never had the easy appeal of Richard Branson, for example; but he’s an individual to revere for not only his business and technology conquests, but also the work he’s done for the world’s disadvantaged. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation boasts assets worth $37.1 billion, which Gates has personally contributed $28 billion to, as well as working full time for.
Personal branding is nothing new. Julius Caesar’s three-word mantra, ‘Veni, vidi, vici,’ clearly demonstrated his winning-at-all-costs persona. Politicians have successfully developed and packaged their brands to win votes and build coalitions of political power. Today’s marketer, networking aficionado and job seeker find even greater pressure to build a personal brand given the digital tools that are widely available for branding and marketing a personal image and philosophy. However, some young people baulk at the idea of becoming a brand because it seems impersonal. The struggle to develop an identity influences many people to scream, ‘I’m not a brand; I’m a human being!’
For reasons that I’ve never been able to fathom, some companies just love to call meetings, for the most trivial to the obscure of reasons. I’ve even been known to receive an invite to a pre-meeting, to discuss what we will be talking about at the actual meeting! Very often these meetings, which lack any true purpose, generate very little in the way of action points and are promptly forgotten or sidetracked once everyone has left the room.
Maybe you’ve just enrolled in some extra coursework toward an advanced certification at your job. Or maybe you just need a distraction-free place at home to get some serious spread sheeting done. Whatever your reason for designing one, building a workspace that harnesses your wandering mind and boosts your productivity is key.
Leadership is a significant issue facing not just business, but the world in general, at present. In the business world particularly, times are changing, and workplace hierarchies have undergone some massive shifts in recent years, paving the way for more distributed forms of leadership. Today’s rising generation of workers are showing preference for flat, collaborative organisational structures, with few hierarchical levels and looser leadership. Google has championed this business model for quite some time, on the basis that it helps to attract more talent and allow for more rapid business growth.
The open plan office was set up to encourage disclosure, discussion and debate. At the time it broke down traditional office hierarchies, sitting managers among the ‘workers’ and promoting a more flexible and democratic way of working. It saved companies money too, as the need to construct large, fancy offices for senior management was drastically reduced, as was the overall volume of office space needed.
The Christmas season gives many of us a chance to take a break from routine, spend time with the family and recharge our batteries. As January looms and the start of a new year is upon us, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities and set goals for the year ahead. That sense of a fresh beginning and new challenges has never been lost on me, and now is a good time to be evaluating whether you’re consistently performing at your peak, or whether day-to-day distractions and the demands of others are too often getting in the way.
At this time of year, there’s nothing I’d love more than to be lying by a pool, with an iced coffee in one hand and a book I’ve been longing to read in the other. Nowadays, my reading time is whatever I’m able to grab, on the train to a meeting, while supper is cooking or when the kids are in bed. But I read religiously every day, and always have done, as it’s my source of escape from the daily grind, and the place where I go to learn more.
This article is based on the webinar delivered by business consultant, author and speaker Gihan Perera, which can be viewed here.
The Oxford English Dictionary has just been reprinted with more than 500 new words and phrases. With September 2016 being the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth, the quarterly update has marked the occasion with many new entries connected to his writing. These include splendiferous (“humorous word for splendid”), human bean (a “humourous alteration” of human being) and scrumdiddlyumptious (“for those occasions when scrumptious simply won’t do”). Language is constantly changing and our individual uses of language reflect our outlook, generation, view of the world and how pessimistic or optimistic we are.
If your brainstorms aren’t producing the right ideas, it isn’t necessarily because your team is unimaginative. Some people are better-suited to lateral thinking than others, but certain conditions are more conducive to creativity than others. Moments of light-bulb inspiration are rarer than people like to think.
Are you the sort of person who bounces out of bed when the alarm goes off, excited to begin your day? Or maybe you’re a little more like me…hitting the snooze button, dashing around the house frantically trying to get everyone organised, running out the door, and needing a strong coffee before you can really get started with your day? Well at least that’s the way I used to be, but recently I’ve been working hard to become more of a morning person, and I’ve discovered some valuable lessons along the way.
How could you become more creative, healthier, resilient, think faster, and feel better about yourself? How could your team become more creative, trusting, and better learners? How could your organisation move faster and more effectively within its teams and across its silos? How can even the budget-constrained achieve these kind of (research-based) outcomes?
Do you frequently have that realisation that it’s 10am already, but you haven’t really accomplished anything yet? You might have made a coffee, browsed through a couple of articles, jotted down a quick ‘to do’ list, had a chat with a colleague and responded to a few low priority emails…but really, in that first hour or so, you know you haven’t begun to tackle anything substantive.
It really doesn’t matter where, what or to whom you’re presenting; there’s no getting away from the fact that presentations are a pretty big deal. As I’ve written before, presentations are a unique opportunity to share your ideas, vision and knowledge to an audience who, at least to start off with, are hungry to hear what you have to say.