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12 statistics as infographic that may convince you that your business needs to start social selling, originally from Sales for Life blog.  They also shared more stats in an infographic on B2B Solcial Selling.  


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Learn At Lunch-Training Presentations 
Whether you call it learn-at-lunch (American Management Association term, circa 2013) or lunch-and-learn (also Lunch N Learn or "Lunch & Learn" terms @2007), this is a great option for disseminating short training nuggets. It can save both time and money when it comes to employee learning.

Please note, the older terms of Bring-Your-Own-Lunch Training or Brown Bag Seminars (started in the 1980's by offering short technical topics or product introductions) are dropping in popularity by business organizations due to language acceptability and labor issues.

Use learn-at-lunch time to:
  • Introduce team-building concepts or simple business skills that do not require physical activities or special equipment
  • Familiarize sales and customer service representatives with new products, services, or processes
  • Encourage supervisors, managers, leaders, and facilitators to adopt new procedures, attitudes, or policies
For corporate events, nothing says says you have to use the term Learn-at-Lunch.  Instead you can even make your lunch menu a fun match to the topics.  Some ideas might be:  Tacos & Tools, Pizza N Presentations, Sandwiches & Sales, Training N Treats, Salad and Service, or Noodles & News. Get the idea?

For tips on Learn at Lunch, see:
  • Why you would want to use this training option, review business productivity post The Marvelous Method of the Lunch and Learn!
  • What to consider for short training modules via instructional design article Lunch N Learn: A Dollar Saving Training Option and Peak Performance Solutions post 10 Questions Leading to Impactful Lunch and Learn Topics.
  • How to start this training option in posts containing Five Tips for Planning Learn-at-Lunch Events and How to Get Topics and Participants for Learn-at-Lunch Events.
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How do you get topics for learn-at-lunch training sessions?

If you want to start lunch and learns but do not where to start, do an on-line survey (with SurveyMonkey or Social Media Polls) to see what topics people are most interested in to get started.  You can provide 10 topic areas and request those surveyed rank them in order of preference.  You may also want an optional fill-in the-blank field to capture ideas you did not think of for prioritizing in the next survey.  Be sure to provide a “do by” date to encourage timely responses.  The easy decision then is to start with the topic with the highest ranking and move down the list.  This type of survey could be done quarterly or annually to test new topics or determine which ones to repeat.

How do you get people to attend Learn-at-Lunch events?

The obvious answer is to make them worth attending.  How do you do that?  Below are a few ideas to think about for mixing it up and making it worthwhile for your training participants.

  • Do not just do lecture and a PowerPoint presentation!  You can make it interactive by adding games, case study review, quizzes, as well as "Q&A."  Make it more interesting by including skits, vendor or customer comments, video clips, demonstrations and music if appropriate.  You might find something funny on YouTube that could drive home your primary point. It should be so interesting that people want to come to the next one!
  • Consider capturing all the questions on a flip chart or marker board, if the lunch and learn involves a strategic change.  Then when you get the best answers from management, you can publish it as a FAQ document for all employees to access.  You may also want to record the event so you can share it with more people via the company intranet.
  • Find good presenters, people who are knowledgeable and can make their topic interesting!  You do not want a monotone voice reading slides and putting the audience to sleep after they eat.  Instead you want people to go away with more knowledge than they came with.  Presenters can be internal to the organization or motivational speakers from outside the company.
  • Make sure you space and equipment works in advance.  Not understanding how to link in remote attendees or on-line data is not only frustrating to them and the speaker, it is distracting to those physically sitting in the room.  If you mess up with technology and spend too much time fixing it, people may not come back to the next event.
  • Consider success sharing among teams and projects as potential lunch and learn topics too.  Let your teams shine and share to help others improve and grow.  This should be a learning session, not an idea generating meeting or project completion party – those should be separate individual team events.

Once you have your topics and your schedule planned.  Get the word out!  Start with emails and do not stop there.   Promote it with flyers, bulletin boards, or posters prominently placed around your business facilities.  If your organization has a newsletter or corporate e-calendar make sure your lunch and learns get listed there too.

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Below are five (5) tips to consider when planning a Learn at Lunch training event in your company. Each of the five tips include questions to ask before proceeding with event planning.  


  1. Define the best time to hold your sessions.  When do most of your employees break for lunch 11-12, 11:30-12:30, or 12-1?  Choosing a time-frame that most prefer will help you get more people in the seats.
  2. Decide how often you want to offer these sessions. Should training events be once a quarter or once a month?  Or do you have an immediate need to disseminate information or want to break it into multiple modules where weekly events over a short time period may be more appropriate?  Choosing a frequency of events will help you arrange for presenters and plan promotions.  If you choose to do weekly events, make them the same day each week so it easier for your employees to plan for.
  3. Determine if you want variety of attendees or a targeted group.  Could you provide lunch or would it be better to tell your employees to Bring-Your-Own?  For a targeted learning, people will typically want to attend without extra incentives.  For a varied audience, the extra incentive a free lunch may get more people to show up.
  4. Discover a location that will work best.  Depending on the audience size, can you find a room large enough with table space as well as seating?  If you are providing lunch, is there room to set-up an area for people to quickly move through when selecting their meal before the training portion begins?  If you are not providing food and expect a large crowd, can you bring food and drink into an auditorium-type space and do the seats provide a fold-up writing space that may be larger enough for notes and food?
  5. Deliver meaningful content.  What topics are people do you plan to present?  Who can you get to present each topic in an interesting or unique way?  This is especially important for reviewing old material where you want people to see it differently and/or not be bored by hearing the same thing again.

Even though lunch and learns are more casual and shorter events than a training workshop, you still need to organize presenters, handouts, facilities, equipment, and food in advance.

*These same five suggestions above will work for non-profit associations who prefer to do lunch meetings instead of dinner events – just replace the word “employees” with “members” when reading the tips.


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Each year, I search business articles for common leadership themes and issues.  These business leadership issues are usually presented sometime in the first quarter of each year.  This year it was harder to find the top leadership issues as they seemed to be all over the place!  Some articles had the common threads of technology use, company culture, leader's personal needs awareness, change management, and staff/HR issues.  Although their approaches were somewhat different and in some cases contradictory!

Of the common leadership topics, below are the 5 most discussed business leadership issues in order of frequency of appearance in articles.  Although many have been covered on this blog before, I will attempt to cover a few of the highest ranking concepts in posts this year and then link them here.

Five Top Leadership Issues 
  1. Gender diversity (encourage more female leadership)
  2. Continuous learning (promote training and education) 
  3. Change management (communicate what changes and what remains the same)
  4. Company culture (emphasize accountability and lead by example)
  5. Generational gaps/diverstiy (are no longer high priority issue, yet need to remain aware of it)

Below are a few leadership articles you may want to check out on other issues:

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Whether you are looking to get a raise or up the amount of start pay during a job offer, consider the following 3 considerations in asking for more pay or additional compensation.

1. Remember the first offer is typically a starting point in a salary range from HR.  Even if the money seems acceptable, why not try to negotiate for a higher rate?  Ask for more without naming a value, while explaining why you are worth more.  Salary negotiating means they are willing to go up, but you also must be willing to go down.  What is an acceptable compromise for both sides?

2. Be prepared with salary figures from your industry to prove your value, do not get emotional about money.  Your value is not just your skills but how you help the company.  Can you bring in new customers, reduce cycle time, make technology advances?  These things matter to the person interviewing you are a new hire or an internal candidate fro transfer or promotion.  Can you show them facts about what you have done and plans for what you could do?

3. Look for other compensation you are willing to accept in lieu of salary, if cash is either not negotiable or only slightly so.  Is working with the latest technology important?  What about being on a specific project or team?  If you ca not get a new promotion or title, can you get someone to assist you in getting more work done? What other benefits does the company have in health benefits, leave, life insurance, bonuses, flex-time, telecommuting, or profit-sharing, that would be good compensation?
   
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Are you wanting to move your career along, but feel stuck?  Do you think you are due for a promotion or want to get that transfer?  Get unstuck and start doing something to get noticed.  Below are four ways you can do that.

1. Remember ambition is not a bad thing.  So showing off your success is not bragging, it is just getting noticed.  Write it on progress reports and share it on social media if it is not corporate confidential work.  No need to be specific just post a quick bullet in hopes of attracting a mentor, network associate, and possibly the career you want.


2. Speak up in meetings.  If you have an idea that solves a problem or moves a project along, share it.  If you have a resource for necessary research or a needed skill set, let others know.  The more you show how you can help, the more you get noticed.  Getting noticed means being asked for opinions or getting assigned to more visible projects.

3. Take action whenever possible, do not wait for permission.  Do the work that needs to be done.  Take the lead on a team or volunteer for key projects.  Pro-activity and productivity get noticed too.

4. Find a mentor or coach who will recognize your capabilities and be willing to help you get there or guide your path. If you have a career goal, go for it by finding someone who will listen to your vision. 
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Visme, the free presentation infographic creation on-line tool, has a new feature for quickly and easily creating process flow charts or visual mind maps.  The 1+ minute video below rapidly shows how the new tool works.


Flowchart Maker | Concept Map Maker | Mind Map Maker | How to Make Flowcharts. - YouTube

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Great!  Your application or resume got you an interview.  Now what?  Everyone gets nervous about going on job interview or internal promotional reviews.  A little nervousness is not bad, but too much can actually hurt your job search process by making you look unprepared.  So prepare yourself both mentally and physically before the interview so the process runs smoothly and in your favor.   Below are 3 tips to help you prepare before the interview date.

1. Mentally prepare for the interview by:
  • Charting your skills to the job.  Use two-columns:  in the first list the job responsibilities, in the second column list your matching qualifications.  If there is a gap in your skills for the job, indicate what you will do soon to close the gap or how your current skills will help you close the gap.
  • Determining what in your job history matches the open position.  Look for impressive examples of work you have done in the past to provide when asked for examples during the interview.  Decide how to introduce the example and what details you will provide if asked for them.  Pick examples of both individual work and work done as part of a team so you can match the example to the interviewers question. 
2. Make a good first impression by:
  • Dressing for the career you want, not just the job.  First impressions matter.  You may not want to look overdressed, but under-dressed makes a lousy impression.  If you know someone in the company or a similar organization, ask them for ideas on how to dress.
  • Planning your appointment time wisely.  Know the route to the interview location so you can plan for detours and exits to avoid being late.  Be sure you have plenty of gas or have scheduled your ride well a head of time.  Get to the interview location a little early in case the interviewers are ahead of schedule, you can review your resume and notes.  You need to plan to stay later as well,  in case the interviews are behind schedule.  The best way to do this is ask the person who calls you, to give you the date and start time, how long the typical interview lasts.   
3. Let them know you are really interested by asking good questions about a company career by:
  • Checking their corporate website for some ideas first and then ask for clarification.  Such as  company strategy (3-5 year plans), values, and culture.  
  • Asking what a successful employee looks like in this job to start and after some time (one month, 60 days, first quarter).  Ask where the job or your skills could lead career-wise in the future (1 year from now, 3 years, etc.).
Going to your interview properly prepared will help you remain calm and respond quicker.  Being calm will make a better impression than seeming nervous or unprepared,
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Resume formats and lengths have changed over the years, but three sections remain key for getting your resume noticed.  These are your header, your summary, and list of accomplishments.

  1. Your heading is your first introduction.  The heading is a 3-parts of information needed to contact you for an interview.  You need to make sure you name is large and clear.  If you have a LinkedIN account, make sure the name on it matches your resume for possible research on you by interviewers prior to their contacting.  An email address and phone number are essential for getting notified by recruiters and interviewers.  These are the main way you will be contacted, so you may choose to use a cell phone for easy-access and a professional-looking email for follow-up purposes.  Typically a mailing address is included in the heading area as well.  Usually physical addresses are only used by Human Resources (HR) as  reference for on-line searches prior to hiring or mailing paperwork after a hiring decision is made.
  2. A summary of skills is vital to get your place in the interview group.  Whether you call it career objective or summary of qualifications,  a paragraph stating why you are a fit for the job is important - NOT optional.  Many recruiters read this before even looking at the rest of the resume, if what they are looking for is not here, then the resume goes in the "skip" pile instead of the "interview" pile.  So be sure to use keywords form the job description in this section to catch their eye.  Exact keywords are especially  important for electronic resumes, as this is what the computer searches for as a way to pull or eliminate resumes for recruiter review.  Using synonyms may prevent duplication, but the computer will not be looking for alternative words - so stick to the advertised keywords.
  3. Your list of accomplishments is where you provide brief examples of your experiences.  This could section may be called work history, career accomplishments, achievements, or core competencies.  This section should start with the most recent position/job/skill examples moving down through other historical work.  Using bullet points rather than paragraphs will make the resume more readable.  Again, use as many of the job description keywords as you can honestly claim - think SEO.  A few job or technology synonyms are okay to use here to vary descriptions in bullets after using main keywords.  If you get called for an interview, be prepared to provide more detailed examples of your accomplishments to prove your potential worth.  If you are have a long career, you only need to provide ten years of work experience.  If you think older jobs will support your accomplishments, only list the company details and job title to keep resume short but allow interview the opportunity to ask for examples from those years.

Do a web search for current resume formats you can use in order for your resume to look professional and up-to-date for recruiters.  You may want to take the search further and look for resume examples that match your chosen career field to make a better impression.  Make sure the format you choose has the three key resume sections of header, summary, and accomplishments.
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