Loading...

Follow Mick's Leadership blog on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

In many circumstances, employees work hard and prove themselves worthy of a promotion. However, just because a person is a hard worker doesn’t mean that they’re going to be a great leader. Leadership is a skill and while it can be developed, not all leaders make that effort. If you think back in the portals of your own mind, you probably can pinpoint the best leaders you’ve ever had. It’s not hard to tell the difference between great leadership and poor leadership. If you’re aspiring to become a leader in your place of employment, there are a few components you’ll want to remember.

1. Value your loyal employees.

Make sure your employees understand how much you appreciate their work. While it’s one thing to hire employees, it’s another thing to develop a team of loyal employees. Loyalty is a soft skill that can easily go underappreciated. Always communicate your appreciation for their loyalty. When an employee has proved their worthiness of a new position, don’t play a political game and hire someone else. Honor the ones who have been in time and effort. If one of the marketing associates recommended the use of a specific email marketing agency and that connection led to an increase in profits, give credit where it is due and express appreciation.

2. Offer mentorship and opportunities for growth.

One great way to foster a healthy community within the workplace involves offering mentorship and opportunities for employees to progress. If the people within your company feel as though there’s no upward movement, they’re going to leave. Studies suggest that the days are gone where an employee would work at a company for their entire lifetime. In fact, many Millennials work at many different companies within the span of ten years. Whether it’s through company sponsorship to conferences or professional development programs, invest in the growth of your employees. A great leader makes sure their team is sharp and exudes excellence.

3. Notice and celebrate the strengths of the team.

It’s important to take note of the strengths of the team and put them in positions that highlight their strengths. This requires intentional effort from a leader to learn and study their team members. At the same time, it’s also important to make sure the team members are able to stretch themselves and get uncomfortable in order to develop new strengths.

4. Provide incentives and benefits.

Most companies understand the importance of benefits. For many people, money is the biggest motivator. However, for others, flexibility might be the major motivator. An incentive like having the ability to telecommute a few days a week might mean a lot to someone who works in a major city and sits in traffic for an hour each way. While health insurance is always beneficial, a pay raise can really help some people in more ways. It’s all about considering a package that would make your employees want to become more devoted to their leader and company.

5. Master communication strategies and how you craft your messages.

In the workplace, there are going to be times when there are disagreements. It can be tough to have those difficult conversations. One of the keys to remember is that you must address a problem. Don’t sweep anything under the rug. A good leader operates with integrity. They don’t allow things to pile up because eventually, things will implode. If mediation is necessary, don’t hesitate to get extra help in working through a major company issue.

6. Be a problem-solver.

Many CEOs admit that the majority of their day gets spent putting out fires and serving as the problem-solver. In order to lead well, the people need to be able to trust you. Learn how to become trustworthy by efficiently coming up with solutions. Think through problems and get a good understanding of the details. Then, quickly make a decision. Time is an important commodity and many people don’t realize how much time they waste by mulling over a problem. As you continue to work and solve problems, chances are you’ll come across situations where you can transform the way certain systems operate. When this happens, you’ll be able to make an impact that can change the company’s trajectory forever.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

What do you think is one of the most important attributes that separates a good leader from a mediocre leader?

There are lots of things, but if you said “generosity,” you’re onto something!

This doesn’t necessarily mean bosses doling out big raises and bonuses (although those monetary incentives do help). So, what is generosity? What we are talking about is the spirit in which your company gives to its employees.

Employees want to feel like they are a part of something bigger. They want to feel good about their work. They want positive reinforcement, not criticism. They want to be heard. The list goes on.

Here are a few ideas on how to be a more generous leader:

Offer Feedback, Not Criticism

Criticisms are just complaints in disguise. Whether you’re at home, among friends or at work, no one wants to hear negative comments about something they did wrong.

It’s easy to complain about people’s work, but it’s not helpful. As Dale Carnegie said in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain — and most fools do.”

If your management style is to give criticism, consider delivering feedback in a constructive way so the employee knows how they can be more effective. The employee should leave a meeting or discussion with the awareness of how they can do better without feeling like they got beat up.

Consider it a conversation among two people and leave it with a focus on solutions, a plan and follow up. Make sure you are being respectful and using an appropriate tone. By helping someone, you’re being generous.

Let the Employee Choose a Charity of Their Choice

A company’s donation to a good cause is often associated with generosity. While this is indeed charitable, it’s not the only way to go about donating.

Some companies give each employee x-amount of dollars to donate to the charity of their choice. Instead of the company giving a lump sum to a charity or nonprofit, the employee gets to decide what qualified organization they feel most connected to. Letting them choose gives an employee a sense of pride and engages them individually.

Planning a charitable contribution is part of what generous leaders do, but it doesn’t always have to be monetary. It’s common for good companies to volunteer their time to causes or give in-kind donations to someone who couldn’t otherwise afford their services. This type of giving builds camaraderie among employees.

Give Compliments

Everyone likes to be told they matter and are doing a good job with their work. Not every employee is a rockstar, but most people have something valuable to contribute. Pick that one person or few people who don’t hear enough encouragement.

Showing people appreciation and a sense of importance builds trusts in the company. All relationships are built on trust, and it goes both ways. Companies that aren’t afraid to show appreciation for employee performance build more loyal employees. Loyal employees are more likely to be thankful for their job.

Share Your Knowledge

If time is money, then it’s valuable to share what you know and what you’ve learned with your employees. Managers and owners get busy and focused on their jobs, but think about what wisdom or expertise you can pass on to the people in the company.

“When your expertise helps the entire team, you become a more valuable part of it,” writes Forbes contributor Chrissy Scivicque. “Your presence is worth more for the organization — and that can translate into tangible rewards and real dollars.”

If leaders can convey what they know in a modest manner, they are able to give employees an opportunity to increase their knowledge base as well. Within the big picture it’s easy to forget to connect with the people who make the company what it is today.

Do you think your employees feel proud to work for the company they’ve chosen to work for?  What is your philosophy on generosity? Leave us a comment below.

…………………………….

Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Working smart vs. working hard. Is there really a difference? Some may argue that there isn’t, but I beg to differ. Everyone is capable of working hard because all it takes is some effort and endurance. Working smart, on the other hand, has everything to do with time and efficiency. Most people who are working smart do it intuitively. Lucky them, right? Well for those of you who want to work smarter, not harder but just can’t seem to figure it out, listen up.

Work smarter, not harder

This is how to do it:

1. Get in a work routine

It’s okay to go with the flow sometimes. I’ll be the first to admit that having a flexible schedule is nice. But when it comes to handling your responsibilities efficiently, a routine works best. When creating your routine, create habits: bedtime habits, eating habits, exercise habits, social habits, work habits. When you develop habits, your brain performs these tasks automatically and more effectively, enabling you to do things without consciously thinking about them.

2. Prep before bed

To make the most out of your morning, prep the night before. By taking just 10 to 20 minutes to prepare for the following day, you can make a huge difference in your workflow. You’ll wake up knowing where to start and what problems need solving while having the drive to tackle them, all because you prepared your mind the night before.

3. Meditate in the morning before work

There’s no better way to start your day than with a little meditation. Mornings can be tough, but clearing your mind first thing sets you up for a successful day. Not only does meditation provide you with increased concentration and a boosted mood, but it also counteracts stress and anxiety. The best part? The benefits of meditation don’t end when your session ends; they continue to affect you throughout the day.

4. Learn how to prioritize your work

The ability to prioritize is a highly valued skill in the workplace because it helps you stay aligned with what’s important to both you and your company. Once you identify what needs immediate attention, you can center your focus on those tasks for the day and complete the most urgent tasks before moving on to those that are less critical. Doing this will leave you feeling more productive and less anxious.

5. Set workday goals

Everyone knows how to set goals. However, not everyone understands why goal setting works. Goals trigger behavior, sustain momentum, guide and align your focus, and promote self-mastery. Once you put goal setting into practice, these reactions become instinctive, increasing your productivity long-term.

6. Get organized

Organization is a simple, yet highly effective tip. Organizing yourself, your desk, and your information will yield the most valuable asset of all — time. Once you’re organized, you can say goodbye to searching through files, your inbox, and your calendar, and say hello to getting sh*t done. To keep your workflow organized, try project management software. It can be a lifesaver, and there are dozens of free project management software tools for those on a budget.

7. Master time management

Now that you’re saving time by getting yourself organized, you’ll need to learn how to manage that time. This isn’t an easy thing for most people, but there are a lot of time management tips and tools to make it easier. I’d personally recommend using a time tracking app. If you find yourself wishing you had more time, this will help keep you on track.

8. Block your calendar

Too many times I start working on a project only to have someone look at my calendar and see that I’m “free” and proceed to ask something of me. This leaves me flustered, and once I’m done with what has been asked of me, the mindset I had when starting my work has been lost. To avoid this, block off time on your calendar for when you want to get your work done. This will allow you to focus on what you need to get done during that time while also guaranteeing yourself time free from unexpected disruptions. Make sure you’re utilizing the best calendar software as well.

9. Schedule breaks

Just as it’s critical to schedule time to get your work done, it’s important to schedule time for breaks. Build time into your schedule to take a few breathers throughout the day. Use this time for things like checking social media, browsing the internet, or just to decompress. But be sure to stick to this schedule. Once you start taking quick little breaks to check your phone or what your coworker is up to, your lost time adds up. You waste more time than you’d think.

 10. Manage up

Managing up is the best way to get what you want, and fast. If you find yourself frustrated with the direction of your manager you can improve your situation by choosing to manage up. It’s exactly what it sounds like: managing your manager. This includes anticipating your boss’s needs, supporting their weaknesses, and keeping them (overly) informed. I know, you shouldn’t have to, but by doing so you’ll get back your time that they’re wasting.

11. Don’t time-suck

Meetings can be one of the biggest time-sucks for people. Some meetings are necessary, and if this is the case, tighten them. Start with a specific desired outcome and end with action items so that they’re quick and painless. Contrarily, kill unproductive meetings. Time is valuable; so don’t waste yours or anyone else’s.

12. Automate, automate, automate

Want a quick win on maximizing productivity? Automation. It’s the age of technology, so why do the work that technology can do for us. Utilize the countless forms of software to automate things like your emails, tasks, and payments. A great example of this is marketing automation software. By eliminating daunting tasks, you’re able to focus your energy on more important work decisions.

13. Eliminate stressors

Job stress is costly. In fact, according to a study by The American Institute of Stress, workplace stress results in as much as $300 billion annually in lost productivity. That’s no pocket change. Spare yourself and your company the loss of productivity by identifying your stressors and eliminating the ones that you can.

14. Ask for help

Everyone loves a problem-solver. But sometimes we spend too much time looking for answers that we just can’t find ourselves. If you find yourself spending your day doing this, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The more you communicate, ask questions, and utilize your team, the quicker you’ll learn to do it on your own the next time.

15. Take care of yourself

Not only is it essential to keep your mental health in check, but it’s also crucial that you focus on your physical health. Make time for yourself, invest in passions outside of work, exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. You can’t fire on all cylinders if you’re not taking care of your mind and body.

Implement these tips to work smarter, not harder

Keep in mind, learning to work smart effectively will take time and dedication. But if you put these tips into practice and keep at it, you’ll be working smarter, not harder in no time.

Did you find these tips helpful? If so, check out more time management tips from our blog.

Jordan WahlJordan Wahl joined G2 Crowd as a brand marketing & communications specialist after graduating with her BBA in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Originally a small-town girl from Wisconsin, Jordan is fairly new to Chicago and is loving exploring the city.

In her free time, you can almost always find her bopping around to her favorite music or laughing at jokes that probably aren’t that funny.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Everyone these days seems to have a leadership style they believe to be top-notch. Maybe it is participative leadership or more of the transformational variety. Perhaps you fall along the lines of an “old-school” authoritative leader.

Others want to follow a particular celebrity leadership style. Richard Branson of Virgin fame and Steve Jobs of Apple, to name a couple. Want to follow President Donald Trump’s style, anyone?

The bottom line is that most people just want to know which leadership style will be the most effective in leading themselves or their team. For expert guidance on the topic of leadership styles we all should consider, let’s dive right into an in-depth list of The 27 Most Popular Leadership Styles created by InitiativeOne, a team of leadership specialists with expertise in significantly improving a team’s effectiveness and success in the workplaceLeadership Styles.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Full-time workers in America work an average of 47 hours a week, considerably more than the ‘ideal maximums’ for men and women, respectively. A study by H Dinh et al found that long working hours are not always bad for mental health but they do have an identifiable ‘tipping point’. The study, which involved 3,838 men and 4,062 women, found that the ideal maximum was around 40 hours. Studies have also shown that the decline in mental health among those who work over 40 hours is most pronounced in women. In part, say researchers, it is because women tend to work more in the home as well (in care or in domestic work), meaning that the total hours worked increase considerably.

How Does Too Much Work Affect Mental Health?

Many studies have been carried out on the effect of working excessively and mental illness. One 2012 study, for instance, found that working 11 or more hours a day more than doubles the risk of a major depressive episode, compared to working for seven or eight hours a day. Working long hours is also tied in to irritability, anxiety, poor relationships, and a number of physical hours, which include cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, foot health issues, etc.

The Case is Worse for Shift Workers

If you work long hours and your shifts tend to be irregular, your mental health could be further impaired. Night shift work has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In just one study, women working rotating night shifts for fiver or more years have a modest increase in mortality, while those working 15 or more years this way have a modest increase in lung cancer mortality. Stressful work schedules and shift work can also pose a psychological risk. Overworked healthcare employees, for instance, can lose a significant amount of compassion and empathy for their patients, as well as face insomnia, sleepiness, fatigue, and social maladjustment.

Signs You are Overworked

Common symptoms of working too hard include chronic fatigue, having difficulties falling or staying asleep, poor concentration/memory, weight loss or gain, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms may indicate that you are on the way to burnout. If you are showing these signs, seeking professional help is key, but equally vital is making the decision to seek out a greater work-life balance.

The U.S. is one of the most overworked nations in the world – one in which there is no maximum length to a work week and where the majority of people punch in over 40 hours weekly. While it is understandable to want to achieve success and retain one’s job, it is vital to see burnout as something that not only affects our health and wellbeing, but also our performance. Ironically, in order to progress we sometimes need a step back.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

he link between physical activity and mental health has been mentioned for quite some time. Thankfully to the modern science capabilities, new data supporting this fact is showing up all the time. When you perform physical activity your brain produces chemicals that impact your mood, improve memory and help you concentrate.

There are many benefits to participating and practicing in a physical exercise. For elderly, it is a good way to lower the risks from dementia and overall cognitive deteriorations. It is a great way to help patients who suffer from depression to focus or improve children’s attention in school.

However, the sport is a great idea no matter the age or if you want to prevent or mitigate any mental health issues. Actually, both the experts from World Health Organization and U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations that everyone should do regular physical exercise in order to be healthy.

If you want to improve your focus and concentration, you have to find a sport that suits you and that will be beneficial in that way at the same time. Therefore, here are some tips and hints on what to do in that department.

How does sport affect your brain?

Hippocampus is the part of the brain that is the center for memory and learning. It is responsible for short-term and long-term memory information and is the primary part of the brain that suffers in case of dementia.

This region of the brain also responds well to the exercises, especially aerobic ones  in adults, but also in children and elderly population. The research showed that hippocampus structure gets bigger with exercise and that is why physical activity has a memory-boosting effect. The elderly population is often advised to take regular walks due to this benefit.

Memory is not the only thing that exercise boosts. Focus and concentration are very important in everyday life so people could perform the simplest tasks for those more complex ones. Various studies showed that children who had at least 20 minutes of sport every day had better concentration in classes.

However, this doesn’t only apply to children. More and more companies recognize the necessity for exercise in daily lives of their employees and so they try to help them by organizing sporting events and classes. Work is a stressful environment and brain is very vulnerable to it.

Cortisol is one of the glucocorticoids which elevated levels are the result of chronic stress. The more cortisol there is the bigger are chances that hippocampus will deteriorate and you will start losing focus.

Physical activity keeps cortisol levels in control and boosts the production of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, the so-called “happy hormones”. And companies now organize group yoga sessions in their offices, create grass areas for employees to walk on and encourage their workers with various discounts to apply to gym memberships or sports.

What sports should you do?

There are all sorts of sports you can do and feel great. Professional athletes spend a lot of time in practice, watch their diet and lifestyle because it’s their job. You can be more relaxed about it and try to have fun on the way.

However, some sports require that you know the rules before you start playing. There is no shame in it and you can apply to lessons for beginners or ask your friends, family, and teammates to teach you the moves. To perfect your golf swing or the number of steps in basketball you will have to undergo some training, but it’s nothing to worry about and you’ll be playing in no time.

Walking, jogging and cycling are also great sports to help you concentrate and focus, especially if your work is creative or you have a dilemma. Go to nature and let your thoughts untangle with moderate exercise since too much strain on your body can also cause stress.

Don’t leave out yoga because you think it’s too peaceful. The moves and positions can be quite demanding while meditation will help you focus to clear your head. Thai Chi in the park is beneficial, too so if you see a group in your local park – join them and see if it works for you.

Group sports can be a bit competitive but that can only create an extra motivation for participants. Soccer, football, basketball, volleyball or baseball are all great sports to play with friends or colleagues at least once a week and to turn it into a tradition. On the other hand, squash, tennis, badminton and other two-player sports are also perfect to boost your physical and mental energy.

Final thoughts

It’s important that you find what suits you best and start doing it on regular basis. Maybe you are a person who rather enjoys sports alone than in teams or groups. Finding your sport will be a start in doing something to boost your health, improve focus and concentration while lowering stress levels at the same time.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Everybody knows that your environment can influence your productivity, motivation, and overall mood. So, it’s safe to say that if you want to become – or stay – successful at what you do, you should have a pleasant atmosphere where you can work in peace. There’s much more to a comfortable office than a desk and a chair, and even those simple items should be chosen wisely. With that in mind, here are a couple of things every leader should have in their office.

A good office chair

Needless to say, you need to have an office chair. However, don’t just buy the first chair you like. If your job requires you to spend a lot of time at the desk, you need to have a comfortable, ergonomically correct office chair. Otherwise, both your body and mind will suffer due to back pain and the lack of comfort. Therefore, do some research on the kind of chair you should have, and have no doubt that you’ll feel much more productive once you experience the pleasure of working in a high-quality office chair.

Plenty of light

Not having enough light in your office can make you drowsy and unmotivated. The lack of light creates the kind of atmosphere that makes it hard to stay focused. Plus, you won’t really look like a leader if you keep yawning and rubbing your eyes. So, introduce as much natural light as you can during the day. Just make sure to position your laptop or computer monitor correctly in order to avoid glare. Layer your lighting sources so you can see every part of your office, and consider using LED bulbs to save some energy. If you work at your desk, invest in a quality desk lamp, and you’ll never get sleepy while working again.

Enough supplies

You don’t want to run out of pens when you need to write down some important information. You also don’t want to find out that you don’t have any printing paper when you need it the most. A true leader is organized and makes sure to always have everything they might need. That’s the only way to be truly productive, since you can’t really focus on your work if you spend half an hour every day searching for a pen that works. In short, make sure to always have enough supplies, and keep those supplies organized in your bottom desk drawer or a shelf near your desk.

Useful gadgets

Besides your laptop, there are many other gadgets that can make your time in the office much more productive. For example, if most of your work is done on a computer, you should definitely get a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). It provides you with backup power for a few minutes in case of a power outage. This gives you enough time to finish up your work, save all your important documents, and shut down your computer safely. Another gadget you should get is a good Nespresso machine, for when you need a boost of energy. After all, you didn’t become a leader by slacking, so whenever you need to work overtime, a nice hot beverage will surely come in handy.

Some nature

Research has shown that besides purifying the air, plants can also affect your productivity. Moreover, they can make your office feel more comfortable and brighter, so try to add a couple of potted plants. Besides freshening up your office, they can also make it a bit more colorful and less formal. Even a couple of small cacti can make a difference, so don’t forget to introduce a bit of nature into your workplace. Another great idea is to install an aquarium; it would give your eyes something to rest on, and it’s also quite a stylish addition to any office.

Motivational boosters

No matter how much you love your job, there will always be difficult periods when you start questioning your decisions. This is why you should have some material motivation in your office as well – to remind you where you started, where you are now, and why you work so hard to be a good leader. It can be anything from motivational posters and quotes to your family photos, whatever you find the most important in life. This way, when you run into a rough patch, you’ll find yourself surrounded by motivation, and it will be much easier to keep working hard.

Every good leader needs to have an office that inspires them to be more productive. It can’t be just any office though – there are certain things a good office needs to have, like a comfortable chair, enough light, useful gadgets, plants, etc. So, if you’re designing a home office, or if you have the freedom to personalize your office at the workplace, make sure it has everything you need to be the kind of leader you want to be.

………….

Biography: Isabel William – Consultant by day, and Freelance Writer by night.

Areas of interest are well being, mental health, self improvement as well as beauty of millennial transitions in all aspect of life. Health & Mental Health

Editor on Ripped.me and regular contributor on various sites.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Business conferences are often busy and energy-depleting endeavors, although they are typically a necessary part of running a successful business. There are usually a large variety of events to participate in at business conferences, and these events are often filled with peers and leading members of your business’ industry, which makes business conferences the ideal time to network. If you’re looking to connect with members of your field, either for personal career development or to connect them with your business, these networking tips may help you make a lasting connection.

Importance of Presentation

Connecting with others is easier when your professional appearance is appealing and draws them towards you. Ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the occasion and that your clothes are cleaned and ironed. A well groomed and professional appearance will make your colleagues feel comfortable approaching and talking to you. However, personal presentation is not the only appearance to focus on at business conferences.

If your company is hosting a booth spot, it’s important to make sure your booth presentation reflects the right message about your company. Ensure your booth banners are legible and concise, highlighting the most important keywords for your business. Consider the colors you are decorating your booth with; do they evoke the intended emotions? Do you provide enough information across your booth or not enough? It’s important to strike the right balance.

Another important part of personal or company presentation is your online presence. Depending on what your ultimate goal is coming out of the conference, having a strong online presence is likely to increase your chances of meeting colleagues. If you or your company post regularly online, members of your industry may be interested in meeting the person behind the screen, especially on social networking sites like LinkedIn, which is the most popular site among CEOs.

Creating Lasting Relationships

You don’t have to be a public relations professional to practice the essential communication skills they use on a regular basis. Public relations workers are responsible for the public image of an entire company, which means they must be sensitive to people of various cultures and religions, and must be able to carefully analyze situations in order to handle them in the best way possible. Diplomacy and teamwork is important to working well with colleagues and demonstrating a strong company culture, which is appealing to potential affiliates.

Having these skills in your arsenal is likely to help you create lasting relationships, as the most important quality many people seek out in friends is trust, respect and understanding. If you understand how to respect people’s differences and can communicate with them tactfully based on the aspects of their life that are important to them, such as culture and religion, you are more likely to connect with that person in a way that sustains a friendship. As a respectful person who is trusted to work well with others, you’ll meet more people and grow your network.

Business conferences are one of the best and most consistent opportunities for networking that most industries present as they offer ample preparation time to put your best foot forward. If your company has a booth at the conference, it can give you a chance to tell members of your industry what you’re about and to highlight your company goals in the best way possible. Use this time to connect with members of your industry, as networking can open doors for your future; and creating lasting relationships in your industry is the gateway to attaining your career aspirations.

Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In some cultures, business cards have such a pivotal role that there’s a set of stern rules of where they should be kept, how they should be received and when they should be put in the wallet or a business card holder. All around the globe, however, a business card indicates your company’s professionalism, your own expertise and serve as a nice reminder of the traditional era of business, even in this digital day and age when there are simpler ways for one to find your contact info.

As for the logo of your company, it’s the symbol by which it is recognized and in this way, the key component of its visual identity. As such, it also gets a special place on when it comes to your business card design, amongst other things. From this alone, it’s more than clear that the importance of business card design and logo isn’t one to be taken lightly. Here are several other issues you need to be aware of on this topic.

1.   A logo is an indicator of your identity

While it is true that a giant curved “M” on a red background does nothing to suggest that a company is involved in a food industry, keep in mind that most logos actually do have a meaning behind them. That being said, including an open book, a football ball, a religious symbol or something as descriptive more than suggests what your business is all about. Sure, you can just assume that everyone who encounters your logo knows what they were looking for, to begin with, yet, this theory is definitely a bit of a stretch.

Because of this, you need to find a logo that can be described in a single sentence, a sentence that also indicates what is it that your company does. By introducing yourself before presenting your audience with a call – to – action button, you’ll increase your conversion rate by quite a bit. By doing this through several different means (logo, name and a brief description or short video) you can maximize the effectiveness of this method.

2.   Think about different formats

Another thing you should keep track of is the different formats and environments that your logo is going to appear on. For instance, you want it on product packages, employee uniforms (provided that this is a common practice in your line of work) and your website. Above all, we already discussed the significance of a proper business card design, which is why you need to think about this combination as early as possible.

Then again, you might want to print some additional promotional materials like leaflets and flyers, which, once again, puts you in a bit of a rough spot. This is why you should think about printing options like those offered by Ricoh Printer Lease Sydney and try to estimate their effectiveness in your line of work.

3.   Skimming on quality sends a clear message

Imagine a scenario where you’re a business owner or a company representative receiving a low-quality business card from potential partners. Wouldn’t this raise a serious of unpleasant questions? For instance, if they’re ready to go for a low – cost option on something as important as a business card, would they do the same with products they provide to you. After all, an investment in a business card design is an investment in a positive first impression. That being said, skimming on quality sends a clear message, although it might be a message you do not necessarily want to be associated with.

4.   Brand awareness and recognition

Even though it’s undeniably better to reach the level of brand awareness than that of brand recognition, keep in mind that you can’t merely skip the recognition stage. Think about it, when it comes to brands like Apple, Coca – Cola and the above – discussed McDonald’s, what’s the first thing people remember – a long list of scandals, corporate events and values or a logo and products? The answer is latter of course. The reason behind this is fairly simple. Human brain receives information through visual means 60,000 faster, which means that it’s easier for them to remember information in images.

This is one more reason why getting a business card done right is so important. A person might be unable to recall a specific piece of information you’ve presented them with, without at least some kind of an incentive. However, they might find it easier to remember what your name looked like on a business card than to merely recollect it out of the blue. Just being able to remember the length of your last name from the back of the card may be enough for all of it to come back.

5.   Universal language

At the end of the day, both logo and business card have a way of appealing to the local population in more ways than you can imagine. Earlier on, we spoke about the importance of symbols and symbolism in the business card design business. This is particularly important when you’re trying to transcend a language barrier.

On the other hand, when doing business in a country that doesn’t use English as their first language, it might be better to have a bilingual print on it. On one side of the business card you have everything in English, while on the back, you have it all translated into local tongue. Even if not doing business abroad, this might be a sign that your partners might come to approve of. You can go for English/French, English/German or English/Chinese, depending on the origin of your partners.

In conclusion

As you can see, a proper business card and logo design can provide you with a no small amount of strategic advantage. Apart from facilitating communication between your brand and the other party in question, you also get a more professional-looking personal brand, which directly contributes to your reputation. All in all, like we said earlier one, this is nothing more than an investment in a good first impression. Seeing as how you can’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, it’s your job to make it count.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You’ve created an online course and invested a great deal of effort in making it impeccable. The number of people signing up for it is growing at an astonishing rate, but your completion rates are still low. Sill, don’t be discouraged. You’re not the only one facing this problem. According to some recent studies, completion rates for the majority of online courses are disappointedly low at just 13%.

This is one of the major problems online course creators face. Namely, high course bounce rates indicate that your target audience doesn’t find your course relevant enough to complete it. And, this leads you to another huge problem and that’s missing out on the opportunity to deliver value to your students, boost their user experience, and harness the power of the greatest source of organic marketing- word of mouth referrals.

In light of these facts, let’s see how to increase your online course completion rates.

Be Clear about what your Online Course Covers

When they sign up for an online course, people expect it to help them solve a particular problem. And, if they notice that it doesn’t meet their expectations, they will drop it. You can’t even blame them for that. After all, would you spend time on something that’s nothing but a waste of your time?

The problem here is obvious- the way you promote your course is not precise enough. To target the right people and get them to complete the course, your ads need to be clear and to-the-point. You should highlight what your course is about, what topics it will cover, what skills the attendees will improve, and what problems it solves, helping people see whether it’s the right fit for them or not.

For example, if your course is supposed to explain the basics of digital marketing, then you should emphasize that it’s for beginners and not all digital marketers. As soon as they figure out that they are familiar with all the steps your course focuses on, any experienced marketer will angrily drop it.

Remember, your success in the online world is not about driving massive traffic to your site. To boost your course completion rates, you need to hook the right people, the ones really interested in what you have to offer.

Ask for Feedback

The reasons why people leave your course are multiple. Maybe it’s not what they expected or the way you present your content is boring. It could also be the lack of structure and organization. What about the relevance of the course?

To find out what the problem with your course is, you need to reach out to your students once the course is over and ask them for feedback. And, one of the most effective ways to do so is to send them a survey.

Ask them what parts of the course worked for them and what didn’t, as well as what motivated them to complete the course or discouraged them from doing so. Even though Google Forms would probably be enough, you should consider setting up paid surveys. Knowing that they will be incentivized for their answers, the participants will give you honest and valuable feedback.

Break It into Smaller Chunks

Sometimes, lengthy courses may be too exhausting for your newbie students. If you’re moving from one topic to another fast, they won’t be able to catch on to all the steps and start lagging behind. Discouraged, they may decide to drop the course.

Precisely because of this, you need to consider breaking your large course into smaller, logical chunks. For example, it’s always better to offer a series of 5 one-hour courses than just one lengthy, five-hour course. This is how you will manage to present even the most complex concepts in a simpler way and make them easily digestible.

Also, people’s attention spams have dwarfed over time and, to keep them interested, you need to pay attention to not only the length of your course, but also the length of each piece of content presented to them. Logically, online course videos that are under 10 minutes will have a higher completion rate.  

Build an Online Community

Experiencing small wins and overcoming obstacles is always easier when we have someone to support us. Knowing that they are a part of a group of like-minded people, having the same expectations and facing the same problems, your participants will be more engaged and motivated to finish the course.

So, to boost your attendees’ motivation, you should create online learning communities as a part of your course. Namely, studies show that the students that are a part of such a virtual team are 5 times more engaged and 16 times more likely to finish the course.

Boost Transparency to Increase FOMO

Today, FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a true buzzword, especially in the world of digital marketing. But, what does it have to do with online courses? Well, it serves as a great motivation booster, used to get someone to take the desired action.

Implementing FOMO with your online course is simple. All you have to do is use a platform that will make your participants’ actions and results transparent. This way, once a student notices that they’re lagging behind other participants, they will want to work harder and process through the course so that they can achieve the same results.

Reward Them

As an online instructor, you should go the extra mile in making your participants happy. Like I’ve mentioned above, your course needs to be relevant to them. However, this is sometimes not enough. To inspire them to finish your course, you will have to “bribe” them a bit by giving them something valuable to them.

For starters, you should issue certificates of attendance and completion. Your attendees will want to have a proof that they have finished your course. This is something all major online learning platforms like Udemy offer.

Second, you need to give them a reward for completing a course. This could be free access to another course, full lifetime access to the course they’ve completed, a free eBook, a free consultation with you, checklists- anything they may consider highly valuable.

Conclusions

Creating a profitable and converting online course means making it valuable to the people enrolling in it.

So, make sure your ads are clear enough to hook the right people’s attention.

Break your never-ending course into the series of easy-to-follow online videos and optimize the length of each section.

To motivate them to finish the course, build a strong online community and incentivize them regularly.

Most importantly, don’t forget to ask them what they think of your course and use their feedback to improve your lectures.

Hope this helps!

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview