Get Up! Don’t be sedentary in your office

“Sitting is the new Smoking” reads numerous headlines that debuted around 2013. Mounting evidence has lead leading scientists, chiropractors, and public health professionals to caution office workers against the long-term damage that sitting all day can cause. Of course, not moving all day can cause problems, but the postures assumed by sitting for upwards of 8 hours per day can upset the body so seriously that no amount of exercise can undo what sitting does. For the sake of your present health, weight, and longevity, here are some ways to get more mobile in your office space.

Make standing regularly a habit. Set a timer on your phone or computer reminding you to stand up, take a lap around the office, drink some water, and reposition your posture. Google Chrome extensions will help you keep track of time and alert you when you’ve been sitting too long. Or, if you’re into trying some wearable technology, fitbits or jawbones will notify you when your heart rate need a little extra boost.

Work at a standing desk. While not all offices will be able to accommodate this, it’s certainly worth a try. Standing for at least parts of your day will help stretch your muscles, relieve any aching or pain caused by ill-advised sitting postures, and at the very least, burn a few more calories per hour. If you don’t want to buy a brand new standing desk, often times a tall box on top of a desk or a cafe bar will allow you to stand and work without the sometimes exorbitant costs of a new gizmo.  

As you’re able, conduct meetings while walking. If you’re not bound to a computer and are just trying to brainstorm ideas, you can just as easily conduct meetings while you’re walking. Mobile phones will suffice for taking notes as needed in such instances, so the concern about where you’ll jot down ideas is thus assuaged. In 2014, Stanford released a study indicating that walking helps stimulate creativity in the brain, so if what you need is fresh ideas, a walking meeting might be the best thing for you.

Stretch! Sitting is known to shut off electrical activity to the leg muscles, causing a reduction in calories burned and the potential for the muscles in the legs to atrophy. There are some basic, unintrusive stretches you can perform at your desk to help wake up your muscles and burn a few extra calories. Simple activities like touching your toes or twisting your back can help negate the damage done by the posture of a desk chair.

Hold yourself accountable. As we all know from our yearly New Years’ Resolutions, we tend not to meet our goals unless we are held accountable for all the steps between the starting line and the finishing line. If you’re serious about reducing the amount of time you spend sitting per day, tell a coworker or a friend. Maybe schedule a daily walk around the block together, or schedule a phone call with a friend so you’re obligated to leave the office, walk, and talk every day. Additionally, there are podcasts about mindful living that will inspire you daily with others who are striving for a more healthful lifestyle.
By being just a little more mindful of how often you let your body move and stretch, you can make your office job just a little more fulfilling and live a healthier lifestyle.

Emotional Intelligence: The Good, the Bad, and the Feely

Emotional IntelligenceThe more sensitive sibling of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), emotional intelligence, often abbreviated EI or EQ, has emerged as an additional measure of what employees bring to the table. Put most simply, emotional intelligence measures a person’s ability to recognize and manage their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. This soft skill allows individuals to harness their emotions and utilize them for the task at hand, rather than being immune to them or controlled by them.

As of late, studies have demonstrated that hiring managers are putting more and more emphasis on emotional intelligence, citing that those with high EQ exhibit stronger communication skills, collaboration skills, and overall creativity. Women in the workforce in particular have drawn attention to EQ since their lack of inclusion and acceptance at the boardroom level is often attributed to their emotional instability and lack of “masculine” objectivity. Multiple think-pieces have attempted to reframe women’s more emotional sensitivity not as a weakness, but as a great strength, and research has proved it.

Those with high EQs are infinitely more self-aware of their strengths, weaknesses, performance, and influence on others compared to those with low EQ who can’t “feel” how certain behaviors or actions are perceived by coworkers. To that end, those with high EQs exercise better self-regulation and are more perspicacious concerning how they make others feel with their presence, words, and behavior.

Contrary to what you may think when you hear the phrase “emotional intelligence,” those with high EQs actually react less emotionally to disagreements and criticism than people who lack emotional intelligence. Higher EQ is associated with being able to recognize and control emotions as they arise, so those who can identify and compartmentalize how they’re feeling from the facts at hand function better during disagreements than those who cannot separate the two.

Emotional intelligence is not the measure of a perfect employee, though, and high EQs are associated with some less-than-stellar character traits. For one, those with high EQs are so concerned with how their words make others feel that their ability to deliver negative but necessary feedback is impaired. This hyper-awareness can also inhibit these individuals’ inclination towards taking risks, since their instinct is calm calculations rather than impulsive gut feelings. Similarly, such individuals dislike making unpopular decisions for fear of how they’re perceived and the potential discomfort both they and those affected by those decisions will endure.

Worse yet, individuals with keen emotional intuition could easily use their EQ to manipulate the people around them. Not all with high EQ use their powers for good — sometimes, they use their insight into how certain words and information will make their peers “feel” to forward their own agenda.

Just as with any measure of personality traits, there’s upsides and downsides to emotional intelligence, and the ideal occupation or rank of those with high EQs may time some time to find. EQ should not be viewed as a weakness or a mark of intellectual inferiority; rather, it is a measure of self- and social-awareness and should be viewed as no more or less than that.

5 Ways To Use Networking To Promote Your Blog

5 Ways To Use Networking To Promote Your Blog

When you’re starting a blog, it can be hard to get your content out there. One of the most important things that you can do to give your blog more traffic is networking. There are a number of ways that you can network. Share your blog posts and the blog posts of others on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn and email people in order to introduce yourself. You should also comment on other people’s blogs and email other bloggers when you write something that you think will interest them. No matter what you’re doing, there are a few rules of thumb that you should follow. Here are a few tips for networking with other bloggers:

1) Make sure to “give” in addition to taking.

A big networking mistake that many people make is that they focus on “taking” rather than “giving.” If you really want to make a good impression on another person, be generous with them. Highlight their best work, help them reach their goals and try to work on their terms. It’s important to maintain boundaries so that people don’t take advantage of your generosity, but it is still important to go into networking with a mentality of “giving.”

2) Have an elevator pitch ready

Good business people are usually good at talking about what they do in a concise statement, often called an elevator pitch. This skill is just as important when it comes to blog networking. No one wants to read an email that doesn’t tell them who you are and what you do until a few minutes into the email. Put together a few sentences to describe yourself and what you have to offer others. It’s also a good idea to think of an elevator pitch describing what your blog is about. This will help you and the people you connect with better understand what you can bring to a relationship.

3) Prove that you’re in it for the long haul

If you’re new to the niche, it can take a while for you to make an impression. This is likely because people within that niche are waiting to see if you’ll stick with it. They also want to see if you truly are knowledgeable in the area that you blog about. Make sure that after you network with people, you don’t disappear weeks later. Show the contribution your blog is making to the niche and prove that you want to invest in it for a long time. Then, people will be more willing to connect.

4) Look for the smaller bloggers.

Chances are, most of the bigger names in blogging are getting emails and tweets all day long. You can try to contact these people, but you’re bound to be more lucky if you approach slightly less known bloggers. You will be able to create worthwhile connections and you will still be able to increase traffic to your blog.

5) Look for connections in neighboring niches.

When you’re networking, your first impulse is probably to network with bloggers in your own niche. While this is an important thing to do, it can also lead you to build a network of solely or mostly people who see you as a direct competitor. It can be extremely beneficial to reach out to people outside of your niche, especially people who blog in similar niches. It’s also a good idea to look for bloggers who have a similar demographic of reader even though they write about different topics.

Networking both on the Internet and in person is a big way to getting traffic for your blog. Make sure you are constantly connecting with people and maintaining relationships so that your blog can be as successful as possible.

7 Business Truths Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know

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It’s fun to think about being an entrepreneur, but taking the step from idea to business implementation isn’t always an entertaining romp. It can be hard — grueling, even. It can be full of pain, tears, mistakes and uncomfortable lessons. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it — just that you need to know what you’re in for before you get started. Here are 7 truths every entrepreneur should know before taking the leap into self-employment and product development.

1. You’re going to make mistakes. Lots of them.
It doesn’t matter how well-thought-out your business and marketing plans are, how much experience you have, or how many college degrees you’ve acquired — you’re destined to make some mistakes as an entrepreneur. Getting mad at yourself, resentful or trying to play the blame game are bad ideas. Instead, understand that mistakes are normal and they’re also great opportunities to learn something new. Stay humble and open and your mistakes might turn out to be some of the best on-the-job training you get.

2. Some days, the only thing keeping your business open will be your persistence.
Many entrepreneurs expect to hang their “open” sign, publish their website, and then become inundated with business. Sometimes this happens, but more often business ebbs and flows leaving some months busy and other months completely free of work. On those days when you’ve got no work, your ads are being ignored, and your follow-up calls are going unanswered, your persistence will be the one thing that keeps you moving forward.

3. No one is going to catch you when you fall.
As an entrepreneur who owns a business, the buck starts and stops with you. There is no safety net or person waiting to catch you when you fall. The mistakes you make and the failures you endure are things that you must correct, sort out and make up for. It’s all on your shoulders. To be prepared for this, make sure you have plenty of cash cushion and emergency plans.

4. It’s more about what your clients/customers want than what you want.
Many entrepreneurs start their businesses because they want to be their own bosses. Some of them don’t realize that, unless you don’t rely on customers or clients for business, you are probably still going to have someone to answer to. Often, this means you have to make decisions for yourself and your business that will be appreciated by your customers, not ones that will only be appreciated by you.

5. You won’t make your own hours — at least at first.
Eventually, most entrepreneurs are able to work a schedule that they’ve chosen. But at least in the beginning, you may be scrambling for work and this could leave your schedule at the mercy of your business, clients, and employees. If it helps your business succeed, however, this sacrifice is more than worth it.

6. Passion doesn’t always create profit.
Not every idea is a good one. Not every business will or should make it. Sometimes, an entrepreneur is totally passionate about his or her work or product — but the rest of the world just doesn’t see the value of it. That doesn’t make the entrepreneur wrong or a failure, it simply means either that they haven’t communicated their idea effectively or that the world simply isn’t ready for it. At some point, though, you have to decide whether to keep bleeding your passion through this idea or to funnel it into something else.

7. Get advice from the successes and the failures.
Successful business people make great mentors. They can help you mold your business into something that resonates with your target client or customer. They can help you navigate obstacles that trip up other entrepreneurs and can inspire you to keep going even in the face of adversity. But successful entrepreneurs aren’t the only people you can learn something from. You can also learn important lessons from the failures. Often, the failures understand what they did wrong and are willing to share that information to help you avoid it. Sometimes, they don’t know what they did wrong but by hanging out with them and tapping their brain, you might be able to figure it out yourself. This will give you tremendous insight regarding the kinds of actions and behaviors you should work to avoid.

6 Helpful Networking Tips

6 Helpful Networking Tips

For some, the word “networking” can bring on an immediate wave of anxiety and fear. When you’re at an event filled with various employers and job seekers, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Those who consider themselves introverts may struggle in these situations since introverts work better in smaller settings. Introverts often get mistaken for being shy, but shyness is whole different quality altogether. Shy people have a tendency to fear the judgment of others and therefore be socially awkward. Extroverts tend to be the life of the party, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect networkers either. According to etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, people of all three personality types can learn a thing or two about networking. Here are a few tips you can follow to improve your networking skills:

1) Set a time limit.

The idea of staying the duration of an event can be intimidating to some. But the truth is, you don’t have to stay the entire time. What’s more, you may do better if you set a time limit for yourself. Tell yourself that you’ll only go the event for one hour, or another chunk of time that you’re okay with. This way, you will take the pressure off of yourself and just go to the event. When you show up to an event, there are endless possibilities of who you are going to meet, who you are going to run into, and how it is going to help your professional and personal life.

2) Keep your expectations in check.

You should definitely go to any event that you can attend, but you don’t have to pressure yourself into meeting a lot of people. You can often make great connections just by speaking to one or two people. It is not about how many conversations you have, but about the quality of those conversations.

3) Ask for an introduction.

This tip can be helpful regardless of your personality type. Find a person who knows everyone, perhaps the person hosting the event, and ask this person to connect you with whomever it is you want to meet. The person you are being introduced to will see you differently if someone with authority is introducing you to them rather than if you go up to them and introduce yourself.

4) Tell personal stories.

We often get the idea that we shouldn’t talk about anything personal in professional settings. While of course there are some topics that are too private for a networking setting, adding a personal story to your conversation can make you memorable and interesting.

5) Listening empathetically.

When you ask someone a question, listen to them with the intent of understanding them and establishing a connection. If you form a connection with someone, that person is more likely to remember you.

6) Practice networking every day.

Like any other skill, networking gets easier the more you do it. You need to keep practicing networking skills in order to maintain them. You can do this during the course of every work day by walking around the office and starting brief conversations with co-workers. It’s easy to stay in networking practice each and every day just by asking people how their weekends were and making other small talk.

Networking is a challenging skill that only comes with time. With these helpful tips, you can learn where to start.

7 Lessons For Young Entrepreneurs

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Starting a business is hard, and the difficulties often are compounded when you’re a young person beginning the entrepreneurial journey. There are many moving parts and resources you need but may not have access to. Being successful often means learning from those who have already achieved their goals. Having a mentor is an amazing blessing to an entrepreneur, but not everyone can find one in person.

If you haven’t yet found your personal business guru, here are tips for young or aspiring entrepreneurs to help get you started.

This list complies lessons that are all easily accessible and within your reach:

Be Authentic 

The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do, trust yourself, and be the most authentic version of yourself. People will thank you for it.

Work Hard

Work harder than anyone else and you will benefit from the effort. Set the standard for yourself, and don’t let anyone else interfere with that standard.

Connect

Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture! Life is visceral. And “if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Thanks for that one Ferris Bueller.)

Do

Constantly improve your skills. Do things with your hands. Get outside and make things. Create. Innovation in thinking is not enough.

Travel

Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know.

Be Original

Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven world.

Instinct

Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.

 

Networking Tips: How To Work The Room

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If you have been to a networking event before, you are well aware of the chaos that can ensue. Everyone is there to meet other people, make connections, and better themselves professionally, yet so often we leave those events not remembering who we talked to!

In this blog post, I have outlined the best tactics to get the most out of any networking event. There is a famous quote that always comes to mind before attending a networking event, and that is, “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.”

With this mantra in mind, use these tactics to plan ahead of time, work the room at the event, and follow up with new connections afterwards.

Leverage Social Media

  • Linkedin – Learn about fellow attendees, make personal connections, and set-up meetings!
  • Twitter – Follow the conference hashtag, set up Twitter lists, and tweet about the event!
  • Facebook – Check & comment on the event’s page and create a list of people to connect with!

Set Up Meetings Ahead of Time

People get booked up quickly at events! Be on their calendar long before everyone else to get a head start.

Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

Come with a sentence or two about your company. Concisely explain your role at said company, and how you might be able to help someone. Finally, have some good questions on hand to make sure you are engaging the people that you meet.

Know Your Networking Goals

Do you want to spread awareness about a new project that you’re starting? Do you want to meet an industry leader who can become a valuable mentor? Having a clear goal in mind will make networking less ambiguous and lead to more effective conversations.

Start A Conversation

Your first connection at an event is your gateway to meeting more people. It can be intimidating, but with the right approach, you can join in on an existing conversation or start your own! Make sure to read up on industry news and trends beforehand so you’ll be prepared to spark up conversation.

Ask For Something

Maybe you’re looking for a job offer, a recommendation letter, or to land a client. Consider why someone should choose you over others, then, come up with a succinct, humble answer why and ask for it. Be clear that you want it to be mutually beneficial.

Follow Up With Your Connections

Connect soon after the event. The sooner you follow up, the more likely your connections will remember you. Connect with new contacts on Linkedin and make sure to write a thoughtful message in your invitation. Further those relationships, consider reaching out to mutual contacts that you and your new connection have.

Giving Effective Employee Evaluations

Evaluating your employees can be a great method for helping managers assess employee performance and for giving feedback on how well an employee executes their job duties. Both parties can benefit immensely from evaluations.

Performance evaluations are imperative to company success. They provide room for both parties to gain feedback on what they are doing well, what they need to work on, what they want, and what both parties goals are, yet many managers dread the process or do not know how to conduct them effectively.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to conducting excellent employee evaluations!

Define Expectations

Define what is expected of the employee, and make sure that their goals are both measurable and observable. This way, when it comes time to give an evaluation, you will have very specific and tangible things to look at and bring to the table.

Create Goals

Discuss and set up goals with each employee, and then make sure to get each employee to sign off on the goals, showing that they are on board and agree with the plan in place. This way you will protect yourself from any backlash when it comes time to review your employees, and have a great way to hold employees accountable to the goals they set for themselves.

Provide Written Evaluations

Every 6 months or so, discuss employee performance. For struggling employees, consider a once a month evaluation. Ensure that written performance reviews reflect the entire evaluation period. By putting the evaluation in writing, you have something to refer back to when the next evaluation comes up.

Maintain a Performance Record

Similarly to my reasoning above, take written notes throughout the year, so you always have a paper trail to refer to when discussing employee performance. Things like big wins your employees encounter, any losses, etc… By keeping track of things like this, you will set yourself up for an incredibly successful employee review!

Ensure Integrity Of Evaluation

Written comments need to be factual, detailed and constructive. This makes employees feel both valued and like they are being paid attention to. Use respectful language and mannerisms during performance reviews. Listen actively and ask employee to clarify responses when necessary. It is also important that performance criteria is not changed after the review. Standards need to be consistent across employees.

By incorporating these simple steps into your evaluations, you will come away feeling like you have done an effective job at evaluating your employees! Good luck!

How To Get Over Your Fear Of Networking

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Does the thought of entering a crowded room filled with strangers give you anxiety? Does it make you feel overwhelmed?

Networking is a fear many people share. Some would even say it’s one of the scariest steps of finding a job. Whether it’s getting freaked out by small talk or the fear of forgetting someone’s name, networking can be a scary thing to do.

If you’re feeling spooked by networking, here are some tips that can help you become a fearless networker:

Attend fun networking events.

Consider attending networking events with a few friends such as happy hours hosted by professional organizations in your city, going to an alumni mixer, or getting involved with volunteering opportunities. These are some fun ways to meet new people without having to stress about networking.

Host your own networking event.

Can’t find a networking event that fits your needs? Why not host your own?

Hosting your own networking is quite simple. Find a location in your city such as a local coffee shop or restaurant and invite 10 of your colleagues to attend. This is a casual way to get a group of people together to mingle in a relaxed environment and you won’t have to worry if you will know anyone or not since you’ll be the one inviting people!

Use the magic of Twitter.

If you’re not ready to go to in-person networking events, Twitter can be a great resource for connecting with people in your industry!

Use Twitter to participate in industry Twitter chats, search for professionals in your area, and coordinate a meet-up. Twitter can also be used to share industry-related content and engage in conversations with people in your social network. By using Twitter, you’ll connect with more people all over the world in your industry that you probably wouldn’t have been able to in-person.

Stop the small talk.

Instead of focusing on making small talk, shift your focus to learning about the people you meet. Spark conversations with people by asking about THEM. Ask about their jobs, what they enjoy doing for fun, or why they like their jobs. These conversations will become more meaningful, will take the pressure off of you and you’ll learn more about the people you meet!

Avoid networking events altogether.

Instead of focusing on strictly attending networking events, consider going to conferences, workshops, or speaker events where you’ll meet professionals in your industry. These events will give you opportunities to make new connections without having to directly focus on networking.

Less is more.

Take the pressure off of yourself of feeling like you need to collect 20 business cards when you go to a networking event. Instead, focus on making one or two strong bonds with the new people you meet. This relationships will become more valuable in the future.


 

By following these tips, networking should become less scary and more enjoyable. Remember, networking is about building valuable relationships with people who can become friends and mentors.

What are some ways you’ve overcome your fear of networking?