Knowledge of Types of Listening – The Key To Understanding and Being Understood

Listening, the most neglected part of communication falls into several categories, the knowledge of which will help you choose the best kind of listening to be an effective communicator. This knowledge distinguishes the effective listeners from ineffective ones besides making one an effective listener.

The degree of attention, the perspective taken into consideration and the objective of listening determine the type of listening one engages in. The various kinds of listening can classified into two broad types: positive and negative. Positive listening benefits the listener, the speaker and society at large. Positive types of listening include sensitive listening, active listening, evaluative listening, relationship listening and appreciative listening. Negative listening is defective and hence does not serve the purpose of one or more of the parties to communication.

The following exhibit gives various kinds of listening.

Passive Listening

In passive listening, nothing of the speaker’s words go into the mind of the listener. The words of the speaker don’t activate the thought process of the listener. But the listeners are physically present though mentally absent. The listener may have decided to ignore the speaker due to either preconceived notion or boring introduction of the listener. The responsibility for this negative kind of listening lies with the speaker who may not have aroused the interest of the listeners.

Marginal Listening

Marginal listening, which is also referred as Selective listening, is a little better than passive listening in that the information of the speaker is listened to in bits and pieces rather than the whole of it. The listener occasionally raises his head to take some information, probably due to its being pleasant to him or agreeable to his existing views. But, he listener may be missing out on the important part of the speaker’s message. This also can be classified under negative kind of listening since the important part of the message is ignored and the benefit of it missed out.

Projective Listening

In this type of listening, the listener takes and absorbs the information in accordance with the listener’s own view or perspective which dominates the perspective of the speaker, even if the speaker’s view is amalgamated into listener’s own. In other words, broader view of the speaker is either ignored or given less predominant place and limited view of the listener retained. This also is classified as negative kind of listening. It is similar to a jaundiced person looking at the world and believing the surroundings as green. The view is far from being true.

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening, which is also known as ‘sensitive listening’ is the opposite of projective listening in that only the speaker’s view is taken predominantly while that of the listener is either completely ignored or given less importance. If a proper balance between two views is struck, it could be classified as positive. Owing to dominance of only speaker’s view, it has to be termed as negative listening and hence needs to be improved. Being too empathetic with others may leave the broader perspective to winds or lead to listener being exploited. But there are some features of this type of listening. They include building of trust, facilitating release of emotions, reducing of tensions, creating of positive climate for negotiations etc. (www.beyondintractability.org/essay/empathic_listening). The listeners must attend, support and empathize with the speaker.

Since empathetic listening build relationships, it can also be called ‘relationship listening’.

Prof. Asha Kaul opines that empathetic listening coupled with active would prove to be the ideal listening wherein the objectives of the message are served the best. (Kaul Asha, Business Communication, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi, 2004,p.41.)

Anecdote

Practice this for better results

Dick Connor, the mentor of Jeffery P.Davidson, had a nice habit. When the latter used to meet the former for discussion of new articles and key ideas, which used to happen at dining table, the former used to tape-record the discussions.

Dick Connor gave for the first time to Jeffrey the taped cassette, which was recorded by Dick Connor when the discussion on new article and key ideas happened. Dick Connor was wont to tape-record discussions of important meetings. Jeffrey, when he for the first time started listening to the cassette tape, was surprised to get many valuable insights from the listening of tapes which he did not get during the live discussions however attentive he was and however diligently he took notes of the discussions.

In fact, the insights he got while listening to tape were better than those he observed and made notes of during actual discussions. Jeffery felt that note taking should be done after listening to tapes rather than during the discussions.

Davidson P.Jeffrey, How To Get Noticed And Get Ahead In The Business World, Jaico Books, Bombay, 1995, pp-81-82

Active Listening

Active listening can also be referred as ‘attentive listening’ or ‘deliberate listening’.

Active listening takes place when the listener is active, which is born out by active participation of the listener. The listener displays forwarding-bending body posture, seeks clarification, and give feedback. Active listening is a highly involved listening.

The ideal listening takes place when active listening is combined with empathetic listening wherein the views of the both listener and speaker are merged with due balance.

The responsibility for active listening to happen solely lies with the speaker who should be able to generate interest on the topic by proper introduction etc.

Attentive listening requires attention skills, following skills and reflecting skills. (Raman, Meenakshi and Singh, Prakash, Business Communication, Oxford University Press, New Delhi,2006, pp.99-100.) Attentive skills include a posture of involvement, appropriate body motion, proper eye contact and non-distractive environment. Following skills include proper display of interest, proper invitation to the speaker, moderate encouraging nods, infrequent questions and attentive silence. Reflecting skills include paraphrasing, restating the emotions of the speaker, re-expressing the meaning intended by the speaker and stating the summary of the ideas at some intervals.

Evaluative Listening

In evaluative listening, the listener either assesses the value of the message or compares it with what is usually considered the best. He may do this either simultaneously while listening or by stopping for while. Since evaluation takes place in this kind of listening, the listener may decide either to continue listening or turn away from the listening. Alternately, he may engage himself in framing the statement of rebuttal. Hence evaluative listening may lead to either positive or negative outcome depending on the open-mindedness and intellect of the listener.

Fake Listening

The listener pretends to be listening though not listening actually. It is also referred to as Pseudo listening. He uses he bodily posture and fixation of eyes on the speaker to show that he is listening. This aim of such listening is to please either the speaker or the other observers. This is similar to passive listening except that there is no dishonesty on the part of listener in passive listening, whereas, the fake listening is born of dishonesty. This is the most undesirable negative kind of listening.

Informative Listening

Informative listening takes a lot of information with full concentration and thus helps one understand the message being given. Because of intensity of effort in taking most of the information, the message is understood almost close to what is intended. This is the best way to learn and an ideal kind of listening. While imbibing what is given by the teachers or while taking instructions from the superiors or when the subordinate is explaining the problem he is facing, the listener engages himself in informative listening. Informative listening requires a lot of attention.

Informative listening is the first stage of positive listening from which other kinds of listening like attentive listening, evaluative listening, empathic listening etc originate.

Informative listening requires good vocabulary, concentration and memory so as to be effective in achieving its purpose.(Raman, Meenakshi and Singh, Prakash, Business Communication, Oxford University Press, New Delhi,2006, p.98.).

Appreciative Listening

The primary purpose of appreciative listening is to appreciate and thus enjoy the way the message is being given, but not to take the benefit of the content or meaning of the message. Appreciative listening usually takes place while listening to the music or when one enjoys the style of the speaker or other features not related to the content.

The best benefit of appreciative listening is realized depending on three conditions: presentation, perception and previous experience.(Raman, Meenakshi and Singh, Prakash, Business Communication, Oxford University Press, New Delhi,2006, p.101.). Presentation factors include the style, the medium, the setting and personality of the speaker. Secondly, the perception of the listener, which again depends on his attitude and expectations, determines how one appreciates the presentation. Lastly, the previous experience of the listener and his familiarity with the speaker determines whether he would enjoy the presentation or not. Existing positive opinion or familiarity with certain inherent and negligible drawbacks in the presentation may help one appreciate the presentation.

Critical Listening

Informative listening when combined with evaluative listening becomes critical listening.

Critical listening has its value when somebody is soliciting us to buy his product or services. We critically listen when somebody makes unbelievably nice offer or presents a new idea to solve problems. Similarly, we engage ourselves in critical listening when listening to politicians, new paper accounts, presentation of revolutionary ideas towards changing existing policies etc. Aristotle has proposed three precautions to observe to make effective criticism. They are ethos (speaker’s credibility), logos (logical arguments), and pathos (emotional appeals).

Critical thinking leaves one as a highly logical person. But, emotions like faith and ability to see what is not visible like what great business leaders like Ambani, Bill Gates, Narayana Murthy etc saw fall outside the logic, though they are highly essential for big-ticket success. A highly logical person is not emotional and hence remains mediocre all his life.

Discriminative Listening

Discriminative listener is one who is sensitive to the changes in the speaker’s rate, volume, force, pitch and stress on different words or ideas. One who listens attentively or critically or with the intention of evaluation or to appreciate the speaker has to listen discriminatingly.

Discriminative listening requires finest hearing ability shorn of any hearing defects, awareness of nuances of words, awareness of sounds and pronunciations, and ability to sense non-verbal signals from the speaker.

Literal Listening

In literal listening, content only is taken while ignoring the relationship between the facts in the content. Due to this, the meaning of the message is lost.

Understanding the types of listening will prepare one against negative listening. The person who listens in a positive manner is to going to achieve the purpose of such listening.

Source by Dr. Appalayya Meesala

5 Tips On How To Choose A Freight Forwarder

Your imports and exports should be in good hands at all times. Therefore, we suggest that you choose a freight forwarder who can handle your goods in the best way. With so many providers out there, how can you choose a trustworthy one? We can help you go about it. In this article, you will read 5 tips that can help you choose a good freight forwarder.

1. The Experience of the Freight Forwarder

What do we mean by experience? Well, your provider should have a lot of experience dealing with various situations, such as port shutdowns, dockworker strikes, and warehousing issues, just to name a few. This will save you a lot a headache down the line.

An experienced provider will also help you deal with the warehousing problems, customs and other routine issues. With experience, any freight forwarding company can develop great business relationships throughout the world.

2. The Network of the Freight Forwarder

The freight forwarder you choose should have a network of business partners and agents in the country you are going to import the goods from or expert to. This is to make sure that your goods will be handled well in that country.

Actually, your provider should have a good network in several countries. For instance, if you are importing the goods from china, make sure your provider has his men in that country.

3. The Services of the Provider

You may want to find out about the types of services offered by the provider. Actually, the ideal service provider should be able to handle both ocean shipping and air shipping of the goods.

As far as our expert opinion goes, if you need just the port-to-port services rather than door-to-door shipping, it will not be necessary for the provider to offer this service. But make sure they offer a valid tracking option. If they do not, you may want to look somewhere else.

4. Good References

No matter what type of service you are looking for, make sure you ask for good references. If you get some references and none of them has positive things to say about the service, you should not hire that service provider.

For instance, the company should be able to give you the link to its testimonial web page.

5. Customer Service

Keep in mind that customer service is of utmost importance as far as doing business goes. If a provider offers good customer support, they should be able to get back to you whenever you ask a question about their services or prices.

The sales representative at the company should be able to answer your questions in a timely fashion. Moreover, the staff should be sincere and polite. People do not like to deal with a company that has rude staff members.

So, if you have been looking for a good freight forward company, we suggest that you follow the tips given in this article. Hopefully, you will be able to hire the best freight forwarding service provider.

Source by Shalini Madhav

How Can SharePoint Help in Business Management?

Microsoft SharePoint is a web application platform that has been created by Microsoft for the purpose of document and content management. It has been created for managing heaps of data, and comes with huge flexibility as well as support for various add-ons. With every SharePoint version, you can find enhanced features and capabilities that can help in easier management of business operations. Read on and find out how SharePoint can aid in business management.

Complete management
According to SharePoint consultants, this web application platform works as an Intranet that allows workers to perform a wide range of functions, including document management, collaborating on new ideas or projects etc. You can also use it as a portal for posting key metrics and performance indicators. It can also be used for workflow applications.

Workflow Improvement
Microsoft SharePoint can also assist in the improvement of workflow. The cloud solutions of SharePoint can deal with almost any type of business workflow. It can be integrated very well with Microsoft Office stack and Outlook. Other than this, SharePoint can also be natively integrated with an SQL server, which makes data more purposeful for workers.

Collaboration in the workplace
The use of SharePoint can also promote greater collaboration within the workplace. Traditionally, any task is executed individually and then transferred to the employee who is next in line. However, with the help of SharePoint, all that you have to do is uploading on the SharePoint server the procedure manual. On a single platform, a document can be edited by different individuals.

Easy customization
You can also easily customize SharePoint, and eliminate the traditional email attachments, files and folders. You can easily store files on the website of SharePoint, and also restrict or grant access to other users to see a file. You will not need to worry about the business phone directory getting public either. Whenever anyone needs the directory, you can just send a mail containing the link that would take the recipient to the SharePoint server.

Security
It will be assuring for you to know that every individual SharePoint team website can be set up on the server of SharePoint. In case you want your management team website to have all the information related to management stored in a proper way, you will need to be in charge of the management in order to get access to the website. Not being in the management team will not let you even know about its existence. Only the management team members will be able to see that specific website while others will be incapable to view the same. In this sense, SharePoint sites are extremely secure.

Support services
Every company has the need to maintain its information, documents, data and records in a proper way. Microsoft SharePoint support services can be very useful in these situations. These are especially helpful for companies without any document management system or formal automated workflow. Various small and mid-sized organizations lack a business automation system. SharePoint can benefit such companies, and if your business is similar, you will get the same advantages.

Source by Bruce D Lee

What Do You Understand by Brand Creation?

In an era of knowledge economy, brands are intellectual properties that provide true competitive differentiators and are an asset in their own rights. Creation of a brand is a rigorous, research based discipline that draws upon cutting edge insights from diverse disciplines like psychology, anthropology, marketing and technology.

Brand creation is not a one-time activity. The process of brand creation is enduring, staying with the consumers for the longest period. A brand, built with defined brand architecture, has a stronger recall than compared to just an advertisement – one of the communication processes, used to accentuate the brand equity.

Sometimes, a particular product or service may already be in the market. However it’s in need of a major change in the premise it stands for, to adapt to changing consumer needs or to become relevant to a new set of consumers – the process called brand rejuvenation. Rejuvenating a brand is a different process than compared to brand creation. Even though it follows a process similar to brand architecture process, in Brand rejuvenation there is already some information and insight available about the consumer reactions which help in the repositioning of a brand or its re-creation.

There is a set of frameworks and techniques which is utilized to come up with the final premise on which a brand is established. Branding workshops is one such example which helps immensely in identifying the correct target consumer segment and the significant consumer trigger factors, helping to evolve an optimal brand design.

As mentioned before, there are several communication processes which are leveraged to elevate the brand value. But one of the most important and proximate to the consumer during purchase is packaging. Packaging conveys in an instant what the brand wants to communicate and how it communicates it. Innovative ways of retail branding are also catching up in the new modern era to leave a lasting impression on the consumers. And with digital soon taking over the world, website and other interactive design which translates the brand essence into digital terms has become a pre-requisite tool in the toolkit of the modern marketer along with various reputation management techniques.

With an ever evolving consumer set, there is always going to be a need for innovative ways to translate what the true essence of a brand is. Having a strong brand seed to stand on is what can help the product as well as the brand in the long run.

Source by Abhijit Khaire

UB04 Form – What is a UB04 Form, Where Do I Get One, and How Do I Fill it Out?

Do you need to get a UB04 form completed for an insurance company?  What is a UB04 form?  Where do you find one?  And how do you fill it out?  We run across these questions often in the world of medical billing.  Most medical health insurance claims are filed on CMS 1500 forms (sometimes called HCFA forms).  These are more common to most people.   Many billers don’t know when to use the CMS forms and when to use the UB 04 forms.

The UB04 claim form is used by facilities rather than physicians for their health insurance billing.  Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, ambulatory surgery centers, clinics, etc need to bill their services on the UB04 form in order to get paid.  Physician billing is done on the CMS 1500 claim forms. 

Every once in awhile we get a call from a person who is trying to get an insurance claim paid and they are told by the insurance company that they must file the claim on a UB04 claim form.  These people don’t have a clue what this form is or how to complete it.  They may have had to admit a loved one into a drug and alcohol rehab facility and now find that the facility doesn’t participate with their insurance plan.  These facilities often don’t file UB04 forms and can not help the family get reimbursed by the insurance company.

Many times the family has paid up front for the services of the facility and are now trying to get the insurance company to reimburse them.  The insurance policy may pay out of network but the claim must be filed correctly on a UB04 form.  Often times people are trying to collect many thousands of dollars on the claim.  Required fields on the UBO4 form include rev codes, value codes and type of bill.  What do you put in these fields?   These forms can be very confusing.  Where do you get the correct information to complete the forms?  And which fields are required on the form?  If the facility does not have a UB04 form to fill out, where do you get one? 

Unfortunately the answers are not easy.  The Rev codes represent the procedure codes.  The type of bill is a three digit number that represents the type of facility, the bill classification and the frequency of the bill.  The value codes are required fields only in certain situations.  It is very difficult to complete these forms correctly without previous experience or proper training.  Another catch is that the forms were changed in May 2007 to allow for use of the NPI number.  You must understand NPI numbers completely to determine where you should be entering an individual NPI number or a group NPI number.  And when you try to find UB04 forms for sale, you find they are available in boxes of 2500.

If you find yourself needing to file a claim on a UB04 form and don’t know what you are doing, make sure you look into it fully.  Claims are often denied time after time for information being incomplete or incorrect.  If your claim is for a lot of money, you may not want to wait months for payment.

Copyright November 2008 – Alice Scott

Source by Alice Scott

How Marshmallows Can Help Overcome Workplace Distractions

Can you relate to this? You arrive at work and start checking emails. Half way through writing a reply, you decide a coffee is in order. On the way to the coffee machine, a colleague requests if you could help review a report. The phone is ringing as you walk back to your desk. While you are on the phone to the client, you are alerted to three more emails. An hour later you see your still empty cup at the coffee machine, realize your client's file is on your colleague's desk, you have no idea where the report is and you still have not sent the email you started drafting because of the interruptions.

If you feel that distractions make it more difficult for you to do and enjoy your job, you are right. Researchers have found that even tiny interruptions derail your thinking and increase mistakes. In one study, people performed a sequence based procedure on a computer. Erik Altman and his team found that interruptions of only three seconds doubled the error rate. Other researchers found that distractions can increase the time it takes you to do a task by between 20 and 40%.

The impact of interruptions in office is now so great, that we have interruptions researchers. Gloria Marks is one of these and her team spent three days studying a group of office workers and timing everything they did. They found:

• The average time people spent on a task before being interrupted or switching was about three minutes.

• People interrupted them about 44% of the time; The rest of the interruptions came from external sources.

• On average it took 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to interrupted tasks and most people did two intervening tasks before returning to the original task.

Not only do the interruptions mean it takes longer for us to do the task, we are also not as clever as we do them. Alessandro Acquisiti examined how much brain power was lost if you are interrupted by a phone call or email. Participants were asked to read a short passage and answer questions about it. The participants who were interrupted performed an incredible 20% worse than those who were not.

Broken concentration can lead you to miss information, make mistakes or mess with the structure of the document you are preparing. Constant distractions can lower the quality of advice you provide, the quality of preparation you do for meetings and your enjoyment of the job. They can also make it difficult for you to find the mental space necessary for complex issues which may require detailed thinking and planning.

How Marshmallows Can Help

Given how many interruptions are in a modern legal workplace, is there anything you can do? It is possible to train yourself not to give in to distractions in the same way that some of the children in the famous Stanford marshmallow did with their desire to eat a marshmallow.

In the experiment, young children were imprisoned at a table in front of a marshmallow and told they could it now or if they could wait until the researcher came back into the room, they would get a second marshmallow. A few ate the marshmallow straight away. The rest tried to wait for the researcher to return so they would get a second marshmallow. Of those who tried to wait, only one-third were successful and received a second marshmallow. Later in life, the children who waited became the most successful. They had better education, higher paying jobs, a lower BMI, better relationships and tended not to have addictions or criminal records.

Researchers from another study done in Dunedin, New Zealand were shocked to find that a child's level of self-control was just as important as anticipating their financial success and health later in life as social class, wealth, family of origin or IQ.

Are You A One Or Two Marshmallow Person At Work?

When you hear an email alert, your phone tells you that text has arrived or you overhear a conversation in a nearby office, it is easy to want to immediately gratify yourself and find out what is going on. If you stop focusing on the report you are writing and immediately check the email you would be displaying the results of a 'one marshmallow person'. If you could hold the desire to find out what is in the email until you have finished the report, you would be displaying the visits of a 'two marshmallow person'. You would finish the report sooner and make fewer mistakes.

Dealing with distractions in a work environment might just be as simple as reminding yourself to be a 'two marshmallow person'. This small act of personal discipline which will pay dividends.

Source by Petris Lapis

Virtual Assistants Can Provide Valuable Legal Support Services to Law Firms

Every business should be interested in lowering costs and increasing productivity and revenue. Right? Right. A virtual assistant is your answer.

Over the last two years law firms cut costs by laying off support staff. The firms did so to reduce costs as a result of an economic downturn or slow and declining business that resulted in decreased revenue.

Earlier this month an article in The American Lawyer reported that the law firm Mayer Brown cut 135 employees – lawyers and staff, and, some time later, an article in the New York Law Journal reported that the firm laid off 75 employees, including 28 lawyers. (source of articles: Law.com) Mayer Brown has seen a reduction in staff due to cuts and layoffs of 210 employees this month. Lawshucks.com tracks law firm layoffs and indicates on its website that as of April 8, 2010, 14,696 jobs were eliminated at major law firms (5,772 lawyers / 8,924 staff) since January 2008. This data shows a higher percentage of staff layoffs (~61%) compared to that of attorney layoffs – 39%. Lawshucks.com further indicates that there have been 485 layoffs this year (186 attorneys/299 staff); this number also represents a higher percentage of staff layoffs (62%) compared to attorney layoffs of 38%. A decline in revenue and a slow recovery have prompted law firms to eliminate attorney and staff/support services positions.

Law firms can get the support services they need by engaging the services of a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant (also referred to as a VA) is a highly skilled entrepreneur that typically works from his/her home-based business providing business and/or legal support services through the effective use of technology.

The advent of the Internet and the endless progression and availability of technology enable VAs to collaborate remotely with clients from virtually anywhere in the world. VAs have been providing support services to businesses for many years. The phrase virtual assistant came into being in the ’90s, and the VA industry has seen increased growth. Support and networking organizations such as The International Virtual Assistants Association provide assistance and support to VAs worldwide. VAs provide valuable services worldwide to businesses of all types.

Services Offered by a VA

Traditionally, VAs provided secretarial and administrative services; however, today VAs provide a wealth of services that include, but are not limited to, the following types of services:

  • legal secretarial;
  • word processing/document management;
  • paralegal support;
  • tape transcription;
  • research and writing;
  • travel / conference arrangements;
  • marketing communications support;
  • desktop publishing;
  • website design;
  • content management – website, blog, wiki;
  • database management;
  • computer/technical support;
  • event management; and
  • human resource management.

In this economic downtown, a VA can be a vital part of any business. With law firms cutting costs and eliminating support services personnel, it makes good sense for a law firm (or an attorney) to hire a qualified VA for its support needs or as an extension of its business. Any legal entity or legal professional considering using the services of a VA will likely want to consider one with a legal background.

The services that a VA can perform and provide are endless. Lawyers looking to start their own practices will find the services of a VA indispensable.

Advantages of Utilizing a VA

Wondering what you gain by utilizing a VA? The benefits are plenty. Imagine eliminating:

  • costs associated with hiring a permanent employee (recruiting expenses, salary, taxes, benefits/vacations, pensions, insurance, space rental, and equipment (computer, software, furniture, telephone, etc.));
  • downtime associated with an employee not showing up for work – lost productivity;
  • costs associated with employee turnover;
  • costs associated with training; and
  • any number of other associated costs with hiring and maintaining a permanent employee.

With a VA you pay only for the services performed – a very cost-effective solution. Whether you need 2 hours, 4 hours or a full day, you’re not saddled with paying unnecessary expenses. Most professional VAs will have years of experience in their particular field or area of expertise.

You can’t do it all so what better time than now to hire a VA to assist you with meeting your business goals. As a business owner you have specialized skills that enable you to generate income for your business, but if you spend time handling tasks that a VA could perform you lose income and decrease productivity. That doesn’t have to be the case. Collaborate with a VA to get the business support services you need, keep costs down, increase productivity and ultimately increase revenue.

When Considering Hiring a VA

When looking to hire a VA check out the VA’s website to get a sense of the type of person she/he is. The website should list at a minimum:

  • the services offered;
  • professional and educational background of the VA;
  • a method of contact; and
  • rates charged – highly skilled VAs may charge anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour depending on the service (rates vary and in some instances can be higher).

You should also e-mail or call the VA to see how responsive the VA is. You might also be able to contact the VA via a form on their website. The website should provide you with enough information to determine if the VA is someone you would like to do business with. Once you have reviewed the website and like what you have seen, make contact with the VA. The conversation(s) you experience with the VA will further determine if a business relationship is viable.

A VA may require:

  • a minimum number of hour(s) to get started working with you,
  • that you sign a contract for services, and
  • a down payment before beginning any work.

Don’t let this deter you since the VA is in business also. Just as you’re checking out the VA, he/she is also checking you out. For a VA, having these mechanisms in place usually weed out unsavory potential clients. In the end you need to be as diligent in your search for a highly skilled and competent VA as you would for a permanent employee. You and your VA can enjoy a lasting long productive relationship.

Source by Carmela Williams

Overwhelmed? You Know, Stepping Away Sometimes Saves the Day!

When you're overwhelmed, what's your first response?

For many of us, the knee-jerk reaction is to increase our efforts immediately … because we want to do something about that feeling. But working faster or harder or longer simply is not the optimal reaction to feeling overwhelmed.

In fact, ramping it up often makes things worse – AND leaves us exhausted and depleted.

So, what's a better course when you're overwhelmed by your to-do list or by a sudden change that puts your work over the top?

Overwhelmed? First, You Have to See It!

Taking time to regain your perspective when you're stressed is vital, but quite often, we do not even know when we are at or near our breaking point. So, step number one is tuning into yourself and learning to recognize the signs of overwhelm.

For each of us, it's going to be different; But I'm going to guess that working harder is a predictable reaction, as is heightened anxiety. You may feel that your fuse gets shorter, too.

And, the more overwhelmed you feel, the LESS efficient and effective you are going to be. This, in turn, just increases your overwhelm. So, it's a downward spiral.

Overwhelmed? Try Stepping Away …

So, once you realize you are overwhelmed (and you'll get better and better at this the more you tune in), your next step is to take care of YOU!

Give yourself some time and space to regain your feet and your perspective. You want to respond , not react to whatever is happening. Simply put, when you respond to a situation, you are retaining your power; When you react you give it away.

And this applies to that feeling of being overwhelmed!

Overwhelmed? How Much Time Do You Need?

How long you need to step away is going to very, based on your unique personality, your situation, and your level of stress.

The key point is that it's important to recognize what you need – AND that it's variable. Small challenges require smaller amounts of time to reboot, while major stress requires more. Tailoring the time you take saves you time and assures that you give yourself what you need.

Source by Paula Eder

What Are the Services You Can Expect From an ORM Company?

Online Reputation Management is the way to monitor and manage the reputation of a firm, an individual or a brand with the aim of eliminating negative comments totally or merely pushing them below the search engine results. ORM is the fastest growing services offered by an ORM company. When it comes to doing business online or branding, reputation is the key. If you have only negative comments, negative views and opinions about your business, no one will take your services. Then, in this digital era, it just takes a few minutes or seconds to post a review or an opinion online. Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the use of customer review sites, forums, blogs, articles, social networking sites. Individuals and groups can access you online through the online platforms to post damaging or negative comments. Thus, you have to be more careful and alert. Online reputation can only be managed with the help of a company offering reputation management services.

The various online reputation management services

Online reputation management services are the various techniques employed by a professional firm to protect the reputation and develop a positive presence online. ORM companies, through the reactive and proactive techniques, take control of the online actions and moves. ORM reactive action is vital and extremely positive for the firm. If you want reactive ORM services, the digital firm will offer the following services:

  • The digital agency will monitor the online conversation regarding the brand.
  • The company will respond to the praises and complaints of the online audiences
  • The firm will report the online trends that need to be used in order to deliver marketing services.

If you want to build a positive online reputation, you need to manage the online presence and react to the conversations in a positive manner.

Proactive techniques to manage online reputation

Proactive ORM implies taking relevant steps to earn a positive reputation online. Under the proactive ORM, you will be significantly positioned to handle the potential problems relating to your company’s reputation. In a way, you will be much ahead of time to handle the problem. The digital firm will offer you the following services:

  • Creation of social media profile and its effective management.
  • Blogging services
  • Article writing and marketing
  • SEO or Search Engine Services
  • Microsite Creation.

The need for using all the elements

To manage your reputation well, you need to employ all the techniques whether it is reactive or proactive. Depending on your needs, a digital firm will use various services to allow you manage your reputation. There has to be the use of methodical and defined strategy imbibing the various elements of both the approaches if you wish to have a great online presence.

To have an outstanding reputation online, make sure you take up content writing services from an ORM company. You should always remember that the social media has to be a two-way conversation since the one-way diction will not work. You need to respond to your customers online as soon as they post a comment. This helps build and reinforce trust and relationship.

Source by Rohit Bisht

Internal Communication: 12 Essential Elements

There are 12 essential elements of a successful internal communications strategy:

1. Effective employee-directed communications must be led from the top

Effective communications require the active commitment and approvals of senior managers. It is not enough simply to develop a 'vision statement' or formulate in general terms the values ​​by which the company lives. Behavior is what counts. Managers must be seen to be in a manner that is consistent with the ethos they are promoting.

2. The essence of good communications is consistency

At all costs, avoid following fashion and tinkering. If you try to improve communications and then fail – because your messages are inconsistent or are 'good news only' – things will not quietly set back into the way they used to be. You will inevitably have created expectations, and may have to live with the consequences of having deserved those expectations.

3. Successful employee communications owe as much to consistency, careful planning and attention to detail as they do to charisma or natural gifts

We may not all be another Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins or Bill Clinton. But even such communication 'giants' slip up if they fail to plan, fail to pay attention to detail and fail to project a consistent message.

4. Communication via the line manager is most effective

'Line Manager to employee' communication is an opportunity for people to ask questions and check that they have understood the issues correctly. However, be aware that business urgency and reality may dictate the need, on many occasions, to inform employees directly rather than relying entirely on the cascade process. (Although managers will still need to answer people's questions and listen to their views.)

5. Employee communications are not optional extras, they are part of business as usual and should be planned and budgeted for as such

An employee communications plan – key themes, objectives, objectives and resources – provides a context in which to deliver initiatives that arise at short notice.

6. There must be integration between internal and external communications

There must be a fit between what you are telling your people and what you are telling your customers, shareholders and public. (By the same token, there must be a fit between what you are telling your people, and what the external media are telling them.)

7. Timing is critical

However clearly expressed and well-presented your message may be, if it arrives at the wrong time you might as well not have bothered. Old news is often worse than no news. Consequently, it is important to ensure that the channels you use can really deliver at the time you need them to.

8. Tone is important

Expressing overly-gushing enthusiasm about a technical change of little real significance to your staff or public at large is scarcely calculated to make people take your message to heart. If they do not take that message to heart, why would they take their rest of what you say to their bosoms?

9. Never lose sight of the 'what's in it for me?' Factor

We are self-interested creatures. I may have invented the most amazing gadget ever, but without I get you emotionally involved you are never likely to listen to my message about it. But if I can show you how my gadget will revolutionize your life, add dollars to your wallet, free up your time, fix your smelly feet, wash your car for you, stop your kids arguing with you, bring peace with your spouse, bringing World peace …

10. Communication is a two-way process

Employee communications are NOT a one-way information dump. Capturing feedback is of critical importance, and if you are not seen to be listening and acting on what you are told, why should people bother telling you?

11. A single key theme or a couple of key themes is a means of giving coexistence to a range of diverse employee communications initiatives

In recent years, the overriding theme of many corporate employee communications has been the impact on the business of competition, regulation and economic forces. Many messages and initiatives can therefore be evaluated according to the light they shed on one or more of these key themes.

12. Set your standards and stick to them

Determine which channels should be mandatory and which should be optional; Establish quality standards for all channels and review these at least annually.

Source by Lee Hopkins