Ingenious Corporate Interactions at Events

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Summer temperatures fade and cool chills move in, these are signs that the holidays are right around the corner. Along with the holidays comes the influx of social gatherings in a business setting. Holiday parties, award ceremonies, speeches and the like. So what does this mean if you’re employed at a company? Additional responsibilities concerning social interactions. For instance at holiday parties there is (normally) alcohol. We’ve all seen the movies where the irresponsible employee drinks a little (or a lot) too much at a corporate function and ends up making a major fool of himself. Yikes! So what does one do in the case of a corporate event? The point is to socialize and network with coworkers, right? It is and that’s why paying attention to body language, social cues and alcohol levels is quite pertinent.

Top tips for making sure the holidays don’t ruin your career:

1) Watch alcohol levels: Either you decide to not drink or keep it to a minimum. It’s not impressive to see who can consume the most alcohol, especially at corporate functions. Stick to one or two alcoholic drinks and be sure to have water before, between and after.

2) Monitor noise levels: Along with drinking, no one wants to see the intoxicated employee make weird noises while disturbing the party. Keep in mind other people’s volume levels and adjust accordingly.

3) Engage with new co-workers: Sure most of us tend to talk with the people we already know, but make it a priority to talk with as many new co-workers as possible. Use the first hour of an event to make a figure eight out of the room by going around and saying hi to new people throughout the event. Then, spend the rest of the event either continuing those conversations or engaging with your current workplace friends.

4) Play nice around the boss: Corporate events/parties are less formal environments where it may be tempting to strike up conversations with higher up executives (unless you are the CEO!). Be cautious on how you approach those situations. It’s alright to interact with people who you may not be able to work with on a normal basis as work, but be sure to keep in mind it is also a party and conversations should be light and stray away from business talk. Not many want to chat business if they just got done a full day of work anyways.

Have you been to any corporate celebrations lately? What was the event and how did you interact with others? Let thoughts on how to take corporate event interactions BEYOND business basics in the comments below!

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The Unproductive Presentation

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They happen every once and a while. You have to prepare documents to share with colleagues and bosses for presentations on what you have accomplished – say in the past fiscal quarter. Many dread these presentations because they are long, demand high attention spans and unfortunately unproductive. Unproductive? Yes, unproductive. With so many departments operating in a standard business, board presentation meetings tend to turn into Show, FLASH and Tell. A chain of trying to over impress whoever is looking at the presentation in the hopes that nothing will be critiqued and all with continue as planned. But, why? Why not strive for improvement than fight for mediocrity? Here are the top reasons why meetings are unproductive and how you can change them to go BEYOND the average employee (or even business owner).

 

Unproductive quality: Skewing data to make it look like something is happening when it really isn’t.

Why it sets you back: Data that doesn’t show a full scope of what is happening will not allow for effective changes in operations.

Way to go BEYOND: Be sure to accurately display data in presentations, then follow up presentations with questions/concerns and initiate a conversation around improving current objectives and executions.

 

Unproductive quality: Not reading documents before a presentation.

Why it sets you back: If you do not know what is happening in a presentation you will likely 1) have a greater chance of forgetting to share pertinent information if you are the presenter or 2) not be engaged during the presentation and have a greater chance of zoning out and/or not understanding the material.

Way to go BEYOND: Reread documents for a presentation before presenting or listening to a presentation. This will ensure you’re up to speed with what is happening and will be more engaged during the presentation.

 

Unproductive quality: Consuming food.

Why it sets you back: How distracting for a presenter if you are eating while trying to listen/learn from another person.

Way to go BEYOND: Have a healthy, high protein meal before entering a meeting/presentation. This will ensure your brain is energized and ready to learn while also preventing annoying eating sounds in the meeting.

 

Have you experienced bad presentation etiquette recently? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! This blog is always looking to go BEYOND basic business.

 

Proper Work Relations

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In an era where mobile sites, media outlets and blogs (such as this one), stories surrounding employee incidents can go viral very fast. A very publicized incident that happened in the 21st century stems from how the well-known supermodel Naomi Campbell threw a phone at her housekeeper. Whether this incident really happened or not, we may never know, but it does open on the dialogue for how situations like this can be dealt with. If you are having difficulties in the workplace with a co-worker, then it may help to look at the suggestions below on how to work bette with others in difficult times.

Be honest: Use direct language when speaking with colleagues. If something is bothering you, bring it up. A lot times people do not realize what they are doing and it’s a kind gesture to make sure what is bothering you is evident and hopefully unintentional on the other party’s part.

Rise above bad behavior: Don’t know what to do to make someone stop annoying you at work? Truncate the situation by ignoring that is bothering you. Often times ignoring the actions the other is trying to do eliminates the benefit for the other person. They may just want a strong reaction from you. Don’t give that reaction.

Sweeten the conversation: Be as friendly as possible. Had a previous implication with someone? Try to forgive that person and extend your personal olive branch. The person will see your efforts and hopefully act in a positive light as well.

Reposition your perception: A good tactic to change the relationship between two individuals is to focus only on the positive actions. Does your co-worker say thank you after you complete a task? Or is appreciative when you do other work? Remember the “good moments” during times when interactions are not favorable.

Report if necessary: Still having problems? While it’s important to respect the work environment and avoid becoming a workplace tattletale, if problems continue it may be best to send a incident report to your boss. This will ensure that the workplace remains professional and that co-workers are kept inline if they proceed to interact poorly.

Have you ever experienced a tough co-worker relationship? How did you manage the situation? Leave thoughts in the comment section below!

This post was inspired by Monster’s, “How to Get Along with a Coworker You Hate” post.

How to Excel in the Business World via Robin Williams

This week was tragic. The world lost a soul who brought uncountable joy to endless people in many countries. Robin Williams was no doubt a global celebrity and his legacy will live on.

As I scrolled down PR Daily’s website, past the articles about women dominating careers in PR and why the word “spin” needs to be cut from commonly used PR terms, I found an article titled, “8 clever and inspiring Robin Williams quotes.” While reading them – I love quotes – I realized some are pertinent to the business world. Well, all of them are. Here are the top three any why they matter when doing business.

1) “There is still a lot to learn, and there is always great stuff out there. Even mistakes can be wonderful.”

This applies to business? One should never stop learning. It’s important to continue to grow in whatever position you hold in a company. Whether overseeing a whole company or working an entry level position, learning from co-workers is a great trait to foster on the job. Mistakes will happen, but embrace them. Those mistakes will lead to new discoveries and improvements – if you let them.

2) “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

This applies to business? If you’re having trouble getting a message through to someone consider tone. Jeff Haden details the importance of how messages are crafted in a post on Inc. called, “3 Ways to Make a Genuine Impact Simply by Saying Thanks.” Emails, phone calls and handwritten notes, if done well, can alter the way you interact with co-workers and other businesses. Be alert to tone in business communications because as Williams says, “words and ideas can change the world.”

3) “Carpe per diem: Seize the check.”

This applies to business? This quote relates back to self value in the work place. As a creative many times it’s difficult to “monetize” work. Photographers and other creative individuals work in industries where it’s sometimes very difficult to make money starting out. Williams quote reminds us to know our self worth. You won’t get what you want unless you ask for it so go out and ask for what you want!

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Want the see the other 5 quotes? Visit PR Daily’s blog for the article that inspired this post!

What’s your favorite Robin Williams quote?

Sharing Internal Communications (That’s a No-No)

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The other week I was sifting through emails from brands who wanted to collaborate with my business. One company in particular had an interesting message that inspired this blog post…

When preparing to blast a message to a company’s audience it’s important to review the information before sending. I say this because the mentioned company above went ahead and blasted an email promoting a new product. The email seemed fine until I scrolled down to the bottom and there it was… a big, unavoidable second email attached below the person’s signature. The employee obviously had reviewed information from her colleague’s email and sent that same email to her contact list. What’s wrong with this? To start there was information in the second (thread) email that shouldn’t have been shared with individuals that do not work at that company. Also it shows sloppiness. Couldn’t she take 1 extra minute to cut and paste that information into a NEW email and then send to her contact list?

Simple yet powerful solution: Whenever emailing back and forward about a message that will be shared with a company’s contact make sure to create a new email and insert whatever the final message is to the contact in that new file.

It not only looks sloppy when internal information is shared with an outside contact, but it could also be detrimental to the organization. Thankfully in this case 1) I’m not about to use the company’s information and 2) It wasn’t super sensitive information, yet it still should not have been shared.

Have you ever experience a similar situation? If you were sent sensitive information from another company would you delete the message/ignore it/tell the person who sent it? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

A Taste of the Global Audience via The Blonde Salad

As the Internet brings the world together with digital communications – like this blog – the need to keep a global audience in mind while writing increases. Not only do writers have to consider difficulty of language in their writings, but they also have to take into account specific words indigenous to a culture as well as certain jokes. While making sure language is easy to read for the variety of communication consumers in the world, it is also important to make sure an organization remains true to its voice and brand. Fashion blogs are no different. As the Internet usage grows and the consumption of paper media diminishes, fashion bloggers are creating careers by posting what they wear online and then getting consumers to buy those clothes.

An example of a fashion blogger who keeps her voice in mind while also addressing the global audience is The Blonde Salad. Chiara Ferragni, founder and blogger behind The Blonde Salad, keeps the global audience in mind. The Italian blogger originally posted in Italian, however, as her blog evolved into the global phenomenon that it is today, she started incorporating English into her posts. The language is lighthearted, easy to read and showcases Chiara’s fun personality!

Key points to take from Chiara’s blog:

1) Her core readership came from Italy so she stays loyal to those in her network by posing in Italian.

2) To continue to grow her site she started incorporating English into her posts. This opened her site up to many more potential readers.

3) Her language is simple and fun – on brand for her – realizing this is the fashion industry.

4) The site is easy to navigate encouraging readers to dive into full posts and engage with her text instead of just focusing on the photos.

 

Do you read any blogs that are run outside of the United States? If so, what blogs do you read? Do those sites take the global audience into consideration?

 

Screenshot from The Blonde Salad

Downfall of the XOXO Signature

Unless you work in the fashion or similar lifestyle industry, you might not have seen someone sign an email, “XOXO.” If this is true, then congratulations you are saved from the dreaded downfall that is the kiss hug, kiss hug signature.

This signature is a slippery slope that can lead to fake email responses and unprofessional correspondences. Below I highlight potential reasons why someone might use this signature and options for replying. As always, I’m open to suggestions and commentary so please leave responses in the comment section below.

 

Reasons why someone might sign an email XOXO:

1) The person is your friend and feels it necessary to show that love via work email.

2) The person is trying to get you to do something like write about her client (this typically falls into the PR world of email signatures).

3) The person is trying to avoid signing the email with “best.” In this case that’s understandable. Signing an email with “Best” to me says that it was great talking with someone and you don’t plan on talking with him anytime soon or that you are new contacts and don’t know much about the other person.

4) The person doesn’t understand that this is a business interaction and XOXOs should be saved for Valentine cards and fun text messages with friends.

 

Potential responses to the XOXO Signature:

1) Sign the email with “XOXO”, too. This is most likely a bad decision and will lead to a downfall of XOXOs until both parties are falsely putting XOXOs to upkeep with the overly lovey email correspondence.

2) Sign the email with “Best.” If you read the reasons why someone might sign an email XOXO, then you may also now think that best is a way of telling someone that you are done with that conversation. This is appropriate to use if you are emailing someone for the first few times and have not built a relationship.

3) Sign the email with a “Thank you” or “Talk soon.” This avoids entering the downfall of the XOXO signature while also keeping the conversation friendly. This option says you are professional and friendly while still showing you are not joking around. NO XOXOs!

4) Other. Do you have any recommendations for potential responses for the XOXO Signature?

 

Now for some examples:

 

The XOXO Signature is unprofessional because it shows a deep informality in the workplace. If you are conversing with friends and would like to use this signature or similar text it is advised that you do so on non-business related devices IE personal email and personal phone.

Ways to go BEYOND the XOXO Signature: Suggest to the email offender that using XOXO is informal for a work setting and offer alternative ways for that person to be friendly while still being professional in email correspondences. You could suggest signatures like “Talk soon” and “Have a great day.”