Say What? 4 Dos and Don’ts of Business Communication Systems

If you want to run a successful business, you need the best techniques and tools to get the job done. This can empower your team to serve your customers, fulfill orders, and stay productive while on the job. However, when it comes to your business communications, a lot of businesses make mistakes. In general, stick to these do’s and don’ts. 

Do Go with a Brand You Trust 

There are a lot of communications companies out there. However, not all of them are created equal. You need to go with a name that you trust. That does not just mean going with the biggest company in the space. 

In fact, it often means going with a company that you might have just heard about. Then, doing your research on them will pay off. Research before investing is everything! You might find that they support your values more than others do in the marketplace. Check out reviews, history, and reputation of their products as well as their customer service.

Don’t Get the Wrong Kind of System

You need to ensure that you have the right kind of communication systems for your business. A golf course, for instance, would want handheld radios, like Motorola walkie talkies, while an office might rely on a office-wide messaging system

The key is to ask yourself how your team is talking to each other right now. Then find ways to improve on that communication. Great technology is something that should do its job and stay out of the way so your team can do theirs even better. 

Do Find the Right Value 

There are going to be different prices and overall values to each communication solution. The key is to understand that each will bring something different to the table. Be sure to look at the overall value, and not just the price, for what you are getting. If your company won’t use a big portion of what a particular package is offering, you might want to go in a different direction.

Don’t Go without Research 

The worst mistake you could make in business is jumping into a decision before you truly know what you are getting in return. Luckily, you can avoid this. If you stick to your plan and look at your options with a critical eye, you can come out ahead. That way, you get a system that you truly want and need. Take your time and learn everything you can about any viable option for your business. Based on your research, you can make an informed decision that will help your employees with their work.

Having a great business does not stop with your sales and marketing. In reality, it comes down to how well your team can work together. Of course, one of the most important factors in how they work together boils down to their communication systems. So don’t make the mistakes that others make. Use the do’s and don’ts above as your checklist.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

4 Simple Strategies for Boosting Your Employees’ Morale

Employee morale makes a big difference in workplace productivity. As an employer, you can’t control your staff’s mood, but you can definitely ensure that they have a happy, healthy, and considerate environment to work in. Here are four simple strategies to consider implementing.

Open Up Communication

People like to feel as if their work makes a difference. This can be a difference in the world at large, or simply a difference for the person they are working for. It’s difficult to put in effort all day without understanding the reasons or seeing the results. Keep staff updated on your business’s successes and pitfalls, and make sure you let them know the results of projects they have personally worked on. Good communication builds trust and rapport. If you set a standard of openness, your employees will understand when something simply must be kept under wraps. 

Stock the Break Room 

Snacks in the break room can be a small but effective way to show that you care. A coffee machine is a good place to start; warm drinks offer comfort, and caffeine provides an energy boost to finish out the workday. To avoid the classic problem of burnt break-room coffee, try a Keurig brewing system. Single-serving Starbucks K-Cup pods let your employees brew themselves a cup when they need one, and don’t share the mess or cost of brewing an entire pot. Don’t forget to stock decaf pods too; everyone deserves something hot to drink. 

Fight for Employee Benefits 

To be an employee is to invest a large part of your time and energy into someone else’s business. The deal doesn’t have to be a bad one; as an employer, you have the opportunity to make a large difference in your employees’ lives. Look for ways that your business can provide benefits that staff would not be able to acquire on their own. This might include package insurance plans, vendor discounts, or even chances to travel. Working for your business should feel like an opportunity, not a cost. 

Encourage Career Growth 

If you’re the business owner, you’re likely already living your dream. Your business is a culmination of your career and the effort you have put in. On the other hand, your employees are likely at the start of their careers. As much as you enjoy seeing them every day, it’s important to remember that your staff want to grow and move forward in life. Try to provide opportunities for growth and success within your business. If an employee has a dream that will one day take them outside of your company, don’t be afraid to encourage them. The person you help go to school today could very easily be your industry contact of tomorrow. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to employee morale; what helps one person’s mood might make no impact on someone else. The best strategy is to set a standard of respect, communication, and care for your employees’ needs. If you have a good attitude, a good work environment will follow.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

10 Networking Tips for Your Next Business Conference

Conferences are one of the best places for networking. You’re surrounded by people with similar interests, including many who can help you advance your career. There’s plenty of opportunity for the taking at conferences. You can learn a lot from your fellow attendees and may even land yourself a new position, since 46 percent of jobs get filled through traditional networking. Here are 10 networking tips to use for your next conference.

1. Have a Plan

Attending a conference can be overwhelming, especially if it’s a large one with a lot of people and events. Do yourself a favor and schedule your time beforehand. In addition to deciding which presentations to go to, build some time into your schedule for networking. You can also plan some of the specifics of your networking. Before the conference, research who’s going to be there and decide who you want to talk to.

2. Start Early

You don’t have to wait until the conference to start networking. Connect with other attendees on social media beforehand and post about the event on your feeds. Send fellow attendees a message saying you hope to see them there and ask them which sessions they plan on attending. You can also reach out to presenters and tell them you’re looking forward to their talks. That way you’ll have the foundations of a relationship already in place when you get to the conference.

3. Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a tried and true networking tip. Your pitch should be about 60 to 90 seconds long, or between 150 and 250 words. Keep it to the point while still showing a bit of your expertise, passion and personality. You can memorize it and practice before you go, but do your best to keep it genuine and natural-sounding too.

4. Look Approachable

Networking has two main purposes — maintaining relationships you’ve already started and meeting new people. To increase the number of people you meet, look approachable whenever you can. Only look at your phone or laptop when you have to. A lot of people look at their devices when they’re bored or uncomfortable, but situations in which you’re waiting around are often some of the best opportunities for networking. Other attendees are probably looking for something to do at these times too.

5. Ask Questions

Conferences are excellent opportunities to tell other people about yourself, but of course, you also want to get to know others. When talking to people at your conference, be sure to show interest in them, engage with what they’re saying and ask questions. Try to think of some things to ask before you go. Often, people lead with basic questions like “what do you do?” and “where are you from?” You can also try asking people what their favorite presentation or session of the conference was so far.

6. Reach Out Right Away

Often, after a conference, people come home with a stack of business cards that ends up gathering dust. They put off reaching out to the people who gave them cards, and the connections end up getting lost. Instead, reach out as soon as someone gives you a card. Send them an email with your information and a reminder of who you are to get the conversation started and help them remember you. This strategy can help keep your networking efforts from going to waste.

7. Take Notes

At conferences, you typically meet lots of different people, so it’s easy to forget details about some of them. To help you remember your connections, write a few notes about each person on their business card, on a notepad or on your phone. Jot down something you talked about, what they were wearing, a funny joke they told you or anything else that will help you remember them.

8. Just Go for It

Networking can feel awkward, especially at first. It’s natural to worry about how someone might react if you walk up to them and introduce yourself. One of the great things about conferences is that it’s acceptable — and even expected — that people will come up to you and start conversations. If you see someone you want to meet and they don’t look overly busy, just go for it. Don’t miss out on the networking opportunity your conference offers.

9. Supplement With Social Media

While you want to focus on face-to-face interactions, you can also use social media to your advantage. Post about the conference and use event hashtags. Tag presenters when you tweet about their talks. Ask questions. Doing so can garner online interactions and may have even lead to face-to-face meetups.

10. Follow Up

Just as you want to start your networking before the event, you should also continue it once it ends. Post on social media or your company blog about the conference and reach out to the people you met. This will help keep the relationships alive following the event itself and help you make the most of your conference experience.

Do what you can to make the most of your conference experience, and you will likely come away with lots of contacts, business leads or even a possible new job.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Enhancing Communication In Your Modern Business

Year after year, the landscape of business changes. Becoming more modernized to suit the needs of the next generation, businesses must adapt to a new way of operation. One of the biggest trends seen in recent years, is the concept of a flexible work arrangement; more employees are opting to work beyond the traditional hours of 9-5, and often choose to work remotely all together. With change comes the need to adapt. Here are three ways to further incorporate technology into your workforce that facilitate stronger communication.

Go Wireless and Unify

Gone are the days of coming into the office and working from your hardwired desktop computer and phone system. Employees are constantly on the go. Whether they’re collaborating in meeting rooms or working from out-of-office locations, your employees need to be able to access their work and team members at their fingertips. Start by considering replacing your phone systems and opting for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Calls through VoIP work by converting voice from analog to a digital signal. Basically, all your employees need is a connection to the internet. If you’re seriously considering VoIP, look into a complete unified communications package. Aside from your phone services, you can include your other tools like web and video conferencing, team messaging, and screen sharing. You can customize your unified suite to include whatever your company needs.

Digitally Manage Projects

Maintain the trend of going digital by looking into online business productivity software. When you’re able to track project status, you are more likely to increase communication amongst team members. Productivity software holds all stakeholders accountable for their contribution to any given initiative. Managers and team members can track goals and deadlines in real time, therefore making it easy to identify when extra assistance and mentorship is necessary. This process translates into larger business productivity; with teams practicing frequent collaboration to achieve goals, and seeking continuous learning opportunities to develop new skills. The ability to track individual processes will further motivate your workforce while making them more alert and hard working.

Create a Digital Workplace

Beyond tracking your employees’ productivity, you should be seeking to incorporate channels that facilitate the type of teamwork you’re looking to encourage. Look into incorporating a digital workplace. Social intranet software is becoming a more widely known concept. Providing employees with digital platforms allows colleagues to work and manage tasks, further streamlining their working relationship. Digital workplaces allow for members to share documents, collaborate on content and provide real time updates for the status of their work. Teams that work closely together can even create sub spaces to further organize projects and communication.

No matter your field of business, the right tools can help employees gain a better understanding for each other and the work they’re doing. This correlates to an increase in productivity by allowing employees to work more efficiently; translating into the achievement of business goals.

Author Bio:

Cameron Parish is a business enthusiast who actively seeks opportunities to share insight on communication.

Startup Strategies For Lawyers Just Starting Out

After nearly a decade of training, you’re not a fully-fledged attorney looking to fly the nest. Hopefully, there are offers on the table, one of which you want to accept to kick start your career. The hard work is by no means over, yet it’s fulfilling to see things fall into place after kicking ass at law school.

The thing is, you’re green and have a lot to learn and it can bite you in the ass. Inexperienced attorneys make clients and customers uneasy, especially when there is a lot on the line.

The good news is there is no better time to grow then the present. To help, here are some spectacular strategies to keep in mind.

Invest In Body Language

You don’t speak the lingo yet because you’re young and raw around the edges. Still, how you present yourself without speaking is an incredible way to make a great first impression. Everyone from your customers to coworkers will judge you from the moment you meet, so it’s vital to stand out from the crowd. A confident accident lawyer settles the nerves and puts people at ease. So, even if you’re about to explode on the inside, you should be sure to portray self-belief on the outside.

Find A Niche Within A Niche

With the market so saturated, you’ll find the competition fierce. People will step over you to realize their dreams and make it to the top. Therefore, it’s tough to get noticed in a dog-eat-dog environment. Self-esteem will help, as will a combative attitude, but it won’t propel you up the ranks. What grabs people’s attention is specialist knowledge. Then, they’ll have to come to you for advice and guidance. Lawyers that carve out a lane showcase their talents for the law but also their willingness to succeed.

Bring A Millennial Approach

You might be young and inexperienced but that doesn’t mean you don’t have lots to offer. As a millennial, there are things which are second nature to you that a law firm won’t understand. As long as they add value, you’ll get the credit and the recognition. A digital presence is an excellent example. A law company is still a business and it has to connect with customers and clients and raise awareness of its brand. Because you understand Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, you can hit these targets. Don’t stand on the sidelines – take action now.

Protect Your Rep

A lawyer’s reputation is everything. Once it is dragged through the mud, there is no turning back. This isn’t a video game and there isn’t a factory reset button. With that in mind, you should act with your reputation’s best interest at heart. Dress professionally, speak articulately, and keep your promises. Also, listen to what people have to say and try and go the extra mile where possible. Your street cred within the industry will blossom as a result. Lastly, give your all to get the best outcome for the client.

Hopefully, this will help you navigate the choppy waters that are the law.

Spice It Up! How to Keep Business Meetings Exciting

Business meetings are necessary for a variety of reasons,but employees will not appreciate them or remember anything that was discussed if they are not being engaged. Engaging your employees is one way you can give and receive feedback on previous and current trends, as well as events of the business. There is more than one way to engage your employees during a business meeting. 

Start with an Ice Breaker

Whether you host a meeting in the morning, afternoon or evening, it’s good to begin the meeting with an icebreaker. Everyone can tell an interesting fact about themselves, what they did over the weekend or talk about a few of their favorite hobbies. You can take turns playing catch-ball by going around the room and letting everyone tell something about themselves.An engaging activity helps keeps employees awake, as well as help them maintain focus and remember many of the topics discussed in the meeting. 

Try a Different Location

Instead of staying in a building, get some fresh air and leave the four walls behind. Nothing wakes you up like a breath of fresh air.Try hosting a meeting in a park or make reservations somewhere nice, such as a cafe. New surroundings make people alert because they are busy observing, but still paying attention. New surroundings can also be great for relaxing and unwinding. Employees who are constantly on the edge will benefit from a different surrounding where they can relax. 

Put Technology to Work

Have you thought about hosting a conference call to host the meeting? Employees are more likely to attend because they can choose the place where they are the most comfortable, such as their home,library, bookstore or any other place. When employees are given a little freedom, they are more responsive and more engaged in the meeting. 

Bring Refreshments or Have it Catered

Refreshments are good for business meetings because they give everyone an extra incentive to attend. Regardless of what time you decide to start the meeting, refreshments give people a boost of energy that helps them make it through the last stretch of the day or get off to a great start in the morning. Refreshments could be something simple like light snacks, not a full meal. Bagels, chips, water, juice, coffee, fruit, and similar items make great light snacks that can help employees be more attentive in the meeting.

If you’re having a bigger meeting or just want to treat your hardworking employees to something special, having a full meal catered is a great way to reward them for their effort. Look into local restaurants and services, like El Molinito Restaurant & Catering or another in your area, for the best food and selections.

Employees and many business owners alike are not fond of meetings and dread them because of how boring they can be. These tips can help you spice up your meeting and make it interesting, so the next time, employees are more inclined to attend. Meetings don’t have to be the downfall of your day.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Packaging Considerations For All Businesses

Developing an effective and beneficial product is only part of the process. You then need to market it and sell it in the best possible way. This involves packaging the product in an attractive and informative manner. With that being said, continue reading to find out more about important packaging considerations for all businesses.

Practicality comes first -We often tend to get wrapped up in the process of looking for vibrant and striking designs. While it is important to create packaging that looks amazing,this should never come at a sacrifice of practicality. After all, at heart, the primary job of your packaging is to make sure the product is protected physically. It can also act as a security aid, protecting against theft,depending on the nature of the product. You should never lose sight of this. Don’t ditch resealable plastic bags for bags without a seal simply because they look better.

Find a way to add some pizzazz – Once you have dealt with the practicalities, you need to make sure that your bag has the wow factor. After all, packaging needs to stand out from all of the other packages used. So, you need to choose something that makes your product seem better. Not only this, but the packaging you select can have a massive impact on the perceived retail value. This is something you shouldn’t overlook. You could easily add a dollar or two to the price with good packaging. All businesses need to consider the value when it comes to the packaging they select.

Make sure your packaging is informative – Aside from the points that have already been mentioned, you need to remember that your packaging is essentially an information-delivery system. It needs to tell the prospective buyer exactly what the product does and what it is for. While you need to keep things concise and ensure you don’t write anything unnecessary, living out imperative details is even more criminal. Moreover, think about where the eyes divert to first.

Telling a story– Last but not least, the final consideration you have when it comes to packaging is the story it tells. We don’t merely value products. We value the stories that go with them. This is something you really need to keep in mind when you are assessing different packaging options for your products. This is something that Apple do really well with their items, so it’s worth looking at their efforts for some inspiration.

As you can see, there are a number of different considerations when it comes to product packaging for your business. If you contemplate all of the pointers that have been discussed above, you should be able to come up with something that is right for your brand and your products.