Archive for Psychology

Business etiquette and body language blunders

 

There are certain behaviors we all know will raise eyebrows and offend people. Standing too close to someone while talking, double-dipping, and a feeble handshake, are all examples of behaviors that others find off-putting.

Particularly in business, it’s crucial to avoid the common pitfalls and adhere strictly to etiquette, especially when in a foreign setting.

While Westerners are suspicious of people who avoid eye contact, East Asian cultures don’t consider looking someone in the eyes a must. In fact, many Chinese and Japanese consider steady eye contact provocative.

But there are also more subtle, perhaps culturally specific faux pas, and committing them can be as easy as inadvertently checking the time while speaking to someone, or nodding too frequently.

Then, of course, there are the behaviors we don’t even catch ourselves displaying, but which nonetheless cause others to take a dislike to us, such as fidgeting and clenching our fists, or crossing our arms during a conversation.

We’ve looked at a selection of common etiquette breakers, and some you may not have considered before.

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Business Etiquette and Body Language BlundersBusiness Etiquette and Body Language Blunders

Infographic by Swiss Canadian Capital

 

Business books for 2016 – take your game to the next level

Thousands of business books are published every year. Many of them are a good read, but only some are really worth your while. Unfortunately, the daily entrepreneur is an extremely busy individual. Among all those employees and daily business responsibilities, finding time to read is nearly impossible. The key to success in today’s cut-throat business environment is all about motivation. There’s time for everything; all you need to do is stay organized. The following business books will offer you the drive you need to make a change and really take your company to new heights.

Lean Business Planning, by Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder of bplans.com and Palo Alto Software. He’s an outstanding entrepreneur and a guru of everything business related. In his book, Berry tries to make its readers understand that a business plan is NOT the key to success. It’s all about the planning itself and about the journey. Rather than focus all your attention on a single master plan for your start-up, consider a manageable plan that’s adaptable and easy to understand by your team.

Elon

Elon Musk, by Ashlee Vance

This book about the mind of a pioneer named Elon Musk, the founder of the famous SpaceX, PayPal and Tesla Motors. The author lets readers enter his genius mind, get inspired from his innovative ideas, and find a way to take their businesses to the next level too. In Elon Musk you’ll read about what it really takes for someone to become rich, and how far is one willing to go to make a change and have an impact on the future.

Mindsharing, by Lior Zoref

Mindsharing is an interesting business book about collective intelligence. It explores the idea of brainstorming and teamwork, and it emphasizes on the importance of working with a crowd to yield positive results. Why rely solely on your abilities when you can put together more than one brilliant brain to attain great success in business? According to the author, there’s an astounding amount of power in mind sharing. It can help you progress on both a personal and professional level; that’s because you’re constantly learning new things.

Work Rules, by Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock is the head of People Operations at Google. In this book, readers are taught about the great importance of hiring the best people for your business. Work Rules relies on data and research on the matter, and it attempts to prove that open-space work environments and happy employees are the key to a better company culture. If you think your employees need some motivation, or that you need some advice on how to be a better leader for your people, then you should definitely make time to check it out.

Work Rules Comvort

The Digital Marketer, by Larry Weber

Is your business operating in the advertising and marketing domain? Are you running out of ideas when it comes to developing new campaigns and retaining new customers? Well then you’re in luck. The Digital Marketer is a great book for business. It reveals some amazing tips about marketing strategies, and it offers a clear perspective of today’s most effective trends. Stop focusing on your brand and start centering your attention more on your customers. Find a way to pique their attention and they’ll want to know more your business too.

Boss Life, by Paul Downs

There are thousands of books out there “teaching” people how to make millions. Entrepreneurship is more than just about making money, living a glamorous life and giving commands. In Boss Life readers will learn that running a business is tough; and that the only way to success is honesty. The secret to having an efficient company is directly linked to an owner’s employees. The closer you are to your people, the better chances you have to thrive. Show them that you’re humane and they won’t hesitate to commit to you and your company.

Comvort reading reccomendations

Some books are life-changing, particularly those in the business domain. That’s because the best ones can really motivate us. They can persuade us to do more for yourselves and for your companies without useless compromises or bossy attitudes. The more open minded you are, the better chances you have to be heard, supported and listened to. Teamwork makes companies thrive, and thriving companies make good money. It’s a win-win!

Professional Guest post by Comvort collaborator Jason Phillips (LoveReading.co.uk!)

5 essential speaking skills every entrepreneur must have

public speaking skills

Success in business is not solely about having excellent business ideas or a good product to sell. These things don’t guarantee success. Long-term success depends on several other core skills. As an entrepreneur you must learn to masters most of them. Speaking in public for instance, is a trait you can’t overlook. Every business owner must know how to entice an audience. Here are 5 essential guidelines to help you master the art of public speaking.

  1. Time management skills

Every entrepreneur should have sound time management skills when speaking in front of an audience. For instance, if you have to talk to employees about a certain issue in the office, you are advised to be brief and concise. Don’t take be shallow when delivering a speech, but don’t get in too much detail either. Focus on the issue and seek for solutions. Ask for help from employees and look for a way to reach common ground. Time is of the essence, and if you’ve decided to talk to them during working hours, do it fast. Workers hate it when superiors take time from their schedules because this usually means they have to stay late to finish their tasks.

  1. Decisiveness

When speaking in front of an audience you must showcase thoughtfulness and decisiveness. Nobody will want to know what you have to say if you’re uncertain or unsure of what you’re trying to say. This skill is fundamental and it has to be mastered. Entrepreneurs deal with suppliers and investors all the time. They’re often compelled to make decisions fast otherwise their opponent may lose interest. Do you have what it takes to speak your mind and ask for what you want?

  1. Negotiation skills

There’s no way an entrepreneur can avoid speaking in public. This job usually entails a variety of additional responsibilities. You will have to deal with employees, investors, suppliers and vendors, so you can’t afford to lose your temper or worse, become nervous when it comes to making a decision. Negotiation skills are extremely important in the business environment. Speaking to 20 potential investors is not easy; you have to find a way to send a message and thus sell them your business. If you can’t grab their attention or bargain for a better deal, they won’t even listen to what you have to say.

Speaking skills- Comvort

  1. Confidence

Speaking in public is all about feeling confident. The better you feel on stage (or in front of a group of people) the higher chances you have to win them over. Believe what you’re trying to say and showcase dedication. Put passion in every single word and your audience will want to hear more. A lot of entrepreneurs are not confident because they don’t feel powerful enough. Truth be told, there’s nothing to be afraid of. You are the owner, so people will have to listen to you. But for that to happen you must exude poise and charisma.

  1. Appealing posture

Posture and body language matter a lot in business. You cannot afford to look sloppy as people won’t respect you. Good posture, calmness and determination are traits that will make you the best entrepreneur. Don’t let anyone sense your anxiety and use mimics and gestures to keep an audience engaged. A good public presentation is based on information; although you don’t want to make it seem too technical. It’s quite alright to loosen up the ambiance a bit, and add a bit of humor to wake up those that have fallen asleep. Don’t cross your hands, don’t raise your voice, and don’t be shy in talking to the people. Address them questions and make them part of the speech; this adds value to your presentation and it makes it a lot more original.

 

Too many entrepreneurs fail to make their businesses thrive because they lack essential speaking skills. They don’t communicate with their people, and this decreases engagement in the office. When people don’t feel appreciated by their superiors, it is impossible to work in harmony and be productive. But if you learn to master the art of speaking in front of an audience, then it will be a lot easier for you to communicate with employees and grab their attention.

 

Professional Guest Post by Denny Averill (LondonSpeakerBureau.com!)

How Corporate Gifts can be used to Promote Your Business

Corporate gift business

How Corporate Gifts can be used to Promote Your Business

Business gifts have been used for many years as a way to say “thank you” and either build new relationships or solidify existing relationships. Gifts are usually given to suppliers, customers and even to employees. Alongside their role in improving relationships they can also serve as an additional way of advertising your business. The following steps should be adhered to; this will maximize the promotional prospects of your gifts:

Understand the gift

Everyone loves to get something for nothing and business gifts are especially good as people will never know what is going to be offered. There is a huge array of choices; from pens to clothing or even furniture! Your decision as to what gift to provide must be based upon your budget and what will most appeal to your target customer.

Promotional gifts

A gift can include a discount in respect of a specific purchase on your website. It can even be a generalized discount. Customers will be thrilled to get the gift and will visit your site when they may not otherwise have done so. This can be an excellent ploy to increase sales without pushing your business.

Excitement

The business gift has become a common place item and it can be difficult to come up with a new idea which gets potential customers excited. It is worth spending some time thinking of a new idea or concept. The promotional value and interest which can be generated by a simple campaign for a quality gift will provide better returns than thousands of dollars worth of advertising.

Have a budget in mind

It is important to view money spent on promotional gifts as investment and not money thrown away. With this in mind you need to set a budget for promotional gifts across the year. You will then be able to get your gifts to suppliers and customers at all times of the year; don’t just wait for the big holidays. This is an excellent tool for keeping your company in their thoughts at all times.

corporte gift

Focus on promotional value

Never underestimate the value of giving away small gifts at exhibitions and invents. The amount of people that you will expose to your products is phenomenal. Every visitor who takes a gift will have several contacts who they share the gift or news of the gift with. There are also many people who visit exhibitions simply to collect the gifts. This may appear to be a waste of materials but every one of these can be an additional sale and will know others who will be introduced to your company name and brand.

Loyalty

It is essential to ensure that your loyal customers receive the free gift on offer, or, if possible, a better gift. This is simply good business sense. They will become aware of the promotional gifts you are offering and if you have not included them already they will consider what value you are placing on the relationship. This may be enough for them to take their business elsewhere! Always ensure they receive the gift first, they have a presence in your industry and word of mouth is a very powerful force. Their recommendation to others can increase your sales.

The gift

Finally, it is essential, and surprisingly often overlooked, to provide your business name and contact details on the gift. Without this the gift has a lot less value! Potential customers need to be able to contact you. It is always advisable to have the contact email or phone number fairly large with a one line caption that will ensure they know what you are selling. Your company name is actually slightly less important! Of course, if you have a recognized logo this can provide most of this information in one go!

corporte gift

Corporate gifts are good marketing. They’re ideal for companies that want to boost sales, grab attention and make people curious. If your goal is to promote your business, than using gifts is a smart advertising strategy. Conventional items such as mugs, pens, shirts, hats, and notebooks may seem boring; but they have the greatest impact. An employee who chooses to wear a t-shirt with your company logo imprinted will instantly make viewers want to know more; the more people wear that t-shirt the better chances you have to help your start-up thrive.

Professional guest post by John Smith (VeritasGifts.co.uk!)

5 Tips to Get Your Salary Back up to Market Value

It is a sad fact of life than many employers will not offer a salary increase unless you ask for it. Larger firms may offer regular, inflationary increases but this will not be the significant gesture that your hard work deserves. Provided you have been consistently working hard and have been with the company for a while then the following tips should help you achieve the raise you deserve.

Negotiating a pay rise Comvort Blog

  1. Know the right time to ask for a raise

Once you have worked at a company for a while you will come to understand your boss’s moods and when might be the best time to approach regarding this sensitive subject. Provided you have not recently messed up and the company is doing well you should request a meeting with your boss to discuss your current work and pay. Never spring this subject on them.

If you’re planning to negotiate, make sure to do it properly. Assess your options and don’t go overboard; negotiate for what’s rightfully yours. For example, if you’re been with the company for 3 years, then you are entitled to a raise. Start the negotiation with an emphasis on the main reasons you deserve to receive more money. Provided that have the right arguments you have the best chances of getting that 3% raise. Show them that you’re valuable and they won’t risk losing you.

  1. Focus on your industry

It is essential to know how much other people within your industry are being paid. It is not likely that your boss will dramatically increase your salary if you are already being paid the going rate for your position. Your HR department may be able to assist with this or one of the many websites which offer pay comparisons.

Knowing how much similar positions are worth across the industry is a good starting point. From there you need to look at what you do which is above and beyond the normal call of duty. These factors should be listed so that you can refer to them in a meeting. If you have been with the company for a long time or it has been a long time since you had a raise it is essential to make a note of this information and use it in your meeting. Keep copies of your research to support where you are getting your figures from. It is also imperative to collect information together regarding specific projects and have this to hand for your meeting.

  1. Never threaten and always have a back-up

The worst thing you can do when asking for a raise is threaten to leave. This looks unprofessional and may also leave you in a position. If you really need to use this approach you should ensure you have a new job offer lined up first. It is essential to consider your boss’s response and reasoning and then to prepare a back-up plan to fight this contingency. One scenario may simply involve your boss saying no to a raise. It is perfectly acceptable to ask why this is and when a more appropriate time would be. Whatever your boss’s response you will be able to take a note of his words and document proof in order to call a new meeting in another two or three months.

  1. Stick to the truth

It is imperative to have solid facts and to tell the truth when negotiating a raise. If you do not you will be caught out and the raise refused or your boss will find out later. Either way this will not make for a comfortable working relationship.

Equally if you feel you are worth an extra $5,000 but are not sure the company will go that high you still need to ask and back up your request with evidence. If you as for less you may get it but you will never know if you could have got what you are worth and you will remain with the feeling of being underpaid.

No guns Comvort Blog

  1. Value and emotional connection

It can be very beneficial when requesting a raise to point out to your boss the value which you bring to the company. Your value will be in your knowledge of the work processes and can even be a reflection of the cost of extensively training a replacement. Facts are essential to back up any claim. You need your boss to have empathy for your request and this means they should relate to you. Any request meeting should start with how grateful you are for the employment and what the company has done for you so far. It can also be useful to hint at your excitement regarding the future of the company and you within that future.

Professional Guest post by Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership.com!