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Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Most Important Thing to Find Out Before you Sign Up for Online Learning

Would you ever imagine that in today’s world there are several hundred legitimate online colleges that offer degrees of all types in a variety of majors?

A simple query search on Google or Bing for online colleges will more than likely bring about listing upon listing of schools that offer online degrees, and surely you’ve seen the television commercials of various schools that offer students the chance to earn their degree at home, in their own time, at their own pace.

While the benefits of earning degrees online through accredited online colleges is quite lengthy, nowadays prospective students may run into what are known as “diploma mills,” or online colleges that offer fake degrees that can be earned in just a few short weeks.

Though earning a degree in such a short period of time is nothing less than ideal and attention-grabbing for many, such colleges are generally non-accredited. Before you sign up, ensure the degree you receive will be from an accredited college.

Accredited Online Colleges – The Benefits

In order for a college to become accredited, the learning institution is thoroughly analyzed from a variety of standpoints, including the school’s format, structure, materials, faculty member qualifications, budget, class size, and so on. The accreditation process often takes years and can be quite costly for the institution.

For students, receiving a degree from an accredited college means their degree will be recognized in the industry. It also means they can expect a stable, legitimate, useful, and knowledgeable learning environment.

Below are a few reasons why accredited online colleges are best for students of any age seeking any type of degree:

  • Accredited schools are more promising. Earning a degree through a non-accredited or phony college won’t look too great on your resume or portfolio.

However, listing an accredited online college that you attended and earned a specific degree in is a great way to get your name out there in today’s increasingly growing and competitive job market.

  • A non-accredited school is simply a waste of time. While it may seem harsh, taking non-accredited classes through a non-accredited online college is merely a waste of time and money.

No student wants to go through all of the effort, trouble, and expense in order to pursue an online degree that will have little to no meaning in today’s society. To make your time and money worthwhile, take the time to find accredited online colleges that will be worthwhile.

  • With accredited schools, you know exactly what you’re getting. By attending an online accredited school, you are well aware of the fact that you are working towards a degree that has been completely evaluated for quality content, teachers, and learning materials.

This means that the degree will more than likely meet the standards that employers seek in a potential employee. At the same time, with an accredited school, your earned college course credits may be accepted and recognized if you were to attend a new school.

Simply put, by earning a degree through an online accredited college, you can put all of your focus, time, and energy towards being successful in each of your classes instead of worrying whether or not you’re wasting your effort and time on courses that may not mean anything in the job or education industry. Before deciding to earn an online degree, be sure the college you choose is accredited.

Now that you’ve gotten more information about accredited online colleges, your next step should probably be learning more about the degrees they offer. Post written by guest blogger James.

 

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6 Top Qualities to Help You to Become an Outstanding Team Player

The value of a team lies in the quality of its recruits. Team dynamics can be crucial to the development of an effective workforce; the success or failure of projects depends on the contribution of each team member. If your team contains more than one shrinking violet who won’t help to drive the agenda forward, your plans may not work out as successfully as you hoped.  On the other hand, our job is to make decisions but if this is being hindered by personality clashes with one of your team it can make life difficult. Team players demonstrate many qualities that help their colleagues achieve success. Here are six of the most crucial attributes of a team player.

Communication is Key

Team players are good communicators. They will voice their opinion willingly and not hold back from expressing themselves forcefully and respectfully. They are listeners who can absorb information and should not flinch when receiving criticism, but use it proactively to improve their own performance. They share information and don’t hoard it to their advantage. They will let everyone else know of any developments as soon as they happen. They will also willingly volunteer tips and expertise.

They should be Reliable

Team players should be reliable. The first to arrive and the last to leave, they complete their tasks on time and don’t expect other team members to cover for them when things don’t go as planned. They maintain their pace and don’t allow their concentration to drift. They also treat the other members with respect and courtesy.

Be Active Participants

Team players should be active participants; when meetings are scheduled they should have all of the relevant information at hand and present it with enthusiasm. They volunteer rather than waiting to be picked for assignments. They will volunteer a bit of extra time to develop a new idea (even if they don’t agree with it) and adapt their own opinions for the good of the team. If anything is unclear they will be the first to ask for clarification.

There to Help Solve Problems

Team players are problem-solvers. Instead of producing a series of excuses or finding scapegoats for the difficulties that the team face they will confront these head-on and ask for solutions to overcome these problems. They remain focused on the team’s goals and do not let their own ambitions override these. They will compromise and sacrifice rigidly-held opinions for the good of the team.

Are Committed

Team players demonstrate commitment. Staying after hours to help a colleague with a project, participate in social functions with the rest of the company, and do not ask for special favours. They are also flexible enough to react to changing circumstances without placing undue pressure on the rest of the team.

Finally You Can Have a Joke with Them

Team players have a sense of humour. Levity buoys morale during tough times and helps build camaraderie. It is significant that many of the top CEOs of major corporations are famous for their sense of humour. Humility and humour make the working environment a lot more creative.

The post provided was written on behalf of a professional payroll software solutions provider.

 

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How to Protect your Company’s Online Reputation … or Fix It

When it comes to your company’s online presence, one negative review could mean major impact to your bottom line. And getting rid of that negative review isn’t easy.

The key is to stay on top of what is being said about your company. This is no easy feat. Scouring the Internet and news feeds so you know how your online public image is holding up is time-consuming. That’s why companies are turning to online reputation management specialists. They have the know-how and resources to ensure any slip in your online credibility is identified and rectified … quickly. This limits its reach and saves your online image and off line credibility.

Aside from hiring a reputation management company, you can take a few steps on your own if you want to help ensure your company is seen in the best light.

Startup Credibility

For those just starting out with your Internet ventures, there are many ways to help make sure your website presents you accurately.

Ensuring quality online content for a website is one of the easiest ways to prove to users you’re the real deal. Use keywords that are relevant to your industry, but don’t make false promises or overuse phrases – doing so can make you sound spammy.

Another step is to have a cleanly designed web page. Avoid too many bright colors, pop-ups, or ads that are ill-placed and distract from the business’s services.

Finally, stay up-to-date on what’s being said about your company. Search online and news feeds, and keep on top of your social media platforms. Comments and questions should be answered in a timely manner and in a professional tone. Doing so will also help improve customer service within your company.

How to Make a Comeback to Negative Exposure

Once you’re already in the Internet side of a business, it can be extremely difficult to dig yourself out of a hole. Whether that hole contains comments from a disgruntled former employee or poor reviews by customers, they can be timely and costly to fix.

Responding quickly and professionally on the public venues that contain the negative exposure is key. Since you can’t erase it, your only option is try to make it less powerful.

The next step is getting search results to show only positive results. By creating a company blog, Facebook account, sister sites, and writing content (like press releases) for distribution online, you’re creating content that can push the negative reviews off to page 2, and into oblivion.

Use these simple tips and advice to help create a solid online reputation for your company. Websites bring in new customers every day and a quality website can help make them yours.

This guest post is brought to you by Mary, who enjoys blogging about anything related to technology, from innovations in rat traps to secrets behind Internet marketing.

 

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Business Tips – Sourcing Products Abroad

So, you’ve had a great idea for a business, but when you investigated the possibility of putting your idea into action in your own country, you quickly came to realise that the cost of manufacturing there is just too high. If you want acceptable profits, you’ll need to get your product made abroad.

Outsourcing manufacturing is certainly possible, but there are a few things you’ll need to consider if you want things to go smoothly. This article will highlight some of the more common pitfalls, and explain what you can do to avoid them.

Quality Control

If you’re getting something made in a foreign country, it will be difficult for you to monitor the factory, and keep an eye on the quality of the products. Some people get around this by hiring a quality control manager in the foreign country, while other business owners fly out to visit the plant periodically.

It’s important that you do something to monitor the quality of the product – especially if you’re shipping direct from the factory to the buyer. Your buyers don’t know that it’s a third party making the product, so if it falls apart a few days after they buy it, it’s your reputation that’s on the line.

Taxation

Taxation is a minefield at the best of times, but when you’re importing products it can get even more complicated. Speak to your accountant to determine whether or not the items you are importing will attract import duty. The last thing you want is to think you’re getting a great deal, only to find out while filing your tax return that import duty or other taxes eat more of your profits than you expected.

Protecting the Products

If your product is fragile, then you’ll have to think carefully about how you will ship it to the UK. Granted, bubble wrap rolls aren’t exactly expensive, but they are something else to think about. I’ve read many sad tales about people who imported inexpensive but fragile items from abroad, only to find that the manufacturer shipped them loose and unprotected in cardboard boxes.  Getting your money back from an overseas supplier who was negligent on shipping can be a difficult proposition, and you’ll be the one responsible for explaining to your buyers why the products are late. Those problems could be avoided with judicious use of bubble wrap rolls or styrofoam, so it makes sense to clarify even small details of the shipping process before you sign any contracts.

The Language and Time Zone Barrier

Many businesses outsource their manufacturing to plants in Asian countries. From a financial point of view, this makes sense, but if you’re a small business owner you might find that the time zone difference causes problems, and you may need to do some work at odd hours just to keep in touch with your contact at the plant.

Another issue is the language barrier. Most companies in Asia will have a few employees that know enough English to get by, but you will hit some cultural differences and have some misunderstandings. If you plan on dealing with non-English speakers a lot, you’ll either have to hone your communication skills, or hire a translator.

Article written by Amy Fowler on behalf of UK Packaging, suppliers of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap rolls.

 

How to Improve your Business Negotiating Skills

In today’s highly competitive business environment, having good negotiation skills can make the difference between recording great sales and going through a slump. In order to take your business to new heights, great negotiating skills are vital.

Tips to Improve Business Negotiating Skills

Here are some tips that will help you to improve your business negotiating skills.

  • Always be prepared: When it comes to successfully negotiating business deals, information is king. You need to be thoroughly prepared before you enter into any kind of negotiations. Research the business and products or services of the person who you are negotiating with. Know who your competitors are and also be aware of standard practices in your field, so that these cannot be used as leverage against you. It is also very essential to know what is important to the other person and what their expectations from the negotiations are. Lastly, you should be absolutely clear about what you want from the negotiation process. This means you have a clear idea of what your walk away figure will be, and you know exactly what is the very least that will be considered acceptable.
  • Learn to listen: The only way to know the other person’s interests is by listening. This means you need to pay attention to everything that is being said, but also keep your eye on the other person’s body language. Visual clues can be a big giveaway of what the other person is thinking or what they want. Once you master the art of listening, you can come up with workable solutions to peoples’ problems and hence negotiate better deals.
  • Be open to compromise: In rare cases you may be able to negotiate a deal on your terms only, but it is more realistic to know that compromises may have to be made. You need not compromise on things that are absolutely critical to you, but you should have areas in which you are ready to offer a compromise. This goes a long way towards making the other party feel that they are getting something from the deal too and is an extremely effective negotiating technique.
  • Be prepared to walk away: Another essential negotiating skill is knowing when to walk away. Once you have outlined the best proposal that you can possibly offer, be prepared to walk away if the other party wants to negotiate further. This is a very effective way to close deals; however, you should be prepared to lose the sale should your bluff be called.

Esther is a financial blogger and writer, who writes about everything from contractor tax to how to set up an umbrella company.

 

 

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Here, Take my Wallet; a Cynic’s Guide to Travel

Do you ever get tired of having to chain your wallets to your belt to keep from getting hosed?

My wife and I are off tomorrow for a long deserved vacation at my favorite beach spot, which shall remain nameless, but you will all probably recognize.  We live near San Francisco; I have all my life, and have no illusion that there are banditos in every major city and vacation area we have ever been in.  I would say that it’s global, but there are places that they cut people’s hands off for that kind of thing, I just have never been there.

Having been a road warrior and international vacationer for 30+ years, and my wife been in corporate travel management almost as long, it seems like we’ve been screwed by just about every nationality from Cabo to Rome to Boston and back home.

This trip will be no different, were just getting smarter.  Last time we were down, we reserved a car from National, Paid the liability insurance, and arrived at the desk to pick up our car to be informed (again, it happens every year) that we were required to take their collision insurance as well.  This raised the price of our “economy” car from $16 a day to $45 a day.  $29 a day for insurance?  How is it that I can insure two $35,000 + cars in a major metropolitan area for less than $7 a day for two people, but in my favorite not so little resort area it costs $29 to insure a freeking five year old  Volkswagen Jetta?  Gotcha!

I tried my usual offer to the manager to leave a deposit on my credit card, which has worked for the last 30 years.  No dice.  They apparently have now unionized.  I looked at all the discount offers on the internet and they are all the same.  They offer really cheap car rates, then tack on the extra fees much the way airlines have started charging for bags.  To add insult to injury, to avoid the bandits at the airport we decided to take a transfer to our time-share, and then get a car a few days later from the concierge.  They now have a National Rent-a-Car in the lobby (it is a Sheraton property) and the car that the thieves at the airport wanted $45 a day for, is now being pimped for $65 a day.  Being that we have two golf courses, 6 pools, 3 restaurants,  two small stores with relatively reasonable prices, and we are bringing enough of our own food for several meals, I think we can whale watch for 3 or 4 days and then rent a car to go through the tourist corridor to have our Cheeseburger in Paradise next to Sammy Hagar’s joint.  We can get enough snorkeling in before we leave, and return home with the usual stories of the Marlin that got away.

Since we will be returning the car full to avoid their $10 a gallon surcharge, we will have the wonderful experience of the gas station once again.  Not only are you not allowed to pump your own gas, got forbid there is ANY action that does not involve at least three layers of tipping; there is always the payment game.  It is absolutely imperative to watch the gas pump.  Somehow if you don’t, your Jetta miraculously needed 30 gallons of gas in a 20 gallon tank.  No I am not confusing liters for gallons, I can do the math.

When you pay in the local currency the exchange rate is usually pretty simple, like 10:1.  If it is supposed to be 11.5:1, you still get 10.  Not a huge problem.  In several countries the denominations of bills are suspiciously colored for similar denominations.  In this case a 500 is the same color as a 50.  Be very very careful when you hand a 500 to someone, you make him acknowledge that you have indeed handed him the 500.  I’ve had this one pulled on me on three continents.  They take the red 500, go back to the cash register (always out of eye shot) and come back and hold out a 50 and tell you that indeed, that was what you had given them.  Easy 450 for them, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

I’ve had two camera bags actually cut off of my person, or someone I was with.  They come up behind you on a Vespa motorcycle, silent and small, slice the strap, grab, and are gone.  They don’t even have to slow down much to do it.  I’ve been pick-pocketed by a five year old while stopped to give a supposedly dying old lady a dollar.  We’ve endured the slums of Mumbai and Bangalore and grossly physically deformed beggars in Bahia del Salvador.   I’ve had a knife pulled on me near Haight-Ashbury in my own home town.  Has that ever stopped me from travelling? No, I just have become a bit more cautious in my old age.

Enough of my whining.  It’s time to pack my tequila, salt, and ice chest so I can be sipping from my $18 quart bottle of Hornitos while I watch the bloated turistos from Milwaukee drinking their $10 watered down margaritas by the pool.  I fear we have watched far too much Tony Bourdain to not have become somewhat jaded.

 

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND SUPER BOWL 2012: CHEVROLET TAKES FIRST PLACE IN CONSUMER INFLUENCE

February 23, 2012 – Burlingame, Calif. – The bottom line: Which ads worked? Chevrolet included a big Social Media component, did it work? CarWoo!’s infographic of the effects of 2012 Super Bowl ads demonstrated that some automakers’ commercials resulted in more immediate attention. All of the data was based on new car configurations in the CarWoo! MarketPlace in the days and weeks preceding and following the Big Game.

How did Chevrolet integrate its Social Media strategy into it’s TV commercials? Driving people to take interest in their Game Time App and their various models. Did it work? Was it worth the 3.5 million per spot?

In the downloadable infographic, found at www.CarWoo.com (see Direct Link to Infographic Above), presents the Super Bowl Commercial Winners and Losers. These advertisers saw more searches during and after the Super Bowl, compared to the industry average for that time:

61%   Chevrolet
26%   Chrysler
25%   Toyota
20%   Kia
9%    Hyundai
6%    Cadillac

Methodology Note:

“Since CarWoo! is currently a U.S.-only service, and our buyers are typically within four days of committing to a car, our marketplace is the perfect spot to test immediate consumer reactions,” said CarWoo! CEO, Tommy McClung. “Some makes, and even some specific models, saw huge jumps in buyer interest right away. Other ads may have more long-term affects, but it’s clear which manufacturers won the interest of current buyers.” Data was mined from The CarWoo! MarketPlace, tracking at in-market consumer interest in automakers who didn’t advertise during the Super Bowl, as a control against which they measured the interest in automakers who did advertise. Tens of thousands of in-market buyer choices were analyzed.

Chevrolet Takes the Prize With 61% Increase: Volt is the Exception

Among the makes who saw a greater lift in interest than the control were Chevrolet, with a 61% lift, followed by Chrysler, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Cadillac. The Chevrolet Sonic is an example of one car that made out well after the Super Bowl. Buyer interest in the Sonic increased by 292% after the Super Bowl, compared with non-advertised Chevrolet models. Its commercial featured a montage of Sonic “firsts,” such as “first skydive,” “first kickflip,” and “first music video.” Chevrolet included more social media components than others and seem to have been rewarded for their strategy.

Other advertised Chevrolets saw some lift, including the Camaro at 163% and the Silverado at 76%. The Volt’s Alien commercial failed to scare up enough interest in the sales-declining, plug-in hybrid, and the model saw no increase at all.

Honda, CR-V and Matthew Broderick Didn’t Show Up to Class

Other models didn’t see anything close to the Sonic’s 292% surge in interest. Not only did the Honda brand not have an increase in interest after the Super Bowl, but the CR-V, featured with Matthew Broderick in Honda’s Ferris Beuller Reprisal spot, didn’t see a rise in interest compared with other Honda models.

Clint Eastwood’s Patriotic Coup? Kinda?

With all the heavy watercooler buzz, Clint Eastwood’s “Half Time in America” spot gave Chrysler a second place position after Chevrolet, in terms of generating consumer interest. Presented as a quasi-Public Service Announcement, the spot was more nostalgic, patriotic and just plain feel-good. Chrysler ranked #2 after Chevrolet, with 26% increase in interest in the automaker.

Ford Catches a Free Pass; Competitor’s Ad Sends Customers to F-Series Interest

In a Chevrolet backfire, Ford was bashed in the Silverado’s “Apocalypse” ad, but the Ford F-series saw a 37% lift in interest after the Super Bowl. “In this case, it seems that the competitor’s jab slightly improved F-Series sales,” McClung said. “Ford should be ecstatic. They spent no money and saw an increase; some of their competitors spent millions on ads and celebrities and saw no immediate returns.”

Summary: Hits, Misses and Backfires

With these hits and misses, it’s not always clear that 3.5 million dollars in Super Bowl ad money will translate into mass consumer interest. We’ve also seen that not all Celebrities can move the needle for automakers and that Celebrity Endorsement by no means insures success on the world’s biggest advertising stage. At the end of the day, Seinfeld just didn’t succeed in reminding us of the better financial times of the 1980-1990s. It’s also true that pop culture references can fall flat: The Ferris Beuller 1980s nostalgia spot didn’t move the needle. Patriotism proved to have an emotional effect with Clint Eastwood’s call to national pride. And, finally, sometimes, your competitor’s commercials may actually lift your own sales. With Super Bowl ad rates creeping up next year, automakers should keep some of these lessons in mind.

About CarWoo!

CarWoo! provides the online MarketPlace where buyers get great deals with no games and dealers are able sell cars online using their own unique approaches with a full understanding of the buyers through the CarWoo! transparent MarketPlace.  Buyers remain anonymous, get great market prices, save a ton of time and dealers are ensured buyers who purchase within 3.5 days 80% of the time.  As seen on The Today Show, CNN Money and other leading national media outlets, CarWoo! is the only true online MarketPlace for car buyers and sellers.  CarWoo! was founded in 2008 by serial entrepreneurs, Tommy McClung, Erik Landerholm and Michael Young.  With early funding by Y Combinator, CarWoo! is based in Burlingame, CA and is now funded by Blumberg Capital, Comcast Ventures and InterWest Partners, and others.  Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/carwoo and on Twitter at twitter.com/carwoo.

http://carwoo.com/blog/lima-and-eastwood-appearances-score-touchdowns-for-manufacturers-broderick-and-seinfeld-fumble-infographic/

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Darren Shuster

Phone: (818) 744-1851

darren@popculturepr.com

www.CarWoo.com

Myril Shaw

Phone: (678) 935-7312

myril@carwoo.com

www.carwoo.com———————————————————————–

 

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The Internet’s Basic Premise

The advent of the internet was couched in the dissemination of information and to the widespread availability of the same. That it has morphed into a commercial tool, is but a side effect. However, this effect of the commercialization and the channel for marketing that is unprecedented has not diminished the value of the interned but instead enhanced it. The value of commerce has been combined with the expansion of information and that is exactly how search engines have viewed it.

The key to being top on search engines is to have content that provide copious amounts of information to users. To be successful it is a must to share knowledge with others and this act also has tremendous benefit.

As case in point, a dentist’s website should hold information that relates to tooth aches and remedies as well as tooth, dental and oral care. This then satisfies the intent of the internet which is to be a medium of sharing information. As an example when searching for any information, the page that usually comes out on top is something from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the very embodiment of what the internet was meant to accomplish; the sharing of information. Wikipedia is designed to share knowledge by people who have it to people who are in search of it. Every website, especially a dentist’s, should take this cue form Wikipedia.

Knowledge Base

 

When a concept for any site is drawn up, especially a professional site like a dental practice, it should be noted that volumes of information pertaining to all things oral and dental should be planned in a way that is easily categorizable and searchable.

A person who has a symptom would first like to understand what it is so searching for symptoms should be directed to the information page. Once a rudimentary understanding of the symptom is accomplished, a person begins to have faith in the site and recommendations for dental practices in the area to alleviate the symptom or eliminate the root of the problem can be suggested.

Recommendations

Remember that when you understand and utilize the spreading of useful information you are participating in basic premise and foundation of the internet. It is indeed why the internet has attracted literally billions of people to it.

As life grows increasingly complex there will only be greater need for relevant and useful information. When people search for and are  in need of the information about what you offer you will stand a greater chance to get their attention and gain their trust when you can provide the best possible information you are capable of developing.

Your author is Elliot Pearson, he enjoys writing and editing Dentist Identity, who provides dental website services and dental seo marketing for dentists worldwide.

 

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Life Will Get Better With A Psychic

Life Will Get Better With A Psychic

People have been seeking out the advice and counsel of psychics for generations. These individuals have been given the gift of clairvoyance and extraordinary insight, and those who seek them out definitely benefit from those gifts.

Feeling more inspired and positive about life
One of the core principles that psychics operate under is the belief that people are still in tuned with energies from their past lives. With that said, these individuals provide others with information about their previous lives, and help those individuals to learn from those past experiences. This new-found knowledge can help people to feel more in tuned with the parts of themselves that they do not understand. This knowledge is also encouraging to the listener, as it informs him or her of the ability of the soul to persist. Individuals will feel encouraged in knowing that their souls will eventually be able to triumph over life‘s obstacles.

Learning how to cope with grief and anxiety
As clairvoyant individuals are able to see beyond their human senses, medium readings will help individuals by helping them to see the bigger picture. When people grieve the loss of loved ones or situations in their lives, psychics are able to show them that everything in life has a purpose. Psychics are able to get people thinking and allow for them to see things from a different perspective. These individuals are even able to help clients figure out what the purpose behind certain events might be; this allows for that person to lay to rest whatever is troubling them, and allows them to focus on moving forward in life.

Psychics help to improve karma Karma is the belief that thoughts and actions that are produces will have either a negative or positive consequence as a result. Psychics are able to pick up on the energy that a person puts into the atmosphere and explain the potential consequences of that energy. While bad karma can bring about a return of negative energy, psychics are able to instruct people in ways to neutralize that energy; they can also explain ways in which bad karma can be reversed. Psychics are also able to encourage different ways in which an individual can continue to release positive energy into the universe; thus, maintaining the existing good karma that person already has.

Learning what your dreams are saying
All people have dreams, but they are not always understandable. Psychics are able to interpret those dreams for the individual, and explain how those dreams are representations of current situations in life. If these dreams are warning signs from the unconscious, psychics are able to inform someone and suggest ways in which an issue can be resolved. Psychics will provide insight into the dreamer’s mind and allow for them to use these dreams as tools to improve his or her life.

Receiving messages from beyond the grave
Mediums are able to get in contact with spirits that have passed away from the world of the living. These spirits may be able to give the individual peace of mind, or even provide answers to those questions that went unanswered while they were alive. These last chance communications

Jane, psychic from England and tarot reading expert.

 

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Common Mistakes that Slow Productivity

Sometimes the good news and the bad news come bundled all together: The problem’s being addressed great! We’re having a meeting to address it well… Since, in the workplace, time really is money, a poorly-conceived or poorly-run meeting can incur a wave of resentment far out of proportion to the event. Avoid some major pitfalls and make your meetings worth the effort, worth the money, worth the time.

Time

Fitting the right amount of time to the issue being dealt with is probably the most frequent challenge any manager confronts. It’s the Goldilocks strategy – just right. Here are some strategies that may help cut the time to fit.

A big issue deserves its own meeting. Rather than slotting a big issue into a regularly-scheduled organizational meeting, give it its own space. Jamming the regular meeting means presenting your big issue to people already wearied or distracted by the rest of the agenda. Use a shorter time frame to enhance concentration on a single issue. If the issue’s going to produce lots of backdraft, schedule a questions/feedback meeting at the same time. Issue Tuesday at 9:00; feedback Thursday at 10:00. People who know they’ll be heard are usually better listeners.

Weed out the dead wood this way: put on your angry face and snarl “This could have been handled with a memo!” Keep it short and to the point; provide good contact info for readers with questions or other feedback. Didn’t see the memo? People who go to fewer meetings have more time to read their memos.

Just a reminder from your Latin teacher. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are good communication days. On Monday, people are getting over the weekend; on Friday, they’re planning the next one. And if you have to take a lunch-hour, know what your people like to eat.

No more meetings! Rachel Emma Silverman in “No More Angling for the Best Seat” (Wall St. Journal, Feb. 2, 2012) reports on the newest meeting strategy: standups. Especially popular in tech companies, standups are held first thing every day, absence is not an option and run from 5 to 15 minutes. This advocates the point that many large-meeting issues develop just because of refusal to deal with small problems as they emerge. Small meetings=small problems.

People

If you schedule regular meetings, they probably involve the same people. Occasionally, it’s worth reviewing that list to see whether you have the right people coming to the right meeting. Right means the right number. The first thing nearly all attendees do is check their concern’s place on the agenda. Till they’re up to bat, they’re likely to refill coffee, check email and play Angry Birds.

The right people are also people whose contributions or reactions are critical to the matter at hand. Everyone has conflicts occasionally, but after you’ve told everyone that Dave is out again for the third time, you need to be talking to Dave. Anyone chronically missing meetings is probably missing other responsibilities as well.

Meetings and Work

One of the most frequent excuses for missing meetings is that they conflict with other, productive work. Technology lets lots of other things happen while you stay at your desk.  Perhaps on Monday, department heads get notified that quarterly sales analysis will be on video Tuesday at 3 and on tape till Friday morning. A feedback conference call is Friday at 10 am. Let tech tools run a meeting without reserving the conference room one more time.

Written by Tom Tolladay, Event Organiser for Chillisauce who specialise in Team Building Activities and Corporate Events

 

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