What Is Church Planting?

The terminology "Church Planting" just seems like an old-fashioned, traditional, not out of the box approach to things. Granted there have been countless successful, innovative church planters. But the expression, "church planting" seems so uninviting.

When I begin to think of planting, I picture a sweaty, blistered, struggling man drudging his way through the fields planting seeds with a hopeful optimism that all of the agricultural aspects of a successful harvest are present. Granted, building a church is hard work and takes an extremely dedicated, resilient person. But our mindset must be adjusted a little bit into thinking that building a church is more than some painfully, arduous task that has to be a slow and even at times unproductive. Look at the words of Jesus when He begins to encourage the disciples to reach the lost, John 4:34,36.

Jesus said, "The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn't you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I'm telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what's right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It's harvest time! [36] "The Harvester isn't waiting. He's taking his pay, gathering in this grain that's ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That's the truth of the saying, 'This one sows, that one harvests.' I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others."

In this text He breaks ALL the rules for typical planting and harvesting.

1. Successful Church Growth Must Take A Long Time- "... wouldn't you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest?" What Jesus is saying here is that according to your preconceived ideas of planting and harvesting that there are laws that should restrict you from experiencing growth. It's unfortunate that the guy who is experiencing rapid growth is always accused of doing something wrong. "Oh, well they are not really a church. They are just a social club." Or the ever more popular accusation "They really are not preaching the message any longer!" In doing this and mischaracterizing church planters that are experiencing tremendous growth we have almost severed the possibility of our churches experiencing similar results. When we look at the first church in the book of Acts growing from 120 to 3000 in the blink of an eye, we have to question if these statements would be accurate (Acts 2:41). The book of Acts church growth is further described as "growing daily" (Acts 2:47). It is a sobering question that is often worth asking "Are we like the book of Acts church?"

2. Sometimes We Just Have To Wait For Growth to Happen- "the harvester is not waiting... " There are countless fields that have already been planted, watered and are waiting for some brave, bold individual to step in to them and harvest the fields. I would never want to minimize the labors of those that have diligently plowed the fields and opened doors of opportunity for others to step through, but there are fields that are white and ready to harvest. Jesus is asking the question "What are you waiting for?" Our prayer must be that God would open our eyes to see the hungry masses that are longing for someone to come to them and offer them that hope that their heart has been searching for.

Lady Liberty stands in the New York's Harbor with this inscription at her base-

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

This so aptly describes the spiritual state of people around the world. They are hungry, homeless, yearning to breathe a life of spiritual freedom. As God's church we have what they are looking for, but we have to be more than an immoveable statue standing with the Light lifted in the air. We cannot wait for the lost to come to the Light, we must take the Light to the lost.

3. Our Growth Will Be Equal to How Much We Work- "I sent you to harvest a field you never worked". I know this can sound like a misleading statement and be perceived by some that church growth is like winning the evangelism lottery. But again, let me stress, planting a church is extremely hard work and not for lazy people! But understand this is not merely some secular career path or something that can be done with just our own personal gifts and talents. This is more than doing a work for God, this is doing a work with God. Your growth is not confined or limited to the amount of work that you do, rather it is connected with a God who is able to give increase that breaks all the laws of the natural. We see all throughout the book of Acts that the first "Church-Planters" often times found themselves stepping into a city and entire communities were transformed by their message. It's easy for us to come to the conclusion that it was more than just hard work, sweat and perseverance. This came about by God giving increase.

There are principles and truths that we must gleam from in the first church. Our mission must never to redefine or change the church into what we think it should be, but rather, let us rediscover what the church was in the book of Acts and use them as our model. We must be a living, breathing body that is willing to change our approaches and methods, while we still hold firmly to the message of Jesus Christ.

4 Best Ways to Make Your E-Learning Session a Lot More Interesting

Providing a variety of e-learning courses is not enough to keep your popularity intact. Soon you may find the number of registrations dipping lower for your classes and thus adversely affecting your revenue generation strategies. You must have already started thinking on how you can rewind back to those days when people eagerly awaited to enroll in your classes. You must work on making your e-learning classes all the more interesting and appealing and a good way to do is to have a look at the following points that I have discussed below.

Introduce More Interactive Sessions

I Increase the number of interactive sessions to communicate more frequently with students. Select a date and time for these interactive sessions and in such meetings, discuss and debate on areas that need improvement. Encourage the learners to come up with questions so that instructors get the opportunity to resolve matters in real-time. Communication is crucial for the success of every project and thus you should ensure it is done with utmost care in case of online education.

Reward Your Students

You must reward top performers in your online classes. Rewards act as great motivators for people and therefore giving certificates or small tokens of appreciation to students can inspire them to perform even better and fetch high grades in examinations.

Come Up with New Ideas

There is no ground to believe that individuals who have enrolled for your e-learning class cannot offer you new ideas for better class conduct and management. Hence, ask them to come up with innovative ideas that will help manage the class in a much better fashion and in a professional manner. Of course, it is you who will take the final call but constructive suggestions always welcome. You may come across concepts and ideas that may be really helpful. In this way you will also be able to gather individual opinions and feedback about the rate of success or failure of your classes.

Is Your Course Adding Real Value?

While much is being said about interaction and rewards, what actually matters to a potential student is how far the course will help him fulfill his dreams in order to build up a successful career. Thus, first and foremost, as a class organizer, you should try to develop courses and programs which are in demand. Do a thorough research on what exactly the target audience is searching for on the internet - the type of degree or diploma programs that is getting the highest number of registrations every year, etc. Based on the study, try to chalk out an effective plan with immediate short term or long term consequences.

Tips On How To Manage Your Inventories

To run a business successfully, you need to take stock of every important element that is essential to keep your products moving and managing inventories is one among them. Every business that produces goods or offers servicing of products has stock of physical goods, which have economic value. The goods that are in different forms at different phases such as processing, packing or the goods maintained for future use are inventories.

Types of inventories

Depending on the nature of business, physical stock can be classified into many types. A business that manufactures products keeps stock of raw materials and necessary consumables for production purposes. The company also holds stock of goods that are semi-finished awaiting completion at various stages of production. Servicing is an inevitable part of any manufacturing unit and hence businesses in manufacturing have spare parts in their stock to enable servicing of products. Apart from spare parts, defective products and scrap also are part of physical stock as they carry economic value.

Importance of inventory management

If you aim to have a successful stint in your business, you need to ensure that stock management is highly professional. Proper management of inventories ensures that you meet the demand of the users on time with prompt supply and avoid excess or deficit stock that would play a crucial role in the economic growth of your business. Thus, you maintain the goodwill of the users by producing quality products on time and you ensure that you do not have any stock remaining unused and idle thus affecting your economy.

How to manage inventories?

Managing your stock needs to be done in a professional manner taking into account various factors that affect a trade. Let us have some ideas on effective management of inventory.

  • Attach importance to the nature of the stock. Most of the physical stock lose their value while remaining idle. Maintaining stock occupies space, power, handling charges and so on. Hence, ultimately, maintaining inventory beyond the specific period will lessen the value and it is essential to first analyze how important it is to hold an inventory.
  • Periodical review of inventory and management policies is essential. It is not advisable to follow specific rules with regard to managing your inventories.
  • Classification of stock based on their values will help you to have a proper management system. You need to identify the items that retain value even if shelved for a long period and items that need to be used or disposed as fit to save yourself from the risk of losing money.
  • Make your move based on market study. The market is not the same and you need to read the pulse of the users, which would give you a clear picture of what to store and what to clear. If you are in a business where the trend changes very frequently such as the fashion industry, you cannot afford to hold your stock for long. These are the times, which demand you take appropriate steps to clear off the goods.
  • Be updated with the latest techniques in the market. Keeping in mind the importance of inventory management, new techniques are being introduced. Make the best use of them to manage your stock and improve your economy.

Why Go To Grad School?

Let's cut to the cold facts! The days are long over in America when you could graduate from high school (maybe) and have a reasonable chance to secure a well-paying blue or white collar job that came complete with a living wage and good benefits. Gone are the years where pensions were all but guaranteed and one could expect that if they remained productive, they would remain employed.

Today's society is a radically different one than the society that Americans experienced over the past 60 years. The American Dream has been replaced in the 21st century with the American Reality. The most menial jobs, both blue and white collar, now require the attainment of a four-year Bachelor's degree. Productivity does not guarantee employment. In fact, companies have learned to be more productive with less staff (self-checkout lines, anyone?). Most jobs that come with benefits require a higher employee contribution towards those benefits than ever before. Pensions have become nearly extinct, replaced with 401k plans that place the responsibility of saving for a healthy retirement on the employee and hands their life savings to the mega casino that is the stock market.

Graduate school used to be the pathway to an additional credential that would advance one's career but it was not a necessity. In today's American Reality, a graduate degree is more important than ever.

Universities, understanding the trend, have proliferated graduate degree programs at an astonishing rate, offering the marketplace varying levels of quality and niches to pique their interests. Whether you want to study fashion accessories design, business, or special education, you can find a graduate program that you can take online, on-campus, or sometimes even via correspondence. Graduate programs have become cash cows for universities that are reeling from strained finances and understand how a Master's degree or Ph.D. now translates into a great deal of additional earning power for its graduates. If you got a full scholarship in undergrad and are expecting the same level of financial support for your master's or doctoral degree, most data suggests you will be disappointed. We will post another article soon discussing financing grad school which we hope will remove some of the mystery from that process.

The conclusion you should draw from the context provided above is simple: to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle with maximum earning power, you need to attend graduate school and achieve a degree. Unless you're developing a lucrative business idea, plan to go pro in sports, or have an album release or reality TV show in the pipeline, graduate school is the only conduit to a comfortable lifestyle in the years ahead.

In addition to these more pragmatic reasons to achieve a graduate degree, grad school also serves as an opportunity to expand your knowledge base and develop the critical thinking skills needed to thrive in the new employment landscape that we face in America. Undergraduate programs are becoming less effective at producing and developing critical thinkers who can adapt to the changing needs of employers. Undergraduate curricula are often outdated and outmoded and faculty are being stretched thin between research and teaching duties. The result is a large population of people with college degrees, even from our best institutions, who are qualified on paper for many jobs, but who still aren't equipped with the needed skills and knowledge base.

To summarize, you should go to grad school because you need to develop the critical thinking abilities required by the 21st century workplace. Additionally, the requirements for entry-level, low-skill jobs continue to increase. Finally, to provide the financial stability and economic mobility that you seek, a graduate degree is the key which unlocks the door to prosperity. There is a forthcoming post on how to select a graduate program that will ensure you achieve the goals you have in mind.

Think Grad School is here to help you navigate the process of selecting a graduate degree program and getting yourself admitted. We welcome all questions as we are committed to your success. Please subscribe to our updates as we post additional information to aid your graduate school search.

How to Be a Professional Trade Show Promoter

I have always been passionate about excellence in delivering exhibition results for our clients. How we deliver the results is purely down to hiring phenomenal talent that possess the same core qualities, wherever they are situated in the world.

Over the last 5 years, I have had the pleasure of working with outstanding professionals who are passionate about their promotion work and strive to do an excellent job with each and every assignment they undertake. On the other side, we have also worked with people with fantastic talent, but somehow blew their chances of an outstanding career in promotions due to some things which were missing from their "promotional" DNA.

So what are the qualities that these outstanding promoters have in abundance? What makes these "Expo Stars" stand out from the crowd? Why are some promoters always booked one year in advance? Why do these brilliant promoters earn 50% more than anyone else? What is it that drives these "Expo Stars" that makes them take the client's breath away with an outstanding contribution to their exhibition/trade show ROI?

Successful promoters always leave clues. In the article below I share the 7 P's that lay the foundation for being a Phenomenal Exhibition/Trade show Promoter. By implementing these 7 P's into your promotional career, not only will you have increased and regular trade show repeat bookings and earnings, you will have clients raving about you and your work.

Please note that the terminology in this article is relative to Trade show Exhibitions, and Conventions and the article is for people who are engaged in work such as a Booth Hostess, Promotion Staff/Model, Trade show Lead Generator, Product Demonstrator, Interpreter/Translator, Trade show Presenter, MC, Crowd Gatherer, Brand Ambassador, Spokes model, Narrator or a Sales Representative.


The first step to being a phenomenal promotion professional is having an outstanding personal profile. How you present yourself to your clients including Staffing Agencies makes a huge difference to how often you get bookings for jobs.

Clients and Agencies potentially have a choice of thousands of people that work in the promotional field. Your professional profile is what will get you chosen ahead of the rest.

So what are the essential components to compiling a professional and job winning profile?

1. Pictures:

80% of the client's decision is based on their first impression of you based on your pictures. Pictures can say a thousand words about you. So it is vitally important that your pictures really communicate your personality, character, and professionalism.

As a minimum your picture portfolio should contain:

- A professional head shot with a beautiful smile that radiates happiness and self-confidence.

- A full length picture in a business suit with open positive body language.

- A picture of you at work, at a booth/stand/promotion doing what you do best.

Below are some excellent examples of profile pictures that clients and agencies are extremely receptive to.

If you have been using pictures that are photo-shopped, artistic shots, fashion shots, standing in front of a bathroom mirror, taken in your bedroom, underwear shots, at a party holding a glass of wine/cocktail, or even where your face is covered up as part of your profile, then these are completely useless in helping you get promotional jobs. If you have these amateur type pictures, you will look like an amateur in the client's mind set and will not get the job ahead of someone that has professional pictures. A small investment in having professional pictures taken will pay dividends in increased bookings. What clients want to see is the professional person that they are going to get at their booth so it is important your pictures communicate that you are a real professional.

2. Powerful Personal Statement

A powerful personal statement that highlights your strengths makes a huge difference to being chosen for an assignment. What attributes do you have that will help the client meet their objectives? Why should the client choose you? What difference can you make for the client? The personal statement should be no more than 200 words and should contain some really positive words that will help to convince the client that you are the ONE for them.

Example: "I am an outstanding promoter that speaks 5 languages, and loves to proactively generate new business at exhibitions and trade shows. I am passionate about sales, meeting my objectives and learning about new business concepts in the process. I am punctual and love working in a team environment... "

3. Specific Work Experience:

You should highlight in detail what kind of promotions experience you have had in the past. This should include the event name, the client/brands you represented, your tasks and responsibilities and your achievements in the job.

4. Education and Languages

As well as your experience, what will set you apart from the rest is your Education and Languages. You should highlight all your educational courses attended. With languages, you should highlight what languages you speak fluently. If you cannot hold a business level conversation in a language then this language should not be mentioned in your profile information to avoid any embarrassment on the job.

5. Physical Information

Some assignments will involve the client providing you with a corporate uniform or outfit. It is essential that you have the correct physical information on your profile including your natural height, clothes sizes and shoe size. If your physical appearance has changed from the pictures presented, like your hair colour, waist size then you should communicate this to your client and agency as soon as possible. There is nothing worse than the client receiving a completely different person to that shown on the pictures.

6. Testimonials/References/Achievements

If you have done a brilliant job for previous clients, then you should have these testimonials and references stated on your profile as proof that you are a true professional. If you have achieved certain career or personal goals, then these should be highlighted too.

Once you have created your profile, it is essential that you keep it updated. If you work for an agency, then please ensure that they are communicating all your attributes to the prospective client(s).


So your super professional profile has now landed you an exhibition/trade show assignment. What will determine if this assignment will be a success for you is the planning and preparation you undertake before the actual assignment takes place.

A long time ago when i was in training for my first ever sales job, I was taught the acronym "PPPPPPP" by my sales trainer. If you haven't come across this one before, what this stands for is Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. This is not only applicable to a salesperson but also to other areas in business and personal life.

So what can you do to prepare and plan effectively for each project that you undertake?

1. Fully read and comprehend the assignment brief well in advance of the event. Many people make the mistake of reading the assignment notes the night before the event. If you read the assignment brief 7-10 days before the event, then you not only have time to ask questions to your client but also it will give you time to do some research about the event and the client.

2. Research the client, their industry and the event. What are the client's objectives? How do you fit into their objectives? What kind of visitor is attending the event? It is important that you ask these questions and understand the client's business environment.

3. Understand your role, tasks and responsibilities. You should understand and be very clear what is expected from you from the client. What will be your role? What outcome does the client expect at the end of the event as a result of hiring you? If in doubt please connect with your agency or the client if you are working for them directly.

4. Learn the Script, Product Info, Questions to ask visitors and the Unique Selling points of the client's products and services. If you are working in sales, presenting or a lead generation related assignment, then it is essential that you learn the product info, your presentation script and/or the unique selling points of the client's products and services. If you are in a lead generation or sales role, a good benchmark is to learn 3 open ended questions that you can ask visitors to determine if they are a qualified prospect for client, and along with these question learn 3 unique key interest statements (ie features and benefits) that will help you to interact with the visitors and generate more qualified sales leads. If you are learning a script, it is essential that you use and adapt it to your personality to deliver a successful presentation.

5. Research the Event Location and plan your travel. I cannot emphasise enough how important this is to your assignment. You have to know where the event is, where you need to go on the day, and how long your journey will take. Agencies and clients do not appreciate receiving calls on the day saying that you are lost and do not know where to go.

6. Know what you will need to wear and what uniform clients will provide for you. The client and the agency should communicate clearly to you what you need to wear and what items the client will provide if appropriate. You should prepare your clothes accordingly and know what you will wear on the day of the event. You should also ensure that all your clothes and shoes are clean and appropriate for the event.Arriving at an event being fully prepared not only gives you the self-confidence but also the client feels the energy and the positive vibe from you to give them immediate confidence that you will do an outstanding job for them.


Live exhibitions, trade shows and promotional events demand that not only you are fully prepared prior to the event, but also that you arrive on time as per your agreed schedule.

Professional promotional people do not leave anything to chance. By planning your journey in advance, you should aim to arrive at the venue at least 30-45 minutes prior to your start time, to give you a chance to collect your badge and find your way to the client's booth/stand. You may argue that you are not getting paid to arrive early, but surely it is better to arrive early and avoid having your pay deducted for being late?

Detailed information about the location of the event is always available on the event website including directions and transportation information. Floor plans are also made available on the exhibition website, so you should take 10 minutes of your time to familiarize yourself with the floor plan and plan your journey from the entrance to the client's booth to avoid getting lost on the morning of the event. This 10 minute exercise could potentially save you 30 minutes of aimlessly walking the aisles trying to figure where you are.

If you are late, the impact is significantly negative to the client's plans, as they have to brief and prepare you for the job. Please remember that the client is already in a "tense and nervous" state as they have to ensure that everything is ready at their booth by the time the event opens. On the client's mind (usually the exhibitor's marketing/event director), they will have issues like the stand falling apart, the graphics not being right, the carpet being in a mess, the brochures not arriving, the electricity not working, the Wi-Fi connection not working and on top of that, they will have the pressure of the CEO attending on the first day! The last thing you need is to start the relationship off very badly with the client when they are in this "tense & nervous" state.

It is also important that you are punctual with your breaks as a matter of professional courtesy to your fellow team members and the client. Ensure that you return back to the booth within the period allowed for your lunch or breaks.

So just to summarize this passage in 5 words: Be on Time. Every time!


Whilst you are working at the assignment, you need to ensure that you conduct yourself in a professional and business-like manner. Clients demand nothing but the very best from you in terms of punctuality, professionalism and a pro-active "can-do" work attitude. Remember they are paying good money for your services. You have to be professional from the time you arrive on the stand to the time you finish the event. You have to expect more from yourself than the client or your agency should ever expect from you.

What does being "professional" actually mean in real terms whilst working at an exhibition/ tradeshow?

As discussed in the above paragraphs, being professional starts with preparation and your punctuality.

Turn up professionally dressed ready to do business. Your clothes, shoes must be clean and tidy at all times. Please ensure that your hair, make up and personal hygiene are of the upmost high standard. Invest in several formal business suits if you don't own one already. Also ensure that you are wearing comfortable shoes as you will be standing up for most of the day. Looking the part and wearing comfortable shoes gives you extra confidence and energy to cope with the long days.

Be professional in terms of your communication with your client, fellow team members, supervisors and all visitors at the event. You must always be polite, friendly and business like with your behaviour on the stand. Always be smiling and create a positive first impression to visitors.

Be a team player. If you are working within a large team, then you have to be part of the team rather than perform your tasks as an individual. Remember TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More.

Always keep your exhibition/promotion work area neat and tidy. If you see any litter, please take personal responsibility and deal with it accordingly.

Always inform your client or your supervisor if you are leaving the booth/stand for any reason.

There is some negative behavior that you should avoid whilst working at the clients booth. If you walk through a typical trade show exhibition, you will find some people engaging in these actions. Please take responsibility and avoid partaking in these activities at all costs.

DO NOT Eat or Drink in the booth/work area

DO NOT Engage in idle chit chat with your team members whilst visitors pass by.

DO NOT Read magazines/newspapers in the booth

DO NOT Use your personal phone or ipad/laptop in the booth/work area

DO NOT Use bad language whilst at the booth or argue with your colleagues

DO NOT file nails, fix your hair, or put make-up on in the working area.

DO NOT bring excessive baggage to the booth. Please leave it in the baggage holding area and collect it after the event has finished.

DO NOT bring freebie promotional materials from other stands to the booth. If you do collect freebies in your break time, please put them in your baggage and out of site.

Remember you are only as good as your last event! So be a professional every single time!


Live Exhibition and Trade show events are about face to face communication. Sellers are meeting buyers. Remember people buy from positive people, not from the fantastic stands which are on display or negative people that have their shoulders slumped.

It is your personal responsibility to be in a positive frame of mind for every assignment or project that you undertake. This starts from the moment that you enter into the exhibition hall. Leave your personal issues and problems outside the exhibition centre. Your focus should be on how you can help the client achieve their objectives. Nothing else matters during the time that you are on the client's exhibition stand.

After standing up for 9 long hours, yes your feet will hurt, and you will just want to go home and have a long hot bath. But what is point in complaining and whinging that your feet hurt? Everybody else is in the same position as you, so rather than let this affect you in a negative way, stay positive, and stay focused on your objectives.

Being positively charged also means starting the day with a beaming smile. Your smile will attract visitors to your client's booth, your smile will create a positive first impression, your smile will get you through difficult situations, your smile will make other people smile, and most importantly, your smile will make people happy and allow them to approach and talk to you.

Having open positive body language helps you be approachable. When was the last time you approached someone whose arms were folded or someone that didn't look interested and wanted to be somewhere else? Ensure that your back is upright, your shoulders are straight, your arms are by your side and that you are looking ready for business. Try and catch people's attention by making eye contact and smiling. It's amazing how many people will be drawn to approach you unconsciously.

I would recommend that you read books on reading people, body language, and creating that winning positive mental attitude to help you become even better promoter.


This P is probably more relevant to those people that are hired as Sales Promoters, Lead Generators, Product Demonstrators or Crowd Gatherers.

Over the last 5 years I have walked miles and miles of exhibition floor. If I had a dollar for every person that I have spotted at their booth/stand chit chatting to their colleagues, talking or texting on the telephone, eating their sandwich, just standing there staring into empty space or working on their laptop whilst potential prospects walk past, I would be a very rich man. Even worse is when promoters are engaging in this kind of behaviour. Clients are paying people to stand there and let potential prospects walk on by and they are accepting this as standard behaviour.

Your job as a promoter is to attract people to the booth/stand. You are a professional that is being paid to bring people to the stand so you have to earn your fees. To do this effectively, you must be proactive in your approach to engage visitors, qualify them as prospects and move the prospect to the next stage in the sales process, be it to collect their business card, arrange a follow up meeting, seat them for a presentation, fill in a questionnaire or to hand them over the clients sales team.

Being proactive means knowing your client's products, their objectives, and what you need to do to achieve them. It means constantly striving to meet your objectives to the best of your ability. It means having the discipline to constantly approach as many people as you can in the 8 or 9 hours you have on the exhibition floor.

By being proactive, not only your day will go faster, you will achieve your objective(s) and the client will see a true professional at work. Will the client rebook you for their next event? You bet! Not only that, they will be approaching you to work for them full time if you put in a solid shift. You are the professional... so show the client how it should be done and why you are worth every penny or cent that you get paid for doing the job. Lead by example and always be PROACTIVE.


Love what you do! When you are passionate about your work and love what you do, everything else just falls into place.

If you are only doing promotion jobs to pay the bills, and see it as easy money to just stand there, look pretty and shove leaflets in people's faces, then please do us a favor and get out of the business quickly.

Working in Exhibitions and Trade shows is a brilliant privilege. You actually get paid to talk to and meet people from all over the world, sometimes you also get to travel, and you learn about new cultures and new business concepts. You get to make new friends. When you really put your passion into being a brilliant outstanding professional and have fun during the process, the rewards are very satisfying.

Let me put it this way. It beats the hell out of sitting in an office all day staring at a computer screen.

When you are engaging people and qualifying prospects you are actually making a huge difference to the world economy. You are helping the client get new prospects that will generate more revenue for them. You are helping the prospects by giving them new solutions which will help them improve their business. If you are facilitating international trade, helping the buyer and the seller, then it puts you in a very unique and privileged position.

If you can look back at the end of an exhibition day, and just think of all the people you have talked to, the prospects you have generated for your client and the amount of business that will be done as a result of your hard work, then you will feel very satisfied.

My advice to you to close off the article is that you should strive to become the best promoter you can possibly be and just love what you do! Everything else will just fall into place.

How To Use Social Media As An Effective Recruiting Tool

Today, social media is much more than just a platform for friends to keep in touch. It is also an effective recruiting tool for the HR professionals. The modern recruiter knows that this medium is an important source that cannot be ignored when looking for right candidates to join the organization. A recent market study done by Reppler, the social media monitoring service, showed that about 90 percent of the recruiters and hiring professionals are visiting the social media profiles of the potential candidates as a part of the initial screening process.

It was further mentioned that nearly 70 percent of the rejections were mainly because something objectionable was found on these social profiles of the rejected candidates. Thus the social network profiles work really well when it comes to checking the background of the potential candidates. Here are some of the popular social network sites and how you can use them as an effective recruiting tool.

Twitter: This micro-blogging site can be used to inform potential candidates about the new job openings in your organization. When posting your tweets, utilize the proper keywords and make sure that you subsequently use the hashtags. Furthermore, you must tweet your job openings as many times as possible using tools like SocialBro to ensure that your tweets show when your target audience is online.

Facebook: You must create a career section on your company's Facebook profile to inform your subscribers and visitors about the job openings. You must also post new jobs occasionally so that it may show up in the news feeds of the people who have liked your Facebook page.

LinkedIn: This is the greatest and most effective recruiting tool used by the HR professionals. LinkedIn is a social media profile, especially developed for the working professionals to come together and share common interests. It is mainly concerned about all professional matters. You can post job requirements on the site and also ask for referrals from the members. You must have a follow button and job section on your profile page.

Google+: This social media site is comparatively new and not so popular in terms of recruitment; however you cannot ignore the potential of Google+. As it allows you to put anyone in your social circle, it provides you the opportunity to make anyone who is related to your industry to notice your job postings.

Pinterest: Although this is a relatively new social media site, it is one of the fastest growing networks with visitors constantly increasing since its inception. The biggest attraction of Pinterest is that it is visually appealing. The site has been retaining its users more effectively than any other social media network. But, the question is - can it be used as an effective recruiting tool? Well, if you are looking for a candidate in the fashion or design industry, you can use this social media for hiring the right candidate. However, the very fact that a large number of people from diverse backgrounds are using Pinterest, provides enough reasons to use this site for finding the right candidates.

Simple SEO Tips to Have High Online Leverage

Optimized websites have a great advantage over those that are not: they land on the first page of a search engine results page. As an effect, they have more visitors, which may translate to more sales.

Some individuals who are not familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) think that it is all about injecting frequently searched words in the content. The truth is successful search engine visibility does not focus on quantity of words alone. Other techniques are needed to effectively optimize a site.

Here are some of the techniques you can apply to get a high online leverage over your competitors:

Online directories are your site's best friends, so submit your website to them. They are essential to basic SEO and SEM strategies and help form a list of links that point to your site. Submitting your online portal to hundreds of directories can be very tedious, thus you can subcontract the job to an affordable submission service. Be patient though; directories do not get indexed right away. You can also look for established websites related to your business and ask owners to link your site to theirs.

Compose top-quality, useful articles that talk about your business or industry, and submit them to online magazines or article directories. Doing this regularly can create massive awareness. That is because when someone finds your article interesting or useful, he or she will most likely go to the source, which is your website. Do not forget to include a by-line at the end of your article that contains a link to your site.

In addition, since blogging is fast becoming popular, take an active part in the blogosphere. A blog provides interesting articles about the human side of your business. Include a page, tab, sub-domain, or a link that leads to your blog in your main website. Reciprocally, add a link from your blog to your main website.

Finally, engage in actual printed PR campaigns aside from submitting electronic copies to publicity sites. Submit an advertisement to your local publication. People still read newspapers, journals, and magazines. Yes, old-fashioned media can indeed help you publicize your website!

True to the fact that getting online presence to an enormous audience is the most challenging feat that any one who wants to be on the first page in any SERP. But the best thing is that as long as we practice ethical techniques in SEO, then Panda and Penguin wont be much of a bother.

Red Wedding Flowers

Red is the color of passion, desire and, of course, love. A red flower symbolizes romantic love, good luck, admiration and strength. Any red flower arrangement will transmit a strong and powerful love. Red wedding flowers are the flowers of seduction and desire. What bride doesn't want to enjoy the classical and genuine beauty of a red flower on the biggest day of her life?

Red wedding flowers bestow the symbolic appearance of the heart. Red is the appropriate color for any type of floral arrangements. The best way to express love they day of your wedding is with a red rose. A red rose will definitely be the best choice for any bride who wants to add a romantic touch to her big day. Red roses will fill any room with a lovely fragrance, grace and beauty. Wholesale roses are by far one of the most popular flowers, but at the same time one of the finest choices for weddings and event decorations.

Gerberas are the fifth most popular wholesale flowers in the floral industry for any type of decor. Red gerberas are popular all year round for weddings because of their deep, romantic and beautiful color. A red gerbera is shaped like the sun and will light up your event with a touch of elegance and fashion. Red gerberas are perfect do-it-yourself wedding flowers; brides can use gerberas for standalone centerpieces or in a bridal bouquet for a spring time wedding. Gerberas mix well with roses, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, and many other wedding wholesale flowers.

Red tulips are well known for being the world's most popular fresh cut flower. Tulips were originally from Persia and Turkey, and they first arrived in Europe in the 16th century. Red tulips symbolize a true and undying love. Red tulips are a great choice for brides with a budget because all brides can find fresh cut tulips at a very affordable price. A red tulip will add a natural touch of elegance to any event. They are frequently used for wedding centerpieces and hand tied bridal bouquets. Red tulips are gorgeous and elegant flowers that can continue to grow after being cut.

Brides have dreamed about their wedding day since they were young and when that day comes, everything has to be perfect. Make your big day unforgettable by choosing your favorite wholesale flowers. Brides can choose their favorite type of flowers to give their wedding a special touch since it will be a day they never forget. Of course there are numerous colors, shapes and sizes that brides can choose from for their wedding flowers. The most important factor is to choose the type of flower the bride prefers and that she can identify with, because, at the end of the day, it's all about making the bride cherish this unique day that will live in her memory for ever.

Remarkable Events of Dubai For a Tourist

Dubai is an emirate (a political region ruled by a Muslim monarch dynasty) inside United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai is situated south east of Gulf of Persia on the Peninsula of Arabia. Dubai is an international city and a business center. Dubai share border borders with Abu Dhabi. It directly lies on the Arabian Desert. Its topography is characterized by sandy desert patterns. Dubai experiences a hot desert climate. Summers are windy, humid and extremely hot with temperatures rising up to 42 degree Celsius during the day and dropping to around 29 degree Celsius at night. On the other hand winters are warm with 23 degrees Celsius during the day and 14 degree Celsius during the night. In order to move around the city, you can use the public Bus system or just use Taxi.

Apart from the oil production industry, Dubai is also known globally as a tourist attraction center. It is home to so many amazing natural and physical features that tourist flock to marvel at. Dubai also hosts amazing events that tourists love. The following are several of the most remarkable events of Dubai for tourists.

1) Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF): This amazing event takes place each winter with its huge range competitions, discounts, prizes, entertainment and prizes. The DSF offers astonishing discounts, luring holiday makers from all over the world keen to grab on bargain. This event was established in 1996 as an idea of the government to promote trade. The DSF gets larger and better each year. The event is a retail and a family event with great focus on mall based early evening shows and entertainment. Its success has been proven by the huge numbers of tourist from different parts of the world. The event kicks off every mid January with a giant opening night that is characterized with fireworks and light shows and ends on the last day of February. Other events linked with the DSF range from street performers, in- mall fashion shows, musicians plus other entertainers. Shoppers get an opportunity to get the latest designer wears or Top Street must haves at unbelievable prices and win cars, money and holidays through raffles and competitions.

2) Omega Dubai Desert Classic: This is an annual event that begun in 1989. It is hosted at the Emirates Golf Club Majlis Course. It attracts top icons of the golf sport. For example Tiger Woods has taken part in this prestigious event at least six times for the last ten years and has carried the winner's prize home two times. The event is organized and promoted by the Umbrella Organization Golf in Dubai. The event has been rated amid the top ten largest golf tournaments worldwide in the latest Bleacher report (the 4th largest media site in the United States). This event kicks off every February and runs through the month.

3) The Dubai Jazz Festival: This festival offers a comforting environment and comfortable seating, along with specially prepared food and beverage spot by the intercontinental hotel. This event offers five great nights of live jazz gigs, in which fans enjoy a variety exceptional performances by legendary performers and musicians. This event takes place annually in February.

4) The YAS Marina Formula 1: This event assures a festive atmosphere, with championship racing on the Yas Marina Circuit. The event features famous formula one driver. It provides so much entertainment to anyone watching the event.

5) The Bride show: Takes place each April annually. This event features a huge range of events cored on weddings' theme. This event attracts huge numbers of exhibitors from all around the world. This event is usually held at the Dubai International Exhibition Center.

How to Use Branded Merchandise to Increase Sales

The use of promotional products to heighten brand awareness is a well known and indisputable marketing technique, but scepticism is often directed towards the capability of firmly increasing sales through such strategies. However, with a firm strategy in place, an increase in business is highly possible and quantifiable. Whilst it is always good to give a gift, there must be a positive benefit to such expenditure - the best of which would be an increase in sales. There are a variety of ways to approach this.

As an incentive for contact. Promotional gifts can be used to encourage visitors to a stand at a trade show or exhibition, therefore capturing an increased number of potential customers. Similarly, an incentive gift can be given in exchange for requesting a quotation or 'liking' a new product/service on a Facebook page.

As an accumulative loyalty reward. In order to drive repeat business and customer loyalty, promotional gifts may be offered on a tiered basis. This has a self perpetuating benefit; customers loves to save and collect points, particularly for a reward, and this has a huge impact on sales across many industries.

As a unique reward for custom. To increase new business, or as a marketing technique to acquire customers, good quality promotional products are the perfect sales incentive. Items which are exclusive or 'on trend' can become highly sought after, and work well as time limited promotions.

As a branded item for resale. By applying your branding to a variety of promotional items which are offered for sale, a company can encourage customers to covet their products, and therefore create an endless cycle of supply and demand. When branded products are seen for sale, the illusion is created of a fashionable brand which is worth paying for. Many top companies sell products such as branded mugs, helping to create a positive brand image.

In addition to the above, impression and image are vital to creating a brand identity; which can in turn help to increase sales. Although measuring direct sales from branding campaigns is more difficult, it is widely acknowledged that consumers are far more likely to purchase from a brand that is trusted and recognised. Promotional products can help to achieve this by providing a tactile reminder of a product or service, whilst offering 'something for free'. Indeed, for many businesses with a limited marketing budget, this can be a very cost effective way to build brand loyalty and ultimately sales.

How To Get The Feedback You Didn't Want To Hear (But Really Need To Know)

What if there are things you are doing - or not doing - that are sabotaging your success? What if there are few key things you're missing that could help you get even better results? There's only one way to find out, and that's by getting feedback.

Unfortunately, feedback is sometimes given a bad rap. Poorly conducted performance reviews, harsh criticisms by thoughtless colleagues, and bad experiences with multi-rater feedback systems all contribute to the temptation to steer clear of feedback if you can help it.

But feedback is how we learn. Without feedback and reflection, you have no way to know how you're doing. You don't know what others think of you or how you might be holding yourself back. What you don't know can hurt you. A lack of self-knowledge can limit your opportunities and even stall your career.

On the other hand, when you seek feedback, you open yourself up to reflection. You become much more thoughtful about what you're doing and why, how you can improve, how you can maximize your efforts and get better, more predictable results.

When you get high quality feedback, you gain a tremendous advantage. By seeing yourself as others see you, suddenly you realize where, why and how you can improve. You understand where you're holding yourself back and where you have the opportunity to surge ahead. Asking for feedback can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Identifying Your Strengths. Feedback helps you maximize your natural strengths and reach your full potential. This is a good idea anytime, but especially when you're secure in your skills and competence and want to truly excel.

  • Seeing Into Your Blind Spots. You might want feedback because you want to improve your leadership and see into your blind spots. This is particularly important when you have been newly promoted or are in the throes of a new endeavor.

  • Meeting Your Goals. Feedback gives you specific direction on how to meet your goals. This approach works best when you are already clear on what your goals are. You don't need information about what to do, but rather how you are to do it.

  • Preparing for Advancement. You might want feedback to prepare yourself for advancement. This method is best when you are seeking less self-awareness and more advice and direction.

  • Becoming More Effective.Feedback can help you become more effective in your current job, which is helpful at any time and in fact is a strategy you might want to use over and over. Feedback can even give you a sense of what your clients want and need. By asking questions not just about yourself, but about your clients and customers, you can better serve their needs and therefore increase your value to them.

What are your reasons for seeking feedback? What results do you want to achieve? Think about your reasons for feedback in advance to take the fullest advantage of the learning it has to offer. Then, before you actually get the feedback, give careful thought to what will happen when you receive it.

Leaders all react to feedback differently. Reactions range from tears to elation. Are you interpreting the feedback in the way that will be most helpful to you?

Here are ten dos and don'ts that will help you make the most of the feedback you receive.

1. Do choose one or two areas to work on.

Use your feedback as a jumping-off point for an action plan. Choose one most impactful area to master. Make some decisions about what it will take to improve in that area, and find a commitment you can get started on right away. You can always come back for more later.

2. Do focus as much on your strengths as your weaknesses.

As you read your feedback, remember to focus on what's right, not just what's wrong. It's just as important to build on what's working than it is to improve what's not.

3. Do save your feedback for a specific time set aside for review and reflection.

Give yourself the chance to absorb the feedback. Take the time to get in the right mindset to hear both good and bad news, and be sure you have enough time to work with the information productively.

4. Do seek further detail and clarification as needed.

You may come across feedback you don't really understand. Don't just speculate. Go find out. While you're at it, thank the people who gave you feedback for their time and thoughts. Giving feedback can be just as risky as receiving it.

5. Do take notes and explore your observations.

Your feedback isn't the final word on you. It's just a place to start. Add your own insights to what you learn in order to make sense of it and find the real learning.

6. Don't choose too many areas to work on.

Feedback can be overwhelming. Every comment, good or bad, can be a place to look for improvement. Be careful not to get caught in "analysis paralysis."

7. Don't focus on the "bad stuff."

It's easy to get sidetracked by fixating on what's not going well. Feedback is important, but it's not everything. Even when you get harsh feedback, you can learn to put it in perspective.

8. Don't just skim the feedback.

Slow down and analyze it well. You might even want to read or review your feedback several times to really understand the message.

9. Don't hold feedback against the people who gave it to you.

Every single person who gets feedback feels the same way: exposed. You might feel a little defensive, or even angry. Learn to connect with others over the experience for support. Don't shoot the messenger.

10. Don't put the feedback in a drawer.

Feedback is a message given to you by others who care enough to tell you the truth. If all you do is throw it in a drawer and forget about it, it's not worth going through the process at all.

If you adhere to these suggestions, you will be in a much stronger place to capitalize on the learning available in the feedback you receive.

Of course, feedback isn't the only way to learn about yourself. It's also helpful to round out the feedback you get from others with the reflection you do on your own, by taking psychological or scientific assessments, and having good old-fashioned one-on-one conversations with people who can help you be a better you. But feedback is a powerful tool. Like all tools, it serves a particular purpose. The more you learn about how to use feedback for what it can and can't do, the more productive the experience will be.

The process of receiving feedback is a vulnerable one, but ironically the feedback can strengthen you as a leader. Follow these dos and don'ts to be sure you make the most of the opportunity.

Seven Reasons Why You Need A Laptop for School

Whereas back-to-school supplies used to include a new backpack, notebooks, and pens, nowadays the list for many students also includes a laptop computer. There are several reasons why it is beneficial for a student to have access to a laptop for educational purposes.

Keeping Up With Advancement

With the technological advancements that are made, it simply does not make sense to send students to school and learn to use decade's old instructional techniques. We do not send children to pediatricians that practice medicine from the 1970's - why should education be any different? The sooner students become versed in technological tools, the more it opens the opportunity for technology-based careers in their future.

Staying Organized

The average student is going to have to write many essays and complete a ton of assignments. When these essays are written on a laptop as opposed to traditional pen and paper, it is much easier to keep track of previous work. This means it is much easier to organize completed work on a laptop. It is easy to forget about an assignment or misplace a worksheet when a student is taking six or more classes. A laptop means that they can review all of their work in a single location, with automated backups too.

Improve Their Writing

While some critics suggest that features such as auto-correct mean the end of proper spelling as we know it, it is actually a great idea to have students be graded on their work. This ensures that students realize features like auto-correct are no substitute for proper spelling and grammar. Laptops provide students with thesaurus resources, spell checking tools, and instant dictionaries. This makes it easier for students to correct and edit their writing.

Keeping Notes

Most students that are growing up in today's technological era are able to type much faster than they are able to write by hand. This means that it is much easier to a student to take complete notes during class. Having more complete notes increases the chance that a student does well on his or her next exam.

It Helps Some Students Keep Up With the Rest

For some students with a reading disability, a laptop can be an absolute blessing. Whereas it traditionally might take several hours for students with a disability to complete their schoolwork, having a laptop means that they are able to keep up with others.

Learn to Work Efficiently

With a laptop that is connected to the Internet, a student has a wealth of information at the tip of their fingers. While reading through a book and doing research the 'old fashioned' way may have taken hours, the same information can be found online in minutes. This is not about being lazy or unwilling to put in the effort. It means students are able to work faster and more efficiently.

Reduce the Need for Books

By the time the average student is done for the day, they may feel as though they have been put through boot camp because of all the books they have been lugging around all day. With a laptop, all the information fits on a single, lightweight computer. Not only is this more efficient (e.g. students never forget their book anymore) but it also means that families can save on the cost of textbooks. Not only are textbooks expensive, but they are also often outdated because of the high cost of buying the latest version. This is no longer a problem with up-to-date research that can be found on the Internet.

Brightening Your Bathroom: Adding Character Through Colour

Recent fashion in bathroom decor has dictated that we all adhere to a minimalist, white, streamlined look, which, although it can make a room seem light, airy and spacious, can sometimes end up feeling a little cold and sterile. Trends and tastes are always evolving, though, and introducing colour into bathrooms is becoming ever more popular, in order to inject a little warmth and character back into these rooms that we all use everyday.

Gone forever are the avocado and apricot suites of old and the vast majority of bathroom fixtures and fittings are, and will remain, white. However, with the resurgent popularity of bathroom furniture that has occurred during the last few years, suppliers and designers are now producing a vast array of different coloured finishes and styles to brighten up the modern bathroom.

Naturally finished wooden bathroom furniture is a great and subtle way to lend a bathroom a feeling of warmth and texture. The organic feel of the mismatched grains and shades will help to offset the more clinical elements of your sanitaryware. A bold and striking choice is to opt for darker woods, such as Walnut or Wenge, which can seem sturdier and more luxurious than lighter woods such as pine and oak.

As well as bathroom furniture, wooden framed bathroom mirrors and mirrored wooden cabinets are also a simple way to introduce a slightly more tactile quality to your bathroom whilst providing storage space and keeping the room feeling spacious.

Coloured tiles in specific areas of the bathroom can be a great way to accent and highlight different areas of the room. Bright mosaic tiles behind the basin or around the bath and shower can make a great design statement and really add flair and panache to your bathroom.

Heated towels rails are becoming more popular year on year and a towel rail with a bright chrome finish will be a striking and eye-catching addition to any bathroom, which is eminently practical as well stylish. When you have a towel rail installed, why not then finish the room off with coordinated and colourful towels and bathmat.

So from incorporating wooden furniture to give the room a warm and tactile ambience, to incorporating statement areas of bright tile, to simply adding some colourful and coordinated accessories, it really is easy modernise your bathroom and add that colour that's been sorely lacking in recent years. Research and experiment, whatever your preferred colour scheme, you'll be able to find the perfect way improve your bathroom. And don't that fresh coat of paint; a light pastel shade, rather than white walls, can make a hugely beneficial difference.

Exploring Interesting And Influential Architectural History

During the years of Queen Victoria's reign in Britain, the people prospered and the industrial revolution grew to be fantastic. The homes during this time also became evidence of prosperous times as well. Many types of home styles are considered to be akin to Victorian styles. Learn more about the style you would find most appealing.

The Gothic architectural styles became extremely popular in association with Victorian home construction. From around the middle of the 1700s up until the 1900s, the Gothic style became intricately incorporated in Britain home construction. The architectural inspirations derived from the Victorian era became molded together with Gothic design in a fantastic way.

Gothic styles became evident with distinguishing construction using masonry. Homes were built with pinnacles and turrets that were reminiscent of medieval castles. Lines were constructed in a vertical manner that brought about a sense of great heights. Stone carvings and statues were another important aspect of Gothic influence in home construction during this era. Homes were being built to be reminiscent of those medieval residences that were lining the streets near looming castles.

The Queen Anne look is a great reminder of Victorian styles, especially when those decorative designs became apparent in the 1870s in Britain. The Queen Anne appeal spread to the United States in the 1880s and has been growing ever since. Bright colors are an essential aspect of the Queen Anne style.

During the late 1800s, homes were sometimes painted with more than four colors. Porches were constructed in a wrap around fashion and detailed trim work became popular as exterior decorative appeal. Bright colors were also used to enhance the appeal of trims and unique textures.

Shingle styles began to grow in popularity in the late 1800s as well. This style allowed a more uniform, simple look using shingled areas as definitive borders. The homes with several smaller roofs on them were topped with appealing, decorative shingles. While the shingle style was more simple, it also hinted of the Queen Anne design through brightly colored roofing materials.

Victorian architecture made a huge impression when first introduced in Britain. Today, that same style has made headway into many countries and many homes. Learn more by visiting your local library about the kinds of architectural designs you can have added to your existing home. You may be surprised to learn how you could afford to turn your house into a showplace.

Coral Gables Homes: The Location, The Economy, And The Luxury Within The City

Buying real estate within the Miami region can be quite a challenge, especially since there are so many amazing communities to choose from. Nevertheless, the beautiful city of Coral Gables is one of the most highly sought after locations within the region because of the outstanding quality of living that is made possible within the city along with the fabulous Coral Gables homes that are being offered on the property market.


Since the first thing that property buyers need to look into is location, it is important to note that Coral Gables homes are located within a setting that is southwest of the Downtown Miami area making it highly convenient for people who are looking into establishing a business or a career within the world-class business district of South Florida.

Also, there are many great waterfront locations to choose from within the city which are considered to be perfect for the different types of people who seek the tranquility and luxury that Miami waterfront settings are able to provide.


Another thing that property buyers will want to consider is the overall economy of their options within the region. Over the last couple of years, the city has seen such impressive growth which continues to be strengthened by the growing development projects and broad investment activities which take place within the city. Even the commercial sector of the city has been thriving as more people from all around the world understand the potential of investing within the city.


Property buyers today tend to look for the most luxurious real estate options on the property market and the fact that many of today's Coral Gables homes are designed especially for high-end property buyers makes it possible for wealthy individuals to find exactly what it is that they look for in a home.

The city itself is recognized as being one of the most impressive cities as far as the subject of aesthetics is concerned. With tree-lined streets which are laid out in a very orderly fashion, people can easily say that Coral Gables homes are blessed to be set within such an idyllic city setting.

Cocoplum, Deering Bay, Gables by the Sea, Gables Estates, Hammock Oaks, Old Cutler Bay, and Snapper Creek Lakes are among the most exclusive communities where property buyers can find the city's most fabulous Coral Gables homes within the city.

If you would like to find out information on the different options that await property buyers on today's property market, you may contact a professional agent to receive complete details on all available options.

Graphic Design - A Comprehensive Guide

Graphic Design - A Comprehensive Guide

One of the most popular forms of art in today's world is graphic design. This form of art is utilized in many different ways. Individuals that engage in digital art are professionals that specialize in creating visual forms of communication that combine certain elements, such as word, images and specific ideas in order to convey some type of information to the individuals that make up the audience that will observe the art. Industry professionals are directly responsible for taking various forms of media and arranging them in such a way that a particular message is conveyed successfully. Popular forms of media used in this type of art include packages, photographs, posters, drawings, and websites. Special focus is placed on the elements of shape, color and texture. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn many facts pertaining to the art of graphic design.

The Effectiveness of Visual Communication

Various types of studies have concluded that visual communication is one of the most successful forms of communications for individuals, organizations and businesses. According to the information from case studies, sight is the most commonly used of all of the senses that humans possess. The information also includes that 75% of all of the stimuli that is contained in the environment is received through the visual based reception processors of humans. When the University of California conducted a study, they were able to conclude that 55% of all that a particular audience learns is a direct result of visual messages presented to them. Visual aids, such as the art of graphic design, assist in helping individuals retain the messages that they have received, according to the Wharton Research Center. When information is presented in a verbal fashion, only 10% of it is retained. However, when combined with graphic design pieces, the retention rate moves up to an amazing 50%. Each piece of art created through graphic design is utilized to reach a certain objectives. It has been found that audience objectives are at least 67% successful. This was established by Decker Communications. If you have a need for an art form that will relay certain types of communications in a visual manner, graphic design is the best option.

The Creative and Innovative Approach

Individuals that specialize in digital art combine their creativity with various forms of innovative technology in order to effectively communicate their ideas. These professionals are known to take drawings, paintings, pictures, and even images generated by computers to create visual images that will be retained and recalled precisely by the audience that is subjected to the images. You may find graphic design pieces in many different places. Examples of these include logos that are associated with certain brands, personal and professional websites, on business cards, on specially designed advertisements, located on books, throughout brochures, on the packages of certain products, on billboards, in magazines, on newspapers, located on posters, on greeting cards, and even on vehicles through wraps and signs. Digital art is all around us, and it is quite possible for one person to see millions of graphic design art pieces each and every single day.

Graphic Design versus Web Design

Many people confuse graphic design and web design by believing that they are the same. However, this is not accurate. Web design is based on the habits that are associated with the target audience of the website. Each page on a website interacts with other pages; whereas, the pages designed through graphic design art do not interact with each other. While it is true that websites communicate through pictures, they most commonly relay messages through content. People that visit websites scan the information listed on the pages for specific keywords, certain types of phrases and even icons that assist in maneuvering them to other pages. Graphics, images and various types of typography are utilized in the art of graphic design to produce a certain idea. While it is true that digital artists have the ability to create graphics that may be used on a website, they are not programmers. Web designers use all of the same elements that graphic design artists utilize. However, instead of focusing on standard media types that are offline, they use the internet to display all of their created artwork. Digital art is not limited to programming, whereas web design is limited by programming.


Digital art is a unique type of art. It is a visual form of communication that aids in presenting ideas and other types of messages to individuals. In some instances, it is used to identify a product, a service, a company, an individual, or an organization. Individuals that specialize in this type of art often rely on words, images, texts and other types of media in order to create a specific design and/or message. While digital art may be used on websites, it is not the same as web design in that it is not limited by the programming languages that are utilized on the World Wide Web. It has been established that visual communication is one of the most detailed and beneficial forms of communication - especially for organizations and businesses. If you have an idea or a message that you would like to be displayed through art, graphic design is an option that is sure to bring you high levels of success.

Natural Fiber Rugs - Are They Really Still The Rug Of Choice?

In a way you can compare natural fiber rugs to your favorite pair of jeans. They are affordable, you can layer them, and you can dress them up or down. They're even long lasting. Although rugs made from natural fibers have been around for centuries, they started to appear in America's houses in the 1980's and unlike many styles, fashions and fads, they remain to this day, the rug of choice used by many households. So what's the secret of the natural rug and why have they remained popular?

Strength and durability

Rugs made from natural fibers such as sisal area rugs, seagrass rugs and jute rugs all have one thing in common, and that is that they are surprisingly strong and durable. For instance sea grass fibers are known for being strong and are used to make everything from bowls to furniture and even coffins. Woven jute is a vegetable fiber and has been commonly used to make bags for centuries. Woven sisal yarn is extremely tough and has been used to make objects as diverse as cat scratching posts, twine for tying hay bales and more recently it has been used in component parts within the aviation and auto-mobile industries.

Toxin free

Unlike most wool rugs which are dyed and colored, many other types of natural fiber rugs are left in their natural un-dyed state. This means that they are free from allergens and toxins. This makes them a perfect rug of choice for any allergy sufferer. In addition the majority of natural fiber rugs (in particular seagrass) are resistant to most stains and spills, which is great if you have a house full of accident prone kids and even adults.


Even now, natural fiber rugs are about as contemporary as you're likely to see. Nowadays, the preference of choice seems to be for a chunkier weave. Simply flick through any design magazine and you're bound to see some elegant or stylish furniture sat on top of a natural looking sisal rug. It creates a modern twist to an otherwise classic style and brings it into the 21st century.

In essence, natural fiber rugs can work on so many levels. Whether it is because you want something that's going to last, or from an eco-friendly perspective you want a floor covering made from sustainable materials, or alternatively you simply want to stand out from the crowd. Whatever your reasons, you can purchase knowing that your rug of choice will still be popular in another twenty or thirty years, and that's something that you can't say about other synthetic designs.

Avoid Bad Job Interviews - Tips For Marketing Yourself When in a Job Interview

You're leaving the interview. As you walk past the reception area, you have that familiar feeling. We all have experienced the deconstructive mindset of "Wow, I didn't get that job". There are many questions that we go through as we take the everlasting trip back out the front door unsuccessful, and we reenact each detail of the interview to search out a flaw. We question ourselves about what we could have said or done differently, that would have produced a better outcome. The real question we should be asking ourselves is, "How well did I represent myself to the interviewer?" Many believe that they are exceptional at interviewing, but the harsh reality is that we are sometimes not as prepared as we assume. If you really know your craft, and your still not employed it might be a good idea to review how well you market yourself!

Recently I read an article by Michael Neece, on Monster.com in which he states the six reasons why most interviews fail. According to Neece, if you treat the interview as a conversation; never highlight a weakness, ask questions, and remember to turn your phone off, you will have interviewed well enough that a thank you letter and a follow up call should secure the job for you. All are very valid points, and should serve to enhance your potential to get the job. But this is a time period of complete saturation and paucity of jobs a new philosophy has emerged. In today's tumultuous economic climate, going in to this type of situation without a strategy is a paradigm for failure. As I was taught over and over in the military any situation that you enter into unprepared will leave your needs ignored and your infirmities exposed. While I wouldn't recommend that you enter the interview in the same capacity that you would a war in Iraq, I would recommend you go in with a structured plan.

First thing you should get into the practice of doing is preparation. In doing your preparation for an interview, company research is the key. Make sure that the skills you possess and the corporate philosophy of that organization closely relate. For example; if you are a lover of fine leather clothing or extravagant fur coats, you should not apply for a company like PETA, even if you're a great marketing exec and they have an opening. Instead you should perhaps look for a position with a fashion or branding company. Secondly, you should identify six characteristics about yourself that you would like for the interviewer to know. I call it the "Pressure Cooker." Pressure Cookers by design allow food to be cooked in a moist environment at a higher temperature than possible with conventional boiling or steaming methods. In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water above the normal boiling point of water. In theory, by adopting this idea of pressure cooking, you will have the skills available to perform above the normal expectancy of other candidates during an interview. You will be able to market yourself exponentially better, because you have trained your mind to compete at a higher level under extreme pressure. The Pressure Cooker is a compilation of both your hard skills and soft skills. The premise of studying these skills over and over, only letting them out when the lid is removed, will serve to enhance the appetite of the interviewer. There are many different ways to ask the question "Tell me a little about yourself," but with proper planning there is only one real answer. When this question is asked, it is your opportunity to command control and steer the recollection of the interviewer. In this economy it can be difficult to predict the mindset of a potential employer. With over a hundred or so applicants per job posting, this is your opening to secure the job.

Hard skills are your certifications, academic achievements, and qualifications which make you stand out amongst the other candidates. Amazingly enough, most people rely on their resume to state their qualifications and certifications leaving the interviewer with the cold outlook on their abilities. I was once told, "It's a known fact that fifty percent of all doctors graduate at the bottom half of their class." Think about what that means for a moment. This idea should signify the premise that most employers will not be impressed with simply stating your degree's or achievements. You also need to provide additional information about your accomplishments to secure the position. Emphasize how your accomplishments have helped you to advance to the next level of your career. Thinking back most of us can identify several missed opportunities to expand on our abilities. There should be at least three accomplishments with one detail each that you have in your pressure cooker. You should study them and be able to regurgitate them on demand. I do not recommend a prepared statement which can come across as negative like a soliloquy that you have practiced and now decided to share. Your hard skills should flow as if to coagulate in the mind of your interviewer. You want the interviewer to immediately associate you with the skills that he or she is looking for. Utilize your hard skills first and expand on them with facts about you obtaining them that didn't come across on your resume. For example it is impressive if you obtained your degree while simultaneously working forty plus hours a week. This information may impress upon the mind of your interviewer by revealing your dedication. Positive association starts first with these types of nonverbal communication devices.

Next you want to reveal a sample of your soft skills. Soft skills are attributes of your personality that you can use to enhance your hard skills. A good example of this would be the diligence you've acquired that allows you to analyze income statements, or plan projects. In this instance diligence is the soft skill that you want the interviewer to correlate to you. There should also be a minimum of three soft skills in your pressure cooker that exemplify your abilities. In the case of a soft skill, it is unnecessary to expand on each one as you did with your hard skills. Most job postings will advertise these soft skills, and it is your job to adopt the ideas, and adapt them in your pressure cooker. When entering into the interview you should be able to articulate them in conjunction with your hard skills. Given that these are just personality traits, which most people may possess as well, I would only use them sparsely. This is just to show the interviewer that you understand the total package that you will be required to bring to the position. I learned the hard way that after using a pressure cooker, the pressure is slowly released so that the vessel can be safely opened. This also applies to the theory of presenting yourself to a potential employer.

Trial and error has taught me that the release of pressure from the cooker too fast will only tarnish or ruin the reputation you're trying to establish with the interviewer. This creates the potential to make your skills less useful, and or less valuable. Furthermore the idea may develop that you are not going to be able to function well within the organization. You can usually feel the effects of the damage immediately after the interview is over. You should go slow, and follow the lead of the interviewer. He or she will ask questions prompting you to continue, or to reveal another skill. You should also practice your delivery of the contents of your pressure cooker. As Michael Neece mentioned in his article you should always treat the interview as a conversation and not an interrogation, but at the same time you should be prepared for which ever direction the conversation leads. While the interviewer is showing you which way to proceed, it is your duty to implement a course of action that will allow you to achieve the immediate short term goal of landing the job.

Going To Lincoln? You Will Have A Good Time

Besides the Cathedral the building of Lincoln University 1996 attracted great numbers of young people who want to live there and who have given the city new life and vitality.

As with most progressive cities there are excellent shopping experiences, entertainment outlets and leisure facilities available.

The manufacturing industry is a major employer today and includes heavy machinery, automobile and electronic parts, food products, light engineering and more recently the increase of the tourist, retail and service sectors are playing an increasingly important part in the economy of the area.

As is usual with the emergence of such a vibrant city as Lincoln there are also new and exciting as well as traditional places to go and things to see. A quick look at what is available in this area finds that among interesting places to go are:

Lincoln Guildhall

Within Lincoln Guildhall is the office of the Mayor, Lincoln's Civilc Insignia and the City's Council Chamber, It is to be found above the Stonebow Arch which is the 15th century gateway on the site of the old Roman south gate. It also houses the City's Charter, dated 1157, which pre-dates the Magna Carta.

Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum

Want to see a collection over 65 vintage cars, buses and commercial vehicles then visit the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum in Whisby Road Lincoln.

The collection spans 77 years of road transport history and is run by The Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society.

Among the interesting displays available is a traditional vehicle workshop.

More information is available from Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society

Lincoln Cathedral

Sitting in splendour on the top of a hill Lincoln Cathedral is the most prominent structure on Lincoln's cityscape. It can be seen from up to 25 miles and with its rich and varies history displays a fine example of Gothic architecture.

The Waterside Shopping Centre

The Waterside Shopping Centre is one of the more modern experiences to be had in Lincoln. It can be found at the heart of the city and next to the River Witham. Within its covered shopping area lies some of the most famous names on the high street as well as some of the main fashion stores.

Bishop's Palace

Originally built in 1163 it was rebuilt at the end of the 12th century. The remains of the Medieval Palace of the Bishops is situated near the cathedral. Now in the care of English heritage the grounds house vineyards for which guided tours are available.

Truly a city that is full of historical significance and well worth a long visit.

Why Shop at Online Stores?

As the season changes, everyone wants to get out and buy cool clothes and dresses. Some prefer to go shopping with friends at all the trendy stores. A new season means a new wardrobe and a whole new line up clothes. While nothing beats the fun of hunting for a dress or the perfect pair of shoes with a friend, you can now do this more comfortably. I am, of course, talking about the vast array of online stores that have cropped up to cater to your every need.

Reason 1: Online stores come in all shapes and sizes, virtually speaking. They may cater to a particular type of shopper, or they may sell a wide variety of clothes and accessories. That is not the only purpose of online stores. At these websites you can find a lot of useful information about the latest trends. What is in this season? And what is out? You can find the answers to all these questions and more at these stores.

Reason 2: Online stores are not just places for women shoppers. Most stores have a separate section for men. The kid's section is also worth taking a peek at if you are looking for some new clothes for your toddler. In fact, the wide range of selections available often makes decisions a lot harder, but no less fun. Online stores make the shopping experience much easier and hassle-free. If you are not comfortable with the price tag of an item, you can simply look elsewhere. The World Wide Web is a big place, which means that there are countless places to shop. However, the best stores offer high quality dresses and accessories at affordable prices. Once you find a good online store, you should stick with it.

Reason 3: Do you know what is in style this season? You are sure to find all the trendiest clothes online. You can buy dresses online, and have them shipped right to your home. Many online stores even offer free shipping within the United States. The important thing to remember when shopping online is to keep an open mind and lots of available time on your hands. Most online stores stock more items than any of your local clothing stores. It is easy to get lost in a mire of fashionable clothes, accessories, and shoes. If you want to save time, then stick to the items you absolutely need and leave random browsing for a later time.

Why Pursue IT Certifications If I Already Have a Job?

There is a widespread perception that getting an IT certification is something you do only when you are actively seeking a job. That may be because you are unemployed, or looking to change careers or want to move to a higher position where you currently work. This leads to the question of whether or not there is any reason to add certifications to your resume when you are employed and are perfectly happy staying where you are indefinitely.

Any time you go after a new certification, it's almost certain to mean giving up some personal time on nights and weekends studying. You'll probably also have to shell out some cash for books, practice tests or other study materials. Most companies will pay for you to take certification tests (assuming you pass). However, few will allow you to study on company time or pay for your study materials or failed tests. Below are some reasons why I believe that it is indeed worthwhile to invest some of your own time and money each year getting a certification or two. There are several compensations to getting an IT certification in your field.

Money Left on the Table: The company you work for probably has a policy to reimburse educational expenses related to your position. Convincing your manager to approve university courses that cost thousands or tens of thousands may be a hard sell. However, getting approval for a certification test that will cost a few hundred dollars is normally dead easy. If your employer has a policy like this and you don't bother to make use of it, then you are leaving money on the table. Everybody wants to get paid more for the work they do. This is one way of getting more compensation for doing the same job you are already doing. In my opinion, not using this benefit is similar to failing to contribute enough to your 401K to get the full company match.

Perception of value: Not everyone agrees on the value of IT certifications. However, those arguments almost always occur among the IT personnel who are the target candidates. By contrast, Human Resources staff and management almost invariably view professional certifications in a positive fashion. When an employee of the company adds new certifications, then there is a perception that the employee knows more and is a more valuable asset to the company. Certifications are an inexpensive method of demonstrating that you are making an effort to keep your expertise current. This perception of value is useful in good times when management is making decisions regarding raises. It is also valuable in bad times when reductions in force are being discussed.

Annual Reviews: Writing a self-evaluation of my accomplishments each year is something I dread. One of the few bright spots is that the section for "accomplishments and professional development" is a breeze for me in most years. Completing an IT certification or two each year provides you with an easy way of demonstrating that you are working to learn new job skills. As employees, we generally expect (or at lest hope) to get a raise every year. Having something tangible to point to as an example of why you are a more valuable employee than you were a year ago is handy.

Situations Change: At this point in time you may be perfectly content to stay in your current position indefinitely. That said, if you are in the IT industry and are not in your late fifties or older, odds are you won't retire with your current company. That means that the day will come when you need to blow the dust off your resume. Even if you are positive that you want to retire right where you are, the future may not play out that way. The company you work for might announce a reduction in force; they might be bought out by a competitor that guts the workforce; or the company might lose a major contract and eliminate your department. Alternately, a change in your department, a new manager, or a new coworker might make you hate your job. If you are put into a situation where you are unexpectedly in the market for a new job, it's too late to do much to tweak your resume. You probably will want to start sending it out to prospective employers immediately. A resume showing a set of current IT certifications will help to present an image of an IT professional that keeps their skills up-to-date.

Professionals Behaving Badly: Professionalism Is Dead

I have been in the business for quite a few years and I have noticed a dramatic change regarding how people communicate with one another today versus years ago. Communication is the bedrock of business. Building meaningful business relationships without communicating with others is impossible. Recently, I was lamenting this change to a respected business associate of mine who is a business consultant, an accomplished author and public speaker. When I stopped to catch my breath, he agreed with me and simply stated, "Professionalism is dead". He said not only have business people forgotten the basics of communication but also the way they conduct themselves is radically different (and not for the better) since he entered the business world years ago.

As I started writing this article, I realized there is a difference between common courtesy in life and professionalism in business. For instance, using turn indicators in your car is not only the law but also common courtesy to alert other drivers of your intentions. It seems the use of directional signals is out of fashion for a good percentage of drivers today. Also, the person who has 30 items in their basket and gets in the 10 and under line at the grocery store is not being courteous. On that same topic, how about the person who is on their cell phone at the head of the line while the cashier and the other ten people in line are waiting for them to pay for their purchase? Lately, these rather mundane experiences have been replaced at the top of my list with people who do not respond to voicemails or emails in business and that is where I cross the line from courtesy to professionalism. On that subject, I have heard all the excuses:

  • "I get 200 emails a day and can't keep up."
  • "I don't like email"
  • "I don't check voice mail more than once a day" (even though the light on their phone is flashing with a message)
    • Once, I witnessed a business person blindly delete at least 20 voicemails without listening to any of them! I asked her why she did that and she simply said "I do it all the time... I get too many voicemails." Without missing a beat, I said, "Now I know why you never return my calls!" Her job? She was my support person in our corporate headquarters!

Regarding email, I have also learned never ask more than one question at a time in an email. If you ask two or three, many people I have worked with never answer all of the questions, just one. So what could have been a simple exchange of information now becomes an email parade back and forth. Just as it takes "two to tango", it also takes more than one person to exchange emails which companies worldwide have adopted as an expedient way to communicate. Email 101 classes should be offered in all companies and the course should include a section on business etiquette and professional behavior.

Then there is the Internet. My favorite is the online job application process used by many companies to advertise and fill open positions. This process seems like an easy way to pursue a job for applicants and a great way for companies to attract qualified candidates to their company. Most companies, who have a website, have a career page that lists job openings and provides online applications. These systems are called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Unfortunately, I have had dismal experiences with ATSs, so I call them Hiring Prevention Systems (HPS). I read a very interesting article on this subject recently on the Business Insider website: 5 Reasons Why You Never Hear Back After Applying For A Job. I have applied for jobs online and for the same reasons listed in the article, I have found the process to be seriously flawed because applications and resumes go into a black hole and according to Business Insider, many are never reviewed by personnel at the hiring company since computer applications do it for them using keyword search engines. If the applications are actually received in the ATS, which in my experience has also been a challenge, these companies sometimes send an automatic email response acknowledging the receipt of the applicant's online submittal and often say they will be in touch... which generally never happens! Since this is quite often an applicant's first exposure to a company, the company's lack of response and follow-up is a real turnoff to the applicant. So why do companies expend resources on a process that does not work properly? Professionalism is dead.

As I opened this article, I said communication is the bedrock of business. Whether it be internal communications between employees or external messages exchanged with business partners, prospects, customers or independent, third parties through the Internet, communication is definitely essential for any company's success. I have a number of theories regarding this radical change in business communications and yes, a few suggestions on how to fix the problem.

  1. Technology now offers more communication options. Before you call me an old goat who is out of touch with technology, I am in the technology industry! The fact remains we do have so many ways to communicate now with the increasingly popular social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, chatrooms, etc.), Internet websites, texting, email, instant messaging and, oh I almost forgot, the telephone! In an introductory meeting I once had with a new manager in a new company, I asked him what mode of communication he preferred... email or telephone, since I had learned from previous experiences some people can't and won't do both. Before he could answer, one of his current employees who was in the room interrupted and said, "Texting - he never returns emails of voicemails! Again, this was my first exposure to a new manager in a new company and the red flags went up instantly in my mind warning me that our relationship would not be a good one. I was proven right since he rarely communicated with me... a new employee with a lot of questions.
  2. Downsizing has had a definite impact on professionalism. The demands on the average knowledge worker have skyrocketed in recent years. Experts claim productivity has either improved or remained the same even though employees are asked to do far more work. Due to the increased workload, it is easy to take shortcuts which have an impact on professionalism. Cutting back on communicating with others is a natural shortcut but very unprofessional.
  3. "What's in It for Me" Syndrome. Increasingly, I am seeing business people making daily communication decisions not based upon their job responsibilities but what good will come of a request for them personally. Ignoring emails, voicemails or other means of communication just because it will not benefit them screams, professionalism is dead. My response to these people is, "Just Do Your Job". You and I should not have to sing verses of the currently popular song, Call Me Maybe when sending emails or leaving voicemails! With that said, I have hummed it in my mind when leaving a voicemail for certain people and almost used it as a Subject line for an email to a very unprofessional, non-communicator!
  4. Lack of Ambition and Energy. In a meeting with my banker recently (who I have gotten to know quite well), I vented my frustrations about two companies I was dealing with who have adopted the new non-professionalism culture by not communicating with me. She fully agreed business people are getting failing grades for communication and offered a reason why... "people have become lazy" and she is right. It takes effort to communicate in our dynamic business world.

I believe I have made my point... professionalism in business is either dead or well on its way to dying. Here are some potential solutions.

· Company cultures often influence how employees behave. The "King of the Mountain" attitude plays well here where extremely successful companies don't feel an obligation to socialize (play well) with the outside world because they are, in spite of themselves, so successful. This attitude filters down to the individual desktop where the emails and voicemails arrive daily and go unanswered out of arrogance. It is up to corporate management to emphasize the importance of communication with their employees while they are still sitting on the top of the mountain. Instilling a teamwork spirit in new hire training is definitely a way to influence employee behavior.

· Personalities differ and there may be a mismatch between job responsibilities and a person's personality. I often think of the Peter Principle when I ask myself, "how did he or she get their job." I bet you have asked the same question when you have been frustrated by a person's unprofessional behavior. For example, surly people should not hold customer service jobs! Likewise, poor communicators should not be in support positions where they need to communicate with either fellow employees or outsiders on a daily basis. Introverted personalities probably will not work well in Sales. Human Resource departments supposedly screen applicants with behavioral interviewing techniques but unprofessionalism in business seems to be flourishing anyway because many screening processes are ineffective. Aligning people's personalities with job requirements in the hiring process is essential to an employee's success and effectiveness.

· Business DNA... some people have the business acumen to communicate effectively because it is built into their business DNA. Others don't and need to work on that aspect of their business life. Here are two, recent, real-life examples. I sent a Vice President of Worldwide Sales at a major software company an email. He and I used to work together 10 years ago and we haven't communicated with one another since. He replied to my email with an answer to my question within 2 hours. I emailed another person, who holds a far less demanding position in his software company, multiple times requesting a 15 minute phone call and it took a full week for him to respond to my request. Take a guess who is more successful in business and who has the busier schedule. Answer: the VP Sales was the professional and the other person really should look for a different day job since his position depends upon timely communications with outsiders which is most definitely one of his weaknesses. No, he was not on vacation or traveling!; he was sitting at his desk ignoring my emails.

· Companies should not invest in costly online business applications (i.e. customer service applications) if they do not intend to support them and communicate with outside parties who use them. Why spend the money for the software, invest in employees to manage unsupported systems and set false expectations in the mind of the user who expects a response? This unprofessional behavior will give your company a black eye.

· Individuals need to take responsibility for their actions or worse yet, inactions. Years ago, when I was in Toastmasters, one of our members gave an entire speech on this subject and it has resonated with me ever since. Her point was people are not taking responsibility for their actions and are not being held accountable. The lame excuse I have heard is "business has changed" which is truly a catchall statement for professionals behaving badly. It may be easier to ignore a request than follow-up on it but is that the responsible thing to do? How do you like it when others ignore your requests? Not to go Sunday School on you now, but doesn't the Golden Rule apply: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Just key in the words, "in business" at the end of the adage and you have the Golden Rule of Business Communications!

· Just Do It and Be Courteous in the Process. Earlier, I differentiated between common courtesy and professionalism. Actually, one can and does enhance the other in business just as in society at large. Is it really that hard to be professional, do your job and be courteous all at the same time in business? Not really... try it because it works and often makes your job much more satisfying and enjoyable.

Once you have finished reading this article, please sit back, and in your mind, fill out your personal communications report card.

  • Do you have a personal policy regarding timeframes for responding to emails and voicemails? Those who communicate with you will appreciate your prompt and accurate attention to their attempts to communicate with you.
  • By ignoring either your peers or outsiders, are you doing the job you were hired to do? Obviously not, so start today by trying to be more attentive to others who are depending upon you to respond to their requests.
  • Ask yourself, who in business do you want to work with? People who respond to your needs and requests or the ones you have to chase and nearly shame into responding to you? Remember the Golden Rule of Business Communications and start practicing it.
  • Again, in your mind, think of all the tools you use to communicate in business and come up with ways to improve your performance. An example might be to end your business day by creating your to-do list for the following day. Block out times on your calendar to make calls and review your email, in other words, make appointments with yourself and put them on your calendar. The next day, when you are rested and raring to go, return your calls and reply to those unanswered emails and check them off your list... checkmarks are good and reduce stress!

In one of my favorite jobs, I provided sales support to my company's worldwide sales team of nearly 500 sales professionals. Timely communications with our Sales Representatives was Job One for the position I held. Often times, my answering their questions or providing them with assistance was the difference between their winning and losing a $1,000,000 software sale. When I presented material at regional sales training meetings around the world, I always made it a point to tell my audience what my "personal response policy" was when they contacted me for assistance... 24 hours or more likely far less depending upon if I was traveling. Quite often I was interrupted with applause. One of the reasons this was one of my favorite jobs was because I built meaningful working relationships with so many of our reps around the world based upon my communications with them. When I visited their local offices anywhere from Chicago to London to Singapore, individuals would always come up after I made a presentation to personally introduce themselves and thank me for the level of professionalism I displayed in working with them and they shared their successes with me. Likewise, as I called it, my kudos folder on my laptop was filled with thank you emails they had sent to my manager regarding my performance because I cared enough to respond to their needs. My favorite was entitled, "Glenn Rocks" and so can you. Something as simple as timely and accurate communications with all of these people made them more successful and made my job more fun and extremely satisfying. I suppose, I could have ignored the thousands of emails and phone calls I received each quarter asking for assistance, but that was my job and I was able to do it and so can you.