Brand Management and the Internet

Each organization must manage its brand carefully. A brand is not simply a logo; it is what customers believe about an organization and its products. It is the company’s image, which may be for quality, service, or unique merchandise. It takes more than marketing to maintain a brand. Branding requires care at every stage of customer interaction, consistency, and distinctive qualities that set the company apart from its competitors. Once the brand is established it must be maintained carefully.

Every Interaction Counts

Every interaction with a customer is a chance to establish or maintain a brand. It is important to demand the same level of customer service at every level. Basically, customers should expect the same level of service online that they experience in a brick and mortar store. When you manage the customer relationship correctly, you will retain customers and attract new ones to your brand. Whether it is answering email, using twitter, posting on Facebook, or monitoring the website, every interaction matters.

Tips to Improve Interaction:

  • Pay attention to each communication: Address questions individually regardless of the information. Using prewritten responses to answer each question will give the impression that you do not take communication seriously.
  • Be courteous: Tone and facial expression do not translate easily online. Make sure that the written tone is friendly and courteous. Double check communications for any phrasing that could be considered rude.
  • Be accessible: Make sure that websites are attractive and easy to navigate. Additionally, respond to email and social media regularly.

Consistent Through all Media

Branding must be consistent to be effective. It is easy to develop an image and theme for an organization and forget to carry it through all the media venues. There are specific steps that need to happen in order for branding to be consistent.

Steps:

  1. Determine the Visual Design: Choose a logo and style for your brand. It may be classic, fun, professional, etc. This style needs to be consistent, so choose something that you believe best represents you.
  2. Determine Your Message: Each organization has a message that is expressed in its values and principles. This message may be charitable, eco-friendly, etc. This message should be clear to consumers and included in all marketing platforms, including social media.
  3. Be Consistent: Include the message and design in each media platform. For example, use the same background and logo design on social media and the website. Additionally, no matter what happens, do not deviate from your message to consumers. All communication should support your message.

Media consistency will require careful monitoring, but any inconsistencies that customers perceive will negatively affect your brand.

Unique Qualities

A brand sets an organization apart from its competitors. It stems from everything that makes your brand stand out. In today’s market, however, it is difficult to be truly original. Even if you do have a completely new concept, competitors will eventually find their way into your market. You have to inform your customers about the qualities that make your brand unique. A brand positioning statement will establish the unique qualities of your business.

The brand positioning statement includes:

  • Target Audience:  Who your buyers are
  • Competition:  Mention your competition to distinguish yourself
  • Benefits: The main qualities that separate you from the competition
  • Promise: The selling position such as a guarantee

Example:

To the tech savvy consumer on the go, when you travel with Portable Pro, your portable devices will charge faster and maintain battery power longer than they do with other chargers. The speed and ease of this portable device is guaranteed, or you may return it for a complete refund.

Needs to be Actively Managed

As part of Internet marketing, brand marketing requires constant vigilance. It is tempting to create a brand strategy and then apply the “set it and forget it” approach. Without promoting the brand and following up with customer responses, the company’s reputation will fall into obscurity. In some instances, the brand can develop a negative reputation if the company does not pay attention to everything that it is linked to in cyber space. For example, it can take months to repair a brand’s reputation if a story of poor customer service is not addressed. In the age of social media, a brand can be destroyed overnight.

What to Manage:

  • Social media: Create new content to engage customers, and monitor the response. Additionally, address any complaints or negative press on your social media. Ignoring them will only harm your brand. No matter the situation, be respectful in your tone.
  • Track metrics and keywords: Pay attention to any press or comments concerning your brand with different programs available. Act quickly to resolve negative issues and take advantage of opportunities.
  • Customer response:  Use your market research to determine how customers are responding to your brand and how you can improve.

Source: Internet Marketing Fundamentals Workshop

River Street Consultant

 

Mindfulness

What Is Mindfulness?
People often confuse the concept of mindfulness with the idea that one should “stop and smell the roses.” However, if you found yourself with your nose stuck deep into a flower in a field where an angry bull was bearing down on you, this would be the exact opposite of being mindful. Put simply, mindfulness is a state of mind where you are fully conscious and engaged in the present moment and with the demands of the present moment.

Buddhist Concept
The concept of mindfulness comes to us through the Buddhist religion. The word “mindfulness” is one translation of the Pali word sati (Sanskrit smrti). Other translations of this word include “awareness” and “memory.” Mindfulness is one’s capacity to avoid distraction from the present moment, but in Buddhism it also means to avoid forgetting what one already knows and to remember to do what one has an intention to do.
If mindfulness means avoiding distraction, what is it that distracts us from the present? People are constantly besieged with needs. Our basic needs such as food and shelter, and our more complicated needs for love, respect, happiness, and so on all compel us to consider our past and future in terms of what to avoid and what to seek after. Consequently, the tempting answer is to blame all the things going on in our world as the source of distraction.

A Buddhist would disagree. Instead of everything that goes on “out there” being the source of distraction, Buddhists blame what they call the “monkey mind.” The monkey mind refers to our own mental capacity to engage internally in constant chatter. Sometimes internal mental chatter can be helpful for working out problems, for analysis, and even for play.

However constant mental chatter can also distract us from the things that are most important. And often, it can actually mislead us into misunderstanding a given situation. Buddhism teaches techniques in meditation to cultivate mindfulness and quiet the monkey mind.

Bare Attention
One aspect of mindfulness is the cultivation of bare attention. Bare attention is attention that is devoid of judgment or elaboration. Whenever we are faced with a new situation, we are tempted to try and consider what this new situation means to us. Will it be pleasant, scary, long lasting, or of minor importance? More often than not, we do not have enough information yet to make that assessment. When we start attempting to evaluate the situation before it has played out, this takes us into monkey mind style thinking, which often leads to distortion. One component of being mindful is to approach any present moment with our full and neutral attention.
Another way of thinking of bare attention is in the Zen Buddhist concept of “beginner’s mind.” To a Zen Buddhist, being a beginner is an ideal state because someone with no experience of something will also have developed no prejudice against it or other ways of placing limits on an experience. Since every moment of your life is unique, approaching each moment with innocence, as if you are a beginner and this is your first time experiencing this moment, allows you to keep yourself open to a host of possibilities that a more experienced person would either ignore or never consider.

Psychological Concept of Mindfulness
Although mindfulness originated as a Buddhist concept, psychologists from the 1970s to the present have studied the effects of Buddhist mindfulness meditation techniques and found that these are effective in reducing anxiety and reducing relapse rates in both depression and drug addiction. Recent studies have found that incorporating mindfulness into your life can increase positive emotions, improve the immune system, and reduce stress.

Despite the nearly universal agreement on the benefits of mindfulness, psychologists disagree on an exact definition of mindfulness or an exact method for developing mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn , one of the first psychologists to study mindfulness as a secular concept, defines mindfulness as “paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” According to a later study, mindfulness studies in psychology tend to require two components for mindfulness:
• A quality of high attentiveness and concentration
• An attitude of curiosity and openness.

Memory
To this point, we have focused on just one aspect of mindfulness, that of bare attention in the immediate moment. However, as mentioned earlier, another translation of the word sati is memory, and there is a very good reason for this.

Paying close attention to your immediate moment and environment sounds like a beneficial practice, and for the most part it is. However, there are times where paying too much attention can be detrimental and force you into mistakes. If you have ever been told or told someone else not to over-think a situation, this is a good example where bare attention can be detrimental. In fact, a recent study has found that a mindful state can be detrimental for certain kinds of learning.

When you learn to ride a bicycle, for example, you pay less attention about the process and feel of yourself pedaling. Instead, much of the learning occurs subconsciously in what is known as muscle memory. Muscle memory is one example of a special kind of memory called implicit memory. This type of memory occurs through practice.

For musicians who read music, for example, at a certain point in practice, they no longer consciously think about what the squiggles on the page actually mean. In fact, reading in general relies primarily on implicit memory. If you tried to be really mindful of what you were reading, by focusing on the shape of each letter or the makeup of each sentence, you would likely miss the overall meaning of a written passage, and it would take a long time to do it.

Mindfulness is helpful in tasks that make use of another kind of memory called explicit memory. This type of memory is helpful in learning new things and in memorization. However, when you wish to develop a habit, the combination of mindfulness when you are consciously willing yourself to do or notice something and scaling back your awareness as you allow the new task to be taken up in your unconscious mind through implicit memory is the ideal way to go.
Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a natural state of being. Throughout our lives we are frequently in this state without realizing it. If you have ever heard a noise at night and went to investigate, the level of attention that you bring to that situation is a good example of being mindful. However, we frequently divide our attention and, by necessity, we will selectively ignore aspects of our environment. When watching a sporting event on television, for example, a particularly enrapt fan might tune out conversation that is occurring around him or her in order to pay closer attention to the game. If the sports fanatics in this scenario consciously thought about paying attention to the conversations around them rather than the game on television, they could. In this sense, mindfulness is a mental skill that you can develop through practice.
Attention
When practicing mindfulness, whether through meditation or in a given moment, you want to pay attention to whatever comes up. For example, when you focus on your breath, note whether you are breathing in deeply or shallowly. Is your breath cold or warm? Fast or slow? Through your mouth or nose? If you feel pain somewhere, focus on that pain, note how it comes and goes or intensifies or subsides. You may notice aspects of breathing that you never have considered before. In fact whenever we are in any environment, we only pay conscious attention to a small number of details, typically.

Acceptance
When you meditate for mindfulness, or find yourself in a mindful state, it is important to accept things as they are without judgment. At some point, you may decide to act to change things, but initially you want to accept what you experience for what it is. Most religious thought includes some form of acceptance, whether it is the Christian view of surrendering your will to all God’s will to be done, or the Islamic view that you must submit to Allah.

By accepting things as they are, you allow yourself to remain open to a wider range of possibilities. So, for instance, when you meditate, do not do so with a goal in mind, as if you are trying to change yourself from one state to another. This may happen anyway, but that’s a side effect. Instead, think of the meditation as an opportunity to observe how things change and how they don’t change with the passage of time. Mindfulness is an act of observation rather than an attempt to change something. While you may determine later that a change is in order, initially you want to take a moment to observe how things are first.

Mindfulness Meditation
The best way to practice being mindful is through a regular program of meditation. Keep in mind that not all meditations are for the purpose of making you more mindful. Transcendental meditation and mantra meditation might increase mindfulness as a side effect, but these aim at an entirely different result. Furthermore, there are numerous methods of meditating that do aim at improved mindfulness. Some techniques take some time to learn.

For example, Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) approach involves taking an eight week course where you go through guided meditations. This can get expensive and time consuming. However if you are interested in a self-directed version of Kabat-Zinn’s course as an additional supplement to this course, you can follow the link at the bottom of this section.

The different approaches to mindfulness meditation typically focus on the following three attributes:
• Your body
• Your breath
• Your thoughts
This course provides a simple technique for mindfulness meditation. Spending approximately 10 to 15 minutes a day can help you dramatically improve your capacity for being mindful in any particular situation.
Scanning
One technique that Kabat-Zinn’s approach to mindfulness meditation includes is called scanning, or body scanning. Once you are used to it, you can do it without the need for a guided meditation, but one option for beginners is to record your voice talking yourself through the body scan. You start by lying down on your back in a comfortable space. Focus your attention on the toes of your left foot and noting anything you observe. You then move your focus to the sole of your left foot, your heel, and the top of your left foot. Then you move your focus up your left leg – your ankle, your calf, your knee, your thigh, and finally your left hip. At this point, you do the same with your right foot and leg all the way up to your right hip.

Once you have moved your focus up both legs, focus on your mid-section – pelvis, hips, groin, and buttocks – and then move your focus up your main torso – lower back, stomach, insides. At each point focus on how this part of you feels – are your muscles tense? Do you feel any pain, aches, coldness, warmth, etc.? Move your focus up the rest of your torso – your solar plexus, chest, breasts, spine, shoulder blades and shoulders. Once your focus has reached your shoulders, move your focus down the length of your left arm – your shoulder, bicep, elbow, forearm, hand, and fingers. Then do the same to your right arm. Finally we focus on the neck and head. Focus on your jaw, your cheeks and ears, eyes, forehead, back of the head, and finally top of the head. Once you have completed the scan, you can remain in this state for as long as you choose.
Source: Improving Mindfulness Workshop

River Street Consultant

Conflict Management and Generation Gaps

Conflict is normal in the workplace, but it could happen more often between two people of opposing generations.  Understanding how to manage conflict across the generations will help to reduce the confrontation and perhaps avoid them in the future.

This module will teach you the following:

  • Younger bosses managing older workers
  • Avoid turnover with a retention plan
  • Breaking down the stereotypes

Let us begin with our first topic of younger bosses managing older workers.

 

Younger Bosses Managing Older Workers

Managing older employees could be a source for conflict.  Older employers may feel they should be in charge or that you lack experience.  The key to avoiding conflict with an older employee is to demonstrate respect and showing them that they are valued.

Use the ACE technique in avoiding conflict with your older employees.  ACE stands for the following process:

  • Acknowledge your older employee’s experience and the value they bring to the team. Older employees may feel as if they are no longer valuable because of their age.  Show them you value them by reflecting on their achievements and contributions to the team.
  • Caring for your older employee comes in many ways. Become interested with their personal life or hobbies.  Take note of special things that took place in their lives.  Show interest in their family and listen to them when they talk and mirror back what they have said to show you were listening.
  • Exchange ideas and ask for input from your older employees on issues and demonstrate that you value their opinions and solutions. Implement good ideas and give them recognition.  When you implement their ideas, your older employee will be more willing to take in your ideas.  Create a give-and-take environment between you and your older employee.

 

Avoid Turnovers with a Retention Plan

Avoiding turnover is easier when you are prepared.  If you let turnover surprise you, then you are not paying attention to your environment.  Whenever you are speaking with your employees, always attempt to gauge their level of engagement with their job and try to determine any issues before it is too late.

A retention plan should be made for each of your employees.  You can make it as specific or general based on your needs.  Here are some things to consider when creating a retention plan for your employees based on generational traits:

  • Determine what values this person has based on their generational trait. Think of things that could be a motivating factor like schedule flexibility, incentives and recognition.
  • Prepare several focused questions that may lead to underlying issues. For example, you may ask questions about the reasons why they are dissatisfied with their job.  Be frank with your employees and tell them that you want to keep them and will set up a follow up meeting to discuss possible solutions.
  • Ask questions about their personal goals and career milestones and see how you can help them achieve them.
  • Be ready to become an advocate for your employee. This means that you may need to do some research or speak with key people in human resources to help find more solutions.
  • Work with your human resource contact to develop a retention plan. They can give you solutions that are aligned with your company’s policies.

Breaking Down the Stereotypes

Stereotypes are formed when there is lack of information from the other side.  Stereotypes are difficult to break because the thought process is difficult to detect.  The best way to address stereotypes is to get your team involved in activities that helps build the team and places them in a situation that challenges all the participants.

For example, you can have your team take on a project that you team never done before.  Perhaps you can engage your team with a friendly competition with another group of department where the focus is on the team.

Many activities can challenge your team.  When your team is challenged, their best traits will come through.  You may encounter resistance at first, but your job is to coach them through it.

Once you are done with your activity, hold a debrief meeting to spotlight the team and their achievement.  Share commonalities that span the entire team.  Finally, relate those commonalities to work related activities like project work, etc.

 

 

Embrace the Hot Zone

When dealing with generation gap issues, there is a hot zone that you must recognize and address.  The hot zone is an area you know there is conflict.  It could be between two employees or groups within your team.

Take a moment and jot some of these ideas down:

  • First, you must acknowledge the hot zone exists. Ignoring it could result to more widespread hot zones.
  • Next, you should engage the hot zone as soon as possible and provide feedback to all the parties involved.
  • Set expectations with your employees on how to handle future conflicts.
  • Hold one-on-one coaching with each employee involved in the hot zone and have him or her come up with ideas on how to make things better avoiding hot zone issues.

 

Treat Each Other as a Peer

Treating each other as peers requires some key behaviors that demonstrate this characteristic.  It is not enough to tell your employees to treat each other as peers.  They need a guideline and coaching in order to achieve this.

The CARE model is a good way to start this process and they should be coached at the individual level.  CARE stands for the following behaviors:

 

  • Your team should be exposed to an environment where ideas are exchanged and at times challenged.  Set ground rules in your meetings on how to handle disagreements.  Encourage other points of view.  Make sure all participants are involved.  Be fair in your assessments and use objective means to determine the best ideas.
  • Teach your team to acknowledge each other’s value.  In addition, teach them how to deliver the feedback.  Do not assume they know how to do this.  Remember that feedback is behavior-based.
  • Teach your team how to show respect to each other by using proper greetings and posture towards each other.  Set the expectation that derogatory remarks about age are not tolerated by anyone.
  • Teach your team that all members of the team are equal in value and contribution they bring.  Age is not a factor.

Create a Succession Plan

A succession plan is a map of the career path for your employee.  When you create a succession plan, you give that employee something to focus on in terms of a career goal.  When they are focused on a plan, they will be less susceptible to conflict because they are doing what it takes to achieve the goals of this plan.

Building a succession plan takes time.  It requires you to know the personal goals of your employee and their gaps.  You also have to be committed to their succession plan.  If you do not show commitment, your employee will disengage and may become frustrated and confrontational.

Here are some tips to creating a succession plan:

  • Determine a clear career goal
  • Make sure it is a real goal
  • Make sure it is attainable
  • Make sure it is time driven
  • Consult with your human resources department to determine what their requirements are
  • Consult with the head of the department if the career path takes them to another area
  • Determine any educational requirements and provide guidance
  • Set up a mentor program with someone currently doing what they want to achieve
  • Track their progress
  • Meet with them periodically to specifically discuss their progress on their succession plan

Source:  Generation Gaps Workbook

River Street Consultant

Communication and Self-Confidence

Self-confidence plays an important role in our everyday lives. Being confident allows us to set and reach our goals. It provides stability when we are faced with a challenge; it gives us that push that helps us overcome difficulties. Self-confidence is necessary in our personal and professional lives, as without it one would not be successful in either. It gives us the ability to stand up to face our challenges and to pick ourselves up when we fall.

What is Assertiveness?

An assertive person is confident and direct in dealing with others. Assertive communications promote fairness and equality in human interactions, based on a positive sense of respect for self and others. It is the direct communication of a person’s needs, wants, and opinions without punishing, threatening, or putting down another person.

Assertive behavior includes the ability to stand up for a person’s legitimate rights – without violating the rights of others or being overly fearful in the process. A skill that can be learned, assertive behavior is situational specific; meaning different types of assertive behavior can be used in different situations.

It involves three categories of skills; self-affirmation, expressing positive feelings, and expressing negative feelings. Each will be explored during this course.

What is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence is a belief in oneself, one’s abilities, or one’s judgment. It is freedom from doubt. When you believe you can change things — or make a difference in a situation, you are much more likely to succeed.

As a self-confident person, you walk with a bounce in your step. You can control your thoughts and emotions and influence others. You are more prepared to tackle everyday challenges and recover from setbacks. This all leads to a greater degree of optimism and life satisfaction.

 

The Four Styles

There are four styles of communication: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.

The Passive Person

Passive behavior is the avoidance of the expression of opinions or feelings, protecting one’s rights, and identifying and meeting one’s needs. Passive individuals exhibit poor eye contact and slumped body posture, and tend to speak softly or apologetically. Passive people express statements implying that:

  • “I’m unable to stand up for my rights.”
  • “I don’t know what my rights are.”
  • “I get stepped on by everyone.”
  • “I’m weak and unable to take care of myself.”
  • “People never consider my feelings.”

The Aggressive Person

An aggressive individual communicates in a way that violates the rights of others. Hence, aggressive communicators are verbally or physically abusive, or both. Aggressive communication is born of low self-esteem, often caused by past physical or emotional abuse, unhealed emotional wounds, and feelings of powerlessness.

These individuals display a low tolerance for frustration, use humiliation, interrupt frequently, and use criticism or blame to attack others. They use piercing eye contact, and are not good listeners. Aggressive people express statements implying that:

  • The other person is inferior, wrong, and not worth anything
  • The problem is the other person’s fault
  • They are superior and right
  • They will get their way regardless of the consequences
  • They are entitled, and that the other person “owes” them.

The Passive-Aggressive Person

The passive-aggressive person uses a communication style in which the individual appears passive on the surface, but is really acting out anger in a subtle, indirect, or behind-the-scenes way.

Passive-aggressive people usually feel powerless, stuck, and resentful. Alienated from others, they feel incapable of dealing directly with the object of their resentments. Rather, they express their anger by subtly undermining the real or imagined object of their resentments. Frequently they mutter to themselves instead of confronting another person. They often smile at you, even though they are angry, use subtle sabotage, or speak with sarcasm.

These individuals use communication that implies:

  • “I’m weak and resentful, so I sabotage, frustrate, and disrupt.”
  • “I’m powerless to deal with you head on so I must use guerilla warfare.”
  • “I will appear cooperative, but I’m not.”

The Assertive Person

An assertive individual communicates in a way that clearly states his or her opinions and feelings, and firmly advocates for his or her rights and needs without violating the rights of others. Assertive communication is born of high self-esteem. Assertive people value themselves, their time, and their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. They are strong advocates for themselves — while being very respectful of the rights of others.

Furthermore, assertive people feel connected to other people. They make statements of needs and feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully. Feeling in control of themselves, they speak in calm and clear tones, are good listeners, and maintain good eye contact. They create a respectful environment for others, and do not allow others to abuse or manipulate them.

The assertive person uses statements that imply:

  • “I am confident about who I am.”
  • “I cannot control others, but I control myself.”
  • “I speak clearly, honestly, and to the point.”
  • “I know I have choices in my life, and I consider my options. I am fully responsible for my own happiness.”

Communication Skills

Strong communication skills are essential for assertive interaction with others. Humans are social animals and communication is a very important part of our daily lives. Every interaction we have with another person including, face to face, over the phone, chatting online or even texting is communication happening, and have strong communication skills will benefit every type of interaction we encounter.

 

 

Listening and Hearing; They Aren’t the Same Thing

Hearing is the act of perceiving sound by the ear. Assuming an individual is not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something that one consciously chooses to do. Listening requires concentration so that the brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

Listening leads to learning, but this is not always an easy task. The normal adult rate of speech is 100-150 words per minute, but the brain can think at a rate of 400-500 words per minute, leaving extra time for daydreaming, or anticipating the speaker’s or the recipient’s next words.

As opposed to hearing, listening skills can be learned and refined. The art of active listening allows you to fully receive a message from another person. Especially in a situation involving anger or a tense interchange, active listening allows you to be sensitive to the multiple dimensions of communication that make up an entire message. These dimensions include:

The occasion for the message: What is the reason why the person is communicating with me now?

The length of the message: What can the length of the message tell me about its importance?

The words chosen: Is the message being made formally? Is it with aloofness or slang?

The volume and pace: What clues do the loudness and speed give me?

The Pauses and Hesitations: How do these enhance or detract from the message?

Non-verbal clues: What does eye contact, posture, or facial expressions tell me about the message?

Empathy is the capability to share and understand another’s emotions and feelings. Empathetic listening is the art of seeking a truer understanding of how others are feeling. This requires excellent discrimination and close attention to the nuances of emotional signals. According to Stephen Covey in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, empathetic listening involves five basic tasks:

  1. Repeat verbatim the content of the communication; the words, not the feelings
  2. Rephrase content; summarize the meaning of the words in your own words
  3. Reflect feelings; look more deeply and begin to capture feelings in your own words. Look beyond words for body language and tone to indicate feelings.
  4. Rephrase contents and reflect feelings; express both their words and feelings in your own words.
  5. Discern when empathy is not necessary – or appropriate.

 

Asking Questions

Active listeners use specific questioning techniques to elicit more information from speakers. Below are three types of questions to use when practicing active listening.

Open Questions

Open questions stimulate thinking and discussion or responses including opinions or feelings. They pass control of the conversation to the respondent. Leading words in open questions include: Why, what, or how, as in the following examples:

  • Tell me about the current employee orientation process.
  • How do you open the emergency exit door on an A320 aircraft?

Clarifying Questions

A clarifying question helps to remove ambiguity, elicits additional detail, and guides the answer to a question. When you ask a clarifying question, you ask for expansion or detail, while withholding your judgment and own opinions. When asking for clarification, you will have to listen carefully to what the other person says. Frame your question as someone trying to understand in more detail. Often asking for a specific example is useful. This also helps the speaker evaluate his or her own opinions and perspective. Below are some examples:

  • I can tell you are really concerned about this. Let me see if I can repeat to you your main concerns so we can start to think about what to do in this situation.
  • What sort of savings are you looking to achieve?

Closed Questions

Closed questions usually require a one-word answer, and effectively shut off discussion. Closed questions provide facts, allow the questioner to maintain control of the conversation, and are easy to answer.

Typical leading words are: Is, can, how many, or does. While closed questions are not the optimum choice for active listening, at times they may be necessary to elicit facts. Below are several examples of closed questions:

  • Who will lead the meeting?
  • Do you know how to open the emergency exit door on this aircraft?

Body Language

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication involving the use of stylized gestures, postures, and physiologic signs which act as cues to other people. Humans unconsciously send and receive non-verbal signals through body language all the time.

In addition, non-verbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. It is the single most powerful form of communication. Nonverbal communication cues others about what is in your mind, even more than your voice or words can do.

According to studies at UCLA, as much as 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues, and the impact of performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by non-verbal communication.

In conclusion, if a conflict arises between your words and your body language, your body language rules every time.

Source: Assertiveness and Self-Confidence Workshop

Importunacy of Administrative Procedures

Administrative procedures are more than mundane policies. They are put in place to ensure the survival of the company in any event or situation. From catastrophes, to change, to basic day-to-day activities, administrative office procedures address them all when they are done correctly. Business continuity, succession planning, audit requirements, and recovery planning are all included in administrative procedures.

Business Continuity

Business continuity is also known as business continuance. It is the plan in place to keep a company running in the event of a disaster, both during and after the disaster. Establishing business continuity requires identifying essential tasks first. This includes items and services that are critical for the organization to function. These will vary by organization but they include technology, employee safety, sound structure, etc.

Business Continuity Steps:

  • Determine risks that the company will likely face (weather, IT, sabotage, etc.).
  • Analyze the effects of each risk or hazard that you discover on different aspects of the company (safety, functions, assets, etc.). Determine how long your company could function if one of these risks came to pass and what recovery would require.
  • Develop a team and strategy to address the potential problems.
  • Develop a plan and document each step before sharing it with the rest of the team.
  • Test the plan using different methods such as drills, walkthroughs, and checklists.

 

Succession Planning

Successful succession planning develops a pool of talent so that there are more than enough qualified candidates to fill vacancies in leadership. This strategy requires recruiting qualified talent, creating a talent pool, and instilling loyalty in employees.

 

  • Identify goals and objectives: Common goals include profitability, employee loyalty, service, and productivity.
  • Identify needs in the company: Consider changes in the responsibilities of different positions the company develops.
  • Recognize trends in the workforce: Understand the changes occurring in within and without your organization, such as an aging workforce.
  • Develop the employee pool: Determine where to find employees to fill in the gaps (within, recruiting drives, social media, etc.), and develop a plan to engage them once they are chosen.

 

Internal and External Audit Requirements

Both internal and external audits are important for identifying risks that organizations face. The internal audit addresses how effective and reliable administrative controls are. An internal audit also addresses record accuracy, legal compliance, and management action. Internal audits and external audits are similar, but the internal auditor is an employee of the company that he or she audits. The external auditor is not an employee, and he or she will create a report based on the finances, operations, and compliance of companies. Both internal and external auditors provide recommendations based on their assessments.

The auditor, whether internal or external, is required to be independent and objective, qualified, provide adequate testing, provide adequate documentation and action, offer verification and review, and give a report that will be reviewed by relevant parties, such as the board of directors.

Recovery Planning

Recovery planning goes hand-in-hand with business continuity. Recovery planning or disaster recovery planning is the process that is put in place to recover data, software, hardware, and manpower that the company needs to start back up after a disaster.

Recovery Planning Steps:

  • Identify critical systems and prioritize them, and identify potential risks.
  • Determine strategies for data, technology, suppliers, people, and facilities.
  • Create a plan with step-by-step instructions based on the strategies discovered.

Test the recovery plan and make adjustments as necessary.

Source:  Administrative Skills

River Street Consultant