April 23, 2019

3 Fun and Unusual Ways to Strengthen Your Team

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A dynamic team culture has the potential to buoy your business to a stronger bottom line. In order to strengthen the bond of your team, it is important to engage them in activities that will build friendships and encourage trust. Although there is value in the typical company picnic or holiday party, sometimes it pays off bigger dividends when you think outside of the box when planning activities for your employees. Here are three unique activities that will strengthen your team:

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are the latest rage in entertainment. During these adventure games, employees are split up into teams and have to compete against each other and the clock by solving a series of puzzles and riddles. This form of reality entertainment is engaging and requires people to work together toward a common goal. According to The Escape Artist, every team member is required to contribute to problem-solving, giving everybody a chance to connect. Escape rooms are ideal for new employees or those who have already spent a significant amount of time together.

Equine-Assisted Team Building

Horses are dynamic creatures that survive through teamwork, so it’s only natural to include them in team building exercises. Wonder Valley says that team building sessions with horses can teach trust, communication, nonverbal cues, decision making, creativity, and leadership. This new and different activity will give your employees a common purpose and teach them the value of trusting one another. The uniqueness of the team building event will keep everyone talking about it long after the day has passed.

Obstacle Course

As corporate outings gain in popularity, there are more and more dedicated activities designed to encourage teamwork and to promote bonding. An obstacle course is a great way to get people moving. Many of these obstacle courses are specifically designed for team building. This means that they incorporate a variety of trust exercises and other activities engineered to bring people in your department together. One of the most popular forms of obstacle courses is a ropes course. JustWorks explains that a ropes course is beneficial for teams because during this adventure, people must overcome their fears and learn to trust their team members in order to reach the finish line. This makes this activity the perfect metaphor for corporate life.

Team outings can facilitate friendships inside and outside of the office while also reducing employee stress. Your employees will thank you for the opportunity to connect with others!

Do you need more help with getting your team to work more cohesively? Try a group coaching session!

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3 Tips to Save You Time During the Hiring Process

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The hiring process can be very time-consuming, which is a big problem because time is money. Forming the best team you can is worth all of that time and money though, so long as you’re creating it correctly. If you want to complete various phases as quickly as possible in order to save money, these three tips can help.

Use Phone Interviews

In small office buildings, phone interviews can be quite helpful because they help small businesses save money in a strategic way. According to this article, “phone interviews have several pros and cons. The benefits of phone interviews are: it can happen whenever, wherever, lowers pressure and stress, you can use notes without interviewer noticing, flexible, and no time or expenses for travel. The disadvantages are: more difficult to connect or build rapport, can’t read body language, less time for nuanced communication.” In order to understand how this tactic works, you’ll have to understand what happens during a traditional interview situation.

During a normal hiring routine, many potential hires meet at a business’s location, and everyone waits in a room until it’s time for an interview. Candidates will want to feel welcomed when they wait in the holding area, so a gracious manager usually needs to make the space inviting. The process of accomplishing this requires funds because a great holding area needs snacks, décor, and a television. By conducting interviews over the phone, you won’t have to spend money in order to make a holding area appealing for your guests. Instead, you can focus on asking important questions about skills and qualifications.

Use Pre-Employment Assessments

According to this article, “testing to measure a candidate’s hard skills during your hiring process allows you to save time down the road by validating and ensuring your new hire has the skills that you want and need in your position.” You can test a candidate by discussing possible situations that could happen after the individual is hired. For example, if you run a retail business, discuss how the individual would handle consumer conflicts. The feedback that you get will help you determine whether or not the person is a great business asset. If you’re looking for a leader, you’ll need a candidate who understands how to interact with teammates when a consumer conflict affects everyone. Since time is money, you must always take notes during every assessment so that you’ll make smart choices long after the assessments are over and save time and money in the long run.

Increase Your Reach Using Social Media

In some cases, a few people that you hire will earn a promotion, and you’ll need to find replacements after this happens. A position shouldn’t stay vacant for a long time because this could harm your company financially. The fastest way to find replacements and save money is by taking advantage of the tools available on social media. According to this article, “in 2015 alone, 84% of job recruiters were using social media to seek out job candidates, almost a 30% increase from 2011 where 56% of recruiters were using social media. As the internet becomes more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, it now has an effect on if we land that job we want or not.” If you run a campaign, you can narrow down the results based on skill, location, hobbies, and more. These options will help you find the right candidates for an interview fairly quickly.

Hiring is something that every manager will tackle on many occasions, which is why money-saving strategies are helpful. If you conduct phone interviews, assess candidates, and use social media, frequent hiring situations won’t dramatically impact your bottom line.

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4 Things Every Business Owner Should Do to Help Their Marketing Strategy

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As many business owners know, marketing is the difference between a good company and a great company. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to offer a viable product at a reasonable price if no one is aware of your company or its products. Certainly, there are few business subjects that are quite as important as marketing. With that in mind, let’s look at four quick tips to improve your marketing strategy.

Communicate

Advertising is all about communication. Not only do you need to maintain a solid line of communication with your customers, but you also need to maintain good communications with any ad agency whose services you might employ.

Make sure that there is more than one way to get ahold of your company. A phone line, an email address, maybe even a few social media accounts. This is necessary because if there is only one line of communication between you and the customers, that line will be tied up all the time, making it more difficult for everyone.

Source: Provide Support

Solicit Reviews

Give your customers some incentive to fill out surveys and give you good ratings. Offer them some special discounts, for instance, if they agree to a customer survey. If you make a real and honest effort to keep your customers happy, you should have no problem with the results.

Honest reviews are vitally important when it comes to diagnosing the health and progress of your company. Without honest and direct criticism, you may not be made aware of a serious problem that is driving the customer away. Online reviews help local SEO as well, so make sure to focus on these. The more positive reviews your business has, the higher up in the results your business will be.

Source: Podium

Keep Up with Trends

Advertising is supposed to be “hip.” That is to say, it should be in line with society’s most current trends. You don’t want people to see your product as being outdated or stale. Using outdated lingo, for example, can be a serious detriment to an otherwise good ad campaign. The use of outdated slang causes younger people to cringe, and thus, it is undesirable.

This is where you need to find a good team of public relations analysts with a good track record for success. There is a science to the process of keeping your finger on society’s pulse, so don’t hesitate to employ those who specialize in this aspect of marketing.

Source: MarTechSeries

Cast a Wide Net

Advertising should focus on multiple demographics. Unless your goods and services are meant to appeal only to a certain kind of person, you will do well to embrace as many demographics as possible. This can be very important in terms of advertising because you don’t want to offend anyone with the content of your ads.

Perhaps the best advice that can be given on this subject is to avoid all references to politics or religion. These issues tend to be so sensitive and so divisive that you cannot really talk about them without taking the risk of offending someone. Look at it like this: You aren’t trying to tell your customers what to believe. You just want their business, and that’s all they want from you.

Source: BrandingMag

Make sure that you don’t confine yourself to one or a few forms of media, either. Everything from billboard ads to social media marketing should be utilized. Much like the process of fishing, your success will often depend upon casting the widest net that you possibly can.

Marketing is, in essence, nothing more than the way that your company interacts with its current and potential customers. By putting your best foot forward and tailoring your message to the widest audience possible, you can create a positive association with your company in the minds of potential customers. This always translates into a higher level of brand recognition, which usually translates into higher levels of profitability.

For additional guidance on your marketing and business strategy, schedule a free consultation with Shannon!

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Fun Team Building Exercises Any Business Can Do Right Now

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Before you hear your team groan about having to complete another team-building exercise, you may want to try these exciting and engaging activities. After all, the purpose of team-building activities is for employees to learn more about each other while having a great time. Here are some that you may want to consider the next time you need to lead a team.

Employee Bingo

Start by drawing a Bingo card on pieces of paper. Find out something unique about each of your employees that are going to be in the meeting. For example, one employee may have been born in a foreign country while another one may have four dogs. Then, label each square with a different notable characteristic while making sure each sheet is unique. Have participants ask each other to sign the square that applies to them with the first one who gets five in a row winning the game.

Related: http://www.howdoyouplay.net/icebreakers/how-to-play-people-bingo.html

Egg Drop

Gather many different office supplies. Divide participants into two groups. Assign each group to use the office supplies to build a contraction that when an egg is dropped in the middle of it, the egg will not break. At the end of the assigned time, drop the eggs with the winner getting a prize.

Name the Office

If you have several people who normally work in different offices in the same building, then you can play “name the office.” In order to play this game, have your employees come up with names for your conference room and then as a group, decide what the final name will be. Naming an office space or conference room as a team makes your employees feel like they have some investment in their workplace and it reflects the interests and humor of your employees.

Related: https://blog.davincimeetingrooms.com/workplace/100-plus-conference-room-names/

Office Scavenger Hunt

Make a list of unusual items found in your office. For example, it may be an employee’s chapstick that they always keep in an unlocked office drawer or a plant that has died from being long neglected. Divide the participants into two teams and give the same list to both. Set a timer and yell, “go.” The team returning with the most items is the winner.

Related: https://www.goosechase.com/blog/team-building-scavenger-hunt-ideas-for-the-office/  

There are many different team-building activities that you can do with your crew. Ensure that everyone feels free to participate. Sit back and watch the fun abound as people learn to work together as a team.

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Nail Your Short Presentation at Work with These 5 Tips

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Making a brief presentation at work may seem like a no-brainer, but preparing one can prove to be challenging. It’s always a good idea to iron out the details of your presentation well ahead of time so you can nail it when the time comes. Here are five easy tips that can help you give an informational, inspiring and persuasive presentation in the workplace.

Keep the Audience Interested

Few things are less interesting than having to sit through a presentation that’s given in a monotone voice. Use voice inflections and intonation to emphasize important words and transitions, and pause momentarily to let important ideas sink in. If the occasion is informal or semiformal, you might address the audience directly rather than discussing the topic in third person. Use examples and details that relate to listeners so they can feel included, making references to daily life or demographics that connect with people in the audience. Also be sure to make eye contact occasionally with the audience throughout the presentation.

Resource: https://minutehack.com/guides/5-ways-to-keep-your-audience-interested

Pace Your Presentation

Rather than choosing to simply wing it and hope for the best, practice pacing your speech beforehand. Make an outline with key points and rehearse the talk smoothly from one point to the next. Keep an eye on the time to ensure your speech stays on track. A good rule of thumb for giving presentations is that every minute is roughly 125-150 words spoken, so a 5-minute speech would usually require 625 – 700 words. That being said, it’s always a good idea to plan for a few extra minutes in case audience members wish to ask questions afterward.

Resource: https://wordcounter.io/blog/how-many-words-is-a-5-minute-speech/

Incorporate a Story

Everyone loves to hear a good story, so aim to include some type of story in your talk that illustrates one of your presentation’s principles. A good choice is to draw from current events in the news that many in the audience will have heard of and perhaps identify with. You can also use personal experience or observations about the lives of others in certain situations. Using characters, real or fictitious, and a narrative format often encourages the audience to listen more attentively, and it can stoke their interest in your topic.

Resource: https://blog.slideshare.net/how-to-tell-great-stories-during-presentations

Use Humor

Like smiling, humor is a universal element that everyone can relate to. Many successful speakers start a presentation with a humorous anecdote or a comical remark about the context for the presentation. Use lighthearted humor rather than a sarcastic tone. However be sure to avoid slapstick comedy, which can dilute the seriousness of your topic and cause the audience to feel more entertained than educated. Self-deprecating humor is another easy way to start the presentation and often helps to put the speaker on par with the audience.

Resource: http://totalcommunicator.com/vol2_2/funnymeeting.html

A short talk can feel like it is over much too soon for audiences who enjoy and appreciate what they hear. Practice beforehand and give listeners fun and interesting things to consider. By following these steps you can ensure that your talk will not only be interesting to hear but also have the desired impact on your audience.

If you feel a little lost on or anxious about leading or running a business, then let Shannon Gronich help you out!

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