Monthly Archives: July 2014

How to Answer the Phone Calls As a Businessman

Phone Etiquette for the Businessman

Telephone calls and ringing telephone bells are the bane of many a businessman’s life. For this reason the handling of telephone calls is usually turned over to the secretary, with the average businessman rarely placing a call himself and receiving only those his secretary thinks he will want to take.

Making and Taking Your Own Calls

The latest trend encourages men to answer their own telephones and make their own calls. Those who go along with this idea claim it saves their time and patience to handle telephone calls themselves. Men who oppose this idea claim that it wastes time, rather than saves it, for them to place their own calls and to answer every incoming call, a number of which can be handled by the secretary alone.

Some companies adopted the policy of having men handle their own calls only because so much time was being wasted by secretaries manoeuvring to give their employers status by putting him on the phone after the other fellow. Secretaries are not wholly to blame for this childish nonsense. The question of who gets on the telephone first is a matter of foolish pride with many businessmen.

The following simple common-sense rules of courtesy can solve this problem:

Inter-office calls. The junior in rank should be on the line first, regardless of who initiates the call. If the two men are of equal status, the one who is making the call gets on the line first.

Local calls. The one making the call should be on the line first. Long distance station-to-station calls. The one making the call should be on first.

Long distance person-to-person calls. The one receiving the call should be on the line first.

Announcing Oneself

The man who makes his own telephone calls announces himself to a woman as “This is Mr. Jackson of Linwood and Sons.” To a man he would say, “This is Jackson of Linwood and Sons.”

A woman introducing herself over the telephone says, “This is Miss Terhune of Smithfield Brothers.”

Answering the Telephone

When a man answers his own telephone he says, “Herrick speaking.” Or he may mention his department, such as, “Accounting, Mr. Herrick.” Or ‘Payroll, Herrick speaking.”

A woman answering her own telephone says merely “Miss Collins” or “Miss Collins speaking.” If she is part of a division or department, she might say, “Advertising, Miss Collins.”

Telephoning for an Appointment

If you are asked what day and time suit you best, when you ask for an appointment, don’t reply that you are free to come any time. That leaves the situation right where it was. The proper answer helps the person with whom you are speaking to arrange a time that best suits you. Say, “I can come in any morning between ten and eleven.” Or, “I can come only on Fridays after two o’clock.”

Don’t use the name of a mutual friend as a means of getting an appointment unless you have asked for—and received—permission to do so.

Receiving a Call on Another Person’s Telephone

Occasionally an important telephone call will be referred to you when you are visiting in someone else’s office. Your host will usually invite you to use his telephone or you may ask permission to use it. If you wish, you may say you will take it outside at the secretary’s desk. Try to keep your conversation brief; your associate is waiting to resume your discussion.

If you have no need of a telephone in your work, and calls for you come in on someone’s else’s telephone, discourage all but important calls. Otherwise you are going to be a nuisance to the individual whose phone you use. Again, keep your conversations brief and to the point. Don’t tie up the phone for long periods of time, chatting with your friends.

Making a Call on Someone Else’s Telephone

If you have occasion to call long distance—perhaps to your home office or factory—from an office you are visiting, reverse the charges or ask the operator for the charges so that you can pay for the call—or at least offer to cover the expense. If the call is a local one it isn’t necessary to offer to pay for it, but you should not make a practice of telephoning from someone else’s office.

Placing and receiving telephone calls when you have a guest

Do not make a phone call when you have visitors, unless your visitors are related to the business that you want to discuss on the phone.

Regarding the incoming calls, only answer the calls that are too urgent. Ask your secretary not to connect the calls unless they are too important or are related to the visitor/visitors you have.

Should a telephone call of extreme importance, or of a private nature, come in while someone from your office is visiting you, courteously ask him to leave: “This is an important call I’ve been waiting for all morning. Will you excuse me? I’ll be in touch with you later.”

Telephone Interruptions

Should you be interrupted while you are speaking on the telephone—and this should occur only in an extreme emergency—try to finish your call. If you can’t, apologize to the person on the other end of the wire and say you will call back.

When a call is disconnected, whoever put in the call should ask the operator to connect him with the number again.

Should you pick up an extension telephone and discover you’ve interrupted a conversation, quickly say, “I’m sorry,” and hang up.

How to Professionally Answer the Phone Calls in Your Office

The way in which a telephone call to a company or an individual is answered by the switchboard operator has an important psycho logical effect upon the caller. A cheerful voice and inflection, plus careful enunciation, make the caller feel immediately that he is dealing with an efficient, dynamic company. Just the opposite impression is given by the voice that sounds bored and tired and that slurs its greeting so that the caller isn’t sure he’s made the right connection.

Answering the Phone

When you answer the phone calls you have to do your best not to keep the caller waiting. This is very important and make the caller realized that he has called a professional and reliable company.

The Phone Greeting

The greeting you give have to be accurate and be according to the correct time and also the company  name. This helps the caller understand that he has dialed the right number without having to ask. For example, “Good morning, The Palisades Company,” or, “Good afternoon, Bryant 9-8000.” Knowing that he has the right number, the caller merely has to ask for the individual he is calling. When your company requires a special greeting on holidays, sound as though you mean it when you answer a call with, “Merry Christmas; Palisades Company.”

If you work in a small office—perhaps a one-man company—and answering the phone is part of your job, give the company name and your own. For instance, “Briarwood, Incorporated—Miss Dunn speaking.” You may precede this with “Good morning” or whatever is appropriate to the time of day. But when the name of the company is a long one, it might be best to omit the greeting and just give the company name and your own.

The Case of the Vanishing Operator

Don’t annoy callers by doing a disappearing act the minute you answer the call, then coming back on to ask who the caller wants, and disappearing once again just as he is telling you. No one likes to be left talking to himself.

Also, when you ask someone why he is calling, listen until you’ve heard the answer—even though it is a long, complicated story. It only irritates callers if you ask them the reason for the call and then seem not to be paying attention because you are answering other calls.

Frequently company policy requires that the switchboard operator ask the name of the person calling. A very busy switchboard operator is permitted to use the somewhat brusque, “Who’s calling?” or “Who’s calling, please?”

Should a caller refuse to give his name, the operator may connect him with the secretary of the man he has asked for and leave it to her to find out the reason for the call.

Having the Caller Hold the Line

When the caller gives you the name of the person he wants to speak with, thank him and connect him.

If the line is busy, tell the caller, “Mr. Brown’s line is busy. Will you wait?” If he answers in the affirmative, say, “Thank you.” Re turn to him every minute to keep him posted; no one likes to feel he’s holding on to a line that’s been forgotten. You can say, “Mr. Brown’s line is still busy.” And don’t forget to say, “Thank you” when he says he will continue to wait.

When Mr. Brown hangs up, say, “Mr. Brown’s line is free now. Thank you for waiting.”

Should a caller decide not to wait when Mr. Brown’s line is busy, be sure you get his name, number and extension. Write them down, and say, “Thank you. I will tell Mr. Brown you called.”

Handling Problem Calls

When you plug in a call from someone who seems vague about what he wants or who he wants to speak to, or who is obviously a crank caller, don’t cut him off abruptly while you answer other calls. The problem here is not to let a caller of this type take up so much of your time that the switchboard lights up like a Christmas tree while he tells his tale. Listen to him closely to see if you can help him by referring him to a certain department or individual. If you must interrupt him to answer another call, say, “One moment, sir. I have another call to answer.” If you decide it is pointless to connect him with anyone, suggest that he write a letter to the company, explaining his problem.

Regarding the answering the phone calls in a business office, please also read the below articles:

  1. How to Answer the Phone As a Secretary
  2. How to Answer the Phone Calls As a Businessman

How to Deal with Your Junior Executives

If you are a high-ranking executive with junior executives under your wing, your attitude towards them can make a significant difference in how successfully they develop. If you treat them with apparent discourtesy, you discourage them from doing their best. More harmful, probably, is the fact that you also weaken their image of authority in the eyes of their subordinates.

Here are specific ways in which you can demonstrate your consideration for your junior executives, and in doing so show that you are solidly behind them.

1. Give each man the prestige and status he has earned

If a man has earned the right to certain privileges and status symbols, he expects to get them. It is a mistake to think that these things are unimportant; they matter to the executive, and their presence or absence is noted by his subordinates. Whether it is a larger office, or a listing in company directories, or a reserved spot to park his car, or just a name plate, see that a man gets it if his position deserves it. It is a small courtesy you can’t afford to neglect.

Show by your actions, too, that you accord his position the respect it deserves. It is disrespectful to by-pass a junior executive and deal directly with his subordinates. It is disrespectful to fail to include him in meetings, or to leave his name off routing slips when information is being circulated to management people, or to other wise suggest that he isn’t very important to you.

2. Give him the authority he needs

When a man is given a responsible job to do, he should also get the authority he needs to get the job done. If your junior executives have to come to you frequently for approval of plans, or if you frequently override the decisions they make, you are undermining their authority.

You should give every subordinate executive the degree of authority that his responsibilities require, and encourage him to use it. He will appreciate your confidence in him—and he will need it, if he is to become an effective executive.

3. Let him know he can count on your support

One of the surest ways to smother initiative in a junior executive is to encourage him to make decisions, then blame or ridicule him when he makes a mistake. This is especially rude when it is done in front of his subordinates.

The only considerate policy is to stand behind your subordinate supervisors. Show them that you will back them up, both in their dealings with their subordinates and in your dealings with higher management. Do your fault-finding with them in private, and make your criticism constructive. They should feel that you will take their side until they are proven wrong, and that even then you will not humiliate or be little them.

4. Don’t get too friendly with your junior executives

Familiarity may not always breed contempt, but there are other problems it can cause. It is difficult to take an objective view of the performance of someone who has become a close friend. It is even more difficult to criticize him, even though you may recognize that he needs it. And you are almost certain to create a morale problem when you show favouritism.

The rule about not getting chummy with subordinates applies to employees at any level below you, not just to junior executives. However, there is a special danger that a close friendship may develop between executives, even though they may be of different rank. There is not the same natural barrier between them that there is between an executive and a lower-level employee.

How to Deal with Your Secretary in a Good Manner

If you have a personal secretary, you probably spend a substantial portion of your working day with her. You probably know each other well, and know how to work well together. No matter how close your working relationship with your secretary is, be sure that you remember to treat her with courtesy and deal with her in the best possible manner.

Here are some important courtesies that secretaries appreciate from their bosses, as revealed in a survey of over two hundred executive secretaries in different parts of the country.

1. Remember to say “please” and “thank you.”

It’s never good manners to assume that because you have such a close working affiliation, you need not bother to use “please” and “thank you” in the daily course of your activities. “Please take care of this, Miss Kane,” rather that a curt “take care of this,” goes a long way toward making the work day more pleasant. Similarly, “thank you” to your secretary, spoken warmly and often, makes her work load seem lighter and her job more rewarding.

2. Don’t blame your secretary when things go wrong

When your secretary makes a mistake, point it out with a view toward preventing similar errors in the future, rather than waste time “placing blame.” Remember that when you let your secretary save face (she does this for you, constantly, in many diplomatic ways) by getting down to the business of making corrections instead of “rubbing it in,” you save time, energy, and avoid needless irritation.

3. Be open to suggestions

The employer who treats his secretary like a machine will get, inevitably, machine-like reactions from her. Let her know that you respect her intelligence and value her opinion. An occasional, “We’ll try it your way this time, Miss Ames,” does wonders for her feeling of usefulness.

4. Don’t “push” your secretary to work faster

It isn’t usually necessary to push a reliable secretary to work harder and faster; once she understands what has to be done, and when, she likes to establish her own pace. She’s willing to accept the responsibility for getting it done promptly.

5. Don’t discuss your secretary with others

This is a courtesy that every secretary appreciates. In the course of the boss-secretary relationship the employer sometimes learns facts about the personal life of his private secretary. Just as an employer expects his secretary to keep his private affairs confidential, the secretary appreciates an employer who keeps what he has learned of her personal affairs confidential. Also, the thoughtful employer does not make personal comments about his secretary’s appearance or her work, in the presence of others.

6. Be considerate in small things

Often, it’s the small irritations that are hardest to bear. When you know your secretary will probably have to stay overtime, do you wait until the last minute to tell her about it? Or do you give her the courtesy of letting her know as much in advance as you possibly can? When dictation or other work runs into lunch time, do you ask her if she has made a luncheon appointment? Even if she has not, she will appreciate your courtesy in having asked her, anyway.

7. Don’t try to reform your secretary

It’s bad manners to carp on small habits and little things your secretary may do that are not quite to your liking. If her assets far outweigh her little liabilities, keep in mind that most likely she is putting up with you as she finds you, too. You would probably be surprised at the number of things in your personality that your secretary would like to change, if she could.

8. Respect her privacy

Your secretary senses when to walk out so that you may talk on the phone in private or when to walk out quickly after introductions are made. She will appreciate it when you allow her a bit of privacy, too, when she has an important phone call, for example.

9. Maintain a sense of humor

A kind word, a bit of fun, a little relaxation at the right moment can do wonders for both you and your secretary when the going gets rough. It takes little effort on your part, and it pays off.

How to Fire an Employee Professionally and Properly

It is unpleasant to have to fire an employee. It is also costly, in several respects. Whatever training the employee received is wasted. To find and train a substitute will take time and money. You also pay a price in the inconvenience of being short-handed, even for a short time. And the dismissal may have a demoralizing effect on the other employees. Nevertheless, if it becomes necessary to fire someone, you must do it.

Here are suggestions for handling a dismissal with a minimum of unpleasantness and cost.

1. Give the employee warning

A sudden dismissal without some previous warning of trouble is rare. If you have done nothing about an employee’s earlier infractions or poor work, and then suddenly decide that he has to be let go, you are being inconsiderate. Every employee deserves the benefit of initial warnings about unsatisfactory work or behavior; ample chance for corrections and improvements; even a chance for a transfer to another department where he might do better. He should also have your encouragement and advice when he first experiences trouble.

When other employees know that this is your practice, they also know that someone who seems to have been fired without warning actually had abundant notice, and every chance to improve. This is important, because employees are fearful and resentful when it appears that firings are handled inconsiderately and seem to come without warning.

2. Have good cause when you fire someone

The power to dismiss an employee is not to be used capriciously. You must have a substantial reason before you can fire someone in good conscience. Again, the morale of your subordinates will suffer seriously if they feel that you will make up a flimsy excuse to fire an employee you don’t like. (If your subordinates are unionized, of course, the causes for which an employee can be discharged are probably spelled out in a contract.)

3. Don’t humiliate an employee whom you are firing

If it becomes necessary to dismiss someone, let him know about your decision in private conference. Climaxing a public disagreement in front of other employees by yelling, “You’re fired!” is inexcusable melodrama that disgraces the employee before his fellow workers. In the privacy of your office or a conference room, tell him not only that he is being dismissed, but also why. Even in private, you should not get angry with him; make it clear that you take this action with regret and only after trying to prevent it. If his reaction is an angry one, avoid answering him the same way and creating an ugly scene.

4. Give him any last-minute help you can

The reasons for an employee’s dismissal may be such that you can still recommend him to another employer. Certainly you can see that he gets any severance pay or other company benefits due him. Your company may permit you to allow an employee who is on notice for dismissal to take time off to seek a new job. The employee who is leaving will appreciate any help you arc able to give him—and your consideration won’t go unnoticed by his fellow workers, either.

How to Be a Good Supervisor and Behave with Employees Properly

The authority to tell others what to do does not free you from the responsibility of treating your subordinates with courtesy and respect. On the contrary, as a leader you have the special responsibility of setting the right example. Courtesy toward subordinates is not just a moral obligation, however; your effectiveness as a supervisor will suffer if you neglect it.

Below you will find many of the common and less common situations where your ability to show consideration for your subordinates will be tested. In every case, you will gain rather than lose when you practice etiquette in your relations with people who work for you.

Good-Supervisor1. A request is better than a command

Barking orders is one way of getting people to work, but not the best. If you ask instead of command, your employees will respond to this sign of respect by working harder for you. By showing that what you want is willing cooperation, not subservience, you help your subordinates feel they are part of a team.

This does not mean, of course, that you should plead with your people to work. Your instructions must always be clear and definite, and there must be no question that you expect them to be carried out. You can accomplish this quite effectively without being dictatorial.

2. Courtesy demands that you set a good example

A good supervisor should not place himself above the rules that he expects his subordinates to follow. If you discipline a subordinate for a rules infraction that you often commit yourself, he will resent it, and with good reason. You have privileges as a good supervisor, but a supervisor who acts like a privileged character is showing his bad manners.

3. Show trust in your employees

If you take the attitude that your subordinates have to be closely watched or they’ll take advantage of you, they will reciprocate by not trusting you, either. A much more pleasant and productive atmosphere will exist if you trust the people who work for you, and show them that you do. If they know that you have confidence in their readiness to do their best, even when you aren’t looking over their shoulder, they will respond by doing their best.

When someone does take advantage of your trust, which some times happens, then you must discipline him. That shouldn’t prevent you from showing every subordinate the courtesy of trusting him until he gives you reason not to.

4. Show your loyalty to them

How do you react when someone, especially a superior, questions you about a matter that seems to reflect poorly on the work or conduct of a subordinate? If your re action shows that you are sure the employee was at fault and that you intend to discipline him for it, you are not being loyal to your subordinates. At the very least, you should suspend judgement in such a situation until the subordinate has a chance to tell you his side of the story. Rather than show your superior what a dynamic supervisor you are by promising drastic punishment to the guilty party, you should be prepared to show your loyalty by defending the people who work for you. You might simply say that you will look into the matter, and then take it up with the employee later when you can discuss it in private.

This is not to suggest that you should take the position that you or your subordinates can do no wrong; you should be big enough to accept blame when it is due. The point is that you should assume your subordinates are innocent until they are proven guilty.

Probably the most inexcusable discourtesy in this respect is to openly criticize a subordinate for something that you, as his super visor, knew about and could have prevented. Using a subordinate as a “scapegoat” is both bad manners and irresponsible supervision.

5. Don’t be careless with confidential information

Any person in a management or supervisory position will have access to information that, for good reasons, should not be made known to everyone. One courtesy your subordinates will expect from you is that you treat communications between you and them as confidential. Here are pointers on how and when you must watch what you say, and to whom you say it.

  1. Don’t discuss one subordinate with another.You should never discuss with one subordinate the work performance or the personality of another, except where their working relationship makes it necessary. It is a discourtesy to the employee being discussed, and what you say might give the other employee an unfair advantage if they are hi a competitive position for a promotion. It is also only natural that the employee to whom you reveal your opinions about his co-worker will wonder if you talk about him that way.
  2. Never violate a confidence.Whatever personal information you learn about an employee, through either his job application forms or your personal contacts with him, should not be revealed to others. If someone’s salary has been garnished by a creditor, for example, you could cause him great embarrassment if you were to reveal this to anyone. Your subordinates should be able to feel that they can confide in you, if necessary, without fear that you will make public knowledge of what they say.
  3. Keep company secrets, too.There are supervisors who like to impress their subordinates by telling them about company secrets (and rumors) they have heard from higher management. This is a dangerous practice, and it violates a supervisor’s responsibility to his company. You owe it to your company, as well as to your subordinates, to refrain from saying what shouldn’t be said, and to protect confidential information.

6. Give your subordinates the information they need

It is bad manners to be careless with confidential information, but it is even more inconsiderate to deprive your subordinates of information they are entitled to have. The following paragraphs give specific examples of types of information your subordinates want and should have.

  1. An employee wants his job clearly defined.Make sure that each subordinate knows exactly what he is supposed to be doing. Give him all the information you can about how, when, where, and with whom he should work. Try to go beyond bare facts and give him enough background information to help him make decisions on his own when a problem arises. And be sure that he understands what the limits of his responsibilities and his authority are.
  2. An employee wants to know how he’s doing.When a subordinate does something well, let him know that you notice it and appreciate it. Try to make clear just why the performance was a good one. When he does something incorrectly or poorly, you are being unfair to him unless you tell him that his performance was unsatisfactory; he can’t learn from his mistakes unless they are pointed out to him. When you criticize, be specific and be constructive. And do it in private! (See below for more advice on how to give criticism.)
  3. An employee wants to know what his job future is.Your sub ordinates want to know what lies ahead, both for themselves as individuals and for the department and the company. Let them know what your goals are and how you plan to reach them. They should be able to see how they are contributing, and how they stand to gain if they do their lob well.

7. Get their side of the story

Every employee likes to feel that he can talk to his supervisor when he has a problem or a question. If you discourage this, you may save yourself some time, but you will also frustrate the people who work for you.

Try to encourage your subordinates to come to you with questions. If you go a step beyond this, and show your interest in their progress by asking them how they are coming along, you will have their appreciation, and you will have better work, too.

An occasional employee will try to take advantage of your willingness to listen. You must make it clear to such a person that your time is limited, and that you can’t afford lengthy discussions on matters that aren’t connected with his job. This may take diplomacy, but it must be done. It would not be fair to your other subordinates to let your time be monopolized by one or two people.

8. Don’t take a good employee for granted

Many supervisors spend most of their time and effort on problem employees. This is hardly fair to the majority of employees who get to work on time, work hard and effectively with little supervision, and do what is expected of them without complaining.

Show your appreciation of good performance by not taking it for granted. Make a point of spending time with the subordinates who help you the most by their dependable service. A pat on the back is a small courtesy that means a lot to most people.

9. The art of gentle criticism

The best criticism is the kind that makes the employee feel he has learned something, and makes him want to do better. You get this result only when you know how to temper your criticism with good manners, and a consideration of the other person’s feelings. Here is how you can find fault with a sub ordinate firmly yet gently.

  1. Be positive.When you are reviewing someone’s work, mention the good points first, complimenting him If possible. This will strengthen him for the negative points you are going to make.
  2. Be specific.When the time comes to point out a mistake to some one, don’t be vague or ambiguous. Tell him exactly what he did or is doing wrong, and tell him exactly what he must do about it. You have gained nothing if he is left with a question in his mind as to what you didn’t like, or how he is supposed to correct it.
  3. Be helpful.Instead of harping on the mistake, try to concentrate on what is to be learned from it, and on how to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
  4. Be receptive.Naturally, you can’t afford to accept alibis from your subordinates; you have to get at the root of mistakes and find out exactly why they were made. But you will often find that a sub ordinate’s explanation of how a mistake came about will suggest how a procedure could be simplified or improved. Knowing that you are willing to hear his side also makes it easier for him to accept your criticism in a positive spirit.
  5. Control your anger.It is dangerous to criticize when you are angry. You are likely to say things that will only make matters worse; you will dwell on the mistake and forget that there is something to be learned; you will create a reaction of anger and resentment in the employee, instead of a desire to improve. When criticism becomes personal, it tends to create more problems than it solves.With this in mind, wait until you are calmed down before you discuss a mistake with a subordinate. Also, avoid the use of antagonistic or belittling words—”thoughtless,” “stupid,” “dumb,” etc.— when you speak to him.
  6. Do your criticizing in private.Don’t embarrass a subordinate by taking him to task in an obvious way in front of other employees. This is especially true if he is also a supervisor, and the other employees are his subordinates.Use a private office or a conference room, where you can both feel free to speak. If a private room isn’t available, and you must discuss it in his work area or another place where other employees are nearby, keep your voice low in volume and calm in tone. For a minor matter, of course, going into a private room would be un necessary.

10. Learn to handle a personality clash

Every supervisor, no matter how capable, is apt to find that he must deal with problems that stem from a basic clash of temperament between two employees who work together. Personality clashes that you may have to handle are either those between you and a subordinate, or those between two sub ordinates. In either case, your business manners will be put to the test.

11. Handling a clash between you and a subordinate

If you seem to strike sparks with someone who works for you, here are some tips that can help you deal with the situation.

  1. Maintain a dignity that befits your supervisory level.This means that no matter how angry you feel, you should not meet a subordinate’s bad manners with equally bad manners. Refrain from shouting or other displays of temper or lack of self-control. If necessary, dismiss the subordinate until you have had a chance to calm down and analyze the problem.
  2. Find out what the real problem is.The immediate unpleasantness may be only a symptom of what is wrong, not the problem itself. Here are some questions you might ask yourself, as a means of getting at the cause of the trouble between you:a. Does the subordinate get along with his fellow workers? Are you the only one who finds him difficult?b. Is it his work you object to, or is it strictly a personality problem?c. Could the tension between you be caused by differences in your educational or social backgrounds, rather than by your working relationship?d. Have you allowed your feelings toward him to influence what kind of assignments you give him, or to make you more critical of him than of others? (Have you been picking on him, in other words?)e. Is it possible that a misunderstanding is the root of the problem, and that a calm discussion might help clear it up?
  3. Make a sincere effort to overcome your differences.Once you decide what the basic problem is, take steps to solve it. This is actually a two-step process; first you must resolve the immediate conflict, then try to eliminate the basic cause of tension between you and your subordinate. If you approach this second step with an open mind, and show him that you are willing to go as far as you can toward improving your relationship, he is apt to respond in the same way.

12. Handling a clash between two subordinates

A feud between two co-workers can disrupt an entire office and have a serious effect on efficiency and morale. It is important that you take prompt action to settle a clash between subordinates. Here is a practical approach.

  1. if there is an incident, such as an open argument, handle that first. Use your authority to restore order and get people back to work.
  2. Hear the arguers out. Give each subordinate a hearing and let him present his view of the disagreement. Encourage him to try to explain why his disagreement with the other employee came about, as well as give you his side of the specific argument.
  3. Consider the two points of view and form an opinion as to whether one or the other is in the right, and decide what to do about it. If the blame is mutual, you might want to speak to them together and explain that you want no more disrupting disagreements. If one person seems chiefly responsible, it is usually best to deal with him alone. In a few cases you may be forced to change job assignments or keep the employees apart in some way; you may even be forced to discharge someone who is unable to work with others and creates a serious morale problem.

Please read the below articles too:

  1. How to Fire an Employee Professionally and Properly
  2. How to Deal with Your Secretary in a Good Manner
  3. How to Deal with Your Junior Executives

How to Create a Virtual Machine Using Oracle’s VM Virtual Box?

Ever had the experience of running more than one operating systems in parallel? Well, that’s something worth experiencing. I remember how I ended up experiencing it at the very first place; there was this mechanical designing software “Autodesk Inventor 10”, my Computer Aided Design (CAD) teacher was using this software for the mechanical simulation and drawing in the class, I was asked thus to design all of my CAD to-be-submitted projects using the same software.

One of the software’s requirements was Microsoft’s 32-bit Windows XP. The operating system that I had been using those days was Microsoft’s 64-bit Windows 7. I googled my problem and found out that it’s not possible to install windows XP with windows 7 in a dual boot system until or unless you do it this way: Install windows XP first and then windows 7. Having invested so much of my time and effort in making sure that my PC is well equipped with the best of educational, recreational, gaming and entertainment software and tools, the prospect of rolling back the existing operating system for Windows XP 32-bit, and then all that for Autodesk Inventor 10, it struck me really hard. I knew even if I set myself to make it happen, it would take me a hell lot of time to restore my PC to the existing state where it takes me no time to get my job done. I knew I would need to reinstall software like MATLAB and AutoCAD, it takes at least 2 hours to install them normally and if any issue pops during installation, half of your day would go ruined getting rid of those issues.

I needed something ideal, something that not only solves my CAD class’s problem but something that also saves me the cost I was being asked for that. I discussed the problem with one of my class mates, one who was well known for being a computer geek and told him all that about not willing to uninstall windows 7. Thanks to him for being so helpful, the perfect solution I was in search of came out to be “Oracle’s VM Virtual Box”, the installation and getting-to-know-it took some time but then it was worth it.

Now that all my problems are solved, I would like to share here a couple of things that helped me and may serve as a one spot solution for anyone who’s interested in creating virtual machine in windows 7, using Oracle’s VMware.

Virtualization software like Oracle’s VMware allows you to create and run multiple operating systems on the same computer at the same time. The software itself could be installed on any operating system you could think of and would allow you to run as much operating systems as you like, if there’s a constraint it’s that of space and memory, nothing else.

Steps-to-take for creating your first virtual machine

Step 1: Once the Virtual Box is installed, type virtualbox in the search panel of the start menu and click on the .exe file that appears as a result, this will open a window known as “VirtualBoxManager” window.

Step 2: Click on the “New” button at the top left corner of the “VirtualBoxManager” window and wait for the wizard to pop up. This wizard will be guiding you through the process of creating a new virtual machine.

Step 3: Give an appropriate name to your virtual machine in the field named “VM name”. Prefer informative names like “Ubuntu” over something like “My VM”.

Step 4: In the “Operating system type” field, select the operating system that you are going to install.

Step 5: Select the memory (RAM) that you want to allocate for your virtual machine. Keep in mind that the host operating system would not be able to use this part of memory while the virtual machine would be running.

Step 6: Next step would be to specify the hard disk space that you want to allocate for your virtual machine.

Step 7: To create a new disk image, in the new window that appears, click the “New” button. This would bring up a “Create New Virtual Disk” window which would help you create a disk image file in the virtual machine’s folder.

Virtual box allows you to create two types of virtual disks.

  1. The dynamically allocated one would be very small initially and would grow to the specified size with time, depending on how much programs are installed and how much data is stored by the guest in the virtual hard disk.
  2. The fixed-size file would not grow with time and would rather, occupy all the specified disk space immediately. The good thing is that since the fixed size file is going to incur less overhead, it’s going to be slightly faster than the dynamically allocated one.

I would recommend you to select here “dynamically allocated file” option.

Step 8: Click “Next”; in the new window that appears, click “Finish” and here you go, your first Virtual Machine has been created.

Steps-to-take for running your first virtual machine

Step 1: In the manager window, you would be able to see a new entry now that you have created your virtual machine, with the name that you had given to it in the “VM name” field. Double click on this entry and click the start button at the top. This will open up a new window showing the boot-up screen.

Step 2: Now that the space and memory for your virtual operating system has been allocated, it’s time to install the guest operating system itself; the virtual machine, as it is now would just behave as a computer with no operating system installed. The “First start wizard” is going to help you through the process of installation of the guest operating system.

Step 3: In the Installation media drop down, select the option that’s most appropriate in your case. I had downloaded the installation medium in the form of a .iso image; so, I just mounted it directly.

Step 4: If your .iso would have been successfully mounted, you would be able to see it in the list with others that would have been used with Virtual Box previously. Once the image file is picked, the installation would just be a Next-Next-I Agree-Next-Finish thing.

How to Create a Business Contingency Plan?

Creating a business contingency plan owes to preparing and equipping yourself for any unexpected, “what if” situation that may occur in future and may cause disruption in your business. In the times of disaster, the disaster could be a natural one like floods, tornadoes, fire or the one like a hard drive failure, a server crash and a data theft, a well-designed contingency would mean the difference between survival and the end of your business. That’s exactly why contingency plan is sometimes referred to as continuity plan; it helps make sure that when things go wrong, your business is able to recover from it and continue its operations without wasting too much time.

Now that you are well aware of how important it is to create a plan B for your business, you would like to have a one-spot solution that not only just guides you through the process of designing a plan of your own but also covers all aspects of it while doing so. Here are the few tips that may help you create a contingency plan of your own, written and presented in a way that not much of an effort would be required to accomplish the job once you have gone through them.

Risk analysis and management

The first and foremost step to take is to make the analysis of different kinds of disasters and risks that are expected to cause any kind of disruption in your business.

  • Identify the potential risks and threats that your business may face and prepare yourself a list of them.
  • Do not over plan, over preparation will only make the matters worse; you would end up wasting money preparing yourself for something that’s very unlikely to happen.
  • While it’s very important that you should be well aware of each and every potential risk your company may face, it’s not possible to come up with the plan B for every one of them. A good manager practice would be to prioritize risks so that most of the time and effort is spent on the most important risks.

Online tools like Mindtools’s (http://www.mindtools.com/) “Risk/Probability Charts” would prove to be of great help to you in prioritizing the risks your company is facing and creating a balance between over preparation and under preparation in the times of crisis. At mindtools’s website, “Risk/Probability Charts” could be found under the category of “Project Management” and the sub-category of “Project Management Framework”.

Developing the plan

These are the few things that are worth considering while you are on your way to developing an effective business contingency plan. Specifics may vary from one type of business to another that’s why the points presented here are general and are applicable to any type of business, small or big.

  • Imagine the scenario: a disaster hits your work place, blocking all the exit routes of the building. All the staff members find themselves locked up waiting hopelessly for the help. The disaster’s getting worse and with every passing second, the situation seems to be getting out of control.

It would never have got that far had there been an evacuation plan in action and a proper communication channel in place to notify your personnel of evacuation.

Create an effective evacuation plan and let all the members of your staff know how it’s to be executed in the case of emergency? What exit routes are there and which one of them should be used by them when they are notified of evacuation?

  • Assign some people the duty of notifying each and every one of staff members in the event of disaster. Their other responsibilities would be to make sure that the phone and e-mail contact lists of the staff members are up-to-date and are being kept in both soft and hard form.
  • Make sure that your first aid kits are up-to-date and are being kept at easily accessible places on-site. Make sure that you go through the “Emergency First Aid Kit Checklist for Businesses” available at: http://sbinfocanada.about.com/ and meet the requirements set by them.
  • You cannot afford losing your business data. Some of the ways to make sure that it’s protected are given below; make sure that you go through them and put them into action as soon as it’s possible.
  1. Keep your business data at a not-accessible-to-everyone place on-site.
  2. Create a hierarchy for access control so that the sensitive data is accessible only by the very few, trusted personnel. Sensitive documents in hard form can be locked in lockers accessible by only very few most trusted staff members.
  3. Create back-ups of your business data regularly and keep these back-ups off-site.
  • Choose a proper type of insurance, one that’s adequate for the type of the business you have, so that in the event that a disaster occurs, no time’s wasted in lawsuits and stuff and the continuation of the business does not get disturbed.
  • Make a list of items, equipment and materials that you would be requiring to keep your business up and running in the event of disaster. For instance, an IT solution providing company would be requiring few computers, a high speed internet connection, their business data and they would be set to continue work. You may be requiring more sophisticated equipment; make sure that the materials and equipment you would be requiring to keep your business running could be made available in no time.
  • Having good ties with other business owners in the area would help you a lot in developing an effective contingency plan. Get them involved and make some kind of tit-for-tat agreement with them: “If your business gets affected by disaster, I would be glad to help and if my business gets affected, you should be glad to help”, something like that.
  • While you are developing your business contingency plan, make research on the internet for different training workshops and seminars related to the topic, being organized in your area. Make research for the resources like books, video lectures or podcasts that could really help make the job easier for you.
  • Keep the plan you have developed so far in both soft and printed form. The printed form should be placed at an easily accessible place; you can’t risk losing it if the circumstances force you to leave the premises of your workplace. In your plan, you may create a section for evacuation plan, a section for how everybody at the workplace would be informed of the disaster, a section for first aid kits, a section for data protection and so on.

How to Build Brand Awareness with Display Advertising?

Online display advertising is a very effective way of drawing traffic to your blog or site and letting the people know about your brand; three main types of online display advertisement are: Banner, Tower and Island. Each of these three types then has different sizes, styles and formats. The success of an online display advertisement is much of dependent on how many times the ad has been clicked and how many times it has been displayed. Yeah, if the visitor could not get to click the ad, at least, it would leave an impression on his mind.

Now that you know display advertisement plays a very important role in creating the awareness of your brand, you would like to know what line of action if followed would let you make the most of it. Here are the few tips to draw more traffic to your site, get more clicks and thus get successful in your brand recognition campaign.

Tip #1: Narrow your audience

The very first and foremost thing to do is to identify the audience you are going to target; identifying the audience involves knowing your audience’s background, their interests and their geographical and financial constraints.

One of the main reasons behind the failure of a well-designed ad is that little or no investment is made in the audience analysis. You can’t just put your ads on a web page without studying the audience to that page. Advertising expensive clothing to an audience that cannot afford it would be useless.

Invest in knowing where to find your audience as much as you are investing in building better marketing content. Take the help of those having good understanding of audience targeting and update your strategy based on the feedback you receive from audiences belonging to different backgrounds and classes.

Tip #2: Be original

On the same web page, your ad will be competing with many others of same kind, the more eye-catching and unique it would be, the more would be the chances that the visitor would prefer your ad over the others.

Do not underestimate the value of originality, study the ads created by your competitors and use your creativity to come up with something that’s different and at the same time more captivating.

Tip #3: Use visually compelling design

Your design should be visually compelling and conveying its purpose in a clear and concise manner. Neither stuff your ads with graphics nor avoid them wholly; you may include images and graphics related to the services and products your brand offers, if need be. Look at the ads created by successful online brands from the perspective of a prospect; this would really help you understand what should be there in your ad and what not.

One more thing, in your ad, emphasis should be laid on benefits instead of the features of the product or service. If the visitor would be really interested in the features of the product, he would make his search for the details; primary purpose is to convey the benefit he’s going to enjoy using your product.

Tip #4: Draw your customer in with an effective call to action

“Sign-up for a free trial”, “Get it now”, “Download now”, that’s how customer’s attention is drawn; call-to-action is a persuasive statement that uses action verbs and tells the customer what to do. The customer will spend very short time scanning through all the ads on the web page of his interest, you will need to make an effective call to action in your ad to stand a chance in the crowd of advertisements.

Use large, easy-to-read fonts and eye catching font colors in your ads.

Tip #5: Maintain consistency between the display ad and the landing page

Use the same call to action language on the landing page as you have used in the advertisement. This would assure language continuity, add to the comfort of the visitor interested in your product or service and would help increase the chances that the customer would follow through conversion. The landing page should give the same feeling; it should contain the same message and should have the looks matching that of the ad that compelled your customer to click at the very first place.

You know the location of the person who has clicked on your ad, you know it as well whether he’s new to your site or is a regular visitor and now that he has clicked on an ad related to people of specific age and area of interest, you have also got a vague idea of what are the interests and hobbies of your customer. Exploit the information you know about your visitor to your advantage and use intelligent targeting methods to increase relevance of the content on the landing page.

Tip #6: Keep track of how effective your efforts have been in boosting your sales

Lead management is the appropriate term to use; the term’s used to describe methods and techniques designed to facilitate the connection between a business’s advertisement and the response made by customers to that advertisement. Many softwares and online applications (like whos.amung.us) would help you keep track of the clicks and views made by the people on your advertisements.

Keeping track of the activity on your site would help you know how effective your advertising strategy has been and which areas need to be improved or require special attention.

These were just a few of many tips that could help you build your brand’s awareness with display ads, there are many others. The article’s purpose was to show you a direction to follow; otherwise, each of the tips given here is in itself a topic of the same length as is this article.

How to Start Your Online Business

Computer and Internet have created a lot of job opportunities for people like you and me. There are millions who have made a living through working in different sectors related to computer and Internet. There are also millions who know that it is possible to have a computer/internet related business and make money, but they don’t know how. Many of them think that it is too technical and hard to start an online business. They think that they have to be computer and internet experts to do that. But this is not true. It is much easier than what you think. The most important thing is that you know where to start. You have to spend time and energy, but it will be ended to good results finally.

There are some big advantages with online businesses compared to the others businesses. These advantages make thousands of people to think about running an online business every day. Specially those who are tired of the other businesses and those who have not been successful in them. These two advantages are:

  1. It is very cheap to start an online business:
    Unlike the other businesses that need a lot of money to start, you can start your business with a very low budget and sometimes for free. The most important thing you have to spend for your online business is your time.
  2. Online businesses have unlimited capacity:
    The money that a restaurant makes is limited to its space and the number of the tables it has. Even if you offer the highest quality service, you can not go beyond the limits that your restaurant has. But there is no limit for online businesses. You can work more and have more traffic. You can create a new product/service every now and then and sell it through the same site or blog. At the same time you can offer the others’ products to your customers and make extra money. The sky is the limit.
  3. You can promote your online business from anywhere and at any time:
    You can work from home using your laptop. Even when you promote too many products of your own, or you promote thousands of the others’ products, and your site/blog has thousands of visitors every day, all your business is in your laptop that can be taken anywhere. Your daily schedule is in your hand and you can work any time that you want.

Does It Really Make Money?

It really does. There are so many people who make a lot of money through their online business. Many of them have no product or service to offer. They just promote the others’ products. Many of them are bloggers, and so many others offer their own product or service. Some of them make $10,000 every day. Yes, you heard right. $10k every day.

I can not guarantee that “your” online business will make money for you definitely, but I do guarantee that “online business” makes money, because it is over 15 years that I have been making money through my online business, and I know so many who are doing the same.

How to Start Your Online Business

There are so many ways to start an online business, and there are different categories of people who work online:

1. If you have a product to sell online:

It is possible that you already have a product, but you have never tried to sell it online. For example, you can be a writer and you have some books. You can convert them to e-books and sell them online. You can be a photographer, painter, potter, and… . You can sell all of your products online. I have already published an article about selling photos online here. You can easily sell your photos online even without having to create a website. It is the same with the other products. Specially digital products, like e-books are very suitable to sell online.

2. You can create a product to sell online:

Most people have no product at all. I was one of them. However, when I learned the basics of online business, I created several different products. After a short time, I was surrounded with several different products that all of them made money for me. From e-books to PHP scripts, software, and… .

If you have no product to sell online, you can easily create one. You can write an e-book about cooking, swimming, programming, and anything you are expert in. Even if you are not expert in anything, you can ask the others to write e-books for you. There are so many freelance writers who are able to write e-books about everything you can imagine. They charge you for that, but it is just a one time small fee. You can sell millions of copies of your e-books online without having to pay anything extra.

It is very easy to have a product and sell it online. It is not an important obstacle at all. In most cases you can do it yourself, and in case you need help, you can always find it online.

3. You have a service that can be offered online:

You can offer your services online too. You can be a programmer or web designer. You can create a website and promote your service. You don’t even have to create a site. There are so many sites that you can join and find clients and customers.

You can create a service and offer it online. For example, there are so many who make money through selling domain registration and web hosting services. There are so many others who make money through writing articles and editing. I know some others who make reasonable amount of money through psychic readings. If you are psychic and you can talk to deceased people, you can offer it online and make thousands of dollars per month 🙂

You can create a service and sell it online. If you think and analyze yourself and the things around you, you can easily come to an idea. Most probably you already have a job, and so you know a lot of things through your job. Many of the things you know can be changed to a product or service. For example, you are a math teacher. You can create video courses and sell them online. Or you are an accountant. You can offer an accounting service online too. You are a lawyer. You can offer consulting services online. You are…

4. You have no products and services, and you do not want or you can not create any products or services:

Still you can run an online business and make money.

  1. Sell the others’ products and make commissions:

    This is what so many internet marketers do. They promote the others products and make thousands of dollars. For example, ClickBank is the biggest collection of the digital products. You can sign up for an account on ClickBank and start promoting the products. You can earn up to 90% commission for some of the products. Click Here to learn more about ClickBank and its products.

    There are so many other sites that help you promote the products and make commissions. Amazon, eBay, LinkShare and CJ are some of them.

  2. Blog:

    You can choose a subject (niche) and blog on it. Like health, life, personal development, weight loss,  and… . Then you can make money with Google Adsense without having to have a product/service. When your blog becomes popular, the other bloggers and webmasters will pay you to write reviews on their products and services. Some bloggers charge up to $500 for each review they write. You can sell advertising space on your blog, and… . There are a lot of ways to make money through a blog that has a reasonable traffic. This is what thousands of bloggers are doing.

  3. Make money with your money:

    You can trade currencies (forex) and stocks through the Internet. You have to learn it first otherwise it can be risky.

  4. Other ways:

    There are so many other ways to make money through the internet. I hear that some people make money through online surveys. Some others make money through online games…

Some Important Questions:

  1. Which Way Is Better and Easier?
  2. Which Way Makes Money Easier and Faster?
  3. Which Way Makes More Money?

Any of them is easy and makes money, if you know what to do, and if you spend some time on it for a while. With any kind of business, you have to work hard at the beginning to get it off of the ground. But when it starts working and making money, you just maintain it. Of course there is always room for more progress. You can add more products or work on your site more to increase the traffic.

My Suggestions:

I like to do everything professionally. When it comes to business, I like to use all the ways to promote the business in the best possible way. Therefore, whether you have a product or service or not, I suggest you to have a website or blog.

I like blogging because it connects me to the world. We can talk to people whenever we want and they will be informed when there is an update. I have created hundreds of blogs for different companies and individuals. Many of them were professional companies offering complicated and professional products and services, but blogging helped them grow much faster.

I have created websites for hundreds of other companies and individuals too. I helped them find too many new customers through the search engines. I offered them some other marketing methods like video marketing and Pay Per Click advertising. These methods worked very well because I had already created a good website for them.

So to answer the above questions…

If you choose a good digital product from ClickBank and then promote it through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, you can start making money almost from the first day. However, Pay Per Click advertising needs two things. First, you have to spend money. It is not cheap at all. PPC becomes more expensive every day, because there is more competition every day. Second, you have to know how to choose the keywords and optimize your ad campaigns, groups and units, otherwise you will not make any profit at all.

So, choosing a digital product and promote it through PPC is the fastest way to make money online, but it is not the best way. You can lose a lot of money on PPC advertising.

I believe the best way to make money online is the less risky way. Running a website or blog is like that. You can register a domain and buy a hosting for it for less than $50 per year. Then all you have to do is that you spend time on promoting your site or blog through the free online marketing methods. You can run a “niche blog”, publish a few strong and quality posts every week, and build a network of readers who are interested in your blog and its articles. Then, as it was explained above, it is very easy to monetize your blog and make money through it.

At the same time, you can create your own products and promote them through your blog. You can even run your own affiliate program and pay commissions to those who promote your products and services. If you work properly and wisely, after a while you will have “a steady stream of income” which is so invaluable.

Although it takes time to start making money through your blog, it is a safer and better way. The other ways have a lower success rate, and some of them like forex or currency trading can be too risky. You can lose money on them. Besides, they need a lot of knowledge and experience. There are some people who make a lot of money through those methods, but it is not easy.

In this article, I could only explain a little about the ways that you can run an online business. It is not possible to explain about it in details in one article. The good news is that in future I will help ordinary people run their online business. So far, I have been working with the big companies only, but I want to work with low income people who want to make some extra money through their online business. You will see that how many successful entrepreneurs we will make from these people.