Want Better Relationships with Co-Workers? Greater Productivity? A Promotion? Then Listen Up!
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." - Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
If the Covey quote hits home, you're certainly not alone. Research suggests that we remember only between 25 and 50 percent of what we hear, mainly because we're mentally formulating our rebuttal while the other person's speaking. This means when you're talking to your manager, colleagues, or customers, they're not hearing what you're saying...and unless you're a skilled listener yourself, you're not hearing them either.
Listening has a major impact on your effectiveness at work and on the quality of your relationships. While many of us receive professional training on speaking, few of us receive training on listening.
Becoming a better listener takes a concerted effort but it will improve your productivity, your ability to influence others, and help avoid misunderstandings, often a major source of workplace conflict. Here are the top six ways to demonstrate good listening skills. How many do you practice?
1. Maintain eye contact. You've probably had a conversation with someone who keeps looking around or becomes distracted while you're speaking. Did you rush through to finish your thoughts? Feel frustrated? Ignored? A good listener will maintain eye contact, only looking away to prevent uncomfortable staring. When someone stays focused on you, you feel more relaxed and able to fully and completely express your thoughts.
2. Provide feedback. A good listener stays mentally engaged by providing verbal and non-verbal feedback. Looking thoughtful, smiling if appropriate, nodding, or saying ?uh-huh? show you're following what's being said, not necessarily agreeing. Sometimes, especially during large and lengthy meetings, it's easy to lose focus. In that case try silently repeating the speaker's words. It reinforces what they're saying and helps you pay attention.
3. Encourage the speaker to continue. Reflect on what's been said by either paraphrasing with? "What I'm hearing is," or "It sounds like you're suggesting," to make sure you've understood correctly. Encourage the speaker to further open up by saying things like, "That's really interesting," or "Tell me more."
4. Wait before responding. Give no sign you're ready to respond. Don't raise your hand, wave, open your mouth, or finish the speaker's sentence. When they speaker pauses, practice counting two full seconds to make sure they are not just gathering their thoughts, but are actually finished making their point before you respond.
5. Don't interrupt. Not interrupting others is something we learn at our mother's knee, but it can be difficult to hold back when emotions run high or you want to debate an issue. You may even have an answer to a question that was raised, but show restraint and respect. If you don't want to lose your thought, discreetly jot it down and return your focus to the speaker. A good listener always keeps emotions in check and remains open to new ideas.
6. Stay focused on the conversation at hand. Avoid a sudden switch of topic. If you change the subject prematurely, you demonstrate lack of interest in the discussion and indicate that what you have to say is more important than the current conversation. Likewise don?t start a sidebar conversation. Even if the speaker is not making eye contact with you, you are still part of the general conversation and sidebars distract others. Finally, if you want to illustrate a point using yourself as an example, keep the story brief, then return to the original conversation.
There's a lot more to listening than simply hearing the words. With a little practice you too can master the art of listening and enjoy better relationships and greater productivity at work. The rewards - maybe even a promotion - are well worth it!
It's time to get motivated to clean up and get organized. The problem is, once you purge everything, what are some of the products that will help you get things back in order and keep them that way.
Here's a list of some of the top organizing products for every room in your life.
The key to any organization is to use the vertical space; so as much as possible, get things up on the wall. This means buying the racks that are specially made to hold shovels, rakes and the like, as well as the gadgets found in a hardware or home center store that will hold bikes on the wall and a multitude of other paraphernalia all of us store in the garage or basement.
Box Bottom Hanging Files.
If your hanging folders are bulging with paper or you have many folders within a category in your hanging folder, consider using a box-bottom hanging folder. They have flat bottoms (cardboard at the bottom keeps them flat) and come in 1-inch, 2-inch and larger widths. Using these prevents folders and papers from spilling out of the top of their hanging folder.
Yes, we all need junk drawers, but they don't have to look that way. Keep your junk drawer and any other drawer, including sock and underwear drawers and desk drawers, looking neat with drawer dividers. There are two different types of drawer dividers. One is an 'Expand-a-Drawer' which is a one-piece item that expands to fit most kitchen-sized drawers. The other type comes in individual pieces that usually come in combinations of three-inch sizes. Drawer organizers with compartments make it easy to stash paper clips, rubber bands and the like in a tidy, self-contained area.
When you hear the word bin, you think of the large plastic tubs that can store seasonal decorations. And yes, those are great to keep the basement and closets organized. In fact, they can be purchased in colors specially geared to the season for easy identification. But don't let your imagination stop there. There are leather-covered bins and linen-covered bins that come in a variety of colors and are ideal for keeping magazines tidy on a coffee table or even for storing folded shirts in a closet. Plastic bins are equally as good for storing potatoes and onions in the pantry as they are for storing CDs and DV Ds in the office. When it comes to bins, they may be among the handiest organizational products out there.
If you're in the middle of purging and are throwing out old tax returns or cancelled checks, consider using a shredder to protect your identity and minimize the paper that ends up in a landfill and protect your identity. If your needs are minimal, a small portable shredder may do the trick. If you need to shred volumes on a daily basis, go for the larger, high-capacity machines.
Calendar/PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).
To keep track of appointments, birthdays, and everyday tasks, a calendar or PDA is a must. Or, if you prefer to handwrite your reminders, purchase an appointment calendar that gives you the space you need. Choose from versions that show a day, week or month at a time. Many also come with address pages so that you can keep your contact information right with your calendar.
Label a bin and for some mystical reason it tends to be used for what it was intended for. Somehow a label makes everything official, from a new set of file folders to boxes storing old photographs. Make it a practice to label everything from the get-go. When you start a new file, put an official label on it instead of handwriting one. It will look neater and soon, you'll want everything in your life to be labeled.
There are many easy ways to help save the environment. Using your microwave oven more than your electric oven or just opening the refrigerator door less often can help reduce your electric bill. You can even stay organized without contributing to the mountains of garbage the average adult produces in a lifetime by choosing recycled storage solutions.
Get Eco-friendly Storage without Sacrificing Strength.
Bankers Box® Recycled Storage Solutions are 100% recycled with a minimum of 78% post-consumer content. Each box has not only been recycled but is fully recyclable and also completely reusable - and we've got the strength to back it up!
Though some storage boxes aren't built to last or reuse, Bankers Box® maximum strength Recycled R-KIVE® storage boxes and extra or basic strength Recycled STOR/FILETM storage boxes are constructed with a rugged multi-layered corrugate that helps prevent crushing when these boxes are stacked, stored, or reused. This helps protect the environment AND protect important documents, files, and other irreplaceable items.
Choose the Right Box Strength for Your Needs.
Now, it's easy to be green when you order storage products. Available in three different strengths, Bankers Box® makes a recycled storage solution for just about any type of storage need:
*Stacking strength is the amount of evenly distributed weight (lbs.) you can safely stack on top of a box.
The picture above looks like a ball of dirt - but inside is our twist on spring flowers. That's right - inside that small ball is a batch of future wildflowers. With only 5 ingredients it's easy to make up a batch for your yard or any area that needs a little love.
. 2 parts compost
. 5 parts powdered clay
. 1 part wildflower seed
. 1 part water
. 1/4 part Cayenne pepper
You decide how many you want to make by using larger amounts of the 5 ingredients - just keep the parts the same mix. Mix everything together, shape into balls and let dry. The clay holds the balls together and the compost provides nutrients.
The cayenne pepper keeps the critters from eating the balls before they get to bloom. Throw the balls into tall grass or any area in need of wildflowers. Wait for rain and sun and watch for the magic of spring.
What's on your to do list? It's a great time of year to organize your home and office for spring. Twist OP has everything you need to help with your to do list - big or small - we have it all.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/1/2014
Formerly Twist Office Products
TWIST OFFICE PRODUCTS CHANGES NAME TO STAPLEZ
Working Overtime To Please Customers Was Too Hard
MN and IL: Twist Office Products announced today the decision to change the company name to Staplez, effective immediately.
Representatives from the newly formed Staplez cited the decision to proceed with an immediate name change was one that was fairly easy to make as evidenced by the words from their executive team:
"We realized that our passion for serving the local community was not only exhausting, but increasingly expensive. Our free next-day delivery was too tempting for customers to pass up and eating into our bottom line. Furthermore, all the little extras – inside delivery, personal quality service, custom stamps, project management, and special pricing – was simply more than customers really expected given the service they were used to from big box retailers. The solution was clear and Staplez was born."
The new name change is only part of a larger 2014 initiative to mirror big box retailers; today the Staplez executive team outlined supporting projects they will be rolling out immediately:
No more sponsoring of college scholarships for deserving high school students from the local community. A national name requires a larger bank account balance.
Effective immediately, all Twist OP personnel will be replaced with robots. Less caring, more ka-ching.
No more searching for hard-to-find items for customers. If you can’t find it, you don’t really need it.
About Twist Office Products Staplez: Staplez, formerly Twist Office Products, is was based in Roseville, MN, New Prague, MN, and Wood Dale, IL but is now based anywhere there is money to be made and customers to exploit.
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