Monday, October 27, 2014

Communication and Listening Skills in the Workplace

By Kristy Davis

I recently went to a business meeting in Woodbridge. However the client told me the meeting was in Vaughan, which is confusing because the two places may be pretty close to one another but that is like saying PEI is pretty close to New Brunswick.

To clarify, the Confederation Bridge spanning from PEI to New Brunswick is 12.9 km long. The distance from Woodbridge town center to Vaughan town center is 17.4 km. It may only take 24 minutes to drive from Vaughan to Woodbridge in a car, but that doesn't mean they are as close as some people might think.

Fortunately I looked up the address prior to leaving and used the GPS navigation on my phone, otherwise I might have ended up in the wrong city trying to find an address that did not exist in Woodbridge.

Thus you start to realize how important communication skills are during business dealings. Or listening skills for that matter. What if I had heard them wrong and they had actually meant to meet in Bridgetown (the capitol of the Barbados, not even near Toronto) or Severn Bridge (north of Barrie).

It reminds me of that one scene from 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' when Indy yells at Elsa "Are you crazy? Don't go in between them!" and she yells back "Go between them? Are you crazy?!"

So yes, I went to my meeting in Vaughan and during the meeting I determined the business client was getting pretty old and I believe they need a hearing aid. I then recommended them an audiologist who is in Woodbridge/Vaughan (I know, I know - they are two separate places!) that I found using a Google search and checking Yelp reviews. I don't think he took me seriously enough however - don't tell anyone but I also think the client was going senile. Hard to tell if he was going deaf or senile or both.

Senility and deafness just seem to go hand in hand when it comes to senior citizens. I think my father is going this way. If he doesn't hear something, he doesn't know about it. And even if he does hear it, he often forgets about it or is confused by what I am talking about. Sometimes I worry he is just pretending to be able to hear people talking so that we don't know how bad his hearing problems are, and then we interpret his lack of comprehension due to senility when it reality it is that he is only catches bits and pieces of the conversation and isn't hearing the whole conversation in a manner that he can understand it. Or maybe he is going both deaf and senile. It is very difficult to say.

I have a friend who tutors sports and one of the things he recently encountered was a teenage student who did not listen. The student didn't have a hearing disability, he just refused to listen to the instructions being given to him. My friend however was having difficulty teaching the student because they could not tell whether the student was being deliberately stubborn and refusing to listen (as some teenagers like to do) or if the student had a learning disability that caused them to ignore instructions when given a list of things to do.

My conclusions are that regardless of the task you need people to be able to understand what you are talking about, and this hinges on you both communicating in an adequate manner and the person receiving the information has to be able to hear and understand it. First being able to hear something and then being able to comprehend it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

6 Tips for Building a Great Resume

So you want to find the job of your dreams, a place where you can work, make money and love what you do.

Imagine trying to get your Dream Job with a resume that isn't designed very well, has lots of types/spelling/grammar mistakes, and doesn't show off your best qualities as a potential employee.

Tip #1. Always spellcheck everything on your resume. Double check it for accuracy.

Tip #2. If your Word Processor has Grammar Check, turn it on and start using it more often.

Tip #3. Ask a friend or colleague to edit your resume for you. They might have suggestions for ways to fix it that you would overlook.

Tip #4. Hire a professional resume writing company to edit your resume for you. There are companies out there who deal in essay writing services, research work, resumes, etc. If you can afford to hire a professional to help write your resume why not do so in order to ensure you get the best results?

Tip #5. So employers can snoop on you more easily include a link on your resume to your Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter account, etc - and clean up your web presence so there is nothing on there that would discourage employers from hiring you. eg. Photos of you drunk, shirtless and passed out on the lawn should be deleted immediately. Employers these days always snoop on candidates Facebook pages these days so you might as well clean up your act and make yourself look presentable.

Tip #6. Avoid using ridiculous fonts on your resume. You want to look professional, not like an outlandish fop.

EXTRA TIP - Years ago there was a story in the newspapers about a man who used Google Adwords to make several ads for the top CEOs of companies he wanted to work for. He created ads for the names of the CEOs so that when they Googled their own names (as people sometimes do for fun) they would see the ad for themselves above the results, and if they clicked on it the ad took the CEO to a website designed specifically for the CEO in an attempt to woo the CEO into hiring the individual. They saw an intro paragraph explaining the webpage, why the man wanted to work for the CEO's company, the man's resume, etc. And it worked. Within a few months he was hired by one of the companies because the CEO saw the ad, felt it was ingenious and decided to hire the employee.

So the tip here is to think outside the box when it comes to landing your dream job.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Marketing Yourself and Your Business

Let us pretend you are running your own small business. How do you market yourself online and offline?


#1. Learn how to do SEO and/or hire someone to do SEO for you. eg. is a Toronto based company that does both website design and SEO.

#2. Have your website designed by a professional so it looks chic and very well made. A stylishly designed website brings in more customers.

#3. Include AddThis codes on every page of your website so people can share the website with friends/etc via Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.

#4. Don't bother making a Twitter or Facebook account for your company. They're mostly a waste of time unless you plan on offering online coupons via FB/TW.

#5. The only way you will see a bump in sales from Facebook or Twitter is if you produce quality content on your website, and AddThis will make the difference by having other people promoting your content virally. Trying to artificially create a viral campaign via your own Facebook or Twitter account doesn't work, so don't waste your time. Your time is best spent writing quality/unique content.

#6. Research which keywords bring in the most customers and what neighbourhoods in Toronto your customers live in. Create AdWords campaigns using as little money as possible (bid very low) in an effort to experiment and see which keywords bring in more customers.


#1. Advertise in appropriate newspapers/magazines that market to your desired audience. Limit your advertising dollars to the target audience in order to maximize your Return On Investment (ROI).

#2. Get business cards and stationary printed up. Pass some of them out to colleagues and friends.

#3. Network and find new colleagues, people in similar businesses, people who are both competitors and non-competitors in similar fields.

#4. Don't be afraid to shamelessly self promote in a funny manner. Heck, record yourself doing so and post it on YouTube so you can reach a larger audience.

#5. Word of mouth marketing works great, but to do so people need to know your name and your name needs to be easy to remember. Introduce yourself, say your name, use a name that is easy to remember, mention your company's name and say it in a manner so that it sounds like a jingle. Jingles are easier to remember.

#6. Go outside and socialize. Go to meetups, go to networking events, go to events related to your business, meet new people, learn how to do a proper handshake (firm but not squeezing and don't hold it too long), be polite, follow etiquette, and you will do fine.

#7. Sponsor events (this can also get you extra links to your business online too) and make sure the organization being sponsored knows who the sponsor is. For best ROI focus on sponsoring events related to your business. Red Bull doesn't sponsor the Toronto Poetry Club because it doesn't make sense for them to do so.

"Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly." - Plato

"Pleasure in job puts perfection in the work." - Aristotle