3 Steps to Build This Key Business Skill and Increase Your Bottom Line

Your business success depends on relationships. With clients, team members, suppliers, and other business owners.

So developing and honing your relationship skills makes sense, right?

This is a lifelong process, but you can make a great start by fostering empathy.

Empathy is the practice of perceiving and relating to the emotions and perspectives of others. To get better at empathy, understand and practice these 3 steps:

1. Listen with an open mind and open heart. All you have to do is listen fully. Set aside any temptation to problem solve, analyze, or judge at this point. Listen. Watch their facial expressions and body language.

You can also give the other person signals that you’re listening:

  • Stop whatever else you’re doing. This is not the time to multi-task. If you’d like to make notes because it will help you remember their important points, then ask if it’s OK first.
  • Turn to them and face them.
  • Lean forward a little to indicate interest.
  • Maintain eye contact without staring.

Finally, an important point: don’t interrupt.

It’s becoming more and more common in our culture to interrupt while another is speaking. That doesn’t make it OK. To develop your empathy skills, practice waiting until the other person has finished speaking. The space you create by doing so will bring out more information than you would ever get by prodding.

2. Learn more. Ask questions to find out the person’s concerns and mindset. Here are some examples to help you get started.

To assess the situation as it stands: How have you approached this so far? What’s working and what’s not working? How would you like things to have gone?

To go deeper: What’s your biggest fear about this situation? What has the impact been on you and others? How does this situation challenge your perceptions or stretch you?

To shift the focus to the future: What needs to happen next, do you think? What’s one thing you/we can do to move forward? What support do you need so we can avoid this in future?

3. Acknowledge that you have heard and understood. For empathy to be most valuable, people need to know that you’ve heard them, that you understand where they are coming from. That acknowledgement is best communicated with words. Your signals (see #1) do help, but body language isn’t always clear.

After the other person has finished speaking, make statements to let them know that you’ve heard. I know this can feel a little awkward at first, but repeating back key points is so helpful. By practicing it, you’ll get more comfortable. If it helps, you can begin with: “Just so I’m sure I’m understanding you”, or “I’d like to be really clear about the things you’ve said.”

Refrain from launching into your own story about how the same thing happened to you! This time is all about the other person. After you’ve established empathy and the person feels fully heard, then you can share. Limit that sharing to important points that demonstrate empathy. Don’t make it a mutual complaint session, or take the focus away from the other person.

Above all, treat the other person with respect and honor what they have to say, whether you agree or not.

You’ll be surprised by how open people become when they feel listened to and heard. You’ll hear things you wouldn’t otherwise hear, valuable information that you can use to help resolve the situation as your next step.

Even the Harvard Business Review lists empathy as one of the 5 critical leadership traits. When you develop this business skill, you’re also developing your leadership. You as a business owner are a leader, and modeling effective behavior is a great way to demonstrate it. With empathy, you’ll encourage people to openly engage new ideas, and improve their own relationships.

Empathy is powerful. It’s an essential skill for successful communication. When you practice it effectively, empathy can work real change for your business.

That client who comes to you with a complaint can become an advocate, a source of referrals, and a repeat client.

That prospective client in a new market can share valuable information about their needs and what they value that can help make your new offering successful.

That team member who is not performing well can be transformed into a high-performing staff member who makes great contributions. Or you’ll both become clear that they would do better elsewhere, either in your company or outside of it, and you can hire someone who is a better fit, saving you time and money.

That conflict you are having with a supplier can be turned into a deeper understanding and a more profitable service.

That joint venture partner you’re considering working with can become an important ally and help you reach more people as you find the best way to work together.

That business mastermind you’re participating in can become a greater source of active support and referrals.

Use these 3 steps to develop your empathy skills. They’ll strengthen your relationships, and you’ll see a boost in your bottom line.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9564442

Tips on How to Really Own Your Workplace

Full-time employees at home and in an office setting usually spend around 30-50 hours a week in a cubicle or a make shift office environment at home. Whenever a person spends that much time in one place, the décor and the look that the specific place has will most likely dictate and show the personality and personal style of a person.

A natural setting at home or in the office will most likely make an individual more inspired and productive in working. Decorating a common work space according to your personal taste should not be limited. Here are some ways on introducing your personal style in your working space to be able to claim it as your own.

Chose a theme

Your theme for your office space can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to, if your office premises permits such. Include things that relax and allows you to be more creative. You can pin a few images if your family or a dream vacation in mind or a quote that keeps you going through a busy day. Just remember to keep things organized and handy even with all the little decorations and accessories around your working area.

Wall calendars as accessories

Wall calendars are not just accessories that can decorate your working area but can double as a reminder of the things that you have to do in the coming days whether it is work related or not. It is also a great place to stick notes and small reminders that you might miss as the day gets busy at work.

Decorative stationary

Gone are the days of snail mail. However, you can still use stationaries to write a few interesting points about your day or use them as your journal at work. You can even get scented ones to be able to inhale something invigorating on a stressful day at work. Cute stationaries can also be great ways to add color to your working areas.

Personalized mugs

Personalize not only your favorite cup of tea but your mug itself by bringing a rather colorful mug at home than the usual plastic cup. This can include a printed picture of you on a vacation, a quote or your favorite movie. Choose bold and fun colors that fits the personality and the décor of your theme.

One small item when strategically placed will instantly change the look of your working area. Claim it and make it uniquely and creatively yours with accessories and décor that matches your personality.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9541123

Key Advantages of Cloud Storage for Your Business

risks_and_benefitsCloud computing has immediately changed the way we store fragile data, both professional and personal. The vital thought is that of securing data “in the cloud,” or remotely by Internet connection.

Cloud-based storage is made through immense server farms located all over the world, which are either controlled by dedicated cloud-based associations or rent space to various cloud organizations. While a couple of associations have gotten a handle on this new platform, others are keeping down for a variety of reasons. Security worries at initially added to reservations, yet capable dispersed stockpiling associations have demonstrated that the perils are not any more noticeable for cloud-based limit than with some other sort of Internet trade.

If your association is considering doing the change to conveyed stockpiling, you may not think about the different favorable circumstances of this advancement. Here are just two or three the upsides of Cloud stockpiling that I’ve found in the IT business.


Data storage can end up being altogether over the top. In case your association has and maintains its own particular servers, you’re paying for the cost of the hardware. The HR cost of the all inclusive community who manage and maintain your servers, whether it’s an outsourced association or your own specific staff, can incorporate after some time.

Cloud-based storage providers consistently charge a low month to month cost that gives every one of you the space you could ever require, without putting resources into gear or pay for backing.


With cloud storage, you pay only for the server space you truly use, rather than the space you may eventually need. Regardless of what associations think, redesigning you’re storage isn’t frustrated. Or maybe, you simply add more space to your course of action. It’s basically that direct. Besides the circumstance that you use far less space than you at first expected, you can basically diminish your data group.

Improved security:

Capable cloud-based organization associations ensure that they’re using the latest encryption gages and mechanized endeavors to set up wellbeing to secure their customers’ data their business depends on after keeping their customers’ information safe.

In addition, dispersed capacity uses distinctive servers to go down and secure data, so there is no single reason for dissatisfaction. If one machine misses the mark, your information is still secure. That is honest to goodness sentiments of tranquility you can’t get working off a single framework or server.

Access Anywhere:

Another marvelous great position of cloud storage is the ability to get to your data from anywhere with an Internet connection. With a creating workforce the country over and around the world, this is a key component and the fundamental segment for some IT Services associations, both extensive and little.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9522873

Tips On How To Add A Touch Of Elegance To An Outdoor Event

Birthday parties, company picnics, anniversary celebrations, and wedding receptions – these are just some of the types of events that can take place at an outdoor space. When these events are held outdoors, the guests tend to be more relaxed and hence, will have more fun and enjoy the gathering even more.

Although outdoor events are designed to make guests and all attendees feel more relaxed and comfortable, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add a splash of elegance to the occasion. Below are some tips that will enable you to add elegance to an outdoor event:

Have the right turf protection products installed on the lawn. Portable pathways are great turf protection products you can use to cover grassy areas. They are particularly useful if your guests are going to be in evening wear since high-heels and soft ground never mix well at all. These portable floor covering products are expensive but you don’t have to buy them; you can rent them from companies known for their event hire products.

Consider carpets as well. Carpets always add a touch of luxury to events. You can also rent some rolled turf, carpets, and vinyl products that can cover the portable flooring material and match the look and feel of your event.

Make use of flowers and plants. If the lawn is lacking in bushes and other plants that can add color to the venue, consider bringing in extra plants to create a more lush setting. Keep in mind that the right floral settings can help set the mood you are looking for. To add a more romantic feel to the venue, consider placing some floating flowers. Adding some orchids can also create an elegant, modern look.

Be creative with your lighting features. Lastly, if the event will take place at night, bear in mind that lighting is particularly important. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on buying expensive lighting features that you may only use for this event. With this aspect, it is important that you be creative. One tip you can follow is to use lighting to emphasize floral displays or draw attention to areas intended for people to gather. Candles are also great and affordable lighting options. Simply place one or more on each table. You can place a number of tall candles of various sizes grouped together in the center or just simple tea lights. If you already have some Christmas lights, you can use them, too. These lights can enhance the romantic atmosphere of the event.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9553303