User generated content (UGC), also known as user-generated content, user-created content, or user-contributed content, is a type of content that is created by a user or a group of users rather than by a professional content creator.
UGC can be in the form of text, images, videos, audio, or any other type of media. UGC can be posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as on blogs and other websites. It can also be uploaded to websites such as Dribbble, Behance, and DeviantArt.
The term UGC is often used interchangeably with the term crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a term used to describe the process of outsourcing work to a large group of people. For example, crowdsourcing can be used to crowdsource content for a website or a social media post. Crowdfunding is another example of crowdsourcing, where a large number of people contribute money to a project in order to fund the project.
UGC is an effective way of marketing your business because it allows you to reach a large audience in a short amount of time. It is also a cost-effective way of reaching your target audience because it does not require you to spend a lot of money on advertising. In addition, UGC has the potential to be more effective than traditional advertising because people are more likely to share content that they find interesting, useful, or entertaining.
The following are some of the reasons why you should use UGC to promote your business:
– Cost-effective: Because UGC does not cost a lot to produce, it can be a very cost-efficient way of promoting your business. You do not have to pay for advertising or pay for content creation. Instead, you only pay for the time that you spend creating the UGC. This means that you can spend less money on marketing and more money on other important aspects of your business, such as product development, customer service, and research and development.
– Reach: UGC reaches a much larger audience than traditional forms of advertising such as television, radio, and print media. With UGC, you can reach a much wider audience than you would be able to reach with traditional advertising. You can reach people who are interested in your product or service and who are likely to be interested in what you have to say. This can be very effective in terms of generating leads and sales for your company.
– Social media: Social media is one of the most effective ways of reaching a wide audience. With social media, you have the ability to reach people all over the world and to communicate with them in real-time. Social media can also help you to build a community of people who care about your business and who will be willing to share your content with their friends and followers.
– Engagement: People are more willing to engage with UGC than they are with other types of content. This is because UGC allows people to interact with the creator of the content. They can comment on the content, like it, or share it with their followers. This allows them to get to know the person who created the content and to feel like they are part of the community. This feeling of community is very important to people because it makes them feel more connected to the people they are interacting with. People who feel connected to their community are more open to sharing information about the community with their family and friends, which can lead to word-of-mouth marketing. This type of marketing is very effective because it is based on trust and relationships, which are two of the strongest forms of marketing that exist.
– Interactivity: Interactivity is another reason why people prefer UGC over other forms of content such as text and images. Interactivity can be defined as the ability of a piece of content to allow a user to take some sort of action. This action can be as simple as liking a post on Facebook or as complex as making a donation to a crowdfunding campaign. The more interactive a post is, the more likely it is to be shared and liked by other people. This makes UGC a very effective form of marketing because it can help you reach a larger audience.
– Authenticity: Authenticity is a very important factor when it comes to UGC marketing. Authenticity refers to the fact that the content that you create must be true to who you are as a person and as a business. If the content is not authentic, people will not trust it and they will not share it. Authentic content can be created in a variety of ways, including by hiring a professional photographer to take a picture of you or by taking a picture with your smartphone and editing it in a photo-editing app such as Photoshop or Snapseed. If you want to create authentic content, it is important that you hire a professional to take the picture or that you use a professional photo editing app. This will ensure that your content is authentic and that it will be shared by people who trust you and who want to be part of your community.
Types of UGC
There are many different types of user-generated content. Some of these types include the following:
Photos are a very popular type of UG content because they are easy to create and easy to share. They are also a very authentic form of content because you are the one who took the picture. Photos can be taken with a smartphone, a digital camera, or a point-and-shoot camera.
Videos are also very popular because they can be shared on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Videos can also be uploaded to websites such as Vimeo, Dailymotion, and Metacafe. Videos are a more interactive type of content than photos because they allow people to comment on them, like them, and share them with their social media followers. Videos also allow you to create a more personal connection with your audience because you can talk to your audience and explain what you are doing in the video.
How to Use UGC for Marketing
UGC can be used in many different ways to help you market your products and services. The following are a few of the ways in which you can use it to market your company:
– Advertising: You can create UGC that advertises your products or services. For example, you could create a video that explains how to use your product. You could also create a photo that shows your product in use. These types of videos and photos can be posted on your website, on your social media pages, or on your blog.
– Promotion: If you have a new product or a new service that you would like to promote, UGC can be a great way to get the word out about it. For instance, if you are launching a new app, you might create a UGC video that shows people using the app and explaining why they should download it. You might also create an image that shows the app in use and that explains what it can do. These images and videos can then be posted to your website or social media accounts.
– Lead generation: One of the best ways to use UGC to generate leads is to create content that helps people solve a problem that they are having. This can be in the form of a blog post, a video, or an image. The goal of this content is to help people solve their problem and to get them to contact you for more information about your product or service. You can then follow up with them to see if they are interested in learning more about what you have to offer.
– Content marketing: Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing content with the goal of increasing brand awareness and driving traffic to your site. Content marketing can take many different forms, including blog posts, videos, images, and social media posts. The key to content marketing is to make sure that you are creating content that your audience wants to read, watch, or listen to. If your content does not interest your audience, they are not going to share it or like it. This means that you will not be able to reach a large audience and that your brand will not get the exposure that it deserves. The best way to create high-quality content for your audience is to ask them what they want to see and to listen to what they have to say.
– Blog posts: Blog posts are one of the most popular types of content on the Internet. They can be written in a number of different formats, including text, audio, and video. Blog posts can be about almost anything, but they are most commonly used to share information about a company, a product, a service, an event, or some other topic that is relevant to the company or product that is being promoted. Blogs can be very effective for lead generation because they give people a chance to learn more about your company, your product, or your service. They also give you the opportunity to build a relationship with your customers, which can lead to more sales in the future.
2. Zapier: Targeted Content Marketing
Zapier, the popular SaaS integration platform, grew profoundly by employing targeted content marketing. They began in 2014 by writing content for every feature of Hangouts. They developed content for even those features that weren’t then documented by Google. They believed that if they were looking for those content, numerous others too were.
This marketing strategy generated more than 75,000 blog visits to Zapier in the first year. Today, it gets more than 1.25 million monthly visits. Statistics say that within 18 months of employing this growth tactic, its revenue multiplied by four times to reach $50 million. So, what you learn from Zapier is, before developing content, take the time to think about the potential problems your audience is facing and address those.
3. Amazon: Great Customer Experience
Amazon started gaining dominance in the retail niche in 1995. It was a period when online shopping wasn’t popular. Yet, the brand managed to earn billions of dollars every year. The growth strategy that worked for them was ensuring a great customer experience.
Amazon began by providing customers with a huge collection of books than was available in traditional bookstores. They also allowed customers to check the site and immediately know the availability of a book in stock. It is this convenience that let the brand succeed over well-established offline booksellers. Once they gained popularity, they expanded their horizons into other markets and grew their offerings.
How Small And Medium Companies Can Benefit From A Business Expansion
Different types of business expansion include purchasing new assets, opening new units, adding sales personnel, increasing advertising, adding franchises, entering new markets, providing new products or services, etc.
There are many benefits associated with the expansion of business, and it is something that small and medium businesses should think about when deciding to expand their operations, especially in other countries.
But before taking a look at the benefits, it is important for every entrepreneur to analyze the market conditions. The entrepreneur has to identify which markets are likely to show growth.
If the market conditions suggest that market competition will be on the rise, it is important to expand your business before others can grab the opportunity to take advantage of your expanding market.
1) Concentrate on new product development
This is necessary if you want to maintain your competitive edge over your competitors. By expanding globally, you can reach new markets without any problem. You can offer new products to existing customers and can make sure that new products get into the hands of as many consumers as possible. This will result in increased sales and profit for your company. You can start developing new products at any time and you can introduce them to the public as soon as they are ready for them. You can also expand your range of products and services globally and this will enable you to make maximum profits.
2) Increase customer base
Another benefit is that expanding globally will increase your customer base and this will, in turn, help you to grow your business. If you expand your business internationally, you will definitely have a more customer base and you can use this to your advantage. You can attract more customers from other countries and you can use their markets to promote your products and services.
Diversification is very important for small businesses because most of the time, they face certain difficulties such as limited resources, less capital, and low margins. On the other hand, if you are expanding internationally, you can diversify in several fields and you can easily make profits.
4) Increase brand awareness internationally
Expanding abroad is an important step for many small businesses, and this step can bring an important benefit in terms of brand awareness. Not only you will be able to attract customers that will buy your products, but also partners that can cooperate or invest in your company, helping you market the products and services in other countries.
6 Best Strategies For Business Expansion
But before doing that It is important for you to understand how business expansion strategies can change and develop along with your own company’s goals, objectives, and circumstances.
These strategies can also vary depending on the type of expansion you are contemplating. If you are expanding into a new market, you will require a different strategy than if you are simply expanding your company’s presence into a new location.
1) Market penetration Strategy
Market penetration refers to the percentage of the population that can access your business’s products or services. If you are able to market your business to a specific market segment, you can effectively increase the number of your customers or clients. One of the best ways to increase your market penetration is to market to potential customers who are not yet committed consumers. You can do this by launching local advertising campaigns. For example, if you are running a business that provides pest control, you can launch a campaign where you offer free chemical treatments to individuals who have pets. This will increase your market share because you are offering a service that is in high demand in the market.
2) Marketing and promotion
You need to make sure that you have a solid marketing and promotional strategy in place in order to maximize your market share. You can do this by creating strong customer loyalty to your business. This can be achieved by attracting new customers through various means. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a strong customer base.
By capturing a large number of new customers, you can expand your business faster because you will have more new customers to spread your business name to. One of the most effective ways to capture new customers is to create a website. A website is a great way to showcase the services that your business offers and to create the image of a professional business. If you are planning to expand abroad, you should also create a localized version of the website to have a better impact on the local customers.
3) Expansion into a new market
When a market becomes saturated with one type of product or service, there is a tendency for that market to begin to dry up. If you take a look at traditional business expansion, you may have noticed that many businesses have expanded into areas where they were previously unable to do business. This may be due to limited local market penetration, lower capital costs, higher returns, or a change in consumer preferences. Regardless of the cause of market saturation, you can use new market expansion strategies to help your business thrive.
4) Expand your business abroad
At some point, for businesses, the local market becomes saturated, and the only way to expand is to go abroad. This is a step that many companies are afraid of because it comes with challenges, but also many opportunities because you are able to sell your products or services to more users.
You should find local partners to manage part of your business operations and especially those aspects, like HR and payroll, that can cause you to lose money and being non-compliant with the local law. All aspects that can destroy your presence in the market.
In this specific situation, a PEO is the best solution for your business to outsource HR and payroll abroad, so you do not have any risk with the local laws and regulations when hiring and managing employees abroad.
5) Start a franchise
One of the best strategies for business expansion includes starting a franchise, which is a process in which you open a business in a location where there is a need and people are willing to invest money and energy into it. Franchises provide a controlled environment in which you can grow your business without worrying about competitors.
6) Enter a joint venture or acquisition agreement
Another strategy that can help your business is to enter into a joint venture or acquisition agreement with another business that has a larger market share. You can leverage your combined business’s strengths and obtain access to resources and markets that you would not otherwise be able to do.
Your business’s success depends upon having the best strategies for business expansion. You want to expand your business to the fullest extent possible so that you can serve a greater number of consumers and provide better customer service.
The key is to make strategic decisions that will yield the greatest results. You may have an idea for a business opportunity, but you should also consider expansion strategies that will allow you to realize your dream.
Even if it seems like a business idea that you cannot afford, you may be surprised at how soon you can afford it. Once you have started to expand, your business will continue to grow so you can retire with some peace of mind.
Growth strategy examples
We’ve rounded up some examples of companies that achieved growth through a seemingly small tactic that yielded enormous payoff. Each of these examples should be understood in the context of the company where they were executed. While you can’t copy and paste their success, there’s a lesson to be learned from each.
1. How Zapier grew signups by writing about other products
Zapier is all about integrations—it brings together tools across a user’s tech stack, allowing events in one tool to trigger events in another, from Asana to HubSpot to Buffer. The beauty of Zapier is it sort of disappears behind these other tools. But that raises an interesting question: How do you market an invisible tool?
Zapier leveraged its multifaceted product personality through content marketing. The team takes every new integration on Zapier as a new opportunity to build authority through search and to appeal to a new audience on its blog.
The company’s blog reads like a collective guide to hundreds of tools, with specific titles like “How to Quickly Append Text to a Note in Evernote or OneNote from Your Browser” and “How to Automatically Generate Charts and Reports in Google Sheets and Docs.” Zapier’s strategy is to subtly make itself a content destination for the audiences of all these different tools.
Takeaway: If you have a product with multiple use cases and integrations, try curating your content marketing around each use-case instead of aiming for a catch-all approach.
2. How LinkedIn grew its user base by inviting connections
Remember the days when people used to hand out business cards? (Oh, and then they needed to be reprinted every time your contact info changed). LinkedIn launched an online version of this process to maintain professional contacts while also employing a “six degrees of separation” concept for people to grow their networks.
LinkedIn built an Outlook plugin that would sift through users’ contacts. They then used email marketing to reach out to these contacts. If you were an early adopter on the platform, you probably remember being on the receiving end of this strategy: “So I [someone you know] found you while I was looking around the network. Let’s connect directly; I’m happy to help you with requests and forward things incoming. It will probably make both of our networks bigger.”
It became a cycle. This email would be sent out to the contacts of new users. Those contacts would sign up, and the email would go out to their contacts, and so on. LinkedIn found that a benchmark of four emails was needed before a user would sign up for a platform. Kind of a FOMO mentality among professionals. It worked: LinkedIn went from 500,000 users in 2004 to 2 million users in 2006.
3. How Airbnb continued to scale by simplifying user reviews
Airbnb’s origin story is one of the infamous growth hacking tales. Founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia knew their potential audience was already using Craigslist, so they engineered their own integration. This connection allowed hosts to double post their ads to Airbnb and Craigslist at the same time.
While this integration got Airbnb off its feet, it’s not what allowed the brand to keep growing. You know how you check out reviews of a product before you buy? The same is true for staying in someone else’s house. The company’s review system became a critical factor in drawing guests to the platform. For 50% of bookings, guests visit a host profile at least once before booking a trip, and hosts with more than 10 reviews are 10X more likely to receive bookings.
4. How AdRoll used Appcues modal windows to increase adoption to 60%
The Head of Growth at AdRoll wanted to experiment with in-app messaging in order to target the right AdRoll users more effectively. But growth experiments like this require rapid iteration. Engineers are better suited for longer development cycles, and adding in-app messaging would be a distraction.
So the team started using Appcues to create custom modal windows quickly and easily—and without input from their developers. With a no-code solution in place, AdRoll’s growth team could design and implement however many windows they needed to drive adoption of the features they were working on.
One feature that needed an adoption boost was AdRoll’s integration with Mailchimp (Mailchimp is making all kinds of appearances in this article!). The feature allows users to retarget ads to their email subscribers in MailChimp. However, AdRoll found that very few users were actually making use of this integration.
Find the small changes that can lead to huge growth
None of these growth spurts happened by changing a whole company all at once. Instead, these teams found something small—a way in, a loophole, a detail—and carved out that space so growth could follow.
Whether you find a single feature in your product is the key to engaging users or you discover a north star metric that allows you to replicate success, pinpoint a target for your growth strategy and dig into it. Pay attention. Listen to your users. Notice what’s happening in your product and what could be better. Learning is your first step in defining your next growth strategy.
Eric heads up Marketing at Appcues. When he isn’t helping companies become more product-led, he’s likely to be found keeping up with his wife and two children, exploring the White Mountains, or fermenting things at home.
What should I include in my professional CV format?
Include your name, email address, phone number, and city in your professional CV. It’s important to make sure anyone reading your CV knows exactly who you are and how to contact you.
Depending on your location, you may also have to include your exact home address, your date of birth, and other personal details. Be sure to research CV expectations in your country so you know exactly what information to include.
You may also want to include links to any online profiles, like a personal website, LinkedIn profile, or Twitter account. If your accounts are focused on career topics and you mainly post about your industry, online profiles can show that you’re engaged and interested in your field. However, you must be 100% certain that everything on that account is professional and appropriate for a business context—even Twitter likes.
Work Experience Section
For most job-seekers, the Work Experience section takes up most of the space in their professional CV format. This is the section that tells your career story by showcasing previous roles and demonstrating your expertise.
Inside your Work Experience section, list your previous jobs in reverse-chronological order (unless you are writing a Functional or Combination CV), beginning with your most recent role and working backwards in order. For each job, include the job title, company name, and dates of employment. Describe each job using active language in a simple bulleted list.
For most job-seekers, a more detailed description of each entry isn’t needed. If you’re a recent graduate, however, you may want to include details like GPA (if it’s high), research topics, or relevant coursework to show what your classes were focused on.
If you’re writing an academic or research CV, your education may be more important than your work experience. This means that your Education section can be longer and include more detail. Include things like specialization, dissertation topic, research area, and any other detail that will help you emphasize your academic achievements.
CV Skills Section
To make your professional CV format as impressive as possible, it’s important to include a Skills section. Employers want to know what you’re capable of and what your specialties are. Your Skills section lets them know what you can do for their company.
Pick your most impressive and most relevant skills and display them on your CV in a simple list. Most people prefer a bulleted list. If you want to include a visual element, a strength rating showing your aptitude for the skill is a great way to add some personality.
Other CV sections
There are some CV sections that can be useful, but don’t apply to everyone. If there are aspects of your career that you want to add to your CV, but they don’t fit into the typical sections, you can always create a new section for them. Any relevant qualifications that will help your CV can be added.
Academic CVs have very specific needs, so it’s important to know exactly what is expected in your field. Research CV expectations in your industry so you know what to include. When listing your publications, make sure to use the appropriate academic citation format.
If you aren’t writing an academic CV, you likely won’t need a Publications section. If you have published work in another context, like journalism or content marketing, a Portfolio section with hyperlinks is more suitable.
Experience working with volunteer organizations can look great on a CV. Volunteering can show that you have interests outside of work, a generous disposition, and are involved in your community.
Credentials that don’t quite fit in with your Education section can be added to a Certifications section. This might include a special drivers license, a trades ticket, a management certificate, and more. Any relevant certifications you have achieved can be added to a Certifications section.
You may want your CV to show that you’re a member of a club or organization. Whether they’re local clubs or international organizations that you participate in online, the right memberships can look good on a CV.
When Do I Use a Curriculum Vitae?
Individuals who use a CV format when applying for a job are generally applicants who need to convey a large amount of information which will not only help to tell an employer who they are but help define them and their work within a specific discipline.
To put it simply, CVs are traditionally used for individuals who are looking for employment in academic, research, or scholarly positions. Many PhDs, educators and teachers working at the university level (and above) will use a Curriculum Vitae rather than a resume to outline not only their work history, but their published academic papers and professional accomplishments as well.
While people in academics and education are the most likely to be asked to produce a CV for a job, there are other job seekers who need to have a solid CV as well, including individuals who are in medical and/or scientific fields as well as people in research or looking to work abroad.
Both United States and Canadian citizens who are interested in traveling overseas (most often to the U.K.) should be prepared to have potential employers ask them for a thorough CV.
CV vs Resume
As we said above, both are used to obtain an employment position and both are an ever evolving ‘living document’ (by living document we mean it’s a document you constantly update and keep current based on your own work history and experiences…not that you have to feed it and take it for walks daily. That would just be weird.)
Let’s say you’re applying for a job as a scientist. If you were writing your resume you would include only the work information that relates specifically to the job you’re applying for, but for a Curriculum Vitae, you would also include all your teaching experience, lab and field work.
Pretend you’re a grad-student and you’re just getting out into the world. Your CV might be just a page or two long as you’re still new to the world of academia and your accomplishments are just starting to roll in.
Now, let’s flash forward ten years into the future. You’ve been working for a prestigious university and have had a number of papers published in high profile journals. Your CV, which was once just a few pages long, might now be closer to seven or eight. You’ve not removed any information…rather, you’ve added to it.
Every time you accomplish something, you add that to your CV. Did you contribute your findings to a scientific journal? You add that to your CV. Were you awarded an honor at the university you’re currently working at for teaching excellence? You add that to your CV.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for a CV
While your CV provides a detailed—and often lengthy—look at your experience and credentials, the cover letter is an opportunity to call out your most important qualifications and make a compelling case for your candidacy for the role at hand. Here’s what you need to know to write a successful curriculum vitae cover letter.
Tailor the Letter to Fit the Organization
Each letter needs to provide detailed information about why are you are qualified for the specific job in question, and it should outline the reasons for your interest in the company or organization. Being specific is advantageous. Even if you’re applying for two similar roles in two different hospitals, the two hospitals may serve different populations or require slightly different responsibilities for people in the role. Your letters to each hospital should reflect that.
What to Include
As a candidate, it’s tempting to feel like the cover letter is unnecessary, since it is likely that all the pertinent information is included in your CV. Still, as you can see, the cover letter is a helpful tool in your application. Here’s what to keep in mind as you write a cover letter.
The content of your cover letter should be brief and structured. Aim for 3-5 paragraphs in your letter. Start with a salutation. Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advertisement. Avoid “Sir” or “Madam” if possible.
Start With an Introduction
Typically, the first paragraph will be an introduction—if you are applying to a job ad, mention it here. Mention the job title, any reference number, and where and when you saw it. The first paragraph is also where you should mention if someone referred you to the position.
The Body of the Cover Letter
The body of the letter—the second and third paragraphs—should highlight your relevant skills and experience. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements, and versatility. Explain what you can contribute and what makes you stand out from your competition. Include mention of your current or last job, qualifications, and professional and academic training, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organization or job applied for.
In the body of the cover letter, you can mention personality traits relevant to the role at hand. You can also use this space to call out why you’re interested in this specific role, at this specific company. Potential employers and hiring managers will appreciate it if you can show you’ve read the job ad and researched the company.
Conclude the letter by succinctly summarizing why an employer may want to meet and employ you. Include a polite expression of interest in further dialogue with the recruiter. Do mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss your suitability further in a personal interview and that you await a response in due course.
Always follow specific instructions and include any information if it is specifically requested. For instance, some employers may ask you to include your current salary or your desired salary range.
Make Sure the Letter Reads Well
Ensure that your CV cover letter flows freely. You do not need to precisely match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.
Cover Letter Sample
Depending on the employer’s submission requirements, cover letters can be submitted online with your CV, uploaded online, or mailed. Be sure to follow the application instructions and follow the directions on how to apply. Consider this template for how to structure your letter:
I am writing to apply for the position of assistant professor in the Biology department, as described in the Northern University website. The opportunity to teach biology appeals to me, and I believe I can be an asset to the department due to my experience as a field biologist, as well as my work as an adjunct professor at Southern State University. In accordance with your job description, I have the following skills:
I can be reached anytime by email at [email protected] or my cell phone, 555-555-5555. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this position.
Take advantage of the motivational power of recognition
Research shows that recognition is one of the most effective ways to motivate employees. 80 percent of employees say that recognition is a strong source of motivation, and 90 percent say that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder. However, many companies continue to neglect recognition: a lack of recognition is the third most common reason employees choose to leave an organization.
Any recognition strategy needs to incorporate both monetary and social recognition. According to a report by Aptitude Research Partners, organizations using social recognition have 40 percent higher employee productivity compared to organizations not using it.
- Recognition should be provided frequently — not just during work anniversaries — and in the moment.
- Any time you send a recognition, be specific and transparent when describing the key behavior demonstrated. This is extremely important because 92 percent of employees agree when they’re recognized for a specific action, they’re more likely to take that action again in the future.
- Tie recognition to company values to show employees that those values are more than just words and incentivize employees to practice them.
- Consider using a points system for rewards, which allows employees to redeem their points for a reward of their choosing that they find meaningful.
- Finally, use an employee recognition platform so your team members can provide recognition from anywhere, whether they’re on desktop or mobile. You should also leverage data insights to properly measure and adjust your recognition program for optimal success.
Collect and respond to employee feedback
Employees are far more motivated when they have a voice. 73 percent of employees who feel heard by employers say that they are motivated to perform their best work, and 90 percent of workers are more likely to stay at a company that listens to and acts on feedback.
Collecting feedback frequently gives employees a chance to express themselves and makes them feel valued. Use employee pulse surveys to get a check on how your employees are feeling and see whether your motivational efforts are succeeding. You can also implement a workplace chatbot that provides an always-on channel for employees to confidentially share feedback.
Listening to employee feedback is just the first step; employers need to take visible actions addressing it. After conducting and closing your employee pulse survey, set aside time to measure and analyze the results carefully. What are employees telling you? How do results compare to the last study? What trends are you seeing? Consider the response rate, evaluate the data as well as the comments, and review with managers and leaders. When an employee sees that their feedback has an actual impact on business decisions, they know that their voice matters and they’ll continue to provide honest, valuable feedback.
How to Motivate Your Employees in 10 Easy Steps
Do your employees drag themselves into work? When you ask them to stay back for a meeting or complete an additional task, do they immediately jump into action, object or reluctantly agree. When employees don’t feel appreciated, they will not go the extra mile. The clock is at the uppermost part of their minds.
1. Connect with your team – As a leader you should be seen. Be visible. Make your presence felt. Don’t just lock yourself in your office whole day and only communicate with staff when you want something done. It would be good to walk around on mornings to greet staff, then during the day, take quick walks through the office. Send motivational quotes, positive insights, etc. Get to know your employees. Find out about their interests. When next you meet them remember what you discussed, they would be appreciate how you were attentive.
2.Show that you sincerely care about their well being. I can’t emphasize this point enough. If a staff member is on extended sick leave or loses a family member. Just pick up the phone and call them. Be genuinely sympathetic. Send a card or flowers. If one of your employees passes away, try to attend the funeral service, don’t just focus on getting a replacement. Staff won’t forget this type of behaviour. I had a supervisor who had poor people skills, her sole fixation was on results, sadly though when she retired none of the staff wanted to speak when the floor was opened. It was a very short retirement programme.
3. Be Fair and Neutral. We know too well about office politics and favouritism. It’s really sad when employees can tell who will be getting the next promotion because of their close relationship with the manager. Furthermore, don’t hold personal grudges, don’t send angry e-mails, swear, lose your temper or ignore your staff, especially in front of other employees. Gave constructive feedback rather than criticize. Treat everyone with respect.
4. Advocate for your staff. Exhibit loyalty to your employees. In some cases, if a complaint is made against an employee, the manager is quick to jump in and suddenly all the good the employee has done is cast into the sea of forgetfulness. Don’t be the judge, jury and executioner. When your people are facing difficult challenges and morale is sinking, be the ultimate leader and take the bullet for your team.
5. Employee Empowerment – Micro managing; breathing down someone’s neck all the time can be very disheartening. Sometimes knowing when to step back and let your employees do their work is what they need. Encourage your workers to come up with ideas. Give them responsibility. Let the lead a project. Delegate and assign tasks. Recognize the different type of employees; Some may rely on this style to effectively perform but most will loathe it.
6. Open and Honest two way Communication. Keep employees informed. Don’t let them have to hear of upcoming changes through the grapevine. Make sure top management is available and engaging. Have an open door policy where you can be seen as approachable to your subordinates. Listening to employees -Have an atmosphere where employees ideas and suggestions are valued. Don’t have surveys and suggestion boxes then when feedback is given, you simply ignore it.
7. Champion Team Building Activities. Encourage a family atmosphere at work. Recognize Birthday’s. Have regular meetings and office activities such as talent shows, group breakfast / luncheons and different events that will promote a sense of togetherness and belonging. You may want to host some of these activities off site for a change of scenery.
8. Reward and Recognition– Offer incentives. Always reward staff for good work, and not only top performers include those who are improving or doing their best. Additionally, don’t just wait for this occasion, you can always recognize employees by communicating to them the great job they are doing. Give Specific Thank You’s. Show employees the results of their hard work. Make them feel as though they are a major part of the business. Keep them up to date with the performance of the company this will motivate them to give more.
9. Training – One of the top reasons employees leave a company is the lack of development opportunities. Staff members can interpret an employer’s unwillingness to invest in training as a disregard for their professional development. Acknowledge and encourage strengths, recognize the different skills they possess and recommend training for them. Subsequently, If a staff member has informed you they want to move to another department support their wishes, don’t be an obstacle to them.
Why the internet’s most important law exists and how people are still getting it wrong
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is one of the internet’s most important and most misunderstood laws. It’s intended to protect “interactive computer services” from being sued over what users post, effectively making it possible to run a social network, a site like Wikipedia, or a news comment section. But in recent years, it’s also become a bludgeon against tech companies that critics see as abusing their power through political bias or editorial slant. Just this week, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a major (and highly unpopular) amendment, claiming Section 230 was designed to keep the internet “free of political censorship.”
But that’s just not what happened, says US Naval Academy professor Jeff Kosseff, author of the recent book The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet. Twenty-Six Words is a nuanced and engaging look at the complicated history of Section 230, which was put forward as an alternative to heavy-handed porn regulation and then turned into a powerful legal shield through a series of court rulings.
Kosseff tells The Verge that he doesn’t think Section 230 is perfect. It’s led to truly painful outcomes for victims of harassment and defamation who can’t make platforms take down posts or sue them for damages. But anybody who thinks the modern internet is broken should at least understand why the law was created, why it’s so fundamental to the web, and why people are interpreting it in ways the architects never intended.
To really understand Section 230, you have to go all the way back to the 1950s. There was a Los Angeles ordinance that said if you have obscene material in your store, you can be held criminally responsible. So a vice officer sees this erotic book that he believes is obscene. Eleazar Smith, who owns the store, is prosecuted, and he’s sentenced to 30 days in jail.
This goes all the way up to the Supreme Court, and what the Supreme Court says is that the Los Angeles ordinance is unconstitutional. There’s absolutely no way that a distributor like a bookstore could review every bit of content before they sell it. So if you’re a distributor, you’re going to be liable only if you knew, or should have known, that what you’re distributing is illegal.
Then we get to these early internet services like CompuServe and Prodigy in the early ‘90s. CompuServe is like the Wild West. It basically says, “We’re not going to moderate anything.” Prodigy says, “We’re going to have moderators, and we’re going to prohibit bad stuff from being online.” They’re both, not surprisingly, sued for defamation based on third-party content.
CompuServe’s lawsuit is dismissed because what the judge says is, yeah, CompuServe is the electronic equivalent of a newsstand or bookstore. The court rules that Prodigy doesn’t get the same immunity because Prodigy actually did moderate content, so Prodigy is more like a newspaper’s letter to the editor page. So you get this really weird rule where these online platforms can reduce their liability by not moderating content.
That really is what triggered the proposal of Section 230. For Congress, the motivator for Section 230 was that it did not want platforms to be these neutral conduits, whatever that means. It wanted the platforms to moderate content.
In your book, it sounds like the discussion revolved around porn and defamation. Those were the things people were really worrying about. Is that an accurate reading?
Yeah, it’s kind of quaint! Or. mostly. The biggest concern would be sort of “indecent but not obscene” pornography and defamation. But I will say there were some really tough cases in the earliest days of Section 230. There’s a case — the second case ever decided under Section 230 — where a mother was suing AOL in Florida because its chatrooms were used to market pornographic videos of her 11-year-old son.
But, obviously, with the internet playing a much more vital role in society and playing a much more central role in society, the number and the complexity of these cases has increased significantly.
That was the Zeran v. America Online case, the first case ever decided, and that really set the precedent for all of Section 230. The guy had his phone number and name posted on a really tasteless ad about the Oklahoma City bombing less than a week after it had happened, and he was just getting constant threats. He had to go on psychiatric medication. It was really horrible for him. So there’s always been this balance that we’ve had to strike between the ability to speak freely online and these real harms that people are suffering.
20 Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas in 2022
Employee engagement is an essential piece in driving employee satisfaction. Employees who are engaged, motivated, and connected with their employers will likely decide to stay in the organization. This is all the more true for your remote teams, where it’s more important than ever to build connections and intentionally make an effort to create an engaging work environment.
1. Conduct Virtual Town Halls
Turn this traditional citizen engagement activity into a fun one in your virtual space. A town hall is one way the leadership can connect to the rest of the organization, provide company status, and answer pressing questions. The key here is to make it casual and simple.
More importantly, make it easy for your employees to join. Ideally, they’d have to press a button, and that’s it, so investing in a reliable video-conferencing platform is essential for this to work.
Start with an icebreaker to grab everyone’s attention, celebrate small wins, and don’t forget to thank everyone for their contribution. When speaking, it should be brief and direct to the point to not bore the audience. At the heart of it is the Q&A segment. Ensure that your employees can raise questions quickly by either voicing them out or submitting them via email or chatbox.
2. Maximize Virtual Coffee Breaks
When you can’t have in-person coffee runs, why not have virtual coffee breaks instead? Typically, ranging from just 10-30 minutes, these are intentional breaks to foster relationships or ask one to take a break. Discussion around coffee breaks can vary from what you ate for breakfast to your hopes and dreams.
3. Play Office Olympics
All work and no play makes one stressed and burned out. If that doesn’t come with some truth to you, then you are probably in denial. Working remotely may sometimes blur out the lines between work and personal time, so take a break and have fun when you can. One way to do this is by playing online office games or competitions like your standard office Olympics.
4. Hold Mindful Mondays
You know that almost familiar meme about dreadful Mondays or manic Mondays. What if you don’t have to make the first day of the week less desirable? For every other week, huddle up with your teams and do a mindful Monday session for 30 minutes or one hour. The idea is to give each of your team members time to regress and unload some of their emotional baggage before they face the hustle and bustle of the current workweek.
5. Do a 99k Challenge
The road to a fitness journey is a single step, but to make it worthwhile, you’d have to make it to 99. This fitness challenge is straightforward. In a month, challenge your team to reach 99 thousand steps combined. Each team member must contribute several steps and whoever reaches 99 thousand steps or more at the end of the month gets to win a prize. Steps are recorded from their smartwatch or the health apps on their phones. They can either do walking, jogging, or running on the treadmill to gain these steps.
6. Build a Mental Wellness Program
Talking about mental wellness and its importance is a good start, but it’s not sufficient. If you want to make that talk walk, you need to build a solid mental wellness program in place. You can start by equipping your managers with training on how to handle mental health emergencies.
You can also partner with mental health organizations and conduct virtual mental wellness sessions with professionals as your speakers. In this way, you are also providing your people with the resources they need to improve their mental health.
7. Ugly Holiday Sweater Themed Meeting
Who doesn’t love themed meetings and the chance to dress up after your work jammies have all been used up? For your holiday meetings, try asking your employees to dress up in their ugly holiday sweaters. In one part of your meeting, shine a quick spotlight on everyone to see what they’re wearing and using a quick poll, everyone will cast a vote on who wore the ugliest sweater among everybody.
8. Digital Perks and Rewards
One of the ways you can keep the loyalty of your teams is through rewards and recognition. As an employee, it’s always a satisfying feeling when your efforts are recognized and praised. While you may not be able to give out tangible items as frequently as you can, mainly if your teams are distributed on far-off locations, you can still reward them digitally.
These rewards can be in the form of points that they can later check out for gift cards, shopping vouchers, tour tickets, discount coupons, etc. It may also help if you have a digital rewards platform in place, whether built in-house or outsourced through an external agency. What ultimately matters is that the rewards are appealing and relevant to your employees.
9. Have Fun with Slack Apps
If you’re working remotely, you know about this app. Slack is by far one of the most popular and widely-used messaging apps, not just by remote teams but even those working on-site or in a hybrid workplace. It’s not just for communication purposes, though. You can make the app your virtual watercooler space using its wide array of available apps for recognition, engagement, or collaboration purposes.
1) Update your communications strategy
Strong internal communications are always important, but they’re even more important when teams are distributed. Consider if there are new channels or content types that you can use to keep employees informed. In addition to their regular monthly town halls, the company has started hosting virtual “ask me anythings” (AMAs) with their CEO and other leaders using Slido.
These AMAs were started to provide updates about things that are changing in response to COVID-19 — like business changes, return to work updates and more. There are also 3 AMA sessions a month for specific teams and focus areas, where the Tech/Corporate, Customer Care and Sales team can ask questions that are relevant to them. These regular AMAs provide the opportunity for GoDaddy’s 7,000+ employees to feel informed and connected to one another.
2) Develop an employee experience task force
Creating a positive virtual employee experience must be deliberate — it takes a lot of cross-functional collaboration and work to get it right. GoDaddy has created a special taskforce to rise to the challenge of preserving and enhancing GoDaddy’s culture while working remotely. Shannon and her team are part of this taskforce, which is also composed of about 20 others from different teams around the organization like Internal Communications, People Operations, Care Leadership, Corporate Events and all of location-specific experience managers.
The team meets weekly to talk about ideas for different social rooms they can create for employees to chat and interact, approaches to improving employee morale and ways that managers can keep teams engaged. They also spend time talking about how to communicate different virtual experiences internally and externally, so employees know what’s going on and so that candidates can get an idea of their virtual interim culture.
10 tips for business efficiency
Business efficiency means maximizing your outputs from your given inputs – or making the most of your resources. If you haven’t thought about how to improve efficiency in a business, you may well be overlooking places where you can cut down on the time you’re spending on a particular task. This saves you money and manpower in both the short term and the long run.
How can a business improve efficiency?
It seems obvious, but you might be surprised how many businesses aren’t providing their employees with the skills and tools they need to do their jobs. Whether you’re looking at project management software or new training for your accountant, the one-time fee or yearly subscription cost you may pay for a tool will often repay itself tenfold in terms of getting work done quickly and accurately.
Also called huddles or scrums, a short, daily team meeting can improve business efficiency. Keep your team updated on what everyone is working on, who needs help and who might have extra time and problems or questions team members have. Face-to-face communication is the most efficient, but if you’ve got a lot of team members who work remotely or who are on the road, give video chat a try. Other than this meeting, try to limit interruptions throughout the day.
Don’t confuse being busy with being productive – they’re not necessarily related. We all know someone who is always busy, but never seems to get anything done. As Tony says, “Where focus goes, energy flows,” and it’s crucial to keep your employees focused on just one task or goal at a time. Make it clear what’s most important, and efficiency will follow.
Examine your operations and the processes you have in place. Look for redundancies, dated or excessively complicated processes or unclear procedures. These are all prime candidates for consolidation or elimination. But don’t cut corners. Prioritizing efficiency over quality or safety only leads to bigger problems down the line – when they’re more expensive to fix.
Creation is just as important as cutting. Document every task your departments perform regularly, no matter how big or small. This serves two purposes: documentation helps you see spots where you can be even more efficient, and it lays out a process others can follow in case its typical executors are out.
Business efficiency requires a certain mindset – one of constant improvement, hunger and the knowledge that there is always more to learn. It’s a personal trait, but it is also one that you can make a part of your company culture . It will encourage risk-taking and innovation in your employees, which are both important in creating efficiency.
In terms of tools to help us make business – and our lives – more efficient, there has never been a more exciting time to be alive. Use technology like automation strategically to complement the strong workforce you develop.
Your employees aren’t going to work hard if they’re not happy. Do your part by creating a safe, welcoming environment where they’ll want to work. This isn’t just about company BBQs or free snacks, either. Understanding your leadership style and how your employees want to be led and spoken to is critical to building a business they’ll want to stay at.
There’s nothing worse than the boss who tries to do everything themselves. If you’re overseeing the entire show, then you aren’t a boss, you’re an operations manager. You hired your employees for a reason – to work for you – so let them get to it. Show them how to do the work they need to do and step back until they need your help.
Building trust in the workplace leads to stronger bonds between employer and employee, as well as between colleagues. Trusting people to do their jobs without looming over them helps create a place where they feel valued and free to do their best work. In return, if you’re honest and transparent with employees, they’re more likely to return the favor, providing valuable insight on tasks, products, services and more.
Dust off your business plans.
Review, review and review your business plan. See how far (or little) your business has taken shape from your original idea. Many entrepreneurs write a business plan at the start of the business, only to forget about it. Some stray away from their plans – and fail. Go find your business plans and update them. Since your business’s inception, a number of factors must have changed – from the overall business climate to your product line. Take all those changes into consideration, consider the business and economic climate, factor in your and your family’s goals, and get a clear assessment of the direction of your business. Get in touch with your business advisers, if any.
Take time to tap into your customer database and get in touch with your existing customers. Whether by phone, email or letter, contact your customers to greet them and remind them that your business is ready to serve them again. Get their opinions about what they think about your business (and make getting customer feedback a part of your business processes). You need to constantly look for ways to encourage repeat business. Although marketing and advertising are important to get more customers, quality, service, and customer satisfaction are what keep a business successful in the long run.
Evaluate your pricing.
Think about your pricing and the possibility of raising your rates. Get the feel of what your existing customers think about you raising your prices. Also be sure to check out what the competition’s doing and make sure your prices or rates aren’t too low — or way too high. You don’t want to overprice yourself out of the market, yet you should not bear the burden of a cash flow shortage. Give your customers a month or two advance notice should you decide to increase your rates.
Even if you have secured funding from investors, you need to constantly look for ways to reduce your costs. From making double-sided paper copies to ordering shipping supplies in bulk, you can reduce wasted material, effort, and time in making, selling, and delivering your product. The result is an improvement in your company’s bottom line and an increased competitive advantage.
It’s hard to improve your performance if you aren’t measuring and tracking it. By using continuous feedback to guide your business’s planning efforts, you get to see which improvements will be the most effective and make those changes first. These processes can be tracked manually or with system management software. By measuring past and current performance, you can see how your methods have improved and where they need to be enhanced further.
Inefficient processes can frustrate employees by making it harder for them to perform their duties. To increase operational efficiency, you want employees to have high morale at the workplace. When workers are frustrated, they may interact with customers differently and possibly cause them to take their business elsewhere. If the inefficiencies don’t improve, you can lose great employees for reasons that could have been easily remedied. Satisfied, productive, long-term employees are critical to continually improving your operational efficiency.
Having access to consistent, accurate data about project management, finances, and operations is crucial to increasing operational efficiency; this is made much easier with the right technology. By integrating service management systems into your operations, you have all of the information you need at your fingertips, helping you stay on-time, on-budget, and improving your overall operational efficiency.
Operational efficiency is all about enhancing your current methods to stay ahead of the game. Are you ready to improve your operational efficiency? Get Started For Free today!
Why are recommendation letters important?
Before diving into the recommendation letter samples, let’s consider what role recommendation letters play in the job application process. Why do hiring managers ask for letters of recommendation? What purpose do reference letters serve?
Powerfully advocate for the job seeker
Well for one, you can powerfully advocate for a candidate in your letter. By throwing your support behind them, the hiring manager will see that this person has successfully worked with a boss or colleague in the past.
Add personality to a job application
Your letter can also help personalize someone’s application. A hiring manager might read through lots of resumes, but your letter will help the candidate come to life by shedding light on their personality and work style.
Point out past achievements
By discussing specific achievements a candidate has made, you can also help prove the job seeker will make similar accomplishments in the future. They say past behavior points to future behavior, so sharing anecdotes in your letter will help the hiring manager see what the job seeker would be like if they got hired.
Help the job seeker get hired
If you write a generic, vague letter, it might not do much to sway a hiring manager’s opinion. Or it could easily be outshined by someone else’s letter of recommendation, where the writer took the time to get personal and specific.
What to Include in an Employee Reference Letter
Include your contact information and the recipient’s name at the top of the letter for a printed or upload letter. List your contact information in your signature when you’re sending an email.
If you are writing a personal letter of reference, include a salutation (Dear Dr. Jennings, Dear Ms. Calavan, etc.). If you are writing a general reference letter, say “To Whom It May Concern” or start with the first paragraph of the letter.
Explain why the person you are recommending is qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are providing a reference letter. Be sure to use specific examples to speak to their qualifications.
Provide a brief summary of why you are recommending the person. State that you “recommend without reservation” or “strongly recommend” the person or something similar.
Include your phone number and email address in the return address section of a hard copy letter or, if you’re sending an email, list your contact information under your name in the signature.
How to Write a Perfect—and Personalized—Letter of Recommendation (Template and Example Included!)
Of course, it’s flattering to be asked to draft a recommendation letter. But on the other hand, you have to admit that you’re dreading it. Your schedule’s already packed, and this is just one more thing to add to your never-ending to-do list.
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Add to that, reference letters can be a challenge to whip up—particularly when you want to craft something that’s well-written, personalized, and truly does that person justice to a hiring manager.
But stress no more! Writing a recommendation letter for an employee no longer needs to send you into a tailspin, thanks to our easy-to-follow format and guide. (Need to write someone a LinkedIn recommendation? Get advice for that here.)
First things first, you need to know why you’re being asked to write the recommendation letter. Are you writing a letter of recommendation for academic reasons, a personal character reference, a new job, or something else? If the recommendee hasn’t already provided you information about what they need the letter for, ask them to supply you with the following:
A good recommendation letter includes three main points: your relationship with the person you’re recommending, observations and evaluations of their work, and why they are qualified for the position.
- Establish how you worked together and for how long in a sentence or two. Did they report to you? Were they your boss? Did you work in different departments, but collaborated closely on a project?
- Evaluate the candidate’s work, focusing on their strengths and applying it to the position they’re seeking. For example, if they’re seeking a management position, showcase their leadership skills. Highlight tangible successes that can be quantified, detailing an increase in sales or how effective they were at managing budgets and/or people.
- Describe how they stood out from the rest of their colleagues and use specific examples that support your case, whether it’s taking the initiative on a complex project or spearheading a new company-wide program. Concrete anecdotes will create a lasting impression. If you can, it’s nice to seal the deal with a comparison, such as saying they’re “the most effective salesperson I’ve ever worked with” or “one of the top two employees I’ve ever managed”—as long as that’s true, of course!
Still not sure what to say? Our basic template will show you how to write a letter of recommendation that not only is personalized, but highlights why your colleague should get the position they are seeking.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with [Name], and came to know [him/her/them] as a truly valuable asset to our team. [He is/She is/They are] honest, dependable, and incredibly hardworking. Beyond that, [he is/she is/they are] an impressive [soft skill] who is able to [result].
[His/her/their] knowledge of [specific subject] and expertise in [specific subject] was a huge advantage to our entire office. [He/she/they] put this skill set to work in order to [specific achievement].
Along with [his/her/their] undeniable talent, [Name] has always been an absolute joy to work with. [He is/she is/they are] a true team player, and always foster[s] positive discussions and bring[s] the best out of other employees.
Without a doubt, I confidently recommend [Name] to join your team at [Company]. As a dedicated and knowledgeable employee and an all-around great person, I know that [he/she/they] will be a beneficial addition to your organization.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Joanne and came to know her as a truly valuable asset to our team. She is honest, dependable, and incredibly hardworking. Beyond that, she is an impressive problem solver who is able to address complex issues strategically and confidently. Joanne is inspired by challenges and never intimidated by them.
Her knowledge of sales etiquette and expertise in cold calling was a huge advantage to our entire office. Not only did she put this skill set to work, but she also led a series of training sessions on cold calling with the team—increasing our total sales by over 18% in just one quarter. I know that Joanne was a huge piece of our success.
Along with her undeniable talent, Joanne has always been an absolute joy to work with. She is a true team player, and always fosters positive discussions and brings the best out of other employees.
Without a doubt, I confidently recommend Joanne to join your team at The Sales Company. As a dedicated and knowledgeable employee and an all-around great person, I know that she will be a beneficial addition to your organization.
How to Make a Tough Decision—and Actually Stick to It
From the moment we wake up to when we hit our heads back on that pillow, decisions need to be made. Sure, they’re a mix of easy (what to wear, what to eat) and hard, but when you have to make a tough decision—like, say, deciding to change careers, or take a break in your relationship—it can be difficult to know whether you’re doing the right thing. And for many, decision-making can feel downright terrifying.
That’s because we start learning how to make those tough decisions when we’re kids. “Early experiences have a significant impact on your ability to make decisions effectively,” says Catherine Richardson, LPC, a Talkspace therapist. “Young children quickly learn from their environment whether they are capable of making decisions for themselves or are in need of an authority figure to do so for them. This sets the stage for what autonomy will look like in adolescence and adulthood.”
Translation: if you never have to make tough decisions for yourself at a young age, it can be that much more difficult to develop the skill as an adult. Throw other factors in the mix, like good ole’ perfectionism and chronic stress, and it’s likely you’re filled with a hefty amount of uncertainty when it’s time for you to give an answer.
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The good news: regardless of your upbringing, there are plenty of things you can do now to help make tough decisions easier (and faster!). Here’s what the experts say can help guide you in the right direction.
Take a few days to think.
While some choices can be made fast, life-altering ones like moving into a new home need a little more thought investment to help counteract the feelings that may be associated with the situation. “We are emotional beings and prone to making hasty decisions without thinking through the benefits and consequences of each scenario, Richardson says. “After your HVAC has broken down for the 50th time, it’s easy to decide you’re done with your current home. But instead of breaking your lease that night, take a breath, go somewhere with decent air conditioning, and create a list of the pros and cons to help you make an action plan for how to move forward.”
Doing so helps you avoid making difficult decisions based on impulse. “When the time comes to decide, things such as fear or excitement can dominate that initial period,” says Margaret Seide, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in New York City. “If you take two to three days to decide, potential drawbacks and benefits of your choice enter into your decision-making. You get to marry that initial frenzy with more level-headed reasoning, giving you the best of both worlds.”
That’s why Richardson suggests using at least 24-48 hours as a baseline requirement for thinking through any tough decision, giving you time to reason with both your head and heart (and maybe even ask a trusted friend for advice). For major decisions such as a career change, moving, or ending a relationship, she notes it can be helpful to take anywhere from five to seven days, as these decisions will have a greater impact on the trajectory of your life.
Why we’re struggling with decision-making
There’s a neurological reason so many of us are struggling right now. The brain is a muscle, and just like our biceps and glutes, it gets fatigued after lots of exercise. “When we are facing stress, especially when it’s prolonged chronic stress, it drains our mental resources,” explains Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a certified cognitive specialist for Brain Balance. “Change takes mental engagement to do things differently. And these past two-plus years have been constantly navigating change.”
That incessant barrage of calculations means our brains have fewer resources to support executive functions that get strengthened over time, chief among them the ability to make decisions. “It’s why we expect teenagers to be more prone to making bad decisions because they have less mature networks and pathways and those executive functions,” Jackson adds. “Our brains are functioning sort of like teens’, having a harder time making decisions, plans and focusing.”
If you’re someone who also has a hard time staying focused or managing your emotions and mood due to ADHD, anxiety or depression or other mental health concerns, Jackson notes that this decision fatigue is likely to hit you even harder.
8 Effective Ways to Make Hard Decisions Easier
Whether you’re about to make a personal or professional decision, you can follow data-driven and research-based approaches to make hard decisions easier. Note that efficient decision-making doesn’t depend on either innate talent or hard-earned personal experience. The reality is that it all boils down to efficient methods that are teachable and learnable.
Moving to a new city, asking for a raise, getting a graduate degree, deciding on whether to get into or out of a long-term relationship—all of these and many more represent important decisions. You can, of course, recover if you make the wrong ones during such life-altering junctures.
1. Identify the Need to Make a Decision
This is crucial because it allows you to take notice even when there’s no outward problem signaling that you need to make a hard decision or when you initially feel that you just need to make a minor one. Don’t forget that your natural intuitions can also make it uncomfortable to admit that a difficult choice needs to be made.
Keep in mind that the best decision-makers take the initiative to admit the need for a decision before they become an all-out crisis. They also don’t let their gut reactions affect their decisions.
What will help you maximize this method is to make sure that you are asking the right questions. It’s common to waste a lot of time trying to analyze a problem by heading straight to the data and a hasty conclusion. Focusing on good questions will help you avoid this.
2. Get Relevant Information From a Diverse Set of Informed Perspectives
The information could be from a friend, a colleague, a mentor, or even someone you are not closely related to, as long as they have significant knowledge regarding the matter. Furthermore, limiting your data gathering to just informed perspectives will keep you from over-investing in unnecessary data.
Make sure not to dismiss perspectives with which you disagree. After all, opposing opinions allow you to distance yourself from relying on your gut instincts and allows you to see any possible bias blind spots.
3. Decide What Goals You Want to Reach
It’s crucial to identify when a seemingly one-off decision is a sign of an underlying problem. Include dealing with these root problems as part of your end goal. This method will help you further streamline your decision-making process because it allows you to identify your targets clearly. This, in turn, helps steer your mind away from having to juggle too much information.
4. Form a Decision-Making Process Criteria
Form a decision-making process criteria to assess the different options of how you want to achieve your desired outcome. If possible, create the criteria before you even begin looking at your choices. Remember that our intuitions affect our decision-making process by pushing for outcomes that match our instincts. The result? You get worse results overall if you don’t make the relevant criteria before you examine your options.
5. Make a List of Potential Options That Can Help You Reach Your Goal
It’s quite common to generate an insufficient number of options when dealing with hard decisions, particularly when you need to address underlying issues. The best way to tackle this is to generate more options that seem intuitive to you. Aim for 5 attractive choices as the minimum.
Keep in mind that since this is a brainstorming method, you should avoid judging the options even if they seem outlandish. From what I’ve seen in my years of coaching people who were having difficulty making tough life decisions, the best choices usually involve elements that came from innovative options.
6. Examine the Options and Select the Best One
Avoid going with your initial choices when weighing your options. In addition, try your best to view your own preferred option in a harsh light. Another key point is to do your best to assess each choice from your opinion of the person who suggested it. This will minimize the effect of internal politics and relationships on the decision itself.
When examining options, avoid automatically choosing your original preferences. Also, view your own preferred choice in a harsh light and from many angles. Moreover, do your best to evaluate each option separately from your opinion of the person who proposed it. This will minimize the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.
7. Implement the Option You Selected
Implementing this method calls for careful brainstorming and imagination. You will need to minimize your risks and maximize rewards because the goal is to arrive at the best decision possible.
To do so, first, imagine that your choice completely fails. Next, think about all the issues that led to its failure. Then, think of how you can solve these problems and integrate those solutions into the implementation plan.
Dr. Liz Angoff
Learning covers a broad range of skills and processes that come together to help us take in new information and then use it in the challenges and opportunities of our daily lives. This article includes a few key concepts to help you better understand how to make the most of learning: how to be smart about getting smarter.
Often, we spend most of our time trying to take in, or encode, information – by reading, reciting, listening or watching. However, the most powerful way to get new material to stick is to practice retrieving it from your memory. After all, this is what you will have to do on the test, or in life, to actually use the information.
Tips For Effective Encoding
- Connections are King: The best way to learn something new is to connect it to something known. This helps our brains make sense of the new information and encode, or store, it better in our brains. In addition, the more connections an idea has, the better we are able to get to it: imagine trying to get to a central location with many different possible routes, versus a remote location with only one narrow road leading to it.
- Mnemonics for New Learning: A mnemonics is a memory device, often using silly or bizarre phrases to help remember facts, names, or a sequence of events. For example, to remember the 9 planets of our solar system, try: My Very Excellent Mother Jackie Sent Us Nine Pizzas.
- Say it Loud, Say it Proud: An oral recap of what you’ve learned can help your brain process and store new information. Create a habit of telling someone (partner, parent, friend) what you’ve learned. More of a loner? Summarize what you learned today into a tape recorder.
- Focus Pocus: A large part of being “smart” is knowing what to blockout and how to inhibit our reactions to incoming information. We develop deeper, more sustained knowledge when we don’t have to switch our attention from stimulus to stimulus. While studying, turn off phones, close unneeded PC windows, and try not to engage in unrelated conversations.
- Gimme a Break: Our brain needs time to process and integrate new information. With constant stimulation, we learn less; with down time such as sleeping, walking in nature (not the busy, stimulating city), or being quiet, we learn more. Taking a quick (5-15 min) break at regular intervals while studying or doing homework can lead to much more productive learning. So when your 2 nd grader asks for a cookie 5 minutes into homework time, she’s just being a good learner. 🙂
Tips For Retrieval Practice
- To Err is Awesome: Making errors can actually help the brain learn – as long as they are corrected. Every time you make an error, your brain is going to pay a lot more attention to the correct answer than it would if you were just “studying” it.
- Test Early, Test Often: Because errors make such an impact, testing yourself is the best way to study. Give yourself a pre-test, even before you’ve looked at the material. Correct your errors, study, take the test again. Rinse and repeat.
- The Write Stuff: Practice retrieving information by writing it or saying it out loud to another person. This engages a different part of your brain than just “thinking” the answer to yourself.
- Each One, Teach One: For students of all ages, “playing teacher” can be a very effective way to study. Have young students teach you how to do a math problem or show you how to read long vowels: ask a lot of curious questions and help them explain the answers when they don’t know. If you are an older student, try teaching a younger sibling or friend to make sure you really “get it”.
How to Be a Smart Student
This article was co-authored by Ashley Pritchard, MA. Ashley Pritchard is an Academic and School Counselor at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Ashley has over 3 years of high school, college, and career counseling experience. She has an MA in School Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health from Caldwell University and is certified as an Independent Education Consultant through the University of California, Irvine.
wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 31 testimonials and 93% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.
It’s easy to fall behind in school whether you’re smart or not – it’s a lot of work! To be a smart student – a student who knows how to study and how to succeed – you’ve got to start from day one. With the right studying tactics and a few tricks up your sleeve, this student will be you.
Make note-taking fun and memorable. If you’re writing down every single word your teacher says, A) you’re going to get so bored and B) you’re going to have far too many notes to go over at home. Instead, stick to the important stuff and make it fun!  X Expert Source
- Make sure the people you’re studying with are good students that care. You don’t want to be working with a few people who just want to mess around during your “study group” time.
- Have everyone bring snacks and think of a few things to talk about. Make a rough schedule of what you’re going to cover and delegate a person as that week’s group leader, so they can help keep everyone on track.
- If it’s a Friday night and you have a test in a class on the following Monday, gather up 2-3 of your friends that are in your class and quiz each other. If a person gets a correct answer, then they get 2 points, if they get a wrong answer, they get 1 point taken away. Whoever gets the most points at the end of the study session get to pick a movie to watch!
How To Be An Intelligent Student at School: 8 Smart Tips You Need
Today, I will show you some interesting tips that will help to boost your cognitive capacity. So, if you really want to become an intelligent student, this article is Ideal work on that topic. I enjoin you to read carefully as I will explicitly explain some of the secrets for becoming an intelligent student.
During my secondary school days, there was this intelligent guy in my class I loved so much. He was so intelligent that everybody in my class go to him for clearer explanation of difficult topics. He was respected and loved by everyone including our teacher. Of course, I also respected him because of his cognitive capacity. However, I was not very happy because I could not perform like him in the classroom. This actually contributed to my low self esteem at secondary school.
Not too long after we all graduated to senior class, I came across an awesome article online that helped me academically. After reading the article, I was so determined to follow the tips shared by the author of that article. Frankly speaking, there is no big deal about it. You will become intelligent if you follow the right and tentative guides for that.
Today, I will be sharing the most tentative tips you need to become an intelligent student. Thus, if you are one of those students who are wishing to become very intelligent in school, here is how to become an intelligent student. Trust me; these tips are the most effective tips you need to become very intelligent.
Who is an intelligent student?
Before I move fully into explaining the tips for becoming an intelligent student, it is imperative to tell you who an intelligent student is. The word “intelligence” is from the Latin word “Intellegens” which means something of high or especially quick cognitive capacity. In light of this, an intelligent student is a student of high and quick cognitive capacity. He is a student with the ability to understand easily.
1. Determination and consistency: Apparently, determination and consistency are the most important tips you need to become an intelligent student in school. The reason is because; other tips in this article may not stand without them. In other to become intelligent in school, it is imperative to be determined and consistent in your studies because, that is what will help you to maintain your level of intelligence at every stage.
There is a proverbial saying that “the day you stop reading is the day you die”. It is this way for every student too. Any day you stop reading, your level of intelligence will begin to decrease. You might even start forgetting the things you already know.
So, if you really want to become an intelligent student, you must make up your mind to be determined and consistent in following other tips highlighted below. In case you don’t know, all intelligent students you know are consistent too. It is what keeps them intelligent and bright.
2. Engage in educative discussions: Research has proven that one of the best ways students learn in school is through educative discussions. This is so because the brain tends to store information passed through discussion quickly and for a longer time. For this reason, engaging in educative discussions is evidently one of the secrets for becoming intelligent. When you discuss and share information with others, you will never forget that information or knowledge you shared. Accordingly, when you learn things from other people during discussion, you will find it difficult to forget them too.
By doing this, you are developing your knowledge in a particular field of study. Many people have attested that this tip is truly effective. I personally learn a lot through educative discussions and that is why I made it my first point. No doubt, it is one of the great ways to boost your cognitive capacity.
3. Study regularly: In the words of Jim Rohn, “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary”. Obviously, studying is one of the prerequisite things every student must do to become intelligent. In fact, if you are not ready to study your books, then you are not ready to pay the price for intelligence. Yes! I call it the price for intelligence because there is no intelligent student you know that don’t read voraciously.
More importantly, you must learn to read regularly. Scholars have proven that the more you read a particular text, the more you will understand the content of that text and other texts related to it. Take for instance, if I know what brain drain is all about, it will not be difficult for me to understand a topic that tries to explain the causes of brain drain. This is why intelligent students seem to know something about everything.
4. Be receptive: One of the things that limit our level of intelligence is “not accepting or considering whether the opinion of others is better ”. To an become intelligent in school, you must learn to be receptive. Always accept the opinion of others and try to understand their stands. Even when you think you are right, you should also listen to people so that you can learn from them and even stand to be corrected if you are wrong.
However, in doing this, you must be careful so that you will not be misled by others. In my view, it is important that you listen but be skeptical about their views except when they can fully show that their own opinion is better. No doubt, this will go a long way to boost your level of intelligence.
5. Never run away from difficulties: Frankly speaking, you cannot become intelligent by circumventing any problem you encounter when studying. It will not help at all. The secret here is that, the more you spend time on difficult topics when reading, the better you will understand those topics. Now you may want to ask, “What if you are unable to understand at all?”