Have you ever found someone who you admire and has been successful without listening to others, or being listened to by others? Listening, really listening, is perhaps the most under-invested in skill. It’s not about hearing – it’s about understanding. And at a time when people are realizing that their communication relies more on the spoken word than the written one, it’s also on the decline. As someone whose work centers around enhancing our ability to focus, I have been obsessed with what makes people work well, and in turn, how people listen well. Here, some of the tools I’ve adopted to make sure I listen with intent, maximizing my communication to build better business relationships. Continue reading →
Given the frequency with which I travel, I recently realised I’ve grown accustomed to asking for specific hotel rooms in over 12 cities. I can also walk you through Munich’s Terminal 2 and point out the strongest WiFi pockets where I work before flights. These have become by-products of having to spend more than half the year on the road. In a time where executives are increasingly expected to maintain a presence across multiple markets, or expand a business across regions, creating an office from your surroundings has become more and more expected. And while working in an open-plan office poses its challenges, working remotely presents a separate set altogether, particularly while travelling. Here, my key thoughts on driving productivity while on the move.Continue reading →
The humble headset is undergoing a radical transformation – from mere communications device to powerful source of data with the potential to transform the workplace.
Several months ago, we discussed the concept called heat mapping. The idea is to observe where employees typically congregate to determine whether the physical work environment is organized as efficiently as possible – and reconfigure the space if it isn’t.
Heat mapping is important because, ever since the walls came down and the office spaces opened up, organizations have struggled to make the workplace a productive environment.
They’ve tried everything – sound-absorbing materials, dedicated quiet areas, codes of conduct, even lots of leafy foliage. Despite their efforts, the open office space remains the place employees love to hate.
The next battle in the ongoing war for security will be focused on devices which, thanks to the Internet of Things, are proliferating at an astonishing rate. But there’s one device that sits on almost every (physical) desktop – one that we rarely think of as a security threat: the humble telephone.
Never underestimate the ingenuity and effort that burglars will put into their work. If a team of committed criminals knows that there are untold of riches lying in a bank vault, they won’t be put off by a six-inch steel door, alarms and CCTV systems – they’ll find a way through somehow. Even if it means drilling through several feet of concrete over a Bank Holiday weekend.
There’s a lesson here for businesses, even if they don’t hold a hoard of gold and precious gems on their premises. Cybercriminals are just as skilled and determined as their colleagues in the offline world; if they know that there’s valuable data to steal, they will use the most devious and ingenious methods to steal it. Continue reading →
Listening, really listening, is a skill. It’s not just about hearing – it’s also about understanding. Sadly, we’re losing our ability to listen. In part this is because we’re not adjusting to the environment around us, and we’re not utilizing tools that allow us to properly tune in.
The English literature scholar and teacher Mark Edmundson recently explained how college students suffer from “cognitive impatience.” They no longer have the patience to read longer, more difficult texts, he said. Today’s students, it has been suggested, cannot read with the critical analysis required to understand the complex arguments often found in more demanding texts. Continue reading →
As businesses embrace the benefits of wireless technology telephony, they quickly run up against space limitations in today’s cheek-by-jowl office environments. New wireless standards offers a chance to re-think the office space.
Communications technology might be making distances irrelevant, but people are acutely aware of the way that their own personal space is diminishing. The proportion of the planet living in urban areas has grown from 34 per cent in 1960 to over half in 2014, and we’re living and working in ever-smaller spaces. The average UK living room has shrunk by a third since the 1970s, for example; while in the US, each worker has lost 20 square feet of personal space since 1992. Continue reading →
The bad news. There are five issues common to Call Centers that can cause you to lose 9 out of 10 customers.
The good news. Once addressed, you can make your top call agents almost twice as productive as their least industrious counterparts – boosting customer satisfaction and upping retention rates.
When someone rings in to a call center looking to resolve a problem, they’re going to be pretty selfish. They might even be angry. They’ll probably be impatient, too. And so they should be. They purchased a product or a service and, for whatever reason, something has gone wrong. They don’t care about your problems as a service provider – they simply care about their problems going away. And if you can’t help, they’ll be the ones going… directly to your competition. Continue reading →
As the saying goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Why then are many organizations automating their customer service functions – taking away the very human interaction that you expect, and need, when asking for assistance?
The answer, of course, lies in cutting costs. But are companies cutting off their nose to spite their face? In short, yes. Continue reading →
Tired of stressing out every time you glance at your smartphone? Introducing Pause and Sway, a couple of simple but effective apps to help us relax and achieve inner peace.
Let’s face it: Our smartphones are an indispensable part of our lives, but they’re also a huge source of stress: The anxious text from mom, the angry customer rant or the “where’s-the-report-you-promised-me?” note from the boss.
So it’s refreshing to discover a smartphone app that actually relieves stress. Continue reading →