Category Thoughts And Arguments

Male and Female Communications

June 6, 2007 0 comments

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Men and women have been misunderstanding each other for generations – probably since beginning of the time.

Numerous studies, let alone Tannen’s research, seem to suggest that men and women communicate in different ways. Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and the author of the book You Just Don't Understand stays that men and women speak different languages because they live in different worlds, and they do indeed think differently.

Having born in the same planet, men and women are socialized to live in different world. According to Tennan, it begins at the beginning with social encouragement for girls to be cooperative and boys to be competitive.

Women usually match troubles, look for understanding, support, and comfort. While women tend to articulate the process of their thinking and talk about their internal analysis as they go alone, men go through the same process but internally rather then externally.

Men are more likely to keep silence rather then talk about their troubles, while women tent to ask too many questions. Some men not only take no comfort in such a situation but also take offence.(Tennan)

For example, they might think,"They are my troubles not yours,"; and women could accuse men of not caring.

In an informal survey of thirty-two students of English as a second language, only six agree that a man is more likely to keep silence rather then talk about their troubles; Russian man says that he always asks directions because he wants to manage everything for a women, so do typical Russian men; twenty-four students disagree with the statement that men use the communication as a means of achieving their status and independence; only two women agreed that most women communicate for purpose of establishing relations based on intimacy and interdependence; five students even disagree that misunderstanding between sexes might cause a conflict. As a matter of fact, students are very young and evidently have never faced with such problems, and if they ever had some, they took them easy.

According to Tennan, both sexes can make adjustments when they understand where the misunderstanding comes from. That everybody is different makes a world more familiar place to live in. When men and women try to understand each other and respect their differencies and similarities, everything seems to be right. One ought to remember that both men and women belong to the same human race with the same wants, aspirations, desires, and needs, in that our survival depends upon our willingness to understand and be understood.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Why Do We Cry?

June 6, 2007 0 comments

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Crying makes sense if smoke gets in your eyes or if you are cutting onions. The tears protect your vision. But what good is emotional crying?

Crying often seems to make people feel better when they are sad or upset. When making of survey of a group of people, 85 % of women and 73% of men said that they get better after crying. Dr. William Frey believes that emotional weeping helps to reduce suffering by ridding the body of harmful chemicals. Such chemicals are produced as he believes during stress. The chemicals can raise blood pressure, harm digestion, and increase heart beat.

To test this theory, Frey has been collecting sad tears, drop by drop. He pays men and women to watch sad movies and catch their own tears in a test tube. He has found that about 60% of the viewers will cry is the theater is dark and they aren't crowded close together. During the movies Frey also monitors signs of stress, such as fast heartbeat and high blood pressure to see if crying reduces these.

I personally surprise how scrupulous a person should be to complete this research. I though do not think that tears are helpful; just sometimes depending on circumstances. I think it could be much better to find the way to be calm.

I think some cry with Crocodile tears - or like in a real kids joke

Why do you cry Willy

Why do you cry,

Why Willy<

Why Willy, Why Willy

Why?

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Three Obstacles to Economic Development in Ukraine

June 7, 2007 0 comments

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Historically, Ukraine was a part of the former USSR, which had a command economic system. The Soviet government had complete power and ability to control all business. The former Soviet Union was the superpower, in that it 'gave economic assistance to developing countries.' (Clayton, Economics: Principles and Practice). Today, Ukraine is a young independent country. It has declared its adherence to democratic values, but the Marxist social system continues to influence regulations. There are three main obstacles to the economic progress in Ukraine: government corruption, an antiquated educational methods, and large foreign debt.

The corruption is an obstacle to economic development. The crime phenomenon in Ukraine is its criminal-political connection, an alliance, among former Communist Party elite, members of the law enforcement, and organized criminals. Public officials in Ukraine are poorly paid and face many opportunities to benefit from their positions. That is why they have created a 'bureaucratic web' consisted of vast numbers of laws and government resolutions in order to regulate private businesses. According to Clayton, 'corrupt officials can damage the economy by depositing the nation's savings in a personal account in a foreign bank; or by spending huge sums meant for the economy on lavish personal living'; (Economics: Principles and Practice). For example, Lazarenko, the former Ukrainian premier, is suspected of having stolen $2 million in state funds and hided them in a Swiss bank. The next example is that after nearly six years of independence, some $15-$20 billion is believed to have left the country illegally. Crime and corruption threaten the country's stability, undermine its transition to a market economy, frighten foreign and domestic investment, and accelerate capital flight. Many major multinational corporations - for example, several U.S. companies, Motorola, and the Kyiv Star - have decided not to do business in Ukraine.

'Still another obstacle to economic development is a lack of appropriate education and technology.' (Clayton, Economics: Principles and Practice). In Ukraine, there are high standards of education, but they are very different from those on the West. The main barriers in most universities in Ukraine are the following: the traditional forms of student education (the curriculum, the credit system, teaching methods and facilities); an insufficient level of library service for students and staff; lack of recently published books, manuals, and teaching materials; lack of modern computers and related equipment; and limited access to the Internet. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education might reduce the number of universities, specializations, and the number of students as well. The current financial situation is the main reason for the 'brain drain'; of excellent teachers and scientists to find better working and living conditions abroad.

'A major problem facing nations today is the size of their external debt; money borrowed from foreign banks and government' (Clayton, Economics: Principles and Practice). In Ukraine, for instance, according to the last estimates, the external debt now equals $7.75 billion. The total volume of debt increased because of new loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other international financial organizations. As things now stand, one of the most negative outcomes of foreign borrowing-and-investment policy is that Ukraine has developed 'everlastingly-indebted' economy that is largely dependent on regular financial injections badly needed in mounting volumes. Thus, the debt repayment is becoming increasingly difficult, as it requires more and more allocations from the national budgets. Furthermore, the loans have quite often been used for non-eligible purposes. As a result, the foreign financial support has been not as effective in controlling the inflation than in contributing to the national budgets and local currencies instability. Our assumption that the old debt was settled is usually based on the fact that we have taken up a new loan of much higher value...(D. Ricardo, Experience of funded lending system).

In conclusion, Ukraine cannot be a successful independent country without solving a set of urgent problems, among which are reconstruction of policy, education, and economy. To make a transition from the authoritarian society with centralized economy to the democratic society with the effective market economy, it is necessary to overcome the obstacles to economic progress in the Ukraine.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

The Melian Dialogue

June 7, 2007 0 comments

Thucydides, the Ancient Greek historian of the fifth century B.C., is not only a father of scientific history, but also of “political realism,” - the school of thought, which speculates that interstate relations are based on might rather than right. Thucydides was the first to describe international relations as anarchic and immoral.


The “Melian Dialogue” best exemplifies Thucydides’ view that interstate politics lack regulations and justice. Through his study of the Peloponnesian War, a destructive war, which began in 431 B.C. among Greek city-states, Thucydides observed that justice has no place in dealings between nations that are unequal in strength.


Thucydides wrote that, in interstate relations, the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept. For him, international relations allow the mighty do as they please and force the weak to suffer as they must. Thus, it is the strong who decides how the weak should be treated, as moral and ethical judgments and considerations are nearly nonexistent.


As a historian, Thucydides knew the Athenians were stronger in power. As a matter of fact, they have a reputation as “masters of the sea” and would overpower Malians easily, even though it would be costly. Furthermore, the Athenians arguments were based on the law of nature to rule whatever one can. “[Athenians] did not make that law nor were [they] the first to act on it; they found it existing, and it will exist forever, after [they were] gone; and [they] knew that [Melians] and anyone else as strong as [they were] would do as [they did]. They also believed that Spartans would be of no help while the Athenians rule the sea, and it was obvious that Melians resources were inadequate to oppose Athenian domination. As a result, the Athenians “colonized the island” and “sold women and children for slaves”.


If one has a look in a history book, one might say that Thucydides’ realism has had a timeless impact on the way contemporary analysts perceive international relations. Specifically, the foundations for American diplomacy during the Cold War with regard to the struggle between the two superpowers, and the ethical consequences of problems posed for smaller sates caught in a vortex of bipolar competition are derived from Thucydides’ work. In fact, during a Cold War, the manner in which the U.S. saw the superpower world and the manner in which it treated developing countries were slightly different. Knowing its superpower, The U.S. gave good reasons or interventions in regions like Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean, with the objective of denying communist influence, and American interests ignored any sense of “immorality” even when Americans supported brutally undemocratic regimes. Thus, it is strong who decided how the weak should be treated, as ethical and moral considerations are virtually nonexistent.


Thucydides observed that the strategic interactions of states followed a perceptive and recurrent pattern. According to his works, within a given system of states, a certain hierarchy among the states determined the pattern of their relations. As a result, Thucydides claimed that the “question of justice rises only between parties equal in strength.” It is true and historically proven. Otherwise the strong nations rule, and if it is necessary even justify cases of their interventions in sovereign states.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Three main theories of the Placebo Effect

June 8, 2007 0 comments

What is the placebo effect? The word placebo comes from Latin verb “placer”, that means “to please”. A good definition is the following: “Placebo is any treatment devoid of specific actions on the patient symptoms of diseases that, somehow, can cause an effect upon the patient. “Pay attention to the difference: placebo is an innocuous treatment. The placebo effect is the result obtained by the use of placebo. The placebo effect is the measurable, observable, or felt improvement in health not attributable to treatment. This effect is believed by many people to be due to the placebo itself in some mysterious way. A placebo (Latin for “I shall please”) is a medication or treatment believed by administrator of the treatment to be inter or innocuous. Placebos may be sugar pills or stretch pills. Even “fake” surgery or therapy are considered placebos. Researches and medical doctors sometimes give placebos to patients. Anecdotal evidence for the placebo effect is garnered in this way. Those who believe that there is scientific evidence for the placebo effect point to clinical studies, many of which use a control group treated with placebo. Why an inert substance, or fake surgery or therapy would be effective is not known. However, there are three main theories of the placebo effect: the psychological theory (it’s all in your mind), the nature-taking-its-course theory and the profess-of treatment theory.

Some believe the placebo effect is psychological, due to a belief in the treatment or to a subjective feeling of improvement. Irvin Kirsch, a psychologist at University of Connecticut, believes that the effectiveness of Prozac and similar drugs may be attributed almost entirely to the placebo effect. He and Guy Sapirstein analyzed 19 clinical trails of antidepressants and concluded that the expectation of improvement, not adjustments in brain chemistry, accounted for 75% of the drugs’ effectiveness (Kirsch, 1998). ‘The critical factor,” says Kirsch, “is our beliefs about what’s going to happen to us. You do not have to rely on drugs to see profound transformation.” In an earlier study, Sapirstein analyzed 39 studies, done between 1974 and 1995, of depressed patients treated with drugs, psychotherapy, or combination of both. He found that 50% of the drug effect is due to placebo response. A person’s beliefs and hopes about a treatment, combined with their suggestibility, may have a significant biochemical effect. Sensory experience and thoughts can affect neurochemistry. The body’s neurochemical system affects and is affected by other biochemical systems, including the hormonal and immune systems. Thus, it is consistent with current knowledge that a person’s hopeful attitude and beliefs may be very important to their physical well-being and recovery from injury or illness. The placebo effect may be a measurement of changed behavior affected by belief in the treatment. The changed behavior includes a change in attitude, in what one says about how one feels, and how one acts. It may also affect one’s body chemistry. The psychological explanation seems to be the one most commonly believed. Perhaps this is why many people are dismayed when they are told that their problem is “all in their mind” and that there is really nothing wrong with them. Yet, other studies disagree that improvements in health come from placebos.

The nature-taking-its-course theory says that some believe that at least part of the placebo effect is due to an illness or injury taking its natural course. We often heal spontaneously if we do nothing at all to treat al illness or injury. Furthermore, any disorders, pains and illness, change. What is measured as the placebo effect could be, in many cases, the measurement of natural regression. In short, the placebo may be given credit that is due to the Nature. However, spontaneous healing and spontaneous remission of disease cannot explain all the healing or improvement that takes place because of placeboes. People who are given no treatment at all often do not do as well as those given placebos or real medicine and treatment.

Another theory, the process-of-treatment theory, states that a process of treatment that involves showing attention, care, affection, etc. to the patient is encouraging and hopeful. This process may itself trigger physical reactions in the body which promote healing. A common saying is that if you treat a cold, it will last a week, but if you leave it along, it will be gone in seven days. According to Dr. Walter A. Brown, a psychiatrist at Brown University, there is certainly data that suggests that just being in healing situation accomplishes something. Depressed patients who are merely put on a wait list for treatment do not do as well as those given placebos. And – this is very telling – when placebos are given for pain management, the course of pain relief follows what you would get with an active drug. The peak relief comes about an hour after it’s administered, as it does with real drug, and so on. If placebo analgesia was the equivalent of giving nothing, you’d expect a more random pattern. (“The Placebo Prescription by Margaret Talbot, New York Times Magazine, January 9, 1000). The process-of-treatment hypothesis would explain how inert homeopathic remedies and questionable therapies of many “alternative health practitioners are often effective or thought to be effective. It would also explain why pills or procedures used by conversional medicine work until they are shown to be worthless.

Of course, spontaneous healing or regression can also adequately explain why homeopathic remedies might appear to be effective. Whether the placebo effect is mainly psychological, spontaneous healing, or happens due to showing care and attention, or some combination of three, it exists. Paracelsus (Swiss alchemist and physician, 1493-1541) wrote: “You must know that the will is a powerful adjuvant of medicine.” It is imperative that skeptics recognize the wisdom and warnings inherent I this statement.

In conclusion, if one can be more optimistic about life in general, it may help him or her to live a long, healthy live. Understand you mind-body link!

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Is a Freud hopeful that a war can be avoided?

June 9, 2007 0 comments

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Wherever there's a war, people start wondering why it must be. People discuss what's happening, but discussions really get anywhere. In the correspondence between Freud and Einstein, both authors looked into the human reasons for a war. Einstein had done thinking about the nature of a war and why it is presenting throughout human history despite its devastating effects. He sees that the only possible solution of preventing wars can be a League of Nations that will be called in all matters of conflict that may arise between nations. Freud, in contrast, does not think that we can prevent the war because of the human nature.

First, Freud states, "It is general principle, then, that conflicts of interest between men are settled by the use of violence." Freud compares men with the whole animal kingdom where the strong wants to win at any time. Looking back upon our past, we can say that people at all times try to compete, first, by their superior muscular strength, then, by having the best tools, and, at last, by their intellectual superiority to rule whatever one can. Furthermore, according to Freud, "killing an enemy satisfied an instinctual inclination." That is why the idea of taking an enemy's life was appreciated at all times. And then, who was defeated had the "lurking thirst for revenge" even by means of sacrificing his or her security.

Second, Freud states that a war seems to be quite a natural thing, to have a good biological basis and in practice to be [barely] avoidable. For example, when there is the situation of changing a superpower, the stronger nation would try to defeat another to create its own unity to dissolve the might, and after its fiasco, then another might comes along to prove its strength and superiority. In fact, in order to demonstrate the superiority of a new nation, a war can be the answer to all its problems and needs.

In conclusion, Freud is not hopeful that war can be avoided. We shall try to minimize the possibilities of war because conflict is a part of human experience, and there will be always people who are incapable of fining non-violent solutions to their personal conflicts and who push their inner conflicts onto people around them. In the age of globalization, it ha become clear that international law is currently too weak to serve us sufficiently. The United Nations does not have sufficient power to act. It is as true today as in 1932 that we will not prevent, or at least minimize armed conflict. Maybe it is simply human nature that finds change difficult, even when we know that the change is for our own good.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Personal Code of Honor

June 9, 2007 0 comments

According to William James, someone can have a personal code of honor. He wrote that, “As a man I pity you, but as an official I must show you no mercy;  As a politician I regard him as an ally, but as a moralist I loathe him.”


In my opinion, however, in these examples people are more like slaves because they live in the world agree and keep their mouths shut. Everybody faces a situation when he or she would do something, but his or her personal code of honor could not allow it to happen. Even though people feel a strong sense of ownership, their families, their possessions, think of their social relations and the spiritual self, they still tend to be honest and are able to give up their feelings of self-worth and self-seeking actions.


For example, people can give up a career if their job is not a benefit to the public or if their job is conflicting with their ethical considerations. Some people avoid a career of being a politician or a doctor who makes abortions. Other people will never sell alcohol or cigarettes. Others will not work for agencies that conduct match making or arrange marriages. Others will never work in mental hospitals.


Why do people think the above mentioned jobs can be dishonest?


A career in politics may expect a person of saying truth, but only truth that is profitable for one side. Being a doctor who conducts abortions could be not a good idea because many people feel against abortions and believe that doctors are here to save lives, not to stop them.


Selling alcohol or cigarettes is not good because it makes people drink or smoke which is not healthy.


Marriage bureaus are no good because, in general, they are making money because of people’s dreams and often lie to their clients. It is no good to make money because of others peoples hopes and dreams. In fact, this business may be everlasting but dishonest.


It might be no good to be an owner of mental hospitals or work there because in the former USSR in these institutions doctors made idiots from those who disagreed with communist regime. There a possibility to make a lot of harm because psychiatry kills.


In conclusion, people have a personal code of honor which helps them to resolve conflicts between self and others and make judgments of what is fair.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Cloning Pro

June 11, 2007 0 comments

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If tomorrow someone could prove that you were clone, would you think your life was worthless, that your loves and experiences were devaluated? You would be the same person you always were. Nothing would be different just because you were born from a previously experienced genome.

Imagine if cloning will be legalized. Do you thing it is a technological fatalism that removes ethical considerations from science and technology in a wholesale way?

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Against Human Cloning

June 11, 2007 0 comments

The idea of cloning humans has held our fascinations for ages. People have written books, sung songs, even made movies about it. Science fiction many of us thought. Pure entertainment But when Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut reveal that he and his team successfully cloned an adult sheep - the world's first cloned mammal - we were surprised. Scientist’s world wide attained that, well, yes; this meant the cloning of humans was now technically possible. Not since God took Adam's rib and fashioned a helpmate for him has anything so fascinating occurred.

Human cloning should be not legalized. It is unthinkable. It is too risky and has a high failure rate. The technique that produced Dolly the sheep needed 227 attempts to achieve 1 success.

There are too many powerful leaders who would abuse this advancement for their own well-being. What do you think?

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

How does the Violence of Community Differ from the Violence of Individual?

June 14, 2007 0 comments

The violence of the community differ from the violence of the individual in degree rather than in kind.

Freud states that superior strength of an individual could be overruled by several individuals.

For example, in every country and every nation, an individual who commits a crime creates the end of his or her existence. Sooner or later, police will find out and a person will be caught.

Communities, in contrast, can do it as long as they have a law that allows them to do it.

For example, Russian Communists killed millions of innocent people in concentration camps because they believed those people were the enemies of the nation or simply against of Communist Party and its politics. Communists had rights to kill.

Furthermore, communities in power can rule over schools, the press, and the media, let along with political and religious organizations. They also use the above mentioned institutions to manipulate and channel the feelings of the masses. An individual cannot do it.

However, according to Freud, this community or union must be stable ad sure about controlling the might for the nation. Otherwise, an intelligent individual would try to defeat another to create his or her own unity to dissolve the might, and after his or her fiasco, then another might comes along to prove his or her strength and superiority.

Nevertheless, one ought to remember that as soon as an individual has obtained power and respect in the community, he or she will be not individual itself but the community.

In conclusion, the violence of the community and the violence of the individual “work by the same methods and follow the same purposes” and “[the] only real difference lies in the fact that” violence of community prevails.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Creative Communications

July 19, 2007 0 comments

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I. Introduction

Success at work is based not only on your ability to perform, but also on your personality. In fact, in any situation requiring contact with other people – personality is a key fact.

In this age of competition, the ability to cooperate – to work smoothly with others – is in danger of becoming a lost art. But look at the cooperation as a bank account. It is an investment that may not pay immediate dividends. Yet, if deposits are made, the dividends will eventually come both frequent and of high rate. Like a bank account, too, cooperation may demand the sacrifice of immediate conveniences for later reward.

Cooperation is actually an expression of self-interest and unselfishness. It demands that you adjust your immediate pleasure to the best interests of others. The reward of immediate sacrifices is a reputation that will contribute to your success. The team work is based on cooperation. Your ability to be friendly with everyone is a pillar to fit in and get along with your co-workers. Be slow to confide with the others. Be a listener instead of a confider. Keep the confidence of others, and keep your own confidence to yourself.

II. Opening Channels to Communicating

Imagine, you are trapped in a giant bubble. No one can hear you: you can hear no one. Another bubble comes into your vision. Someone is trapped just like you. Can you talk to that other person? Can you become friends? Do you want to establish a contact or just escape?

Numerous studies have shown that babies who are not communicated die within a year. Communication is, literally, a lifeline.

II. A. Overcome Barriers to Communication

What you say and write must mean the same to your listener as it does to you.

1. Poor Choice of Words

The first barrier can be overcome by choosing your words carefully. Choose words that will not be misunderstood.

Words must have the same feeling tone to the other person as they do to you.

2. Prejudice

Most of us want to skip the unpleasant things in life, especially if they are threat to the way we like to think of ourselves, our beliefs, and our prejudices. Each of us has had an experience of trying to persuade friends to abandon foolish ideas in favor of our sensible ones. As a result, the friends do not hear our arguments. We have the equal access to this devise. We read what we want to read, we hear what we want to hear.

3. Acceptance

On one of my husband’s lectures, a woman asked him a question that what she could do if she could not stand to see her face in the mirror; and then she started talking that other people could not accept her either.

The answer was that first she should learn to accept herself. She could not succeed with others if she cannot accept herself. My husband told her that first, she should accept herself no matter how she looks and then she will see that others will accept her too.

Generally speaking, if we see issues with others, we probably have the same weaknesses ourselves. Otherwise, how on earth should we know that someone is not perfect?

a. Accept yourself.

Do not dwell on your faults. Just accept them. This will no be helpful. As long as you defend yourself, make excuses, blame your troubles on others, you will be unable to change.

We become better only if we develop our strong points, and then our weaknesses will not matter.

Do you know what happens when you accept yourself and the way you are? With acceptance comes ability to change and the willingness to change.

b. Accept others

After you learned to accept yourself looking directly at your own faults, without criticism, you probably will be able look at shortcomings of others without trying to change them.

For instance, someone is angry at you. Relax, you are not a target. This situation can be caused by something else and you most likely have nothing to do with this.

When you stop defending yourself, you simply accept people the way they are. Your attitude will tell others that you are still their friend. When they see your accepting attitude, in spite of what they have said or done, they will be able to release the brake that holding them back. They will be able to change.

Remember, people are very sensitive.

Have you ever found that when you are hesitant or you are very emotional inside, people around you also feel tension? When you are calm inside, no matter what happens, it passes and you gain understanding and support from others.

4. Improve your awareness

a. Awareness When you Work in Groups

Awareness is a quality that is especially important when you work in groups. It means you need to be aware of the feelings and personalities of the people you work with.

Keep control of the situation. Ask appropriative questions when needed; keep silence when a person wants to be along. Be are aware of people’s moods are expectations. Speak with people only what is pleases them and avoid topics that might upset them.

b. Awareness of the Flow of Authority

Awareness has another side, as well.

Be aware of the flow of authority in the firm. You will “go through” channels.”

Take all your questions to your immediate manager. He will carry them to the next level of management, and so on. If you should go over the head of your immediate supervisor, you fail to show respect for this position.

Study the organizational chart that lists the officers of the company, heads of departments and so on. This shows how the whole organization works. You will also have a clear picture of your position. This will show you the pass for directions, information and suggestions.

II. B. Art of Persuasion

1. Develop a friendly attitude

A friendly personality is an asset anywhere. If you were born with liking people, you should do well.

Take every opportunity to say “thank you” with a smile. Follow rules of good etiquette, and you will actually feel friendly.

2. Study psychology

Why do people act like people? The more research has done on this subject, the more questions arrive while the soul of every person stays the mystery. There are some psychological principles that are useful in business:

  • “Yes” works better then “No”
  • Help the Other Person Feel Important
  • Ignore the Negative
  • Reward the Positive

a. “Yes” works better then “No”

If you want to persuade someone to do something, you will succeed if the discussion is positive and pleasant. That is simply because people are more wiling to listen to what you say.

b. Help the Other Person Feel Important

You never succeed if you build yourself up at the expense of others. If you pride yourself on how well you are doing, others may feel doubtful about their own success. The typical example is when people got married and one of the spouses starts dominating the other. This relationship might eventually break because one person will feel miserable while the other might feel that his partner is not as bright as expected.

If you say your listener, “You may not understand this, but …” you probably will make your listener smaller. Another statement that might put your listener down is if you say “I ought to be perfectly clear”.

To make others feel tall and important is to ask their advice, to get their point of view, and especially to make them a part of decision you make. Look for opportunities to give recognition, build others up, and make them feel ten feet tall.

Smart sales people play the second fiddle. Their relaxed manner helps customers to make decisions what to buy.

c. Ignore the Negative

When others complain about your actions or job performance, let them talk. Listen attentively. As you listen, ignore the part of conversation that sounds as if it is directed at you personally. Negative statements are best forgotten this way.

d. Reward the Positive

When someone says something positive about you or your company, respond warmly.. Such a response is rewarding to the other person.

Always practice to say something good to the person who compliments you. Always show how the compliment of the other person made you feel. Accepting compliments warmly takes practice, and this is never to later to begin.

II. C. Listening to Comminute

5.Concentrate on the Speaker

In face-to-face listening you find yourself planning your reply instead of concentrating what speaker is saying. This exact same tendency occurs when you listen to a lecture.

In addition, some people even find their minds wandering to personal matters. To avoid such destructions listen to hints as to speaker’s organizational plan.

6. Take Notes in Outline Form

A better plan is to listen a lot and write a little.

Listening is a receiving part of communication. Understanding is a key. Understand the main points what speaker is saying. If you spend all time writing down the words, you probably will miss some points.

7. Daydreaming

The enemy of daydreaming is activity. When you feel your attention is wandering, begin to write industriously.

Look at the speaker, be focused anticipate what he is saying and think of examples.

8. Destructions

You surroundings may destruct your attention. It can be anything – noises in the corridor or those coming from the street, latecomers or whispering in audience. Try to turn to deaf ear.

In my experience, the best thing is to sit as closer to a lecturer as possible. This way there is less destruction.

II. D. Creative Listening

Listening now becomes a creative process. There are ways to develop creative listening.

  1. Watch the person who is talking. There is so much to be learned from the expressions. Put yourself in a speaker’s shoes and try to feel what a speaker feels.
  2. Organize in your mind what speaker is saying. If you are being told of something what you have to do, write it down. Put the important statements made by a speaker in logical order. (Get back to your notes later if it is impossible during that time)
  3. Show that you are interested in what is being told you. Such responses as “That is a good suggestion” or “I’ll get right at it” will help the speaker and also will help you.
  4. In all aspects of conversation, whether of speaking or listening, success depends on co-operation.

III. Conversation as Communication

Communication is best achieved through simple planning and control.

  • you must make your message understood
  • you must receive/understand the intended message sent to you
  • you should exert some control over the flow of the communication

III. 1. Ambiguity Avoidance

As you (concerned with getting things done) your view of words should be pragmatic rather than philosophical. Thus, words mean not what the dictionary says they do but rather what the speaker intended.

Suppose your manager gives to you an instruction which contains an ambiguity which neither of you notice; and results in you producing entirely the wrong product. Who is at fault? The answer must be: who cares? Your time has been wasted, the needed product is delayed (or dead); attributing blame may be a satisfying (or defensive) exercise but it does not address the problem. In everything you say or hear, you must look out for possible misunderstanding and clarify the ambiguity

A second problem is that some people simply make mistakes. Your job is not simply to spot ambiguities but also to counter inconsistencies. Thus you should seek out (perhaps humorous) books on entomology (creepy crawlies) you would deduce that the word should have been etymology. More usual, however, is that in thinking over several alternatives you may suffer a momentary confusion and say one of them while meaning another. There are good scientific reasons (to do with the associative nature of the brain) why this happens, you have to be aware of the potential problem and counter for it.

Finally, of course, you may simply mishear. The omission of a simple word could be devastating. For instance, how long would you last as an explosives engineer if you failed to hear a simple negative in: "whatever happens next you must [not] cut the blue wi..."?

So, the problem is this: the word has multiple meanings, it might not be the one intended, and you may have misheard it in the first place - how do you know what the speaker meant?

Rule 1: PLAY BACK for confirmation

Simple, you ask for confirmation. You say "let me see if I have understood correctly, you are saying that ..." and you rephrase what the speaker said. If this "play back" version is acknowledged as being correct by the original speaker, then you have a greater degree of confidence in you own understanding. For any viewpoint/message/decision, there should be a clear, concise and verified statement of what was said; without this someone will get it wrong.

Rule 2: WRITE BACK for confidence

But do not stop there. If your time and effort depend upon it, you should write it down and send it to everyone involved as a double check. This has several advantages:

  • Further clarification - is this what you thought we agreed?
  • Consistency check - the act of writing may highlight defects/omissions
  • board from which to proceed
  • Evidence - hindsight often blurs previous ignorance and people often fail to recall their previous errors

Rule 3: Give Background for context

When speaking yourself, you can often counter for possible problems by adding information, and so providing a broader context in which your words can be understood. Thus, there is less scope for alternative interpretations since fewer are consistent. When others are speaking, you should deliberately ask questions yourself to establish the context in which they are thinking. When others are speaking, you should deliberately ask questions yourself to establish the context in which they are thinking.

III. 2. Practical Points

As with all effective communication, you should decide (in advance) on (1) the purpose of the conversation; and (2) have the plan for achieving it.

There is no alternative to this. Some people are proficient at "thinking on their feet" - but this is generally because they already have clear understanding of the context and their own goals. You have to plan; however, the following are a few techniques to help the conversation along.

a. Assertiveness

The definition of to assert is: "to declare; state clearly". This is your aim. If someone argues against you, even loses their temper, you should be quietly assertive. Much has been written to preach this simple fact and commonly the final message is a three-fold plan of action:

  • acknowledge what is being said by showing an understanding of the position, or by simply replaying it (a polite way of saying "I heard you already")
  • state your own point of view clearly and concisely with perhaps a little supporting evidence
  • state what you want to happen next (move it forward)

Thus we have something like: yes, I see why you need the report by tomorrow; however, I have no time today to prepare the document because I am in a meeting with a customer this afternoon; either I could give you the raw data and you could work on it yourself, or you could make do with the interim report from last week. You will have to make many personal judgment calls when being assertive. There will certainly be times when a bit of quiet force from you will win the day but there will be times when this will get nowhere, particularly with more senior (and unenlightened) management. In the latter case, you must agree to abide by the decision of the manager but you should make your objection (and reasons) clearly known. For yourself, always be aware that subordinates might be right when they disagree with you and if events prove them so, acknowledge that fact gracefully.

b. Confrontations

When you have a difficult encounter, be professional; do not lose your self-control because, simply, it is of no use. Some managers believe that it is useful for "discipline" to keep staff a little nervous. Thus, these managers are slightly volatile and will be willing "to let them have it" when the situation demands. If you do this, you must be consistent and fair so that you staff know where they stand. If you deliberately lose your temper for effect, then that is your decision - however, you must never lose control.

Insults are ineffective. If you call people names, then they are unlikely to actually listen to what you have to say; in the short term you may feel some relief at "getting it off your chest", but in the long run you are merely perpetuating the problem since you are not addressing it. This is common sense. There are two implications. Firstly, even under pressure, you have to remember this. Secondly, what you consider fair comment may be insulting to another - and the same problem emerges. Before you say anything, stop, establish what you want as the outcome, plan how to achieve this, and then speak.

Finally, if you are going to criticize or discipline someone, always assume that you have misunderstood the situation and ask questions first which check the facts. This simple courtesy will save you from much embarrassment.

c. Seeking Information

There are two ways of phrasing any question: one way (the closed question) is likely to lead to a simple sound in reply (yes, no, maybe), the second way (the open question) will hand over the speaking role to someone else and force them to say something a little more informative.

Suppose you conduct a review of a recently finished (?) project with Mr. Fast and it goes something like this:

  • "Have you finished project X?"
  • "Yes"
  • "If everything written up?"
  • "Nearly"
  • "So there is documentation left to do?"
  • "Will it take you long?"
  • "No, not long"

Before your fingers start twitching to place themselves around Mr. Fast’s neck, consider that your questions are not actually helping the flow of information. The same flow of questions in an open format would be: what is left to do of project X, what about the documentation, when will that be completely finished? Try answering Yes or No to those questions.

Open questions are extremely easy to formulate. You establish in your own mind the topic/aim of the question and then you start the sentence with the words:

WHAT - WHEN - WHICH - WHY - WHERE - HOW

d. Let others speak

Of course, there is more to a conversation (managed or otherwise) than the flow of information. You may also have to win that information by winning the attention and confidence of the other person. There are many forms of flattery - the most effective is to give people your interest. To get Mr. Fast to give you all his knowledge, you must give her all your attention; talk to her about his view on the subject. Ask questions: what do you think about that idea, have you ever met this problem before, how would you tackle this situation?

Silence is effective - and much under-used. People are nervous of silence and try to fill it. You can use this if you are seeking information. You ask the question, you lean back, the person answers, you nod and smile, you keep quiet, and the person continues with more detail simply to fill your silence.

e. To finish

At the end of a conversation, you have to give people a clear understanding of the outcome. For instance, if there has been a decision, restate it clearly (just to be sure) in terms of what should happen and by when; if you have been asking questions, summarize the significant (for you) aspects of what you have learnt.

III. 3. Meeting Management - Preparation

In any organization, "meetings" are a vital part of the organization of work and the flow of information. They act as a mechanism for gathering together resources from many sources and pooling then towards a common objective. They are disliked and mocked because they are usually futile, boring, time-wasting, dull, and inconvenient with nothing for most people to do except doodle while some opinionated has-been extols the virtues of his/her last great (misunderstood) idea.

Your challenge is to break this mould and to make your meetings effective. Meetings should be planned beforehand, monitored during for effectiveness, and reviewed afterwards for improving their administration.

A meeting is the ultimate form of managed conversation; you can organize the information and structure of the meeting to support the effective communication of the participants. Some of the ideas below may seem a little too precise for an easy going, relaxed, semi-informal team atmosphere - but if you administer to gain a reputation for holding decisive, effective meetings, then people will value this efficiency and to prepare professionally so that their contribution will be heard.

a. Should you cancel?

As with all conversations, you must first ask: is it worth your time? If the meeting involves the interchange of views and the communication of the current status of related projects, then you should be generous with your time. But you should always consider canceling a meeting which has little tangible value.

b. Who should attend?

You must be strict. A meeting loses its effectiveness if too many people are involved: so if someone has no useful function, explain this and suggest that they do not come. Notice, they may disagree with your assessment, in which case they should attend (since they may know something you do not); however, most people are only too happy to be released from yet another meeting.

c. How long?

It may seem difficult to predict the length of a discussion - but you must. Discussions tend to fill the available time which means that if the meeting is open-ended, it will drift on forever. You should stipulate a time for the end of the meeting so that everyone knows, and everyone can plan the rest of their day with confidence.

It is wise to make this expectation known to everyone involved well in advance and to remind them at the beginning of the meeting. There is often a tendency to view meetings as a little relaxation since no one person has to be active throughout. You can redress this view by stressing the time-scale and thus forcing the pace of the discussion: "this is what we have to achieve, this is how long we have to get it done".

If some unexpected point arises during the meeting then realize that since it is unexpected:

  1. you might not have the right people present,
  2. those there may not have the necessary information, and
  3. a little thought might save a lot of discussion.

If the new discussion looks likely to be more than a few moments, stop it and deal with the agreed agenda.

The new topic should then be dealt with at another "planned" meeting.

d. Agenda

The purpose of an agenda is to inform participants of the subject of the meeting in advance, and to structure the discussion at the meeting itself. To inform people beforehand, and to solicit ideas, you should circulate a draft agenda and ask for notice of any other business. Still before the meeting, you should then send the revised agenda with enough time for people to prepare their contributions. If you know in advance that a particular participant will either need information or be providing information, then make this explicitly clear so that there is no confusion.

The agenda states the purpose of each section of the meeting. There will be an outcome from each section. If that outcome is so complex that it can not be summarized in a few points, then it was probably too complex to be assimilated by the participants. The understanding of the meeting should be sufficiently precise that it can be summarized in short form - so display that summary for all other interested parties to see. This form of display will emphasize to all that meetings are about achieving defined goals - this will help you to continue running efficient meetings in the future.

III. 4. Meeting Management - Concluding

Whether you actually sit as the Chair or simply lead from the side-lines, as the manager you must provide the necessary support to coordinate the contributions of the participants. The degree of control which you exercise over the meeting will vary throughout; if you get the structure right at the beginning, a meeting can effectively run itself especially if the participants know each other well. In a team, your role may be partially undertaken by others; but if not, you must manage.

a. Maintaining Communication

Your most important tools are:

  • Clarification - always clarify: the purpose of the meeting, the time allowed the rules to be observed (if agreed) by everyone.
  • Summary - at each stage of the proceedings, you should summarize the current position and progress: this is what we have achieved/agreed, this is where we have reached.
  • Focus on stated goals - at each divergence or pause, re-focus the proceedings on the original goals.

b. Code of conduct

In any meeting, it is possible to begin the proceedings by establishing a code of conduct, often by merely stating it and asking for any objections (which will only be accepted if a demonstrably better system is proposed). Thus if the group contains opinionated wind-bags, you might all agree at the onset that all contributions should be limited to two minutes (which focuses the mind admirably). You can then impose this with the full backing of the whole group.

c. Matching method to purpose

The (stated) purpose of a meeting may suggest to you a specific way of conducting the event, and each section might be conducted differently. For instance, if the purpose is:

  • to convey information, the meeting might begin with a formal presentation followed by questions
  • to seek information, the meeting would start with a short (clear) statement of the topic/problem and then an open discussion supported by notes on a display, or a formal brainstorming session
  • to make a decision, the meeting might review the background and options, establish the criteria to be applied, agree who should make the decision and how, and then do it
  • to ratify/explain decisions, etc

As always, once you have paused to ask yourself the questions: what is the purpose of the meeting and how can it be most effectively achieved; your common sense will then suggest a working method to expedite the proceedings. You just have to deliberately pause. Manage the process of the meeting and the meeting will work.

d. Support

The success of a meeting will often depend upon the confidence with which the individuals will participate. Thus all ideas should be welcome. No one should be laughed at or dismissed ("laughed with" is good, "laughed at" is destructive). This means that even bad ideas should be treated seriously - and at least merit a specific reason for not being pursued further. Not only is this supportive to the speaker, it could also be that a good idea has been misunderstood and would be lost if merely rejected. But basically people should be able to make naive contributions without being made to feel stupid, otherwise you may never hear the best ideas of all.

Avoid direct criticism of any person. For instance, if someone has not come prepared then that fault is obvious to all. If you leave the criticism as being simply that implicit in the peer pressure, then it is diffuse and general; if you explicitly rebuke that person, then it is personal and from you (which may raise unnecessary conflict). You should merely seek an undertaking for the missing preparation to be done: we need to know this before we can proceed, could you circulate it to us by tomorrow lunch?

e. Responding to problems

The rest of this section is devoted to ideas of how you might deal with the various problems associated with the volatile world of meetings. Some are best undertaken by the designated Chair; but if he/she is ineffective, or if no one has been appointed, you should feel free to help any meeting to progress. After all, why should you allow your time to be wasted.

If a participant strays from the agenda item, call him/her back: "we should deal with that separately, but what do you feel about the issue X?"

If there is confusion, you might ask: "do I understand correctly that ...?"

If the speaker begins to ramble, wait until an inhalation of breath and jump in: "yes I understand that such and such, does any one disagree?"

If a point is too woolly or too vague ask for greater clarity: "what exactly do you have in mind?"

If someone interrupts (someone other than a rambler), you should suggest that: "we hear your contribution after Gretchen has finished."

If people chat, you might either simply state your difficulty in hearing/concentrating on the real speaker. or ask them a direct question: "what do you think about that point."

If someone gestures disagreement with the speaker (e.g. by a grimace), then make sure they are brought into the discussion next: "what do you think Gretchen?"

If you do not understand, say so: "I do not understand that, would you explain it a little more; or do you mean X or Y?"

If there is an error, look for a good point first: "I see how that would work if X Y Z, but what would happen if A B C?"

If you disagree, be very specific: "I disagree because ..."

IV. Conclusion

The tower of Babel collapsed because people could no longer communicate; their speech became so different that no one could understand another. We need to communicate to coordinate our own work and that of others. The key is to treat a conversation as well as any other activity: by establishing an aim, planning what to do, and checking afterwards that the aim has been achieved. Only in this way can we work effectively with others in building through common effort.

V. Practical Application

The aim of this workshop is to provide the listeners a fundamental understanding of what constitutes creative communications.

Listeners will

  1. develop awareness of professional approaches in relation to their attitudes, actions and communication skills;
  2. learn more about professional approaches to oral and written forms of communication;
  3. work with others as effective members of a team, demonstrating understanding of the importance of co-operative behavior;
  4. prepare and deliver effective meetings getting your message across loud and clear.

VI. Suggested Readings:

Curran, J.C., Verbal and non-verbal communication (cpd Ltd, 1988)

Hague, P. & Roberts, K., Presentations and Report Writing, (Kogan Page, 1994 Subjects: Business presentations Business report writing Marketing research

Hargie, O.D.W., "A handbook of communication skills, 2nd ed., (London: Routledge, 1997) <http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=K4k9t3FMclcC&oi=fnd&pg=RA1-PA289&sig=dh9O0DjAznCvzfpGbnwayibrfkQ&dq=%22Hargie%22+%22The+Handbook+of+Communication+Skills%22+#PPA359,M1>"_

Klepper, M.M. & Gunther, R.E., I'd rather die than give a speech, (Irwin, 1994) Written in an engaging and readable style, this practical guide is a must for both beginners and seasoned professionals

Rawlins, K., Presentation and communication skills: a handbook for practitioners, (MacMillan, 1993)

Russon, A. & Wallace H., Personal Development for Work (South-Western Publishing Co., 1981)

Siddons, S., Presentation skills, (Institute of Personnel and Development, 1998)

Turk, C., Effective Speaking: communicating in speech, (Spon, 1985)

Videos

Smith, D., Powerful presentation skills: how to get a group's attention, Vol.1, 2 and 3, (Careertrack, 1997)

Posted by lisa
Categories: Operations Management Thoughts and Arguments Managers, Employers, Leaders - Creative Approach Building Your Personal Development Portfolio

Two Roads diverged in a Yellow Wood ....

September 14, 2007 0 comments

How many times in life we think, "Did I take the right path?", "Did I make a right choice?" "Where is my road leading me to?" "Am I always happy with the decision I make?"

But how many times, you had to wait for long and drag things to work in your way? How many times things just doesn't work "for you"_?


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there,
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference !

-- Robert Frost (1874–1963)

I like this idea to take a road less traveled because it is likely to meet favorable circumstances.

No one can repeat someones lucky business; and if you are not the first, you are loosing in a way. If you are taking the road that everybody knows, then there will be too many people on your way and competition. Thus, you will be a few steps later.

Trying something new makes you unique and undoubtedly successful.

Posted by lisa
Categories: Stories about Myself Thoughts and Arguments

The Best Way To Terminate An Employee

February 18, 2008 0 comments

Preparation

There must be a dialogue with the employee right from start. Outline your expectations and the company's rules. If the employee is performing poorly, you need to inform them of specific performance issues, in a timely manner. That is called "due process." You shouldn't fire an employee for poor performance if the employee has no idea that his performance is poor.

A detailed summary of the most recent event that has resulted in the employee being considered for termination. All pertinent facts should be included and all facts must be backed up with copies, or if possible the original documents that pertain to the termination decision. Be sure to include all the documentation, not just items which strongly support your case and neglect to include documentation which is somewhat gray or contradictory. The facts reflect the truth of what occurred, and all the facts need to be documented and considered before the final decision is made.

Fire Contractors

Most employment contracts have a clause with regards to the termination of the contract if the employee consistently fails perform to an acceptable standard.

How to Terminate Staff While Keeping Business Relationships

Today's managing partners are increasingly faced with the task of terminating managers, lawyers, partners and associates alike. The reasons for termination can take many forms: poor performance; poor personality fit; lackluster economic viability of the individual; and a host of other reasons. Whatever the cause, the repercussions of termination must be managed.

Clearly, the repercussions of termination are not wholly avoidable. Individuals who are terminated often are traumatized. Often others in the firm, those not let go, are equally fearful. Clients, too, are often at a loss to understand the decision.

PLAN THE TERMINATION MEETING DOWN TO THE DETAILS

The saying "Praise in public, discipline in private" is never more important than when an employee is terminated. All the hard work you put into making sure your documentation is in order can be lost if this step isn't done just right. Using the five W's - Who, What, When, Where and Why is a good checklist to ensure all important issues have been considered.

Who - determine in advance who should be present at the final termination meeting. At a minimum there needs to be yourself, the employee being terminated, and another management witness. Be sure to include the Human Resource professional in such planning.

Personnel Committee

Organize a personnel committee. A personnel committee should include all key "players" so that any decisions to terminate are viewed as firm decisions, not individual decisions of disgruntled partners. It is great to have a lawyer on the committee.

Pertinent Questions

After forming a personnel committee, the committee should develop a detailed plan for the termination.

What - Maintain control of the meeting. Keep it short, to the point and professional. Don't allow the meeting to turn into a debate. By this stage you should have already met with the employee at least once as part of your fact gathering process.

If the employee wants to discuss why the termination is inappropriate allow him/her to finish their statement without interruption and then calmly tell the employee all the facts have already been considered and the decision of yourself and management is to proceed with the termination. Don't try to make the employee feel good during the start or close of the meeting.

Telling an employee everything will be all right, that they had one of the best quality records in your area but their absenteeism was below par, sends mixed messages. Stay focused on the purpose of the meeting.

When - The termination needs to be timely in respect to the most recent infraction which resulted in the associates termination. A sure loser is terminating an employee several weeks after the date of the infraction.

The termination should occur within one-two weeks of the rule violation to be considered timely. Avoid terminating employees on a Friday, as that can result in an employee leaving in a highly emotional state with no where to turn to for help on the weekend. You should plan for your Employee Assistance Department or Human Resource department, if applicable, to assist the employee in dealing with the emotional impact of the termination.

Terminating on a workday other than Friday also allows the employee to quickly begin the process of applying for unemployment insurance, and enables the employee to begin the process of finding another job

Where - Pick a location that maximizes (1) the employee's privacy, minimizes (2)the exposure to other employees and minimizes (3) the distance you will have to walk them to the door. If there is concern the terminated employee may become hostile, you may also need to consider having an off-duty police officer on site. There is a minimal cost associated with such service and the sight of an off-duty police officer in the vicinity is most often all that is needed to ensure an employee leaves quietly and quickly without disruption.

Why

Typically, the manager is not completely surprised by the news. If his work has been dwindling or performance has been questionable, it's often a matter of time before the subject of termination comes up. However, it is always a shock to be told a person that he is losing his position. The firm has a responsibility to handle this step with sensitivity and respect.

So that the employee is entitled to be told why they are being terminated. They should be given a copy of the disciplinary letter outlining the reasons for the termination.

The employee is not entitled to a copy of all the documentation you have assembled. The best method to avoid being asked for information you are not willing to provide is simply not to bring in any more information than needed for the termination meeting.

SHOW THE EMPLOYEE RESPECT ALL THE WAY TO THE DOOR

Walk them to the exit, offer your hand as they leave and wish them well.

WHEN IT'S OVER, IT'S OVER

The time invested in making sure it's done just right goes a long way to ensuring justice has been done toward the departing employee, and greatly lessens your chances of ending up in court.

Posted by lisa
Categories: Operations Management Thoughts and Arguments Int HR Management

German police dogs to wear shoes

February 26, 2008 0 comments

http://lh5.google.com/LisaSmirnoff/R8X-vojFGYI/AAAAAAAAEFo/NBbs1pIB02Y/dogs%20wearing%20boots.jpg?imgmax=144

BERLIN -- Police dogs in the western city of Duesseldorf will no longer get their feet dirty when on patrol -- the entire dog unit will soon be equipped with blue plastic fiber shoes, a police spokesman said Monday.

"All 20 of our police dogs -- German and Belgian shepherds -- are currently being trained to walk in these shoes," Andre Hartwich said. "I'm not sure they like it, but they'll have to get used to it."

The unusual footwear is not a fashion statement, but rather a necessity due to the high rate of paw injuries on duty. Especially in the city's historical old town -- famous for both its pubs and drunken revelers -- the dogs often step into broken beer bottles.

"Even the street-cleaning doesn't manage to remove all the glass pieces from between the streets' cobble stones," adding that the dogs frequently get injured by little pieces sticking deep in their paws.

The dogs will start wearing the shoes this spring but only during operations that demand special foot protection. The shoes comes in sizes small, medium and large and were ordered in blue to match the officers uniforms.

Story from Los Angeles Times

Posted by lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Feng Shui

March 8, 2008 0 comments

Spring Cleaning with Feng Shui

Spring is the season of renewal, manifestation, celebration.

Feng Shui Energy to Get You Going.

  1. Open all windows and aerate the space well to bring fresh energy.
  2. Get dressed in clothing that is practical, made of natural fibers and makes you feel good!
  3. Bring some Fire Element colors -- RED,ORANGE,YELLOW, PURPLE, PINK -- for an additional boost of energy to the space you are working at.
  4. Put on the music you love and start small, focusing on one area to give you a sense of accomplishment.

The kitchen

In feng shui, the state of your kitchen is the state of your health, especially the state of your liver. Liver is the main detoxifying organ in the body. So do your liver and your health a favor and clean up and de-clutter that kitchen!

  • De-clutter the refrigerator.
  • Clean the stove and all the pots and pans.
  • Let go of all harsh chemical cleaners from the kitchen and go for natural ones.
  • Clean out all the drawers, surfaces, light fixtures, etc.

The kitchen should have several levels of proper lighting, be airy and spacious, clean, bright and welcoming.

Keep the kitchen simple and do not overload it with gadgets.

Fresh flowers bring beautiful uplifting energy to the kitchen. Place a bowl of fruit, a vase of flowers, or a living plant on your kitchen table, windowsill, or wherever the layout of your kitchen allows.

Bring three new pots with vibrant feng shui green plants (Areca Palmto) refresh the energy of your space and symbolize, as well as ground, the energy of new beginnings. If you plan to place them in the kitchen, go for lush and aromatic rosemary or mint.

Choose colors that blend and feel good together. Feng Shui-wise, color yellow is very good for digestion, and you can have it as light as "butter yellow" or as vibrant as "squash yellow."

Kitchen is considered the heart of the home, so make it a happy and healthy heart! Follow these simple steps and create a space where your family and friends will share many beautiful moments together.

The main entrance

Your main entrance is the way your house gets its energy nourishment and in feng shui it is called the mouth of Chi, or energy.

Upon the entrance to every space your energy is looking for grounding and focus, so do treat your senses respectfully and provide for a visual relief.

Let go of any objects in your main door area that are not really needed there.

A Perfect Feng Shui Bedroom

A good feng shui bedroom is fun and pleasurable to be in.

1.**Let go of the TV, computer or exercise equipment in your bedroom**. The good feng shui energy in your bedroom is destroyed when these items are present in your bedroom.

  1. Open the windows often or use a good quality air-purifier to keep the air fresh and full of oxygen. Be mindful of the quality of air in your bedroom. You cannot have good feng shui in your bedroom if the air you breathe in is stale and full of pollutants. Please note that plants in the bedroom are not good feng shui, unless your bedroom is fairly large and the plants are located far from the bed.
  2. Have several levels of lighting in your bedroom, or use a dimmer switch to adjust the energy accordingly. Good, appropriate lighting is very important, as light is our N. 1 nutrient and one of the strongest manifestation of energy. Candles are the best feng shui bedroom lighting, but be sure to buy candles with no toxins.
  3. Use soothing colors to achieve a good feng shui balance in your bedroom. Feng Shui bedroom decor is a balanced decor that promotes the best flow of energy for restorative sleep, as well as sexual healing. Best feng shui colors for the bedroom are considered the so-called "skin colors", and we know the colors of human skin vary from pale white to rich chocolate brown. Choose colors within this range that will work best for your bedroom decor.
  4. Choose the images for your bedroom wisely, as images carry powerful feng shui energy. Best feng shui advice for the bedroom art is to choose images that you want to see happening in your life. Unless you enjoy being sad and lonely, do not use sad and lonely images in your bedroom.
  5. Follow the basic feng shui guidelines for your Bed, which are:
  • have your bed easily approachable from both sides,
  • have two bedside tables (one on each side)
  • and avoid having the bed in a direct line with the door.

A "good looking" and well-balanced bed is very important in creating a perfect feng shui bedroom. Good mattress, solid headboard and high quality sheets from natural fibers are also very important in creating harmonious feng shui energy.

  1. Keep all the bedroom doors closed at night, be it the closet doors, the en-suite bathroom door or the bedroom door. This will allow for the best and most nourishing flow of energy to strengthen your health, as well as the health of your relationship.

The idea of a perfect feng shui bedroom may bring different images to different people, but they will all have one thing in common - Pleasure and Dreaming as the keywords. In a good feng shui bedroom, every item will reflect the clear intent for love, healing and relaxation.

*Rose Quartz is the "Queen" of Love crystals*, a very powerful and gentle healer for your Heart. Have several of them in your Home to attract a Happy Relationship.

That should never be in the bedroom - a mirror facing the bed directly" -- working very hard" against that particular couple's harmony and sexual healing.

Treat both sides of the bed right and treat them "equally.

Is there any free space in your closets? A closet that has some breathing room and a free flow of energy is not only promoting a better health and more opportunities. Plain common sense here!

You can look into bringing a rug in deep Earth Element colors in the bedroom for a strong energy foundation, or other Earth element decor items.

Home Office

  • Separating business and home life,
  • Lack of stimulating social (business-related) interaction.
  1. Use feng shui to create your home office as far from the bedroom as possible.
  2. Plan your home office with your well-being and productivity in mind.

Select appropriate colors that you like.

  1. Be mindful of the quality of air and the quality of light (natural and artificial) in your home office, as these are two of the good feng shui must-haves. If your brain is starving for oxygen and your body does not get enough natural light, you will not enjoy working there no matter how much you love your job. Consider investing in full-spectrum lights and do bring at least a couple of air-purifying plants into your home office.
  2. Position your desk so that you do not have your back to the door. This is the minimum feng shui requirement for the office desk. Be also mindful of not facing a wall while working at your desk. If you have to face the wall, use feng shui to make the wall "disappear" with vibrant images, beautiful art, etc; whatever brings a smile to your face and makes you breathe deeper and calmer.

What you can do is hang photos and photos of places that inspire you, people that helped you grow, diplomas and certifications, etc, etc; in other words, make it an inspirational wall. Instead of having your energy blocked, now you will be literally absorbing high energy coming from the chosen by you items, thus your energy levels will actually increase.

Here are some basic Feng Shui tips for your business and office:

  1. Always sit with a solid wall behind your back to ensure that you have support in your life, never sit with a window behind you.
  2. The arrangement of tables and chairs should be in a harmonious position so that chi is able to flow smoothly.
  3. In your office, never have the main door opening into your desk as the chi coming in will hit at your face causing more obstacles and problems. Reorganize your office.
  4. The chi from the main entrance of your office should not first meet a wall inside the office.
  5. For corporate clients a fish tank placed in the wealth area is one of the best cures for great results and success. However there are strict criteria for the fish tank that one has to follow.

Posted by lisa
Categories: Stories about Myself Thoughts and Arguments

Feng Shui in the Bathroom

April 7, 2008 0 comments

The bathroom is definitely the room that you think of when you think of water. But the water in the bathroom isn't the same as the water element. You will still need the water element, such as a water fountain or aquarium, in other areas of the house to be balanced. The following Feng Shui information can be applied to existing bathrooms or to homes that are being designed.

Where to Begin?

You can use the bagua (a map of feng shui) in your bathroom just as you would use it on the entire house.

Sketch the bathroom, including any fixtures (bath tub, toilet, etc.) closets, doors and windows. Place a copy of the bagua over the sketch to determine placement of various elements and color.

Everything Has To Do With Placement

The entry to the home is where career and opportunities come into the home. If the bathroom is located directly in front of the entry, your opportunities could flow out immediately.

You can help prevent a loss of opportunity by always closing the bathroom door and toilet lid (when not in use) to prevent the unnecessary escape of chi.

Lots of lighting, good ventilation and cleanliness are essential to a proper Feng Shui bathroom. As with other rooms, a lot of mirrors are important to reflect chi and keep it moving around the room and throughout the house.

Don't allow dripping faucets or dirty fixtures to be a part of your bathroom. A dripping faucet is a sign of wasting money.

Another way to counteract opportunity and prosperity from being flushed away is to keep a bowl of pebbles or fresh flower arrangement on the toilet tank or on a shelf above the toilet. By adding this element of earth, you will help control the water.

A black or red rug at the base of the toilet will also provide protection against wealth loss.

Good color schemes for a properly located bathroom are light grays, cream colors and pale blues. If your bathroom is located in the center of the house, paint it red. The fire element will increase income and therefore counteract the drain on wealth

Posted by lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Feng Shui Your Home for the Holidays

April 7, 2008 0 comments

Need to enhance your career? Add items that represent water to the front, center area of your home, such as:

  • Snowmen
  • Snowflakes

Want to bring your family closer together? Add items that represent wood to the left, center area of your home, such as:

  • Christmas tree

Want people to think highly of you? Add items that represent fire to the back, center area of your home, such as:

  • Reindeer
  • Candles
  • Stars
  • Lights
  • Poinsettias

Want to improve your health? Add items that represent earth to the center area of your home, such as:

  • A fresh centerpiece with real earth
  • Poinsettias
  • Fresh bowl of fruit or fruit basket

Want to increase your wealth? Add items that represent money to the back, left area of your home, such as:

  • Gifts (especially the ones you receive)
  • Chocolate gelt (money)

Posted by lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Getting More out of Google Analytics Goals

April 8, 2008 0 comments

One of the Google Analytics goals for our site can be to get RSS subscriptions.

When someone clicks on one of the subscription links there is a way to record page hit in Google Analytics. Each subscription link generates a different page hit. Here’s what the page hits look like:

/blog/lisaconsulting/rss/rss /blog/lisaconsulting/rss/google /blog/lisaconsulting/rss/yahoo /blog/lisaconsulting/rss/bloglines /blog/lisaconsulting/rss/newsgator

So the goal is to get someone to reach one of those ‘pages’. Rather than create a goal for each of the above, use a regular expression to match then all. Then I only need to create a single goal. The regular expression that I use for the goal looks like this:

/blog/lisaconsulting/rss/

Here is the neat part. Google Analytics has a special report that will explain which of the links were hit. Remember, I’m using a regular expression that can match all of the subscription links (5 different links). While it is valuable to see the overall number of times the goal is reached, it is even more useful to understand which of the 5 links actually contributed to the goal.

The report is called the ‘Goal Verification‘ report and it is located in the Content Optimization > Goals & Funnel Process reports.

Goal Tracking Report shows the total Number of goals achieved

This is fun, let’s keep digging into this data! In our example, a visitor can reach my goal from any page on the site. It would be interesting to see which page they were on prior to hitting the goal.

Google Analytics has a ‘Revers Goal Path‘ report. This report, found in the Content Optimization > Goals & Funnel Process section, shows the path that the user took to reach a goal.

Looking at the report we can see that two people landed on my homepage and subscribed to the Google RSS feed. This report is great because it can show the ‘high value’ pages that people need to see on the way to your goal page.

Posted by lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments

Stop Obsessing About Conversion Rate

April 8, 2008 0 comments

Most web analytics practitioners define Conversion Rate as the percent of site visitors who do something the company who owns the website wants them to do.

Measuring Conversion Rate is not good enough.

You should stop obsessing about conversion rate, put Overall Site Conversion Rate in some appendix of your weekly / monthly presentations but that is about it.

Overall site conversion rate (non-segmented) for your site is a nice to know metric but it is quite meaningless in terms of its ability to truly communicate actionable insights. You got 100 visitors, 2.2 of those converted, where do you start to look for what the heck happened?

A minority of visitors that come to any website come to buy (less than 50% of site traffic). So if a minority of people come to your website to buy why should we obsess about Conversion Rate?

So what might you be missing if you only focus on conversion rate?

Customers who will come to your website to “research” product. They might never buy from your website, maybe if you do a awesomely kick butt job on the website maybe you will convert them but it is highly unlikely.

Customers who will come to your website to “learn” about you, the company. They are looking for jobs, they are looking for press releases, they are looking for your company founders bio, they are looking for why you exist, they want your blog, they want to unsubscribe from your emails etc.

Customers who come to our websites for “help”. This is people looking for support or looking for driving directions to your office or they want to send you a nasty email or register their product etc.

Customers who come for reasons that we don’t know simply because we simply never bothered to ask (this is huge by the way).

Obsessing about conversion rate means a focus on the 20 – 40% of the traffic on your website that is “in the game” and solving for just that minority.

Powerful metric is -- Task Completion Rate by Primary Purpose.

Why are you visiting the website today? Where you able to complete your task today?

The answer to Primary Purpose question will look something like this: Research Products/Services, Purchase Products/Services, Look for Company Information, Register the Products I have already Purchased, Looking for Support

The answer to the Task Completion Rate question will be Yes or No.

If you can do this you suddenly are 1) massively aware of why people come to your website 2) just a few of them are there to buy, and how many 3) where is your website failing you.

Now you know what you need to do to improve your website experience for your major segments of customers to increase their task completion rate.

Stated simply the overall approach is: Understand customers really well and create personas for customer segments

Posted by lisa
Categories: Thoughts and Arguments