LinkedIn is a useful tool for building a professional network and achieving career success. One of the primary ways this is accomplished is through LinkedIn messaging. This tool provides LinkedIn users with an easy way to get, and stay, in touch with one another.
Reaching out to create a new connection or feed an established one is not always easy or straightforward. Whether you are looking for a new job, want to connect with a lead or have the desire to get closer with a promising contact, reaching out and starting the conversation may seem awkward at first.
To provide more authentic ways to connect, LinkedIn now offers personalized conversation starters for messages in its app. Simply select a user to message, and tap the lightbulb icon for unique blurbs tailored your recipient.
Starters may include:
Updates on Your Connection’s Professional Activity
You can reach out with congratulations for a connection who recently landed a promotion or won an award in his or her workplace.
You may also be directed to an article that this person posted on LinkedIn so that you can converse about it and offer your thoughts.
These provide great ways to reach out and also be a part of your connection’s recent business successes/activities.
Perhaps you and your connection are part of the same sorority or both worked for the same company.
This shared experience can give you common ground for striking up a meaningful conversation.
Bonding over common experiences can make a big impact and set you up for turning a connection into a promising professional contact.
The old adage about who you know being more important than what you know may be true, after all.
Find contacts that you and your connections share in order to spark conversation and establish a level of familiarity with someone you may not know.
Using these conversation starters will make it a bit easier break the ice in your LinkedIn conversations. Take a look at this video for some more information on the feature.
Richard Branson lives on his own remote Caribbean island, isolated from mainstream city life.
Yet, he remains one of the world’s most admired entrepreneurs.
When asked to share his success secrets during an interview, he revealed key tips on how to be successful, which he’s used over the years to create and run 400 Virgin brand companies.
1. Be bold to a point.
In his younger days, Branson took many risks without giving much thought to the consequences.
Risk-taking has certainly paid off fabulously for him. However, looking back he realizes that there were times when risking it all meant being on the verge of losing everything he’d worked hard to achieve.
A much wiser Branson still believes strongly in taking risks, but he advises aspiring success seekers to take calculated risks. Never risk money you can’t afford to lose, food and clothing, a place to live, or your life for a shot at the unknown.
2. Become an expert of your passion.
Whatever it is you’re passionate about, learn everything you can about it to the point of becoming an expert.
Branson loves learning new things, and dives into new projects with gusto.
You are more likely to put a lot of time and effort into a project you truly enjoy, than something that quickly bores you.
3. Turn frustration into opportunity.
The issue that is nagging you to no end may prove to be the very thing that drives your success.
Many successful people have created thriving businesses after experiencing utter frustration over not having something turn out as expected.
Branson was frustrated when American Airlines bumped him off a flight to the British Virgin Islands. He was told to wait for a flight out the next day. Undaunted, Branson rented a private plane, jokingly promoted a cheap flight to the other bumped passengers, and was amazed when his plane completely filled up.
His frustration over the lousy treatment he received from a major airline led to the very first Virgin Airlines flight that same day. The rest is history.
4. Find ways to be innovative.
Look for things others miss and turn them into innovations that people love.
An example is Virgin’s popular flight safety videos, which are as entertaining as music videos put out by current artists. He tossed aside those stiff, boring pre-flight lectures in favor of Virgin’s innovative approach, which uses snappy music, actors and lively dancing.
Virgin’s safety videos are so entertaining that people enjoy watching them online.
We all have that dream. The dream to have enough money so that we could live out our lives in the manner of our choosing.
Money is always the obstacle.
We either don’t make enough, or we spend too much trying to make ourselves happy, or at least happy enough to continue on wishing we had more.
No matter the circumstance, there has always been a time (usually when sitting in traffic on the way to work) when we’ve wanted to chuck it all and quit our drudge of a desk job. It’s a nice daydream isn’t it? Just imagine: Wouldn’t it be nice to do what you really want to do instead of what you’re supposed to do, or what you have to dFo?
These questions are the topic of a video narrated by the late author Alan Watts. Watts, a native of London, became fascinated with Far Eastern life at a young age. After a short stint as an Episcopal priest in Chicago, he left the church to focus on Asian studies. His studies led him to Zen Buddhism, which he wrote and spoke extensively about.
Watts’ worldview changed radically with his immersion in Zen philosophy. The video “What If Money Was No Object” is one in a series of audio lectures he recorded before his passing in 1973.
One of the main points of this talk is the futility of earning a college degree simply as a way to earn money, just like you would get some personal $10000 loans 24/7 application processing or some long term installment loans approved. Watts speaks of a situation involving graduating students who come to him for career advice, during a time when he worked as a vocational counselor.
Watts’ first question to the students is, “What would you like to do if money were no object?” The reply was usually, “Well, I’d like to be an artist/painter/writer/….” Watts then turns the conversation back to the point, “You can’t earn any money that way.” What Watts is looking for is an admission from the student that they are only looking for a way to earn money.
The most important point of Watts’ talk is to “do what you really want to do, and money be damned.” His scathing indictment of “working solely for money” is that the chase for riches will cause one to end up working in a job that they don’t like, for their entire life. In his words, “It’s stupid!”
Ultimately, Watts does come back around to earning money. But his advice for earning a living is a much more creative, and satisfying way of doing it. The basic premise is, “Do something you love doing, become extremely good at doing it, then charge a fee for doing it.” Earn money while you do something you love to do.
The importance of Watts interpretation of Zen philosophy, as it relates to our goal-oriented, get ahead world, is refreshing. Yes, money is an object and we all need to take practicalities and realities into account. However, it is worth thinking about and exploring if there may be ways to earn a living that won’t destroy your soul, or your spirit.
With so much going on during the workday, it can be very easy to forget about your health. One aspect that is easy to ignore is your posture.
You might have heard that sitting kills and therefore it is important to reduce the harmful effects of your desk job. Luckily it’s not that hard to do. Read the following tips and/or watch the video at the end, to find out more.
Keeping a good posture means that you’re maintaining the 3 natural curves in your spine:
In, at the Neck
Out, between your shoulder blades
In, at the lumbar spine
Bad posture will ultimately take you out of those 3 natural curves and give you pains.
To start with, there are a two tips you should remember when working a desk job:
Move around every 30 minutes. This will help loosen your back and keep you going.
Use a chair that can be adjusted; everyone is made differently.
Here are rules to keeping good posture when sitting at your desk at work:
Make sure your bottom is as far back as possible.
Raise or lower the seat, so your hips are slightly higher than your knees.
The height of the arm rest should be dropped down so your shoulders, elbows, and arms are free to move around.
When you are typing, keep your hands over the keys and make sure there’s a 90 degree bend at your elbows.
The letter “G” should be aligned with your bellybutton, and your mouse should be close to your keyboard so you’re not overreaching.
If there is a phone at your desk, it should also be close enough so you aren’t straining to reach for it.
The computer monitor should be at eye level and around an arms length away from you.
If you’re working from home, that can be more challenging, since you might not have a seating environment that is conducive for good posture. If it is possible, try using a table and chair, but if not, these guidelines are suitable for working on your couch:
Make sure your bottom is as far back on the sofa as possible.
Raise your bottom from the couch (sit on a pillow if you need to) so that your knees and legs are making a 90 degree right angle.
Maintain your natural curves in your lower back by using a rolled up towel or a small cushion.
If needed, raise your laptop with a third cushion that is placed between your knees and the laptop.
Imagine for a moment that you are the ideal manager/employee. You are a well-liked and successful professional, with a reputation for being consistently fair-minded and hardworking. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, you are a human being who will make mistakes, have bad days, and who may even have a few career-limiting personal habits.
What do you do when you realize that some of your habits are holding your career back?
According to a study by VitalSmarts, you may need to reflect and make some changes, since 97 percent of employees have at least one habit that is limiting their careers.
The following are the career-crushing habits that the study found to be most prevalent, as well as some helpful hints from Joseph Grenny (Co-founder of VItalSmarts) on breaking those bad habits.
Reliability is a key trait hiring managers look for in employees. Those who keep their commitments without fail, allow their managers to mentally dismiss delegated tasks as already done. Managers love such employees.
However, many employees do not follow through on commitments 100% of the time. For such employees, managers continue to carry ownership of the assignments even after the person in question has committed to completing them.
The issue of unreliability is often a problem of communication.
People who have trouble keeping promises also struggle with maintaining boundaries to avoid conflict. Instead of saying “no,” they’d rather give a “yes” now – even if it means dealing with disapproval later.
Eye Contact –.When you are in a situation involving someone pressuring you to take on a commitment, hit the brakes by breaking eye contact, and take a deep breath.
Press Pause – If you can’t weigh the pros and cons of a commitment in the moment, keep a script in your head that you can use to delay your response. For example: “I would like to help out. Let me look at what’s already on my agenda, and I’ll get back by the end of today. Does that work for you?”
Count, Then Speak – Lastly, think about all of the commitments that you have already made. Saying “no” is much easier when you think about all the commitments you have on your plate. Telling people “no” does not always mean that you are letting them down, but instead keeping promises you have already made.
Procrastination is the most seductive of all the common flaws. All our smartphones and various other modes of communication make it all too easy to do immediate, unimportant tasks, rather than the actually important ones.
Procrastination is purely driven by fear of punishment, pain or failure. Putting off tasks that might cause some form of unpleasantness, is much easier than actually working to accomplish them.
No matter what the task at hand is, there are always unexplored and oftentimes exaggerated expectations associated with our tendency to procrastinate.
Chunk your tasks- Breaking up an undesirable task into little parts allow you to celebrate each completed step.
Try the social approach – Bringing colleagues on board can alter your experience. If you have a presentation to compose, practice your delivery with a trusted co-worker. Their enthusiasm and feedback can help encourage you to finish the task.
Quit early, finish later – Your feelings when you complete a task are like a tide that carries you forward into your next experience. Grinding away until you stumble over the finish line is the perfect recipe for misery. It is better to stop while you are still feeling engaged, thereby increasing your motivation to finish.
We all have tendency at times to be selfish, or to focus too closely on our own goals and position. Others often see that as selfishness. This does not make us jerks or unreasonable people. It simply means that we do not have a sufficient level of concern for others.
Most likely, you are missing a lot of the nonverbal signals others send, to express their wants and needs. Where things fall apart is when you become too invested in your own goals and opinions, and ignore or neglect the opinions and goals of others.
The littlest things yield the greatest results.
If you find empathy challenging, watch your body language in tense or conflicting situations. People who are only concerned with their own agendas shut down physically before they close off emotionally. They turn aside, fail to maintain eye contact, or give other physical signs that they have stopped listening. Here’s how to be more empathetic and improve your listening skills:
Maintain eye contact – Remain in the conversation by maintaining eye contact with others. Look them directly in the eye. Watch for expressions that show emotions. Be conscious of the emotions of others is the primary step toward becoming empathetic.
Curiosity – Working with others is all about cooperation and mutual interest. You need to develop questions from sincere curiosity that help you understand the thoughts and motivations of others. You may find more common ground than you might expect.
In addition to the most common habits mentioned above, other career limiting habits include passive aggressiveness, negative attitude, short-term focus and disrespect.
As per managers who VitalSmarts surveyed, addressing your main bad habit is 3 times more important that improving technical skills. So clearly it is something to spend some time and effort on.
The difference between the job and life you have and the ones you want can be simply a few bad habits. When you learn to be mindful about what causes your behavior and motivates you, you will be far more effective at changing your life and your career for the better.
But changing your behavior can often be hard. So here are some tips for achieving sustainable and measurable behavior change, from Al Switzler, one of the Co-founders of VitalSmarts.
Do you sometimes feel like things are moving too fast, that you’re always rushing and that you’re doing too much?
This video essay gives a stirring reminder of the need to slow down. It reminds us not to rush, but to take the time to do each task before us properly, slowly and deliberately.
The illustration is made of the space shuttle being loaded with the potential energy of rocket fuel, poised to achieve escape velocity. The important thing to remember is that space is not achieved in an instant, but in the powerful slow burn of the fuel accelerating the shuttle and launch craft, from the takeoff point and away from Earth into the atmosphere.
As the video essay progresses, it goes on to emphasize how birds do not instantaneously leap into the air, but must build up momentum from a resting position in order to achieve flight. Everything that will travel a greater distance or achieve a great height must first take it slow and prepare well. Archers draw back and hold their arrow, before releasing it on its flight path. A rifleman takes half a breath and holds it when he takes a shot.
After these illustrations are given, the essay addresses the viewers possible objections: how they may feel if they can’t slow down, or how their life does not allow them to take breaks, or that if they stop to think, then everything in their life will come crashing down.
This is followed by the quiet and confident reassurance that stepping back to catch your breath and assess your situation is not only healthy, but essential. It also goes on to posit the idea that no one should deceive themselves into believing that they can do more alone than they can with the help of others. If you are struggling to achieve something, slow down and find some friends, partners, or colleagues that can help you get where you are going.
In the end, the video reiterates its original point about going slowly and steadily to achieve great things. There are flashes and images of people achieving what they set out to do, moving over to the original advice of the video:
Be like the Tortoise, not like the Hare.
Take the time, make the time, or find the time.
Without taking the time to do things slowly and well, all you are accomplishing is losing the race.
Singapore is planning on spending an additional $200 million over the next 5 years, into the water industry.
This was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who mentioned that the funding will be used in three main areas – development of talent, research and commercialization/export of technology.
The country’s water agency (PUB) estimates that the increased funding and activity will create around 15,000 new jobs in the sector.
Past investments made by the government in the water sector have show positive results. Over $450 million was spent on the sector between 2006 and 2015. This led to the addition of 14,000 jobs and exceeded estimates of 11,000 jobs.
The comments were made by the Prime Minister, while speaking on the topic of how Singapore will deal with climate change related issues.
The result of research has shown that negotiating is greatly affected by emotions.
If you are unable to read what the other person is feeling and are only able to hear what they are saying, it is very unlikely that you are going to accomplish everything that you could have through the negotiation.
Wheeling and dealing with an experienced negotiator may prove difficult because of his or her ability to mask emotions. Tone, words, expressions, and body language are all carefully chosen. She may seem impassive or natural to the average person observing. On the other hand, if she believes it will assist with advancing personal gain or interest, she may be able to fake emotions rather convincingly.
That being said, there is always a way to read the other person despite her best attempts to keep you from reading them.
According to Kasia Wezowski, from the Center for Body Language, The secret lies in paying attention to all of the spontaneous and involuntary micro expressions that every one of us demonstrates whenever intense emotion is involved. Once you are aware of exactly what it is you are looking for, you will have an automatic window to openly view the feelings of the other person.
You will be happy to hear that this secret isn’t necessarily something you either do or don’t have; it is a practice that you can learn and improve over time. The best way to test how you are progressing is through real life negotiating situations.
Here are some quick tips you may want to keep in mind, to ellicit and observe people’s micro expressions.
The other person’s face should be your focus.
The next time you have a reason to ask a question while involved in a negotiating scenario, spend at least four seconds studying the face of the other person instead of only listening to the words they are saying.
Share a story with the other person.
Negotiators find it easier to hide their emotions while they are doing the talking.
Spend time describing exactly what it is that you want or tell a story to illustrate your points, rather than asking questions that leave you with less to say.
This will provide you with a good window to observe the reactions of your counterpart.
Create several choices for the other person.
Provide them with a list of options.
Then observe their expressions/reactions to the different choices, to see what they do, or do not like.
To learn more about emotions, micro-expressions and consequent success in negotiation as well as other aspects of your career, take a look at this video.