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5 Ways Webinars and Video Can Replace Workplace Meetings

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As an entrepreneur and being my own boss, I’ve had the pleasure of not having to deal with the normal “workplace atmosphere” and needing to plan or attend meetings within a company. I have however experienced what this atmosphere is like through working with other companies in the industry. More often then not, these meetings and get-togethers of individuals within the company is more of a waste of time and resources than anything else.

Yes, businesses of all sizes need to hold meetings, but how they hold them and who actually needs to be there is where there is room for opportunity. It’s way too easy for myself to throw together a webinar or online video series and have 1,000s of people attending my live feed, so why aren’t businesses doing the same thing within their organization?

With so many advanced webinar and video sharing platforms available, not only is it extremely easy to setup, it’s also quite cost effective too. Solutions like GoToWebinar are perfect for streaming live webinars and connecting with others in your company, while more advanced services like Blue Jeans make it easy to deliver HD video conferencing and multi-party meetings within a organization or during a live event with thousands of attendees.

If you aren’t currently using live video and webinars in place of holding in-person meetings, here are five reasons to reconsider — plus some fun office meeting memes to bright up such a feared topic!

5 Ways to Improve Workplace Meetings with Video

No matter what solution you are using to deliver live video or webinars online, consider the following five methods for improving how your business holds meetings within your company and make the most out of their time and resources.

Make Meetings Essential

I Heard You Like Meetings

The main issues that people have with meetings, be they online or in-person, is that there isn’t much point to them other than summing up things that people either already know or could be said with a group e-mail. An easy fix for this is to only schedule meetings when they are absolutely essential and let employees get on with their work for the rest of the time. If there is really no point to a daily or weekly meeting then don’t feel like you need to have one just for the sake of it. This will also emphasise the importance of meetings meaning that people will focus during them instead of zoning out or multitasking.

One of the most common issues with meetings in the workplace is if they are needed and how to run them efficiently. To maximize efficiency, Inc. Magazine offers five simple questions and tasks to assign before your meeting takes place.

  1. Does the meeting need to happen?
  2. Be very clear about the purpose.
  3. Engage people beforehand.
  4. Actually start on time.
  5. Document and share the main points.

Invite the People Who Need to be There

Meeting Emails

Meetings are usually boring and a waste of time for half of the people in the room. This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your meetings, it just means you should only be including those who are needed to be there.

Not only are meetings a potential waste of time and resources just to pull them together, they can also be a huge productivity killer for all of the attendees as it’s going to break about their day and working time. Inc Magazine noted that the two biggest drags of productivity are “Meetings and Managers”. The article went on to say:

These two staples of work life–meetings and managers–are actually the greatest causes of work not getting done at the office. In fact, the further away you are from both meetings and managers, the more work gets done. This is one of the key reasons we’re so enthusiastic about remote work.

For businesses that feel they need to have weekly or monthly meetings, continue to do so, but only have the core individuals needed to make it happen. While this meeting is taking place, record the session and make it accessible to all employees for later viewing.

Keep it Brief

Sitting In Meetings All Day

When you think about the amount of time it takes to put a meeting together, actually holding it in a room, getting started and finalizing everything, it’s a whole lot longer than the 30 or 60 minutes that the meeting was originally supposed to be. It’s not that everyone simply hates the thought of meetings, it’s the many emotions, complications and wasted time that come with them.

Forbes says that one main reason why people hate meetings so much is that our brains simply can’t focus fully for such a long amount of time. The trouble with carving out a certain time window for a meeting is the feeling that you need to fill up all of that time. All the while, your colleagues are desperate to get back to their desks and meet their deadlines or praying they’ll be in time to pick their children up from school.

The solution? Have someone do the pre-meeting work before hand and allow for employees to attend live meetings online or allow for the watching of a recording later on. Not only does this not take away from their work time and productivity, it also makes sure a 15 or 30-minute meeting is actually that long. 

Record the Meeting

  Meeting Recording

One great feature of video conferencing software is that you no longer need a secretary to take notes then repeat the minutes in the next meeting. You can record all of your meetings, save them, and e-mail them out to anyone who needs to see them. This is a great advantage for anybody who can’t make the meeting and means that they can check it out at a time which is convenient for them, again not disrupting their regular work flow.

Something so funny about the internet and technology industry is that all of these companies are so advanced with their online marketing and campaign management, but when it comes to holding meetings they are still stuck in the 90s!

Be Decisive

workplace-meetings-meme

The key purpose of meetings is to make important business decisions, so then why do so few meetings accomplish this?

Many seem to go around in circles with everybody voicing their own opinion and boring everyone else to tears. Of course, everybody in the meeting should be able to voice their own opinions. That is why they are in the meeting, after all. But if you notice things are starting to drag, emphasise the importance of making an immediate decision and take a vote if you have to. Don’t let the meeting time be taken up by unimportant decisions or tangents. This way meetings will go much smoother and your team will get much more done in a shorter amount of time.

Should your organization hold meetings through an online video or meeting format, it would be much easier for all attendees to take notes or make suggestions through a chat interface. Not only will this help with the structure and organization of all notes taken, but it will also allow for individuals who might not like the spotlight on them to be able to contribute as well.

Less In-Person Meetings = Happier Employees

Zero Meetings

One of the many benefits to being an entrepreneur or the boss of your own business, is that you don’t have to deal with the many frustrations of meetings and staff management.

At the same time, we all know that meetings and communication within the workplace is required. What isn’t required is making the whole process a drag. Implement each of the methods above into your existing business and see how you can improve productivity and staff happiness by automating and delivering the process through online video and webinars.

The top marketers in the world are doing it to increase their businesses… you should too.

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8 Retail Tips to Boost Sales and Help You Finish the Year Strong

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If you work in retail, you may be feeling the pressure to finish the year strong with a major sales boost. However, success in retail selling doesn’t happen on its own. It requires creativity, hard work, and some killer retail sales strategies.

But did you know that there are some simple sales tips and tricks that can help you achieve your goals quicker than ever? It’s easier than you think.

When it comes to marketing any type of product or service to an audience, it’s all about the perceived value, call to action, and the marketing strategy put in place. This is what makes the online marketing space so amazing. Not only is it easy to go live with a new ad campaign, but it’s also easy to split test and target your exact audience in the process.

Keep reading for eight must-know retail tips that will help boost your sales and finish the year on a high note. Let’s dive in!

1. Focus on Making a Positive First Impression

If you work in retail, then you know that first impressions can make or break your sales. But did you know that forming a first impression can take as little as a tenth of a second?

It may sound shocking, but it’s true. Although this impression is solely based on facial appearance, it matters. Whether it’s fair or not, it plays a huge part in how others treat us.

If you’re working on boosting your sales, keep this fact in mind. You can create positive first impressions by maintaining a pleasant facial expression and proper grooming habits.

2. Re-familiarize Yourself with Your Products

If you’ve worked in retail selling for a while, it’s important to keep your relationship with the products you’re selling fresh. After all, if you’re excited about them, others will be, too.

Take some time to reconsider each and every item. What’s special and unique about them? What can they offer people?

Allow the answers to these questions to inspire you and reinvigorate you as a salesperson. Passion and enthusiasm are at the core of how to be successful in retail sales.

3. Create Tangible Sales Incentives

A great retail sales technique to boost your end-of-year sales is to entice potential buyers with some alluring sales incentives. Let’s explore some effective options.

– Discounts

Discounts are a surefire way to catch the attention of retail shoppers. Use the upcoming holidays to your advantage and create stellar deals that buyers won’t be able to turn down.

– Added Bonuses

If you don’t like the idea of discounting your items, consider adding bonuses to your customer’s purchases. Partner with other local brands who would like to spread the good word about their products. They may be willing to give you products or samples to pass onto your clients for free.

– Free Shipping

If you’re using e-commerce to boost your holiday sales, offering free shipping is a great incentive for buyers. You can even encourage higher purchases by giving free shipping to those who buy over a certain price point.

– Competitions

To conjure up some buzz around your products, create a giveaway competition. For the best results, make sure that you’re giving away an item with a high price point. This is a great way to get ahold of potential customer’s information for marketing purposes as well.

Guarantee the Quality of Your Products

If possible and appropriate, provide your customers with a guarantee of quality for your products. This will instill confidence in potential buyers and boost your sales.

4. Treat Everyone Like a Friend

Sales success is all about persistence. However, there’s a fine line between not giving up and being pushy.

Keep yourself in check by remembering to treat everyone like they’re your friend. This will create a pleasant, welcoming demeanor that will attract people to you and your products.

5. Aim for Open Body Language

In addition to treating everyone in a friendly manner, focus on your body language as well. And this doesn’t just mean smiling. Here’s how to keep your body language open and engaging:

  • Keep your back straight, but your body relaxed.
  • Maintain steady eye contact, but break away once in a while to keep things casual.
  • Lean in toward someone while they speak to communicate interest.
  • Avoid crossing your arms.
  • Try to project confidence at all times.
  • Give a firm (but not painfully firm) handshake when you meet someone new.
  • Keep the tone of your voice even and calm.
  • Study others’ body language and learn how to spot when they are uncomfortable or annoyed.
  • Get to know your own habits when you’re excited, unhappy, nervous, etc. Keep your habits in check while working in retail and stay neutral.

6. Use Management Software for More Retail Tips and Assistance

If you feel that you need some extra help managing things, try a retail management software program. These programs provide a streamlined, clear way to manage all aspects of your retail operation.

Many also offer easy-to-use-apps that don’t require training. In these apps, you can communicate with team members, access information about each of your retail locations, and share photos, files, and documents.

7. Offer Customers Fewer Options

When trying to boost your retail sales, it can be tempting to offer potential customers tons of options to choose from. However, it’s important to resist this temptation.

Instead of appreciating the selection, consumers tend to become overwhelmed when presented with a lot of choices. Keep things simple to make shoppers more comfortable.

8. Learn from Your Mistakes

As a salesperson, your education never ends. It’s important to continue learning from both your successes and your mistakes as you grow.

So, whenever you make or break a sale, ask yourself why. Use each and every outcome as an opportunity for further learning.

The Bottom Line

If you want to boost your sales and finish the year on a high note, simply follow the eight simple retail tips above. These tricks will not only help you meet your end-of-year goals, but they will also help you to become a stronger salesperson for the remainder of your career.

For the best results, remember to focus on your body language at all times and to treat everyone like a friend. Refamiliarize yourself with your products and streamline your inventory wherever possible.

And if you make a mistake, don’t worry. Take it as an opportunity for learning and growth instead!

Do you have any questions or comments? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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What is Performance Management? 9 Strategies For Your Small Business

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Running a business isn’t always about making big money, traveling the world, and reaping all of the benefits it has to offer. Sometimes there are less exciting tasks and components involved in the day to day operations of these businesses — especially if you are running a big company with employees.

One such area that large business owners and corporate teams will have to focus their efforts on are team evaluations and performance management. Evaluations at the end of the year can be daunting and stressful for you, your supervisors, and your employees.

Performance management doesn’t have to be a dark, looking matter in a business. In fact, it should be something that continuously encourages growth and improvement while handling negative matters in a professional manner.

Are you asking yourself right now, “What is performance management?” It’s a way of creating an ideal work environment to reach optimal productivity. It’s definitely something you need to incorporate into your small business.

Below are 9 strategies of performance management to help your business succeed. Keep reading for more.

1. Accurate Job Descriptions

Whether you’re in the process of hiring or have had a set staff for a while, keep job descriptions up-to-date and accurate will help things to run smoothly and effectively. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them.

Not only does this help things get done, it can highlight certain skills in individuals. Allowing everyone to be in a position where they can use their best skills will create a more positive work environment. If people are unhappy with their job or are experiencing unexpected tasks, it could cause stress.

Sit down and update job descriptions. Then meet with your employees and explain what is expected, and allow them to ask questions and voice concerns.

2. Consistently Review Goals

Time is precious, whether you are an employer or an employee. Make the most of your time and consistently go over goals and milestones with everyone on an individual basis.

Not going over your goals until the end of the year could open up space for issues that could have easily been prevented. Plus, not reviewing goals can cause people to lose interest or become fearful of the unknown.

It’s always best to keep everyone on the same track, and consistency makes for better performance management. If you need help staying on track, don’t be afraid to turn to outside help — check it out!

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Praise

People are more inclined to work harder at their job when they know they will receive praise for it. Giving praise to an employee doesn’t make you look weak, it shows you care about good performance management.

If you notice an individual making great efforts at his or her job, don’t hesitate to throw them a compliment. Make sure you are being sincere because everyone loves a genuine compliment.

Want to go the extra mile? Get to know your employees personally. Tell your employee how proud you are of them for doing a 5k the past weekend.

4. Offer Payment for Work

Compliments are great, but one of the best motivations for anyone is money. Let’s face it, everyone wants to make more money.

A great strategy for better performance management is creating monetary rewards for the employees going beyond their goals. For example, offer them a small bonus every time they exceed a weekly sales goal.

It doesn’t have to break the bank for your business, but you’d be surprised what people will do for an extra 10 dollars.

5. Critique in Private

One of the most humiliating moments in performance management for any employee is being critiqued or punished in front of large groups. It lowers their self-esteem and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere for everyone.

If a problem needs to be addressed, schedule a time to talk with the individual. Don’t intimidate them or scare them into thinking they are about to get the automatic boot. Approach them by stating the issue and give them a chance for any explanation.

As reported by Motley Fool, there are three big reasons why you will want to avoid this:

  1. You’ll alienate the employee you call out — and possibly the rest of your team
  2. You’ll be less effective
  3. You’ll come off harsher than you probably mean to

It’s also a great idea to come to the meeting with possible solutions, and ask them for solutions that may motivate them to do better next time.

6. Highlight Top Performers

When setting goals for your small business, keep track of who is meeting the goals. If you notice certain individuals consistently meeting goals, make a point to highlight their successes. This will create a friendly sense of competition to motivate others to work harder.

You can set up a whiteboard in the communal area of your offices and write the names of top performers. If you wanted to create a sense of fun and goofiness in your performance management, you can purchase funny hats or ribbons for top performers to wear.

When it comes to overall goal setting for your business and how to highlight top performance, Inc has the following recommendations.

7. Establish Open Office Hours

Feedback is only effective when it goes both ways. To create an open and inviting atmosphere for your employees to voice concerns or ask questions, establish open office hours, giving them a chance to walk into your office and talk.

This will give you a better view of what’s going on in the business and gives your employees plenty of chances to ask for help or fix an issue. Being open to feedback gives you more respect and boosts the office atmosphere.

If office hours become extremely popular, give everyone a time limit and request they come with notes. This will help you stay on track and keep things efficient.

8. Keep Records

When it comes to the time for evaluations, you need to have quantitative evidence for your evaluation. Throughout the year, keep records of each employee.

Note some of their problem areas as well as highlight what they are good at. Your employees will appreciate a performance management system with solid evidence and support.

Also, it can be easier for some employees to make adjustments for the future if they can visually see records of their past performance.

9. Eliminate the Weak Links

As harsh and scary it can be, eliminating the individuals causing the problems will be the best for your company. With this said, don’t storm into your office one day and start firing people, but if someone is not improving even after speaking with them, it’s okay to let them go.

By letting someone go, you are opening up the opportunity for someone with stronger skills and a greater passion for the job role.

If someone is constantly creating drama or a negative work environment for everyone else, let them go. You don’t want one person ruining it for the rest.

Discover What Is Performance Management at It’s Best

If you have been sitting around and thinking, “What is performance management?”, look no further. It can seem like a tall task to take on, but with preparation and consistency, it can be simple.

Make sure to sit down and create a plan for performance management. Address concerns, praise the success, and create an atmosphere of productivity and diligence.

Do you need more help and tips on your workplace or a boost in online marketing? Check out this article on 101+ expert growth tips!

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Lawyer Up: The 9 Most Effective Marketing Ideas for Law Firms

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If you want to put the most effective marketing ideas for law firms into practice, you’re going to be doing a lot of work online. In a study by Martindale Nolo, 78.4% of lawyers said online marketing was their best-performing advertising medium.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Consumers now have smartphones in their pockets that are more powerful than the computers that sent the first humans to the moon. Every resource we need is just a tap away, whether we’re shopping for shoes or looking for a lawyer.

So, if you’re ready to finally amp up your law firms’ marketing strategy, here are the 9 strategies you can’t afford to ignore.

1. Start a Law Blog

The public doesn’t know much about the law — not the fine details, at least.

While there are plenty of online resources they can turn to, you have an opportunity to stand out in your area of law. The law differs from state to state. Make your blog the top source of legal information for your niche in your state.

Publish blog posts regularly: a few a week, if possible. If you’re strapped for time, you can always contract the work out to a blogger with legal expertise.

Speak directly to your audience. For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer, address your audience as “you” and answer frequently asked questions about your practice area. Visit Utah Advocates for more info on how to write for personal injury clients.

2. Build a Mobile-Friendly Website

If you let out a sigh of frustration every time you look at your website on your phone, your visitors are doing the same thing. Law firm web design doesn’t vary much from site to site. But there are a few things you can do stand out.

First, you should make your website mobile-friendly by making it mobile-responsive. Don’t create a separate website for mobile devices. Instead, make your website adjust based on the device that’s accessing it.

This will require the attention of a web developer, but it will be worth it. A growing population uses their phones to access the internet more than they use a desktop computer or laptop. Some people use their phones exclusively.

3. Get Friendly with Live Chat

When someone contacts a lawyer, time is of the essence. You’d think lawyers would be quick to respond to leads and prospectus. But according to Law Technology Today, a shocking 42% of lawyers take three or more days to reply to an online form submission or voicemail.

Live chat is a simple feature you can add to your website to streamline your response time. You can even hook it up to your cell phone, so you never miss a lead.

Keep in mind: Live chat is not a channel for providing legal advice. Rather, it’s a way to nurture your website visitors toward a consultation.

4. Do an SEO Audit of Your Website

If you’re unsure about what SEO stands for (it stands for search engine optimization), or you haven’t updated your website in years, it may be time for an audit. Improving SEO rankings often requires technical knowledge, so this may be a job suited to a web developer.

Nonetheless, improving your SEO by adding meta information, header tags, and other attributes can help search engines better understand your website. There’s no silver bullet for ranking in search. But maintaining a basic SEO strategy isn’t just one of the most important marketing ideas for law firms — without it, it’s hard for anyone to find you online.

Once you’ve got your SEO taken care of, you can focus more on creating helpful content for your lawyer blog.

5. Create Targeted PPC Ads

It’s easy to waste a lot of money on pay-per-click (PPC) ads. The trick to success is finding your PPC niche market. You can do this with display ads on social media networks, but Google AdWords remains one of the most popular lawyer advertising tools because of its precision targeting.

For example, if you’re doing personal injury marketing, the keywords you choose will matter. Ads targeting a keyword like “best lawyers” won’t always give you viable prospects. But keywords like “personal injury lawyer in (your town here)” and “how to find a personal injury lawyer” might.

6. Stay Active on Forums

Not every client will find your blog to get the answers they need. Many people still post legal questions to sites like Avvo and Justia. Try to answer relevant questions on these sites as often as possible. Typically, the people asking them need more than answers — they need a lawyer.

In addition to making your stay active within forums and putting your name and face out there, it’s also a good idea to search for local legal directories as well. Many of these sites not only offer listing services for free, or at a premium — but they often rank really well for content as well.

7. Always Track Your Leads

If you aren’t tracking your leads, you won’t know how well your marketing strategy is working. That means you could be wasting money on strategies that aren’t generating new clients.

You may need a CRM to track your leads and contacts effectively. Some CRMs can even give you analytics to help you measure the success of your marketing campaigns. But if you don’t want to use a CRM, an old-fashioned spreadsheet can help you measure your success and keep track of your contacts.

8. Get Active on Social Media

In a joint study by Bloomberg Law and the Legal Marketing Association, 52% of attorneys said social media was their highest-rated marketing initiative. In fact, social media was ranked higher than every other strategy.

Once, social media was a grey area for lawyers, ethically. You still need to be careful what you post, but if you want to reach your potential clients, social networks can’t be ignored.

Research which platforms your prospects use. Post regularly and respond when people like and comment on your posts.

9. Generate Referrals

Just because most marketers are investing in digital strategies doesn’t mean the old school approaches are obsolete. 62% of consumers still seek lawyer referrals from friends and family, according to Above the Law.

Take a systematic approach to your referral strategy. Referrals can come from anyone in your network, like past and present clients, classmates from law school, professional service providers, family, and friends.

Once you map out your existing contacts, develop a plan for outreach. You can send automated emails to clients to generate testimonials after successful cases, for example. Create referral scripts to give to other contacts and reach out personally to those you’re most comfortable with.

Discover More Marketing Ideas for Law Firms

The cyber world is always evolving so make sure you do some research on the latest marketing trends or better yet consult an expert in online legal marketing to help raise the bar for your law firm.

If you just need more marketing ideas for law firms. Shoot me an email at any time to start up a conversation.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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