Friday, October 26, 2012

Should I Attend A Business Seminar?

            Business seminars are everywhere, whether you are asked to attend one or you seek one out. These seminars or conferences can be about anything from general business strategies (how to increase monthly sales) to industry specific topics (IT training). With so many options, it may seem like you have to attend one of these seminars. But are they really worth the time and money, and do you really need them? Well, that depends.

Many companies offer seminars--for some, that’s all they do. These events can build on your current skills, allow you to network with other people in your industry, and give you the motivation you need to make changes. You might gain spin-off ideas as in ideas based off your original idea but with something slightly different. It can help you work on your business without having to be in your business. You might expand your social network and get public recognition for your company. If you attend a conference or seminar abroad, you can be immersed in a new culture, companies, and people. You can use it as a tax write off. If you do decide to attend one, be sure that you prepare for the event and decide how to implement what you learned afterward to make it worthwhile. You also have to register early due to limited space.

Some of these events can be very long (a seminar abroad lasting three weeks) and you need to decide if you can spare that much time away. While some offer a money-back guarantee, the fees can be very expensive and the only defense the host has against this is that it will be worth the money. Beware of investment seminars because often they try to get you to put up a high amount of money in unstable investment markets or they try to “sell” you one-on-one meetings with them. You may find that the information covered is too basic for what you were looking for and that you know most of what is presented. Some may even be a scam—it’s rare, but be sure you know exactly what you are getting and for how much.  There are a few reasons not to attend a seminar. If it’s not the right time (you are overwhelmed with your workload or the subject matter is not relevant at the time), don’t go. Self-doubt can make you think you need more training in a certain area, but sometimes if you wait it out, you can find practical solutions on your own. If you are interested in a subject but would rather hire someone to do that thing for you, you are better off leaving it to whomever you bring on (for example, if you want to improve your website, you may decide it’s best to hire a company with professionals who can do that for you so you have time to do other things). There are times when you feel as though you just can’t absorb another new thing, so maybe you don’t need to right now. Finally, don’t feel obligated to go to a seminar on a subject that you don’t need more information on just because you’ve been invited.

The average recommendation is to attend two to four seminar or conference events per year—you don’t need more than that. Use your better judgment when deciding if it’s worth the time and money away from your business. Make it happen!

 © 2012 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dealing With Strained Coworker Relationships

            We’ve had to (or will have to) deal with others in the workplace who we simply don’t like. Most of the time, these people bring it on themselves by not doing their job, being negative, or treating others with rudeness and disrespect. Other times, there is a person whose personality just doesn’t mesh with yours or you simply can’t relate to each other. Thankfully, these difficult people are usually not the norm, but every now and then, you are bound to come across them. You certainly can’t afford to quit your job because of one person, and you still want to enjoy your job despite this situation. So what can you do? There are ways to make this situation more bearable for you and the other person.

First and foremost, don’t use counterproductive coping methods: rolling your eyes, sighing, walking away when they talk to you, etc. These are passive actions that will only make things worse. Steer clear of negative comments and don’t join in other people’s conversations about this person. While you don’t have to like them, you do have to respect them and this is not the way to show respect. Monitor your end of the conflict and make sure you don’t take your frustrations with this person out on other coworkers Keep in mind that sometimes, you have to interact with this person because you did not choose to work at the same company, you just happen to do so. If the problem is over one incident, do your best to resolve the issue before the resentment grows. Let the working environment stay neutral and don’t let on to your opinion of this person. Remember, if the person truly isn’t doing their job, the consequences will occur without any action on your part.

There are things you should do that can have a positive effect on this relationship. If this strained relationship is with someone who works for you, it may be because they are better suited for a different role in the company. Identifying this and making adjustments may solve the problem altogether. If you decide to try to work things out, do so in a situation where you will feel comfortable and don’t have to compete with them, such as a lunch outing. If you see them struggling with something that you could definitely help them fix, you should do so. You should also think about how you contribute to the problem. When you do need to interact with the person, make conversations short and to-the-point. You could even write down your thoughts or questions for them before you speak to them. If possible, find a mediator to talk to that person for you. If the person really becomes a problem, be assertive and go to your supervisor because at this point, chances are, you’re not the only one who sees an issue here. Finally, if the person was in good standing with you in the past and you are wondering how to patch things up, decide if the relationship is worth the effort or if you should just let it go.

Sometimes, dealing with co-worker relationships is not easy—just be respectful and try to make the best out of the situation. You can’t control them, but you can control you. Make it happen!

© 2012 eMarketing 4 Business LLC