Friday, June 26, 2015

15 Ways to Enjoy the Summer Even While You're Stuck at Work!

15 Ways to Enjoy the Summer Even While You're Stuck at Work!

As you've probably noticed, summer has arrived! And we're sure you've also noticed that your office is still operating as if it's not beautiful outside. You're stuck inside, staring at a stock image of a beach as your desktop background while your social media feeds get filled with photos of tropical getaways, Summer Friday activities, and tan lines.
While you can definitely continue daydreaming of your next escape, you can also take matters into your own hands and learn to enjoy the season from indoors. While my tips and tricks won't land you that summer glow, they'll definitely help you scroll through Instagram without feeling (quite so) jealous.

1. Make fruit-infused water

One of the best parts of it being sunny out is having the excuse to down fruity drinks without feeling silly. And we're not just talking poolside cocktails! To make a summery, SFW drink, all you need is a flavor enhancer, like MiO Liquid Water Enhancer. Or, check out these DIY recipes that you can make at home and leave in the office fridge.

2. Switch up your playlist

'Tis the season to make a new playlist with all your favorite summer hits. Maybe it's a classic like "Summer" by Calvin Harris, or perhaps it's a song that no one else relates to summer but reminds you of your family's annual beach trip. Or maybe, it's just a compilation of every "song of the summer" from the past 20 years from Spotify. Get everyone (else stuck) in the office involved by asking for suggestions. If you're still feeling stumped, start with Billboard's recommendations.

3. Brighten your desk

It's no secret that colors affect our mood, environment, and work ethic. So, why not incorporate the colors of the beach into your work space? May I suggest starting with this poster or this desktop sand box — or this amazing fish tank deskcoration if you're in the mood to go all out?

4. Plan a frozen treat happy hour

If your office doesn't participate in Summer Fridays, suggest starting an (alcohol-free) happy hour on Fridays to enjoy some ice cream sundaes (or slightly less-messy ice cream sandwiches). The only thing that doesn't work for this? Bringing your guilt! Taking an hour away from work will actually make you more productive. So, put down your computer, and pick up a scoop.

5. Lighten up

Whether you bring a new lamp to your desk or purchase a "happy light," brightening up your workspace is a simple trick to feeling more like you're outdoors. Especially when you're trapped in a cubicle craving some sunshine. Try out this one to get the full sunlight effect — even if you can't see any windows.

6. Play with your wardrobe

Nothing notes a season change more than switching out your closet. If your most beloved part of summer is a sundress or bright shorts, find ways to wear incorporate your summer pieces into your wardrobe. Obviously, keep your company's dress code in mind, and be sure that all attire is work-appropriate. But, there's no reason you should still be wearing what you wore when it was snowing out. (Ladies — check out some of our outfit suggestions here.)

7. Switch up your lunch

BBQs are great for the summer, so leave the boring old sandwiches at home and grab a hot dog or burger for lunch. Bonus points if you start an indoor BBQ tradition with your co-workers! Rather than firing up the grill, you just need everyone to agree to bring a key ingredient: buns, hot dogs, ketchup, you know the drill.

8. Get outside every day

A little fresh air can do your mind and body wonders, so step outside for some breaks during the day. It's a simple trick that will score you some Vitamin D and improve your efficiency. Can you say win-win?

9. Bring popsicles for your office

Stock your office freezer full of popsicles and snack on one when you're craving a treat — or, better yet, make some friends by offering them up to your co-workers. Have a few extra minutes? Grab one and go sit outside while you eat it.

10. Buy a plant

Bring the outdoors (and some fresh O2) to your cubicle with some small plants. Even if you can't physically be outside, you'll feel a little better if you can actually see some green. Personally, I love this one — and not just because it's called a Donkey's Tail.

11. Make your schedule more summer-friendly

If possible, start coming in an hour earlier so you can actually head out at a reasonable hour and enjoy the late night sunshine. (Because it wasn't so long ago that it was dark at 4 PM.) Or, put the bulk of your work or meetings on your schedule earlier in the week to allow you to duck out on Friday afternoons without missing anything important.

12. Use your lunch breaks differently

Eat outside instead of at your desk, bring your lunch so that you can use your break to get a quick mani-pedi, or spend those 30 minutes reading a book at the park near your office. Feeling more ambitious (and have a bit more time)? Work out! From walking around the neighborhood to taking a short class to jumping in the local gym's pool, it's possible to be active in the middle of the day without getting behind.

13. Make summer Friday friends

Also known as all of those other people who have to work on Fridays, too. Try to make a routine to grab lunch together at your favorite outdoor restaurant. Or, at the very least, know who will be around on Gchat when the rest of the world goes quiet at 2 PM.

14. Change up your commute

If you usually drive to work or take the train, give yourself extra time in the mornings to walk or bike to work. If that's not an option, try to take a different route. Switching up your daily routine (especially if it's been daily for years) will feel more exciting than you even realize.

15. Get sporty

Bring summer sports to your office! While I don't recommend throwing a frisbee around electronics, there's no reason you can't take 10 minutes to toss one around with your co-worker outside in the parking lot. Or, if your office has the spare room (and your co-workers understand the difference between tossing a beanbag and torpedo-ing it), you can easily play a quick game of cornhole.

    The line in the sand (too soon?): You don't have to envy your traveling friends during the summertime. Incorporate your favorite parts of the season into your office space to help you enjoy the warm months while you're still trapped indoors.

    Visit full article here!

    Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    10 Tips on Giving a Killer Presentation

    10 Tips on Giving a Killer Presentation
    As presentation software goes, PowerPoint has long been ubiquitously chosen by presenters, but other good options exist, depending on what you want to communicate and how you're putting it all together. For example, Google Drive Slides are great if you need to collaborate with others on content, because all changes are updated and stored on the cloud so you have real-time access to the latest version. Apple users should definitely consider iCloud Keynote, which is also good for collaborating but features an intuitive user interface with a sophisticated look and feel. But if you want to do something fresh, Prezi is worth checking out. It uniquely uses motion to let you zoom in and out of your content, all of which is visually connected in a path that shows how ideas are related. The online software also makes integrating YouTube videos simple, a nice perk for anyone using video sourced from Google's platform.
    Regardless of which software you use, Prezi's blog offers a wealth of tips on how to give a presentation your audience will pay attention to and remember. Here are 10 solid bits of advice from Prezi, which has amassed more than 50 million users in the six years the company has been around.

    1. Research your audience.

    If you want to influence these people, you need to know what they care about and what motivates them.

    2. Include dissenting views.

    Identify ways your audience may challenge your ideas and acknowledge them in your talk. Dismissing dissenting views won't make them go away. 

    3. Start with a good story.

    TED Talks speakers use this tactic all the time. Your opening story should be one everyone in the room can relate to.

    4. Reiterate your main message three times.

    Professional communicators put it this way, "Tell them what you're going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them." In other words, introduce the points you will be making, and then spend the meat of your presentation fleshing them out. Conclude by reminding the audience about your points.

    5. Practice like crazy.

    When you know what you're going to say backward and forward, you don't have to worry about fumbling your words or losing your train of thought. Saying your talk out loud many times in advance also helps you to edit out awkward wordiness. Your audience will appreciate a no-rambling approach.

    6. Memorize.

    If you've ever seen someone glancing at note cards, you know that it's not only distracting to an audience but also conveys that a speaker may lack confidence. Don't memorize every word, just the flow of your key points and the examples you will use to back them up. Check out Prezi's blog on how you can memorize any presentation in 60 minutes or less.

    7. Make eye contact.

    You can't persuade someone if you're not looking him or her in the eye. Just make sure to scan the room without staring at any individual for too long.

    8. Use a good closing story.

    It should be one that relates directly to your message and allows you to reiterate your main points. Less is more when it comes to closing, so keep your story succinct while being authentic. Essentially, your closing story should be close to your heart while summarizing your message.

    9. Avoid bullet points.

    They're boring. Instead, use a compelling image with text that's no longer than a tweet.

    10. Use big gestures.

    Holding your arms in close to your body not only looks unnatural, it also makes you look nervous. You're telling stories, so act like it by commanding the space you're inhabiting in front of the room.

    See full article here!

    Wednesday, June 3, 2015

    Let's Get SERIOUS!

    5 signs you need to get more serious about your job search

    Few will argue this point: The job search is arduous. Frustrating. Overwhelming. Befuddling.
    Sometimes, when a job search isn't going as planned, it has as much to do with you as it does external factors. Specifically, you not taking this big, important process seriously enough.
    The good news here is that, once you identify where and how you're sitting down on the job, you can fix these issues. Let's take a look at a handful of the more common violations and how you can sidestep them.

    1. You lack required credentials but apply anyway

    If a skill or qualification was listed as "required" on a job description — and it's one that you don't have — don't be surprised if you're never contacted for an interview. Now, don't assume you're going to be flat-out dismissed without a required credential (unless, of course, it's something essential to the role). However, you can't expect the software that scans your resume to flag you as a "yes" if it has been programmed to reject everyone who doesn't list that specific skill.
    If you're missing a mandatory requirement and still truly want to take a run at this? You should find ways to buddy up with someone on the inside of the organization. (Here are a few tips.) You will need the opportunity to explain where you're coming from in applying for this job and how you can deliver in spite of that lacking credential.

    2. You assume instructions don't apply to you

    If you selectively paid attention to the instructions on what this company wants you to submit, or how it wants you to apply, you may well strike out by failing to provide something specific that the organization has asked for. Worse, you could be tossed into the "no" pile simply because the reviewer figures you can't follow simple instructions. (And yes, I recognize that job applications are rarely "simple.")
    In any instance that you're applying for a job via online application, pay attention to the instructions, and follow them to a T. Better yet, cultivate an "in" with someone influential at that firm, and forward your materials (resume, cover letter) directly to that person.

    3. Your entire strategy involves "apply and wait"

    If your job search can be summed up in its entirety by "fill out online application, wait for however long it takes," then you shouldn't (at all) be surprised if your phone isn't lighting up with job interview requests. You must realize that you and a gajillion other people are all trying to shove your way through the front door of the company when you apply for a job online — at the same exact time. And for every single job you pursue, someone is sidestepping the online application, then finding and endearing themselves to the right people on the inside. And it's these very people who will typically be invited in first.
    After you apply for a job, at a minimum, zip over to LinkedIn, do a quick people search, and see if you have or can cultivate, an "in" at that organization. (Sensing a theme here?) Get on the radar of the people already working there. Every time.

    4. You're machine-gunning out unfocused applications

    In spite of what anyone has ever told you, quantity does not typically trump quality in the job search. Machine-gun spray methods rarely work. You're almost always better off with a single, well-executed rifle shot. For every job you apply for, at least a few of the candidates in the mix are going to make absolute, perfect sense to the reviewer. If you're blasting out 15 resumes a day? It's nearly impossible for you to compete with people who are delivering clear, customized, "I'm just what you've asked for" resumes and cover letters.
    Realize that this is not a numbers game. It's a game of strategy and intent. It's almost always better to build and execute a killer approach strategy with a short, targeted list of jobs than to aimlessly approach dozens and dozens of potential employers.

    5. You're applying for out-of-town jobs, without explaining why

    If you're targeting jobs in another city or state and wondering why no one is calling you, part of the reason may be that the company either isn't considering offering a relocation package or you gave them no clue on why a guy in Philadelphia is applying for a job in Fargo. Decision makers within organizations sometimes get nervous about relocating people. They're reluctant because of the added expense that's typically involved. Also, they fear you might arrive in that entirely new geography and decide quickly that you don't like the place.
    If you're looking to move for your next job, always try to make it instantly clear (via the cover letter or personal contact) that you have a specific tie to that city or region or another plausible reason that you want to be there. For even the most serious job seeker, some aspects of the process are simply out of your control. Spend no time fretting about these. Control the things that you can, and take the hunt — and yourself — seriously. Because, guess what? No one cares more about you getting this right than you do.
    It's your career, and your life. So do yourself a solid and approach this search like the all-star you know you are.

    See full article at here!