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You can learn a lot by observing and asking questions. But to shake things up, you have to get real ticked off about the important things that need fixing. The dangerous alternative is complacency.

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The Happiest Industries to Work In

Why We Have a Problem Listening

YouTube Still Emerging, Best is Ahead, Part 4

YouTube Still Emerging, Best is Ahead, Part 3

YouTube Still Emerging, Best is Ahead, Part 2

The Happiest Industries to Work In

I’ve had many jobs.  If you’re a journalist, it’s par for the course. My criteria for each job were pretty basic and logical. They were no different than the majority of journalists pounding the pavement.  They included quality of company, beat, pay, and advancement potential. “Happy place to work,” which sounds ridiculous when I say it, was never one of them. So when I stumbled on a report about the happiest industries to work in, I thought it worth passing on. 

The happiest workers are in the construction and facilities-services industry. Runner-up industries are consumer products and services; technology and software; telecom; energy and utilities; and health care, pharmaceuticals and biotech. 

These are just a few of the conclusions of the recently released “2015 Best Industry Ranking Report,” conducted by website TINYpulse (www.tinypulse.com), which surveyed more than 30,000 employees from 500 companies. 

TINYpulse was created by entrepreneur David Niu to find out what makes workers happy and, conversely, unhappy. Niu contends that when employees are happy, they’re more productive and engaged, and that customer service, retention and the organization’s bottom line improve.   

Conditions contributing to a happy workforce

Heading the list of happiness conditions is “working with great people,” followed by “satisfaction with colleagues and with individual projects,” according to TINYpulse’s research.  Employees who feel comfortable expressing their opinions, positive or negative, are more likely to be happy and engaged.

Conversely, conditions contributing to an unhappy workforce include “having an unsupportive manager,” followed by “lack of tools and resources to complete a job,” “little opportunity for growth,”  “poor internal processes and systems,” and “dissatisfaction with colleagues.”

Voice your opinions anonymously

If you’re reluctant to express negative opinions that could improve working conditions because you fear reprisal from management, consider suggesting that management initiate anonymous surveys, TINYpulse researchers advised. Anonymous surveys can be an objective resource for finding out why employees are unhappy and disengaged.

Increased awareness of impact of surroundings

TINYpulse is not the only company studying the effect of workers’ surroundings on their performance and attitudes toward their jobs. Ergonomic researchers, for example, found that workplace injuries that relate to muscular and skeletal systems are often caused by inadequate seating.Similarly, work surfaces and equipment at inconvenient heights or work tools that are not within easy reach can create frustration and loss of productivity.Companies are addressing these issues by developing cost-effective ergonomic programs that not only prevent accidents and hazards, but also improve product quality and increase productivity.

Request management’s support

If management has been lax about upgrading and improving the workplace, consider requesting permission to improve and personalize your workspace.  While rank-and-file workers can’t insist on roomy offices bathed in sunshine — if they want to hold onto their jobs — it’s doubtful management will object when the results lead to constructive or innovative changes. Ergonomic research has found that certain conditions not only improve productivity, but also trigger team-building, flexibility and organizational loyalty.

The power of green plants

A recent study found that sprucing up an office with plants enhances employee engagement and boosts performance.

The right lighting

No definitive rules apply to office lighting. It largely depends on the type of work being done and the number of workers within a space.  Generally, fluorescent lighting is preferable to other types of office lighting. In many offices, indirect light fixtures provide the best lighting options.  For task lighting, low-glare, asymmetric lenses provide the right amount of light without triggering eye strain.

These are just a few ways to liven up your workspace so you can do your best work. Countless creative options are both inexpensive and easy to implement.

Posted on: April 01, 2015 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Why We Have a Problem Listening

Blame it on technology and our fast paced digital world.

Speaking is easy; listening is difficult. Yet it’s an essential skill, one worth honing — not only for our careers but also for enjoying a rich and full life. 

When you meet people, do you have difficulty remembering their names, and parts or even most of conversations?   If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone.  We have difficulty listening  because there is too much stimulation around us, according to Cherie Kerr, president of ExecuProv, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based communication training company. “It’s difficult to focus on one thing,” she said.

The culprit, she said, is technology — cellphones, iPhones and many other gadgets.

A former actress, acting coach and author of several books, Kerr uses improvisational comedy techniques to teach speaking and listening skills.

New York City-basedpsychotherapist Gilda Carle said that wehave trouble listening because we home in on body language 55 percent of the time and onvocal intonation 38 percent of the time. That leaves only 7 percent to devote to what someone is saying.

“We’re terrible listeners because we are distracted by 93 percent of these nonverbal cues as opposed to the 7 percent of what we should be hearing,” Carle said.

One of the cardinal rules in improv comedy, which Kerr emphasizes in her classes, is this:“Being here now. … We have to stay in the moment every second of a conversation,” she said.

That simple rule can be applied to the conversations we have every day. “People are either lagging behind (wishing they had said something or trying to remember an important point, ruminating over what someone just said), or they are anticipating what is to come,” Kerr said.

Emerson Smith, a sociologist employed by Metromark Research, a market-research firm in Dallas, advised adopting the techniques of veteran salespeople. “A good salesperson is always listening and paying close attention to what his or her prospects or customers are saying,” Smith said. “One way to remember what people say is to repeat back to them what they are saying.” 

Smith also suggests nodding your head to indicate understanding or agreement with what the person is saying.

A good way to remember names is to ask for business cards. “On the back of the card, write the date of the conversation and notes about the conversation, such as information you have promised to send to the speaker,” Smith said.

As for blocking out distractions and competing stimuli, Smith suggested focusing on the person’s lips, since the shape of the lips convey the syllables of the words the person is saying. Scan back and forth from the lips to the eyes to let the person know you are paying attention.

Don’t expect to become a good listener overnight. It takes time, patience, concentration and hard work. You can start by slowing down. Just because everything around you is moving at warp speed doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

Apply the brakes, focus and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear and remember.

Posted on: March 30, 2015 09:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

YouTube Still Emerging, Best is Ahead, Part 4

Even though YouTube has already achieved its place in history, many media pundits don’t take it seriously. Some go as far as to discredit it, according to Owen Hemswath, YouTube expert and social media marketing expert. “There’s certainly a battle going on between streaming media, which is where YouTube is the leader, and the mainstream establishment,” Hemswath said.  “It’s all about ad revenue. We’re seeing a global audience developing on YouTube, which means American advertisers can reach a whole new audience.”

Ad executives are seeing what’s happening, and they’re not happy. They wish YouTube would disappear, but that’s not likely to happen. “Last year, ad execs saw something like $20 billion in ad revenue go from major networks to YouTube,” Hemswath said. “What the network decision makers don’t realize is that YouTube artists are no different than movie and TV stars. The problem was they were never able to get past the network gatekeepers.  This is particularly true of singers, where talent is expected to take the conventional path. They’re expected to get record contracts on major labels and move through conventional channels. But that’s not true on YouTube. YouTube stars like the Piano Guys, for example, can sell their DVDs and CDs directly to their audience. It’s not too dissimilar to what happened to Napster and the music industry 10 years ago.”

Hemswathis not surprised by YouTube’s success.  He knew it would come into its own, it was just a question of time. “Initially, its creators saw it as a technology for storing online videos,” Hemswath said.  But it didn’t take them long to change their minds. But I doubt if YouTube’s visionaries ever imagined it would become the global economic powerhouse it is today.

“When YouTube was just starting, Google was still in its infancy,” Hemswath said. “Today, YouTube is owned by Google and it’s the second  largest search engine in the world.  Next to Google,  global citizens are going to YouTube.com to search for the things they are looking for, whether it’s a tutorial, recipe,  funny cat video or TV shows. It’s hard to imagine the countless  ways YouTube can be used.”

For starters, YouTube is a limitless multimedia educational medium. What better way to archive our past  than through video? YouTube can chronicle our past, present, and its got its hands on the pulse of the future. And the technology gets better every year.  As Hemswath sees it, the best is yet to come. I agree.   

Posted on: February 26, 2015 06:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

YouTube Still Emerging, Best is Ahead, Part 3

To show you how far YouTube has come, take a look at this partial chronology of events, facts and statistics in the technology’s short history.  They were compiled by social media marketing expert Jeff Bullas.

1.     YouTube was created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in 2005 who were employees of Paypal at the time.

2.     YouTube was initially funded by bonuses received following the eBay buy-out of PayPal.

3.     But the founding trio is not credited with YouTube’s original concept.  Reportedly, YouTube began life as a video dating site called, “Tune In Hook Up.” Thankfully, the founders decided to take the concept down a different road.

4.     The inspiration for YouTube as it’s known today is credited to two different events. The first was Karim’s inability to find footage online of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” and the second was Hurley and Chen were unable to share video footage of a dinner party due to e-mail attachment limitations.

5.     The domain name YouTube.com was registered on Valentine’s Day in 2005.

6.     The domain name caused a huge misunderstanding for Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment. Its company domain, “utube.com,” was overwhelmed with traffic from people who tried to spell the video site’s name phonetically.

7.     The first video on YouTube is of one of the co-founders, Jawed Karim, talking about elephant’s trunks, titled “Me at the Zoo,” shot at the San Diego Zoo.

8.     The first video received more than 4.8 million views.

9.     Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube in November 2006.

10.  Google serves over 6 times more videos than its next closest competitor, according to Nielsen.

11.  Google’s auto-speech recognition technology translates 51 languages including captions.

12.  YouTube longest video is 48 hours (2 days).

13.  The how-to category is YouTube’s fastest growing vertical.

14.  YouTube has more than 490 million unique visitors worldwide per month, and it generates an estimated 92 billion page views each month.

15.  The average YouTube user visits the site 14 times per month,and spends an average of 25 minutes on the site each time he or she visits.

16.  The average user spends 5 hours and 50 minutes per month (not as much as Facebook)

17.  More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the 3 major U.S. networks created in 60 years.

18.  Seventy percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S.

19.  YouTube is localized in 25 countries across 43 languages.

20.  It’s hard to get a firm, updated handle on YouTube’s demographic.  It’s roughly 18-54 years old. But it’s probably much larger than that.

That’s only a tiny sampling of its chronology and accomplishments.  But it gives us an accurate glimpse of its extraordinary impact and accomplishments. 

Posted on: February 26, 2015 05:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

YouTube Still Emerging, Best is Ahead, Part 2

Several studies suggest YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet, according to Dan Farkas, aninstructor of Strategic Communication at Ohio University and former TV reporter and anchor.

Fargas said that YouTube is a missed opportunity for brands to reach potential customers. “Eventually, brands will figure out the operational challenges of multimedia storytelling out, rely on YouTube more, and increase consumer interest in this realm,” he said. 

From a learning perspective, Fargas uses a gym analogy. “For every three people you see working out, one has a newspaper or magazine, one has headphones and is listening to something, and one person watches TV,” he said. “As an educator, I feel like I have to appease all three learners; that means having quality video content that supports the readings. This will only grow as we do a better job of creating multimedia content.”

 The real barrier is creating quality content, Fargas said.  “Many people aren't versed in visual storytelling and struggle to create watchable content. Once people get more comfortable learning how to do this (that could take a while), online video will explode even more.”

YouTube is a modern phenomenon, according to Fargas. The social media platform’s original concept is rumoured to have been inspired by the idea of being a video dating site with the unlikely title of “Tune in Hook Up”. In the end, it launched as a simple video sharing site that has helped reinvent the web from a one- way static channel to an interactive web eco-system (along with social networking channels such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter) that has enticed and compelled us to engage globally with other internet users using a variety of rich multi-media and social sharing platforms.

Initially, Youtube was about viral videos that just entertain, YouTube is now much more than that. It’s “How To” category is touted as one of the fastest growing segments on the social-video sharing channel. The most exciting — not to mention historic — aspect about the technology is that YouTube reinvents itself every year. Even the futurists can only guess what’s ahead. 

Posted on: February 26, 2015 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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