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Interesting business tips and tricks.

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Business Blog Posts

Interesting business tips and tricks.

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February 13, 2022

Advice on Building the Dream Team Remotely

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Before the pandemic, remote work was practically unheard of. Nowadays, though, it's becoming more and more commonplace as businesses start to embrace the concept more readily. If you're wanting to build the dream team remotely with the goal of running a successful business in the long run, Cryan.com shares how to go about it.

Get to you know your prospective hires

Hiring employees remotely should be quite an intensive process if you want to hire the right person for the job. Moreover, just because you don't have the opportunity of interviewing a prospective employee in person doesn't mean it should be any less thorough.-

A little empathy is much appreciated-

As mentioned before, remote working comes with its own set of challenges. And every employee's circumstances can vary. Being empathetic to difficulties that employees may be facing while working from home could end up being the one thing that could affect employee loyalty significantly. For example, a single mom may have the challenge of working at home while still having to look after her kids. It's about taking issues like these into account that can affect your company culture for the better.

Company culture is important

When building a successful business remotely, you also need to pay attention to what your company culture is and what you would ideally want it to look like. Because remote working can feel isolating at times, creating a culture where everyone feels included and a valuable part of the team will go a long way in building a successful remote business. For instance, hosting virtual meetings regularly is a great idea to keep everyone in the loop at all times.-

In addition to this, many remote tools can also assist with team collaboration and project management. Use a template to generate a monthly planner to help your team stay on top of projects.-With a viewable monthly template that lists all tasks to be done and deadlines to be met, your team is sure to stay on track to achieve your company goals. In addition to this, the template is also customizable, so you can keep things interesting by adding videos, sticky notes, and graphics that can help employees feel more engaged with what's happening in the business.-

Set goals and stick to them

In other words, you'll want to establish what your key performance indicators are and make sure that you are meeting and reviewing your sales and marketing goals periodically to ensure you meet them.-

Open communication is a necessity

Working remotely means there is generally an increased likelihood of getting the lines of communication crossed. Therefore, open communication is key in getting over this hurdle. For example, with Miro's video chat capabilities, you can stay in touch with the team in real-time to ensure the lines of communication stay open at all times.

Encourage initiative

With remote work and the increasing need for flexibility, micromanagement no longer works anymore. Instead, try to encourage initiative where possible. Furthermore, allowing employees to take ownership of their work can actually end up being a positive motivator in the long run as you entrust more and more responsibility to an employee.

Not going anywhere anytime soon

Remote working is sure looking like it's here to stay. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with common remote practices will help you adjust better to the new ways of working. And once you get into this mindset, you'll begin to see positive changes that'll work to the benefit of your business.

February 6, 2022

How do online reviews benefit your moving business?

A person leaving a five-star review, symbolizing how online reviews benefit your moving business

Online reviews can be one of the most potent tools at your disposal for improving your moving business. Whether they are good or bad, your customers' opinions are valuable. Today, we will talk about collecting moving reviews, managing them, and dealing with potential issues. In the end, we should have a clear understanding of how online reviews benefit your moving business.

Modernize your business with online reviews

When a customer leaves feedback, that is important information to you. Hearing about your clients' experience after the relocation may help you improve and-modernize your moving business.

An illustration of a stick figure holding a magnifying glass, looking at the word quality
Valuable moving reviews will help you improve the quality of the services you provide.

More reviews - more visibility!

The number one reason you should start collecting online reviews is increased visibility. When people start talking about your moving business, your company gets some much-needed exposure. This type of publicity is never bad, even if you receive negative reviews. We will talk more about that later.

Of course, it is also essential where your customers leave reviews. This usually happens on the website. However, sometimes they can also leave reviews or comments on social media. You always need to be aware of the reviews the minute they go live.

If you have a social media strategy for acquiring new leads, you want to-get the most out of it. Online reviews can give you the exposure you need. People like to read reviews about products or services before they purchase them. That's why you should always make them visible.

Moving reviews improve customer communication and experience

If a customer leaves a review, the first thing you should do is reply to it. This way, you acknowledge their input and say thanks for taking the time to send feedback.

Another important thing is to answer any questions your clients might have asked in the review. Answering questions shows that you still care about them even after the relocation is done. It is not all about the money.

Four
By reading customer reviews, you will know what your clients think about your business.

Best of all, people looking for moving services will see continuous communication. That sends a personal vibe, showing there is an actual person behind the screen. A lot of times, companies use fake reviews to boost their business. The communication between you and the clients means that the reviews are genuine.

Dealing with negative reviews

If you receive a negative review, the worst thing you can do is disregard or delete it. This is a huge mistake, and it will only harm your business.

First of all, you need to learn how to accept criticism. If there is something wrong, you need to work it out - solve a problem, not push it under the rug.

Second, you need to let your customers know that you are aware of what is happening. And, they need to know that you are working on fixing the problem as soon as possible.

Third, being in denial will harm your business when dealing with future clients. If there was a problem that you didn't fix, that same problem will repeat in the future.

Just as you respond to positive reviews, you should also-deal with the negative ones. If potential clients see you responding to bad reviews and doing your best to fix the problem, they will appreciate your business more. This is how you build reputation and trust. Everybody makes mistakes. But finding ways to address the issues is what makes us great.

Reviews might improve SEO

If you start responding to customer reviews, you can include important keywords in your answers. The more mentions of your company and keywords, the better. The comments section on your reviews page might become a valuable asset when it comes to improving SEO.

Reviews bring you more conversions

Considering everything we have covered so far, it is only natural that reviews will-increase your conversion rate. Thanks to reviews, you can:

  • improve customer communication and experience;
  • work on improving your moving business;
  • get new ideas;
  • solve problems;
  • build trust and reputation;
  • gain exposure for your business;
  • improve SEO;

Companies that communicate closely with their clients often don't have to worry about finding new leads. A happy customer will always recommend you to their friends and family. This is especially important in the moving industry, where you usually don't work with returning customers. It all comes down to recommendations and word-of-mouth advertising.

How to get more reviews

You can use many different strategies to get more reviews for your moving business. The first thing to do is to create a popup for paying customers. You can ask them a few simple questions during different stages of their journey. Ask if they are happy with the website and overall communication. You can post answers from the polls as statistics on your page.

It is also an excellent idea to let the customers know in advance that you will ask them for feedback. Explain that this is a process of improving customer service and that customer opinions matter.

Another strategy is to take a proactive approach and call your clients. Ask them about their experience and how satisfied they were. You can use this opportunity to ask specific questions and get answers to things that customers probably would not remember to mention on their own.

A smiley face, neutral face, and a sad face represented in green, yellow, and red colors on a blackboard
Whether the reviews your business receives are positive or negative, you need to address them all.

For example, a customer might write:

Big thanks to the entire moving team that helped with our relocation! You are the best!

While this is a lovely thing to hear, it lacks details. If you ask the customers how much they were satisfied with packing their belongings, shipping items, handling payment, etc., you will get specific answers that will help improve your business.

Online reviews benefit your moving business 100%

There is no question about it - online reviews benefit your moving business in many ways. With that in mind, pay special attention to what your customers say about your company. Embrace both the good and bad reviews, and you will see tremendous progress.

Meta description: Here is how online reviews benefit your moving business. Learn how to use online reviews and improve customer experience.

January 30, 2022

Social Media: Impacts both Marriages and Divorce Proceedings

We got used to living a double life with frequent social media use, sometimes with brighter online activity. Social media grant us modern tools for interaction and communication, provide us with leisure and information from around the world. It can also supply you with multiple problems and challenges in your personal life and routine issues.

The effect of social media on your life depends on your attitude to online activity. Your actions predetermine a positive or negative outcome of social interaction online. You can find a way to deal with any hurdles or, on the contrary, create the hurdles by yourself.

Yet, recent researches shows that extensive use of social media commonly ruins relationships in real life and can be a serious threat to a happy marriage or beneficial divorce. The statistics prove that couples who use social media frequently have a high tendency to get divorced and most divorce cases relate to social media as either cause or divorce or source of information.

Social Media Threat

Social Media Threats to Marriage

Marriage involves cooperation and partnership, but not isolation from each other and a lack of family values. Thus the personal space of each partner should be respected, constant business in front of devices and online secrets may cause troubles and cracks to your marriage. Here are general threats you should know about and try to prevent if you want to save your marriage.

Online, not friends - we are happy to have hundreds of followers online and usually treat them as real friends. Yet, we never know who sits behind the screen on the other side. So, sharing private information online can be dangerous, especially sharing issues between you and your partner. More to this, one day these facts may be used against you in court and hurt your marriage and divorce.

Absent spouse - it often happens that online life prevails over real-time events and occasions. Posting photos and updating statuses seem to be the primary task of the day. Frequently, one spouse is making posts without another spouse present there. This may arise jealousy and cause offenses and misunderstandings and ruin your family eventually.

Time waste - spending much time online and wasting leisure on the Internet decrease qualitative communication and interaction with your partner. This makes you collect relationships problem and leave them without discussion, which leads you to misunderstand and accumulative offense. This is going to ruin your marriage if you don't change your routine habits.

Jealousy and mistrust - with the constant development of social media communication and information tools, online activity is considered to be more important than real-life activity. So, ambiguous posts, likes, and comments may cause jealousy and mistrust between partners. It may be ridiculous but likes of colleagues' photos may be taken more seriously than a friendly hug in reality. So, mind your actions, unless you want to search for a qualitative divorce service soon.

All in all, the primary thing to remember is that isolation and spending time apart will do no good for your marriage. Think thoroughly before you share private things online, interact more with your partner, and set the priorities correctly. This way your marriage will be safe and sound.

Divorce Issues Caused by Social Media

Extensive social use may not only ruin your marriage but spoil your divorce as well. With not careful activity online you may provide your partner with evidence to be used against you in court and spoil your reputation with your actions. So, if you hope for positive outcomes of the divorce, care about high-quality divorce packets, and mind the following issues with online actions:

Censor your online activity - think properly about what you post on social media. Alcohol, clubbing, fresh relationships, and other interesting facts revealed online will not do any good to your chances for custody, spousal support, alimony, and other divorce issues. With insensible online behavior, you ruin your reputation and opportunities for beneficial divorce.

Information leak - even if you limit access to your page, you never know who is going to pass on the private information you share with certain friends. Better not post anything or share in private messages ambiguous things, since too much trust online may spoil your divorce outcomes once.

Ambiguous posts and comments - if you want to update your status or comment on some post or photo, try to be as precise and clear as possible. Be ready for the situation, when your words are taken apart from the context, misinterpreted, and used against you.

If you have some hesitations on how to use social media properly within the divorce process, you'd better use divorce help either online or offline to get qualitative assistance on your case. Most specialists claim that you should better avoid social media usage before your divorce procedure comes to the end, so you will prevent any unpleasant surprises connected with your online activity.

Be Sensible Online and Offline

There is no need to restrict yourself from common needs and wishes to save your marriage or proceed through the divorce successfully. The most important thing is to distinguish your real-life activities online and set the priorities correctly. More this, sensible behavior will positively impact your marriage or divorce, including interaction with social media. If you still need more ideas and better guidance, you are welcome to use qualitative divorce services at onlinedivorcer.com.

January 23, 2022

The Importance Of Early Childhood Education

Early childhood is an intense period of development. For it to be effective during this period, it is necessary to stimulate a child, to motivate them to be active. Brain cells develop in response to external stimuli. Therefore it is important to organize the space around the child, properly plan their day, and give them enough attention to encourage their development.

If you are one of those busy parents who is trying to gain new knowledge on childhood development to use it in practice but at the same time you are an MBA student who has assignments to do, you might need help to cope with all your tasks at some point. In such cases, we recommend contacting professional writing services where you can easily order a business plan or a research paper and just rest for a while.

Early Childhood Education

Early development implies the organization of proper space around a child. Toys, pictures, furniture, and gadgets that surround the baby should help them to learn about the world around them. This approach to education allows you to raise a mentally and physically healthy person who is ready to live in today's society.

To create a space beneficial for the early development of your child, you need to pay attention to:

  1. Home environment. In the first months of life, the baby's main space is the crib. Therefore, it is worth paying special attention to its choice. Also, use different fabrics and materials when decorating the room, as the child can get acquainted with different types of surfaces by touching them.
  2. Toys. If they match the age of your child, they will be useful. Children should easily access toys that are relevant to their age.
  3. Communication. Through communication, your child learns about the world around them. Parents' conversations, hugs, and strokes are the most important factors in harmonious development.
  4. Physical development. A child's health depends primarily on their physical development. We are talking about a child's fine motor skills, proper nutrition, outdoor activities, active games, etc.

Early childhood development is a set of activities aimed at the adaptation of a young person in the modern world. Regardless of the chosen method of development and learning, it is worth paying attention to such factors:

  • Brain adaptation. Early preschool age is characterized by the flexibility of the child's mental health. Nature intended that during this period, a baby needs to learn as much as possible about the world. They learn to walk, talk, manipulate objects, water, sand, try different patterns of behavior, improve all the acquired skills, and learn new ones. Depending on the level of maturation, the brain performs particular functions. Every day, the amount of knowledge and skills acquired grows. The more you talk to your child, the more information they learn about the world.
  • Aesthetic education. For the full development of a child, it is extremely important to pay attention to their aesthetic education i.e. developing creative abilities, talent, forming a sense of taste. It is important to play classical music, expose kids to sounds of nature, children's songs, etc. They should hear poems, immerse themselves in the world of fairy tales and stories as it develops imagination, memory, and thinking.
  • Fine motor skills and creativity. It is important for a child to draw, model from clay, dough, and cut out paper. Such activities develop fine motor skills, thinking, imagination, creativity.

Between the ages of two and three, a child learns to be independent. During this period, it is important not to hinder them, but to encourage their efforts and achievements. Here are some tips from psychologists for parents of 2-3-year-old children:

Let your child be independent. If your child wants to put on a jacket by themselves, let them do it, even if you are late for kindergarten.

Do not limit your child's social circle. Every person in your child's environment is important to them.

Explain to them everything they do not understand. Everything in this world is new for them, so allow them to learn. Even if you have to repeat the same thing ten times, repeat it calmly and confidently.

Allow them to choose. Let them choose their toy, clothes, or dish for dinner. They want and need to feel their importance.

Another important aspect of a child's early education is playing. Through play children's brain and language skills develop better.

Try simple games like peek-a-boo, playing with dolls or toys, kite flying, or just singing songs. They would help your child's motor and problem-solving skills development.

Show your kids how a rock or a leaf can fall, how a snowflake melts, and try to explain these physical phenomena. Do not underestimate how crucial these early childhood games are in building the basis for formal schooling.

Here are 5 main benefits of play for children's development:

  1. It's necessary for brain development

Through play, children learn to think, recall, reason, and pay attention. While having fun they also develop problem-solving abilities, patience, and a variety of other talents.

  1. Obesity lowering

Toddlers who have plenty of opportunities to run, jump, and play are more likely to develop physical confidence and, as a result, to remain active and healthy throughout their lives.

  1. Helps families bond

By contributing to early children's education parents get more comfortable and supportive relationships with their kids. Children will have talks and interactions with their parents via play, which will develop emotional connections and help them learn to manage their emotions.

  1. Creative thinking

Playing promotes a child's imagination, which is perhaps the most evident benefit. While playing children might need to look for various solutions, ideas and be creative in their approaches. As a result, they develop creative thinking which is essential for their future life.

  1. Improves ability to communicate

Children typically share their thoughts and communicate a lot when playing. Thus, communication skills develop naturally without external pressure.

January 16, 2022

The 7 Most Effective Ways to Increase your Conversion Rate

Happy woman is using the computer after completing a website action.

Marketing executives may have you believe that in order for your business to make money, you need to get your message across. While that is true, it only represents one half of the equation. Even if people hear about your products, how many will visit your website, and of those who do visit, what percentage actually ends up making a purchase? Obviously, getting people interested in your product is a great start, but the second half of the puzzle is getting them to act. Let's look at the 7 most effective ways to increase your conversion rate and your bottom line.

What are conversions?

Before we dive deeper, it might be best if we get our definitions straight. Your rate of conversions represents the number of users who perform a desired action after arriving on your website. This can be clicking on a button, filling out a form, or making a purchase. You'll need to find ways to get users to perform the action you want them to, rather than just leave the website as soon as they arrive.

Here are the 7 most effective ways to increase your conversion rate

Optimize through testing

One of the best ways to get things to work is to keep testing and experimenting until you find a solution that works. If you ever run into a situation where you are unsure which headline to use, you can simply run an A/B split test to see which works better. Create several alternative pages and divide the traffic equally among them. Afterward, you can track the results to see which page gives you more conversions. When it comes to marketing effectiveness, perfection is hard to achieve, and some would even say it's impossible. Therefore, you'll need to experiment to find the most effective ways to increase your conversion rate and optimize through several iterations until you find something that gives you the desired results.

Login screen on a phone.1
/Try several different layouts to see which one will increase your conversion rate.
Alt-tag: Login screen on a phone.

Have a strong Call to Action

No one is going to be impressed by an unoriginal CTA. Try to come up with something better than a generic "Sign up" for your landing page. A much better copy for your CTA is something that sounds positive and inspires people to act. "Yes, I'm interested in getting a discount" is much better since it is written from the perspective of your customers and it frames your offer in a positive light. As with many other items on this list, you can test several options to see which one gets more clicks. You could also experiment with different uses of colors. This will let you draw attention to certain parts of the screen and visually guide your users to where you want them to click.

Declutter your website

If your site is a mess of complicated menus, odd design choices, and far too many ads - users can quickly get confused. Even if they came to your website intending to sign up for your services, they might not know how to proceed. You should improve the visual aspect of your website by removing all of the noise and distractions. Anything that can draw your user away from what they initially came to your website for probably shouldn't be there in the first place. Sometimes less is more, and a clean design will help the essential elements of your website's design stand out.

Person standing near welcome sign.
Make user onboarding simple and easy.

Streamline your forms

Complicated forms can drive your users away before they have filled out and submitted the information in the form. You should simplify the forms and remove all unnecessary fields. When designing forms, you need to ask yourself: do you really need all of the information you are asking from your users. One of the most effective ways to increase your conversion rate is to make it easy for website visitors to subscribe, fill out orders and make a purchase. Those visitors who have expressed an interest and opened a form are some of your most precious leads, and it would be a shame to drive them away when they are so close to completing a form.

Offer valuable content

Content can represent the initial hook some people need to visit your site. Not everyone who sees your website or the ads leading to it will immediately want to make a purchase. Of course, some people will be enticed by your offers and will want to check out your site for more details. On the other hand, you can try to persuade some online users to visit your website by hosting interesting content and informative articles. Try to create educational content that will cover how your products are used and the benefits they can provide. Your content should also answer common user questions and reinforce your products and services as the solutions to the problems users may be facing.

Have reviews and testimonials on your website

If you have numerous satisfied customers, you should be proud to let others know about it. Have testimonials visible on your site. People love seeing proof that something is effective, and positive reviews can go a long way to increasing your conversion rate. Users will be much more likely to take the plunge and make a purchase if they see that they aren't the only one who is doing business with you.

Sale sign to drive conversion rates.
Simple percentual discounts don't have a sense of urgency.

Incentivize immediate action

Having your users make an immediate purchase can save you a lot of time and money that you would otherwise spend following up on that lead and trying to make a conversion at a later date. However, most people aren't inclined to make impulse purchases. That's where basic marketing psychology can step in to help you. You'll need to understand how scarcity and exclusivity function. Evaluate your business strategy, and see how you can best put to use the fear of missing out to get more users to act when they visit your site. People hate missing out on great offers, but you can't just call something exclusive and hope people buy it. For your customers to feel like they are making an exclusive purchase, you need to offer great deals but only at a limited time or in a limited quantity.

In conclusion

Now that we've gone over the 7 most effective ways to increase your conversion rate, it's time to do some tweaking on your website. Don't be afraid to try something new to see if it will work. The results might surprise you, and you could end up with a higher rate of conversions.

December 26, 2021

What Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Cybersecurity

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Photo by Amol Tyagi on Unsplash

What Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Cybersecurity

Cybercrime is not something most entrepreneurs account for when starting a new business - a serious lapse that often bites them in the back later. 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses, according to Fundera, costing a staggering $2.2 million in damages each year. Only 40 percent of them manage to recover from the loss, with the rest shutting shop within 6 months.

If you're a newly-minted or aspiring business owner, you need to care about cybersecurity just to survive. In this mini-guide, Cryan offers insight into cybersecurity, with some tips on protecting your business:

Know what's at stake

Cyber-attacks can affect you on several levels, not just financially. You must know what's at stake. That way, you know what to safeguard, not to mention be aware of the price of potential failure.

  • Data: Hackers may steal intellectual property, product designs, employee information, customer information, financial reports, sales data, and more.
  • Money: Hackers may attempt to swipe company funds directly, acquire customer or employee payment information, or even hold your data for ransom.
  • Identity: Identity theft is where hackers use you or your stakeholder's information to commit financial fraud.
  • Infrastructure: Some hackers will attempt to take over your hardware and business resources for their own use or financial gain.

Protect your business

Next, implement some security safeguards for your operation. You should be able to do this yourself with some research and, possibly, advice from an expert. If your small business handles a lot of money or sensitive information, you may want to consider hiring an expert. Below are some suggestions on what to do:

  • Eliminate the human weak-link: Humans are the weakest link in cybersecurity, according to the ACT. Their mistakes - like leaving passwords lying around or installing unsafe files - allow hackers to worm their way through your defenses. Educate your employees and yourself on cyber-safety best practices to minimize this vulnerability.
  • Shore up your security: Make sure your security is airtight. Some suggestions are using a VPN, limiting access to sensitive information, using anti-virus and monitoring software, enabling firewalls, downloading from trusted sources only, and backing up your information.
  • Identify avenues of approach: By learning how hackers operate, you can avoid falling prey to their tricks. Learn about common hacking techniques like phishing, keylogging, and click-baiting to avoid being taken in by attempts.
  • Update your software: Every software item you use, from your operating system to productivity tool, receives regular security updates. Failing to update regularly allows hackers to exploit known vulnerabilities.
  • Password-protect PDFs: Password-locking your PDFs is a great way to protect your sensitive data. PDF files are convenient to use, not to mention easy to encrypt. Adobe Acrobat offers free online tools to easily manage, edit, compress, password-lock, and combine PDFs.
  • Get insurance: You won't catch all hacking attempts. That's why insurance may be a good fallback. It will help you get back on your feet faster.

Have a strategy for dealing with a cyber-attack

Last, but not least, you must have a strategy for dealing with a cyber-attack. No security setup is perfect and, despite your best efforts, you may end up being hacked. It pays to be prepared for the possibility (or eventuality).

Most large, successful businesses have a strategy to deal with the consequences of a cyber-attack. As a new operation, you will have to cobble together a semi-formal strategy from scratch. You likely can't afford to hire a team, but you can still learn and implement threat-response best practices. Some suggestions, courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are below:

  • Check what happened: Have a threat-analysis audit. Check the systems affected, determine the type of threat, and potential damages caused.
  • Take care of the problem: Take affected systems offline to curtail the threat. Quarantine, scan, and clean your systems, as necessary. Use backups, if available, to stay operational.
  • Update your security: Needless to say, you need to up your security game. Update your systems, put new safeguards in place, and document known weaknesses.
  • Protect your reputation: Unless you respond to the threat transparently and reassure your customers, your reputation could take a hit. PR efforts are necessary to bounce back effectively.

Conclusion

For maximum safety, focus on presenting a hard target for hackers. Essentially, if the reward for targeting you doesn't seem worth it to the hacker, they will likely leave you be and go in search of easier prey. Some preparation now will save you a great deal of trouble down the road.

December 12, 2021

Facebook API Errors

If your a developer using Facebook's API you may have encountered some of these errors:

  • Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons.
  • Error Downloading Account: ('(#100) Missing permissions',
  Response:
    {
      "error": {
        "message": "(#100) Missing permissions",
        "type": "OAuthException",
        "code": 100,
        "fbtrace_id": "AIxe3azfOU99dz1pMuLlN-A"
      }
    }

Easy Solution

The reason for these errors is that the user hasn't fully validated themself to Facebook. They have to prove to Facebook that they are a real person.

This is done by going to the users Facebook Settings page, https://www.facebook.com/settings/ and selecting the "Identiy Confirmation."

Facebook Identity

You'll Have to Wait!

Part of the process involves Facebook sending you a postcard to verify your address. Once you get the card, you enter the code and Facebook will enable all the Ad feeatures. This should eliminate the "Missing Permissions" error message.

December 5, 2021

8 Surprising Things You Did not Know About Christmas Trees

What do you know about Christmas Trees? Are you a Christmas Tree Trivia expert?

The people at Tree Triage put together a very informative page on the "8 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Christmas Trees."

In the article, they will answer the following:

  • What is its history?
  • How can you keep it from becoming a fire hazard?
  • How do you make the tree last longer?
  • What do they symbolize?
  • How do you dispose of it responsibly?

Check out the article - who knows you make learn something that will help you win the next holiday contest at work

Tree Triage
https://www.treetriage.com/tree-removal/christmas-trees/

November 28, 2021

Mental Training for QA

This is a spin-off of a Mental Training Plan that I found many years ago. I thought I had posted this before but was surprised to find that I hadn't.

Mental Training for QA

Putting Your Mind in a Position to Think Confidently and Compete Well

Motivation and Commitment

  • Personal Meaning and Incentives (what drives you to reach your goals)
  • The Psychology of Personal Excellence (Terry Orlick, 2000, "In Pursuit of Excellence")
  • Knowing where you want to go (having a vision)
  • How much you really want to get there (commitment)
  • How strongly you believe in your ability to arrive at your desired destination (belief)
  • Connecting with each step in front of you (focused connection)
  • Ask yourself "what type of qa engineer do I want to become here at {Company Name}, and what is it going to take for me to get there" (vision and commitment)

Mission to Excellence

  • The pursuit of excellence starts with getting to know your own patterns (awareness)
  • What is it like when performing at peak? How do you respond to pressure? What situations cause you to get frustrated and lose focus? What goes on in your head when you are performing well vs struggling?
  • With this awareness, you can better establish priorities, and develop strategies to gain control.

Connecting with your Goals: Creating a road map for success

  • Challenge yourself to work on areas that need improvement
  • Goals should be challenging, measurable, self-referenced, and within your control
  • Technique goals, practice goals, competition goals, mental training goals, strength/conditioning goals, etc.
  • Goal Planning (begin with the end in mind, develop specific action plans and strategies for achievement)
  • Set short term goals (daily/weekly, monthly) in relation to long term objectives (Career)
  • Balance outcome goals with performance goals
  • Outcome goals (Bonuses)
  • Performance goals (In order to win the big accounts, we need to commit ourselves to .....)
  • Write your goals down and specify timetables for achievement
  • Monitor, evaluate, and adjust your goals based on the progress you are making (adapt and persist)
  • Get in habit of using weekly journals
  • Think of creative ways to quantify and measure your goals
  • Take Pride and Ownership over your goals - be accountable to yourself and to your teammates
  • Finally, have a passion for you are doing - challenge yourself to raise the bar in your pursuit of excellence

Mental Preparation for Peak Performance

  • Develop your own mental plan for competing effectively (thoughts, emotions, attitude, intensity, focus)
  • Top performers consistently prepare themselves for peak performance (have/adhere to very systematic competition focusing plans and pre-performance routines)
  • Think Like a Champion (expect to do well, believe in yourself, trust yourself and be confident)
  • Approach competition with proper mindset (mentally and emotionally ready to give it your best effort)
  • Positive Expectations and Positive Thoughts (think and act confidently)
  • Visualization Training: Program your mind, muscles, and emotions for success
  • Develop your Imagination - make your imagery as vivid, realistic, and detailed as possible ("Feelization")
  • Script Success - Imagine how you will achieve your goals (action plans for achievement)
  • Focus on what you want to occur
  • See yourself performing well in a variety of different competitive situations
  • See/Feel yourself Performing Great - with confidence, full focus, competitive intensity, and trust
  • Positive energizing cues help create vivid imaging ("quick hands", "see it and drive it hard")
  • Mentally prepare yourself for coping with adversity and/or distractions effectively

Mental Focusing: Concentration, Confidence, and Composure

  • Control the Controllables: Stay Focused on You
  • What do you need from yourself at each situation, each project to compete w/confidence, intensity, full focus?
  • Self-Regulation Skills (mental and emotional readiness, emotion/energy management, positive self-talk)
  • Embrace the Pressure (harness the high energy of competition and make it work for you)
  • Connect with your Competition Goals (game plan, purposeful intentions, sense of being on a mission)
  • Confidence (tied to the way you think, feel, act)
  • Condition your mind to think confidently (believe in yourself, expect the best from yourself, trust)
  • Success breeds confidence, hence, build on past accomplishments, find your rhythm and flow
  • Concentration and Attentional Focusing (immerse yourself in the moment, connect with your performance)
  • Develop a systematic pre-performance routine and adhere to these routines while competing
  • Improves consistency and focus, enables you to take it one pitch at a time
  • Immerse yourself in the moment, quiet your mind, put everything on autopilot, trust your preparation and ability, and let your competitive instincts take over
  • Poise and Composure while competing
  • Breathing: Your most versatile mental skill (clears tension and clears clutter in the mind)
  • Patience - let the game come to you (respond to each situation with confidence, poise, and full focus)
  • Refocusing: Let go of mistakes quickly and learn how to take it one project at a time
  • Don't allow frustration to undermine your confidence or focus
  • Be Persistent and Mentally Tough - never give in or give up
November 21, 2021

Tips for Becoming a Tech-Savvy Senior

Americans 50 and older are embracing more tech with 81% of adults 60 to 69 owning a smartphone and three-quarters of Americans 50 and older regularly using social media, according to an AARP survey. If you're ready to embrace technology, use these tips to learn more.

Choose the Right Device

Test different devices to find one that's intuitive and easy for you to use, especially if you have limited mobility. Tablets are often ideal because they have larger screens than smartphones, but they aren't bulky like laptops. Some devices, like the GrandPad tablet, are designed for seniors, delivering only the features they need.

Ask for a Demo

If you buy your device in a store, as for a demo before you leave. For example, if you want an iPad, you can take a short drive from Framingham to the Natick Apple Store to have them set up your new device and show you how to use it.

Attend a Class

Tech classes for seniors focus on the basics to help older people learn how to video chat, navigate devices, and do other basic tasks. Senior centers or community colleges might offer these classes locally.

Learn Online

If you already have a basic understanding of navigating the internet, online tech classes for seniors can help you learn more. GetSetUp is designed for older adults and offers tech classes. Another resource for tech and other classes for seniors is Senior Planet from AARP.

Practice With Family

If you have family members visit, do a test run with video chatting or other programs you plan to use. That way, they can help if you have difficulty, and you can get pointers from them to improve your comfort with technology. You can also practice with a neighbor or friend who's comfortable with technology.

Get Extra Gear

If you plan to video chat with your family often, having a quality pair of headphones can help. Noise-canceling headphones block out background noise and concentrate the sound, so you can better focus on the conversation. Decide on your budget, and choose headphones with good reviews at that price point.

Keep your headphones at a reasonable level. Anything over 70 decibels can damage your hearing over prolonged periods,according to the CDC. Normal conversation or the sound of an air conditioner is about 60 decibels while your washing machine is about 70 decibels.

Trial and Error

Improving your tech skills often happens with trial and error. The more you use your technology devices, the more you'll become comfortable with them. Start with what you know and expand from there to learn more.

Practice Online Safety

Create strong passwords for all devices, apps, and websites. Install antivirus software on your devices, updating the programs frequently to protect yourself from cyberattacks. Do updates on your device when they become available. Never click links from people you don't know or links from unsolicited emails, as they could lead to viruses or cyberattacks.

Become Tech Savvy

You don't have to become a tech expert, but finding the right equipment and jumping in can help you become more comfortable with technology. Visit the Cryan's tech blog for more useful tips.

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