Category Archives: Workplace

Fess up, sometimes you’ve got horrible body language

nonverbalcommimage

We are all guilty of displaying improper and off-putting body language at some point in our careers. Whether avoiding eye contact during an interview, or impatiently tapping our fingers on the table during a management meeting, our nonverbal communication conveys a distinct impression – no matter your intended message.

This week, the Business Insider published an article calling out nine nonverbal behaviors that generally turn people off and can be really annoying.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am guilty of the crossed arms. When engrossed in a conversation, it is an automatic response that says I am in deep thought and listening; however, according to the article, my body language suggests that I’m hoping my co-worker leaves me alone and goes on his merry way.

The good news is that my nonverbal communication does not channel Kanye West, the article’s poster child for forgetting to smile.

It’s always a good thing to do a mental and visual check-in to ensure we convey the true meaning of our intentions. Think I hear a New Year’s resolution calling…

What’s your nonverbal no-no? Leave us a reply below.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist
Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist

 

5 Things to Do in the Workplace on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, an annual reminder to be a little kinder, gentler to our planet and the communities in which we live. Following are five simple things you can do in the workplace to commemorate Earth Day, while taking steps to incorporate green activities on a daily basis.

Earth Day 2015
Earth Day 2015

1. Say goodbye to paper and energy waste

Help Mother Earth by eliminating unnecessary paper in the office. Whether discarding old memos, outdated company procedures, or decades old personnel files, eliminating the deluge of paper can have a positive impact in the workplace. By scanning and electronically storing essential documents, offices can decrease paper use resulting in cost saving, the preservation of trees, increased storage space, and the reduction of mold and spores.

To conserve energy, turn off the power in rooms at work – unoccupied offices, the restroom, and cafeteria – that are not in use. Energy efficient light bulbs, including those operated by automatic sensor to turn lights on and off, are easy to use and cost-effective. Conserving energy helps the planet, and reduces your office electric bill. Use those saved dollars for employee bonuses instead!

2. Form an alliance with a green-friendly company

Considering a new strategic alliance or partner? Then, think about engaging a green company that has as its mission conservation of energy, the elimination of waste, and a demonstrated commitment to community greening efforts. Forming partnerships with other companies or patronizing vendors with a green work ethic creates an opportunity to work together in a conscientious way. Plus, it doubles the number of staff – your company and theirs – who can work efficiently and generate long-term green efforts beyond Earth Day.

3. Ditch the plastic

Replace plastic utensils with silverware and bring your own coffee cups to work – ditching the Styrofoam and plastic cups. Using cutlery can eliminate waste and save corporate dollars. Some health experts believe that Styrofoam and plastic have a negative impact on the body. So, ditching the plastic may not only help the planet; it may benefit your personal health as well.

4. Take on telecommuting

With gas prices on the rise, telecommuting is a money-saving and efficient way to better our planet. Telecommuting reduces traffic, emissions, and saves energy usage in the workplace. Working at home also has great health benefits, reducing stress that comes from driving to and from work during hefty traffic, being at home when the children arrive after school, and fostering a bit of peace and quiet that is not always present in the workplace.

5. Convert your coworkers

The best way to sustain green activities in the workplace is to engage your coworkers. Make your efforts to conserve energy a contest, work on projects together, and encourage other businesses in your work complex or community to join forces. Organize Earth Day activities, including initiating a recycling plan, planting trees, forming teams to present innovative ways to conserve energy during staff meetings once a month, or bring in an expert to help you and your coworkers implement a strategic green effort at work.

No matter the effort you make on Earth Day 2015, strive to make these changes a long-term habit in the office.

Have a green tip for the workplace? Leave us a reply below.

DISCLAIMER: Since its original debut on MySpace in 2004 as Midweek Musings, ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content, unless otherwise noted, is the property of Ask the Strategist and its affiliates, and may not be re-published without express written permission from the Editor.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist
Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist

Tips Every Intern Should Know Before Networking

By Madeleine Marshall

I’m not new to Washington, DC. Even though I live in Georgia, I feel connected to DC through family. I fancy that I have had similar childhood experiences as those who also grew up here: Being mad when your parents refuse to go to the mall to watch the fireworks on July 4th, playing tennis with new friends at the park in Chevy Chase, and, making a trek to various monuments every time a new friend moves to the area. I may not be new to visiting DC, but I am certainly new to its professional scene.

As an intern for the first time in the Capital City, I find myself surrounded by others like me, who have embarked on their annual internship pilgrimage to DC. The experience can be intimidating; and, regardless of what people say on sites, like Yik Yak, interns are often appreciated by their company leaders and colleagues. But, what about connecting with others outside of the workplace?

Pump up your networking savvy
Pump up your networking savvy

One of the most important things to do as an emerging professional in DC is to go to networking events where you don’t know anyone. While it’s nice to ask a bunch of coworkers to come with you to a networking event, odds are, if you do that, you will spend the whole evening socializing with them, and not making any new connections. Friends are comfortable. Taking a risk and introducing yourself to someone who could be valuable in the future is not. But boldness pays off.

Recently, I prepared myself to attend one of these networking events where I know no one. Being organized and prepared is key. I wrote a list of talking points and listened to a pump up playlist while getting ready. My tips to developing talking points include writing down silly stories that have happened to you lately, your interests, your elevator pitch, and things that inspire you.

Once you’ve finished the talking points, get ready by dressing for success. Once you arrive at the event, network with people above your professional level. Be charming and polite. Listen to others and they will listen to you.

Always remember that it’s okay to spend a few minutes off to the side while you take the temperature of the room or venue. This will help your confidence as you formulate a game plan to meet others. And lastly, it’s not useful to have a million people on your contact list if none of them take a particular interest in you. It’s your job to make the people who matter like you and see your potential so that they will want to stay in contact with you in the long run.

About the blogger: Madeleine Marshall

Maddy Marshall, Guest Blogger
Maddy Marshall, Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Madeleine (Maddy) Marshall is a rising junior at Mount Holyoke College pursuing a double major in International Relations and French. She is highly involved in the Student Government Association (SGA), including service on the Career Development Center (CDC) Advisory Committee and the Committee for Senate Continuity. Maddy traveled to Haiti to volunteer with a program involved with micro lending to women entrepreneurs in the Cap Haitien area last spring, bringing her one step closer to the ultimate goal of a career as a diplomat to a French and Arabic speaking country.

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. Never miss ASK THE STRATEGIST blog posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by subscribing.

Stress got you down? Harvard panel says you’re not alone

Seinfeld fans may recall George Costanza’s stress reduction mantra Serenity, now! This outburst momentarily relieved him of stress caused by his interfering and embarrassing parents. While we can laugh at the hijinks that cause frustration for the popular sitcom’s character, stress isn’t much fun in real life.

 

The Health Burden of Stress in America at Harvard. Photo Credit: Thomas Earle
The Health Burden of Stress in America at Harvard. Credit: Thomas Earle

 

Apparently, speakers during Wednesday’s Harvard School of Public Health forum, The Health Burden of Stress: What We Can Do About It, agree. The program highlighted findings in The Burden of Stress in America poll, and the short and long-term impact that stress has on people. The panelists included Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School; Kristin Schubert, senior program officer and team director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Gregory Fricchione, associate chief of psychiatry and director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital; and, Joshua Riff, medical director and director of health and well-being at Target Corporation.

The Burden of Stress in America poll, conducted by the program’s sponsors, HSPH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Public Radio, revealed that 25% of respondents experience high levels of stress. The main stressors, according to Blendon when citing the poll’s statistics are health issues and low pay.

I don’t think that most Americans would be surprised to find that so many respondents experience constant and long-term stress, no matter the causes. With so many demands, real and imagined, sometimes we are overwhelmed and stressed out. The alarming result of all those irritations can have a long-lasting impact on physical and emotional health.

Read the entire Harvard Gazette article about the forum

View video from the forum

Talk back to us: What stresses you out and what do you do to ease your frustration? Leave your reply below.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. Never miss ASK THE STRATEGIST blog posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by subscribing.