Why Should I Engage in Outdoor Recreation Activities?

More and more people engage in outdoor activities these days, as outdoor sports are becoming very popular. The top recreational activities include kayaking, jogging, walking, hiking, and camping.

This article is for the people who love to spend their time outdoors, enjoying new adventures in fresh air.

How can outdoor recreational activities be beneficial to you?

The foremost advantage of spending time outdoors is gaining a good mental spirit and healthy balance of your body. Not only will it help in giving you the liveliness that everyone should have, but it will also pump your life force and the love of living.

Activities such as walking, bird watching, kayaking and camping all make you feel happier while appreciating the beauty that we often forget during our busy hours at the office. Nowadays the stress level has increased so much in everyone's life that everyone, without exception, describes a small break to get rid of this stress. Sometimes a small walk in the park will do the trick and can lighten up your tensions and make you feel happy.

In today's hectic life styles, we hardly find time to spend with our families and friends. Engaging regularly in various outdoor activities can help you create much stronger bonds with your family and friends. You can interact and talk more with your friends and family while sharing the astonishing experiences of a different outdoor activity each time you go out.

How can outdoor recreation help you in saving money?

Our lives are never smooth and secured; Everyone comes across various difficult times in their lifetime. Taking the time to engage in simple outdoor recreations will not only help you mentally, but you will also find that it costs close to nothing. For example hiking does not cost anything when compared with cycling. All you need is a pair of good shoes and a mountaintop to hike to. Another example is simply playing outdoors with your kids. Nothing will beat playing soccer or tags with your kids, especially when you take time off from a stressful job.

While there is other activities like hunting that are somewhat costlier however they will provide you with a lot of thrills and great sense of accomplishment. If you can not afford spending money on such activities then you still have many options that will definitely suit your pocket.

You should try to spend as much time as possible in these types of activities. You should also encourage your friends, family and kids to spend such a wonderful time together building good memories. Nothing can be more enjoyable and beneficial than gaining a good and healthy lifestyle by being in the outdoors.

Take full advantage of the beautiful world we live in and its alluring nature that surrounds us that we inheriting for centuries from our ancestors.

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Why Has Online Dating Become So Popular?

The increasing number of dating sites goes to prove that this form of dating has become very popular. The fact is that these sites all have members meaning that large numbers of singles are trusting in them to find them the kind of relationships they could be looking for. But what exactly has seen to the increased popularity of the sites?

Exposure - If there is one major setback that comes with traditional dating is limited exposure to potential dates depending on where you stay and work. But with online dating, the boundaries are broken and you get exposure beyond your neighborhood and country. It is possible to meet singles across the globe and this comes is a good thing because the probability of you finding a compatible partner is quite high.

Convenience - Life can be hectic, especially when you have too many responsibilities because then it means you have less time to attend to other areas of life such as dating. The good thing about online dating is that you can maintain a relationship without having to interfere with your working schedule as it is the case with traditional dating. Considering that chats and emails are commonly used in online dating, you can handle them as you go about your usual duties and tasks. You also enjoy the flexibility of dating at any convenient time, even before retiring to bed something that would be impossible to do when you choose offline dating.

Flexibility - Online dating does not only make you flexible in time, but also in the number of dates you can have at a time. You can contact as many singles as you like and have the freedom to evaluate and drop them one at a time depending on your preferences. You can easily refuse approaches and end contact without worrying about hurting the feelings of other singles. You can also have more than one relationship going before making your choice without any awkward moments as it happens with traditional dating.

Variety – People have varying dating preferences. For instance, whereas some might be interested to date a different race, some would rather stick to their races and locations. Some might be interested in finding love and getting into serious relationships while others would rather do casual encounters with no strings attached. Online dating sites cater so such needs, offering a variety of all singles. Some sites actually accommodate singles from specific age groups and this is a feature that makes it easy for the singles to join the most relevant sites depending on what they are looking for. It is something that would be hard to do when dating offline.

Discretion – It is another thing that has made online dating popular today. When you join a dating site, you can keep it a secret for as long as you want or until a time when you are sure about the relationship and then you can let everyone who matters now about it. The privacy you enjoy can save you from ridicule that can arise from recurring relationship failures and it also gives you the freedom of enjoying relationships that would otherwise not be approved by people around you.

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The Importance of Employment Tests

It is a known fact that the success of an employer and a company as a whole depends largely on the quality and reliability of its employees. This is the reason why employers must invest time and even money in the recruitment and interview process. Doing so would ensure that only the best possible candidate will be considered for a particular job.

When it comes to screening of potential employees, no other tool does it better than employment tests. These tests can measure what is called the KSA – knowledge, skills and abilities of the job candidates. Employment tests in this context are generally written or automated tests, but also include interviews, personality tests, skill tests, psychological tests, performance tests, medical examinations, agility tests, and so on.

A hiring process that is poorly designed is much like a recruitment process based on flipping a coin. Employers are well-aware that the impact of inefficient recruitment decisions can have costly and detrimental outcomes, which may include expensive training costs, decrease in overall productivity, increase in employee replacement, and increase in legal exposure.

Benefits of Efficient Assessments Incorporating assessment tests ensure that your company is making better hiring decisions. It can determine whether or not an employee can meet your criterion for maintaining high productivity. Consequently, pre-employment tests can reduce expensive and time-consuming recruitment steps by straightforwardly narrowing down the choices that will include only candidates who are best fit for the job. Because job fitting is greatly improved, this scenario can also increase the chances of retaining your employees for far longer periods of time. Furthermore, a well-developed pre-employment testing program can present a professional and positive image for your company, and will decrease the risk of hiring complaints.

Although pre-employment tests are basically a tool that protects employers, it can be just as important for them as for the applicant. It would be a shameful waste of time, effort, and even money to prepare for the responsibilities and challenges of a new job, yet find out later on that one is not capable of performing the tasks on hand and is bound for failure.

The benefits of pre-employment testing are endless. However, employers must know that these tests have certain limitations. For one, written tests must only measure skills that are important for the job description that a candidate is applying for. For this, employers must carefully design their pre-employment testing program. Pre-employment tests not properly designed may create an impression of being discriminatory, and this is something employers must avoid at all times.

Designing testing tools take time and experience. If these two are something your company does not have, you can easily find pre-employment testing software packages on the market. These pre-employment tests have been designed by professionals with expertise and experience in the field of recruitment, and thus can efficiently evaluate the general knowledge, office skills, personality, and so on, of a potential job candidate. There are various types of pre-employment test to choose from, and there will surely be one that best fits your needs as an employer.

Clearly, organizations that have a carefully well-developed testing program that best meets their exact needs will have competitive advantage. Employment tests allow employers to make the best hiring decisions and will consequently improve business revenue, productivity, and overall business outcomes.

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How To Promote Your Business In Today’s Economy

Marketing a business is undoubtedly one of the most daunting tasks for any new entrepreneur. It’s one thing is to establish a business, but it is another thing to promote it. There are so many businesses, created by passionate people, that eventually collapse due to one reason – a lack of sales.

The purpose of any business is to sell something; either tangible or intangible. Tangible products are your tradition retail type of stores. Intangible products tend to be more service oriented. It is possible to have a combination business (such as painting; carpet installers, etc.). However, every entrepreneur is faced with the same problem of making their business known to the public in order to attract as many customers as possible.

There are many ways of promoting a business. The way you promote your business will basically depend on the type of industry your business belongs to. What works perfectly well for one business may not work for another type of business. Therefore, discretion is advised in adopting any of the steps listed below in promoting your own business:

1. Create a Website: Setting up a website is the surest way to make your business known by your potential customers. The first thing people do when trying to find out about your company is to search for it on Google. Your website has a way of creating a particular perception about your business. The more professional your website looks, the more professional your business will be perceived. The logical corollary is that you should link your social media channels back to your website.

It is not enough to just create a website, it is vitally important that you optimize your website by submitting it to major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. This will enable your website to come up on those search engines whenever potential customers are searching for a product or service you offer.

2. Local Advertising: A business needs to be advertised to the people in the immediate area. A business owner may choose to advertise using billboards, posters, handbills, or any other affordable form of advertising. A company with a good budget may advertise with local newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations to attract a very large audience. Of course, this depends on the type of business you are in. An online only business might not want to try advertising on some of these outlets.

3. Conduct Social Media Campaigns: Advertising via social media is the cheapest and easiest way to reach out to your customers. Using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. is free or relatively cheap. You have the ability to reach a larger audience than you could reach with local advertising.

There are over one billion active users on social media. Tapping into this huge resource will give you a greater chance of connecting with more people and introducing your business to them.

4. Email Marketing: Another good way of taking your business directly to your customers is by sending emails to your current or past customers anytime you have a new product. This is not a difficult task. You can do this by requesting for email addresses on your website or invoices. You can encourage your website visitors to give you their email address in exchange for a gift available for instant download to their email inbox.

5. Send another offer to customers immediately after a purchase: When a customer buys from you, introduce them to another product/service you offer. This is a great way of marketing your products to customers. Customers who buy your products have proven that they are able to pay for your products/services and that they have a level of trust with you. You should seize the opportunity to introduce other items or services you offer to them. Even though they may not buy right then, at least they know you are offering that service or item as well.

6. Ask your customers for referrals! You would be surprised at how quickly my business grew when I implemented a system of asking for referrals! I literally doubled my income in a matter of months. I also kept my schedule full of new appointments! Referrals could grow your business (online or traditional) exponentially! Think about it like this: It takes you (for example) 1000 leads to get ONE subscriber or appointment. Let’s assume you close 1 out of 3 subscribers or appointments and make them into customers. So it takes you 3000 leads to get ONE customer. If each customer provides you with three referrals, and the same ratio holds true (which it should double because your customers are not going to send you to people to make them mad – they will send you to people they know need your services), now each one of those purchased leads results in TWO sales! Then you ask that customer for three referrals – and the cycle keeps going.

These are just some of the ways in which I have built my business. Some of these techniques may not work in your business niche. If any of them do apply and you are not currently trying these ideas – give them a try! The results could, literally, catapult your business to the next level!

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Dealing With Conflict in the Workplace

Introduction

Conflict is a major concern in both your personal and working life. If not deal with quickly, tactfully and efficiently conflict could lead to serious confrontation and / or a complete breakdown of relationships. It could even lead to violent and dangerous situations.

A conflict could stem from a minor complaint that was not resolved and left to fester. This could then gradually grow into an insurmountable problem. A conflict can be as innocent as sibling rivalry – arguing over a toy – to a dispute with a customer or colleague over a product, service or procedure to a war between countries in extreme cases.

There will be times during the course of a working life where you will have to deal with complaints and conflicts. Your successful handling of these situations will have a direct bearing on you and your organization's reputation for customer service and its continued success.

What causes conflict.

Conflicts usually occur when people have different ideas and believe they have the superior view point. This is particularly true of conflict in the workplace – between collections and / or management. The issue becomes one of power, of gaining control or of 'being proved right'. To resolve this type of conflict it is necessary to move from the power clash, to one of service and responsibility – to work for the good of the group rather than individuals within it. In resolving a conflict it should be more important to make sure that both parties needs are met rather than winning the argument.

Conflict can also be caused by a lack of communication or by a failure to recognize the needs of another person. Whatever the scenario, the main component in conflict is misunderstanding. These misunderstandings can occur due to differences in age, culture, race or religion. Conflict situations can include customer related issues, misunderstandings or communication barriers or Conflict among work collections.

Conflicts due to customer related issues.

A complaint, no matter how trivial it may sound to you, is legitimate in the eyes of the customer and must be taken seriously. Customers come into your organization to do business. They have a need and they believe (or hope) that you will be able to fulfill that need. They are willing to pay you for your time, effort and service and they expect your full and undivided attention. If they do not receive this attention or a satisfactory product or service, then they are not receiving value for their money and then have every right to complain.

Conflicts arising out of customer related issues could include;

  • Problems or faults with services or products. The customer has not received the quality of service or product that they expected and are unhappy enough about it to complain. A complaint of this nature can be fairly easily resolved if the parties involved are prepared to communicate and compromise.
  • Delays or poor timing of product or service supply. The customer has been kept waiting longer than expected or advised for their product or service and, as in the point above, become upset at the delay. Delays can cause a great deal of inconvenience for customers, particularly if they have made time to be on hand and are then disappointed.
  • Difficult or demanding customers. Some customers are hard to please and are, by nature, very demanding and aggressive. If they are not handled carefully they could, potentially, become threatening.
  • Drug or alcohol related issues. These could include being refused entry or ejection from concessions due to their condition and the risk they represent to other customers or staff.

Conflicts due to misunderstandings or communication barriers.

No two people are exactly alike – not even twins. People have different points of view thought about by the many influences on their lives.

These effects include;

Genetics – the things that we inherit from our parents and over which we have no control. These things might involve the color of our eyes and hair to our health.

Upbringing – which involves the way in which our parents raised us and the values ​​they instilled in us.

Culture and religion – this influences the things that we believe to be true and the customs and traditions we follow

Economics – our view on life can be strongly influenced by our economic situation, whether we are financially comfortable or struggling to make ends meet.

Education – our level of education will also have a large impact on what we think and how we view the world.

The environment – this means the environment in which we operate: our neighborhoods, housing situation, and the people we are surrounded by.

Life experience – involves all the experiences we have had in our lives, the successes and failures, the lessons we have learned from these experiences and the many roles that we have played to date.

All of these things and more go in to making us the individuals we are and our thoughts and feelings about almost everything we come into contact with will be shaped by these influences. So we have our own opinions and points of view on a whole range of things and these sometimes clash with other peoples. These clashes can take the form of a lively but friendly debate but they could just as easily become heated and aggravated and degenerate into shouting matches. The beginnings of conflict.

We can avoid these situations by reaching an understanding between the parties. This can be done by communicating openly and honestly, being willing to listen to the other person's point of view – remembering that the influences that have shaped their beliefs and view points could be very different to yours – but no less valid.

Misunderstandings and communication barriers could occur because;

  • People do not listen to each other with an eye to reaching an understanding
  • People are not prepared to compromise in order to resolve the situation
  • People do not understand cultural differences and are not prepared to make allowances for them.

To resolve a conflict situation steps need to be taken to bring the two points of view closer – to reach a compromise that both parties can accept. Part of good conflict resolution skills is the art of communication and recognizing the barriers to a good two way communications flow. These barriers can include;

  • Not paying attention . Customers or colleges who are trying to communicate with you will feel ignored and frustrated if you allow yourself to become distracted. Not paying attention to them is rude and unprofessional and stops the communication flow. The result of this could be the loss of a customer, a complaint about you to your manager or a loss of respect. Do not allow yourself to be distracted – focus your attention on what is being said and really listen to your customer or colleague. If you must interrupt the conversation to answer the phone, or speak with another staff member, excuse yourself.
  • Not looking at a person . Maintainable reasonable eye contact with the person you are communicating with is very important. It shows you are paying attention and that you are interested. By not looking at the person who is talking to you, you are indicating not only disinterest, but are also making them feel uncomfortable. They may think you are not being honest or trustworthy – you may be trying to hide something from them.
  • Interrupting . Interrupting someone when they are talking is a major barrier to open, two way communication and could easily cause conflict. Once again, you are indicating that you are not interested in what they have to say. Breaking into what they are saying to make your own thoughts known, or worse, to finish their sentences for them is no way to gain a proper understanding of the other persons needs and expectations. Allow them to finish what they are saying and pay attention. If, for some reason, the conversation needs to be wound up, then take control by asking leading or closing questions – that allow for short answers only.
  • Tone of voice. The tone of voice used during a conversation could also start a conflict. Arrogance, demand, anger, whining, disinterest etc. All add a tone to the voice that can cause people to react negatively. When dealing with customers or collections you should keep your tone friendly, calm and pleasant. At the very least, if you do feel annoyed you should try and keep the tone of your voice neutral.
  • Sarcasm . Sarcasm has no place in any conversation between two people and is an open invitation for conflict. There are times, in everyone's working life, when you think "If I get asked one more stupid question, I'll go mad!", But sarcasm in the face of a silly question or remark does nothing but hurt the other person and, Possibly, dent their self esteem. We often forget that not everyone knows everything we do about our industry – in fact most customers know very little about the tourism and hospitality industries. We can forgive our customers or junior collectors, therefore, for asking questions that may have obvious answers – obvious only to someone who knows. Show patience and understanding – it's just as easy and much more pleasant than giving a sarcastic or snide answer.
  • Rudeness . There is never any excuse for rudeness. A respectful and courteous attitude on your part should avoid or defuse any antagonism a person brings with them into your office. Should you find yourself never the less, dealing with a person with whatever you simply can not get along – rudeness is not the solution. Speak to your supervisor or manager and ask for their advice.
  • Cultural differences . Cultural differences can be the source of a great many conflicts. When dealing with people from other countries, other beliefs and so on, it is easy to misunderstand words, gestures and customs. If you want to excel at your profession it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the more prevalent customs of other cultures. On the whole, however, people from all over the world, from all walks of life and from all creeds respond well to respectful and courteous behavior. Do not make fun of customs you do not understand. Treat everyone you deal with, both customers and colleagues, with respect and you should do very well.

Any one of these points could provoke a customer or a college into complaining – which could then, potentially, turn into a conflict. It is a good idea therefore, to remain courteous and polite when dealing with other people.

Signs of potential conflict

A conflict does not happen suddenly. People do not go from calm and cool one moment to angry and aggressive next.

Conflict builds. It may take hours, weeks or even years. However long the process takes, there are always signs that a conflict is building. If these signs are recognized early then steps can be taken to quickly and efficiently resolve the situation before it becomes a major issue.

Early signs of conflict can include (but are not limited to):

  • Aggressive body language: Narrowed eyes – trying to intimidate you Flared nostrils – a sure sign of building anger as the person takes a deep breath, either to control themselves or to go on the attack Stretched muscles in the face and jaw line – tightened in building Anger and aggression Tapping fingers or feet – shows impatience
  • Malicious or negative gossip among collections
  • Difficulty in discussing an issue calmly and rationally
  • Tone of voice – indicating boredom, sarcasm, irritation

These are all signs of irritation, dissatisfaction or impatience. If you recognize any of these signs when dealing with a complaint or a conflict you should endeavor to find out the reasons why the other person is starting to feel impatient or irritated. You can do this by asking relevant questions and listening carefully to their answers. In this way you can reach an understanding of the issue at hand and possibly avoid escalating the situation.

If not recognized and acted upon these signs could then be followed by;

  • Raised voice – speaking rapidly in a loud, high pitched voice – or even shouting
  • Body leaning forward in an effort to intimidate
  • Hand gestures – finger poking and pointing in an aggressive manner.
  • Refusal to cooperate
  • Storming out of a room, slamming doors, drawers or implements

At this point you may already have a conflict and it will take careful handling to bring the situation back under control

Crisis situations

Complaints can escalate into conflict and conflict, if not resolved effectively, could potentially escalate into a crisis.

People wish to be taken seriously. If they are not, or are repeatedly ignored, it can become aggressive and a threat to safety and security of the organization and the people in it. Equally, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and are not in control of themselves, can present a danger to those around them if they are not handled carefully.

Situations where personal safety of customers or colleges may be threatened and assistance required may involve:

  • Drug or alcohol affected persons
  • People with guns or other weapons
  • Situations where someone has been or may be hurt
  • People who appear to be violent or threatening
  • Situations where customers refuse to leave or to be pacified.

In these cases it is extremely important to:

  • Keep calm yourself and to try and calm the other person.
  • Move them, discreetly, out of the main area of ​​your office or shop
  • Take note of details of the problem for future reference
  • DO NOT argue with a person who is visibly upset or aggressive as this will only compound the situation.
  • Bring in the assistance of relevant management, security and / or entities such as police as soon as possible.

Organizational requirements

You can not simply make a conflict go away by giving the complaining party whatever they want. Resolving a conflict is a deferred balance between reaching an agreement between parties while at the same time staying within the constraints of your organizations requirements and policies.

These constraints may include:

Costs issues. Often, a conflict with a customer will be centred around dissatisfaction with a product or service. If the product or service was actually found to be faulty then the simplest solution to the problem is a straight forward replacement. Sometimes, however, the situation is not as simple and the customer will demand further compensation. In these cases a replacement may not be enough and something extra may need to be done. When determining the amount of compensation, if any, to be offered to the client, there are a few issues to consider. These could include;

  • Customer good will & repeat business. If your organization is dependent on customers coming back again then this is an important consideration.
  • Organisations reputation. A dissatisfied customer will tell many people that they received bad service from an organization who did not meet their needs and this can lead to a loss of business.
  • Direct cost. Compensation to a client can be in the form of cash, additional products or services, or an upgrade to the product or service they have purchased. If compensation is to be of a monetary nature then the cost to the organization must be considered.

Organization policy on refunds or exchange . Most organizations will have policies on giving refunds. Some companies will give money back, others will give credit for products or services they provide. In the tourism industry you must also consider the refund policies of the principals you deal with. For example some advance purchase airline tickets do not allow refunds at all within a given period prior to departure and if the customer does not use the ticket, they have lost their money.

So before agreeing to provide a solution to the customer, you must first determine if it is financially viable to do so and to take the organizations policies and procedures into account.

Resolving conflict situations

When a person has purchased a product or service from your organization and it is not what they expected it to be, or does not perform properly they will feel dissatisfied and disappointed. As a consequence when this person complains that they generally believe that they have a legitimate reason for doing so and they may do so long and heatedly to the first person they come across in your organization. This might be you – even though you had nothing to do with the original sale and have never met the customer. The worst thing you can do is tell them its not your problem.

Take ownership of the issue, regardless of whether you were involved in the problem or not. "Passing the buck" at this point is not going to help matters. The customer approached YOU, so deal with the issue and do not pass them off saying "It's not my problem" or "The lady who handled this is not here now ….". At that particular moment in time the customer does not see you, the individual, they see you, the representative of the company, so it is you, the representative of the company, they expect to help them.

If you were not part of the original transaction where the problem occurred get as much information as you can from the customer to help you determine what to do. For example, you could ask;

  • Exactly what the problem is
  • When & where it occurred
  • How long ago the problem occurred
  • What they paid for the product or service
  • How they see the situation being resolved – this will give you an idea of ​​the person's expectations and how they impact on the organization's policies and procedures.

If the person who was involved in the original transaction is available you should ask them to join the discussion in order to get both sides of the picture. It is very important, however, to keep to the issue at hand and not to let emotions or ego get in the way of finding a solution to the problem; Stay calm, listen to all points of view with an open mind and try to keep the communications process flowing in a positive manner.

Finding a solution to a conflict involves a certain set of skills and techniques. It takes a step by step approach to ensure a positive income for all parties concerned.

Steps in resolving conflict

Finding a solution to a conflict will often become a matter of "give and take" where one party makes a suggestion that may not be entirely acceptable to the other. When this happens you will need to define the issues as seen by all parties and negotiate a mutually acceptable exit. This would normally occur in a logical sequence:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Work out what you want out of the conflict
  3. Brainstorm for options
  4. Evaluate solutions
  5. Decide on solutions

Define the problem

Everyone involved in the conflict needs to agree on a definition of the problem before it can be solved. This could mean describing the problem in terms of each persons needs and understanding of the issue at hand. Questions to consider might include:

  • What is the problem? Is it only my problem? Who else is involved?
  • Can I solve it? Is it worth solving?
  • Is this the real problem or merely a symptom of a larger one?
  • Does it need an immediate solution or can it wait? Is it likely to go away by itself? Can I risk ignoring it?
  • Does the problem have ethical dimensions?
  • What conditions must the solution satisfy?
  • Will the solution affect something that must remain unchanged?
  • Will I need help?

Asking these types of questions will outline what all the issues are from various perspectives giving you a firm foundation for exploring options. Depending on the nature of the problem and what it will take to resolve it, it might in extreme cases even be worth letting the matter go. It is important to keep a customer satisfied, but not at all costs. If a customer is being completely unreasonable and demanding then sometimes it is the better option to lose that customer.

Work out what you want out of the conflict

You also need to develop a clear understanding of the expected outcome. This could be; An agreement on acceptable compensation for faulty products or service a better relationship with the other party a mutually acceptable solution to an ongoing work issue the other person to respect your opinion With firm expectations of what would be an acceptable exit in mind, you can then begin To negotiate with the other party until an agreement has been reached.

Brainstorm for options – When all parties concerned have had the opportunity to explain their feelings on the matter, then all of the issues should be out in the open. At this point you can look at the various options available. There might be a number of solutions to the problem which could work for everyone involved. Do not get stuck on one solution just because it's the first one you find. Be creative about the possibilities available to you, and look for common ground. You can decide from the options later.

Evaluate solutions – In deciding the best result from the options available you should weigh up the pros and cons of each one based on the organizations policies and procedures, cost or budgetary constraints, legal ramifications and mutual benefit. When discussing and evaluating options it is often the case that each party will prefer an option that most closely gives them what they want regardless of its impact on the other party. In these cases you need to negotiate and compromise so that an agreement that both parties are satisfied with can be reached.

The Art of Compromise – Compromise does not mean giving in or losing. It means looking for ways to meet each others needs by making concessions to the other party involved. Compromise involves negotiating what you are, or are not, prepared to do in order to get what you want.

You should be open to good arguments rather than pressure or manipulation from the other party. Be open to reason but closed to threats. In difficult conflicts it might be necessary to bring in another person to mediate. This person may need to be skilled, mutually respected, and not have a personal interest in the outcome.

Decide on a mutually acceptable solution – When all available options have been tabled and considered then you can decide on the best one – the one that keeps both parties happy! Make sure each person takes responsibility for agreeing with the decision. This may take the form of a written agreement or contract, or a letter outlining what was agreed to.

Separate your feelings from the problem . When your emotions get tangled up in the pros and cons of an argument you can not reach the best conclusion. If you take a strong position because of the way you feel, you can not work out the best solution to the problem because your perception of it is controlled by things which are likely to have nothing to do with the problem. It's not about who is right or wrong. Arguing over who fault it is or placing blame will do nothing but increase tension and get in the way of resolving the situation. You should not let your feelings get in the way. Points that can help here include:

  • Act and speak calmly. Arguing with a customer or colleague could result in a full blown confrontation. Pause before making a response to them. This will give you time to collect yourself, to calm any irritation you might feel and also gives you a chance to work out how to phrase your response in the most appropriate way.
  • Try to put yourself in the other person's place; Empathise with them. Use expressions such as "I can understand why you would feel that way" and encourage them to share their point of view.
  • Listen carefully and completely to what they are saying. Hear them out without interrupting them. Show you are interested through a positive listening attitude and ask clarifying questions to make sure you have understood them correctly.
  • Be patient and understanding. Do not interrupt them. Once they have had their say, they will generally be a lot calmer and easier to reason with. The problem can then often be resolved in a civilized manner.
  • At the appropriate time, acknowledge their point of view and ask them to give you the court of now listening to your (organization's) position. For example; "I understand what you are saying, may I now explain our position to you, and then we can see how we could solve the problem together?"

Documentation

Recording accurate information about complaints, conflicts and their outcomes is a very important part of any business. This type of information will show (among other things);

  • Areas of the business that are not working properly
  • Processes and procedures that need to be changed.
  • Things that customer like / or do not like about your products or services
  • Gaps in the supply and demand of your products or services

With this information in hand, an organization can then use it to continuously improve its products, services, image and reputation.

Information can be recorded by way of (but not limited to):

  • Letters (or emails) of complaint. These should always be taken seriously. A written complaint should be answered immediately – even if it is simply to advise the customer what will happen next. An investigation of the complaint should follow and the customer should then be advised of the outcome. A report of the complaint and the outcome should then be sent to the relevant supervisor or manager for any further action needed.
  • Notes taken during a phone call or after a face to face meeting. Once again, it is good business practice to record the details of complaints or discussions about conflicts. These notes can be used for the organization's continuous improvement program but they can also be used as reminders of the conversation should a dispute arise.
  • Formal documentation. These could be; Refund forms Credit notes Contracts or agreement forms

Evaluating conflict situations

It is good business practice to continuously look for ways in which an organization can improve its practices and procedures. One of the main ways an organization can do this is by seeking feedback – comments from customers, staff and other visitors to the organization. Reasons for seeking feedback can include;

  • To ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business
  • To maintain its reputation
  • To learn from errors or mistakes
  • To make improvements to the service or product delivery or quality to improve productivity and efficiency
  • Follow up to see if customer is satisfied in the case of a complaint or conflict

In a matter as important as a complaint or a conflict, feedback can also be taken by way of a phone call, letter or even even a personal visit to the person concerned to ensure that any issue that exists between the conflicting parties has been successfully resolved.

When looking for how effective the solution to a conflict was, some of the questions that should be asked could include:

Why did this situation happen in the first place ? A close examination of the circumances surrounding the matter of conflict from both the customers and the organizations perspective can show up problems in procedure, policy or product or service delivery. Issues to look at could include;

  • Was there a breakdown in communication?
  • Is the service delivery as good as it could be?
  • Are the organization's policies and procedures as effective as they could be?
  • Was the service / product faulty in some way?

Did we resolve it effectively ? This is a very important question from the customers and the organizations point of view.

  • For the customer, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they are satisfied, that they have received value for their money and most importantly that they will probably continue to do business with you.
  • For the organization, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they have retained a customer and kept within organizational guidelines and budgets

When looking at how the problem was resolved:

  • Ask critical questions about the output – was it the best possible option for every one concerned? Did it cost your organization money? Too much money? Was the income worth the cost?
  • Evaluate the customer's reaction to your proposal – were they happy with it? Were they prepared to be reasonable? Will they continue to do business with you?
  • Compare the situation to any previous incidents of this nature. How was it handled last time? Is there a pattern emerging that should be addressed?
  • What can we do to prevent it happening in the future? By looking at how the problem occurred in the first place and how effectively you resolved it you can then take any necessary steps to prevent the same thing happening again. This might mean; A change in policy or procedure A change in a product or service training staff in customer service skills Training staff in conflict and complaint handling

By asking these, and other relevant questions, you can make improvements to the organization. This could lead to greater customer and staff satisfaction which will have a positive impact on the organizations continued success and prosperity.

For more information go to: www.lptraining.com.au

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A Heartfelt New Year’s Resolution: Show You Care

I heard the sirens behind me before I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance, followed closely by a fire truck. Like everyone else on the roadway, I looked around trying to figure out where the ambulance was heading, and as soon as I saw the lights, eased my car over to the right side of the road. Only the ambulance wasn’t traveling in the direction of traffic, the ambulance was heading for whichever side of the roadway was clear, if only for a few car-lengths – much to the surprise, no doubt, of those in the oncoming lane of traffic.

I figured it must be a truly urgent emergency for the ambulance and fire truck to be commandeering both sides of Pacific Coast Highway. Nonetheless, drivers on either side were nudging their cars onto the side, out of the way. At no time did the ambulance have to blow its horn, slow down, or do anything else to get where it needed to go.

We care. We really do. In moments of crisis, large or small, our respect for one another simply as human beings, shows up. I am reminded of a very touching video posted in the final weeks of the chaotic Presidential campaigns, which featured a woman trying to find the owner of a lost dog found wandering in a parking lot. It was an “equal opportunity” posting, in that the same situation was played out in both Trump and Clinton rallies. The woman wore a “Trump” t-shirt in the Clinton situation, and a “Clinton” t-shirt in the Trump situation. Didn’t matter. People in both rallies, without exception, treated the woman with respect, and tried their very best to help her find the dog’s owner. Small crisis, true, but oh-so-telling.

We care. We really do. So what if, this New Year, we made a resolution to show our caring, our respect for our shared humanity, when it isn’t a matter of a lost dog or tragic accident? What if, just as a matter of course, throughout our most ordinary of days, we made the effort to give people the benefit of the doubt, to assume people are doing their best (including ourselves!), and to respect them, regardless of whether or not we agree with them?

I know, it’s easier to do with lost dogs than it is with co-workers or family, much less strangers who are rude to us or ignore us altogether. But heck, we’re still all in this together, and a little bit of respect and consideration goes a long way.

And who knows? Someone may give you some of that respect and consideration when you least expect it, in a most delightful way.

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Fulfilment by Amazon and How It Helps Explode Your Business Profits

In this modern society where almost everything is digital, it is hard to believe that there are still those who prefer traditional methods, such as in the field of advertising.

Online advertising has been a hit in the last decade. Internet marketing has taken over businesses by storm and doubled their revenue. However, some people still see the field as unnecessary and taxing so they try to convince others to veer away. Below are other reasons why some individuals dislike online marketing:

Inability to adapt with technology
A person may refuse the method because they may not be technology savvy. They are afraid that technology is hard to monitor or manipulate so they choose to stay manual.

Mastery of craft
A lot of traditional people spent years perfecting their craft, so they believe that their capabilities are sufficient. Online marketing is a threat to physical advertising because it minimizes the need for logistics, hence the repulsion.

Less Jobs
Some people think that digital work reduces employment opportunities due to computers replacing manual labor. Only a handful of people are necessary to make internet marketing work.

Information Breach
Putting everything on the internet is a risk for hacking or information leakage that’s why many are skeptical about it. Online marketing requires a substantial amount of data that can be easily stolen or erased.

Lack of Equipment
Many marketers don’t have reliable internet or computers to handle critical work. Manual advertising is easier to delegate and segregate, so smaller businesses prefer it.

Lack of Empathy
Advertisers believe that online marketing is not good for client relations because it promotes a more detached form of communication and a robotic response. Manual advertising is more personal so it is easier to convince people.

Lack of Authenticity
Marketers are wary of online advertising because people nowadays are harder to convince, especially in terms of the authenticity of a product. Since everything can be manipulated or edited, they would have to work more to attract clients.

Population of Non-internet users
A big percent of the population is still manual so it is impractical to promote online marketing in these areas. Online commercials only work with regular exposure but if the audience only uses the internet a few times then it is a wasted effort. Manual advertising is beneficial when people are more inclined to support physical efforts or are part of a community network.

Promotes Mediocrity
Senior marketers believe that online marketing encourages laziness in the younger advertisers because most materials can be recycled, edited or rehashed. Marketing is a skill developed from experience and virtual training may not be enough to develop and create a better breed of advertisers.

Technology is a waste
People believe that using gadgets and computers are harmful to the health of workers so they don’t encourage the employment related to such. Manual advertising promotes brain functions through practice and personal relationships development. It is important for some people to backlog technology to help the environment.

Despite the many reasons why people may talk you out of online marketing, it is still undeniable that this form of marketing has a lot of potential. Learn how you can maximize the web when it comes to marketing your products and services, so you can expand your reach.

John Richards has many years of experience creating and developing books, eBooks, manuals, and videos, on a variety of subjects, including online wealth, pet care, Internet marketing, direct mail, health and wellness, and CD/DVD distribution service. John’s website provides ideas and practical advice for people who want to enjoy the rewards of earning an income from home using simple websites.

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The Best Places For Destination Weddings

Wedding bells are ringing everywhere! If you’re someone who is planning to get married on the coming year then you need to read what we have to say before you make any further wedding plans. For all us, the day we get married is probably the most important day of our lives and we want to make sure it is arranged that way as well. To do that, you don’t necessarily have to throw a grand wedding at the most expensive place around. A simple and much cheaper alternative is to get married at one of the following locations which are known for their exotic beauty and their services all of which are at your beck and call for very economical prices. And before you move on, here’s a tip – if you’re planning a destination wedding make sure you book flight tickets well in advance!

1. Belize:
This place is on top of our list of wedding destinations and the reason for that is because it offers so much for so little. The place has some extremely beautiful destinations and rainforests as well as old Mayan ruins. Oh and let’s not forget that this place is also home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The best thing about this place is that instead of being filled with expensive resorts like most of the other exotic travel locations, it has a lot of economical lodges and the sea food here is divine yet cheap too. So you can even host a wedding feast filled with exotic sea food but still save a lot in your pocket.

2. Jamaica:
The best thing about Jamaica is that it provides you with a choice of two very different and equally beautiful locations. You can choose to get married on the white sandy beaches or near the Rocky Mountains depending on what you like. Or maybe you could get married on the beach and throw the dinner or reception in the mountains to get the best of both worlds. And on top of that, the arrangements here are really cheap as compared to other travel destinations.

3. Vermont:
This small collection of beautiful landscapes and homey villages is probably the best travel destination to get married in. The scenic beauty here gives you the perfect backdrop to take your wedding vows and have a fun pre or post wedding shoot too. There are a lot of cozy and warm bed and baths here as well as halls where you can hold your wedding party. And the best part of this is that you can get all of this at very very economical prices.

Now that you know the best places to get married in, we suggest that you start planning for your perfect destination wedding and make sure you book flight tickets well before time so as to avoid any unnecessary delays and problems in your plans! All the best! Cheers to new beginnings!

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Tips To Help You Plan A Fulfilling Cruise

Cruises are some of the most exciting vacations you can choose to enjoy. They offer unbeatable value because you do not have to think about constant transportation needs from place to place and neither do you have to pay costly airfares to your destination. The cruises give you the chance to enjoy refreshing sea air helping you relax and simply enjoy the warm ocean breezes whenever. With so many ports scattered around the world, you can place a cruise travel to visit areas that you have always wanted to visit.

If you love water and water activities, then cruises will prove to be most rewarding to you. But then to enjoy the most pleasant experience you still need to plan properly for your cruise. When everything is in order from the initial stages, then you are bound to enjoy a fulfilling vacation on a ship.

1. Know the number of people cruising with you

If it is just a few of you, then planning should be easy, but you will need a lot more planning and coordination when you plan to travel with more family members and friends. If you are bringing children along, then you need to make sure that the cruise package has plenty of activities for them too. You can plan for a private kind of cruises or you can choose to pay for cruises that accommodate lots of other people headed the same direction you are. The important thing is to choose what works for you and the people you are tagging along.

2. Choose the best cruise length

Cruise packages differ in length and the vacation time you have available should help you select the length that is most suitable. A cruise can be only a few days or you can choose one that goes for a week and more. A weekend cruise can be a great choice for those with little time to spare. With so many destinations and packages, you should be able to plan a cruise length that you can afford and enjoy to the fullest.

3. Pick the best stateroom

People have different preferences when it comes to cruises and your stateroom choices should be guided by your vacation preferences. For instance, if what you dream of is lounging in a private balcony as you enjoy the gracious tropical views, then a balcony stateroom is the ideal selection. Couples can cruise in a suite or a penthouse to get the most from the cruise vacation. If you are a little pressed on a budget, then you can always settle for an inside stateroom. Some cruise packages can offer you additions such as 24 hour butler for your luxury experience.

4. Consider onboard activities

Even when you are going on a romantic cruise vacation, you will definitely need activities to fill your time on board. Find out what activities you will find on-board and how exciting they will make your cruise. Spa services, wine tasting, bingo, culinary demonstrations, live entertainments and others are some of the most popular on most cruises.

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Fun Games to Play With Children, 10 Spontaneous Games to Enrich Their Lives

1. NATURE BRACELETS

For Ages: 1-5

You can start your little one’s exploration and appreciation of nature with this game of making a masking tape nature bracelet. They’ll notice all the lovely color and shape variations there are in petals and leaves and adorn their wrists with beauty.

MATERIALS:

Masking tape

Leaves and flower petals

DIRECTIONS:

Wrap a piece of masking tape around your child’s wrist, sticky side up, and then go exploring to find wonderful leaves, beautiful flower petals and other interesting things to attach to the bracelet.

Before bedtime, snip the bracelet off and attach it next to his bed or somewhere in view so he can admire his work and remember his fun time.

2. RING OF STRING

For Ages:3-10 years

In this game, children are encouraged to really look closely at one spot and see all there is to see. There is a lot of pleasure to be had from noticing the tiny wonders of nature that are in our own back yard.

MATERIALS:

String

Magnifying glass or jar with water in it (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Make a small circle on the ground with the string. Look carefully at the enclosed area with your child and notice what is growing there. Pull out a weed or blade of grass and see what the roots looks like. Is there a seedpod in the area? What’s inside?

Poke a hole and see if there are any insects around. What are they? What are they doing? Use a magnifying glass or a jar with water in it and look at different things up close.

Gather small things to examine and collect such as pinecones, acorns, petals, seeds, bark, leaves and pretty pebbles.

3. A SPOTLIGHT IN THE DARK

For Ages 1-5 years

Babies are fascinated with anything new. It’s fun for us to be with a little one when she discovers something for the first time. In this game it’s the delight of a flashlight in the dark

MATERIALS:

One or two flashlights

DIRECTIONS:

Keep the lights off in the room that you are in and scan the room with a flashlight, spotlighting different familiar things. “Look there’s the television. Here is the table and there is your high chair.”

You know your little one is going to want a chance to hold the flashlight. Let her. She can shine it wherever she wants or she has to find, with her flashlight, an object you name.

As she gets older and more coordinated, continue this game, but this time you both have flashlights and you encourage her to “catch” your spotlight. You move your spotlight around the room and she has to move hers so it “catches” yours by covering your spotlight with hers.

Your turn to chase next.

4. THE KNOCKING GAME

For: All Ages

Listening to and identifying the different sounds objects make when you knock on them is a game that can be played at any time. When you want to change the focus of fussing children, try saying: “Hey, let’s play a game. Close your eyes and see if you can tell what I’m knocking on. No peeking”

MATERIALS:

Common objects found around the house

DIRECTIONS:

Ask your player to close her eyes and turn her back to you. Then see if she can guess the object you are knocking on with your fist (or a spoon). Start with easy things such as a table and a window, and work towards sounds that are harder to identify, such as knocking on a book or lamp.

Take turns being the identifier and the “knocker”.

5. TOOTHPICK ART

For: All Ages

There are many ways to teach the hands to have more finesse. This is one of them that you can play together.

MATERIALS:

Toothpicks, plain or colored

DIRECTIONS:

Make an abstract design by laying toothpicks out on a table or floor, with each player adding their toothpick to the design. The first player puts down one toothpick. The next player adds his at just the angle that seems pleasing to him. The next person then adds theirs to that design and so on and so on until an interesting design is formed.

Instead of an abstract design, you can make a specific scene. For example, make a house with a picket fence and trees.

!It takes concentration to pick up a skinny toothpick and decide the best place to put it. Placing each toothpick down carefully and trying not to jiggle the design encourages awareness of hand movements.

It also develops the pincer grasp, the small muscles that control the index finger and thumb.

But mainly, it’s fun to make art together.

6. TOE STEPPING

For: All Ages

Here’s a fun and silly game that requires concentration and quick movement. Try it sometime at a birthday party gathering, when you want to redirect excess energy, or when the kids are bored and want something quick and new to do.

MATERIALS:

None but fancy footwork

DIRECTIONS:

Two people, both barefoot or in stocking feet, face each other and hold hands. Each person tries to step on the others toes while at the same time keep their toes from being stepped on.

You might remind the players to step lightly on each other’s toes so that others will do the same to you. In other words, follow this game’s Golden Rule: Step on others as you would want to be stepped on.

Concentrating on both keeping out of the way and going for the goal is a kind of trial by fire. Pressure on their foot lets them know when they weren’t paying close enough attention!

7. BALLOON BASEBALL

For Ages: 1-5

Baseball may be fun but those balls can hurt and are hard to hit. For young ones, use a balloon!

MATERIALS:

Balloon

Bat: Make a bat out of anything handy, such as the inside cardboard tube of a paper towel roll or a rolled up section of yesterdays newspaper secured with tape

DIRECTIONS:

. Give the bat to your player and toss the balloon to her. The slow movements of a balloon floating towards her gives her plenty of time to line up her bat, swing at the ‘ball” and get the satisfaction of “connecting.”

If there is just the two of you, take turns being the pitcher/catcher and the batter.

If there are other players, their job is catching the “ball” as it leisurely floats down. Who ever catches it can have the next turn at batting or give it to someone who hasn’t had enough turns.

After everyone gets all the turns they want, you can change the game to “Golf”. Use boxes turned on their sides as “holes” and players see how many strokes it takes to hit the balloon in the box.

8. BACK WRITING

For Ages: 5-12 years

Writing invisible letters on a child’s back a fun way to write a secret message.

MATERIALS:

Paper

Pencil

DIRECTIONS:

One person sits with his back to another and a pad of paper and pencil in front of him.

The other person, using his finger, “draws” a letter on the person’s back.

At the same time, that person draws on the paper what he thinks is being drawn on his back.

Keep writing letter by letter until a whole message is given. The message could be a clue to where a treat is hidden!

Take turns so both the writer and the person written on get to experience what it feels like.

Have an older child play this game with a younger sibling as a fun way to help him learn his letters.

9. SELF PORTRAITS

For Ages: Teens

Many teenagers go through a phase where they become fascinated with their reflection in the mirror, especially during the period when their faces make that change from a child’s to a young adult’s.

In this activity, you and your changing child can take advantage of this fascination by drawing your mirror reflection

MATERIALS:

Mirror

Felt tip marker

Paper (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Both of you sit facing a mirror and draw your reflection directly on the mirror using a felt-tip marker.

You can also draw each other’s on paper but don’t look at the paper until the drawing is done. This often gives a kind of Picasso look to the work

10. SHOE MOUNTAIN

For: All Ages

When the kids are bored but antsy with energy, here is a quickie that is guaranteed to win the hearts of all ages. Your twelve year old will l be just as excited to play this game as your two year old.

MATERIALS:

Shoes

DIRECTIONS

Pile all the shoes you can readily find in a pile in a large cleared out space in the room. Tell the kids that this is not a pile of shoes (silly them to think that!) but is actually a huge mountain and they have to start from a distance away and run towards the mountain and then with one gigantic leap, make it over the top of the mountain to the other side.

It adds to the thrill if the others provide a drum roll–slapping their hands on the floor or on a table or on their knees as the next Leaper makes her run and then when that person is in the air, call out her name!

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