Research Paper Sample
PERFORMING WORKPLACE AND SAFETY PRACTICES
LO1. Follow workplace procedures for health, safety and security practices
LO2. Deal with emergency situations
LO3. Maintain safe personal presentation standards * Interpersonal skills * Good working attitude * Workplace health, safety and security procedures * Emergency procedures * Personal presentation * Safety Practices * Proper disposal of garbage * Practice safety measures * 5S Implementation * Ability to make decision * Time management * Ability to offer alternative steps * Care in handling and operating equipment
PROVIDING EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
LO1. Greet customer LO2. Identify customer needs LO3. Deliver service to customer LO4. Handle queries through telephone, fax machine, internet and email LO5. Handle complaints, evaluation and recommendations * Communication * Interactive communication with others * Interpersonal skills/ social graces with sincerity * Safety Practices * Safe work practices * Personal hygiene * Attitude * Attentive, patient and cordial * Eye-to-eye contact * Maintain teamwork and cooperation * Theory * Selling/upselling techniques * Interview techniques * Conflict resolution * Communication process * Communication barriers * Effective communication skills * Non-verbal communication - body language * Ability to work calmly and unobtrusively effectively * Ability to handle telephone inquiries and conversations * Correct procedure in handling telephone inquiries * Proper way of handling complaints
PERFORMING COMPUTER OPERATIONS What is Ergonomic Keyboard?
An ergonomic keyboard is a computer keyboard designed with ergonomic considerations to minimize muscle strain and a host of related problems. Typically such keyboards are constructed in a V shape, to allow right and left hands to type at a slight angle more natural to the human form.
What is Computer Ergonomics?
There are a number of factors involved in ensuring your work environment is ergonomic. These involve the position of the chair you sit in, the monitor, the keyboard surface, and other general techniques to create an ideal environment, which enhances comfort and productivity.
SEATING CONSIDERATIONS * Adjust the height of the chair to achieve proper posture - your legs from the body should be close to parallel to the floor. * Adjust the backrest of the chair to provide support for your lower back. * Your chair should have space behind your knees while seated properly with your back against the backrest. * Proper posture means having 90-degree or higher angles at the hips and knees with feet supported by an angled footrest.
MONITOR CONSIDERATIONS * Your monitor should be directly in front of you when typing - you, the keyboard and the monitor should form a straight line. * The top of the viewing surface of the monitor should be at or below eye level. * Your monitor should be located 1' to 1 ½' from your eyes. * Use accessories such as anti-glare filters and adjusting screen angle to prevent screen glare - if you can, use softer color schemes on your monitor. Orient your workstation so that you are parallel to sources of light.
KEYBOARD SURFACE CONSIDERATIONS * Ensure that your forearms are parallel to the floor or slightly downward when you are typing. * If you are using a mouse, make sure it is as close to the keyboard as possible - if you have limited surface, consider using a touch pad. * When typing, maintain a neutral wrist position where the forearms, wrists and hands are in a straight line.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS * Keep shoulders relaxed and head and neck in an upright but relaxed position. * Get regular eye exams and wear corrective lenses - use a task light to illuminate documents if background lighting is poor. * Use a document holder to place source documents as close to the screen as possible and at the same height and distance (use a document holder attached to the screen or an articulating one attached to the desk). * Avoid long periods of repetitive activity; where possible, alternate computer work with other tasks like filing, phone calls, etc.
Since the invention of computers from first generation and fourth generation computers, they have been classified according to their types and how they operate that is input, process and output information. Below you will get a brief discussion on various types of Computers we have
Computer types can be divided into 3 categories according to electronic nature. Types of computers are classified according to how a particular Computer functions. These computer types are
Analogue types of Computer uses what is known as analogue signals that are represented by a continuous set of varying voltages and are used in scientific research centers?, hospitals and flight centers
With analogue types of computer no values are represented by physical measurable quantities e.g. voltages. Analogue computer types program arithmetic and logical operations by measuring physical changes i.e. temperatures or pressure.
Digital Computer type
With these types of computers operation are on electrical input that can attain two inputs, states of ON=1 and state of OFF = 0. With digital type of computers data is represented by digital of 0 and 1 or off state and on state. Digital computer type recognizes data by counting discrete signal of (0 0r 1), they are high speed programmable; they compute values and stores results. After looking at the Digital computer type and how it functions will move to the third computer type as mentioned above.
Hybrid type of Computer
Hybrid computer types are very unique, in the sense that they combined both analogue and digital features and operations. With Hybrid computers operate by using digital to analogue convertor and analogue to digital convertor. By linking the two types of computer above you come up with this new computer type called Hybrid.
I hope this article on computer types gives you a basic foundation of how computers are classified and how they operate. Next article will focuses on computer sizes definition and characteristics, for more on Computer resources and related articles check out Computer Resource and if you found information relevant please help share these to as many people as possible whom you think would benefit from them
Main Features of an Operating System
The OS is responsible for managing the hardware of the computer and providing the interface between Hardware and other applications.
Operating Systems have traditionally been supplied with computers although this is changing in some circumstances. The most common operating systems are Windows, MacOS and Unix (or Linux). The operating system will give the computer a distinct look and feel and often creates a sense of loyalty in the users.
It is worth looking at the different types of operating system – especially for your computing exams!
Windows MacOS Linux
Main Features of Operating Systems
Operating System An operating system is the core software that allows a computer to run as an useful device, it manages the hardware, the user interface and all other software running on the computer.
KEY PARTS OF AN OPERATING SYSTEM KERNEL | This has the task of loading the applications into memory, making sure they do not interfere with one another and allowing them to share use of the CPU efficiently. The kernel also handles file storage to and from secondary storage | DEVICE DRIVERS | Every piece of hardware that makes up the computer or connected to it, will have a device driver that allows the operating system to control and communicate with it. | USER INTERFACE | This part of the operating system is directing what you see on the screen (via the device driver) and reacting to your key presses and other inputs. The user interface could be a basic command line interface (CLI) or a Graphical User Interface (GUI) | SYSTEM UTILITIES | This part of the operating system provides all the basic facilities that run in the background without user interaction. For example print spool services and cryptographic password management. |
Function of an operating system
No matter what type of computer (or computing device) an operating system is controlling, all operating systems are responsible for the following: * memory management * file management * input and output management * processor time management (scheduling) * providing the human/computer interface * providing system services such as printing spooling * handling all types of error while doing the above.(D) Memory Management
Modern Desktop Operating Systems
There are basically two types of OS used on PCs.
GUI (WINDOWS) * Allows the user to use much more memory than MS-DOS * Allows multi-tasking.
COMMAND DRIVEN * Relies on user typed commands. * Only one command (per prompt) can be executed at one time.
* All OS’s for PC’s allow the user to copy, delete and move files as well as letting the user create an hierarchical structure for storing files. They also allow the user to check the disk and tidy up the files on the disk. * The OS not only offers the user certain facilities, it also provides application software with I/O facilities.
Main Parts of Computer
If you use a desktop computer, you might already know that there isn't any single part called the "computer." A computer is really a system of many parts working together. The physical parts, which you can see and touch, are collectively called hardware. (Software, on the other hand, refers to the instructions, or programs, that tell the hardware what to do.)
The following illustration shows the most common hardware in a desktop computer system. Your system might look a little different, but it probably has most of these parts. A laptop computer has similar parts but combines them into a single, notebook-sized package.
The system unit is the core of a computer system. Usually it's a rectangular box placed on or underneath your desk. Inside this box are many electronic components that process information. The most important of these components is the central processing unit (CPU), or microprocessor, which acts as the "brain" of your computer. Another component is random access memory (RAM), which temporarily stores information that the CPU uses while the computer is on. The information stored in RAM is erased when the computer is turned off.
Almost every other part of your computer connects to the system unit using cables. The cables plug into specific ports (openings), typically on the back of the system unit. Hardware that is not part of the system unit is sometimes called a peripheral device or device.
Your computer has one or more disk drives—devices that store information on a metal or plastic disk. The disk preserves the information even when your computer is turned off.
Hard disk drive
Your computer's hard disk drive stores information on a hard disk—a rigid platter or stack of platters with a magnetic surface. Because hard disks can hold massive amounts of information, they usually serve as your computer's primary means of storage, holding almost all of your programs and files. The hard disk drive is normally located inside the system unit.
CD and DVD drives
Nearly all computers today come equipped with a CD or DVD drive, usually located on the front of the system unit. CD drives use lasers to read (retrieve) data from a CD; many CD drives can also write (record) data onto CDs. If you have a recordable disk drive, you can store copies of your files on blank CDs. You can also use a CD drive to play music CDs on your computer. DVD drives can do everything that CD drives can, plus read DVDs. If you have a DVD drive, you can watch movies on your computer. Many DVD drives can record data onto blank DVDs.
Floppy disk drive
Floppy disk drives store information on floppy disks, also called floppies or diskettes. Compared to CDs and DVDs, floppy disks can store only a small amount of data. They also retrieve information more slowly and are more prone to damage. For these reasons, floppy disk drives are less popular than they used to be, although some computers still include them.
Why are these disks called "floppy" disks? The outside is made of hard plastic, but that's just the sleeve. The disk inside is made of a thin, flexible vinyl material.
A mouse is a small device used to point to and select items on your computer screen. Although mice come in many shapes, the typical mouse does look a bit like an actual mouse. It's small, oblong, and connected to the system unit by a long wire that resembles a tail. Some newer mice are wireless.
A mouse usually has two buttons: A primary button (usually the left button) and a secondary button. Many mice also have a wheel between the two buttons, which allows you to scroll smoothly through screens of information.
When you move the mouse with your hand, a pointer on your screen moves in the same direction. (The pointer's appearance might change depending on where it's positioned on your screen.) When you want to select an item, you point to the item and then click (press and release) the primary button. Pointing and clicking with your mouse is the main way to interact with your computer. For more information, see Using your mouse.
A keyboard is used mainly for typing text into your computer. Like the keyboard on a typewriter, it has keys for letters and numbers, but it also has special keys: * The function keys, found on the top row, perform different functions depending on where they are used. * The numeric keypad, located on the right side of most keyboards, allows you to enter numbers quickly. * The navigation keys, such as the arrow keys, allow you to move your position within a document or webpage.
You can also use your keyboard to perform many of the same tasks you can perform with a mouse. For more information, see Using your keyboard.
A monitor displays information in visual form, using text and graphics. The portion of the monitor that displays the information is called the screen. Like a television screen, a computer screen can show still or moving pictures.
There are two basic types of monitors: CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors and the newer LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors. Both types produce sharp images, but LCD monitors have the advantage of being much thinner and lighter.
A printer transfers data from a computer onto paper. You don't need a printer to use your computer, but having one allows you to print email, cards, invitations, announcements, and other material. Many people also like being able to print their own photos at home.
The two main types of printers are inkjet printers and laser printers. Inkjet printers are the most popular printers for the home. They can print in black and white or in full color and can produce high-quality photographs when used with special paper. Laser printers are faster and generally better able to handle heavy use.
Speakers are used to play sound. They can be built into the system unit or connected with cables. Speakers allow you to listen to music and hear sound effects from your computer.
To connect your computer to the Internet, you need a modem. A modem is a device that sends and receives computer information over a telephone line or high-speed cable. Modems are sometimes built into the system unit, but higher-speed modems are usually separate components.
Data storage device is a device for recording (storing) information (data). Recording can be done using virtually any form of energy, spanning from manual muscle power in handwriting, to acoustic vibrations in phonographic recording, to electromagnetic energy modulating magnetic tape and optical discs.
A storage device may hold information, process information, or both. A device that only holds information is a recording medium. Devices that process information (data storage equipment) may either access a separate portable (removable) recording medium or a permanent component to store and retrieve information.
Types of Primary Storage Devices
There are two types of primary storage: 1. Random Access Memory (RAM) – Volatile primary storage 2. Read Only Memory – Non-volatile primary storage
Types of Read Only Memory (ROM) * Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) * Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM)
Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM)
Primary Storage Functions
Types of software
A layer structure showing where theoperating system software and application software are situated while running on a typical desktop computer
Software includes all the various forms and roles that digitally stored data may have and play in a computer (or similar system), regardless of whether the data is used as codefor a CPU, or other interpreter, or whether it represents other kinds of information. Software thus encompasses a wide array of products that may be developed using different techniques such as ordinary programming languages, scripting languages,microcode, or an FPGA configuration.
The types of software include web pages developed in languages and frameworks likeHTML, PHP, Perl, JSP, ASP.NET, XML, and desktop applications like OpenOffice.org,Microsoft Word developed in languages like C, C++, Objective-C, Java, C#, orSmalltalk. Application software usually runs on an underlying software operating systems such as Linux or Microsoft Windows. Software (or firmware) is also used invideo games and for the configurable parts of the logic systems of automobiles,televisions, and other consumer electronics.
Practical computer systems divide software systems into three major classes: system software, programming software and application software, although the distinction is arbitrary, and often blurred.
System software is computer software designed to operate the computer hardware, to provide basic functionality, and to provide a platform for running application software. System software includes device drivers, operating systems, servers,utilities, and window systems.
System software is responsible for managing a variety of independent hardware components, so that they can work together harmoniously. Its purpose is to unburden the application software programmer from the often complex details of the particular computer being used, including such accessories as communications devices, printers, device readers, displays and keyboards, and also to partition the computer's resources such as memory and processor time in a safe and stable manner.
Programming software include tools in the form of programs or applications that software developers use to create, debug, maintain, or otherwise support other programs and applications. The term usually refers to relatively simple programs such ascompilers, debuggers, interpreters, linkers, and text editors, that can be combined together to accomplish a task, much as one might use multiple hand tools to fix a physical object. Programming tools are intended to assist a programmer in writing computer programs, and they may be combined in an integrated development environment (IDE) to more easily manage all of these functions.
Application software is developed to perform in any task that benefits from computation. It is a set of programs that allows the computer to perform a specific data processing job for the user. It is a broad category, and encompasses software of many kinds, including the internet browser being used to display this page.
Occupational safety and health (OSH)
Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goals of occupational safety and health programs include to foster a safe and healthy work environment. OSH may also protect co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment.
Occupational safety and health can be important for moral, legal, and financial reasons. Moral obligations would involve the protection of employee's lives and health. Legal reasons for OSH practices relate to the preventative, punitive and compensatory effects of laws that protect worker's safety and health. OSH can also reduce employee injury and illness related costs, including medical care, sick leave and disability benefit costs. OSH may involve interactions among many subject areas, including occupational medicine, occupational hygiene, public health, safety engineering, industrial engineering, chemistry, health physics, ergonomics and occupational. Occupational safety and health by industry
Specific occupational safety and health concerns vary greatly by sector and industry. Construction workers might be particularly at risk of falls, for instance, whereas fishermen might be particularly at risk of drowning. The United States Statistics identifies the fishing, aviation, lumber, metalworking, agriculture, mining and transportation industries as among some of the more dangerous for workers.
Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, incurring more occupational fatalities than any other sector in both the United States and in the European Union. In 2009, the fatal occupational injury rate among construction workers in the United States was nearly three times that for all workers. Falls are one of the most common causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries among construction workers. Proper safety equipment such as harnesses and guardrails and procedures such as securing ladders and inspecting scaffolding can curtail the risk of occupational injuries in the construction industry.
Rollover protection bar on a Fordsontractor.
Agriculture workers are often at risk of work-related injuries, lung disease, noise-induced hearing loss, skin disease, as well as certain cancers related to chemical use or prolonged sun exposure. On industrialized farms, injuries frequently involve the use ofagricultural machinery. The most common cause of fatal agricultural injuries in the United States is tractor rollovers, which can be prevented by the use of roll over protection structures which limit the risk of injury in case a tractor rolls over.Pesticides and other chemicals used in farming can also be hazardous to worker health, and workers exposed to pesticides may experience illnesses or birth defects. As an industry in which families, including children, commonly work alongside their families, agriculture is a common source of occupational injuries and illnesses among younger workers. Common causes of fatal injuries among young farm worker include drowning, machinery and motor vehicle-related accidents.
As the number of service sector jobs has risen in developed countries, more and more jobs have become sedentary, presenting a different array of health problems than those associated with manufacturing and the primary sector. Contemporary problems such as the growing rate of obesity and issues relating to stress and overwork in many countries have further complicated the interaction between work and health. Occupational Health and Safety The purpose of this Safety Bulletin is to help you understand the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In the event of a difference between this Safety Bulletin and the Act, the Act prevails. Please consult the original Act, Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Occupational Health and Safety Code for all purposes of applying the law. This Safety Bulletin is to help you understand your role in ensuring health and safety at the work site.
Our goal – health and safety A safe and healthy work environment is a goal everyone shares. For that reason Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act is an important piece of legislation that affects you. The Act sets standards to protect and promote the health and safety of workers throughout Alberta. It outlines your responsibilities as an employer, as well as the responsibilities of others working at or involved with the work site. This Safety Bulletin describes the major sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It will help you understand how to comply with the legislation and make your work site a healthier and safer place. The Act and regulations The Act gives the government authority to make regulations and codes (or rules) about health and safety in the workplace. Under the legislative framework, the Act prescribes basic duties and obligations of employers and workers. The Regulation addresses requirements related to general government policy and administrative matters. The Code specifies all the mandatory technical standards and safety rules that employers and workers have to comply with to fulfill their obligations. It’s your responsibility Are you doing everything you can to protect the health and safety of the workers you employ? The Act says that you, as an employer, must do everything you reasonably can to protect the health and safety of your workers. This means that you must do a hazard assessment of your work site and take effective measures to control the hazards identified. In addition, you must ensure that all workers who may be affected by the hazards are familiar with the necessary health and safety measures or procedures before the work begins. Equipment at your work site must be maintained in safe working order, and dangerous chemicals must be properly labeled and stored. You must set up safe-work practices at your site and make sure these practices are followed. It is up to you to make sure workers have the skills and training needed to do their jobs safely. If controlled products (such as dangerous substances or chemicals) are made, stored or used at your work site, the Act requires you to provide labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).Also, you must train your workers how to use controlled products safely. You must give all workers the information they need to do their jobs safely. OHS can help you obtain the required information. If you employ workers who may be exposed to certain controlled products (for example, chemicals), you must make sure appropriate protective measures are implemented. In some cases, specific health examinations of the workers may be required. Examinations should take place during normal working hours and at your expense. In cases where workers are exposed to excessive noise, you must periodically test their hearing. A worker’s responsibility Workers also have duties under the Act. They must work in a safe manner, be safety conscious on the job and co-operate with you in the health and safety measures you set up. The Act requires you to make your workers aware of their duties. More details about the worker’s rights and responsibilities are described in the publication: The Occupational Health and Safety Act: A Worker’s Guide (LI008) Reading comprehension
Reading comprehension is defined as understanding written material that is read, or the process of 'constructing meaning' from written material. This process is often complex and can be difficult for some people, especially people with a specific learning disability or intellectual impairment. The main strategies used in understanding written material include: * applying the information being read to previous knowledge to gain understanding * checking understanding as progressing through the text rather than just reading * clarifying information where needed * visualising what is happening in the text to ‘create a picture’ of context * identifying word and sentence meanings or decoding the text * questioning written material by using existing knowledge to predict meaning.
The ability to read and understand written material is a necessary requirement in most workplaces. Examples of reading material relevant to the workplace include procedure manuals, operating instructions, research material, formal correspondence, road maps, computer documents and email. It can be very stressful for employees who have difficulty reading and understanding written material. If poor reading comprehension is not identified or not properly accommodated for, this can have ramifications in the workplace with regard to job performance and safety.
Workplace solutions and adjustments
There are a range of training options, services and aids which can assist and support people who may experience difficulty with reading comprehension.
On the job strategies
The follow solutions can improve reading comprehension among employees: * confirming a person's understanding by demonstration or repeating back in their own words what was read, as people may say that they understand when they don’t * developing a glossary of commonly used terms and acronyms for the workplace so that jargon and technical information can be better understood by all * developing written material which incorporates relevant pictures, diagrams, bullet points and summaries wherever possible to replace complex written descriptions or instructions * provide training materials in different formats such as having them recorded in audio format or on DVD to allow learning through audio and visual means if preferred. Communication Skills
Communication Skills in the workplace can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. It will improve your overall workplace culture. Another positive is that good solid organizational communication eliminates barriers and resolve problems. While at the same time building stronger workplace relationships for increased productivity. There are many potential problems that can be caused by poor communication skills. Increased amount of employee turnover, high amounts of call outs, poor customer service skills, diminished productivity and the lack of focus. These are just to name a few. So why does poor communication in the workplace cause these issues. Some surveys and discussions have acknowledged that lack of information is a cause. In others words keeping people in the loop. Some have said they don't feel important in the eyes of their employers. While others have stated not enough face to face interactions. Another good reason is lack of email etiquette. This is typically when an email is written strongly when it does not have to be. Business ethics in the workplace and poor workplace behavior ethics can be directly related to ineffective communications. Understanding ethics and workplace behavior ethics is the all important first step.
It is well-known that before you come to work, you have to leave your informal self back home. In the office, you're an employee, someone who's supposed to go about his work in a professional manner. There is a way to talk to your superiors, to your peers and your subordinates. This mode of communication is known as workplace communication and is typically formal and to the point. Skills that qualify as laudable are –
1. Courteousness: A person should always be courteous while speaking to anyone in the workplace, whether senior or junior. One should not speak disparagingly with juniors, while speaking in a laudatory way with seniors. Courteousness should be maintained in the workplace irrespective of rank.
2. Precision: You're not supposed to sit and chat in the workplace. Workplace communication facilitates necessity and should be completed as quickly as possible. It mostly consists of delegating tasks and reporting results. So keep it short.. 3. Language: One should never use any slang terms while at work. Business communication should be crisp and clear so that everyone understands what you're saying. Slang terms bring in the eventuality of misunderstanding and also look unprofessional. So one should avoid using slang in office. 4. Low Speaking Volume: One comes across so many loud-talkers. Perhaps they are naturally so or do so deliberately to drive some point across. But speaking loudly is disturbing to other people around you hence, a low speaking volume should be maintained.
Clarity: It is also essential to ensure that the person you are speaking with has completely understood what you have to say. Hence, one should speak very slowly and clearly. If you have a strong ethnic accent, you should make sure that you talk slowly so that the other person gets what you have to say. It is always good to ask, "have you understood?" just in case someone doesn't get what you have to say. 5. Listen to Others: Most people think of effective communication as a one-way thing. But it is very important to also be a good listener and not just a good talker. Others too often have something to say or to contribute to a discussion hence, listening too, is one of the effective communication skills at work. 6. Posture and Body Language: They say actions speak louder than words and the same can be considered to be true at the workplace. The body has a language of its own too, and at the workplace, the body ought to be courteous. There are simple things to keep in mind, whether it is wishing everyone 'good morning' at work, or having a courteous smile on your face, being well-dressed in office or sitting erect when someone is talking to you.
PERFORMING WORKPLACE AND SAFETY PRACTICES
The skills used by a person to properly interact with others. In the business domain, the term generally refers to an employee's ability to get along with others while getting the job done. Interpersonal skills include everything from communication and listening skills to attitude and deportment. Good interpersonal skills are a prerequisite for many positions in an organization.
The term "interpersonal skills" is somewhat of a misnomer, because it refers to character traits possessed by an individual rather than skills that can be taught in a classroom. Within an organization, employees with good interpersonal skills are likely be more productive than those with poor interpersonal skills, because of their propensity to project a positive attitude and look for solutions to problems.
How do you develop your interpersonal skills?
The process of successfully influencing the activities of a group towards the achievement of a common goal. A leader has the ability to influence others through qualities such as personal charisma, expertise, command of language, and the creation of mutual respect. As well as requiring strong Communication Skills and Personal Skills, leadership uses the Background skills of mentoring, decision making, delegation and motivating others.
The ability to actively seek, identify and create effective contacts with others, and to maintain those contacts for mutual benefit. In addition to strong Communication Skills and Personal Skills, Networking uses the Background skills of network building and motivating others.
Involves working with others in a group towards a common goal. This requires cooperating with others, being responsive to others' ideas, taking a collaborative approach to learning, and taking a responsibility for developing and achieving group goals. Teamwork uses the Background skills of collaboration, mentoring, decision making and delegation.
Being a trusted advisor and helper with experience in a particular field. Actively supporting and guiding someone to develop knowledge and experience, or to achieve career or personal goals (for example, a third-year student mentoring a first year student, helping to adjust to the university experience).
A mentoring relationship may be formal or informal, but must involve trust, mutual respect, and commitment as both parties work together to achieve a goal (for example, mentoring a younger member of a team to achieve better performance in the lead-up to a sporting event).
Group work is: any activity in which students work together;any activity which has been specifically designed so that students work in pairs or groups, and may be assessed as a group (referred to as formal group work); orwhen students come together naturally to help each other with their work (referred to as informal group work).peer group activity in lab classes, tutorials etc
Decision making is:
Identifying appropriate evidence and weighing up that evidence to make a choice (for example, gathering and assessing information to find the best way to perform an experiment).Taking responsibility for a decision and its outcomes (for example, choosing a topic for a group presentation from a number of suggestions).
Taking responsibility for determining when to ask someone else to make a decision or carry out a task (for example, figuring out what is a fair distribution of the workload in a group project, and sharing responsibility with others).
Distributing responsibility and authority in a group by giving someone else the discretion to make decisions that you have the authority to make (for example, as the chosen leader of a lab experiment team, you could assign tasks and decisions to different group members).
Working cooperatively and productively with other team members to contribute to the outcomes of the team's work (for example, dividing the workload and sharing the results of your own work with others in the group, or assisting members of the group who are having difficulty completing their tasks).
Network building is:
Creating contacts with other people and maintaining those contacts (for example, meeting someone at a seminar with similar interests, and swapping email addresses with them).
Acquiring and maintaining information about people who might be useful contacts for specific purposes (for example, seeking out people established in an industry you hope to work with one day).
Using a contact in an ethical manner to help each of you meet specific goals, (for example, collaborating on projects of importance to both of you).
Motivating others is:
Generating enthusiasm and energy by being positive, focusing on finding solutions and maintaining a positive attitude even when things are not going well (for example, when something goes wrong, asking "What can we try now?" instead of saying, "That should have worked better.").
Encouraging others to come up with solutions, listening carefully to their ideas and offering constructive feedback (for example, gathering suggestions for a group project, and giving each person's ideas fair discussion).
Being prepared to support others in taking agreed, calculated risks, and not blaming others when things go wrong (for example, one group member's portion of a presentation receives a poor mark - make sure that this student isn't blamed by the group, and focus on learning from the mistakes).
Good Working Attitude
Although every work environment has its own peculiarities and, therefore, its own unique approach requirements, there may still be some general points to ponder in every setting. These points, based on positive organizational behavior, have proven to work through times, cultures, and work environments. They may do it for you too!
1. Be friendly and helpful to superiors, peers, and subordinates alike, but don’t overdo it. This approach calls for two clarifications:
a. First: Some people only hang out with those individuals at work that they consider valuable to their career progress. They thereby forget that there is a way up and one down, and that one never knows who will cross his or her path on a rainy day. Being friendly toward everybody you come cross -colleagues and customers alike- is really not an altruistic mentality, because it will deliver its pay off on the long term: when you least expect it.
b. Second: Some people are so excessively friendly and nice that the insincerity drips from all sides of their attitude. This may have a reverse effect on what they actually want to obtain: being liked by everybody. The reason is simple: Most people can easily see through hypocritical behavior. They will lose their trust in you and consider you to be a person to be careful with.
2. Stay alert. Try to distinguish the simple stuff from the important, and make sure you keep documentation on every issue that may come back to haunt you later. The friendly people you work with today may be gone tomorrow, and so will be their goodwill, then. It is therefore imperative to make sure that you keep appointments, agreements, and important decisions documented as securely as possible.
3. Analyze. It is especially important with regards to the people you work with to know where you really stand. Consider the possibility of running across some colleagues with a point 1a-mentality: hypocritical. You should always know what you can say, and where. This brings to mind a quote I read long ago: “To keep your lips from slips; five things observe with care: To whom you speak; Of whom you speak; and How, and When, and Where.” There is no setting where this applies better than the work environment.
4. Socialize. You don’t have to attend every get-together with co-workers outside work, but now and then it may be appropriate to show your face. Getting to know people outside of the work setting, and allowing them to get to know you may enhance the mutual feelings of trust and connection.
5. Sharpen your creative skills. Don’t slack away in a routine of daily tasks, but keep wondering how you would be able to enhance current processes in such a way that as many people as possible will benefit from your suggestions. Above all: make sure that when you come up with these suggestions, you have thought them through in detail, listed their pro’s and cons, and most importantly, explained how they will serve co-workers as well as the organization in total.
6. Don’t get discouraged. When an idea that you know to be valuable does not get accepted, there may be more behind the decline than you may see from your point of view. You can either keep your idea in the drawer for a while and apply point 3 above: analyzing the possible reasons for the decline; or you may modify your proposal in a way that it better pleases the ones who criticized it in the first place, yet without being detrimental to its applicability.
7. Remember the ones who have been good to you. Too often we have a propensity to forget the good that has been done to us once we said our thank you. But imagine how good it will feel to the ones that awarded you at one time, when they find that you have not discarded the memory of their good deed, even when they themselves did! And imagine how great it would feel if this would be done to you when you did something good to someone!
8. Involve others. If you are the one in a decision making position, you should still consider the tremendous importance of the 4p’s as I once read them in a management book by Bridges: Tell them the Purpose, share with them the Plan; keep them updated on the Progress; and most importantly: give them a Part To Play. That’s the guarantee for success in any project. At another level, involving others is vital when you are confronted with an issue of which you are not sure what to do with it. Remember: you only have your perception. A remark made to- or about you, or a decision taken might not have been meant the way you took it. Before jumping to conclusions and undertaking harsh actions, run the issue by some people in the organization you trust. They may enlighten you.
9. Develop your own style in dealing with others. It’s good to apply some of the good things you see in the approach of colleagues; but don’t be a mindless copycat. You have your own personality, and thus, your own personal leadership style. Besides, it’s easy for anyone you deal with to detect whether you sincerely believe in your approach, or whether you are just forcing yourself in a pattern that is not yours at all.
10. Don’t disparage any task performed by anybody. Rather: be ready to assist when and where you can, no matter how prestigious your own position. It’s this one unforgettable flexibility trait that will win others’ hearts for you. They will realize that you respect their contribution to the organization, feel motivated toward what they are doing, and stand up for you whenever you need that. After all, one never knows.
GOOD WORKING ATTITUDE
“ If there is only one thing you can work on that will change you and your working environment, it is your attitude.”
Have you ever noticed that a positive attitude is infectious? Having employees with pleasant attitude could mean the difference between a positive and supportive working environment and a workplace full of destructive conflict and negativity. You’ll go an extra mile for someone with a good attitude who’s pleasant to be around. Regardless of the circumstances of the company, you can create an environment where people genuinely care. If there is only one thing you can work on that will change you and your working environment, it is your attitude.
This article will discuss the importance of developing a pleasant attitude as well as give you some tips on how you can develop it.
Developing a good attitude in the work place creates a win-win situation. As an employee, a pleasant and positive attitude is indispensable to creating relationships with peers that will help you succeed in your professional endeavors. Your work attitude determines how high you can climb the corporate ladder. Your attitude determines how other people in your working environment perceive you. If you decide to have a cheerful, outgoing attitude, people will be drawn to you and you will be easy to collaborate with. You have total control. Your attitude determines whether you are open and proactive or closed and reactive, positive or defensive, advance ideas or bury them; and by our own attitude, we and we alone actually decide whether to succeed or fail.
For the workplace or organization, the right attitude translates to productivity. The single most efficient way to increase your productivity is to have a positive attitude at work. There is no other magic formula that increases productivity other than really, really enjoying your work.
Pick One Simple Pleasant Attitude (at a time) and Start Working On It
As a fair warning, working on one’s attitude is simple in concept but hard to do. It would be best to work with someone, a mentor for example, that you can collaborate with and with whom you can review feedback. Ask for frank feedback from your co-workers or your supervisor. There are countless work attitudes to choose from: * Courtesy and Humility – This is about being courteous and respectful of people in the office no matter what their rank and designation. Courtesy shows politeness in one’s attitude and behavior toward others. Basic courtesy is polite speech or action. Use words like “please” and “thank you”. Another pleasant trait is humility, which simply means being humble when conducting yourself in the office. Humility is about having a healthy self-concept and being confident that you’re fulfilling your plan and purpose with integrity. * Punctuality and Preparation – This means two things: first, punctuality is the act of being on-time in your appointments, which means showing respect to others; second, it is about being prepared to engage and the ability to complete a required task before or at a designated or committed time. Cultural differences make this attitude a little more difficult to traverse, but being on time and prepared are universal signs of respect. * Pleasant - You can go an extra mile for someone with a good attitude. Unpleasant attitudes are restrictive and counter-productive. An example of an unpleasant attitude is giving non-constructive feedback. Upon receiving this feedback, people tend to become more reserved and keep things to themselves so as not to be criticized or blamed. Another simple tip is to wear a smile. Smiles are disarming and opening. Smile often even when the going gets tough. I know it is difficult. Try getting into the habit of smiling even when stressed. You will soon notice less knotted facial muscle and people will work better with you.
People with pleasant attitudes are a lot more fun to be around and consequently have better relations at work. This translates into better teamwork with peers; better working relations if you are a manager; more satisfied customers if you are in a service job, etc. Taking control of your attitude in the workplace and making it a habit to be courteous, humble, punctual, prepared and pleasant requires personal accountability. This means taking ownership of improving your attitude and understanding what you need to do to achieve it. You can do it one small step at a time by taking personal ownership. Bear in mind that it is a continuous process.
Work-life Lesson 7 Takeaways: * Having employees with pleasant attitudes means the difference between a positive and productive work environment or a workplace full of problems and negativity. * Your attitude determines how other people in your working environment perceive you. If you decide to have a cheerful, outgoing attitude, people will be drawn to you and you will be easy to collaborate with. * When working on improving attitude in the workplace, it would be best to work with a mentor whom you can collaborate with. You can ask for frank feedback from your co-workers or have a discussion with your supervisor. * Make it a habit to be courteous, humble, punctual, prepared and pleasant. You can do it one small step at a time by taking personal ownership.
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, often dangerous situation that requires immediate action. The emergency procedure is a plan of actions to be conducted in a certain order or manner, in response to an emergency event.
Need for Emergency Procedures
Organizations are frequently required to have written emergency procedures in place to comply with statutory requirements; demands from their insurers, their regulatory agency, shareholders, stakeholders and unions; to protect staff, the public, the environment, the business, their property and their reputation.
Before preparing a procedure, it may be appropriate to carry out a risk assessment, estimating how likely it is for an emergency event to occur and if it does, how serious or damaging the consequences would be. The emergency procedure should provide an appropriate and proportionate response to this situation.
Testing and Training
An emergency procedure identifies the responsibilities, actions and resources necessary to deal with an emergency. Once drafted, a procedure may require a consultative period with those who could be involved or affected by the emergency, and a programmed set out for testing, training and periodic review.
Controlled Issue of Procedures
When an emergency procedure is revised and reissued, previous versions must be withdrawn from point of use to avoid confusion. For the same reason, a revision numbering system and a schedule of amendments are frequently used with procedures to reduce the potential for errors and misunderstandings.
Style and Complexity
The document itself may be just a few lines, perhaps using bullet points, flow charts or it may be a detailed set of instructions and diagrams, dependant on the complexity of the situation and the capabilities of those responsible for implementing the procedure during the emergency.
Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity planning may also feed off of the emergency procedures, enabling an organization to identify points of vulnerability and minimize the risk to the business by preparing backup plans and improving resilience. The act of producing the procedures may also highlight failings in current arrangements that if corrected, could reduce the risk levels.
Even with a well documented and well practiced procedure using trained staff, there is still the potential for events to spiral out of control, often due to unpredicted scenarios or a coincidence of events. There are many well documented examples of this such as: Three Mile Island accident, the Chernobyl disaster and the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform explosion in April 2010. In a press release by BP on the 8 September 2010, BP’s outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward said of this: “The investigation report provides critical new information on the causes of this terrible accident. It is evident that a series of complex events, rather than a single mistake or failure, led to the tragedy”.
It is common practice with emergency procedures to have review processes where the lessons learnt from previous emergencies, changing circumstances, changes in personnel, contact details, etc. can be incorporated into the latest version of the documentation.
Examples of Emergency Procedures in Common Use
Some typical emergency procedure is:
Procedure carried out during a fire alarm in commercial buildings where the occupants are evacuated via the nearest exit as the emergency services are called. Fire wardens or security may search the building to ensure everyone has left or there may be a roll call at the assembly point. The procedure would identify who is responsible for these various tasks, and their deputies, detailing other arrangements such as assisting those in the building who may have mobility issues, liaison with the fire fighters, etc. In large multi tenanted buildings the procedure may be complex and address several possible scenarios.
Medical emergency where first aider is called to attend an unconscious person and after checking their airways and general condition, put them into a recover position whilst awaiting the paramedic.
Written guidance on aircraft which indicate the steps to be undertaken by the crew to give the best chance for a successful recovery or with the least loss of life.
Others potential emergencies that may affect the business activity of an organization are: * Fire * Security * Active Assailant on Campus * Electrical Failure * Bomb Threat * Civil Disorder * National Disruption * Gas Leaks * Flood * Hurricane * Tornado * Medical Emergency * Chemical Spillage * Elevator/Lift Entrapment
| | | Emergencies / evacuations | * Accounting for visitors in an evacuation * Inadequately trained personnel * Lack of or poorly maintained fire extinguishers / smoke alarms * Emergency exits not visible or accessible * Lack of emergency procedures / programs * Staff untrained in evacuation procedures | * Ensure that workers working in reception area are familiar with documented procedures on:
- instructing visitors re evacuation procedures
- using visitor book to locate visitors
- contacting staff to ensure safe evacuation of visitors
- communicating with staff managing evacuation
- closing entry doors and exiting the area safely * As part of a regular OHS inspections ensure smoke alarms and fire extinguishers have been tested and repaired if required, refer to state and territory requirements for testing and maintenance * Ensure emergency exit sign is in place and lit * Ensure emergency exits are clearly marked, are not blocked and are easily accessible * Develop appropriate emergency procedures / programs * Conduct regular emergency evacuation drills to test procedures / programs and systems * Ensure emergency contacts receive appropriate training for coordinating emergency responses * Ensure all workers are familiar with all emergency response procedures, emergency alarm sounds and be able to act accordingly | Bomb threat | * Bomb threat | * Ensure that all workers working in reception are trained in response to the threat of a bomb * Identify, train and authorise support staff to take responsibility for management of the response and document procedures to be followed * Check arrangements for alerting emergency services (fire, police, Tactical Response Group, ambulance, etc) who will be required to attend in the event of a threat | Biological hazard | * A suspicious package / envelope is received by an workers working in reception area | * Train workers working in reception how to recognise a suspicious package / envelope on delivery * Document procedures to be followed and train workers who will manage those procedures * Ensure appropriate Personal Protective Equipment is available if required | First aid | * Injured / sick customers and staff | * Ensure that receptionists are aware of the workplace policy / procedures in relation to the provision of First Aid to 3rd parties and have been trained to implement the policy / procedure * Insure first aid procedure signage and documentation is up to date, accessible and easily identified | Visitors / contractors | * Visitors uncertain of how to respond in an emergency | * Reception to give briefing on emergency procedures prior to entry into secure areas * Ensure visitors / contractors are accounted for and included in procedures for evacuation * Ensure emergency procedures are visible and easily understood for visitors to follow in the event of an emergency |
First impressions last, there is often no second chance. The way you present yourself, your character, how you look, the language you use, the way you greet the person and the way you talk will all be judged by your prospective employer.
How you speak
Think about how you come across. Are you being confident or arrogant? Are you surly or too quiet and timid? Do you speak clearly or do you mumble? Most employers are looking for a person who speaks politely and confidently.
What you say
Your choice of words is vital, do not use slang or swear at all. Answer questions clearly and honestly and don't waffle. Be aware of what you're saying, who you're saying it to and therefore the message that might be conveyed.
Be aware of the messages you are communicating by the way you stand, greet a person and generally hold yourself. Stand confidently, shake the hand of the person interviewing you and sit comfortably rather than slouching.
It is important you look the person interviewing you in the eye and maintain that eye contact while you talk with them. This shows you have confidence and respect them. However, many people within different cultures have different beliefs. People of indigenous cultures do not make direct eye contact, be aware of these sensitivities and they will be greatly appreciated as a mark of respect for that person.
What we wear
Think carefully about what clothing to wear. Dress according to the type of job you are applying for. If it is a gardening job you are applying for, don’t go dressed in a tuxedo. But if the job is with an up-market clothing boutique, your favorite’s tracksuit won’t be the best choice either! The basic rule is to be smart and dress appropriately for the position for which you are applying. Try to see things from the employer's point of view.
If you have body piercings, just be aware that a more conservative employer may not like that stud through your tongue or brow. It is advisable to take out visible body piercings and if you gain the position, then you can check with the employer if it is OK for you to wear piercings/personal jewellery.
Safety Practices for the Workplace
At the workstation * Take regular breaks from your workstation – at least every 30 minutes. * Vary tasks so you are not keying for extended periods of time. * Change your posture as frequently as practical. * Avoid eye strain when using the computer: focus on an object in the distance at least 6 metres every 10-15 minutes. * Take your lunch break away from your desk, preferably going for a walk outside for 15-20 minutes. * Make sure your chair is adjusted to support your lower back - use safe sitting posture. * Make sure that your chair is in good working order - do not use a chair that needs maintenance. * Learn to touch type (less repetitive movement for your neck). * Switch the computer mouse to the other hand regularly. * Place frequently used items near you.
In general * Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water * Reduce clutter in your work and storage areas - you’ll work in a more organised way, feel less pressured and avoid trips and falls. * Switch tasks if possible to manage repetitive tasks. This will keep your body and your mind fresh. * Change your method of doing repetitive by using a different body part or different muscles, such as switching hands.
Manual handling * Eliminate manual handling tasks from your work processes as much as possible. * Use suitable and well-maintained equipment as much as possible. * Avoid repetitive movements and postures. * Use safe manual handling methods when manual handling can’t be avoided.
Workplace stress is recognized as a contributing factor of injury. We are all vulnerable to workplace stress, influenced by personal issues, work/life balance, general health and relationships at work.
Here are some general strategies to reduce workplace stress that team members can implement: * Be aware of each other's workload. * Clarify priorities and deadlines. * Clarify team roles and support flexibility. * Discuss changes. * Improve physical environment or comfort. * Recognize and acknowledge each other's efforts. * Develop your communication, negotiation and conflict management skills.
All these safe working practices among many others are included in the range of CRS Australia injury prevention services, including training programmed and information brochures.
Maintaining good mental health in the workplace is important. See some tips to help maintain your good mental health.
Proper disposal of garbage
There are many ways to dispose of garbage in an environmentally friendly manner. By recycling and composting your trash, you will reduce the need for landfills and save money. Many cities and towns have implemented recycling programs, making it easy to do the right thing for the planet. Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials, such as batteries and heavy duty cleaning products, in a safe and environmentally conscious manner as well.
* Place recyclable trash into a designated recycling bin and have it picked during your normal trash service. Recyclable items include plastics, paper, cans and cardboard. Many trash services supply households with recycling bins, and pick up recyclable items along with garbage.Some states, such as California, have recycling programs that reimburse money for recycled objects such as tin cans or glass and plastic bottles.
* Place compostable garbage items in a bin located outside of your home. Some compostable materials include untreated paper products, biodegradable plastic, any part of a fruit or vegetable such as the seeds or rinds, food, and matches. Compost consists of decomposing organic matter. Hazardous material disposal * Place trash items that are not recyclable or compostable into a garbage bag and put it into a trash can. There are a number of different types of trash cans available, and they are commonly made of plastic, wood and or metal. Most cities and towns have garbage pickup readily available for a small fee. If you live in an area that doesn't offer a trash service, bring your garbage to a local dump. Dumps may charge per pound, making it cost-effective to recycle and compost items to minimize the weight of the garbage. * Hazardous materials, such as paint cans, used oil and chemical-based products, should be taken to a local company that will correctly dispose of the materials. Most recycling companies will accept hazardous material, and will dispose of it in a an environmentally friendly manner. Do not dispose of hazardous materials in garbage bins.
5S Visual Workplace is a workplace organization methodology to improve productivity, through eliminating waste, and Quality, through reducing variation. This structured approach can be used in a manufacturing, distribution or office environment and in all types of industries.
5S Visual Workplace is generally the first step toward implementing a lean-based Operational Excellence initiative, as it reduces wastes due to internal transport, motion, and wait, and builds a solid foundation for the implementation of flow production, visual management and standard operations.
The 5S Visual Workplace methodology also facilitates a structured dialog about standardization which builds a clear understanding, between employees, of how work should be done.
The 5S's stem from five Japanese words: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. Commonly translated as Sort, Set-in-Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.
Some Critical Success Factors for an effective 5S Visual Workplace implementation are: * Have a Plan !!! * Leadership - Drive it from the top and Walk the Talk * Employee Involvement – Establish 5S Action Teams and each shift should end their day with area housekeeping * Focus - Establish 5S Focus Areas with employee ownership * No Scared Cows – 5s is not just about the production floor. Include warehouses, supply closets, office desk, … * Organize & Beautify – Paint is an inexpensive and terrific tool for supporting a 5S implementation * Accountability - Hold teams accountable to area requirements * Evaluate & Improve – Perform weekly audits with 5S Team Leaders in each focus area. Post scores. * Make it Fun and Celebrate Progress
While the implementation of a 5S Visual Workplace initiative needs to be customized to the specific objectives, requirements and circumstances of an organization, most implementations follow a Six Step Implementation Process.
Step 1 - Establish a 5S Implementation Organization
The 5S Implementation Team handles such tasks as on-site 5S education, “discipline” training, 5S standardization, guidance in 5S techniques, and provision of 5S tools.The main purpose of a 5S Campaign is not so much to announce the beginning of the 5S Campaign as it is to show the enthusiasm and commitment of 5S Leaders.
The 5S Leader heads the 5S Implementation Team.
The 5S Audit Team makes weekly inspection tours to check up on 5S conditions and suggest & document remedial measures when conditions have begun to deteriorate.
The 5S Action Team, which consists of workshop leaders and ordinary employees, is responsible for the nuts and bolts of 5S implementation. The team members study 5S theory while putting it into practice in making 5S-oriented improvements.
Step 2 - Establish a 5S Implementation Plan
The main purpose of a 5S Campaign is not so much to announce the beginning of the 5S Campaign as it is to show the enthusiasm and commitment of 5S Leaders. The 5S Leaders should address the organization’s current conditions, its goals, and its plan to use the 5S initiative to lay a foundation for achieving those goals. A 5S Implemenation Plan should cover 90 days at a time.
Step 3 - Create 5S Campaign Material
5S Campaign Materials could include face-to-face meetings, newsletters, slogans, boards, posters, banners, badges, 5S news, photo exhibits of before and after, … .
Step 4 - In-House Education
5S Education Materials could include training classes, single-point 5S lessons, on-the-job training, posters, in-house bulletins, 5S news, videos, books, … . * Make education continuous * Don’t be a perfectionist, but strive for perfection * The primary place for 5S implementation is the individual workplace * Encourage independent thinking * Encourage motivation, skill-building and participation * Make it relevant, specific and engaging
Step 5.1 - Sort (Seiri)
Sort is the first step in the 5S Process and involves the meticulous examination of everything in the work environment. All extemporaneous materials or anything unrelated to the workplace are removed from the area. By removing clutter and unnecessary debris, 5S eliminates hazards in the work space. The separation of frequently used tools from rarely used items streamlines work to create faster, leaner, and safer working conditions.
Step 5.2 - Set-in-Order or Straighten (Seiton)
Set-in-Order, the second step in the 5S Process, consists of putting everything in an assigned area so it can be used and returned as quickly and safely as possible. Commonly used tools should be easily accessible, saving both time and effort.
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Step 5.3 - Shine (Seiso)
Shine, the third step in the 5S Process, focuses on cleanliness of the working environment to create a clean and neat workspace. Maintenance and cleanliness become part of the everyday working routine to increase both workplace safety and longevity of tools and equipment. Shine focuses on not simply cleaning the working environment once, but keeping it clean every day to maintain the facility and equipment long term.
Step 5.4 - Standardize (Seiketsu)
Once the first 3S’s have been implemented, Standardize, the fourth step in the 5S Process, creates a consistent approach with which tasks and procedures are performed. 5S related duties, 5-Minutes 5S periods, cycle charts, visual cures, and check lists are integrated into regular work duties to maintain the improvements achieved through the first 3S’s.
Step 6 - Sustain (Shitsuke)
Sustain, the last and often most difficult step in the 5S Process, ensures that the 5S approach develops deep roots in the organization and becomes a vital part of the organization’s Operational Excellence initiative. The implementation of 5S champions and coordinators, team-based auditing, and active participation in ongoing 5S Visual Workplace Kaizen Event is essential to change entrenched behaviors and to define a new status quo.
is a key skill in the workplace, and is particularly important if you want to be an effective leader.
Whether you're deciding which person to hire, which supplier to use, or which strategy to pursue, the ability to make a good decision with available information is vital. It would be easy if there were one formula you could use in any situation, but there isn't. Each decision presents its own challenges, and we all have different ways of approaching problems.
So, how do you avoid making bad decisions – or leaving decisions to chance? You need a systematic approach to decision-making so that, no matter what type of decision you have to make, you can take decisions with confidence.
No one can afford to make poor decisions. That's why we've developed a short quiz to help you assess your current decision-making skills. We'll examine how well you structure your decision-making process, and then we'll point you to specific tools and resources you can use to develop and improve this important competency.
Decision making can be regarded as the mental processes (cognitive process) resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice.
Human performance in decision terms has been the subject of active research from several perspectives. * From a psychological perspective, it is necessary to examine individual decisions in the context of a set of needs, preferences an individual has and values they seek. * From a cognitive perspective, the decision making process must be regarded as a continuous process integrated in the interaction with the environment. * From a normative perspective, the analysis of individual decisions is concerned with the logic of decision making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to.
Yet, at another level, it might be regarded as a problem solving activity which is terminated when a satisfactory solution is reached. Therefore, decision making is a reasoning or emotional process which can be rational or irrational, can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions.
One must keep in mind that most decisions are made unconsciously. Jim Nightingale, Author of Think Smart-Act Smart, states that "we simply decide without thinking much about the decision process." In a controlled environment, such as a classroom, instructors encourage students to weigh pros and cons before making a decision. However in the real world, most of our decisions are made unconsciously in our mind because frankly, it would take too much time to sit down and list the pros and cons of each decision we must make on a daily basis.
Logical decision making is an important part of all science-based professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a given area to making informed decisions. For example, medical decision making often involves making a diagnosis and selecting an appropriate treatment. Some research using naturalistic methods shows, however, that in situations with higher time pressure, higher stakes, or increased ambiguities, experts use intuitive decision making rather than structured approaches, following a recognition primed decision approach to fit a set of indicators into the expert's experience and immediately arrive at a satisfactory course of action without weighing alternatives. Recent robust decision efforts have formally integrated uncertainty into the decision making process. However, Decision Analysis, recognized and included uncertainties with a structured and rationally justifiable method of decision making since its conception in 1964.
A major part of decision making involves the analysis of a finite set of alternatives described in terms of evaluative criteria. These criteria may be benefit or cost in nature. Then the problem might be to rank these alternatives in terms of how attractive they are to the decision maker(s) when all the criteria are considered simultaneously. Another goal might be to just find the best alternative or to determine the relative total priority of each alternative (for instance, if alternatives represent projects competing for funds) when all the criteria are considered simultaneously. Solving such problems is the focus of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) also known as multi-criteria decision making (MCDM). This area of decision making, although it is very old and has attracted the interest of many researchers and practitioners, is still highly debated as there are many MCDA / MCDM methods which may yield very different results when they are applied on exactly the same data. This leads to the formulation of a decision making paradox.
Decision Making Steps 1. Establishing community: creating and nurturing the relationships, norms, and procedures that will influence how problems are understood and communicated. This stage takes place prior to and during a moral dilemma 2. Perception: recognizing that a problem exists 3. Interpretation: identifying competing explanations for the problem, and evaluating the drivers behind those interpretations 4. Judgment: sifting through various possible actions or responses and determining which is more justifiable 5. Motivation: examining the competing commitments which may distract from a more moral course of action and then prioritizing and committing to moral values over other personal, institutional or social values 6. Action: following through with action that supports the more justified decision. Integrity is supported by the ability to overcome distractions and obstacles, developing implementing skills, and ego strength 7. Reflection in action 8. Reflection on action
Decision Making Stages
Developed by B. Aubrey Fisher, there are four stages that should be involved in all group decision making. These stages, or sometimes called phases, are important for the decision making process to begin
Orientation stage – This phase is where members meet for the first time and start to get to know each other.
Conflict stage – Once group members become familiar with each other, disputes, little fights and arguments occur. Group members eventually work it out.
Emergence stage – The group begins to clear up vague opinions by talking about them.
Reinforcement stage – Members finally make a decision, while justifying themselves that it was the right decision.
It is said that critical norms in a group improves the quality of decisions, while the majority of opinions (called consensus norms) do not. This is due to collaboration between one another, and when group members get used to, and familiar with, each other, they will tend to argue and create more of a dispute to agree upon one decision. This does not mean that all group members fully agree — they may not want argue further just to be liked by other group members or to "fit in".
Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity. Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects and goals complying with a due date. This set encompasses a wide scope of activities, and these include planning, allocating, setting, delegation, analysis of time spent, monitoring, organizing, scheduling, and prioritizing. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually the term broadened to include personal activities as well. A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. Usually time management is a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope.
Time Management in The Workplace
As a newbie in the workforce, time management in the workplace is an important skill that you must possess. It can determine the not just your career success but your work life balance.
Being new in the workforce, sometimes it can get quite stressful especially when you are learning new roles and responsibilities. You need to juggle a few things at the same time and you also seek to have a life out of the office.
Completing jobs assigned in the workplace in the highest standards is a key determinant of career success. This is where time management in the workplace comes into play.
These are some time management in the workplace tips you should be conscious of if you want to increase efficiency:
1. Understand Roles
Be sure you understand your own role and responsibilities in the office. This helps when work is assigned to you. Being new in the workplace - you may not know what is needed and expected of you. This can cause delays and hence hamper your efficiency.
Have you been given a job scope? If it is a special project for which you have been pulled in, do you know what are the expertise expected of you? Clarify to avoid wasting time. The first time management in the workplace advice is to understand your roles and those of your colleagues.
2. Do The Important And Urgent First
The second time management in the workplace tip is to prioritize your tasks at hand. Inevitably, you will be asked to complete a few tasks at the same time. There will also be situations where colleagues or clients would come in with last minute requests.
Prioritize your work. Do not overwhelm yourself with too long a to-do list. Many newbie’s pursuing career success make the wrong assumption that the more they complete at work the better it is for them. This is not necessarily so. Too long a to-do list may cause you to procrastinate on starting the work.
3. Do Not Waste Time
One of the biggest mistakes with a to-do list is that there is no time allocated for each task. I often make this mistake early on in my career - a list of to-do things but without an estimated time attached to complete each of them. Hence the list becomes a source of stress at the end of the day.
I also realize that it wastes a lot of time. You end up spending too much time on a task that may have needed less time than what you have spent to complete.
Time management in the workplace includes being conscious of time robbers. For example, taking long tea breaks, longsmoking breaks, chatting on the phone and surfing on the Internet. Realize that these ‘luxuries’ have a price tag attached to it – your career success.
4. Do It Right The First Time
How many times have you seen fellow colleagues fighting mini crisis that can be avoided if only someone gets it right the first time? Whatever you are doing, get it right the first time. Have a high personal standard that says nothing leaves your hand unless you know you have done your best.
This time management in the workplace tip while easy to understand, is not easy to practice. Chances are that as a newbie pursuing career success you will have a tendency to rush through your work assuming that speed is a surrogate measurement of efficiency. Not so, quality of work is important too.
5. Do It Now
Another common time management mistake for those new at the workplace is procrastination. There are many causes of procrastination. If you feel you have the necessary time management skills but still find yourself procrastinating then you may want to find out the causes and address them.
One quick and simple way of time management in the workplace is to do the task immediately. Do not over rationalize and craft the perfect plan. A good plan executed today is better than an excellent plan not executed at all.
How to provide a flexible workplace
A flexible workplace is one where employers and employees work together to decide on working arrangements such as hours of work, work location and the way work is carried out. It means thinking creatively about how working lives can be planned to match individual and business needs.
Benefits of flexible work practices
Flexible workplaces can help you and your employees improve the way your workplace operates. Creating a flexible workplace is good for business and has a number of advantages: * improves your ability to attract and retain skilled and motivated employees * recognition as an 'employer of choice' with a competitive edge in recruiting * creating greater staff loyalty and higher return on training investment * increased trust and respect * reduced stress levels and improved morale and commitment * reduced absenteeism and staff turnover * increased management skills and finding creative ways to work * improved productivity * potential for improved occupational health and safety records * assisting compliance with anti-discrimination and workplace relations laws.
With Australia's ageing population and changing labour market, taking on a flexible approach to work will help attract a diverse workforce including people with disability.
Steps to introducing flexible work practices
Introducing flexible work practices may at first appear difficult. But with some planning, a little consideration and a willingness to try something new it's simple.
It doesn’t have to be expensive or involve big changes to the way you already do business. It does however require planning so that you can test all your options, assess your business needs and develop strategies for how it will work.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Step 1—Needs assessment
Flexible work practices need to cater to the differing needs of your employees. Focussing on the individual needs of your employees and aiming to meet those needs, will result in a better environment for everyone. A flexible workplace can assist employees: * with fluctuating periods of health * attend medical appointments * fit in with their carer’s tasks * with care of children or other relatives.
Needs assessments can be completed by talking to your employees individually or by: * holding staff meetings to discuss needs * holding focus groups * using tools such as staff surveys.
Exit interviews with staff who leaving the workplace are a good tool for finding out if there are gaps in your work practices.
Remember that communication is essential in developing flexible work practices that will meet the needs of your organisation and your employees.
Step 2—Understanding your options
Once you have done a needs assessment, you will have a better understanding of the kinds of flexible work practices that would work best.
Understand your options by thinking about the range of flexible work practices available as well as those which are already in place in your organisation.
Flexible working hours
These may include flexible start and finish times, part time work, job sharing and consulting employees about rostering and compressed hours. Offer make-up time to allow employees to make up hours if they need to attend medical or other appointments.
Match tasks to your employees’ varying capacities
Offer employees multi-skilling and job rotation, training and transfer opportunities to meet workplace needs. If an employee is finding it hard to do a task, give it to another person. When an employee returns after extended leave, provide support and appropriate training.
Flexibility with sick, carer and other types of leave
Give employees flexibility with their leave so they can take This could include taking leave in single days, taking leave without pay, and extended or special leave. You may also consider hiring casuals to temporarily replace employees on extended leave.
Home based work (telework)
Think about letting employees work from home (teleworking). Teleworking is a flexible working arrangement where employees work away from the traditional office, such as at home or in a remote location, with the assistance of information technology.
Employing teleworkers lets you employ people who find it hard to be part of the traditional workforce. This might include people with disability, mature age workers, carers and workers in rural and regional areas. As well as the business benefits, the benefits to your employees are many—less mobility problems, less travel time and cost, better work-life balance, and greater flexibility in working hours.
Talking about flexible work practices with your employees will help develop and decide what practices are most suited to their needs. Your employees may also have new ideas on how to create flexibility.
Work with your employees find flexible work practices that suit both of you. You should talk about: * key implementation issues, such as communication, attending staff meetings, working different hours in emergencies, and access to training * their views on perceived barriers and strategies to address them - consult with the employees' co-workers and supervisors * specific performance measures so that you and your employee can assess if the arrangement is working * finalising the flexible work arrangement by preparing a written individual flexible work practices agreement with the employee.
After agreeing on arrangements you may like to draft a workplace policy on flexible work practices. This will clearly communicate rights and responsibilities on flexible work arrangements and steps for putting them into place.
When thinking about setting up flexible working practices in your business you need to consider whether the industrial instrument allows you to do this. In some cases it might be better to negotiate either an individual agreement with an employee (Australian Workplace Agreement) or a collective agreement with all employees. This can be done through a trade union or directly with employees. Formal Agreements generally provide greater scope for workplace flexibility.
When considering flexible working arrangements, employers should be mindful that minimum entitlements in the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard cannot be undercut, and that under the new Fairness Test, workplace agreements must provide fair compensation for the modification or removal of protected award conditions.
To find out your rights and responsibilities as an employer visit the Fair Work Ombudsman Online. Alternatively you can call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
When adopting flexible work practices, think about: * a trial period to ‘test drive’ how the arrangement works in practice * regular discussion of issues with employees and other co-workers * reviewing the arrangement to if it has been successful. This could be once in the first week, then once a month for three months, then after six months.
Step 5—Monitoring and evaluation
It is not always possible to tell what impact increased flexibility will have on business outcomes and on other team members. Monitoring and evaluating the effect of flexible work arrangements means you can track progress and make changes as needed.
Plan to evaluate the flexible work practices on a regular basis, by: * setting up a confidential feedback process for your employee and co-workers to evaluate the arrangements and their supervisor’s ability to manage flexibility * assessing specific flexibility training needs for all employees * surveying stakeholders to determine their perception of the impact flexible work practices are having * checking that individual and team performance measures and objectives have been achieved.
Using the information you received through the evaluation, look at the overall strengths and weaknesses of the flexibility practices and put in place strategies in response. A possible strategy may be to provide additional training or resources for your employees, co-workers or supervisors to better facilitate the working arrangements.
PROVIDING EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.
Communication requires a sender, a message, and a recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.
Communication and Leadership
No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others. — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another; it involves a sender transmitting an idea, information, or feeling to a receiver (U.S. Army, 1983). Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit. Many of the problems that occur in an organization are the either the direct result of people failing to communicate and/or processes, which leads to confusion and can cause good plans to fail (Mistry, Jaggers, Lodge, Alton, Mericle, Frush, Meliones, 2008).
Studying the communication process is important because you coach, coordinate, counsel, evaluate, and supervise throughout this process. It is the chain of understanding that integrates the members of an organization from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side to side.
The Communication Process
That is what we try to do
Speak to those near us * Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feelings. * Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols. * Decoding: Lastly, the receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or information that he or she can understand.
During the transmitting of the message, two elements will be received: content and context. Content is the actual words or symbols of the message that is known as language — the spoken and written words combined into phrases that make grammatical and semantic sense. We all use and interpret the meanings of words differently, so even simple messages can be misunderstood. And many words have different meanings to confuse the issue even more.
Context is the way the message is delivered and is known as paralanguage — it is the nonverbal elements in speech such as the tone of voice, the look in the sender's eyes, body language, hand gestures, and state of emotions (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence, etc.) that can be detected. Although paralanguage or context often cause messages to be misunderstood as we believe what we see more than what we hear; they are powerful communicators that help us to understand each other. Indeed, we often trust the accuracy of nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors.
Some leaders think they have communicated once they told someone to do something, “I don't know why it did not get done. I told Jim to do it.” More than likely, Jim misunderstood the message. A message has NOT been communicated unless it is understood by the receiver (decoded). How do you know it has been properly received? By two-way communication or feedback. This feedback tells the sender that the receiver understood the message, its level of importance, and what must be done with it. Communication is an exchange, not just a give, as all parties must participate to complete the information exchange.
Barriers to Communication
Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. — Freeman Teague, Jr.
Anything that prevents understanding of the message is a barrier to communication. Many physical and psychological barriers exist: * Culture, background, and bias — We allow our past experiences to change the meaning of the message. Our culture, background, and bias can be good as they allow us to use our past experiences to understand something new, it is when they change the meaning of the message that they interfere with the communication process. * Noise — Equipment or environmental noise impedes clear communication. The sender and the receiver must both be able to concentrate on the messages being sent to each other. * Ourselves — Focusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can lead to confusion and conflict. The “Me Generation” is out when it comes to effective communication. Some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know more that the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the activity). * Perception — If we feel the person is talking too fast, not fluently, does not articulate clearly, etc., we may dismiss the person. Also our preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen. We listen uncritically to persons of high status and dismiss those of low status. * Message — Distractions happen when we focus on the facts rather than the idea. Our educational institutions reinforce this with tests and questions. Semantic distractions occur when a word is used differently than you prefer. For example, the word chairman instead of chairperson, may cause you to focus on the word and not the message. * Environmental — Bright lights, an attractive person, unusual sights, or any other stimulus provides a potential distraction. * Smothering — We take it for granted that the impulse to send useful information is automatic. Not true! Too often we believe that certain information has no value to others or they are already aware of the facts. * Stress — People do not see things the same way when under stress. What we see and believe at a given moment is influenced by our psychological frames of references — our beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences, and goals.
These barriers can be thought of as filters, that is, the message leaves the sender, goes through the above filters, and is then heard by the receiver. These filters may muffle the message. And the way to overcome filters is through active listening and feedback.
Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning.
Listening is divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive listening is little more that hearing. It occurs when the receiver of the message has little motivation to listen carefully, such as when listening to music, story telling, television, or when being polite.
People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute (WPM), but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 WPM. Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift — thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is active listening — which involves listening with a purpose. It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding. It takes the same amount or more energy than speaking. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning, and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. The following are a few traits of active listeners: * Spend more time listening than talking. * Do not finish the sentences of others. * Do not answer questions with questions. * Are aware of biases. We all have them. We need to control them. * Never daydreams or become preoccupied with their own thoughts when others talk. * Let the other speakers talk. Do not dominate the conversations. * Plan responses after the others have finished speaking, NOT while they are speaking. * Provide feedback, but do not interrupt incessantly. * Analyze by looking at all the relevant factors and asking open-ended questions. Walk others through by summarizing. * Keep conversations on what others say, NOT on what interests them. * Take brief notes. This forces them to concentrate on what is being said.
When you know something, say what you know. When you don't know something, say that you don't know. That is knowledge. — Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius)
The purpose of feedback is to alter messages so the intention of the original communicator is understood by the second communicator. It includes verbal and nonverbal responses to another person's message.
Providing feedback is accomplished by paraphrasing the words of the sender. Restate the sender's feelings or ideas in your own words, rather than repeating their words. Your words should be saying, “This is what I understand your feelings to be, am I correct?” It not only includes verbal responses, but also nonverbal ones. Nodding your head or squeezing their hand to show agreement, dipping your eyebrows shows you don't quite understand the meaning of their last phrase, or sucking air in deeply and blowing it hard shows that you are also exasperated with the situation.
Carl Rogers listed five main categories of feedback. They are listed in the order in which they occur most frequently in daily conversations. Notice that we make judgments more often than we try to understand: * Evaluative: Making a judgment about the worth, goodness, or appropriateness of the other person's statement. * Interpretive: Paraphrasing — attempting to explain what the other person's statement means. * Supportive: Attempting to assist or bolster the other communicator. * Probing: Attempting to gain additional information, continue the discussion, or clarify a point. * Understanding: Attempting to discover completely what the other communicator means by her statements.
Imagine how much better daily communications would be if listeners tried to understand first, before they tried to evaluate what someone is saying.
Nonverbal Behaviors of Communication
To deliver the full impact of a message, use nonverbal behaviors to raise the channel of interpersonal communication: * Eye contact: This helps to regulate the flow of communication. It signals interest in others and increases the speaker's credibility. People who make eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth, and credibility. * Facial Expressions: Smiling is a powerful cue that transmits happiness, friendliness, warmth, and liking. So, if you smile frequently you will be perceived as more likable, friendly, warm and approachable. Smiling is often contagious and people will react favorably. They will be more comfortable around you and will want to listen more. * Gestures: If you fail to gesture while speaking you may be perceived as boring and stiff. A lively speaking style captures the listener's attention, makes the conversation more interesting, and facilitates understanding. * Posture and body orientation: You communicate numerous messages by the way you talk and move. Standing erect and leaning forward communicates to listeners that you are approachable, receptive and friendly. Interpersonal closeness results when you and the listener face each other. Speaking with your back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided as it communicates disinterest. * Proximity: Cultural norms dictate a comfortable distance for interaction with others. You should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading the other person's space. Some of these are: rocking, leg swinging, tapping, and gaze aversion. * Vocal: Speaking can signal nonverbal communication when you include such vocal elements as: tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness, and inflection. For maximum teaching effectiveness, learn to vary these six elements of your voice. One of the major criticisms of many speakers is that they speak in a monotone voice. Listeners perceive this type of speaker as boring and dull.
Speak comfortable words! — William Shakespeare * When speaking or trying to explain something, ask the listeners if they are following you. * Ensure the receiver has a chance to comment or ask questions. * Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes — consider the feelings of the receiver. * Be clear about what you say. * Look at the receiver. * Make sure your words match your tone and body language (nonverbal behaviors). * Vary your tone and pace. * Do not be vague, but on the other hand, do not complicate what you are saying with too much detail. * Do not ignore signs of confusion.
On Communication Per Se — a few random thoughts Mehrabian and the 7%-38%-55% Myth
We often hear that the content of a message is composed of: * 55% from the visual component * 38% from the auditory component * 7% from language
However, the above percentages only apply in a very narrow context. A researcher named Mehrabian was interested in how listeners get their information about a speaker's general attitude in situations where the facial expression, tone, and/or words are sending conflicting signals.
Thus, he designed a couple of experiments. In one, Mehrabian and Ferris (1967) researched the interaction of speech, facial expressions, and tone. Three different speakers were instructed to say “maybe” with three different attitudes towards their listener (positive, neutral, or negative). Next, photographs of the faces of three female models were taken as they attempted to convey the emotions of like, neutrality, and dislike.
Test groups were then instructed to listen to the various renditions of the word “maybe,” with the pictures of the models, and were asked to rate the attitude of the speaker. Note that the emotion and tone were often mixed, such as a facial expression showing dislike, with the word “maybe” spoken in a positive tone.
Significant effects of facial expression and tone were found in that the study suggested that the combined effect of simultaneous verbal, vocal and facial attitude communications is a weighted sum of their independent effects with the coefficients of .07, .38, and .55, respectively.
Mehrabian and Ferris caution their readers about the limitation to their research, “These findings regarding the relative contribution of the tonal component of a verbal message can be safely extended only to communication situations in which no additional information about the communicator/addressee relationship is available.” Thus, what can be concluded is that when people communicate, listeners derive information about the speaker's attitudes towards the listener from visual, tonal, and verbal cues; yet the percentage derived can vary greatly depending upon a number of other factors, such as actions, context of the communication, and how well the communicators know each other.
In the mid 1960s, Paul Ekman studied emotions and discovered six facial expressions that almost everyone recognizes world-wide: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise. Although they were controversial at first (he was booed off the stage when he first presented it to a group of anthropologists and later called a fascist and a racist) they are now widely accepted. One of the controversies still lingering is the amount of context needed to interpret them. For example, if someone reports to me that they have this great ideal that they would like to implement, and I say that would be great, but I look on them with a frown, is it possible that I could be thinking about something else? The trouble with these extra signals is that we do not always have the full context. What if the person emailed me and I replied great (while frowning). Would it evoke the same response?
Trust your instincts. Most emotions are difficult to imitate. For example, when you are truly happy, the muscles used for smiling are controlled by the limbic system and other parts of the brain, which are not under voluntary control. When you force a smile, a different part of the brain is used — the cerebral cortex (under voluntary control), hence different muscles are used. This is why a clerk, who might not have any real interest in you, has a fake look when he forces a smile.
Of course, some actors learn to control all of their face muscles, while others draw on a past emotional experience to produce the emotional state they want. But this is not an easy trick to pull off all the time. There is a good reason for this — part of our emotions evolved to deal with other people and our empathic nature. If these emotions could easily be faked, they would do more harm than good (Pinker, 1997).
So our emotions not only guide our decisions, they can also be communicated to others to help them in their decisions... of course their emotions will be the ultimate guide, but the emotions they discover in others become part of their knowledge base.
On Discussing Communication
Trying to speak of something as messy as communication in technical terms seems to be another form of the 'math and science' argument, that is, math, science and technology are the answer to all of our problems. — Anonymous
But what forms of human behavior are not messy? Learning is not antiseptic, yet it is discussed all the time — we do not leave it to the academics, such as Bloom, Knowles, Dugan, or Rossett. Leadership and management seems to be even messier, yet we categorize it, build models of it, index it, chop it and slice it and dice it, build pyramids out of it, and generally have a good time discussing it. But when it comes tocommunication, we call it too messy to play with and leave it up to Chomsky, Pinker, and others to write about so that we can read about it. Yet we all communicate almost every single day of our lives, which is much more than we will ever do with learning or leadership.
Interactive communication with others
Human to human communication
Human communication is the basic example of interactive communication which involves two different processes; human to human interactivity and human to computer interactivity. Human-Human interactivity is the communication between people.On the other hand, human to computer communication is the way that people communicate with new media. According to Rada Roy, the "Human Computer interaction model might consists of 4 main components which consist of HUMAN, COMPUTER, TASK ENVIRONMENT and MACHINE ENVIRONMENT. The two basic flows of information and control are assumed. The communication between people and computers; one must understand something about both and about the tasks which people perform with computers. A general model of human - computer interface emphasizes the flow of information and control at the human computer interface. Human to Human interactivity consists of many conceptualizations which are based on anthropomorphic definitions. For example, complex systems that detect and react to human behavior are sometimes called interactive. Under this perspective, interaction includes responses to human physical manipulation like movement, body language, and/or changes in mental states.
Human to artifact communication
In the context of communication between a human and an artifact, interactivity refers to the artifact’s interactive behaviour as experienced by the human user. This is different from other aspects of the artifact such as its visual appearance, its internal working, and the meaning of the signs it might mediate. For example, the interactivity of an iPod is not its physical shape and colour (its so-called "design"), its ability to play music, or its storage capacity—it is the behaviour of its user interface as experienced by its user. This includes the way you move your finger on its input wheel, the way this allows you to select a tune in the playlist, and the way you control the volume.
An artifact’s interactivity is best perceived through use. A bystander can imagine how it would be like to use an artifact by watching others use it, but it is only through actual use that its interactivity is fully experienced and "felt". This is due to the kinesthetic nature of the interactive experience. It is similar to the difference between watching someone drive a car and actually driving it. It is only through the driving that you can experience and "feel" how this car differs from others.
New Media academic Vincent Maher defines interactivity as "the relation constituted by a symbolic interface between its referential, objective functionality and the subject."
There are many reasons for implementing workplace safety practices. The goal of a safe and productive workplace, free from hazards which put employees, customers and the organization itself at peril, should be first and foremost. Less altruistic, but nonetheless valid reasons for a workplace safety program may consist of compliance with the mandates of federal and state regulatory agencies; the negative press, fines and citations that come with the absence thereof; and the ever increasing costs of property, casualty and workers compensation insurance. Safety programs must be tailored to fit each organization. One size does not fit all. Each organization has its own peculiar needs. While needs may vary, it is imperative that an organization’s facilities and operations be inspected on a regular, routine basis and that all applicable fire and life safety code violations be corrected as quickly as possible. The purpose of an inspection program is to identify and remedy hazards before they lead to injuries and claims. It also sends the message that safety is a priority of the organization and helps foster a safe atmosphere.
A workplace inspection program can be broken down into five main components.
Workers should always be aware of their surroundings. Is there adequate light? Are there any tripping hazards which need to be addressed? Are furnishings and equipment free from defect? Are Material Safety Data sheets readily available and used? The list goes on… To be safe, you must understand what “safe” is.
Fire and Electrical Hazard Prevention and Safety
An organization that ignores fire and electrical codes does so at its own risk and faces the possibility of losses of epic proportions. Fire extinguishers should be readily available, tested regularly and their operation should be explained to every employee. Fire alarms must be in working order and inspected on a routine basis; and fire drills need to be a regular part of normal operations. These fire drills should be both planned and unplanned to gauge their effectiveness. Electrical outlets and circuitry should be available in proportion to their need and should not be overloaded. Electrical panels should be properly labeled and flammable or combustible materialsshould not be stored nearby.
General Environmental Control (Housekeeping)
An organization should strive to have a place for everything and see to it that things are kept in their place. Uncorrected, housekeeping concerns create a definite risk for injury and loss of productivity. Flooring needs to be observed on a regular basis and problems such as liquid spills, snow and rain and deteriorated conditions need to be corrected as quickly as possible. Waste receptacles need to be emptied regularly and trash that doesn’t “hit the can” needs to be picked up. Work and storage areas need to be kept clean and clear of debris or clutter.
When the unexpected happens, everyone must have a way out of the facility and needs to know the best and quickest way to get out. All exits need to be clearly marked and emergency lighting should be available to provide illumination if the power goes out. There should be emergency evacuation routes posted conspicuously throughout the facility and these egress routes must be kept open and clear of clutter. Stairways should be constructed according to code and have handrails.
Doors and locks need to be in working order. Ceiling tiles should be intact, free from damage and where they belong. Windows should be unbroken and fully operational.
Light bulbs need to replaced as quickly as they burn out. Parking lots and sidewalks need to kept in good shape and free from hazards such as uneven pavement, overgrown landscaping and traffic obstructions. Grass needs to be kept mown and trimmed and ground defects need to be addressed regularly.
Clearly, these lists are not exhaustive and much more can and should be done.
Effective workplace safety is not an added expense, it’s a benefit and it’s everybody’s job! The
West Virginia Board of Risk and Insurance Management stands ready to help each of its insured implement programs and procedures which will promote workplace safety and reduce the possibility of loss.
Personal hygiene is the basic concept of cleaning, grooming and caring for our bodies. While it is an important part of our daily lives at home, personal hygiene isnt just about combed shiny hair and brushed teeth; its important for worker health and safety in the workplace. Workers who pay attention to personal hygiene can prevent the spread of germs and disease, reduce their exposures to chemicals and contaminants, and avoid developing skin allergies, skin conditions, and chemical sensitivities.
The first principle of good hygiene is to avoid an exposure by forming a barrier over the skin with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, coveralls, and boots. It is important to check the PPE often for excessive contamination, wear, tears, cuts, or pinholes. Workers should clean, decontaminate or replace protective equipment frequently to make sure it doesnt collect or absorb irritants. If protective equipment becomes too soiled during the job, the worker should stop and replace it with clean equipment.
Basic hand washing and skin care can prevent work exposures and disease. Good washing and scrubbing with water and soap helps to remove germs, contaminants, and chemicals. It can also prevent exposure by ingestion and cross-contamination of the surfaces and objects we touch.
Workers should periodically wash their hands on the during the day. In some jobs, regular hand washing is required by law. Hand washing is important before and after using the restroom and before or after certain activities. Workers should wash their hands before, during, and after preparing food and before they take breaks at work to eat, drink or smoke. To control the spread of germs that can cause the flu or common cold, workers should wash their hands whenever they cough, sneeze, or blow their noses, and whenever they are around someone that is sick.
Hand washing involves more than a quick rinse under a faucet. To wash hands properly, workers should first wet them under the faucet and then use liquid or bar soap. Hands should be held out of the water until all skin surfaces are scrubbed and lathered for at least twenty seconds. Workers can then rinse with clean water and dry their hands with a disposable towel. To wash hands with a hand sanitizer, workers should apply the appropriate amount of sanitizer into the palm of the hand, and then rub hands together until they are dry, being careful to cover all surfaces of the hands. For some job activities, hand sanitizers are not an acceptable means of hand cleaning. Showering and face-washing after work is also a good idea. Proper personal hygiene and hand protection can help keep workers productive and on the job. Be safely clean with good hygiene. THE THREE COMPONENTS OF COMMUNICATION
On a daily basis we work with people who have different opinions, values, beliefs, and needs than our own. Our ability to exchange ideas with others, understand others' perspectives, solve problems and successfully utilize the steps and processes presented in this training will depend significantly on how effectively we are able to communicate with others.
The act of communicating involves verbal, nonverbal, and paraverbal components. The verbal component refers to the content of our message‚ the choice and arrangement of our words. The nonverbal component refers to the message we send through our body language. The paraverbal component refers to how we say what we say - the tone, pacing and volume of our voices.
In order to communicate effectively, we must use all three components to do two things:
1. Send clear, concise messages.
2. Hear and correctly understand messages someone is sending to us.
Communication Involves Three Components:
1. Verbal Messages - the words we choose
2. Paraverbal Messages - how we say the words
3. Nonverbal Messages - our body language
These Three Components Are Used To:
1. Send Clear, Concise Messages
2. Receive and Correctly Understand Messages Sent to Us.
Our use of language has tremendous power in the type of atmosphere that is created at the problem-solving table. Words that are critical, blaming, judgmental or accusatory tend to create a resistant and defensive mindset that is not conducive to productive problem solving. On the other hand, we can choose words that normalize the issues and problems and reduce resistance. Phrases such as "in some districts, people may . . .", "it is not uncommon for . . ." and "for some folks in similar situations" are examples of this.
Sending effective messages requires that we state our point of view as briefly and succinctly as possible. Listening to a rambling, unorganized speaker is tedious and discouraging - why continue to listen when there is no interchange? Lengthy dissertations and circuitous explanations are confusing to the listener and the message loses its concreteness, relevance, and impact. This is your opportunity to help the listener understand YOUR perspective and point of view. Choose your words with the intent of making your message as clear as possible, avoiding jargon and unnecessary, tangential information.
Effective Verbal Messages:
1. Are brief, succinct, and organized
2. Are free of jargon
3. Do not create resistance in the listener
The power of nonverbal communication cannot be underestimated. In his book, Silent Messages, Professor Albert Mehrabian says the messages we send through our posture, gestures, facial expression, and spatial distance account for 55% of what is perceived and understood by others. In fact, through our body language we are always communicating, whether we want to or not!
You cannot not communicate.
Nonverbal messages are the primary way that we communicate emotions:
Facial Expression: The face is perhaps the most important conveyor of emotional information. A face can light up with enthusiasm, energy, and approval, express confusion or boredom, and scowl with displeasure. The eyes are particularly expressive in telegraphing joy, sadness, anger, or confusion.
Postures and Gestures: Our body postures can create a feeling of warm openness or cold rejection. For example, when someone faces us, sitting quietly with hands loosely folded in the lap, a feeling of anticipation and interest is created. A posture of arms crossed on the chest portrays a feeling of inflexibility. The action of gathering up one's materials and reaching for a purse signals a desire to end the conversation.
1. Account for about 55% of what is perceived and understood by others.
2. Are conveyed through our facial expressions as well as our postures and gestures.
Paraverbal communication refers to the messages that we transmit through the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voices. It is how we say something, not what we say. Professor Mehrabian states that the paraverbal message accounts for approximately 38% of what is communicated to someone. A sentence can convey entirely different meanings depending on the emphasis on words and the tone of voice. For example, the statement, "I didn't say you were stupid" has six different meanings, depending on which word is emphasized.
Some points to remember about our paraverbal communication:
When we are angry or excited, our speech tends to become more rapid and higher pitched.
When we are bored or feeling down, our speech tends to slow and take on a monotone quality.
When we are feeling defensive, our speech is often abrupt.
1. Account for about 38% of what is perceived and understood by others.
2. Include the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voice
The Importance of Consistency
In all of our communications we want to strive to send consistent verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal messages. When our messages are inconsistent, the listener may become confused. Inconsistency can also create a lack of trust and undermine the chance to build a good working relationship.
When a person sends a message with conflicting verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal information, the nonverbal information tends to be believed. Consider the example of someone, through a clenched jaw, hard eyes, and steely voice, telling you they're not mad. Which are you likely to believe? What you see or what you hear?
The key to receiving messages effectively is listening. Listening is a combination of hearing what another person says and psychological involvement with the person who is talking. Listening requires more than hearing words. It requires a desire to understand another human being, an attitude of respect and acceptance, and a willingness to open one's mind to try and see things from another's point of view.
Listening requires a high level of concentration and energy. It demands that we set aside our own thoughts and agendas, put ourselves in another's shoes and try to see the world through that person's eyes. True listening requires that we suspend judgment, evaluation, and approval in an attempt to understand another is frame of reference, emotions, and attitudes. Listening to understand is, indeed, a difficult task!
Often, people worry that if they listen attentively and patiently to a person who is saying something they disagree with, they are inadvertently sending a message of agreement.
When we listen effectively we gain information that is valuable to understanding the problem as the other person sees it. We gain a greater understanding of the other person's perception. After all, the truth is subjective and a matter of perception. When we have a deeper understanding of another's perception, whether we agree with it or not, we hold the key to understanding that person's motivation, attitude, and behavior. We have a deeper understanding of the problem and the potential paths for reaching agreement.
1. Requires concentration and energy.
2. Involves a psychological connection with the speaker.
3. Includes a desire and willingness to try and see things from another's perspective.
4. Requires that we suspend judgment and evaluation.
HANDLE COMPLAINTS, EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
How to Handle Customer Complaints
With the Internet as the disgruntled customer's oyster, there are new rules for responding to rants and customer complaints.
Customer loyalty can be elusive, but it is imperative to running a successful business. In today's hyper-digital world, there are myriad online forums that welcome venting and complaining. With the click of a button, an unhappy client could send your company or its sales into a tailspin. "Don't underestimate the power of a disgruntled customer," says Rebecca Morgan, an executive advisor and customer-service expert who authored Calming Upset Customers. "They wreak havoc in your organization because [complaints] upset everybody and, with these tools of Twitter and Facebook and Yelp, they can get the word out quickly."
In truth, the customer isn't always right, and it's tempting to engage in heated arguments, especially when it comes to defending your business, employees, and even yourself. But if customer retention is the end goal, listening intently and sticking with a calm, collected approach will help troubleshoot even the toughest complaint. Customer feedback is a "gift," says Ann Thomas, a senior consultant at Performance Research Associates, a consulting firm in South Bloomington, Minnesota, that deals with customer service-related issues. "I can't fix the problem unless I know about it."
How should you proceed once a complaint is brought to your attention depends largely on the nature of the customer's complaint – and the severity with which it is brought.
Handling Customer Complaints: Shut Up and Listen
As simple as it sounds, the first – and most important – step to take when dealing with a complaining customer is to be quiet and listen. Often customers feel the needs to vent frustration with a product or service before even considering a proactive solution. "Acknowledge the customer's emotional state," Thomas says. Remember that a good empathy statement does not imply ownership of the problem.
Another key communication tip involves asking open-ended questions that involve the customer, Thomas says. This technique will not only divert focus from emotional frustration but also generate copious information about the problem at hand and help you arrive at the appropriate solution. "Rather than getting defensive … I need to simply listen to the customer, accept the feedback, thank the person, and then decide what to do," she adds. As a bonus, the customer might feel appreciated and cared about, alleviating some of their emotional frustration.
Handling Customer Complaints: Don't Take Anything Personally
As frustrating as it is to be the customer with a complaint, it's no delight being the business representative who gets yelled at for a problem likely caused by something or someone else. But, Morgan cautions, don't take it personally. "People say stuff, and they call us names, and they say we're incompetent. Listen to them fully without interrupting, if possible, and then help them."
Further, don't respond to accusations or offensive complaining in a way that perpetuates the argument. Comments like "You did it wrong! That's why you're having a problem!" will only escalate the issue rather than deflate anger. Don't get defensive. Instead, try a tactic Morgan advises: Point some of the blame on an inanimate object, such as an entry form or confusing instruction manual – problem-causing devices that, most importantly, can't yell at you. This way, Morgan says, you acknowledge there's a problem and, without finger pointing or putting anyone on the defensive, can work with the customer to agree on a mutually satisfactory solution.
Handling Customer Complaints: Ditch the Formalities
The last thing unsatisfied customers want to hear is a recitation of your company's return policies. "Today's customer expects to be treated as an individual, not as just another number who's complaining," Thomas says.
Consider the case of a department store with a 90-day deadline for returning an item. If there's a customer who just got married, returned from her honeymoon and, at day 100, realized that a gravy plate adorned with doves is actually not her style, it's worth looking into alternative options rather than sending her home right away. Your company should know that occasionally bending the rules will ultimately cost less it than it would to lose the customer or, worse, if the customer leaves and relays a negative story about your company.
Handling Customer Complaints: Avoid Overcompensating
A particular four-letter word usually does the trick when seeking a solution to a customer's complaint: fair. "One of the key phrases, which not a lot of people use, is:what would you think would be fair?" Morgan says. "That word fair does seem to bring out in people a sense of, OK, this is reasonable."
Otherwise, Morgan cautions, customers may jump at the opportunity to demand inappropriate freebies, like a fully compensated meal when a free dessert would be enough. Beside, the customer's main priority is resolving the issue. Once that's done, extra benefits or compensation are just filigree – albeit important measures to take if you want the customer to come back.
Thomas adds that if you ask the customer to propose a "fair and reasonable" solution, acting as a partnership with you to find a resolution, chances are it will consist of less than what you would have thought to offer.
Handling Customer Complaints: Patrol Customers' Conversations on the Web
In today's digital age, there's no way of knowing exactly where a customer will choose to voice a complaint. From traditional hotline numbers and online feedback forms to Facebook, Twitter, and user-review sites such as Yelp, the Internet is the customer's oyster as far as retaliation is concerned.
Customer service clientele should monitor as many media as possible to make sure all the bases are covered and no complaint goes unnoticed. Consider the case of Comcast, whose employees are authorized to use Twitter to respond to customers' complaints online. "It shows the public that you're listening," says Morgan, who encourages employees to take advantage of these public forums and post responses on message boards.
Of course, direct communication is always the ideal, and if a customer's contact information is given, the issue should be dealt with on a personal basis.
Morgan, who often leads seminars and has authored books about effective customer management, adds that once the complaint is resolved, it's worth asking the customer to post again on the original message board and update readers – and potential customers – who may visit the site in the future.
Handling Customer Complaints: Responding in Writing
When drafting a written statement to respond to a customer's concern, the same basic rules apply as when talking to a customer over the phone or face-to-face. Start out with something positive, Morgan says, and be sure to thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention. Answer politely and affirmatively and, if the situation merits it, ask appropriate questions that will help to investigate where a service went sour, how to smooth things over with the customer and, finally, how to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
But, Thomas warns, pay careful attention to the tone of your letter. "If you find that the little hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, or you're clinching your jaw as you write the email," it's probably worth your while to have a colleague edit the document before sending it.
Also, always follow up with verbal communication. Provide the best way(s) for the customer to get in touch with you – the more information you provide, like a cell phone or personal email, the more serious your troubleshooting efforts will appear to the customer. Thomas adds, "you can get a lot more done verbally than you can through writing."
Handle Queries through Telephone, Fax Machine, Internet & E-mail
Preparing for Telephone Inquiries
To a large extent, your telephone persona determines the outcome of the call. If you're prepared and are professional, you're most like to convert the call into a new student or to politely turn the student away.
To prepare, you think out what you are going to say: what topics you are going to cover (this is called your "presentation" - - more on this later). You make cue cards and keep them by all the telephones in your home so you're ready no matter where you answer the phone. When you have fielded inquiries for a while, you won't need your cue cards because you'll remember what things you want to cover.
You also need to prepare a number of statements that gently indicate you don't want to teach this person without saying so this bluntly.
The third preparation step is to keep a "telephone log" in which you list all calls and details about the query. It may be that someone will call you back a month (or even a year) later, and you will come off well if you demonstrate to the caller that you remember him and his situation. You probably won't recall, but if the caller indicates a previous call, a quick flip through your log book will bring up the basics, such as names and major concerns.
I use a plain, old 3-ring binder. I suppose you could use a hand-held computer or use some other system, but I find the low-tech approach works best for me in this context. For each call, I list: * name of the caller * phone number * how the person got my name (it may be a referral whom I should write and thank) * name of the prospective student; age and grade if a child
If the child is young, I ask if she can say the alphabet and count to 20 (these are two of my criteria for beginning study, the main reason for which is the way I teach note-reading, a skill I will not bypass in favor of letter names, finger numbers, symbols, and other systems used in place of noteheads on a staff; you may work with other criteria). I also want the child to have a hand which measures at least 2" across the knuckles, and be able to sit at the piano with forearms relatively parallel to the floor (if not, the child must be willing to sit on a phone book or other booster). Note: More information on teaching young children is in my files on wee ones' special needs and how to evaluate whether young children are ready for piano study. the parent's estimation whether the child can sit [relatively] still and attend for five-minute increments of time * if it's a child, whether the child has expressed interest in lessons * whether this person is a rank beginner or whether there has been previous study
If there is previous study, I ask why study with the previous teacher was terminated. If it is a reason why I would not take on this student, as soon as possible later in the conversation I indicate that the student and I "would not be a good match."
If it's a local teacher, I try to get the name ("Who was the previous teacher?"). If it is someone I know, this information can help me evaluate whether the complaint/dissatisfaction with the previous teacher could be valid or whether the family was just not a good "personal chemistry" match. If the problem was a particular activity the teacher had (adjudicated exams, group classes), this gives me further information on how to demonstrate later that my program will be compatible with the student's/parents' aims ("You'll be happy to know I don't have group classes"). what level of skill the student has (per the caller's estimation) * whether there is a piano already in the home
If not, when an instrument will be purchased or rented. whether this be a piano or some substitute * whether anyone else in the family plays the piano or another instrument (Such a person may be a source of help to the student at home, but you can incorporate this person's skills into duets or other ensemble pieces.) * ages (and names, if you want) of siblings (You probably will want to discuss at the phone query stage that arrangements need to be made for brothers and sisters during lesson time, especially for younger siblings. Listen for background noises. Do you hear wailing and fighting? Does the parent have to excuse himself to "talk to" miscreants? Hmm….) * what goals the parent has for the child; or the adult has for herself * what goals the child has for himself * what other activities the child has (Will there be many last-minute reschedules, as soccer and baseball coaches seem to cause?) * anything else that seems it might be germane later in the conversation (siblings, grandparents nearby); in short, take notes on anything else the parent says that is not an answer to something you want to know
If you do not already know for certain, your first order of business if the prospective student is a child is to find out if the child wants to take lessons. If you have taught piano at all, you know what happens when you start a student who doesn't really want to play piano! Plenty of unpleasantness to go around and usually a student who quits. Avoid this dreadful situation by accepting only students who want to study. Find out as early as possible in the phone query so you do not waste time on a call from a parent of a child who does not want to be a piano student.
Usually the parent will say the child has been asking for lessons or make some other comment that will be an opportunity to explore this vital question. If not, try these questions: * Has the child asked for lessons? * If she didn't ask, how did she react when you suggested lessons? * Is she immediately drawn a piano whenever she finds one? * Has a teacher or another adult commented on the child's interest in music?
More discussion of assessing student interest in the section later on about fielding queries from parents of young children.
Make a list of your questions to keep by the phone.
Now you're ready to field calls, right? Not yet.
First, a little "phone technique."
You need to know how to elicit this information. Remember, the more you know about the caller and what his goals are, the easier it will be to evaluate whether you want to accept this student or to convince him your studio program is the one he wants.
This is done simply by asking. Get the ball rolling this way:
Caller: "I'm calling about piano lessons."
Teacher: "Are lessons for you or for a child?"
Caller: [answers the question directly; also offers a lot of information along the way, which you should note in the phone log]
Don't interrupt. Let the person talk as long as she will. If you like, make soft, short confirmations ("Ok.") and empathetic sounds ("Umm-hmm") along the way to let the caller know you are listening carefully (if you're a woman, you'll do this automatically), but don't interrupt. When the caller stops for breath, you wait to see if she starts up again.
Sometimes in the course of the caller's opening statements a question will be posed. You answer, of course, but then you let the caller talk again. Wait until the caller divests herself of everything she wants to say. She'll let you know when this happens by either stopping completely or saying she's done.
Now you talk!
After the caller tells you all she wishes to say and referring to your prompter card (or your memory!), fill in your knowledge by asking further questions to which you need answers, such as "Is there a piano in the home?" After this, you begin your presentation.
A second aspect of phone technique is the message on your voicemail or answering machine. Make sure it's professional.
And last, make sure there is a pad of paper and something to write with at each telephone. You should be able to get to these immediately. (Believe it or not, as I was writing this file, I had a telephone query!)
Your first task (after eliciting as much information about your caller as you can) is to educate your caller about what makes a good music studio. As your presentation develops, your caller will see that your program incorporates these very principals! These principals are really self-evident, but most callers have not thought of them specifically.
The first step is to figure out what you teach. Go to the file on advertising to work through the details of this. Choose no more than five or six of the items you generate. These should be the most important facets of your program. For example, you might choose note reading, individualized instruction, improvisation, practice techniques, initiative, and computer work with ear-training software.
Make two columns on a sheet of paper. Label the left side "I teach" and label the right side "so the student will." Write down your five or six points on the left side. These are the features of your studio program.
On the right side, you'll write how the student will profit from the five or six things listed on the left side. These are the benefits of studying with you.
For note reading, you might list the following student benefits: * learn new music quickly * be able to pick up a pop music sheet and play it right away with minimum of fuss and very little help from me * be unafraid to try something new * not be limited to trying to remember hand position or playing by finger number or letter name
The others: individualized instruction: * progress at his own pace * have his needs met * have his interests addressed * feel special improvisation: * have an outlet for creativity * have an immediately-apparent use for music theory * be able to play current pop hits; or folk songs or Christmas carols * learn how to play fake book style practice techniques: * learn how to use time efficiently * learn how to solve problems * learn to avoid or lessen frustration * learn to focus on progress rather than minutes spent at the piano initiative: * learn to take charge of his efforts * learn to take charge of his time * learn to set own goals * learn to monitor his own progress * learn when he's bitten off more than he can chew or less than he can handle computer-fostered study: * removing drill from lesson time saves time that parents pays for as contact with the teacher * can move at own pace * can make mistakes in private * improves child's overall computer literacy
Place these features and benefits on your prompter card. As you teach and ask you field inquiries, you'll refine and change this list.
Rehearse explication of these features and benefits before a mirror.
Also practice speaking slowly. Being nervous translates into speaking quickly. A caller may decide that speaking quickly indicates a lack of skill and/or confidence. You'll be nervous at first, so head off this problem.
Record your presentation. After you've done this two or three times (and thus worked the kinks and stumbles out of it), play it back for analysis. * Did you talk too fast? * Did you speak clearly? * Was your presentation too long? * In too much detail? * Did you use words that a non-musician might not understand? * Especially if English is not your native tongue take time to speak distinctly. * Conversely, if you are speaking with someone whose primary language is not English, take special care to speak clearly and avoid slang and incomplete sentences. These people are most assuredly not stupid, so don't speak ultra slowly as if you thought they might be mentally incompetent, just speak clearly and with good grammar and basic vocabulary.