Category Archives: Onecom

Dealing with Shyness: How to Network Effectively

By: Eugene Kim

In order to be successful, you must know what you are good at and bring that out in your interactions with others. Simply because you are introverted does not mean you cannot run a successful business. You can accomplish your dreams if you are committed to reaching your goals.

Networking events are difficult. They seem to cater to the extroverts, those individuals that have no problem striking up conversations with people they have never met. However, for introverts, these events can be anxiety inducing. You have to talk, and you need to come across as the type of person that others would want to get to know better.

Networking does involve making sure that others know you are present and available. However, that does not mean that all eyes have to be on you. Instead of trying to get attention, simply relax and be yourself. The following tips will help.

Plan Ahead

Think about the upcoming event and have a few icebreakers in mind. For example, think about what type of questions you can ask to get the conversation going. Consider inquiring about another person’s line of work or what they like to do. Delve a little deeper; instead of asking “What do you do for a living?,” inquire “What do you like best about your job?”

Know Your Limits

You do not have to do it all in one day. Networking is difficult. Do not stress yourself out by trying to get an extremely high number of contacts. Simply put your best foot forward and attempt to engage in good, solid conversations.

Time Yourself

Figure out in advance how long you want to be at an event. It lets you see the end in sight, and it makes the event much more manageable. Try to stay for at least half an hour. This should allow you to have meaningful contact with at least one person. It will also give you time to get used to the setting. Once you have been there for your allotted time, you may find that you feel okay about staying even longer.

Get Yourself Introduced

If you identify a contact that you would really like to know better, see if you can get yourself introduced. You may know someone that knows that person, for example. LinkedIn can help you see common connections. If you cannot figure anything out by using that route, speak to the host of the event. The contact will be much more likely to speak to you if you are introduced to them rather than if you go up to them on your own.

Talk (A Little) About Yourself

It is not easy to share anecdotes relating to your life and business. However, if you simply question someone over and over, they may begin to feel a bit uncomfortable. You must share part of yourself in the conversation as well.

Showcase Your Listening Skills

Introverts have one big advantage over extroverts; they tend to be much better listeners. You can show others that you care about what they have to say by listening to them attentively.

Give Yourself Additional Opportunities

If it is particularly hard for you to network, seek out other opportunities that do not make you as nervous. For example, head to an event where you do not have any existing contacts. If you do something silly, or do not present your best self, it will not matter as much.

Go Slowly

You do not need to rush things. Take it day by day and event by event. As time goes on, you will notice that you feel a little better about networking. It will be easier for you to showcase your unique talents. Practice speaking and engaging others at every available opportunity, even if it is just at the local coffee shop or while you are picking up lunch.

How to Tackle Inter-Departmental IT Barriers Effectively

By: Marcie Casas

IT systems can be very useful in bringing departments in an organization together by connecting them via communication systems, shared databases and other kinds of tools. However, they also can separate departments from each other and put up walls. Just like there are two different ways to get around a physical wall- use a ladder to climb over it or tunnel underneath it- there are also two different ways for tackling IT walls- mitigating for them or avoiding them.

The Wall

Every department has its own IT needs, you may even get help from an outside company like Convergence, based in Hampshire. The accounting software doesn’t serve the same purposes as a sales database does. Data analysis is quite different from design work. Different needs result in separate systems for completely different jobs. This is quite understandable. Extra work may be created for the IT support staff. However, it is definitely worth it to ensure a job has the right tools.

Teams sometimes end up having different software by accident more than through intention. They grow accustomed to thinking about what their software needs are separate. Each team in a division may have its own separate database. Every sales team may have its own spreadsheet. This can happen out of habit.

Once in a while, it happens out of legal necessity. There may be times when privileged information needs to be kept in a place where only certain individuals have access to it due to customer confidentiality or data security reasons.

A problem can arise when teams need to work together or a reorganization takes place where two teams who had been using separate systems now are part of the same department. The separate databases suddenly are a barrier for an organisation running smoothly.

Tunnels- How To Avoid The Wall To Begin With

One really good way to avoid the barrier is by using central IT acquisition. However, even if you institute this, teams are still going to insist their needs are different from one another. Everyone thinks the work they do is unique – it is part of being human. So what is the best way of finding out if the needs really do require different solutions or if the same software can be used by two different teams?

To figure this out, you need to focus on what the root causes are of the needs. The easiest and usually most effective way to do this is through using a lean manufacturing technique called the Five Whys.

When someone tells you they need a certain piece of software or feature, always ask them why. When they answer you, ask why again. Although to avoid an argument, phrase this very carefully. Keep asking why as many time as necessary until you can really get to what the fundamental issue is. You need to know what is at the core of what is really wanted instead of the feature they believe is going to provide that to them. If you keep doing this with everybody you might discover that many of the needs are the same and the same software can be used.

Ladders- How To Get Over The Wall

Some barriers you just can’t avoid. Some teams really do have completely different needs from other teams. However, there are still ways to reduce the problem.

When choosing software, plan ahead. Don’t only look at current needs of a team, also look at what might be needed in the future by other teams. If you are able to select something that will meet all the needs later, you will save having to add extra systems in the future.

Also, consider what compatibilities there are between different systems as well as their outputs. The HR department may not wish to combine data with sales or the accounting department at this point. However, in the future, there is a possibility that they will. Managers also may need to do this in order to analyse trends. Try to find software that is capable of understanding outputs from other software or that has the capability of combining its data with other data using a third system. Plan for future demands now to help avoid problems later on.

People who are not in IT might not really understand how hard it can be to connect various software and functions together. However, by planning ahead and asking your repeated ‘why’ question, you can help to ensure a coherent IT infrastructure that can serve your company for a very long time.

How To Master Communication In Today’s Office Setting

In today’s rapidly changing age of information, there are even more impressive possibilities for communication than ever. Whether it’s holding a meeting with investors from all over the world at one time, or delivering documents securely in seconds by uploading them to a server, communications technology today offers options that a generation ago were unthinkable. Not only that, but they continue to get more advanced with each passing year.

However, although the options continue to get more impressive every year, they also are becoming much more complicated. To maximize their use instead of tripping over shortfalls in technology, strong IT support as well as good planning regarding use of the technology are required.

Excel At Email

Today everyone starts using email long before they are old enough to work. When it comes to email, everyone thinks they know how to use it already and expect others around them to as well. However, to get the most from email goes beyond just knowing how to click the send button. It also involves understanding the various options provided by your email software.

Even something simple like creating and using the same Outlook template can save hours worth of work each week as well as reduce the chances of typos. However, because we don’t use the templates with our personal email, most people aren’t familiar with them.

Archiving emails properly can help with saving system memory, secure audit trails and speed information retrieval up. However, most companies don’t have a process set up for this. Also, employees have a tendency to just delete emails rather than archive them.

It may seem like a big waste of time to train employees how to properly use email. However, there are numerous ways that email can help with making your business much more efficient.

Virtual Working

No longer is working from home just for senior managers wanting to stay home and watch rugby or parents with sick children. Now practically any office worker has this option, as long as the system they use is properly set up. In addition to saving on commuting time, having virtual workers offers flexibility in terms of people’s schedules and can also help reduce office space costs.

However, there are disadvantages to virtual working as well. When team members don’t share the same experiences that working in the same office brings, the same social bonds are not formed that can help with making things run smoothly. If you use virtual working in your company, be sure to schedule things so that everybody does spend some time working in the office with their colleagues. Have rules set about what is expected when working from home. However, don’t allow human interaction to suffer in the process.

Virtual meetings also need rules. It is much more difficult to accurately read subtle changes in tone or body language when meeting via a webinar or video teleconference. When you are not in the same room together you also don’t have the gossip and chatter before the meeting that helps relax people. Some might not feel as confident to express their opinions. At the beginning of the meeting, set aside some time for casual conversation. Also set some rules so that everyone’s chance to be heard is protected.

Above all, be sure IT support is prepared. Nothing can be worse than being half through a very important meeting and get cut off without being able to reconnect.

Consider Your Phones

Phones, like email, are so basic for office work. It is very easy to take phones for granted. However, it is very important to have the right training and equipment, especially in large offices. Redirecting calls to the correct department is easy. However, have staff received the training to know how to do this? If the phones include an automated filtering system, are customers sent to the correct departments? Can the phone system be updated easily as there are changes to the business?

It is very important to have a good support team that is knowledgeable about the phone systems and can easily update them when necessary. This will make life much easier. It’s even better if they are able to train new staff as well and are responsible for ensuring that it happens.

Good communication is essential to having a smooth running office. In order to make this happen these days, good communication technology, along with solid support for it, is imperative.