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Why You & Your Business Need to be Involved in Social Media

Why You & Your Business Need to be Involved in Social Media

    I joined Facebook in 2005.  I can’t dig up the initial registration email, but I know this because this was the last time that I had access to my college email, which was required to be a member of the social networking site at the time.  At first, it seemed like just another MySpace type site, although with a much cleaner interface and the ability to connect with classmates. If you watched the movie “The Social Network” or are in tune with current culture, then you probably know the jist of the Facebook story and how it’s grown, so I won’t bore you with the details.  These days, if you’re in business, have made a name for yourself or want to make a name for yourself, you need to be on Facebook. Why? Let me explain.

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    Back in the 1980s and even the 1990s, if your business wasn’t listed in the phonebook, you had to rely on word of mouth to be discovered by potential new customers.  Then along came the internet and slowly businesses started putting up websites.  It was great because you could put a lot more information on a website than you could in a small add in the Yellow Pages.  With the internet well established now, most businesses do have some kind of web presence.  If you don’t, you’re losing out on a lot of potential business. It’s like the phonebook of yesteryear – you need to be on it.

    Now, in the past few years, social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter have grown into something more than just a place to connect with old friends or classmates.  It’s now a way to give your business a public face to interact with the world and your customers.   If you’re not on Facebook, you’re missing out on potential customers. The same goes for Twitter.

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    As a consumer, I’ve found both Facebook and Twitter to be excellent ways to interact with companies.  Instead of calling customer service and then being put on hold forever, only to be connected with someone who can barely speak English, I can post a message on their Facebook wall or send them a message.  If I really want quick action, I’ll @ reply them on Twitter. Companies are a lot more responsive, especially if you have a complaint, if it’s out there for the whole word to see.

    But it’s not just lodging complaints that Facebook and Twitter are good for.  Since Facebook and Twitter are sites that people visit every day, you can use your account to constantly put out information about your company and to interact.  This will keep your company fresh in their mind, more often than if you just had a website because they’d only visit it when they need to.  Social media is like commercials on television for a business; you can get your info on the streams of hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people easily and for free.

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    Don’t own a business?  It’s still a good idea to be involved.  Whether you’re an entreprenuer, a freelancer, or a working stiff, you’ll find benefits to utilizing social media.  As a business and website owner, I can’t even begin to tell you how many contacts I have made through social media.  It’s gotten me interviews with people, press passes to concerts, PR contacts, media contacts, new writers, and so much more.  If I did not have a social media presence and if my business did not have a social media presence, I can’t imagine where we would be today.  As a freelance writer, I’ve also utilized social media to promote myself and gain contacts, and it also gives people who read  some of my work to interact with me personally.

    If you’re in the market for a new job, you know how important connections are.  Networking, networking, networking is key.  While it probably helps more to know someone in “real life”, you can still make connections online that could help you now or in the future.

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    If you are one of the social networking holdouts, it’s time to reconsider.  If security is your concern, rest assured that if someone really wanted to find where you live, they could do so easily without having to look you up on Facebook. You’re missing out on opportunities by not giving you or your business a public face on these social networking sites. Just try to refrain from posting photos of drunken revelry or other questionable images that could land you in some hot water.

    That being said, make sure to join Lifehack.org on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter.  There are some exciting things coming soon!

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

    Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

    Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

    Conflicts are literally everywhere.

    Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

    Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

    Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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    Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

    Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

    Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

    The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

    Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

    Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

    How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

    Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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    Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

    Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

    How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

    Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

    Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

    Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

    How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

    Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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    Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

    Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

    How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

    Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

    Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

    Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

    How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

    Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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    Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

    Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

    How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

    Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

    Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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