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Doing Business in Europe - an Etiquette Primer for Americans

Monday, December 15th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Paula Williams

The Opportunity You’re an American businessperson whose company is expanding into European markets. Or your company is acquiring or has been acquired by one. Or you’re courting a supplier or venture capitalist from Europe. In any case, you want to make good impression.

You’ve heard the rumors that Americans are thought to be, well, somewhat less than cultivated. And it’s true that American businesses often place more stock in talent and skills than they place in polish and style- we’ve all seen American managers who are brilliant strategist but rudely answer cell-phone calls or type in their PDAs while having discussions with their subordinates.

We know a defense attorney who has a stellar record in spite of (or perhaps because of) his unkempt appearance. (Maybe it’s disarming to jurists?) And we all know talented computer wizards who earn outrageous salaries going to work in jeans and flip-flops every day.

In Europe, dress, manners and demeanor are more important than they are in the States. But as business here becomes more global and as businesses become more competitive, even the most casual Americans are learning that there are benefits to having the more cordial manners of their European counterparts.

The Solution There are some rules and standards of etiquette in Europe that are puzzling to Americans at first, and we cover some of those in this article. There are also some fairly simple rules of thumb that will spare you some awkward moments and prevent unintentional offenses.

Dress For the past few years in the United States, businesses have been tending toward “business casual”- meaning polo shirts and casual slacks for men and women. In the recent few months, most industries are gearing back to a more “dressed up” appearance - blazers and slacks (if not a coat and tie) for men and more corporate pantsuits and dresses for women; although many workplaces still have “casual Fridays.”

As far as we know, there are no “casual Fridays” in Europe. A dark-colored coat and tie with a light shirt for men; and more formal skirt and pantsuits for women are de rigeur. Anyone wearing something less formal might be seen as someone who does not take his business very seriously, or who has too little respect for the people he’s meeting with to spend the time on his appearance.

Business Interactions Typical business interactions are more effective (and more enjoyable!) if you consider some cultural differences such as titles and introductions, language differences, differences in organizational structure and philosophy, and issues of style in matters such as taking blame and giving credit, giving compliments, and resolving differences of opinion.

Titles and Introductions In the U.S., if you work for the same company as someone else, you can pretty much take for granted that you’re on a first-name basis with them. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor is addressed by first name only, even if you’re barely acquainted with them. That often transcends companies, and anyone who calls you Mr. or Ms. is probably trying to sell you something.

The opposite is true in Europe. Calling someone by their first name (unless invited to do so) is considered presumptuous and too familiar for business interactions. Courtesy titles and last names are the norm.

Introductions are also very different. In the U.S., introductions are almost an afterthought- you get “introduced around” an office if you’re new to the company, and introductions in meetings are cursory if done at all.

In Europe, introductions are very important, and they follow the old rules of introducing the “less important” person to the more important one. If Mr. Smith is the owner of the company you work for, and Mr. Jones is your newly-hired colleague, an introduction would be as follows: “Mr. Smith, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Jones.” If you are standing when an introduction is made, shake hands (firmly, please!) with the person you’re introduced to.

If you are sitting, stand up, face the person, and shake hands. Always stand when making introductions yourself.

In meetings, formal introductions may be made before the meeting before the participants take their seats, or everyone may go around the table and introduce himself or herself, (while seated) but a meeting is never begun if there are any participants that have not formally met. Follow the lead of the meeting host, or if you are hosting a meeting, ensure that introductions take place before addressing any items of business.

Language You may be told by a company that all business will be conducted in English, so there is no need to learn a second language. You will find, however, that there are differences in structure and usage between American English and “European business English.” Language is more formal, and although there may be some slang (especially in new fields like computers) it’s best to avoid American slang and newer words.

The structure of sentences is a little different. The adjectives often come after the noun.

Take these differences in stride, and try to adapt your style of speaking and writing to the people you’re doing business with. It’s much more effective to communicate in he the way the majority of people are comfortable with than to try to change things to the style you may be more used to.

Organizational Structure and Philosophy Companies in the U.S. have been tending in the last few years away from hierarchical systems and are more “flat” in style and structure. Senior managers might inhabit cubes the same as regular staffers, everyone is on a first-name basis, and everyone’s opinion carries equal weight if the idea has merit.

In Europe, things are a bit more traditional and people are more deferential toward people who have “earned their stripes.” It’s fine to put forth ideas if you’re not the “top dog,” the only difference is in the style of communication.

It’s much more effective to give suggestions than to pronounce opinions. (Note- although few would admit to it, this style often works better in the U.S., too!) In the U.S., managers often listen to discussions of team members and say very little- allow the team members to come to a resolution themselves, and only facilitate discussion, resolve issues, or provide information as necessary.

In Europe, managers are expected to be active participants, actively asking questions during the entire process.

Otherwise they may appear to be uninterested or not knowledgeable. Take Blame and Give Credit In the 1930s, an American named Dale Carnegie wrote about the practice of taking blame for things that go wrong and giving credit for things that go right.

Unfortunately, too few Americans seem to have taken his advice. But Europeans have! (Or maybe it was their practice all along and Mr. Carnegie happened to be the one to pass that along in the States. ) By admitting fault quickly and emphatically when you’ve made an error, you immediately take the antagonism out of a problem, and everyone’s focus turns more quickly to a solution rather than fault-finding.

Once when I was new at a company and putting together a web page, it was discovered that the search criteria didn’t work as expected. Although I wasn’t sure what was wrong with it, I admitted in an e-mail- “This is the first time I’ve done this, so I may have made an error on the page.” One of my colleagues immediately fired off an e-mail to everyone involved indicating that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my coding and there must be another problem.

It was discovered that there was a problem with the search mechanism (not the page.) If I had not admitted fault (even incorrectly!) or had been defensive about my work, these people would still be wondering if there was something wrong with the code, coming from a “green” programmer as it were.

Passing along credit is even more effective than taking it for yourself. If a project goes well and you are congratulated, it is much more charming and effective to say “Thank you, but the administrative staff set it up beautifully” or “The programmers did all the work.”

The administrative staff or the programmers will appreciate it, and the person congratulating you will think more rather than less of you for passing along credit. ]

Compliments Another thing that Mr. Carnegie wrote about that seems more common in Europe than America is the practice of giving compliments.

In America, compliments are often seen as passe’ or condescending. Complimenting someone is seen as unnecessary. People refrain from pointing out things about differences in people’s dress, practices or cultures.

Some men refrain from complimenting women colleagues in particular because they are trying to be “politically correct.” Everyone likes to hear nice things about himself or herself, regardless of where they are in the world. But in Europe in particular, giving compliments is a perfectly acceptable and even expected mode of interaction.

Compliments can be very simple- admiring someone’s taste in office furnishings (assuming you really DO like their office) or complimenting someone on their proficiency with the computer or complimenting their analysis of a situation.

Many Europeans for whom English is a second language particularly like to be complimented on their grasp of English by Americans. (And often their English is better than ours! See notes on language.) Being genuinely interested in other people, and expressing sincere compliments is a practice that is much more common in Europe but is effective in developing rapport with people anywhere.

Differences of Opinion In the U.S., it is common practice at many companies to have spirited arguments in hallways and boardrooms. People that disagree with one another may use strong language or even raise their voices. In teams of people that have been working together for a long time, this is often seen as a healthy airing of opinions and no one takes the disagreement personally.

In Europe, however, differences of opinion are handled more decorously. If you disagree with someone, it is typically more effective to start with the points you agree on and work toward the differences.

“I agree that this advertising strategy will be expensive, and I understand your concerns that this year’s budget numbers will not support extravagance. However, I think that my idea may not cost as much as it might first appear.”

Handling differences of opinion in a more diplomatic fashion will be much more effective in Europe. And probably in the U.S., as well.

Meetings Meetings in the U.S. are often brief, to the point, and may seem abrupt to people new to the company. There is often a focus on a particular problem or agenda item that people dive right into and attack from all sides.

One company I worked for had fifteen minute meetings every morning to give status on the previous day’s results and the coming day’s planned activities.

At exactly 8:30 someone would yell “Time!” and the meeting would adjourn- anything unsettled from the meeting was postponed to the following day’s meeting or assigned to someone to resolve immediately.

It was a remarkably efficient use of time and everyone got immediately about their business without taking up too much of their day.

It was also abrupt to the point where newcomers to the company considered it rude and even offensive, especially if they had something they felt warranted further discussion.. Efficient companies often schedule meetings before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 so as not to interfere with “work time.”

People in meetings in the U.S. often “multi-task”- answering cell phone calls and pages; or responding to e-mail on their digital devices or taking notes.

Meetings in Europe are generally more relaxed. Introductions are never neglected, and meetings often start with a joke or a “brain teaser” puzzle or activity to get everyone involved and thinking together.

Meetings are seldom scheduled before 10:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m., in deference to people’s family or social activities.

Often, a significant amount of meeting time is used in setting up ground rules, determining the purpose and expected outcome of the meeting, and so forth, especially when there are people from several cultures involved.

People participating in meetings in Europe are expected to be involved in the conversation, not buried in their digital device or steno pad. They demonstrate interest and attentiveness to the person speaking with their body language and by asking relevant questions.

Dining Dining in the United States is often a rushed activity. Meeting someone over breakfast or lunch is often informal and hurried. People eat and talk efficiently, and are done in an hour or less.

Restaurants in the U.S. cater to this, and serve food quickly and do business by getting people in and out as efficiently as possible to make room for more customers.

When entertaining a client, either you or the client may suggest the restaurant, people make selections from the menu for themselves (seldom asking advice, or giving it.) In Europe, dining is a more relaxed event.

When dining with Europeans in Europe, it’s best to take your host’s advice in the selection of food and wine at a restaurant they know well. (Food allergies or serious dislikes aside, of course!) One does not talk about business immediately. Let your host set the tone and the pace of the meal.

Several courses and a significant amount of time may pass before business topics are brought up. Relax and enjoy, and of course, compliment the parts of the experience you enjoy. The rule of thumb is “do not discuss business before the wine and cheese.” Conclusion.

This was not intended to be a value-comparison of American vs. European ways of doing business, although naturally there are good and bad points to different ways of doing things. But by being aware of the differences, and making small adaptations to style, Americans can accomplish objectives much more effectively and forge some richly satisfying relationships with people and businesses in Europe.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/international-business-articles/doing-business-in-europe-an-etiquette-primer-for-americans-684399.html

About the Author:
Paula Williams is the host of Ravenwerks, a community for ethics, etiquette and effectiveness in our multicultural world.


Adsense is Google’s Advertising Innovation for Website Developers

Friday, December 12th, 2008
by Sck


There’s a report circulating on the Internet that the ‘glory days’ of Google Adsense are over — because of a simple anti-website-publisher change that Google made to its Adwords program earlier this year.

Adwords is Google’s contextual advertising innovation for Internet advertisers that lets any average person (or small business, or large company) set up his/her/its own ads — to appear either on the Google Search Engine Page or on website pages like ours, or on both.

Adsense is Google’s advertising innovation for website developers, which gives websites like ours the chance to earn small dollops of cash each time a site visitor clicks a contextual ad we display. Adsense helps website developers defray expenses related to website improvement and maintenance. For more details go to www.yourgoogleincome.com.

The aforementioned ‘Death Of Adsense’ Report, states that Google changed its Adwords Program in March 2006 to allow Adwords advertisers to bid a separate price for ads that displayed on the Google Search Engine Page as opposed to ads that displayed on website pages.

From that date forward, an Ad words advertiser could bid high for favorable Search Engine results (which, it is the claimed, are generally more beneficial to advertisers) and bid low for well-placed ads on websites (which, it is claimed, are generally less beneficial for advertisers).

And, according to the author of ‘Death of Adsense’, that’s exactly what advertisers have gradually done over the last 6 months — causing Adsense revenues for websites to wilt badly.

Because we joined the Adsense Program around the time that the change was being implemented (unbeknownst to us), we really can’t compare our experience now with the so-called ‘glory days’ of Adsense. To know more about it login to www.guardadsense.com. There have been no ‘glory days’ for us to recall — nor to compare with. Just a modest trickle of encouraging and much-appreciated pocket-money.

But the ‘Adsense is dead’ report makes intriguing reading. And, for those who are interested in such subjects, click following to access a fully illustrated version of this article that contains a live link to ‘Life after Adsense’.

Jim and (co-author) Perihan Masters are a husband and wife team, living on the Aegean Coast of Turkey just 50 miles south of Izmir. Jim was born in Shanghai, China — of American military parentage.

Peri was born on the Black Sea coast of Turkey near Trabzon, of Turkish military parentage…Enticed by a Financial Times advertisement, Jim joined a NATO sponsored enterprise in Ankara in 1974 where he met the beautiful and brainy Perihan, a rising young Turkish banking executive.

Settled now in the heart of what was once the ancient Ionian Empire — the couple live an idyllic life by the sea. Writing, drawing and painting, teaching English, and providing computing service support to local businesses.

They also sponsor the MSNBC award-winning Learning Practical Turkish Website which has built an enthusiastic international following of devoted Turkophiles and inquisitive language students of all ages.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/networking-articles/adsense-is-googles-advertising-innovation-for-website-developers-616245.html

About the Author:


Enjoying Conference Calls

Friday, December 12th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Brooke Coin

Managing a conference within a company can already be a hard thing to do. One of the delicate aspects of having a conference is having all members present. If one member is absent, then it would be harder to come up with decisions and plans.

Also, it would also be difficult to make the absent member during the conference to learn and cope up with what he missed. However, with conference calls, this situation can no0w be avoided and conferences may be improved.

Making conference calls are now effective mediums that are used by more companies in making their conferences to better suit their busy schedules.

With conference calls made through the telephone or even with the help of the web, it would be easier to set the date of the conference when all of the members are present. Since the clients in many companies are always busy, gathering them up and having them travel so that they can discuss important matters may be time consuming and too tiring for them.

This is why it would be wiser for the companies to engage in conference calls rather than stay with the traditional face-to-face conferences. They can conduct the conference even without all of the members present in one hall. Even if they are in their offices, the conference can still be active and they can talk about the important matters of the company.

With conference calls made through the web, you can also see the people you are talking to. This is another improvement in the area of conference calling. Also, documenting the conference would not be that hard to do since the conference calls can be recorded and saved.

This can then be used in the future if the company may need it. All of the important aspects of the conference are recorded thus if a member is absent, he can simply retrieve the file and listen to it. By this, he can catch up on what happened during the meeting without disturbing others members of the company.

More companies are now able to distinguish the importance of conference calls in dealing with their clients abroad and locally. They are able to communicate with them in a better and more convenient way. Traveling may not be needed since they can already talk and discuss important matters in their offices.

Conference calls are now a better way to make the companies have a smooth flowing conferences. It is then easier to gather up the members since they may not be needed to be present in a certain location. They can simply stay where they are and have the conference.

Thus, the clients can have a less tiring preparation for the conference, they have also saved their time by not traveling. And more importantly, they have saved money through conference calls.

Having all the necessary equipment in a good condition would make the conference more smooth flowing. Also, conference calls should be tested first so that further impediments that may be crossed in the future may be avoided before the conference even start.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/networking-articles/enjoying-conference-calls-616961.html

About the Author:
Free Conference Call is an exceptionally useful site. Free Conference Call helps you with finding the best Free Conference Call , avoid the frauds, scams, reveling the great benefits and tips that Free Conference Call can give you and more!

15 Tips for Networking Events

Friday, December 12th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Jan Vermeiren

Many people have a hard time going to networking events. The biggest reasons are that they never have thought about how to deal with them. To help them we list here 15 tips that might directly impact the experience on receptions, cocktail drinks, mixers, conferences, seminars and other networking events.

Remember to  bring your business cards . Help people to help you. If they want to connect you to somebody, give them the “tools” to do so.

Prepare your  Sticky Story©  or  Elevator Story . This is the answer to the question: “And what do you do?” Be prepared to give an answer that sticks with people so they can tell about you to their network.

Give and Receive . Look for what you can do for other people first. Think what you can offer without expecting in return (for example tips like the ones you are reading now). Be a graceful receiver as well.

When talking with someone:  give your undivided attention . If you are easily distracted by people walking in and out a room, position yourself with your back towards the door.      Listen more  than talking yourself.

Look for  things you have in common . This makes the rest of the conversation (and every future conversation with this person) much easier.  Tip: there are always 3 things you have in common and that can be used as conversation starters: theme/topic/speaker, location and organisation.

Look for ways to  help people .

Mind your  body language : smile, make eye contact, be relaxed,…      Don’t stay with the same person or group of people the whole time . Networking events are organised to meet other people as well. And think about this: maybe you don’t want to meet other people, but the other person does. Don’t monopolize their time.

Introduce people  to each other.

Remember details  about people you have met. Help yourself by writing them down on the back of their business card or on a piece of paper. Then transfer them to an electronic contact system like your e-mail contact folder, a spreadsheet or database.     Exchange business cards  when you can help each other, not to gather and distribute as many cards as possible.

Networking is NOT selling .

The goal of networking is starting and maintaining relationships. Making a sell is one of many possible outcomes.

Follow up . And do it in a timely and respectful way.

Share these tips  with the people you meet. Especially if you find it hard to open a conversation or are nervous about talking with strangers, say something like “I have just read some tips about networking. What is your opinion about …” (fill in the dots with the tip you want to talk about)

Good luck !   Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach   These is an excerpt from the CD “Let’s Connect at an event: 30 immediately applicable network tips to make every event a success” where we grouped over 100 small tips like the ones in the article in 30 bigger ones. Get your  FREE light version  with 8 tips at  http://www.networking-coach.com/en-boek-cd.html .

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/networking-articles/15-tips-for-networking-events-619813.html

About the Author:

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach, author of the network book “Let’s Connect!” and well known networking speaker. Jan and his team specialize in online and offline networking and referral presentations and training courses.

The team works for international companies like Alcatel, Deloitte, DuPont,  IBM, ING and Sun as well as for small companies.

Go to   www.networking-coach.com   to get your  FREE networking e-course .

Affiliates, Membership Sites, Domain Name Redirects

Friday, December 12th, 2008
by Sck

Author: Andrew Hittle

We all want to make money online. That is why you are here right now. Well if you are just starting out, you probably need to promote some other company as an affiliate. Most companies give you a reseller site, you get traffic to the site, make sales, and get a percentage.

Well, if you promote a membership site for example, you will pay a monthly fee, but you will also EARN monthly residual because your referrals are also paying monthly. If you don’t market your site obviously you are going to lose money right away.

But if you can get a steady flow of traffic and sales to build your downline, you will be making monthly residual forever. Plus, if you keep doing it, you will actually get a RAISE every month for the rest of your life.

What do you think about that?    Just a side note. I have used all kinds of advertising techniques. Free classifieds, paid classifieds, solo ads, email ads, mass mailings, postcards, letters, you name it. You know what is absolutely so funny? Here I am.

Writing and posting free articles that give me permanent links to my sites. Something that other forms of advertising simply can’t offer. I mean, what other way is there to get unlimited free permanent links to your site? I just think it is funny because I took a break from writing articles, and now I realize just how powerful they really are.

So anyway, you are going to join a company, get a website and promote it. You could use the company given url, or you could buy a domain name, and have it redirect to your affiliate link or company url.

Your given link could look like Blablab.com/loop/id?=yourname080808    Or you could look like YourBusiness.com

You can tell that the second one looks better. The idea here is that the YourBusiness.com url will get more clicks than the other one, which is true in pay per click ads. But what I have noticed in other forms of advertising is, it more so depends on the content, than the visual appearance of the link.

Some reseller sites are not compatible, but most are. GoDaddy.com is a common place though there are many. Buy a domain name there for $10 or less, set up forwarding and masking, and you are good to go.

My example was going to be AmeriplanBusiness.com… (but I don’t own that domain name anymore due to breaking the “AmeriPlan” domain name rules… ooops.)  That was the corporate given reseller website that I renamed.

It doesn’t even exist now but I have rebuilt from scratch at HealthRelatedDiscounts.com and I don’t even use a redirect for that anymore.  There is a “business” page in the main site.

The problem I have with reseller websites is:  You have no control over them.    You know as well as I do that you have to be able to stay in touch with the people who have visited your websites or they will never convert to sales.

Well, actually there is a less that 1% chance, so… it’s not totally hopeless.    My entire point is this:  If you have 10 reseller websites, all with domain “masks” you will make more money than your competition.

If you have a membership site, you will make monthly residual income.  If you a “subscribe” form on your site, you will turn your visitors into repeat visitors.  If you have a reseller site you cannot put in your “subscribe” form… or opt-in box.

What is the solution to all this?  Build your own website with original conten… or have me build one for you if you don’t want to do it yourself.  (Yes, I build websites now.)    Good luck making money and outranking your competition.

To Your Success,    Andrew Hittle    AndrewHittle.com    P.S.  If you were to join my AmeriPlan business I would show you how to do what I am doing so you don’t have to make a stupid list of your “friends and family.”  I got to the point in network marketing where I could not depend on them to finance my life.

NEWS FLASH:  If you need your friends and family to make money in your business… it’s not a real business.  It is just a charity case… and you are trying to collect donations from people who feel sorry for you.  I refuse to run my businesses like that.  Your friends and family will not make you rich.  Only YOU can do that.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/networking-articles/affiliates-membership-sites-domain-name-redirects-620890.html

About the Author:
Andrew Hittle is an internet marketer helping people save money AND make money.   http://www.AndrewHittle.com

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