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Lifestyle

How to express yourself in writing

June 20, 2018

Today’s focus on social media and the rise of visuals and video tends to eclipse the enduring power of writing as a form not only of communication but also of self-expression. All creative outlets take a little bit of skill to really enjoy, so here’s a few different ways to get started.

Freewriting is simple, expressive, and often revealing, but tends to be more oriented toward the writer’s experience. You simply sit down with a journal or keyboard, pull up a blank sheet or screen, and let the words flow.

Often, writers find just a few parameters can help them overcome the glaring whiteness of the blank screen or page. Try setting a timeline or “writing sprint” where you get as many words down as you can in an accessible amount of time without worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation, or sense. You may find a topic, theme, or image helpful as a prompt, or simply opt for whatever presents itself in the moment.

You can use this approach to reduce stress, explore your subconscious, or generate raw content, but the unedited stream-of-consciousness output of freewriting tends to need a lot of trimming and rewriting to make it presentable for outside audiences. It’s well suited to journaling, or maybe even certain types of blogs.

At least a little bit of structure tends to help most writers get started and to keep going. When it comes to writing for an audience, it’s important to learn the conventions of your chosen creative form like any other. Readers of short stories or genre novels have specific expectations, for instance, while different types of poetry offer sometimes extremely rigid structures.

Creative writing guides, techniques and advice are a great help, and it’s worthwhile doing some research on your chosen format (genre novel vs. poetry, for instance) and trying out a few different techniques and approaches to see what works best for you.

In fiction writing, there is much controversy between “plotters” and “pantsers”–those who sketch out the story elements in advance, versus those who write to find out what happens. Nonfiction writing has a similar divide between intuitive writers and those who sit down with a plan of what they want to cover.

Neither approach is wrong, but if you want your creative writing to be read by others, you should spend some time learning about the expectations of your form, since readers tend to react strongly against writing that doesn’t conform to genre and format conventions. If your motivation to write is more about “free” creative expression and you’re not bothered about finding readers or making money off of your hobby, you can afford to be more experimental.

Feedback can be crushing or helpful–and usually offers a little bit of both at once. You can find many resources online, but if you enjoy a more social, interactive learning and creative experience, you could join a class or critique group to exchange pieces with other writers for feedback and creative stimulation.

There are surprisingly few hard and fast rules when it comes to creative writing. You learn by doing. But if you want to reach a specific outcome, such as finding readers, being understood, or selling your work, you do need to learn the genre or format conventions and either conform or subvert them in creative and intelligent ways to please the audience.

Business

Guide for Employers: Boosting Staff Morale in the Workplace

April 26, 2019

There is a current feeling of uncertainly created by the political climate, the economy and even the advancements in technology – that could potentially result in the loss of jobs across the country. It’s important that business owners recognise this and take the necessary steps to promote a positive atmosphere across their workforce. This will help to ensure that staff feel both valued and motivated within their role, increasing productivity levels too.

Workplace culture works hand in hand with office morale. So, the traditional nine-to-five attitude may need to be adapted to help create a better space to work. As the conversation around mental health continues to increase around the world, let’s take a look at what businesses can do to make their office the best place to work…

Mental Health Problems Are Not Going Away

Society has opened up a great deal when it comes to talking about mental health issues across the country. Research has revealed that around 45% of Australians may experience a mental health illness at one point in their lives, which can have a huge influence on our lifestyle – both personally and professionally.

There are many areas that an encounter with mental health issues impact. Anxiety for example, impacts over two million Aussies each year. 4% of people will experience depression on the other hand, 5% of which will be women and 3% men.

In the workplace, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems also. However, figures go on to say that women who are in full-time employment are twice as likely to have common mental health issues than their male counterparts. Studies have shown through a $1 investment into mental health, some Australian businesses have welcomed up to $15 in return. From this great ROI, you can ensure that productivity levels remain high and encourage fewer sick days across your organisation.

Positivity Boosting Posters

Many mental health charities encourage both businesses and schools to invest in ‘positive posters’. Although these may be subjective to the chosen establishment, they’re mostly well-designed posters that promote words of encouragement to help people get through the day with a smile on their face.

This can range from simple text that reads ‘You’re doing great’ to ‘Your work matters and you are valued’. Humorous illustrations that are relatable to both your employees and your business are becoming more popular too – why not create your own mental health mascot? This is something that can definitely bring light to something which is often a brushed over.

Fun Out-Of-Work Events for Staff

Make your staff feel appreciated by arranging events that are either held during the working day or outside of work hours. Not only can this create new experiences for your team, but also allow them to form better relationships with their colleagues which will undoubtedly help productivity in your business.

This can range from taking your staff to participate in competitive events with other businesses in the area (such as sports days and football matches) to regular team meals, quiz nights or trips away. These incentives will definitely improve attitude in your workplace, while making people feel respected in their role – so what are you waiting for?

Workplace Benefits, Beyond a Decent Salary

When someone is applying for a position at a company, one of the first things they will look at is the benefits that you offer. This can persuade someone to join a company or not, so if you’re looking to attract the top talent in your industry, you need to offer them something more than just a competitive salary.

For many businesses, this includes private dental and healthcare, a great pension scheme, regular corporate events, therapy sessions and of course a decent amount of holidays. If you’re not in a position to offer benefits directly from your own pocket, team up with businesses in the area and trade your services. As well as this, many employees like the thought of being able to take the day off work for a mental health re-charge and still get paid – is this something that you could offer?

Internal Incentives for Employees

Just like company benefits, your employees will enjoy any internal incentives that you can offer. This could range from something as simple as Employee of the Month where the winner could receive a voucher for their favourite store or evening the option to allowing them to leave the office an hour early. This will encourage some healthy competition in the office!

Another idea could be writing an entire blog post about them and the great work they do for your company blog, which can then be posted across social media. Staff will definitely appreciate the recognition and share it with all of their friends. Many young companies are also introducing Friday beers and buffet to get the weekend started! There’s a lot to consider…

Clearly, there are a lot of ways that you could boost morale in your office. But the question is, how are you going to do it? Make sure to let us all know.

Bio:

Article provided by Where The Trade Buys Print, a company offering commercial book printing services.

Sources:

https://mindframe.org.au/mental-health/data-statistics

https://premiumhealth.com.au/news-posts/beyond-happiness-true-cost-of-mental-health-on-business/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-mental-health-work

Business

How to take your ‘elevator pitch’ to another level

April 17, 2019

Have you ever been asked what it is you do, only to draw a blank?

You might have experienced this recently. And as you try scrape together what it is you want to say, you feel as though you’re piecing together someone else’s life. The issue lies in trying to explain yourself in a way you believe the other person will understand. In your haste, you might misdescribe yourself. Or oversell yourself. Or undersell yourself. Worst of all, you might not make any impression at all.

And that’s a missed opportunity. Which is why you need a good ‘elevator pitch’, to act as a concise explanation of who you are and what you do.

The rules are simple: you must be able to clarify who you are and what you do in the time it takes to scale an escalator. Around 20 to 30 seconds. Sounds easy? It isn’t. You’ll find when writing one out that what you think is important takes you over the time limit. The trick is to be brief, persuasive, concise and accurate. It needs to sell you.

Ask yourself three questions

You only need to focus on three questions for a great elevator pitch:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I do?
  3. What can I offer?

Answering these three questions only is the key to being concise. If you try answer more, you’re going to go well over the 30 second rule. What’s important here is the answers you provide and how you dress them up. There are a few ways to do this. Our recommendations are all about making you stand out from the crowd.

Tip #1 Include your skills and certifications

Got skills or certifications? Share them. Are you a project manager, or a certified project manager? Are you an experienced business analyst, or a qualified business analyst with extensive experience? Introducing qualification to your elevator pitch is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out. Those of you who don’t have any certifications or would like to achieve higher level certifications can get started with SkillPoint’s e-learning courses leading to nationally-recognised professionals certifications available for a wide range of professional areas of expertise.

Tip #2 Solve a problem only you can solve

What problem do you solve by doing what you do? When writing an elevator pitch, people can get caught up on what they do. This is a mistake. What you want to do is cover the effect of what you do – the problem you solve. This is what makes you unique.

For example, if you are a cyber resilience expert, you could say you enable businesses to build their capability to resist, respond to and recover from cyber-attacks which are inevitable and happen on a regular basis. If you are a change manager, you could say you enable businesses to adapt, evolve and grow to survive in highly competitive markets. These are both interesting answers.

Tip #3 Leave breadcrumbs

Your elevator pitch will raise questions. You can influence what those questions are by leaving breadcrumbs. The benefit is you can prepare for a conversation after your elevator pitch, something few people actually consider.  

For example, if you are a portfolio manager, you could mention ‘results’ in your pitch but not specify the actual results. You could mention how your experience helped achieve your ‘greatest accomplishment’ but not say what that accomplishment was. Breadcrumbs give you control over the next stage of conversation. True, they might be ignored, but if they’re tasty breadcrumbs they’ll probably get picked up on.

Try applying these three tips to your elevator pitch and see where they take you. Don’t forget to practise saying what you write out loud because it’s all too easy to write in a way you’d never speak to someone.

Business

Starting Your Own Online Business from Home

April 17, 2019

When it comes to earning an income, people have their own ideas on what they would like to do in terms of their career. Some people are quite happy working in a lower-level position while others aim high in terms of position and salary. There are also those who prefer to work for themselves, and this can be a very lucrative option if you are committed and dedicated.

These days you can go online to find criminal records, to shop, or to educate yourself. You can also go online to run your own business. There are various online businesses that you can run from your own home, and some of these can bring in very good money as well as offering convenience.

Some of the Businesses You Can Consider Running

There are a number of businesses that you can consider running from your own home if you have internet access and a computer. Of course, your skills, interests, and abilities will also have to be taken into consideration. You will find that there are some great options, and that you can enjoy a diverse and rewarding career with one of these career options.

One of the things you may want to consider is selling online by setting up your own retail venture. This can make you a very good income over time and you can even do it on a part-time basis to start until things take off. You can set up your retail venture on eBay and you can also have your own website to boost sales and advertise your brand.

Another option for those looking to start their own online business from home is to set up a freelance accountancy service. These days, this sort of service can be provided with ease online, so if you have a head for numbers and you like to work alone, this could be an ideal option for you. Again, it can be very lucrative once you build your business up and you can do it from the comfort of your own home office.

If you prefer writing rather than numbers, you could offer your services as a freelance writer, which is another popular choice when it comes to online work. You can work for clients from around the world and get involved in all sorts of writing projects. You can do this on a part-time or full-time basis, and you can make a very good income doing it.

Enjoy the Freedom of Your Own Freelance Career

By taking advantage of technology in this way, you can enjoy the freedom of your own freelance career without having to spend a fortune setting it up. You can also look forward to the comfort of working from your own home and being your own boss without others to answer to. So, if you want to set out on your own, consider one of the career options above.

Lifestyle

Top Ways to Find Inspiration as a Blogger

February 7, 2019

Setting up a blog can be difficult, from the commitment that is involved to finding subjects to write about regularly and for a long period of time. However, inspiration is everywhere if you know where to look for it, and whether you want to focus on your blog on celebrity gossip or your personal experiences, blogging subjects are easy to find.

National and International News

If your blog is focused on politics, or you are interested in writing opinion articles based on current issues such as feminism, you can find inspiration from local and national news channels. These will provide you with the latest news and developments in the areas that you want to write about, and starting off your article with a paragraph of current news can help to springboard your ideas, root them in fact and show that your blog is up-to-date and relevant. However, you should ensure that your news sources are trustworthy as this will lend credibility to your blog, even if you eventually disagree with them.

Celebrity Gossip Columns

Personal lifestyle blogs are becoming increasingly common, and their popularity is rising, especially with young people who have an interest in beauty and fashion. Celebrity gossip columns can give you access to a wide range of current information about the most on-trend celebrities, from what they are wearing to who they are dating. This can make your lifestyle blog of much more interest to a younger audience as they strive to be like their favourite celebrities. This can then provide your blog with inspiration as they will enable you to discuss celebrities’ fashion choices, news and their lifestyles and apply this to the reader, such as discussing the best ways to dress like them. For the best black entertainment news today, The Shade Room showcases both the most outrageous celebrity gossip and a wide selection of showbiz news to help inspire your blog.

Hobbies and Interests

After you design your blog, using your own hobbies and interests is an easy way to start writing. Whether your hobby is reading or studying marine life, you can start a blog focused around these subjects and aimed at other people with similar interests. Reviews are a great way to focus on interests as they allow you to share your opinion of a piece of literature of trip to the cinema in a subjective yet professional way, without having to distil details of your personal life.

Your Life Experiences

However, personal blogs are particularly on trend at the moment, and using your blog to talk about your life and any thoughts that you may have is one of the most unique and simple ways to start a blog. These blogs can vary in content every day, and can focus on anything from a funny moment that happened in the lunch queue, to an observation you may have had about your career or a particular change in your life. These blogs can help others in similar situations to you, whilst sharing your own wisdom and the experiences that you have on a daily basis.

Lifestyle

Starting a Career in Psychology: A Mini Guide

February 4, 2019

Psychology is a term used to describe a wide range of career possibilities such as a psychiatrist, marriage counselor, social worker, and psychologist itself. There is a lot of studies involved, and many years of hard work to obtain the qualifications needed, but despite the hard work (or perhaps because of it), this can be a hugely rewarding career path to take. If you think it might be the right one for you, here are some ways to get started.

Get A Degree

If you want to become a psychologist, you will need a number of different qualifications, and it all starts with a bachelors degree. If you are leaving high school and want to go into psychology, then you will need to search for a college where you can apply for a bachelors degree in the area that interests you most. If you are looking at changing careers and can’t give up your current job just yet, turning to online colleges such as TUW online means you can balance studying with your current job.

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you will need to start working on your masters, and after that, you will need a specialist qualification in the area you wish to work in. These include:

  • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
  • PsyD (Doctor of Psychology)
  • EdD
  • EdS

Do More Than Go To Class

To get the most out of your education and to stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for a job – or starting your own practice – you will need to do more than ‘just’ go to class. The more you study on your own time, the more experience and knowledge you will gain. It will be hard work, of course, but it will all be worth it once you have the qualifications you need and can work with the people who desperately want your help.

Psychology is a science, and therefore, as with all sciences, research is key. Whether you do your own, or you follow someone else’s, being involved in the research stages of something exciting isn’t just interesting; it will show your commitment to the area you want to work in, and could lead to fantastic career possibilities too.

Develop Other Skills

Learning what it takes to be a psychologist and obtaining all the skills required to do it is one thing, but many other skills will come in useful that might not be covered by your specialist course. Therefore, you should think about learning these skills yourself. They include things such as writing, oral communication, and skills in computing since a lot of your work will need to be uploaded to a computer system at some point.

These skills can be learned through experience and should be something you focus on whenever possible.

Speak To A Career Advisor

You might have an exact idea of what you want to do with your psychology qualifications, but even if you do know, it’s wise to speak to a career advisor. They might be able to talk to you about other options that you hadn’t considered, broadening your potential job search and giving you other ideas about what you could do.

Whether you change your mind or stick with your initial idea is your choice, but it’s good to know the options are out there.

Business

The Skills You Need To Land A Remote Working Job

November 26, 2018

Working remotely is very convenient because you can get your work done anywhere and save money on a daily commute. However, there are some basic skills you need to have if you plan on working remotely.

Here are some of the required skills for those who want to work remotely.

Self-Motivation

If you want to work remotely, you have to be able to motivate yourself. If you work in an office, you will have supervisors who make sure you get the job done by the required time, but when you work remotely, complacency can set it and if you can’t motivate yourself to get the job done, you will be out of work very quickly.

Strong Communication Skills

Working remotely means you will be doing a lot of work from your computer. If you have difficulty communicating through your writing, working remotely will be difficult to do because that will be your primary means of communication.

Reliable Equipment

One of the most important things to have when you work remotely is reliable equipment, which means you should have a good computer that won’t freeze or crash on you while you are working, and as fast and reliable internet connection. Your employer and customers expect efficiency from you and if you don’t have access to reliable internet connection or a computer that is up to the task, you will have to reconsider your plan to work remotely.

Comfortable Working Alone

Since you will be working remotely, you will have to be comfortable working on your own. People working in offices usually get to work with their colleagues and interact with them on a daily basis. As a remote worker, you won’t be able to interact with people on a regular basis, which is fine for some people but problematic for others.

If you need to be around other people to be more productive, working remotely might not be the best option for you. If you work better on your own and don’t need to be around people to be productive, you should give working remotely a try.

Tech Savvy

With most work being done digitally these days, being tech-savvy is a must. If you’re still grappling with using Microsoft office, you might want to stick with what you are already doing. If you are comfortable with computers, social media, and other new technology, you should be okay.

For those who need some help with the skills listed above, you can acquire these skills through training. If you’re interested in being trained, visit EssentialSkillz to learn some tips on how to work remotely.

Technology

Tips On Pursuing a Career in Technology

September 28, 2018

Choosing a career path can be one of the most important things that you do. It will affect things such as how much you earn, the kind of people you network with as well as how you spend your time. Although this isn’t black and white, and it isn’t always possible to predict your career path and where your interests will take you, the earlier you find out the better. You may find that you have an interest in technology and as a result want to pursue a career in this field. If this happens to be the case, continue reading as you’re going to find key tips on pursuing a career in technology below.

Pick a Niche

When pursuing a career in technology, one of the first things that you should do is pick a niche. Technology is a broad field and there are so many different career paths that you could pursue within this sector. You could, for instance, decide to become a computer programmer which means that you’d be writing code that enables software programs to run. On the other hand, you may decide to become an information security analyst and safeguard people’s computer systems and networks for a living. In order to find a niche, you may need to do research into different careers and see which jumps out at you amongst the bunch.

Get the Right Education

Once you’ve chosen a niche or at least narrowed your options down, think about what type of education you need to get there. If, for instance, you wanted to merge business and data science, you could try Merrimack online Data Science degree program which would enable you to merge the skills needed to operate as a data scientist with the skill needed to translate data into useful insights to help make decisions in a business. The idea is to think carefully about the skills and knowledge you’ll need in your profession and how education can help you attain that.

Meet Key People in the Sector

Another key tip for pursuing a career in technology is to meet key people in the sector. As you likely know already, your network is essential as it helps you hear about opportunities first hand as well as gain the industry knowledge you need to progress. When networking in your industry, think about the best events to attend, where you can meet key influencers and how to build genuine relationships. To improve your networking skills, try reaching out to those who are on a similar level to you when hunting for job prospects and pitching. Also, when you meet new people remember to talk about your job transition and career path so far as opposed to bombarding them with information about your job hunt.

Technology is a great sector to be in, especially in this day and age. So many life-changing innovations are being created and it’s being used to change the way we live life as well as how we relate with one another and function. Being a part of such a movement can be an exciting thing. On that note, hopefully, you’ve found the tips above useful and can use them when pursuing your career.