Color Me Intrigued

Companies are painting the walls in their offices more hues “to make their offices feel a little homier, or at least like a home office, and seek new ways to motivate employees,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Ever wonder why call centers for customer complaints are generally painted green or blue? Soothing colors help service reps maintain their cool. On the other hand, quieter workplaces may want to add a pop of color to brighten up the environment and ambiance.

The four top picks for office spaces according to Behr Process Corporation are:

  1. Canvas Tan (light tan)
  2. Brandy (pink and brown mash-up)
  3. Ozone (grayish blue)
  4. Zen (sea-foam green)

These colors are noticeable enough to add some energy to the room and stimulate employees without reaching distracting levels of external stimuli.

What do you think about the colors of your workplace? Why do you think someone would pick a color called “ozone?”  What color works best for you?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

An Unlikely, and Enjoyable, Networking Guide

I am currently reading the book MWF Seeking BFF, by Rachel Bertsche. I originally picked it up because it was getting a great deal of buzz, and also because, as an aspiring blogger myself, I am intrigued by the 52 Something in a Year genre.

But as I began to read, it became clear that what I expected to be a fluffy retelling of 52 wine-soaked girl nights was actually chock full of the same kind of relationship research that we used to build myGreenlight.

Chicago-based Bertsche sets out to try every possible channel to make new adult friends. While her ultimate goal is to meet a new, geographically-appropriate BFF (“best friend forever”, for anyone unfamiliar with the lingo) to augment her college and childhood friends in New York, what she effectively does is build a broad and diverse network of friends, acquaintances, and possible future resources.

By the midpoint of the book, she has a social schedule to rival Keith Ferrazzi himself.

In the process, she meets many people who share her desire to connect with more friends, but who are unsure of how to make it happen.

For so much of our lives, we depend on fate to deliver friends to us. When you are in elementary school, the boy next door is your best friend because he’s most convenient. The girl who sits next to you in English class becomes your confidant because you are working on the same projects. Sororities and fraternities provide a steady pipeline of social comrades during our college years.

Once we get to “real” life we are so comfortable with taking the friends who happen across our paths, that taking explicit steps to meet the people we want to spend time with feels artificial and contrived. But through Bertsche’s experience, it is clear that relationships built from purposeful outreach are just as genuine, and significantly more abundant, than the ones that happen by accident.

One long, slow dinner, coffee date, and yoga class at a time, she builds true friendships with a significant number of her prospective girlfriends. And along the way she makes frequent reference to the research that backs up the key success factors in growing real relationships – self-disclosure, supportiveness, interaction, and positivity.

The key takeaway is that purposefully seeking out connection is an effective way to expand your social circle, and real relationships are worth investing some effort.

Have you ever had to start over with building your social circle? How did you do it?

If the Timing’s Right…

Being effective is something that we all strive towards – but sometimes it’s the little things that can separate the good from the great.

One such small thing is deciding when to send an email. In a very interesting tip in the article, Timing is Everything: Five Tips to Better Networking in 2012, tip one is “send an email during working hours. You may think your email will get noticed if it’s sent off hours, but it will probably just get put aside. If someone is checking their business emails off-hours, they are checking on business-related items. Emails asking for help are often put aside and forgotten about.”

I tried getting a couple different opinions based on job functions. My friend, Andrew Bavelock who works as an Administrative Aide at New York University believes that “the afternoon is usually the time when I’m most responsive to emails, since that’s when I’ve finished most of my other time-sensitive work for the day.”

From our sales team at myGreenlight, Business Development Executive, Brian Frankel says “I check my emails first thing in the morning. I avoid checking emails in the middle of tasks as it is a time waster. I learned from Jason Womack to turn off the outlook notification message for incoming emails and that helped a lot.

However, not all people are of that opinion, some people think it is easier to focus on emails during our free time. When I asked our Community Manager, Kibibi Springs, she said,” I would say that getting someone’s attention at the start of their day is probably the best overall way to ensure that it’s recognized and replied to in a timely manner. So I would send an email in the evening so it’s on their radar when they check email in the morning.  I also have found that the end of the work day and the hours after a typical work day ends is great to catch people live.  I think a lot of people use the end of the day to catch up on emails and if you send something between 4-7pm you might get a direct response because that part of the day meetings are typically over, the phone has stopped ringing and they are more likely to be able to focus.”

As you may have noticed- there doesn’t seem to be a perfect time of the day to send an email. In my opinion, if it’s something that is very important to you- you should try to research “a day in the life” of the person you are emailing and go from there. It seems to be different depending on the industry and job function, so take all of that into account and see what works.

When are you most responsive to emails? Share your experiences!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Best Relationship Posts of 2011

As we start the new year, here’s a last look at some of my favorite relationship-related posts of last year from across the web.

Marketing versus Connecting: Chris Brogan sheds light on how you can make your contacts feel a little more special.

How to Increase Your Likeability: Guy Kawasaki’s always smart take on what he has coined as “enchantment,” with a funny and heartfelt comic that is easy to read.

Three Interview Secrets You’ll Never Hear in School:  Business leader Peter Guber gives insight on how to ace your next interview.

Mark Goulston’s Personal Branding interview: Read about finding the right balance between speaking and listening and learn how to “listen with your eyes.”

Secret Social Skills Successful People Know: Penelope Trunk’s tips on how to improve your social skills and become more successful.

Advice For Professionals: Build Relationships to Build Your CareerUSA Today did an eye-opening study of an African-American female that shows how to go from feeling invisible to feeling empowered by building relationships.

Get Rich Investing In Your Own Human Capital: Social Capitalist guest Michael Ellsberg offers insight in this video about how investing in yourself may be the best way to go.

Networking Advice for People Who Hate Networking: CBS tries to make networking a manageable goal for those people who really don’t like networking.

How To Network for Shy People: This CIO article provides twelve easy-to-follow tips for people who are shy and have a hard time networking.

What are some of your favorite articles about relationship building? Do you agree with the ones listed above?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

If You’re Not Networking, You’re Not Doing Your Job

If you’re not networking, you’re neglecting a key part of your job, according to Forbes. We at myGreenlight obviously agree!

“To many, networking has been viewed as a mandatory activity for sales people but perhaps as an extracurricular option for others, or an activity only to be pursued when a person is in between jobs. Somewhere the paradigm has shifted and many people now recognize it has become a mandatory part of everyday life for anyone in the workplace,” writes Sherri Edwards.

However, unlike what many people think, just getting exposed, or networking for the sake of networking isn’t the answer. Personally, I don’t have relationships with many of the people I’m friends with on Facebook or connected with on LinkedIn.

So what’s the next step? “Relationships develop over time, not with a click and a connection. Developing relationships requires an awareness of a purpose and having an objective, followed by thoughtful communications that will support that objective.”

Just like everything else in life, you have to make an effort in order to have rewarding results.

What about you, do you prioritize relationship building like one of your official job duties?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Three Team-Building Activities that Aren’t

According to this Forbes article, there are three team-building activities that are actually bad for your business. And believe me – they’re the ones you wouldn’t expect given that they’re so widely used.

  1. The Trust Game
  2. The “Being Blind” Game
  3. Two Truths and a Lie

The author, Deborah Sweeny, looks at each game individually. Trust games can be difficult to coordinate because of the diversity in employees’ physical attributes, and not to mention a myriad of technological distractions that may cause the “trust” to fall with a crash instead of “falling into a safe cocoon.”

The “being blind” game has obvious pitfalls- because it is a two- way street and each person in the partnership has to be blind, it is hard not to be influenced by the first run, and there are often opportunities for revenge. And let’s face it, revenge usually isn’t pretty.

Lastly, two truths and lie may make everyone too comfortable with lying- and that in itself makes us uncomfortable.

So what’s a great team-building activity? Warm, intimate dinners are one of our favorite team-building activities at Ferrazzi Greenlight. Keith likes to push teams past the small-talk by asking them questions like, “Share a challenge that has shaped who you are today” – a great way to frame conversation so that it can go deep without going too negative.  He gives everyone “permission to be intimate” and sets the tone upfront by answering the question first himself.

What are the best and worst team-building experiences you’ve had?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

This is Your Brain on Facebook. Any Questions?

There’s a link between the size of certain parts of our brains and the number of friends that we have on Facebook, according to recent studies reported in this article.  This discovery only indicates a correlation however, not a cause-effect relationship. It’s hard to say, reports Reuters, whether “having more Facebook connections makes particular parts of the brain larger or whether some people are simply pre-disposed, or ‘hard-wired,’ to have more friends.”

Online social networks are so novel that it’s hard to say what kind of effect they have on us. Four parts of the brain were discovered to be larger when a person had more friends – but interestingly enough, “the thickness of grey matter in the amygdala was also linked to the number of real-world friends people had, but the size of the other three regions appeared to be correlated only to online connections.”

Could that be an indication our online relationships cause different reactions in our brains than the real world ones? What do you think? Do you treat online friendships differently?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.