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.

Contact Management Tool Review: Contactually

As you may know, I’m working my way through trying out all the new smart contact managers. As someone who is considering a client services business (more on that soon!) the need to button up the data management side of my network and relationships is becoming ever more pressing.

This week’s trial: Contactually, recommended to me by Get Storied’s Michael Margolis.

Contactually immediately made me happy with two features I’ve been looking for and haven’t found elsewhere:

  • pinging reminders based on groups (‘buckets’)
  • drag-and-drop contacts to groups

I wish you could put someone into more than two buckets, although Michael immediately had this counterargument when I complained: It can be good to be forced to keep things simple. Still, I really enjoy the easy and flexible tagging system in the competitor product Connected. Something about their UI makes everything feel so organized and easy. Contactually does more, which is theoretically good, but it makes the dashboard there a lot more cluttered. Continue reading

The Workplace Drone and How to Silence It

Your work environment can have a profound impact on your workday and the quality of your work. The current trend is to steer away from isolation, making offices tear down the walls, both literal and figurative. The problem is, it’s hard to concentrate when you can constantly hear the conversations of your coworkers. A recent New York Times article sheds some light on this particular issue.

To some people, it is very difficult to work through the constant chatter that comes with an office space. So if there are no walls, we make our own. Headphones. Giant filing cabinets. Books. You name it, we do it.  “After surveying 65,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, report that more than half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of ‘speech privacy,’ making it the leading complaint in offices everywhere,” according to the Times. Continue reading

Joe Navarro: Building Harmony Through Seating Arrangements

As one of the original founding members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program, Joe Navarro mastered the ability to read nonverbal body language. When he retired in 2003, he discovered his expertise and skills could be taught, to benefit everyone from professional poker players to executives who wanted an extra edge. Since then, he has authored numerous books, including the classic What Every BODY Is Saying.

When Navarro sat down with Tahl Raz, co-author of Never Eat Alone, he shared some insider observations about where and how to stand to appear less threatening.

Walk up to somebody and stand right in front of them. If we were to put meters on you, we would see that your blood pressure goes up – and yet we know that if you were to stand at an angle to that person, your blood pressure would go down and you’d actually feel better about talking to this person. So, the angle is important to helping someone relax.
Continue reading

Heidi Roizen Gives You an All-Access Pass to Meet Anyone

One of the key relationship-building tactics that myGreenlight encourages is to research potential contacts to find a point of common interest to warm up conversations and create opportunities for true connection. In his interview with Heidi Roizen, Never Eat Alone co-author Tahl Raz noted that one of the critical aspects to confidence in meeting new people is giving yourself the context, or permission, to approach them in the first place.

Heidi said:

“You have a context as a human being to approach anybody else. I think it’s an interesting thought to have. You could probably find a connection with every other person on the planet if you probe enough about your interests, beliefs, style, passions, what music or TV shows you enjoy, or how you like to spend your time. There’s probably a connection point somewhere because we’re all very complex beings.”

For more great insights from Heidi, don’t miss the full transcript of the Social Capitalist interview: Social Capitalist Transcript – Heidi Roizen.

The One Factor that Ensures Your Kid’s College Success. And Now Yours.

In 1986, Harvard’s then-president, Derek Bok, wanted to know if there was a way to predict whether a kid would succeed or fail in college. What was different about those who kicked ass as undergrads? Bok wasn’t really interested in improving the school’s admissions process. Harvard, after all, already annually fielded a freshman class that was, according to just about every measurable metric, the nation’s best.

What Bok wanted to learn is whether the school could study those kids who transformed those early exceptional metrics into exceptional performance, making the most of their four years in college, and apply those lessons to changing how Harvard served all of its students. A large-scale study was conducted over the course of several years and one finding in particular surprised everyone. Continue reading

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.