It happens to all of us eventually.
Someone reads a dating profile or sees an Instagram post, etc and instead of just skipping over it- they feel motivated to be an arbiter of taste and the body police and share with you all the shortcomings they see or don’t like. One of the reasons I agreed to talk about body shaming as a young gay man for the 2018 TEDxProvincetown was to use my voice and my story to draw attention to it my own way.
However, some longtime friends and colleagues who are behind the Building Healthy Online Communities project have been hard at work on a new, anti-rudeness campaign, named “NiceAF,”. They hope that it can help make the world of dating apps — and by extension, the community — a kinder and healthier place for all. They are looking for real people to help make it happen. The first places they plan to tackle are gay/bisexual dating and social apps. 
The NiceAF.org campaign is intending to address the harsh reality, that for some, insults can have profound, lasting effects on how someone can feel about themselves and disrupt a persons ability to thrive.

 
How can you help?
 
Be willing to record and share a personal story;
Have you dealt with the kind of stigmatizing messages like “no fats, no femmes, no oldies,” “no blacks or asians,” “clean guys only” that are so pervasive online?
 
Even if you haven’t experienced this kind of painful rejection yourself, you could offer a perspective based on what you’ve seen.
How to do it?
 
You could choose to make a short video.
Share your real or re-created online dialogue or story.
Once the folks at NiceAF.org begin to receive the video links and stories, they are working with the participating dating apps to encourage their users to go to the NiceAF.org website, look at what others have posted and submit their own videos and stories, as well.
What do you think? Can you help?
Check out the website https://NiceAF.org and click one of the two pink Submit boxes today.
          

Having remote employees can really benefit a contemporary business. Off-site workers can reduce overhead costs substantially, first and foremost. Working remotely can even assist in bringing teams together, and enhance worker productivity. If you want to do your part to encourage your remote staff members to thrive, despite some of the challenges, Facebook is still worth considering as a social media platform that may be able to help you stay connected. Here are some ways to use it for a range of uses.

Communication

Communication is a central component of working well with a team of remote employees. It can be a hassle to have to deal with nonstop telephone calls. If you want to simplify communication efforts among your remote staff, then the assistance of Facebook can be priceless. Facebook makes it simple for employees to reach each other via messaging. If you’re interested in effective communication practices, Facebook can help you a lot. Facebook also allows for topic-specific groups with assignments of admin and moderator roles. The groups and pages are independent of the host’s personal account which allow for a clear visual rebranding, sharing of images, etc.

Marketing

Marketing is one of Facebook’s strongest suits. If you want your remote staff members to achieve better digital marketing outcomes, then you need to make the most out of Facebook. This social network can assist remote employees who want to spread the word about exciting new products that are on the horizon. It can also help employees who simply want to reach out to customers through messages, such as to answer questions about business hours or restaurant menu adjustments and additions.

If your team doesn’t know how to use Facebook for marketing, have them look for tips for getting the best results. They can search for suggestions by paying careful attention to some of your company’s rivals.

Source: Facebook Marketing Strategy: 9 Ideas Every Business Should Use

Staying In the Loop

Facebook can come in handy for professionals who want to stay ahead of the competition. If you don’t want to fall behind your competitors, you can encourage your remote employees to stay updated on all of their efforts. They can evaluate competitors with regard to their new offerings. Facebook also makes it easy to check on their events, marketing practices, giveaways and more. It makes it simple for businesses to stay in the loop within their fields and industries. Facebook streamlines the process of analyzing others. A bit art of this us learning how to use the extended features of Facebook from “events” to local activities, to the new “recommendations” and “jobs” tools.

Source: Impact of Social Media on Business Communication

Advertising

Advertising through Facebook is becoming something that’s more and more unavoidable by the day. If you’re trying to find advertising techniques that may benefit your remote staff members, you should look into your options via Facebook. Facebook advertising has been a major force in the digital marketing realm for several years at this point. Businesses of all kinds depend on it as well. It isn’t uncommon for businesses that are part of food service, fashion, technology and health care to rely on Facebook advertising pathways. The coast will very on Facebook from full curated development of campaigns to simply paid post promotion. but you have some targeting available to get a custom fit for who will see the ad.

Source: Facebook for business

Motivation

Facebook can be a terrific motivating factor for professionals who work remotely. If a remote employee needs to get inspiration for a major assignment or project, this social media platform may be able to provide it. You can analyze Facebook any time you’re in the middle of productivity or innovation ruts. If a remote staff member feels stuck, they can head to a Facebook page in order to jog their mind and get their creative juices flowing again.

Mental Breaks

Occasional breaks can do wonders for remote staff members who are exhausted and on the verge of burnout. There is much research showing the importance of taking breaks while at work. There are many delightful ways to pass the time on Facebook. If you want to help your fatigued remote employees, then you can send them Facebook links to make them laugh or grin. There are Facebook pages devoted to various lighthearted topics, like the world of wacky and hilarious animals, or pages of jokes that remote workers in your field can relate to well. If you want to give your remote team members welcome breaks once in a while, turn to the unrivaled strength of Facebook.

Source: The Importance of Breaks: 4 Tips to Take a Mental & Physical Breather

Human Behavioral Patterns

Facebook is a well-known social media platform that can give remote employees beneficial insights into human behavioral patterns. This can be invaluable to staff members who need to be in tune with consumer habits. If you want your employees to be able to comprehend the way consumers’ brains operate, then Facebook can be extremely useful. Your team members can check out Facebook pages that encompass all sorts of categories. Facebook profiles can help people who want to delve into consumers’ aims, pastimes, basic lifestyles and much more.

If you want to take complete advantage of Facebook, then you need to comprehend it in significant detail. Your remote team members need to understand it thoroughly as well. Don’t rush into employing Facebook for your business aims. Give yourself sufficient time to get acquainted with the social media network if you’re new to using it for your work communications. The better you understand Facebook, the better you’ll be at using it to help your remote team succeed.

          

How to Mitigate Back-to-School Anxiety

Posted April 6, 2019 By GuestSpot

Returning to school when you haven’t been in the educational environment for years can be daunting for many past, present, and future students. Life can take us away from education because of family, work, or other circumstances. Sometimes the timing just wasn’t right for you then, but now it is.  Nothing should stop people who want to pursue their education. In fact, those, many of those who return to the classroom after several years away, tend to do better and have a better context to the work they are studying. Even if you were only away from school for a year or two, if it was because of traumatic experiences or personal struggles, it can be hard to want to go back. While you are beginning your plan to return back to school, keep these things in mind.

Focus on the Benefits

Think about how much of a difference it will make to earn your degree. The benefits of having a college degree are immense. Graduating college can add as much as 10 years to your lifespan. It can also help you to meet new people and find better career opportunities. While there are challenges along the way to getting your degree, they should be outweighed by all the positives.

Socialize

A thorough social life in college can help you to enjoy your experience much more. When you aren’t constantly worried about classes and grades, you can end up clearing your mind and performing better as a result. You need to be careful to ensure that you aren’t neglecting class time to party. If your social life is lacking, look for clubs on campus that you believe you would fit in well. Your college experience should be one of joy, not stress.

Improve Your Time Management

Feeling anxious about going back to school can come from feeling like you won’t have the time to get everything done. The reason students can succeed with a full course load is that they know how to manage their time. Having time management skills means starting on assignments right away and following a proper sleep schedule. It takes time for these to pay off, but when they do, you can feel like there’s no stopping you.

Consider Therapy

No problem is too small for therapy. If going back to school has you especially worked up, you need to find help. Psychotherapy has a host of benefits for students, including reducing and managing destructive behaviors, learning healthy coping mechanisms to help you through emotionally tough times, an increase in focus, attention, organization, and time management, and much more. Talking to a qualified psychotherapist is more than worth your time.

No matter your original reason for being away from school, when you go back, and set yourself on a path of success, you have nothing to fear. It may be challenging, but as you focus on the good, reach out to others, improve your time management skills, and seek help when necessary, you will be able to astound even yourself with the results. Some of the best students are those with experiences outside the school environment. Remember that you are not alone in this exciting educational journey!

For help in figuring out your transitions, professionally or personally, from your workplace to dating and socializing and more, let the Mentor SF’s Explorers Program (EP) help!

          

3 Tech Skills Every Team Member Should Have

Posted April 4, 2019 By GuestSpot

Technology is changing the way you do business.

Most communication has gone to an online format. Sales and marketing live on the web. Even team meetings are held with off-site team members using a computer to be virtually present. While no one expects that everyone in your workplace can serve as an IT specialist, it is very helpful for all employees to have some basic technical knowledge. Here are three tech skills that you should encourage your staff to learn.

Basic Tech Skills

Technical glitches can take away from the efficiency that technology provides. It is both distracting and frustrating when a team member is unable to log in or establish a good connection. Teams that will be working in virtual meeting rooms should know the basics of how a network functions and the connections that need to be made. At the very least, everyone should know multiple ways to restart devices and re-establish connections. Computer Hope reinforces that knowing the basics will free up your IT professionals to focus on more advanced issues. It will also help everyone be able to be the most productive they can be.

In addition to troubleshooting skills, every team member should be able to use industry standard tools. These include Microsoft Office Suite and G Suite applications. Both options provide essential productivity tools and professional email management for small businesses. Each and every member of your team should be able to confidently operate these applications. You’ll see tremendous improvement in productivity when everyone is up to speed with these tech basics.  

Cybersecurity

Independence University reports that cyber attacks and data breaches seem to be in the news every day, with hackers finding ways to break into organizations’ mainframes and steal valuable info. Smart, trained, capable computer specialists with the skills to stop cybercriminals in their tracks and prevent the loss of sensitive information are urgently needed.

At the same time, every staff member who works within your network needs to know the basics of cybersecurity in order to secure your team’s work from cyber threats. A common threat to cybersecurity is phishing, which is when scammers send phishing emails in an attempt to get passwords, usernames, financial details, and other sensitive information. You can work to prevent data breaches by using a spam filter on your email account, using two-factor authentication when logging in, and implementing security for different types of malware and spyware.

Team members need to know the meaning and importance of a strong password. Strong passwords should contain more than 12 characters and include a combination of numbers, symbols, capital letters, and lowercase letters. You should also regularly change your password for greater security.  Your team should also be aware of the ways that email can be used to infiltrate systems. They also need to know how to work with antivirus software and the warning signs that a computer is infected with a virus. A few basic precautions can keep your system running safely.

Emerging Skills

When a great deal of your business involves an online presence, it is helpful for employees to know some of the essential programming languages of the web. A great place to start is Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML. SkillCrush explains that with this tool in hand, employees can do basic web design, allowing them to share ideas pre-formatted to work with an internet browser. Such formatting makes it easier for other team members to see how a person’s ideas are structured—improving communication.

The basics of HTML can be learned quickly, making your team feel more confident about working with technology in general. Aside from knowing coding basics, you can also take advantage of coding tools. WYSIWYG editors make it possible for programmers to see what their code will ultimately look like while they create and edit the document. This simplifies the coding process by allowing users to see what their code will look like in real time. Popular programs include Adobe Dreamweaver, HubSpot Marketing Platform, and Google Web Designer.

Some basic training in technology will help your team function smoothly and improve communication throughout your business. Much of this information can be learned in an afternoon seminar or two. A little time invested in technology training will produce large dividends in efficiency and productivity.

Your organization can always improve, there are always areas that can be revised or tuned up. One of the best ways to improve as an organization is with group workshops or trainings. Check out MentorSF and see how your organization can improve today!

          

Starting your own business can be one of the most rewarding and life-changing decisions that you can ever make. It will be one of the most challenging as well, but that is all a part of the journey. Becoming your own boss has a host of different benefits that can end up improving your overall quality of life. You might just realize that tapping into your entrepreneurial side is the thing that has previously been missing from your life experience.

Now to be fair – the first thing that will happen, in my experience, when you say “I am going to open my own shop”; is you will get one of two reactions. A “high-five” attitude, excitement from those that are keen to see you strike out and try something new. The other less fun will be the “but what if it fails?” group. These are folks that are trying to be supportive but allow the fear and emotions they have over change, share the excitement of your moment. So be prepared. In both cases, they are someone else initial reactions. Listen, hear and consider. You don’t have to respond or act on any comment. Instead, Alice’s “Chesire Cat” and smile a knowing smile, thank them for the thoughts and move forward!

Independence

Gaining a new level of independence is one of the most obvious and important reasons that you probably have considered going into business for yourself. The fact is that the independence that you will gain from becoming your own boss will be life changing and it can also be dramatically life improving as well. You will have a hard time not appreciating the fact that you no longer have to answer to anyone but yourself. This is the kind of independence that the entrepreneurially minded all seek.

Support

Obtaining support from your community in regard to your business is something that can not only help to grow your business, but it can also have a dramatic improvement in your quality of life as well. There are a number of community organizations out there such as your local chamber of commerce that help out local businesses and want to see them succeed. Another outstanding way to get support for your business is to become involved as the owner of a franchise. Going this route offers you an automatic support system and a built-in business methodology from a company that will be able to tell you how to run your franchise in order to attain success.

Having the proper support in your franchise group can mean the difference between success or failure as a franchise owner. You want to do your research and make sure that you are getting involved with a company that has a good reputation for supporting their franchisees. Your franchise group should want to see you succeed and should provide you with the resources to do so.

New Sense of Purpose

The fact is that if you have always felt that entrepreneurial itch, then you are only doing yourself a disservice by not giving it a try and going into business for yourself. You will be shocked at how much more your overall life makes sense when you follow your dreams in this manner.

These are just three of the many reasons why starting your own business can have a dramatic improvement in the quality of your life. It will be a lot of work, but you no doubt knew that before deciding you wanted to jump into an entrepreneurial adventure. If this is something that you have always dreamed about, there is no better time than the present to start making that dream become a reality for you.

For coaching and learning how to be the best entrepreneur you can be, let MentorSF guide you! Contact me for your free 30 min “check-in” session and see how we fit and what support I can offer you to make your dream a reality. You don’t have to go it alone or spend thousands of dollars to have support available. 

 

Resources:

          

Ever want to learn how to do your own video storytelling?

Posted March 22, 2019 By Frank Strona

Here is a chance; Half Moon Bay Public Library Hosts Free Digital Storytelling Workshop on May 3-4

You all know how I am a big fan of storytelling in any form. It is even something I include as one of the MentorSF programs.  So anytime I find training worth sharing about I will. Here is one coming up in May from one of my favorite programs.

The StoryCenter is hosting a two-day Digital Storytelling Workshops as part of it’s California Listens program with the California State Library as a way to capture those moments in a short film.

The workshop will be held:

Friday-Saturday, May 3-4, 2019
Half Moon Bay Library
620 Correas St.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

To apply, simply go to storycenter.org/halfmoonbay.

Each workshop has a limit of 15 participants, so apply now.  You need not be a resident of either city to participate.

In the workshop, you can expect to learn the StoryCenter’s approach to powerful storytelling, work in a group setting to craft your own story, compose and record a video narration, and assemble a 2-4 minute movie in WeVideo software.  You will get a full version of the software for a year as part of your participation, to use however you want.

Stories will become part of a statewide and local collection of digital stories in the program,California Listens.  Visit the site to see examples of stories from participants in similar workshops from around the state.  Your story will also be part of a community screening hosted by the Library in the Fall of 2017!

For more information, feel free to email Joe Lambert at joe@storycenter.org or visit http://www.storycenter.org

 

          

3 Ways to Promote Employee Growth

Posted March 12, 2019 By GuestSpot

When you hire people who are driven, they always try to grow their understanding, skills and responsibilities because they know that this sort of endeavor leads to more opportunities and higher salaries. A business benefits from the growth of its leaders, and in turn, they motivate younger employees who want to eventually attain leadership positions of their own. It’s your responsibility to furnish your employees with these growth opportunities. Here are some tips that can help.

Make Them Part of a Team

A business is only successful when everyone has a purpose, and the easiest way to let your employees know that they have an important role is by creating teams. According to SHRM, “Teams can execute more quickly, make better decisions, solve more complex problems, and do more to enhance creativity and build skills than an individual can.” During the early phases, you should keep your teams small because this tactic reduces costly inefficiencies. On a team, there should be one leader and several talented employees who fully understand how to tackle specific objectives. If the leader gives each individual one significant job, every team member will feel important throughout the project. This strategy also gives each employee a major responsibility.

In order to develop young team members into major players, you’ll need to give them more opportunities immediately after they produce solid results. By keeping your teams busy, everyone will constantly grow and develop new skills that could benefit the company.

Provide Peer-to-Peer Learning

Peer-to-peer learning is a process that can enhance how efficiently everyone tackles projects together as a team. According to Instructure, “When people want to learn new skills at work, most start by asking their bosses to help them — but the second most common way employees learn is from their peers.” If your business has seasoned employees and young employees, you should put these people on strategic teams together so that they can learn from each other. Your veteran employees can teach newer individuals about the importance of marketing using print materials. Whenever you run a digital campaign, the newer employees can work strategically with older employees in order to explain effective social media tactics.

Utilize Training Programs

Training programs can help employees grow by giving them opportunities to learn new skills. Some programs also help employees consistently maintain certain skills during periods of growth.

When designing training programs, according to eLearning Industry, “take time to define the parameters that will act as the foundation of your program — defining learner personas, goals, and success metrics.” For example, if you want to boost customer services by reducing disputes, design a workshop that covers the best ways to communicate with customers during various situations. This type of workshop should cater to employees who want a higher position in the customer service department.

Because business is driven by communication and teamwork, everyone must grow together. If you use these tips, you’ll scale your company and promote many employees along the way. For more help to create unity in a new team or for help mentoring an existing team in your business, contact me to schedule a session today!

          

3 Important Aspects of Developing a Strong Team

Posted March 8, 2019 By GuestSpot

A business starts with a vision that is communicated through a mission statement. When you hire the staff, you are asking them to live up to the promise of that mission statement. It is crucial that you develop a strong team that will remain focused on the goal of success. Here are three important aspects of developing that strong team for your company.

Pick the Right Members

Everyone can look good on a resume. It is how a candidate holds up under the scrutiny of a job interview that will give you the first indication of how he or she will fit in with your team. The key word here is “team.” You might find an extremely qualified staff member, but would he or she be a good fit for the team? You have to always think of the “sum of the parts as the whole” when it comes to strong team building.

Once you’ve assembled your team, you’ll want to play to their strengths. Some might be better at presentations whereas others are great at research. Identifying those qualities will help inform how assignments should be handed out.

Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open is vital for a strong company team. You want to create an atmosphere where your staff feels confident and welcome to ask for clarity. You never want someone feeling intimidated to ask for more instructions. This is especially important for the staff that might be working from home. Just because there isn’t a physical presence in the office doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a regular flow of communication. For good team communication, you need to engage your deskless or remote employees. Emails and texts can work, but utilizing video communication links can prove to be more effective. Even when you sense some discomfort with the “video” aspect – you will find that once you build it into the norms of meeting you teams will feel more connected.  You might even want to check out a few of these reads on “Do’s and Don’ts of good meetings” and “Meetings that people don’t hate”.

Learn from Successes and Failures

When the staff members have met their goals, then it is time to celebrate that success. This doesn’t necessarily mean rushing out to happy hour on a Friday. Instead, consider how that success was achieved in specific details, and honor the team members that made it happen. Conversely, you should also examine the failures. This shouldn’t be used as an excuse to lay blame but as a good opportunity to learn from mistakes. You might just discover that you’ll be more productive moving on from the failures.

The team you build is going to be a reflection of your company. When team members work together towards common goals, then success becomes the only result.

          

How to Put Forward Your Best Self as You Get Older

Posted February 23, 2019 By GuestSpot

As you master your field over time, you can feel something like an identity crisis coming. What do you do next? Plenty of possibilities and opportunities are perfect for a veteran in the industry to take on. You can put forward your best self as you get older by giving speeches, growing your confidence, and embracing your role as a veteran in the workplace.

Begin Giving Professional Speaking Classes

As you get older, your insights become valued and respected in your field because you have experience. Public speaking is a way to maximize this and earn a side income from sharing what you know with others. Before venturing into giving speeches, take a professional speaking class, even if you feel like you’re already good at giving speeches. Or take an online course for preparing and teaching others. You’re guaranteed to learn something new that helps you give inspiring speeches. Being a good public speaker provides many great benefits, including career advancement, new social connections, increased confidence and personal satisfaction.

Look Your Sharpest to Establish Confidence

Appearance isn’t a marginal issue; you need to look the part if you’re going to play it on the professional stage. If your skin is starting to sag or your face isn’t looking quite as energetic as you’d prefer it, there are plenty of options for treating this situation. Feeling satisfied with your personal appearance helps you feel confident. Confidence is important in the professional world because it leads to accomplishing more, advancing your career and communicating more effectively. Even if you already have great achievements in your field, there is always more to reach for, and confidence helps push you.

Step into Your Role as Veteran of Your Field

It’s time to share the insights that you’ve gained throughout your career. Your work experience has helped you develop soft skills. You may have become better at teamwork and time management through experience. And you can share the tips and tricks you’ve discovered with those younger than you. Your expert guidance can help the team perform better and generate greater results.

Mentorship not only benefits the mentee, but it benefits the mentor, too. You may decide to closely mentor someone whom you see potential in, which can be a fulfilling, rewarding experience. Proven experts also have additional opportunities available to them if they’re interested in climbing up the ladder. You could even start your own business if that has been a dream of yours.

Getting older comes with advantages. Focus on the benefits of age and experience so that you can put forward your best self. Your industry record makes you a respected veteran in your field, and your growth isn’t finished yet. Push yourself to greater heights by developing public speaking skills, nurturing confidence and sharing your insights with others.

          

What Do Employee Assessments Really Reveal?

Posted February 12, 2019 By GuestSpot

Hiring new employees is an important task for any business. You want people who will come in with the necessary skills to function right away and a personality that works with the culture of the workplace. Pre-employment assessments are an essential tool to make sure that the right person gets the job.

Pre-Employment Assessments

The number and type of assessments used in the hiring process will depend on the business. At a basic level, a candidate’s resume and interview may be enough to make an informed decision. SmartRecruiters explains, “in a skill-based business, such as a technology company, skill tests may be used to determine if a potential employee’s skills are at the level needed to work in the business.” A variation on this is an intentional trial period, where the employee does the job under observation for a defined period of time.

Another area around which pre-employment assessments are used is risk. You want to maintain an environment where employees feel safe and can be responsible and productive. Common risk assessments include criminal background checks, mandatory drug testing, credit checks and physical exams.

Red Flags

As you work through the hiring process, you want to keep your eyes open for potential problems. These red flags may mean that a candidate is either unqualified or unfit to be in your workplace. A common issue to watch for is out-of-date information on a resume. Most people assume that information that is more than a decade old is usually no longer relevant. If the candidate’s resume lives in the past, it may indicate a person who has not been growing his or her skills. This would also be indicated by a candidate who cannot pass a basic skill test. Another red flag is large gaps in employment. Workopolis explains, “large gaps in employment aren’t always a bad situation, sometimes people have to stop working to care for an ailing relative or other circumstantial reason. That being said, it’s important to note those gaps and ask about them.” Other resume red flags might be references that cannot be reached or long gaps in employment history.

A more serious concern would be an issue with attitude or their ability to work with others. The Hire Talent explains, “behavioral aptitude assessments can reveal candidate traits that may be troublesome or cause for further investigation before hiring.” People with overly strong personalities or who won’t work well with others isn’t someone you want on your team or in your company.

Checking a potential employee’s criminal record is also a good idea as this can give you a little bit of information on their past that they may not be willing to share immediately. Failing a drug test is also a reason for strong concern. Sometimes there can be an innocent explanation, such as prescribed medication, but you will still want to proceed with respect and honest fact-finding. This also means you must explore the newer legal issues around some use of drugs in private versus the workplace. 

In the End


You want the best people representing your business. Pre-employment assessments will help you find them. Employees will the skills and personality you need will help your business succeed.

To improve the cohesiveness of your business, and to improve your workplace culture, make sure to get in contact with us to schedule a group workshop. Group workshops are a great way for everyone to get on the same page and work together.