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  • These Phrases Make You Sound Clueless at Work

    01/26/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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    The language you use at work can inspire, inform, persuade and instill trust – or make you sound utterly clueless.

    Which side of the communication fence do you stand on?

    The truth is, all of us are occasionally undisciplined in our word choices. But if you’re habitually using any of the following words or phrases, you could be making yourself sound less intelligent than you are, and even undermining your career success:

    Profanity.

    You know that colleague who just received a promotion for incessant cursing? No, you don’t – because that person doesn’t exist. Vulgar language does more than dumb you down; it also offends others. Just don’t do it.

    Um…Whatever!

    Words like “whatever,” “like,” and “totally” were cool for about five minutes in the 1980s. Like the mullet, they have not come back in style – nor do they make you sound intelligent.

    Overuse of Jargon

    Appropriately using industry terminology is one thing; littering your vocabulary with meaningless business jargon is another. Eliminate these cringeworthy phrases from your lexis – and instantly boost your perceived IQ:

    • Deep dive
    • Maximizing ROI
    • Drill down
    • Value added
    • Close the loop
    • Secret sauce

    “Can’t” and “Don’t”

    While you can’t eliminate these words from your vocabulary (see what we did there?), you should minimize their use, especially when describing your commitments to others. Besides being negative, these words subtly imply inability or unwillingness to do something.

    For example, instead of telling someone, “I can’t get that report to you until next Tuesday,” say, “I will have that report to you by next Tuesday.” The messages are subtly different, and the latter makes you sound more responsible, confident and capable.

    Texting Acronyms

    OMG save them for your smartphone.

    Verbal Redundancies

    When you piggyback two words with overlapping meanings, it indicates that you don’t really understand their meaning. Here are a few examples you should drop from your vocabulary:

    • Close proximity
    • Estimated at about
    • Past experience
    • Very unique
    • Whether or not

    Need Intelligent, Articulate Candidates?

    Exact Staff’s experts carefully screen candidates to identify smart professionals who will thrive in your organization. Whether your requirements are local or national, temporary or direct we’ll deliver the exact talent and solutions you need.

     

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Productive Mornings Start with Great Nighttime Rituals

01/22/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Ever have one of those mornings when you’re feeling positive, full of energy, focused and ready to tackle whatever work throws your way?

We think you need more of those.

Sure, it helps to have a solid morning routine. But if you want to make dramatic improvements in your happiness and productivity in the a.m., change what you do the night before.

What, exactly, should you do differently at the end of your workday to set yourself up for morning success? Here are a few suggestions:

Disconnect

Tempted to check work email right before bed? Don’t. The last thing you need is to be lying in your bed, planning your response to a client or worrying about a message your boss sent. And honestly, you shouldn’t just unplug from work, you should unplug from EVERYTHING. As you may know, the blue light emitted by monitors and phone screens disrupts your circadian rhythm – making it harder to fall asleep.

Establish a time buffer between when you disconnect and when you lay your head on the pillow. You’ll fall asleep faster and with a clearer mind.

Put More Weekend in Your Weeknight

Weekends are great for a reason: We spend more time with our family and friends, doing things we love. So, if all you do is nightly couch-surfing Sunday through Thursday, change your routine. You don’t have to go out to extravagant dinners seven nights a week. Simply making mid-week plans to spend two hours with someone you love will make you happier at bedtime – and in the morning, too.

Skip the Tube Time

Watching a few hours of TV at night may numb your mind, but it doesn’t do much to help your brain recover or make you feel better about yourself. Research, however, shows that actively engaging in a hobby – doing things you’re good at, and trying to become better at them – significantly increases happiness and success.

Reflect on Your Day

Start a (paper) gratitude journal. At the end of the day, write down three things for which you’re thankful. No matter how small they are, habitually recalling these positive experiences will help you escape the mental torture of reliving negative things that occurred during your day. Over time, you will rewire your brain to become more optimistic at day’s end. That good feeling will set you up for better sleep and set the stage for a better morning.

Looking for Other Ways to Boost Productivity?

Exact Staff is here to support you. Whether your team is up against a deadline, planning your next big project, or ready to grow, our national employment agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to help you get more done (which makes everyone happier).

 

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Secrets to Writing Clear and Effective Emails

01/19/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Email. Whether you love it or abhor it, two things are true:

It’s an indispensable part of business.

And it isn’t going by the wayside anytime soon.

Yet, as ubiquitous a form of communication email is, many professionals are bad at using it – sending dense blocks of text, spamming inboxes with unnecessary “Reply All” emails, leaving out essential pieces of information…you get the picture.

If you know someone whose email communication skills could use a little polishing, share these secrets to writing clearer, more effective messages:

Have a Singular Purpose

The best emails have one goal or ask one question. Instead of sending someone your stream of consciousness, organize your thoughts first. Choose an overarching purpose for your communication, and distill your message into one salient point. If you struggle to do this, it’s a sign that you may need to have a real-time conversation with the person you’re messaging.

Be Brief

Do you relish reading five long paragraphs of text in an email? Neither do your recipients. Keep your message as short as possible and get to the point – quickly.

Front-Load Essentials

Have an important question to ask or critical piece of information to share? Put it at the beginning of your email or even in the subject line.

Use Formatting Tools

Most email clients have robust features (e.g., numbered lists, highlighter tools, font families) you can use to organize your information and call attention to important details. Remember, recipients may only scan your email – make it easy for them to find what they need.

Write in Active Voice

Clarity is essential in email. Active voice (i.e., when the subject of the sentence performs the action described by the verb) leads to more concise, effective and confident communications.

Respect Conversation Participants

Before you automatically hit “Reply All,” consider whether everyone truly needs to read your response. Likewise, be sure to CC or BCC individuals who need to be kept looped into conversations. A few moments’ thought can go a long way toward improving the flow of information.

Don’t Include Sensitive Information

What would happen if a co-worker forwarded the content of your email without reading it carefully? In situations where you must email confidential or otherwise sensitive information, clearly mark it as such.

The moral of today’s post? Think before you type. A little mental discipline – and application of these email tips – can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your emails.

What Can Exact Staff Do For You?

Whether you want to improve focus, save time and money, relieve administrative burdens or grow your core team, our national employment agency is here to help. Drop us an email or give us a call today.

Surprising Things Incredibly Productive People Do

01/16/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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Daydreaming? Ignoring emails? Staring at pictures of puppies?

They may sound like a recipe for disaster at work – but they can boost your performance.

Over the years, we’ve been programmed to equate success with working relentlessly at breakneck speed. In reality? High performance comes from working smarter, not harder.

So, before you automatically discount these unusual productivity hacks, hear us out:

Daydream

Conventional wisdom dictates that you must stay “focused” and “on-task” to be productive. But recent research has shown that occasionally allowing yourself to zone out, goof off and daydream can actually boost performance.

Daydreaming engages the brain, freeing your mind from “tunnel vision” that prevents you from fully accessing your memory and tapping into your creativity. And research shows that brief mental vacations provide a needed boost your focus, attention and productivity. Want to learn more? Check out this earlier post we published on the value of daydreaming.

Take a “Cuteness Break”

Looking at pictures of adorable baby animals may sound like a complete waste of time, but a study conducted at Japan’s Hiroshima University found that this simple practice can help your mind to focus better. In fact, the effect is so dramatic that this increased ability to focus lingers even after you move on to less “adorable” activities.

Ignore Your Email

Email is an essential communication tool, but incessant notifications can really interrupt your thinking and derail your productivity. Instead of dropping everything the instant an email arrives, process it in batches at pre-determined intervals throughout the day. And if quick response is critical for certain people, setup alerts for those senders – so you’re only interrupted when you must be.

Get into a “Vegetative” State

Plants and other types of greenery provide a micro-restorative burst according to psychologists Steve and Rachel Kaplan’s (University of Michigan) “attention restoration theory.” The pair has shown how the presence of plants increases our ability to recall greater quantities of information. Plants also enhance productivity. A study cited in this Entrepreneur.com article concluded that an office ornamented with plants can increase employee productivity by 15 percent.

Eat Frogs First

The metaphorical kind, mind you. When you have something tough or unpleasant to do, tackle it first. The logic makes sense: When you reach one of your toughest goals in the morning, it creates momentum, a positive mindset and more time to do things that excite and inspire you.

These unconventional ideas can be great productivity boosters, but sometimes they’re just not enough to help you accomplish everything you need to do. If you could use an extra hand, Exact Staff is ready to lend one!

As a leading national employment agency, we provide a range of staffing and placement services to save time. Increase focus. Eliminate busywork. And relieve administrative burdens. Give us a call to find out what we can do for you.

 

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