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Work

How to get the most out of a work conference

When you started your career, being sent of a conference was a treat. All those free biscuits, pens and Post-It notes. But cynicism soon kicks in and conferences become a chore. But take heart, there are ways in which that duty-trip to the back-of-beyond can actually turn out rather useful.

 

Seek out what you don’t know

You can actually learn something from a conference – the chances are if you tune in to the parts of the conference you already know about, you’ll get frustrated (because you know more). Go and listen to the presentations on things you know little about. You’re much more likely to learn something. And don’t forget, that can quite often happen at the smaller conferences… don’t just hit the big ones.

Don’t waste your time
Aside from duty, what’s the purpose of you going? Are you trying, on behalf of your company, to understand a new industry, to talk about a new product, get up-to-date on big issues? Whatever it is, have a good idea, in your head, of why on earth you’re there.

Don’t waste other people’s time either
If you approach fellow delegates and look like you’re only there for the small talk, they’ll decide they are busy. Approach them and say “I only have a couple of minutes, but I have a very quick question…’ then they’ll find the time and you’ve made contact.

See also: Why you should audit your body language in the workplace

Be identifiable
You are much more likely to have people approach you if they can tell who you are. So don’t take off that lanyard the minute you’re through the door. Keep it on so that people feel emboldened to approach you.

If it’s an overnighter – get some rest
Yes, you’re out of town, but this isn’t the time to drink warm wine at some IT company’s reception (even if it is free). Get some rest – you’ll be much better for it on day 2. And you’ll have no regrets about the things you got up to. No people you need to avoid…

Always follow up

If you meet people at an event, always follow up afterwards. Connect on LinkedIn, by all means but use email too. And explain who you were (‘We talked about selling snow in Alaska’) to avoid confusion. And be brief, the follow-up is just to open up a line of communication – fuller conversations can happen later.

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Work

How to get headhunted for the best jobs

You’ll have heard the maxim that the really top jobs are never advertised, and its who you know… but what if you don’t know the right people? You do the next best thing – you make sure the right people know you, and make yourself a target to be headhunted. Try these simple tips:

 

Polish your resumé

It sounds obvious – but most people’s resumés (CVs) are barely edited from year to year. Look again at yours – does it ramble on? Make it short and pithy, no more than 2 full pages, and make it relevant. Don’t talk about your adolescent sporting victories, talk about you work – and make it a victory parade by listing your achievements. How you transformed your business, quadrupled sales or launched a new product. Use facts, especially numbers and make sure your area of responsibility is highlighted.

 

It’s all about the timing

Headhunters pay attention to the dates on your CV and notice candidates who jump from job to job. The best time to make the jump is just after a big success – you took on a brief or a project and you’ve just delivered it. You’ve never look so smart and it’s a logical time to move on to a new challenge.

 

See also: Seven Essential Tips For Landing Your Dream Job

 

Get a high profile

People love ‘trophy hires’, attracting those who have been visibly successful in their industry. So look successful – that includes actual delivery in your current job, of course, but being good on digital media helps too. You can also try writing in the press or on influential blogs, including your own, and always try to take up those invitations to speak at conferences.

 

Seal the deal

At some point, you’re going to have to meet the headhunter and the company you want to work for. Do the research on both – they will both be flattered that you know what they, and their company is about. So understand the specialisms of the headhunter and get to know the target company inside out. Know what they do, get a feel for what they lack – and understand what difference you could make.

 

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Work

Six ways to use Snapchat to promote your business

The announcements of the death of Snapchat look more than a little premature from where we’re sitting. While it’s recent, well-catalogued, troubles look like they may cause shares to fall and its user base is grumbling about changes to the way the app works, if you’re in business, Snapchat remains a great way to keep in touch with consumers.

So try the following – experiment and see what works, and what doesn’t:

Give exclusive deals
This may not work if you have an enormous Snapchat following (it could be too expensive), but if you have a relatively small number, then special deals can incentivise those people into action and keep them on the ‘inside’. It will encourage users to monitor the account, and encourage others, by word of mouth, to join up. You could also reward the more dogged followers by offering a discount or promotional code at the end of a Snapchat Story. Only those who watch until the end will have the information and instruction they need to get the prize. Then they’ll have to listen to you…

Share milestones
You might be on the verge of something significant – launching a major project or hitting a particular milestone (your one millionth customer perhaps). It’s key that you don’t let these moments drift away in the kerfuffle, but that you use these signifiers of success to remind everyone what a great company you are. Snapchat Stories are a pretty good way to deliver some swift (and easy) marketing without having huge meetings to check if everything is ‘on brand’. It’ll feel immediate and relevant to your audiences, without huge effort on your part.

Also see: 3 Ways To Use The Snapchat Discover Function In The Classroom

Use micro-influencers
Quite rightly, the idea of influencers is often mocked. But they can be helpful in making a business grow. ‘Micro-influencers’ is an annoying name for a bunch of people who have small, knowledgeable audiences in just your market. These are people who can help. So build a relationship with these people (the ones with a Snapchat presence at least) and see if they would like to try your products or services, or who might even take over your channel for a day, if you trust them.

Share live events
Snapchat is perfect for real-time marketing since it can give audiences direct access to live events, so consider using it for product launches. It’s a great way of providing a sense of occasion and excitement and providing an ‘authentic’ experience.

Promote your other social media
You can encourage cross-fertilisation of your social media accounts by, in the first instance, simply asking them to follow your business on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, but you can also take a more hard-line approach and ask them to post the Instagram with a hashtag to gain entry to a competition, or to tweet with that discount to earn a discount. Or comment on a Facebook post for access to unique content… You get the idea.

Drive traffic to your website
Snapchat, like Instagram, makes driving traffic cumbersome. It doesn’t allow clickable links, so you have to drive people to memorable links, rather than clickable ones. Something that people can remember well enough to type into their browser (or cut and paste). Encourage them to do so by asking them to perform an action – download something special, or comment on a blog post.

So don’t listen to the doomsday predictions about Snapchat (not unless you have shares, anyway). It’s still a useful way to inform and engage your audience. Used well, it’s another way to grow your customer base and its loyalty. What will you lose by trying it out?

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Work

Video: How to start your own business

The glamour of the entrepreneur is embedded in the public eye. People who start their own business are innovators. People at the cutting edge of imagination. They are bold. They are visionaries, pushing new kinds of businesses, by creating a wholly original offering, usually through the help of an innovative piece of technology. It isn’t enough to build a company, you have to build a dream.

In short, Elon Musk.

But perhaps it’s all a little simpler than that. What this video from The School of Life tells us is that all we really need is to LOVE something a little more than most other people do: that will be enough to help us stand out from the competition. You don’t have to sell a vision to the rest of the world, you just have to believe in it just that bit stronger than everyone else.

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Work

The 5 best apps to help concentration

There’s all sorts of barriers to productivity, none more so that the gadget in front of you. Apps, games, messages and more on our devices make it difficult to concentrate and really focus on work and get things done. But there are some great concentration apps which can help, rather than distract, so try some of these:

Freedom

Freedom is an app which takes you good intentions and turns them into actions. It allows you to block websites and apps so you simply can’t access them, and therefore have no choice but to get on with your work. It works on desktop and mobile devices as well, so you can even stop yourself from picking up your phone every five minutes.

SoundCurtain
IOS

A loud office can be distracting – noise annoys. Or there’s conversations you can’t help joining in. SoundCurtain tackles this with this by playing ambient sounds, such as rainfall, wind and piano, to block out the external kerfuffle. Get some noise-cancelling earphones for the full benefit.

FocusWriter

If you’ve got one of those cluttered desktops with document icons here, email alerts there and pings all around, then FocusWriter can hone in on what you need, leaving you with nothing but a simple writing area and nothing else. Useful for writing that report, or the novel you always said you had in you…

RescueTime

You may think you’re doing OK and being productive, but it’s unlikely to be true. RescueTime could help nudge you into good habits. It’s an analytics software that tracks all that you do on your laptop and shows you what’s productive (and what isn’t). It’ll nudge and nag you if you’re idling too long. A benign boss on your shoulder.
For more about Rescuetime, check this detailed review

Brain Focus Productivity Timer
Android
IOS

This one accepts that your mind will drift. It’s a time management app allows you to set a length of time that you would like to work for, then take a break, reckoning that you should work for around 25 minutes, take a break and repeat. This way, they reckon, you’ll be more productive than trying to power through. Comes with graphs and stats and everything…

 

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Work

The five best productivity tools to achieve your business goals

You can find an infinite number of tips online on how to be improve your productivity, but often not all of them apply. That’s mainly because the reasons for striving to become more efficient differ from person to person.

However, the ultimate goal of streamlining workflows can be summed up in these 3 intertwined categories:

  • Earn money
  • Save time
  • Preserve energy

In order to achieve these goals, you first need to have the right mindset. Define your priorities, focus on them, and don’t let anything distract you from the tasks you need to accomplish. A job that should take only an hour of your precious time can become a full-day nightmare if you don’t resist the urge to check your social media accounts in a browser tab or play games on your smartphone before you’re done.

The development of technology has brought us compelling innovations that can easily draw our attention away. Yet, at the same time it has provided us with numerous tools to fight procrastination and get high-quality results faster.

That’s why we’ve decided to present you with 5 best productivity tools that can help you organize your assignments better, automate boring and time-consuming tasks, and ultimately achieve your business goals more efficiently.

Able2Extract Pro 12
When you need to deal with PDFs, there’s not much Able2Extract Pro 12 can’t do.

This cross-platform desktop software (Windows, Mac, Linux) can create PDFs from more than a dozen of popular file formats and password protect them, accurately convert PDFs to editable formats, edit them without conversion, and much more. This new version comes with the ability to insert Bates numbering, fill, create, and edit PDF forms, and even batch convert entire folders in just a few clicks.

The most powerful and useful feature of Able2Extract is its PDF to Excel conversion. You can extract tables from PDF files even if they are surrounded by text. The Custom PDF to Excel option lets you manually control conversion options (rows, columns, headers, footers, and more) and preview results before you hit that convert button.

Asana
Asana is a powerful project management tool. You can use it on the web, as well as on the go by installing the Android or iOS application on your smartphone or tablet.

Projects inside Asana consist of main tasks and subtasks to which you can assign a person, deadline, and other details. Chats are available on every level of a project and the calendar feature can give you a clear overview of due dates. You can also integrate 100+ services with Asana such as email, communication, development, file storage services, and more.

Asana’s developers have made sure that the app is user friendly, easy to use, and highly visual in order to make teamwork hassle-free and projects run smoothly. With Asana you can keep track of each piece of work in one place and consequently drive better results.

Freshbooks
Freshbooks is an online accounting and invoicing tool developed with freelancers and small-business owners in mind. iOS and Android applications are also available when you need to track expenses, send invoices, and manage payments on the go.

Overall, the design of the software is superb, making Freshbooks simple, intuitive, and easy to use. You can automate various tasks, schedule reminders, reuse invoice templates, and thus save even more time for the actual work that will make your business grow and prosper.

You can define projects in Freshbooks as well–set a project name, assign people to work on it, set due dates, and define a budget for it. Ideas and comments can also be shared within the project, which makes Freshbooks a great tool for team collaboration.

Microsoft Office 365
Besides its best-known Office suite apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft Office 365 also features tools for email, calendar, collaboration, business intelligence, project management, and more.

You can use Microsoft Office 365 applications online (browser, cloud-based apps) or offline (desktop software). They give you the ability to work on smartphones and tablets as well. Applications are automatically updated to protect users from security risks and to provide you with the latest features available.

Microsoft Office 365 is probably the most comprehensive productivity-boosting solution. Whether you’re student or large company CEO, you’ll find a perfect fit for your needs among various monthly and yearly subscription plans.

Nebo
Nebo is an application that can turn your tablet into a smart piece of paper. If you prefer to take handwritten notes instead of typing them with a keyboard, this tool can help you get the best of both worlds by recognizing the words you write and turning them into searchable and editable digital text. Furthermore, it can convert hand-drawn objects into vector shapes and solve equations.

The app supports handwriting recognition for 59 languages and runs on iOS, Windows, Android, and Chrome OS. Its user interface is localized in 11 languages. Keep in mind that in order to use it, you’ll need a touchscreen and an active pen.

These 5 tools can help you with almost every aspect of your productivity chase. It may sound counterintuitive, but we suggest you spend some time learning how to use them instead of just sticking with the same old workflows that hamper your productivity.

We promise–it’ll pay off big time.

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Work

Four skills to ace your career in 2018

It’s the time when New Year’s resolutions start to get broken. .But as your diet, your exercise regime and your devotion to reading difficult novels start to falter, you can still look at ways to build the skills to move your career on to another level. After all, the rewards for that sort of commitment will last way beyond this year.

Skillshare, the online learning community of over three million students, have some ideas about the the skills that will help you take your career to the next level in 2018:

Champion Attention Management
Technology  has changed the way we communicate, build relationships, and work. We are less limited and constantly accessible, meaning we are prone to work longer hours and take on more than one project at a time. As such, it’s increasingly important that modern workers have tools to optimize their time and improve their productivity. 

The latest popular concept in the field of Productivity is attention management. This concept suggests that instead of trying to create efficiency through time management, you can focus on the attention you allocate to each project or person in order to  give each project the time it deserves without distraction. Being able to pay better attention to individual projects will consequently improve your productivity.

Attention management is a two-part concept; it’s your ability to deliberately dial in your focus when needed, and to choose wisely when deciding which tasks deserve that focus. There are several ways you can improve your attention management, for instance with the help of apps like Todoist, or classes, such as the recently launched class on attention management by Mark Siskar, the Managing Director of Founder Institute.

Master Mindfulness
The main purpose of mindfulness is to allow you to become more present in everyday life and be aware of your thinking, thus helping you improve your focus and boost your productivity. People might associate slowing down with being less effective, but it has the opposite effect.

In fact, many companies are offering mindfulness sessions during work hours in order to improve the employees’ productivity. A study by the insurance company Aetna, found that offering mindfulness-based training to team members added almost 60 minutes of productivity each week.

You can practice mindfulness on your own, or with help, through a variety of sources – apps like Headspace and Remente have guided meditation programs and tips on how to practice mindfulness and to improve it.

Become a Storyteller
Good storytelling is one of the most effective ways to get your point across and inspire action. Whether you’re talking to end consumers or your colleagues, the art of storytelling can help you cut through the nose and capture your audience’s attention. Improving your storytelling skills can touch almost every part of your professional life —  from executing productive meetings, writing concise emails, or simply expressing your feelings to a co-worker, friend, or family member.

Learn how to use the practice of storytelling to connect with your audience from broadcast journalist, Soledad O’Brien, who launched a course on Skillshare just a couple of months ago ().

Become a Data Visualization Pro
In this era of big data, the area of data analytics is more in-demand than ever. Even if you’re in a field that doesn’t require you to crunch numbers on daily basis, have some basic dana analytics skills on your resume can help you stand out from the pack.

One particular skill that’s gained alot of traction in recent years is data visualization, the art of transforming sets of data into digestible, impactful visuals. Understand the journey from data to design, and become a data visualization pro, through classes taught by analytics professionals on the Skillshare platform. 

 

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, technology and more. The Skillshare community is comprised of over 3 million students and thousands of teachers, from 100+ countries, who come to the platform to learn cutting-edge skills, network with peers and discover new opportunities. Students can enroll in hundreds of free classes, or unlock unlimited access to the full class catalog by upgrading to Premium for a low, monthly rate.

Skillshare teachers include both industry leaders (such as entrepreneur Simon Sinek and notable designer Aaron Draplin) and talented practitioners who have built a following and a significant passive income stream through the site.   

http://dailygenius.com/seven-apps-learn-seven-new-skills/

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Work

PDF tools for every occasion

In the modern everyday work environment, the need for frequent and constant sharing of digital documents, especially PDFs, is paramount for keeping your business running smooth and without any hiccups, no matter what exact type of occupation you are currently involved with. Of course there are some distinct differences between jobs, but in areas of marketing, banking, bookkeeping, accounting, analytics, human resources and many more, it is pretty safe to say that a lot depends on the uninterrupted and even flow of information.

On the other hand, one specific issue has been plaguing the business world basically ever since the inception of digital communication, and that is the difference of interpreting the formatting of all files. Every operating system has its own way of extracting and presenting the data that every file is built from, and this can create some serious unpleasantries if the file was created on one OS, and is being viewed on a different one. Usually this issue is presented by the file being displayed with some major or minor glitches, depending of what it is consisted of, and in rarer cases it can be completely unviewable by the recipient. But naturally there is way to overcome all of this, and it’s actually quite simple; convert the file to PDF form before sending it.

The Portable Document Format is exceptionally great for sharing important business documents because it can be perfectly viewed on all operating systems and devices, so you don’t have to worry if the receiver will have problems with viewing your file. Luckily, converting your file to PDF is very simple and can normally be performed from inside each software where the file was created in (just switch to PDF in the Save As window). The only lacking of the PDF is that it cannot be edited in any traditional fashion, but it requires software that can extract all the information from it and recreate it to the format that it previously was (before the conversion ever took place). This format also offers other useful advantages, like securing your file with passwords and limiting permissions.

Depending if your job requires you to travel a lot, or spend substantiating amount out of the office, we wanted to share with you a couple of highly useful online tools and software solutions, with whom you can perform literally all operations related to PDF files, either from your office, or from portable devices while you’re on the go.

Work with PDF Files from a Desktop Computer
The most practical and user-friendly way of handling any PDF-related activity is of course via your computer, offering many advanced choices that other types of software simply cannot. Besides the most frequent conversion operations, they allow rotating, splitting, merging several PDFs into one, batch conversions of multiple files at the same time etc…

PDF Converter Elite 5 allows all of these options, and it comes with a custom editing of scanned documents, editing files while still in PDF form. It also comes with a 7 day free trial period, so you can check out all of its features in great detail.

DoPDF is a similar program that has a lesser amount of precise options, but for non-english users it can be more useful, as it offers over 30 languages.

Use Online PDF Tools When You’re on a Business Trip
Not being able to access your paid desktop program can be troublesome if you have to perform a conversion while on a business trip, but there is an adequate alternative; free online tools. Normally, they cannot perform all the work such as custom PDF to Excel conversion that PDF Converter Elite has, but you can use them for some basic conversion from PDF to Excel, Word, PowerPoint or to merge PDFs.

PDF to Excel is a simple tool to use when you need to convert PDF tables to Excel spreadsheet. It doesn’t require an email address so you don’t need to worry about your privacy.

Cometdocs is suitable for all types of conversions and PDF creations. You can choose to register or to use the tool without any registration.

http://dailygenius.com/5-free-pdf-jpg-converters-anyone-can-use/

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Education Work

Kickstarting kittens to teach coding

The team behind the coding game Erase All Kittens has launched a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter to raise funds for an expanded iPad version of the game that teaches children, especially girls, how to code.

Launched today, the aim is to support the creation of the first ever game that inspires girls to code and create. A game that makes code education meaningful — by allowing girls to apply practical skills in a creative way instead of just giving them instructions.

E.A.K are looking to raise £15,000 to fund a project with award-winning game developers Playerthree to develop E.A.K. for the iPad, building game levels to teach HTML, CSS and Javascript, so that the target audience of girls aged 8-13 can learn to design their own simple websites.

The Kickstarter project has a range of pledge levels from simple access to the iPad version of the game, through to donating licences for schools or organisations, to a corporate sponsor level donation.

E.A.K. ‘Chief Scribbler’ Dee Saigal said: ‘There’s plenty of research tells us that girls find coding boring and aimed too much at boys and we want to redress that balance. We’re making an extended version of our game that we already know that girls love and we want to bring it to as many as possible. If we can get the right level of support, we can really tackle the gender imbalance in tech at the very earliest stages.’

The game that saves kittens and teaches coding

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Education

How data is helping to create healthy chocolate

While chocolate isn’t typically thought of as a healthy food, the nutritional value of chocolate is often overlooked, especially in its rawest form. Store-bought chocolate can sometimes be packed with sugar and preservatives, which lowers its nutritional value. The best type of chocolate to indulge in is definitely dark chocolate. The reason for this is that dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa, than milk or white chocolate, and cocoa is rich in antioxidants (polyphenols and flavanols), which helps improve concentration and mood, as well as preventing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

With this in mind, health app Lifesum decided to treat its New York-based users with a delicious (and healthy) treat. To do this, Lifesum’s nutritionist, Frida, analyzed anonymized data from 100,000 New Yorkers, to see which nutrients they were missing. The data showed that a New Yorkers’ diet was typically lacking calcium, potassium, vitamin E and zinc. Calcium is key to healthy and strong bones, potassium is essential for a feeling of calm, vitamin E promotes skin health, while zinc is key to a strong immune system. Once these nutrients have been identified, Lifesum set to work with NYC-based coffee culture chain FIKA, to come up with four unique chocolates, aimed at solving the dietary deficiencies of New Yorkers.

The following were created:

Calcium Colada, as the name suggests, is designed to boost calcium intake, which contributes to bone health and strength. Flavor-wise, it is reminiscent of a pina colada cocktail.

Ingredients: Matcha, Low fat yoghurt, Pineapple, Lime, Vanilla, Stevia, Dark chocolate 99%

The second chocolate, Raw Radiance, contains vitamin E, a fantastic antioxidant that helps to protect the body from free radicals. As well as working to prevent heart disease and to balance cholesterol, vitamin E offers a beauty boost by decreasing environmental damage to your hair, and can repair damaged skin.

Ingredients: Cashew nuts, Coconut, Salt, Dark chocolate 99%, Quinoa, Cinnamon

New Yorkers are constantly fast moving and on-the-go, which often contributes to stress. The analysis of Lifesum data revealed that residents were lacking in potassium, which is a known reliever of anxiety and stress. Cocoa Calm was created to offer a hit of potassium, and encourage relaxation.

Ingredients: Dates, Cashew nuts, Vanilla, Lime, Dark chocolate 99%

Finally, the Cleanse and Reboot chocolate is packed with zinc to support run-down immune systems, with added antioxidants from cayenne pepper and ancho chilli to elevate body temperature, which increases immune system activity.

Ingredients: Pumpkin, Low fat yogurt, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ancho chilli, Cayenne pepper, Dark chocolate 99%

Boxes of four chocolates will cost $10 + tax, and will be initially available to purchase online and at FIKA’s Tribeca café & chocolate factory.

Now New Yorkers can get healthy by eating chocolates, and also enjoy the wonderful Swedish concept of a fika, a short break that typically involves a coffee, pastry, and, most importantly, some time to relax and reflect…

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