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Scientists will soon be able to build replacement organs using a patient’s own cells. Scientists from the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, are able to print parts of hearts including blood vessels!
Sometimes our phones die at the most inconvenient times. That’s why Telus wants to give Canadians a chance to top up their battery while hitching a ride by installing charging ports in taxis in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
“We’ve all been there – running late for a dinner date with friends or in between meetings when your phone dies before an important conference call,” Anne-Marie Laberge, vice president of brand and marketing communications at Telus, was quoted as saying.
Partnering with Play Taxi Media, Telus will set up the in-car chargers in 1,000 taxis to start. Participating fleets include Mayfair Taxi in Calgary, Taxi Union in Montreal, Ambassador Taxis in Toronto, and Blacktop & Checker Cabs in Vancouver. If successful, the program could be expanded in the future.
While use of the chargers is free, taking a cab sure isn’t. And since cab rides can be short, you may not be able to get much of a charge in a few blocks. However, it could offer convenience to the general public and a nice marketing boost for Telus. We’re interested to see if the program catches on.
AT&T is gearing up for an expansion that could see fiber rolled out to 100 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
In total, 21 metropolitan areas are included in the tentative plans. It would give U-verse clients a big boost, bumping Internet speeds to 1 gigabit per second, which – according to AT&T – could allow an HD movie to be downloaded in just over 30 seconds.
“We’re delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development,” said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president of AT&T Home Solutions, in a statement.
AT&T has already deployed its fiber network in Austin and Dallas.
Would you trust Facebook with your money? Some Europeans may find themselves pondering that very question as the social media giant contemplates the release of a continent-wide money transfer service allowing users to store and transfer money on Facebook.
“Facebook is thinking about financial services in general, money transfer being one of these areas,” the source was quoted as saying in Forbes article. “They are making their minds up about what to do.”
Apparently Facebook is on the cusp of receiving regulatory approval in Ireland for the e-payments service. It’s something the company has already done on home soil – Facebook has already obtained Money Services Business licenses in most states, but has yet to do anything with them.
Telus recently lost a class-action lawsuit in Quebec, and has been ordered to reimburse customers for text messaging fees. Between 2008 and 2011, Telus started charging 15 cents per incoming text without fair waning, the court ruled.
Although damages will only amount to about $15 a person, 177,425 customers were involved in the lawsuit, meaning Telus will have to cough up $2.6 million. The Vancouver-based carrier is reviewing the court’s decision and may file an appeal.
Telus argued that customers were notified of contract changes “well in advance” and even offered bundles with new rates that included unlimited incoming texting. However, under Quebec law, consumers must know exactly how much they are paying under the contract they signed.
The importance of networking is well established. We know it is something we must do to live fulfilled and successful lives, both personally and professionally. While relationship building comes naturally to some, others continue to struggle. Even worse, some think they know what they are doing yet go about it in all the wrong ways.
Some people mistakenly believe that networking, by definition, is nothing more than showing up at a staged event to trade business cards. In reality, it’s anything but. Virtually all of our relationships are built on networking in one form or another. While business groups and service clubs may set the stage for an interaction, how you behave and what you have to offer is what really counts in the end. It’s about gathering, collecting and distributing information for the mutual benefit of everyone in your network.
It is important to remember that our power as individuals comes not from independence, but interdependence. Our interactions, and the way we relate to people and opportunities around us, truly allow us to reap the greatest rewards. Be prepared to contribute but expect little to nothing in return – there is no keeping score in networking. Helping others achieve their goals will help you achieve your own, though it may not happen overnight.
We have a basic mantra in our business – Network, goal of one: I will find one person to help with something.
Let’s take a look at some dos and don’ts that can help you get the most out of networking.
Networking Do #1 – Do Be Prepared
Take some time to do your homework and plot out your purpose before attending an event. Do you want to get introduced to specific people? Are you more interested in fostering existing relationships? Identify potential contacts beforehand and do some research to learn more about them. And when you do head off to an event, make sure you’re armed with the most important tool of all – a pen. You’ll want to jot down information on the back of your card before you hand it to a person, or make some notes of your own to refer back to later.
Networking Don’t #1 – Don’t Make it All About Your Business
The hard sell doesn’t have a place in networking. Though you should be prepared to share what you do with people – a concise, conversational and well-rehearsed elevator speech is always best – you shouldn’t focus on closing a deal. Pitching your business directly makes friends, neighbours and associates uncomfortable and less likely to engage you. Some consider it downright rude. Instead, keep your focus on the other person and ask thoughtful questions to learn more about them, their interests, and what they do. If the spotlight is always on you, chances are you’re doing something wrong.
Networking Do #2 – Do Make Your Own Luck
How many times have you thought that something happened because you were in the “right place at the right time”? By learning how to network effectively, you can create your own “luck” that puts you in the right place every time. The most successful people usually have small, tightly connected networks of people they know very well. And it isn’t grown by chance – the best networkers carefully select contacts with common ideals and similar personalities from a variety of fields, then work hard to nurture those relationships.
Networking Dont’ #2 – Don’t Focus on Quantity over Quality
We’ve all seen them at events: the guy who is more concerned with running around the room collecting business cards than having a genuine conversation. When he does stop, he does a lot of talking but doesn’t listen. Whatever you do, avoid this tactic. A handful of good conversations will do more for you than dozens of meaningless business cards ever could.
Networking Do #3 – Do Share Information and Contacts
Whether it’s making an introduction to another individual, or recommending a book, website or tool, think of ways to help that person. In turn, accept the same from others. We all have a natural desire to assist each other, and making and receiving these contributions are at the heart of true networking. Don’t hesitate to ask your contacts for help or advice. To ensure you’re offering your contacts the most value, first define your expertise. This will allow you to hone in on what kind of a resource you can be for others. Remember, this doesn’t have to directly relate to the specific product or service you offer professionally since our skills are often transferable and our interests diverse.
Networking Don’t #3 – Don’t Fail to Deliver
We’ve established that making recommendations to others is crucial, so be sure to always follow through on any offer you’ve made. If you promised to send over the name of a business book or to connect with a person on LinkedIn, make sure you do it. If you discussed your mutual love for tennis and tossed around the idea of meeting on the court, give that person a call to set up a match. Always come through on what you’ve promised to deliver – and more – so they know you are thoughtful and reliable.
The one thing we often forget when it comes to networking is the importance of self-confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself or your skills, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to offer anything of value to others. However, if you accept, acknowledge and trust yourself, the possibilities are endless.
Perhaps this Chinese proverb summed it up best:
If you want to be prosperous for a year, grow grain. If you want to be prosperous for ten years, grow trees. If you want to be prosperous for 100 years, grow people.
We all know that relationships play a large role in our personal and professional success. In fact, if you ask business leaders and authors Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas, they’ll tell you those relationships aren’t just important – they’re everything.
Though technology has made it easier than ever to reach out to someone, simply adding someone as a connection on LinkedIn or subscribing to their newsletter isn’t enough to establish a valuable long-lasting relationship. You need to step it up to make sure you rise above the noise and stand out.
In their new book, Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships, Sobel and Panas outline steps you can take to engage others and cultivate meaningful relationships that help you, and others, get ahead.
“In our business, at home, and among friends, relationships touch our lives in wondrous ways,” write the duo. “They are the threads that weave through the fabric of our entire being.”
Let’s take a look at the Top 7 laws that Sobel and Panas say will help you engage to your fullest, excel professionally and establish lasting connections.
Enthusiasm is Contagious
Whether you are briefing clients or interviewing for a new job, bringing a high level of enthusiasm to the meeting will make you stand out and brighten others’ moods. Sometimes someone who is down can be inspired to hang in there by simply infusing enthusiasm into the conversation. If you’re viewed as a dynamo in your social network, you’ll have an attractive aura and people will want to work with you.
Treat Your Prospects Like Clients
There is no better way to illustrate to a prospect what it’s like doing business with you than to treat them like a client. No one really likes being sold to, so by getting to know their business, meeting with them regularly, bringing them new ideas and introducing them to people in your network, there’s a good chance that prospect will become a client. Giving people attention and building trust will make them want to do business with you.
Be Unafraid to Ask
Have you ever wanted to connect with a powerful leader but thought they were out of your league? It’s time to get some confidence. Interact with them on Twitter, comment on their blog, attend events where they are speaking or drop them an email to compliment them on one of their achievements. If you are pleasantly persistent and work to cultivate the relationship, it could open doors to something more. But don’t expect it to happen overnight – building these types of relationships can take years.
Make Them Curious
Some people make the mistake of assuming the more information they give another person, the better. In fact, it’s more beneficial to leave some things unsaid than tell them everything they need (and sometimes don’t need) to know. Try to have a fresh perspective on issues and say unexpected, honest things. If you are telling someone about your business, stick to talking about what you do and the results rather than droning on about the process. By giving brief answers and hinting at things, people will hang on your every word instead of becoming bored with what you have to say. Know the Right Questions to Ask
By asking thought-provoking questions, you can shift the focus to the other person and ensure you stick to important topics instead of going off on a tangent. Well developed questions can help you learn more about a client’s business and their career challenges, allowing you to offer valuable solutions and expand their perception of what you can do for them. Here are a few examples of quality questions, be sure to rephrase and present them in a way that's natural to you:
- How did you get your start in your career? - What are you most excited about right now? - What are the most important things you and I should discuss in the next 10 minutes or so? Relationships Require Engagement
There are no shortcuts when it comes to relationship building. Sometimes the more eager a prospect sounds on an initial call, the less likely it is they’ll end up buying something from you. Don’t be afraid to slow things down to build a sustainable relationship. Make sure you have taken the time to build trust and have learned enough about their challenges and goals to move forward intelligently. It also takes time for them to learn, and appreciate, your true value.
Change the Environment
There is a reason why so many professionals hit the golf course together – getting out of the office into a new environment can have big benefits for relationship building. Whether it is a team building retreat or an afternoon at the ball game, you will end up getting to know each other better and discussing things that wouldn’t come up in a stuffier setting. Shared experiences can intensify and deepen a relationship.
Though you ultimately benefit from power relationships, it’s important to remember you shouldn’t be the sole focus. To establish rapport, you need to learn more about the person and they need to learn more about you. It is essential to build real bonds, ones that extend far beyond exchanging business cards at a mixer or an unsolicited email that’s never followed up. Quality of contacts always trumps quantity.
“The other person’s agenda – as long as it is consistent with your values and ethics – is your true north when it comes to building relationships,” writes Sobel and Panas. “It’s your starting point for adding value. Know the other person’s agenda and help them accomplish it.”
It’s true that charity begins at home, but should it end there? The answer is simple: absolutely not. Long gone are the days when profits were the lone focus of the business world and charitable involvement was nothing more than a tax break. Today’s consumers expect companies to actively and genuinely contribute to causes both close to home and around the world.
In fact, a 2013 Cone Communications study found 93 percent of consumers want businesses to support worthy social issues, including international economic development, access to clean water and eradication of poverty. About the same amount of people say they are very or somewhat likely to switch to a brand that is associated with a good cause.
Undoubtedly, your level of corporate social responsibility can play a huge role in your success. One needs to look no further for proof than TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, who launched the shoe company with the intent of giving back.
It was on a trip to Argentina when Mycoskie’s concept of “philanthropic capitalism” was born. After spotting locals wearing a unique style of shoe he’d never seen in the U.S. – and witnessing many children running around barefoot because their families could not afford to buy them shoes – he came up with the idea to launch a shoe company based on paying it forward. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company would give a pair to children in need in developing countries.
Though it hasn’t been without criticism, it’s clear that Mycoskie’s “One for One” strategy has been a smashing success. The company celebrated its 10 millionth pair of shoes donated – or 10 millionth pair of shoes sold, depending on how you look at it – a year ago. His shoes are carried in thousands of stores in countries around the world, and he has launched a complementary eyewear line. Not bad for an entrepreneur in his 30s.
TOMS is a dramatic example of how corporate philanthropy can work, but every company needn’t go to such extremes to experience the benefits of getting involved. Many businesses opt to make financial contributions to charity on a regular basis, while others choose to support their cause of choice in other ways, such as donating staff time or services, helping raise awareness, or gifting real estate.
Each company should choose its cause carefully and avoid firing off checks to every organization that reaches out. Strategically selecting a cause that resonates with both your business and customers can open the door to many new opportunities, from building a platform for launching new products to creating a conversation with customers. It’s also a chance to develop new partnerships with non-profits, vendors and investors. But be authentic, remembering it doesn’t take long for consumers to sniff out a false or fraudulent commitment and call you on it publicly.
When you launch a new campaign, start out small and ensure metrics are in place to properly track how much money is being directed to the cause and how much staff time is being spent on related projects. Depending on its success, you can ramp up or cut back involvement. Keep an eye on your budget and the benefits that your involvement are bringing to your business, and re-evaluate if needed.
Charitable involvement can have another positive, and sometimes unexpected, impact on a business. Many companies that throw their support behind a cause find it creates a sense of community in the workplace and infuses staff with a sense of pride. It also may give staff the opportunity to tackle tasks and projects outside their regular responsibilities, which could improve and diversify their skills. Happy, engaged workplaces not only attract the best talent, but retain those bright minds for a longer tenure.
Overall, we should remember the ultimate reason for getting involved is because it’s the right thing to do. Just as we pride ourselves on the quality of goods and services we provide to our customers and clients, we should pride ourselves on our community involvement as well.
As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
The Walking Dead. World War Z. Zombieland. There is no denying zombies have invaded pop culture. You may be surprised to learn their reach extends beyond a post-apocalyptic wasteland on your television screen – there are lessons to be learned from these horror movie creatures in the boardroom as well.
Steven Spear, a lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, warns our response to issues that arise can literally make or break our business. In fact, it has a lot in common with how heroes battle hordes of the undead.
“The zombie-like organizations are constantly plagued with working around the same problem every day, continuously, so there’s nothing but aggravation in those work spaces,” says Spear. “There’s something else which happens, which is that occasionally just enough of the right number and combination of problems coalesce to cause catastrophic failure.”
On the flip side, companies who take a heroic approach – containing the issue and learning what caused the failure so it doesn’t happen again – have more dynamic workplaces and deliver more value to their customers.
Schooley Mitchell is the largest independent telecom consulting company in North America, with offices from coast to coast. Our Telecom Consultants deliver telecommunications expertise to companies large and small from all industries. We offer a broad range of services that include analysis of existing and future telecommunications needs, assessment of best alternatives and implementation of cost-effective telecommunications solutions.