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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

Evaluating your Free Offers of Stuff Getting free stuff can be a lot of fun, and for many people, the hunt for freebies is as fun as actually enjoying the free products themselves. There is a dark side to freebie offers, however. Many scam artists have come to realize that pretending to offer free things is a great way to trick people into handing over sensitive information about them than can be used in identity theft operations or even bilk them out of cold, hard cash. For that reason, it is important to make sure you know how to stay out there when you?re looking for free offers. There are some things you can do to make sure you freebie hunting only brings you good times ? these common sense rules are a great place to start. You?ve heard it a million times before ? if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The reason you have heard it so many times is that it almost holds water. Think about the reason that companies give away free things. They?re usually not doing it for charity. They want you try to their products in the hope that you will come back to them as a paying customer in the future, and they?re doing it to build good will for their company over all. They?re definitely not doing it go broke. So consider whether the freebie offers you come across make sense according to these criteria. Does it make sense that a company will give you a free bag of their new flavor of chips or a trial size jar of their new face cream? Sure it does, because if you like it, you may buy these products in the future. Does it make sense that a company will give you an all expenses paid, two-week first class trip to Bali for you and ten of your friends? Not so much. Don?t waste your time on these too good to be true freebies ? they may end up costing your big time in the long run. By the same token, the more outlandish an offer sounds, the more you have to look for the small print. Sure, maybe the hotel chain is willing to give you a free weekend in their beachfront hotel. The small print in the offer might say that you have to agree to spend 10 hours a day at a sales seminar or that the free weekend is yours after you pay for a two week stay. One particular airline ran an offer for a free coach class plane ticket from New York to London. The small print said you had to buy two, full price first class tickets on that same route before you could get the free on ? at a cost of around $8,000 per ticket. Before you jump, make sure you get all of the details. Freebie offers that actually require you to shell out some money are very tricky. Sometimes they are legitimate ? after all, if you are accustomed to paying full price first class airfare, a free coach class ticket can be a real score. But many times, when you have to pay to get something for free, that is a red flag that a scammer is at work. You should never send money, even for postage, to a company that you don?t know. Also, keep an eye on the costs for things like postage even if you do know the company name. If they?re asking for $50 postage to send you a free magazine, then you know something is up. Lastly, beware giving out too much personal information. There?s no reason a company giving away free shampoo needs your bank account details. Protect your private info and if you?re unsure, move on to the next freebie offer.

Short Trips: Articles are Great Ways to Enter the Writing Market (writing articles) Not everyone who loves to write is destined to become a writer. Most people define a writer as a person who makes a living from their writing. Writers are committed to a career of difficulty and very hard work. Not that every other job doesn?t include work, but writers make up a group of individuals who are less recognized for their contributions. Certainly there are famous writers who are appreciated for their efforts, but they do not represent the majority of those who take up a pen for their livelihood. If you love to write, but you?re not sure about taking the leap into becoming a writer, there may be a perfect option for you to use your skills. Writing articles is a writing job that can be taken up to whatever degree you would like to do so. Types of Articles to Write Because articles are such short pieces, each one can only cover the smallest piece of information that the world contains. Depth and length are limited by each other and so writing articles allows you to focus on just about anything you?d like. If the articles cannot cover the scope of material that you?d like to cover, you can write more. Articles come in all kinds of packages. They are written for magazines. A magazine will always have a general topic that it strives to cover. Within the broad topic though, there are thousands of possibilities for the creation of articles. Newspapers are more directed towards current events rather than interesting tidbits or random information, but they also must buy articles in order to be printed each and every day. There is also the possibility of writing articles for the internet. In that genre, the topics expand exponentially as time goes on. The opportunities are out there, so how do you start writing articles? Getting Hired for the Work To get hired to write articles you mostly need the ability to market your writing skills. There are many, many good writers in the world. To get hired to write, you must be better than good. You must be able to use your words to describe, explain and convince. You must let an editor know why you are the right writer for a particular job. If you can write effectively enough in your resume and cover letter, an editor will know immediately that you have the skills and abilities to write equally convincing and interesting articles. If you are interested in continuing in the process of writing articles, you must know how to construct great content into a great finished product. Writing Great Articles If you can allow your curiosity to drive you, you will never run out of the ability to create great articles. The first rule in writing articles is to be ever ready to learn something new. You never know when you?ll need that piece of information to back up your writing. The idea for writing articles is only half of the battle though. You also have to actually do the engaging writing. This is where you pull out all of your literary tools. Write with enthusiasm so that your reader will be enthusiastic. Write with variety and slight complexity so that your reader will not be bored. Add a little bit of suspense as you are writing articles so that every reader will keep going until the end. Writing articles can be a career, but it doesn?t have to be. The beautiful thing about article writing is the short term nature of each project. You will move from one topic to the next as you continue to learn and expand your writing abilities. Writing articles can take you from your front yard to across the world in as short of trip as you need it to be. If you are considering the possibilities available to you in a writing job, investigate the possibilities of article writing. If you are a writer, you?ll love the work.

Technical Writing: What is it? (technical writing) Technical writing is one of the most difficult forms of writing. To be a technical writer you need to be able to convey a technical message in a concise and effective manner. Technical documents must be created using comprehensive and precise information in a brief and understandable style. You will need the ability to be able to correspond with technical experts and have the understanding of all technical terminology. You are the middleman between the designers, engineers, or scientists and the audience of the technical writings. You have to have the ability to under stand what they are saying and the turn it into something that can be understood by someone else. Simply put it is writing that designs, creates, and upkeeps any kind of technical data such as user manuals, how to guides, and online help just to name a few. To be able to achieve a career in technical writing you must be able to write complex data in a straightforward, easy to understand and articulate fashion. You must be able to word step by step instructions in a way that seems effortless to a consumer. While doing technical writing one of the most important aspects of your job will be creating for an intended audience. So not only must you understand and convey what you are writing, you must understand whom you are writing it for. In most cases, you are generally trying to explain complex technical information to the average person. But with the diversity in the world today and having such a vast potential audience you must understand the meaning of the words you use and what they could mean to someone else. Some technical writing projects may also include magazine and newspaper articles. These articles will probably be focused on new technologies and products. In some cases this may be in the form of an advertisement. Or it could just be an introduction to a new product saying hey this is what we have and this is what it a can do. Although a formal education is always a plus, if you have experience and successful past ventures in technical writing it isn?t always necessary. Knowledge into the multiple components needed for technical writing is required. They key components to what you must know is an in depth knowledge many software programs. These applications can include Visio, Quadralay Web Works Publisher, Microsoft Word, and HTML script writing. Proper formatting, style, and organization of writings are what make them easy to follow. Correct wording, clear sentences, and easy terminology make your technical writings easy the read and comprehend. If you are employed as a technical writer with a company, you will most likely be working with a team of other writers. You writings will be reviewed for content efficiency as well as any grammar and spelling errors. Depending on the structure of the team they may be working on the same project as you or they may be working on separate projects. Either way the team is assembled as a support group to help make your technical writing be as accurate, effective, and as simple as it can be. To succeed in technical writing these are the simple rules to follow. Keep it as simple as possible; no one wants to read four pages to find a simple one word answer. Understand the people you are talking to and what you are telling them. If you don?t understand, neither will they. Make sure you get your work proofread or read it aloud to make sure it makes sense. You know what you are trying to say, but your reader does not. You are the carrier for getting information from point A to Point B.