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Become a Master of the Moment By Chris Day
 
I have always believed the saying that "A tidy desk is the sign of an empty mind" and, over the years, I have gone to great lengths in my office to demonstrate the reverse. Although I am always quick to defend the piles of paper I have surrounded myself with by saying, "Oh, I know where everything is!", if I was being honest with myself, I would have to admit that this wasnít entirely true.
 
Recently I was reading a book "How to make working from home work for you" by the Home Office organising expert, Rachael Ross, and I realised just how much I have been kidding myself. Looking around me at the increasingly small space that was left for me to work in, I made the decision that enough was enough and took her advice to create a new "one touch" system for every piece of paper that comes my way, and believe me this can be of rainforest proportions. The simple concept of a decimal filing system is so simple I cannot believe it has taken me this long to put it into practice. It just goes to prove that Common Sense is not as common as we think it is.
 
It took me a couple of days of total agony, as I went through each pile and separated out all the dusty sheets on the same subject and put them together in a pile. Each pile then became a category, and each category was given a number. This list of numbers and subjects then became the "key" to the system.
 
It wasnít that I didnít have filing cabinets, I did, but they had become dumping grounds for those things that I didnít know where else to put. So I dusted them off and created compartments for each of my new categories. Brilliant! Now when each piece of paper arrives, I look at the key and write the number of the appropriate one on the piece of paper concerned. Then at the end of the day, they are all put away in their correct compartment. Simple! And I now have a tidy desk, a lot less stress and can put my hand on any piece of paper instantly. And Iím feeling so smug!
 
Although we probably hate to admit it, we all function better in a tidy, well ordered environment. Our brains certainly seem to be wired that way. Have you noticed how quickly, when you meet someone new, your brain immediately forms an opinion and puts them into a category, with just the smallest amount of information to go on? Whether we are aware of it or not, first impressions, once made, are very difficult to shift. We tend to think of somebody in one category and then close the draw. Job done. Filed!
 
Of course if we are doing it ourselves to the people we meet on a daily basis, you can be sure they are doing it to us as well. What filing draw do we get mentally put into when we meet somebody? What first impression do we make? If you are in business, making the wrong first impression can be the difference between someone you meet becoming a distant memory or a customer for life.
 
When we have a choice, we all prefer doing business with people we know, like and trust. If those three boxes are ticked, we may be prepared to overlook the fact that they may not be the cheapest, or indeed the most convenient. People buy people before they buy things. Your first sale is always yourself.
 
In the knowledge that we only have seconds at most, in order to "connect" with somebody, how can we use this to our advantage? How can you become a Master of the Moment, before you get put into the round file under the desk?
 
Mastering the Moment is the one skill that can give you and your business the edge. If, every time you speak to, meet, or in anyway communicate with somebody, they go away feeling positive, valued or in some way, better or more informed than they did before, then you are on the right track.
 
Donít forget, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
 
Whether you sell over the counter, over the internet, over the phone, in the home or through the post, first impressions are what counts, every time. Are you a master of each of those moments?
 
I was recently at a very enjoyable business networking event run by Jim Hewitt of Speed Networking London. The event was well structured and allowed everybody to have a few minutes of quality time in front of each of the other participants followed by the opportunity to mingle and talk to each other. A good formula, and a great opportunity to practice making forty or so "first impressions" in a short space of time.
 
But whilst it is essential to be able to describe what we do in an enthusiastic and succinct manner, the greater skill is in the ability to be a good listener. Mastering the Moment is all about making the person you meet feel special, and you do this by being genuinely interested in them and their needs.
 
In the same way, the greatest art of management is in making staff feel great about what they do. By catching people doing something right, then recognising them for it, can be more valuable to them than a pay rise. Being successful in business is all about mastering every fleeting moment of contact with everyone we come into contact with.
 
You will not have to look very far to find that very few businesses realise this and so many of them treat their customers as if they are doing them a favour by serving them. You can give yourself and your enterprise a huge advantage by using your ears and your mouth in the same proportion that you were given them. The best conversationalist is the one who listens the most. By doing so you then truly know what your customer really needs, and when you deliver on that, why would they want to go anywhere else?
 
 
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