“Be Careful Out There”
According to the National Safety Council, workers are safer on the job than they are at home. A decrease in workplace deaths – down 17 percent since 1992 – has been undone by fatalities occurring off the job, up 14 percent.
According to a 2004 National Safety Council Off the Job Safety Symposium, twice as many workers – approximately 6.8 million people – were seriously injured while off the job than were injured while working. Of the 49,000 injury-related deaths in 2004, roughly 90 percent occurred while employees were off the job.
In 2004, the cost of employee injuries, both on and off the job, was more than $330 billion. Nearly 60 percent, or $200 billion, was for injuries to employees who were off the job. These injuries accounted for employers losing 165 million days of production time, compared with 80 million lost work days as a result of workplace injuries.
Among the 1,300 companies surveyed by the National Safety Council, 58 percent of those with off-the-job safety training programs reported reductions in injuries occurring outside of work.
Ten Musts for a Successful Speech
The fear of public speaking ranks high on nearly every study of common anxieties, even higher than death. According to Stephan Schiffman, author and president of DEI, a large sales training company, the fear is not public speaking itself, but of the possibility of being unprepared for a speech. Schiffman has outlined 10 “musts” for a successful speech:
Use humor, preferably self-deprecating, to establish rapport with your audience.
Know your audience and match your content to their world.
Practice delivering the major points in the order you want to cover them. Consider making an audio or video of your speech and reviewing it before your deliver it “live.”
Know your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker; emphasize your strengths.
Wear appropriate attire for the occasion.
Project comfort and confidence to your audience, but don’t confuse “confidence” with “arrogance.”
Use appropriate body language to retain visual interest from your audience.
Speak comprehensibly by speaking slowly and enunciating your words.
Speak loudly by pitching your voice so you can be heard by everyone.
Speak with enthusiasm and conviction. If the audience doesn’t think you believe what you’re saying, they will tune you out.
South Fails to Rise Again
In the Third Circuit Court case Storey v. Burns International Services, a security guard claimed his employment was wrongfully terminated because of his national origin (“Confederate Southern-American”) and his religion (Christian).
According to the “Employment Law Briefing” by the Dyer Lawrence law firm in Carson City, controversy arose when the guard placed Confederate flag stickers on his lunch box and pick-up truck. His supervisors informed him he would have to remove the stickers under the company’s new diversified-hiring program. When the guard refused, the company explained its zero-tolerance policy with respect to displaying Confederate symbols.
Supervisors attempted to convince him to either remove or conceal the symbols because they might offend other employees. He responded that, as a Christian, some work occurrences – particularly other employees’ use of profanity – offended him but were accepted.
Once the guard was officially terminated, he sued the company in federal court, alleging national-origin and religious discrimination. The trial court dismissed the guard’s complaint on grounds that “Confederate Southern-American” didn’t qualify as a legitimate national origin and that he had failed to establish that displaying the Confederate flag was essential to maintaining his religious beliefs.
Four Ways to Sabotage Your Business
Chances are your staff is sabotaging your business, without your even knowing it. Telephone Doctor, a training company that helps organizations improve the way they communicate with their customers, lists four dangerous phrases they might be using when responding to customers:
It’s not our policy: This excuse is used when the employee doesn’t know what to say. Decide on your policy and then work as a team with your staff to find a positive way to explain it to the customer
It’s not my department: Tell the customer what you do, not what you don’t do. If someone mistakenly gets your extension and asks for something you don’t handle, find them someone in the area they need.
My computer is down: When your computer crashes, politely explain the situation and do whatever you can. The customer will have a little more compassion if you’ve offered assistance and didn’t simply blame the computer for your inability to help.
I wasn’t here that day: The customer doesn’t care whether or not you were there when the problem happened. Instead, confront the problem head-on and apologize without telling the client where you were – or weren’t.
A New “Outlook” on E-Mail
Workplace efficiency expert Michael Linenberger has developed methods to manage e-mail and the tasks that come with it in order to gain a 25 percent increase in productivity:
Resolve to quit storing e-mails in your inbox: E-mails are stored in our inbox with the intention of returning to them later. Instead, track all tasks in Outlook’s Task System, a prioritized place to look for to-dos.
Immediately convert e-mails to tasks as you read them: Click on the e-mail and drag it to the task icon, which will help you think in terms of taking action. You’ll cease needing to constantly re-read e-mails, which will save you time.
Make two task lists: one daily, one long-term: This system allows you to keep the most important tasks right in front of you and keep lower priorities out of sight so you aren’t overwhelmed.
Break down tasks into mini-projects and next steps: Making a big task manageable increases the likelihood that you’ll complete it, without procrastination.
Prioritize with the “going home” test: Ask yourself, “What two or three items on this list, if they’re not done, will keep me from going home today?” Then set a personal goal to get them done early in the day.
Sort your tasks with the oldest in the lowest position on your list: The newest tasks are usually the most relevant, keeping your list fresh and usable. Old tasks are dead tasks so you shouldn’t focus on those first. Make old tasks earn their place at the top of your list.