What are Top Maryland Businesses Doing Differently?
Communication is both the key to success and the downfall of most relationships—in the workplace, in your marriage, in friendships and with family. It is very much a pre-requisite for any healthy organization but it requires constant work and attention to be truly successful. Here are a few concepts that healthy organizations have mastered that don’t require an entire organizational overhaul to implement:
Speak at the right level for your audience.
Far too often, we believe overloading the recipient with information shows value and intellect but if the person on the receiving end does not have an understanding of the content to begin with, they block out those nitty-gritty details and are left with just the opposite perception of the one “throwing-up” information on them. The person perceived as a valuable asset is not the one that can overload their audience, but the one that can create a clear, comprehendible message to the recipient and create action or buy-in as a result. If we don’t present information in a way that is meaningful to the other person, the phrase, “we are just talking to ourselves” rings true.
Spend less time memorizing the details and more time understanding your audience’s point of view. Chances are, if you tend to overfill the glass on a topic, you know the content better than you give yourself credit for anyway. Before you present information, consider who you are talking to and what is important to them. Then actively work to present a higher level overview tied directly to what the audience cares about and avoid the urge to talk about how it is relevant or impactful to you. Allow your audience to guide where the conversation goes by probing for details rather than diving right in.
When we are passionate about something, we tend to speed up our speech and sprint to the end leaving our audience trailing behind and working hard to keep up rather than taking in the content.
Sit back, relax your body and slow down your speech to the point where it feels almost awkward to you. Although it may feel unnatural, the recipient does not recognize it as slowed speech, instead they see you as a comfortable, confident presenter. Pause often to allow for interaction from the audience. Engagement breeds understanding and buy-in.
Segment the content to the same lens.
We often sit in meetings or entertain conversations where each person is coming at the topic from a different lens. One person may be presenting emotional view points, another may be presenting fact while another person presents the things that could go wrong. When this is the case, none of the people in the room are effectively working through the topic, they are locked in to their own lens and lost in their own perspectives.
Give each lens its due time. Break a conversation into different segments.
- First, allow everyone in the room to unload their emotional perspective on the topic. Getting this out of the way first and classifying it as such allows you to move on to true problem solving.
- Once you isolate the emotions, move on to facts surrounding the topic and challenge each other to present only facts. At this point, most people realize their initial perspective may not have been grounded in anything concrete.
- Next, ask for the obstacles to overcome so you can ensure they are out in the open. Then challenge the group to come up with ideas to overcome the obstacles.
- Lastly, and potentially most importantly for buy-in, ask for the benefits surrounding the solution. A team can rally around an idea when they spend time collectively outlining the potential benefits of the solution and projecting themselves into the positive end state.You’ll be amazed at the progress you can make when you have everyone speaking to the same perspective.
This is the most apparent but also the most overlooked. When we don’t over communicate, the execution of a great idea or initiative can be lost because it didn’t reach the right people. Even if it was communicated, it may not have been received. How often do you hear, “Well, I copied you on the email” as a rebuttal for someone claiming they weren’t informed of a change or decision?
Focus on the cascading message associated with every decision. Who needs to know about this, who will tell them, how will we tell them so they understand (probably not in a mass email) and when will we do it? Once you outline those next steps, ensure you establish a frequency in which you will disseminate the information and a method for making sure it was done and done effectively.
Spend time on the journey.
We often forget all of the knowledge we gained as we worked through a problem and assume everyone else around us now holds that knowledge despite not having been a part of the process. Then we are let down or lose steam when the group does not share in our excitement or energy surrounding the end result.
When you arrive at an outcome and look for buy-in from others, unless the group is willing to give you blind faith, you need to bring the entire group through the journey it took to get there. That does not mean you need to drag people through the hours, days or months that you’ve spent on something, but it is important to hit the high notes and transfer your knowledge to them. Start with the current state, outline the challenges faced in the as-is situation and then outline the projected end state along with its benefits. This ensures your audience knows what you now know and the revelation is appreciated, not lost.
Looking for great tools to help you implement these concepts? Here are some of our favorites:
Advance Business Systems helps organizations focus on their core mission by providing technology that can increase efficiency and effectiveness and services that eliminate the distractions that many organizations face.
The right resources and a plan are critical to an organization achieving and exceeding their goals. Advance provides services such as IT planning and support that will take IT off your plate, keep you from worrying about data security and position your business for the future.
Having the right business technology solutions in place, such as multifunctional copiers, interactive white boards and document management software, can greatly improve the flow of information through an organization.
Is IT a pain point at your organization? Whether you have an in-house IT representative or a third party resource, your company’s technology needs to be working with your company, not against it! Take our short assessment below to determine the technology resources your business needs to grow and succeed.
Learn about Managed IT Services from Advance
Determine which solutions are a “must-have” when deciding on a managed IT package.
Are you interested in how a comprehensive IT solution could benefit your business? Click here to browse our Managed IT homepage!
Managing IT has become an overwhelming task for many organizations as innovations in technology become more advanced, and the risk of security threat seems more likely every day. If you’re similar to the majority of businesses who are considering hiring a third party to manage their IT, you’re probably feeling in over your head. And you may even be currently living out one of three common (and dangerous!) IT environments at your business:
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At Advance, we are very often asked to explain how to print envelopes on Canon, Ricoh, and Savin printers. Those who have worked in an office for a while know how tricky this task used to be…in fact, we’ve updated this post to include the most accurate information so that we can better answer your questions about Canon, Ricoh, and Savin envelope printing. The good news? It’s easier than ever!
Envelopes in the “copier” industry have historically been a bit of an uncomfortable subject. Some machines could handle them fairly well, while others couldn’t reliably handle more than one at a time. Initially, digital copiers had issues with jamming or mis-feeding, and when envelopes did print successfully, they were usually wrinkled and curled. There was also a challenge with setting up the file to print in the correct orientation.
Nowadays, the landscape is a lot less hazy. Canon and Ricoh/Savin both offer the ability to copy or print envelopes through the side bypass tray. Some of their models have also developed an envelope feeding option, allowing Tray 2 to internally process envelopes. It provides greater convenience and reliability over using the side bypass tray – not to mention the ability to hold and print a large amount of envelopes at a time.
Canon, Ricoh, and Savin Envelope Printing: A Simple 3-Step Process
To begin printing your envelope, you must first setup your file to print under the right settings with your Ricoh, Savin, or Canon printer. To do so, open a new document within Microsoft Word and choose “File – Print”. Now, click “Printer Properties” and select the “Paper” tab.
Within Printer Properties, select the appropriate settings for “Document Size”, “Input Tray”, and “Type”. Your Document Size will coincide with the size of your envelopes (for more information on typical envelope sizes, click here). Choose whether you would like your envelopes to be printed from your Bypass Tray or from Tray 2. Lastly, set your Paper Type to “Envelope”. Select “OK” to save your settings. You can now return to your document to create your envelopes. Do not select “Print” at this time.
Activate the Envelopes and Labels Wizard by selecting the “Envelopes” option under the “Mailings” menu tab (please note that this function exists in Microsoft 2013 and 2016) and fill in your mailing and return addresses. Select the “Options” menu to adjust the Envelope size and print position. Under “Printing Options”, you can confirm how your envelopes will be fed from your specific printer.
By choosing “Options” you are able to change the look and style of your envelope. You may also designate your chosen envelope size and redirect your envelope to be printed from a different tray than has been automatically selected.
Click here for detailed instructions for envelope printing with Microsoft Word.
After choosing all of your settings in Microsoft Word, it is time to load your envelopes into the designated tray for printing. As this sometimes gets a little tricky, we have compiled a downloadable (and certainly printable!) guide to configuring your printer’s settings in order to get the best envelope printing available for your machine.
Is your business’ back up and disaster recovery plan up to speed?
Your systems probably hold a few Terabytes’ worth of CRM and vendor data, billing and payroll history, legal and other documents. You generate vast amounts of new data daily. Yet, if you’re like 40% of small-to-medium sized companies, you don’t back up that gold at various points throughout the day. Or you assume it’s backing up…but you’re not sure.
If you’ve dodged a data disaster so far, consider yourself lucky. Roughly 40% of companies that cannot recover data within 24 hours of an outage shut their doors within 24 months (Gartner). What would happen to your business if essential data were wiped? How long could you continue operating? What would it cost to rebuild your systems and win back clients? How do you prevent a recurrence?
You may think your back up is doing its job, only to learn too late that your data wasn’t fully protected. Unless you can say with absolute certainty that your back up systems are right-sized and reliable, it’s time for a critical update. Here’s what you need to consider.
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Most organizations have a variety of contracts from several different service providers for their multifunctional devices, printers, software, and supplies. This fragmented approach to buying is inefficient and expensive, but there is a better way!
What is Managed Print Services?
Managed Print Services optimizes your print environment to offer visibility into your print spend, a fixed monthly budget, reduction of waste, and increased end user productivity.
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Variable Data Printing, Uses and Strategies for Your Maryland Business
Everyone is impatient. We insist on getting what we want, when we want it. On-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime contribute to this culture, creating consumers that want everything customized specifically to their own tastes and preferences.
As a business, how do we play into this trend? Personalization is key.
Personalization is a win/win for everybody involved. By adopting this strategy, your business will collect rich information about your customers and prospects, and your audience, will in turn, have a much more positive interaction with your company.
And the statistics don’t lie…according to Print Shop Mail, with personalization at the helm of your digital and print strategies, companies report a 32% increase in profit, a 35% faster response rate, and a whopping 48% increase in repeat orders.
Convinced? Me, too. Let’s talk about how to adopt a print personalization strategy for your business.
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Designing Your Business’ Print Media to Increase Visitors to Your Website
“Print is dead.” – We’ve all read this same article time and again for the last twenty years. Seemingly on a mission to prove the naysayers wrong, countless businesses’ print media has stood the test of time as an ever-important branch of their marketing tree. Product brochures and direct mail postcards alike continue to show fantastic results as we trek deeper into the digital era.
However impressive the return, as 21st century marketers, we can’t just focus on print media… buyers are spending their time online, researching options before contacting suppliers. In fact, 57% of the buyer’s decision-making process is done before they ever reach out to a salesperson. That’s why it is crucial for businesses to sustain healthy, robust websites that educate visitors and convince them that when they are ready to speak with a professional, your company is the one to call.
So, which is more important: your tried and true print mail campaign that continuously brings in calls or maintaining a digital presence that increasingly leads traffic to your website? The truth is, all of our marketing content, traditional and digital, is working together to drive results. Everything is interconnected: the magazine article you published last month leads readers to a related blog post. Your TV commercial sends viewers to a product-specific landing page. Even your email signatures act as a way to capture Facebook followers.
We’re all strapped for time, so let’s kill two birds with one stone: let’s use our reliable business printing tactics to drive website traffic from the masses. Digital strategies and print marketing working together to achieve results rather than splitting the funds, time, and manpower in half to labor over two separate initiatives. Can it be this simple?
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At your company, you are responsible for the production of final, printed, on-brand, professional materials. Whether that is an important customer-wide communication on company letterhead, or your next direct mail piece, you are the one managing the print process.
Right now, you probably outsource at least some of these materials to a print shop. You’re paying thousands a year in costly mark ups in order to achieve the perfect look and feel. Even then, you’re sometimes left wasting stacks of prints because you found an error, or maybe were talked into buying more than you needed to justify the cost of printing. The print shop employees don’t know your brand standards, so sometimes the quality of the piece isn’t exactly what you were hoping for.
Or maybe you’re attempting to run your print jobs on the office-grade copier. Let’s face it- you can’t do everything on your wish list with this equipment, and you’re probably jamming up the workflow of everyone else around you who needs to use the printer as well. You are limited in your choice of paper stock and finishing, and you constantly have to reload the paper tray.
Many companies believe that their current print volume does not justify bringing their print production in house as a viable option. Think again- we’ve outlined the top 10 capabilities that your company will gain if you bring your print production in house. Read on to see how in house print production can make your job a lot easier, while allowing you to create more effective, impactful pieces for your business and helping to keep an eye on your bottom line. Read more »
Have you ever noticed the jargon cycles that tend to take over our everyday speech? Buzz words or phrases that fill the air with the sole purpose of dazzling those within earshot. Sometimes they are used over and over again to drive home a point. It’s everywhere in our culture, from politics to business to common phrases. They pop up when you least expect it and can become part of your every day conversation. It can be very powerful and persuasive. For example, Tweet is defined as a weak chirping sound. We guess that definition still applies. Do you think of a weak chirping sound when we say tweet? Who can deny the powerful effect Twitter has had on our culture? Before the debt ceiling debate, when was the last time you heard the term kick the can down the road? Watch the news cycle and you hear it over and over again. You don’t believe us? Yahoo it. Umm, Google it.
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