Fraud Awareness Week: How Much Do You Know About Cybercrime?

This week has been coined “International Fraud Awareness Week”, and it didn’t come any too soon. Organizations worldwide lose an estimated five percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to a study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Old National Bancorp- a proud member of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce- is joining companies throughout the world in an effort to educate and raise awareness about fraud to proactively fight fraud and help safeguard business and investments.

 “Banks are on high alert for fraud associated with cybercrime, including malicious emails, malware, phishing attempts, zero day exploits, or card breaches at retailers,” said Old National Chief Risk Officer Candice Rickard. “A recent study by the American Bankers Association indicated that more than two thirds of cyber security incidents were the result of phishing attempts.”

 Here are some fraud prevention tips from Old National’s online security center:

 Mobile banking precautions

  • Log off of your Mobile Banking session when finished and close your browser.
  • Do not use the Password Save or Auto Complete function in your browser.
  • Do not save your user ID or password on your phone and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Do not use your mobile device to connect to unsecure networks.
  • Protect your device against theft and/or use by others.
  • Use anti-virus/anti-malware software on your mobile device.

 Social media tips

  • Do not choose usernames and passwords that are the same or similar to ones you use to access your online banking.
  • Never share personal information such as user IDs, PINs and account numbers.
  • Never include information that can help thieves steal your identity, such as your address, phone number or even employment information.
  • Always use privacy settings to limit access to your information, but realize that information posted on social media sites is permanent and may still be accessible.
  • Never announce on social media sites when you will be out of town.

  Monitor your account information

  • Look over your bank statements as soon as they arrive.
  • Sign up for Old National Online Banking so you can view your account history and transactions 24/7. You can also set up eAlerts to receive notification of certain activities on your accounts.
  • Regularly review your credit report for suspicious inquiries, unexplained accounts, incorrect balances and typos. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each major consumer reporting agency – Experian, Trans Union and Equifax – under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. To order your free reports, go to the official site www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. Avoid companies that ask you to pay for a copy of your credit reports.

 

 

 

 

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President Jeb Conrad Talks I-69 Summit Success

Your Chamber was proud to be the lead organizer for the I-69 Regional Summit…Driving Opportunity here in Bloomington on October 20-21. The Summit brought together more than 350 representatives from various sectors including business, government, higher education, defense, economic development, tourism, agriculture, trade and logistics to examine ways to enable collaboration and leverage the new and existing I-69 corridor from a statewide perspective.

The Chamber conceived the Summit for a series of reasons, but most importantly to have a forum for strategic discussions with respect to the impact and opportunities this new major infrastructure project will have on the business environment locally, regionally, statewide and nationally.

Highlights included a panel luncheon with Congressmen Todd Rokita, Larry Bucshon and Todd Young, who are all members of the I-69 Congressional Caucus, moderated by Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business. Keynote speakers Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Becky Skillman, President and CEO of Radius Indiana, shared their vision and perspective.  Attendees participated in breakouts and panel discussions on topics including trade/logistics, land use planning, understanding P3s, site selection and economic development. Other highlights included a tour of the Section 4 project and an evening reception at the IU Memorial Stadium.

The Summit provided a forum for interested parties and experts to come together, learn of the progress of I-69 in each of the corridor states, understand the global influence of its future and a chance to make new contacts. I was amazed at the significance this interstate will have for enabling trade and logistics from Mexico to Canada, and opening new avenues for connecting our region to the world. It is easy to see the local challenges and opportunities as the road pushes through, but a realistic view from 35,000 feet is necessary to be well prepared and take advantage of the opportunities the infrastructure brings to our region.

The State of Indiana also sees I-69 as the most impactful project for the tourism industry. Having interstate access to the State’s unique assets that attract visitors, is expected to generate new ways to capture travelers’ dollars in Indiana, expose a broader audience to these assets, and attract new business opportunities in this industry sector.

Locally, I-69 will bring safe and efficient connectivity for our businesses, employees and customers between Evansville and Indianapolis, not to mention Crane Naval Base. This will open new doors for employers to operate more effectively in the region, expand their employee base and capture additional business and residential investment.

The Summit was an excellent way for our Chamber to showcase our local businesses, connect them to other key contacts and open the door to see what Bloomington, Monroe County and the region have to offer.

It was a huge task for us to take on, but with the support of a great Committee, key partners like the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Hoosier Voices for I-69, and our sponsors, this event puts us on the map on a broader scale as we move forward. A public thank you to all those who made this event possible and we look forward to hosting again in 2015, our Chamber’s 100th Anniversary!

If you are interested in more information from the Summit, you can access such at www.I69Summit.com or our Chamber website.

 

 

 

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Fall into Celebration

hello octoberIt’s October! And time for pumpkin flavored everything. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is as excited as the next guy about the crisp fall air, beautiful colors and the return of the pumpkin spice latte. But we’re even more excited about our 100th anniversary. Only three months until we ring in the New Year and twelve months of celebration for the Chamber’s centennial.

Since 1915 the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has been dedicated to creating better business and a better community. In fact, it’s our tagline. Adopted in 2003 after a rebranding initiative, “Better Business. Better Community.” captures the belief of our founding members almost a century ago.

As The Chamber prepares for our next 100 years of service to the business community (and an even bigger celebration), we will leverage our current strengths and recommit to raise the voice of business in Bloomington. It may be getting colder outside but the business climate is hot and we’re here to protect it.

We’re not saying you have to dance on your desks and hang piñatas around the office like we did, but get excited, big things are coming in 2015.

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Start Strong: Indiana Business Taxes for New and Small Businesses

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to share this opportunity with our area businesses.  If you are a new or small business, we encourage you to attend the September 4th presentation offered here in Bloomington.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently offered a sobering statistic for anyone following their business dreams: forty-nine percent of businesses fail in the first five years.

download (1)One factor that can contribute to business failure is failing to understand taxes. When new and small businesses have difficulty with taxes it is often due to not understanding regulations regarding filing and paying Indiana taxes.

To address this issue, the Indiana Department of Revenue is partnering with the Indiana CPA Society to host three free presentations throughout the state. The presentation, Start Strong: Indiana Business Taxes for New and Small Businesses, discusses pertinent tax information for new businesses, and attendees will have the opportunity to have questions answered by an experienced business tax auditor and network with community business members.

Register for a free Start Strong presentation on Sept. 4, 2014 in Bloomington, Ind. here.

If you’re interested in attending a different Start Strong presentation, or hosting the presentation for your community, visit www.in.gov/dor/5176.htm.

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Chamber Board Chair Reflects on the Past Year

William Stephan Indiana University - Vice President for Engagement

William Stephan
Indiana University – Vice President for Engagement

It has been my pleasure to serve as Chair of The Chamber’s Board of Directors for the past year. As that term comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the progress and the impact we have made. As the voice of business for our nearly 1,000 members, The Chamber has continued to advance the interests of business in our community. At the heart of this effort are our many volunteers, members and staff who are committed to building better business and better community for the greater Bloomington/Monroe County area.

Our mission to provide leadership through member engagement, business advocacy and civic partnerships to strengthen our community and business environment is an ongoing effort supported by several strategic goals. I’m proud to say that we have continued to advance this mission and make progress in each of our strategic goals.

One of the most direct ways that The Chamber represents its members is in the area of advocacy and public policy. The Chamber staff, Advocacy Council, Legislative Council and various committees, all serve as the voice of business at the local, state and federal levels.

Perhaps no issue reflects our commitment to Bloomington’s future more than the ways in which we have helped lead, facilitate and manage negotiations related to Section 5 of I-69.  Brokering discussions among INDOT representatives, local elected officials, and business and community leaders has enabled constructive dialogue and progress consistent with community expectations for reasonable and beneficial outcomes.

The Chamber is also leading the way on broader discussions as we plan for the I-69 Regional Summit this October. This event will bring together representatives from the business, government, higher education, defense, economic development, tourism, agriculture, trade and logistics sectors to examine ways to enable collaboration and leverage the new and existing I-69 corridor from a statewide perspective.

Chamber leadership on downtown parking issues has offered an opportunity to engage in collaborative discussions with stakeholders and influence decisions by City leaders as more permanent policies are established.  We continue to carefully monitor issues related to downtown building and signage along with the full array of regulatory and zoning matters that impact our members. We will continue to participate in discussions surrounding safe and civil city initiatives and other broad issues that impact our members and the vitality of our community.

The Chamber’s ongoing leadership with the Franklin Initiative—our education retention and attainment program–remains one of our most significant efforts and one that has dramatically impacted the lives and futures of scores of Bloomington area students.  We remain especially grateful to our supporters, such as AT&T, Smithville Charitable Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County for their generous support that has enabled program success and continuity.

Honoring our community’s leading educators earlier this year at our Educators of the Year Awards dinner was both heartwarming and a compelling reminder of the commitment our teachers and counselors make to our youngsters and the impact they have in their lives and on our community.

Events are one of the primary ways we provide opportunities for our members to network with peers, potential customers, community leaders and elected officials. This year, we were able to bring in some very influential and well-known speakers. Hosting former US Senator Evan Bayh as the keynote speaker at our Federal Focus Luncheon was a Chamber highlight, as was our annual Governor’s Luncheon featuring Governor Mike Pence in IU’s newly refurbished Alumni Hall.  These two annual events are just a couple of ways the Chamber provides a forum for our members to hear from our federal and state elected officials.

And in August, we will hold our annual Health in Business luncheon with G. William Hoagland who is a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Hoagland will share insights on the impacts of healthcare reform for employers and carriers, and discuss the effects of the political climate in Washington on healthcare reform.

Finally, just a note of sincere thanks to my fellow board members, whose commitment to a better Bloomington cannot be overstated.  Their dedication and spirit of volunteerism is truly inspirational and so indicative of what makes Bloomington a truly remarkable community and a great place to do business!

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“Am I Management Material?”

Leadership-TraitsYou’ve been in the same position for years… not that it bothers you since you love the organization you work for, but you are beginning to naturally yearn for more challenge and responsibility. As you begin to look up the career ladder to plan out your next vertical promotion, you must first ask yourself: Am I management material?

This should not be an easy question to answer immediately; however Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and author of The Purpose Economy, offers these questions to consider when trying to determine if you’re ready to make the leap into management: How does my boss define management, and how could promoting YOU better serve the organization’s needs?

Some bosses won’t explicitly list the traits he or she is looking for in a future manager, some haven’t even thought about it…so what can you do? First, you should determine your boss’s working definition of “management material” by observing what your organization looks for in a manager based off its hiring history and company climate. Hurst offers these questions to start your search:

·      Who have they promoted in the past and who has been passed over?

·      How do they seem to make decisions about promotions relative to other managers in the organization?

·      Do they promote, as they should, to balance their skills and capacity? What do they perceive as their skills and capacity gaps?

·      What threatens them and their security in their role? What would threaten them and make them biased in a promotion decision?

·      How can your promotion help them get promoted? What do they need to do to get promoted and how could you be part of that solution?

·      What parts of their job do they dislike that you could do? How could your promotion increase their job satisfaction?

·      What are you doing now that your boss values and might be afraid they would lose if you moved into management? How could you backfill your work?

The next step? Be honest with yourself.  Are you the right person for the situation? You could fit the definition of “management material” to a T, but might not ideal for the particular organizational challenges. Also ask yourself: Would I make effective leader in this position?  There’s a big difference between managers and leaders.

By incorporating this logical assessment of yourself and your organization, you can get a better idea if management could be the next step in your career path. Just ask yourself the right questions!

self-assessmentAdapted from “Am I Management Material?”
https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140324135825-201849-am-i-management-material?trk=mta-lnk

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Conscious Capitalism: Finding Your Higher Purpose

A special thank you to Tim Tucker, co-owner of Express Employment Professionals (www.expressbloomington.com) for the great following submission!

For some time now, businesses have been gaining a bad reputation. Ideas like capitalism, profits, wealth, and entrepreneurship once inspired and garnered praise, but now they are increasingly being vilified. There are many reasons for this, some justified and some not, and the reality is that some blame lies on both sides of this argument. But, as business owners, it is within your power to help change this image and show that at least your business has a conscience.

In the recently released book “Conscious Capitalism,” authors John Mackey of Whole Foods Market and professor Raj Sisodia “argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism.” They propose that “entrepreneurs are the true heroes in a free-enterprise economy, driving progress in companies, society and the world.” To support this, they present four specific principles that companies should follow to not only communicate this reality to the world, but also grow their organization. The first principle to consider is to find your higher purpose.

Make a Difference:
Forbes defined the process of finding your company’s higher purpose as uncovering the difference it is trying to make in the world. This is something the most profitable and highest esteemed companies have in common – they all know their purpose. Disney exists to use our imaginations to bring happiness to millions. 3M is in the business of improving every company, every home, every life. The American Red Cross is daily enabling Americans to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies. Do you know what your business purpose is?

Create Value:
Mackey and Sisodia believe that “business has a much broader positive impact on the world when it is based on a higher purpose that goes beyond generating profits and creating shareholder value.” Psychology has shown that it’s vital for individuals to find purpose and meaning in their lives. And it’s just as important to the business itself. Finding a higher purpose for your organization is all about creating value, an idea that is all too often confined to just marketing or advertising. Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, explains their stores “are our canvas upon which we can paint our deeper purpose of bringing whole foods and greater health to the world.”

Discover Your Business’ Purpose:
Defining the value that your company brings to the world is a step that some owners naturally do during the strategic planning part of the start-up process, but sometimes that purpose can get lost. For other business owners, this is something they never even consider. But it’s not too late. You can uncover your company’s ultimate purpose by asking and honestly answering some questions:

• “Why do we exist?”
• “Why do we need to exist?”
• “Why is the world better because we’re here?”
• “Would we be missed if we ceased to exist?”
• “What core values animate the enterprise and unite all of our stakeholders?”iStock_000011979035XSmall

As you uncover your business’ purpose, it’s important that you don’t negate growing your company or being profitable. Mackey and Sisodia believe that profitability is best achieved by not making it the primary goal of the business. After all, you can’t fulfill your higher purpose of fueling growth and progress within your community if you don’t generate profits. As a business owner, you have the unique opportunity to run an organization that serves a higher purpose and to change peoples’ lives for the better, which will ultimately prove that businesses have a conscience, too.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenmakovsky/2013/05/09/a-higher-purpose/

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New Year! New Legislative Agenda!

With the New Year comes a new legislative session!  The Indiana General Assembly reconvened on Monday, January 6, 2014 and there is no doubt that many critical issues will be up for discussion and debate.  As the voice of business, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce will be monitoring and advocating for those issues that affect our member businesses.

StatehouseThe Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce released its list of legislative priorities which the 1,100 member organization will monitor and advocate for during the 2014 legislative session.  The five priority areas include business taxation and regulation, education, healthcare, infrastructure & job creation and local government advancement.  Prepared by The Chamber’s Legislative Council and approved by the organization’s Board of Directors, the 2014 Legislative Agenda was presented at the organization’s Legislative Preview Luncheon.

As an advocate for business, The Chamber selected the five priority areas based on relevance and potential to impact the local business community. Member feedback received as part of the annual Business Climate and Legislative Survey, which was sent out to The Chamber’s full membership in early fall, was also carefully considered as the agenda was being crafted. The organization also considered priorities that they could realistically advance and impact through their advocacy process.

“The 2014 Legislative Agenda will guide The Chamber’s policy work through this year as we represent our members who have communicated their business issues and interests,” explains Jeb Conrad, president & CEO for The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “We believe by giving these five priority areas our full attention, we will help to strengthen our region’s economy and help our businesses succeed.”

The Chamber’s Legislative Council will actively continue to update, educate and involve members in its advocacy efforts during the upcoming legislative session through electronic communications like Advocacy Matters, Legislative Updates and The Chamber’s weekly newsletter Membership Matters.  A Legislative Wrap-Up event is planned for April 11 after the General Assembly’s adjournment.

Formed in 2007, The Chamber’s Legislative Council was chartered by The Chamber’s Board of Directors to monitor the lawmaking process, aid Chamber staff in educating its members on legislative issues affecting business, and to help develop relationships with organizations and other chambers with shared interests.  The volunteer Council, representing a diverse cross section of The Chamber’s membership, provides leadership and guidance on business issues at the State and Federal level.

For more information about The Chamber’s Public Policy & Advocacy efforts, contact Liz Irwin, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy at 812.336.6381. To download a copy of this year’s agenda visit www.ChamberBloomington.org. 

2014 Legislative Agenda

advocacyAs the voice of business, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has identified legislative priorities that encourage economic development, innovation and strategic growth.

BUSINESS TAXATION AND REGULATION: foster a pro-business climate to attract and retain businesses in Bloomington and Indiana

  • Support the repeal of the medical device tax
  • Support comprehensive tax reform efforts that lessen tax burdens on business
  • Encourage regulatory reform efforts that lessen burdens on business and restore Congressional accountability in the rulemaking process
  • Support a local option for exemption of personal property tax on new business machinery and equipment
  • Support policies that empower businesses to attract and retain a world-class workforce

EDUCATION: Create educational opportunities to ensure an intelligent, high-skilled workforce 

Preschool and K – 12 Education 

  • Emphasize importance of funding for early childhood education, preschool, and kindergarten
  • Improve the school funding formula to focus on equitable per pupil funding and multiple student count days
  • Promote the importance of STEM-related programs & career training
  • Encourage development of entrepreneurship programs & vocational training for technical fields to develop a qualified workforce

Higher Education

  • Encourage institutional innovation and flexibility to best meet student needs
  • Encourage federal lawmakers to help close the innovation deficit by decreasing the gap in needed and actual federal investment in research

HEALTH CARE: Promote education and awareness opportunities that help local businesses manage their health care costs

  • Educate members on developments of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Educate members on the plan(s) in the Federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace as details emerge (Note: The SHOP website will not be available until November 2014)
  • Support continued enrollment in the Healthy Indiana Plan and continued waiver for and expansion of the plan in 2015

INFRASTRUCTURE AND JOB CREATION: Develop and maintain a superior state and local framework that supports the needs of business

  • Prioritize ongoing construction and funding of I-69 , focusing on planning and design of Section 5
  • Promote and protect Crane as a primary regional job provider
  • Support policies that incentivize investment in rural telecom for gigabit connectivity
  • Support development and implementation of a strategic water resource plan

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADVANCEMENTS:  Ensure that local services are delivered with the most effective and efficient administrative structure

  • Support measures to increase accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of government at the local level
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HJR-6: Understanding Why The Chamber is Considering a Formal Position on This Issue

As we approach the 2014 Legislative Session, there’s been a great deal of speculation about which issues will be addressed by the Indiana General Assembly. One issue is known. This is the state constitutional amendment called House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6). This piece of legislation has prompted much discussion, confusion and debate in the media and in communities around the state.

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has not taken
a position on HJR-6, and it’s possible we won’t.

 But there are several key questions about this amendment that make it deserving to be vetted through our thoughtful advocacy process. Our Legislative Council, Advocacy Council, Executive Committee and Board of Directors – a diverse group of volunteers who represent our 1,100 members – are reviewing and discussing HJR-6′s potential impact on businesses, our members and our region’s ability to do business. It is a discussion on how our legislators spend the next session and how to protect our community, region and State’s business climate.

The Questions
With the growing debate come questions: Why have Indiana’s major employers like Eli Lily and Cummins, higher education institutions like Indiana University and Ball State, and chambers of commerce like the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce come forward in opposition to HJR-6?

More importantly, why is the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce considering taking a position on HJR-6? Why would The Chamber enter what appears to be a moral issue? Shouldn’t The Chamber’s focus remain on business issues? All good questions that I hope to answer, while beginning with a quick overview of what this amendment is.

Background on HJR-6
Since 1997, Indiana law has stated that same sex marriage is prohibited. HJR-6 would convert the current state law defining marriage to an amendment to the State’s Constitution. What HJR-6 would do is put the prohibition into the Indiana constitution, a status which would be very difficult to change and to do so, would take another completely new constitutional amendment process. It would not only prohibit same sex marriage, as the statute already does, but any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage.” The Indiana General Assembly will consider this amendment for the second and final time early next year. If the legislature approves the amendment, Indiana voters will be asked to vote on the amendment in a statewide referendum in November 2014.

Now that we know what it is, let’s address the bigger question:

Why is The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
considering taking a position on HJR-6?

Possible Impact to Business
The issue being debated by the business community is not the moral aspect of this issue. On the surface, HJR-6 appears to be a moral issue involving same sex marriage and where individuals stand on this issue. But, HJR-6 has far-reaching ramifications for businesses currently operating in our state and those that we might attract to set up shop here in the future.

Efficiency in Government
The Chamber is the voice of business and, through our 2014 Legislative Survey, our members have let us know the critical issues for our local businesses remain: Education, Workforce Development, Regulatory Reform, and Infrastructure. These concerns will be overshadowed by the political capital expended discussing an issue that already has a law in place. The Chamber believes in efficient, effective government at all levels. With a law already in place, HJR-6 is redundant and a strain on law makers’ time and taxpayer money.

Ability to Attract & Retain Workforce Talent
Along with being the voice of business, The Chamber also works to protect a favorable business climate to retain and attract jobs, talent and commerce in our community and region. Indiana has made great progress in adding business-friendly laws to the books, such as corporate income tax reduction, investment in roads and infrastructure, and in workforce development, with more always needing to be done. In addition, more and more businesses and institutions now offer, or are considering adding, benefits specifically for those with partners or same-sex spouses, stating that these benefits are necessary and assist with their talent attraction/retention efforts. Those major Indiana employers who have stepped out in opposition to HJR-6 have stated that certain provisions of HJR-6 would limit their ability to offer benefits that they currently provide to their employees and could inhibit their ability to attract a talented workforce from around the globe, thereby negatively impacting their ability to compete. Eli Lilly & Co. and Cummins, two of Indiana’s corporate heavyweights, have been very vocal about the amendment’s potential effect on their ability to recruit talent and stay competitive. Our community’s largest employer, Indiana University, echoed the same concerns with their opposition to HJR-6.

Legal & Policy Quagmire
With several states – including our neighbor Illinois – passing laws legalizing same-sex marriages, other businesses have stated that adding such limitations to the Indiana Constitution gives the perception that we are not a progressive, business-friendly state. The Indianapolis Chamber, in opposing the amendment, suggested it could affect employer-provided domestic partner benefits, municipal human rights ordinances, legal contracts and other legal protections for unmarried couples, gay or straight. This then creates a legal and policy quagmire for our businesses and institutions.

The Process Going Forward
We are reviewing the legislation through our due diligence process. We are listening to feedback and concerns from our members. Our volunteers that serve on our Legislative Council, Advocacy Council, Executive Committee and Board of Directors are asking hard questions, ever mindful of the role they play in representing our membership. There are no easy answers when debates involve personal beliefs. But The Chamber and its volunteers are looking at HJR-6 in the context of business and the effect it will have on business. That’s our role as the voice of business in our community.

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How to Communicate Better at Work

This article is from forbes.com. We take no credit for this. It is written by Susan Adams a member of the Forbes staff. 

The title of Karen Friedman’s new book isn’t exactly subtle. Shut Up And Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners lays out her no-nonsense philosophy about how to best get your point across, drawn from her 35 years of experience as a professional communicator. As a TV news reporter, she worked at local stations in cities from Milwaukee to Huntsville, Ala. For the last 15 years, she’s headed up Karen Friedman Enterprises, a communication coaching firm in Philadelphia.

How does she apply her ideas in the workplace? Her No. 1 rule, gleaned from two decades in the TV news trenches: “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible,” she says, in a lively, forceful voice with a Philadelphia tinge. Vagueness is all too common in the workplace, she observes, and you easily remedy it by following the newscaster’s drill of spelling out who, what, where, when and why.

 

“Bosses often say, ‘Can you have that report to me? It’s really important, and I’d really like to have it,’” Friedman says. A more effective way to deliver that message: “Can you please get that report to me? I’d like it on my desk by 5 p.m. Friday.”

Another strategy Friedman draws from newscasting: Hit the headline first. Too many of us are just plain long-winded, she says. “People don’t need to know everything we know,” she explains. “Think about what the single most important point is that you need to make, the central idea. If your computer died or the fire alarm went off, what would be the one thing they needed to hear?”

Your attitude while talking is also important. “It’s not just your words that convey a message,” Friedman says. “It’s all of you.” If you slouch, jam your hands into your pockets, shuffle your feet and avoid eye contact, people will get the impression you don’t want to communicate with them. Pry your eyes and thumbs away from your electronic devices, she admonishes. “Pretend that your colleague is your adorable five-year-old who you would drop everything for if she walked into the office,” she suggests.

Remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you. For Friedman, this was a tough lesson to learn, coming from the ego-driven world of television. If you open yourself to other opinions and perspectives, you’ll find it much easier to get your own message across. “Take a poll at your next meeting,” she suggests. “Draw the other people out.”

Do ask open-ended questions. They can buy time, clarify where another person is coming from and prevent misinterpretation. For instance: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, so could you give me an example?”

Friedman is also fond of the bromide that if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. “Don’t talk about other people. That identifies you as a gossip and someone who can’t be trusted,” she advises. You may think you’re being entertaining or engendering closeness, but “you meet the same people on the way up as on the way down.”


Another Friedman rule: No bull. If you have bad news to deliver, lay it out plainly. It’s difficult to talk about layoffs and belt tightening, but if you’re in a situation where you have to convey that sort of information, your employees and colleagues likely already know something is up. It is far better to be straight with them than not to communicate at all, even if you can’t give them the answers they’d like.

Always deliver bad news in person. It may seem easier to convey negative information via e-mail, but imagine how you’d feel if you learned electronically that your best work friend had been sacked, vs. hearing it from another human being.

Finally, don’t be a naysayer. Even if you think your colleague or boss is completely wrong about something, you can counter with an open-ended question that shows respect and a can-do spirit. One possible response: “Have you had a situation where that strategy worked?” Says Friedman, “You can learn from the answer to that, and not be a negative Nellie.”

http://www.forbes.com/2010/11/19/communicate-better-work-workplace-leadership-careers-job.html

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