Category Archives: Business

The Daily “Did You Know?” – A Basil & Salt Quick Bite

McEvoy Ranch, Petaluma Purveyor of World-Class Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Launches Ginger Turmeric Olive Oil – This tiny lot of estate-produced Agrumato olive oil is like nothing else in its category and packed with health benefits and fresh flavor

McEvoy Ranch Estate-Produced Ginger Turmeric Olive Oil

Today, McEvoy Ranch announces the launch of their inaugural estate-produced Ginger Turmeric Olive Oil ($20). Their Ginger Turmeric Olive Oil boasts powerful health benefits and phenomenal flavor. The oil was milled using the Agrumato method and features turmeric and locally-grown ginger combined with our organic, estate-grown olives. Intensely bright and extremely fresh, this oil’s balanced flavors produce a spicy, earthy, triple-health tonic. Tiny batch and uniquely McEvoy, this is the golden unicorn of their collection. Ginger Turmeric Olive Oil is available exclusively at and in person at McEvoy Ranch (5935 Red Hill Rd, Petaluma, CA 94952).

McEvoy Ranch
For over 30 years, McEvoy Ranch has been making the highest quality, award-winning, estate olive oils, small lot wines, and culinary products. Located 30 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the rolling hills of Petaluma, McEvoy Ranch is a 550-acre working, organic ranch, committed to good land stewardship and sustainable farming practices. An oasis in its own right, the Ranch is home to 57 acres of Tuscan olive trees nestled amongst natural ponds, hiking trails, coastal fog, and native wildlife. Visit us to experience the extraordinary beauty and serenity for yourself.

Real-World 6G Predictions are Here; The Next “G” Levels Up – Mobile Data Traffic to rise by factor of 170 over the next 14 years

 Mobile Experts has released one of their popular Expert INSIGHTs, this time covering Predicted Profiles for 6G Traffic.

The report answers the question, “how long will mobile data growth continue at 40-50% per year?” and provides a peek at probable scenarios for 6G.

“We see the number of users at all levels rising over the next 15 years, as well as data usage per user. Increase in video and other rich formats will drive massive demand for quick, abundant data—but, how quick, and how abundant? This report provides answers, and maps out the data mountain the industry must climb to maintain growth,” commented Chief Analyst Joe Madden.

Real-World 6G Predictions are Here; The Next “G” Levels Up

As new VR and other rich media formats mature, Mobile Experts foresees an increase in data intensity. No counter-force is pushing the consumer to reduce their data consumption today, making a factor of 100x growth in data consumption not only reasonable but realistic.

“Today’s mix of fixed and mobile data will continue to migrate onto mobile devices for the next 15 years due to a combination of technology availability and human factors,” commented Chief Analyst Joe Madden. “People want convenience; now that the cost of mobile broadband is close enough to the cost of fixed broadband, many users don’t perceive a cost difference, and will drop their fixed connection in favor of a mobile-only strategy.”

One key issue addressed by this report is the rise of indoor data usage, and the ability for mobile networks to service high levels of capacity from outdoor infrastructure. Millimeter wave and Terahertz (THz) networks are expected in 6G, but a fundamental issue with indoor penetration will create a business-model issue related to deployment of indoor infrastructure. This report evaluates the level of indoor data, the use of Cognitive Radio (CR) techniques to utilize shared low-band spectrum, and applicability of mm-wave and THz spectrum.

For more about this report, click here.

Passion Tree Hard Seltzers is Making Unprecedented Movement in The Hard Seltzer Space – Out with the old and in with “The People’s Seltzer”

Passion Tree Hard Seltzers is committed to developing the perfect hard seltzer that’s crafted to be lightly carbonated, 5.5% ABV, gluten-free, and infused with 100% exotic all-natural fruit flavors from around the world.  Passion Tree has a goal to make a positive impact on planet earth by planting 50,000,000 million trees worldwide, so we made a promise to plant one tree for every case of Passion Tree Hard Seltzer sold.

Passion Tree has been dominating the San Diego market since their launch in June 2021. This weekend they will be available in over 12 Ralph’s locations and expected to be available in 20 Ralph’s locations by mid-August covering all of San Diego and up to the Carlsbad area.

Passion Tree Hard Seltzer

Passion Tree Hard Seltzers is just surpassing the market goals in their first 7 weeks and are continuing to knock them out of the park. This is an unprecedented movement by a brand-new company that is led by local consumer demand and heavy direct marketing techniques that have gotten the community behind the brand and the sales are here as proof. By the way they are San Diego based & brewed locally.

Here is that proof:

  • 7 weeks after Passion Tree Hard Seltzers initial launch in San Diego the brand got the approval for placement at Ralph’s the largest grocery chain in Southern California.
  • 24 hours after placement the product completely sold out at all Ralph’s and retail locations, incredible feat for any big brand let alone lead by 3 young 25-year-old co-founders
  • July 4th weekend Passion Tree out sold the top selling SKU’s of White Claw® & Truly® by a wide margin at multiple Ralph’s locations.

Fourth of July weekend is one high in sales for alcohol companies, especially hard seltzers. Here are some spectacular numbers around San Diego for Passions Tree’s Holiday sales (if they had more cases, they would have sold out of more at each location by each only had a certain amount):

Nearly 40% of Consumers Appreciate Colors the Most Among Visual Elements on Business Websites, Finds New Survey from Top Design Firms

Thirty-nine percent of consumers are drawn to colors when visiting a company’s website. Small businesses should focus on colors that increase sales when designing their websites.

About two-fifths of consumers (39%) are attracted to color schemes the most on business websites compared to other visual elements, according to a new report from Top Design Firms, a directory of digital and creative agencies.

Businesses can increase their sales online by strategically using colors in their website design.

39% of people appreciate colors the most among visual elements on a business’ website.

Miranda Yan, founder of VinPit, a VIN lookup company, notes that caolor is important to a business’s overall brand.

“Color is a vital aspect of a company’s brand as it reflects its first impression on customers,” Yan said. “Color reflects the identity of a firm and resembles emotions, feelings, and experiences.”

Using colors that draw customer attention but don’t repel them is an important balance for businesses to strike. Companies also need to factor in the preferences of their target audience.

Color Preferences Vary Across Age and Gender

Different audiences think differently about colors on a website:

  • Nearly half of consumers (46%) prefer that businesses use blue on their websites.
  • 26% of women believe companies should not use yellow on their websites.
  • 23% of men think that companies should not use orange on their websites.

“Preferring blue & green tend to show a calm nature whereas yellow and orange are more geared towards aggression,” Yan said.

43% of people ages 18-24 prefer purple the most on a business website.

The color purple (43%) is the favorite among people ages 18-24, however, only 17% of people ages 44-54 prefer that businesses use it on their website. 

Cody Miles, founder of Ashore, an online creative software, believes that color preferences are related to life experiences.

“Purple is a rather melancholic color,” Miles said. “Younger generations are increasingly more in touch with their emotions, melancholy included.”

Businesses must factor in consumer preference for different colors when designing their websites.

Whitespace Should Be Part of Every Website Design

Whitespace is a crucial component of a successful website design.

Despite only 8% of consumers noticing whitespace when they view a site for the first time, it is an element that helps engage users when they are on a site.  

Whitespace creates a balance, giving users a quick break when browsing online. If a website is too cluttered or contains a lot of distracting colors, a potential customer may leave without a purchase.

“[Whitespace] helps to distinguish between themes of different pages by keeping it clean and simple,” Yan said. “Whereas if any other color were used in its place, then the page would become very messy.”

Businesses should strive to use colors on their websites that increase sales while keeping in mind their target audience and overall user experience.

Top Design Firms surveyed 500 consumers in April 2021 about their website design preferences.

For any questions about the survey or a comment on the findings, contact Anna Peck at

About Top Design Firms
Top Design Firms is a directory of design, marketing, and development companies from around the world. Launched in 2003, Top Design Firms was recently acquired by Clutch, the leading ratings and reviews platform for IT, marketing, and business service providers.

If you’ve thought about brewing beer or distilling spirits, this may be the course for you. Fall courses with August sign-up, Veterans qualify for educational benefits

“This course is great for students that want a deep dive into the theoretical and practical foundation of brewing beer and distilling professionally.”

The Brewing and Distilling Center (BDC), based in Knoxville, TN, is a trade school geared towards the student wanting professional training in beer brewing and spirits distillation that will help them get a job in the industry. The center is led by President, Dr. Todd White. The BDC is offering a new session of the Professional Brewing & Distilling Technology course, this fall starting August 16, 2021. Registration deadline is August 9th. The class qualifies for Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits – giving former service members the ability to increase their secondary education in brewing beer and distilling spirits.

“This course is great for students that want a deep dive into the theoretical and practical foundation of brewing beer and distilling taught by professionals in the industry. It’s also a great class for anyone who wants to work with beer distributors, become product reps, manage taprooms and start companies providing products in brewing,” says Dr. White. “Our graduates get jobs and we help many get their own breweries started right out of the gate!”

Lectures happen on site for students who can travel to the BDC and online for others who cannot, making classes available to anyone anywhere in the country. Each student also participates in 4 practical brewing days on a professional pilot system in the BDC Brew House onsite either throughout the session or in a concentrated week for online participants.

“The possibilities for students after this course are endless. Having a solid understanding of these two industries serves a wide variety of career choices whether for employment, professional enrichment or for the entrepreneur,” explains Dr. White. “We regularly work with our industry contacts to help connect our students with job openings in the industry. There is and will be an ever present and growing demand for qualified professionals for these industries.”

The class also accepts and works with many former service members to qualify for Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits and takes pride in helping place many veterans in job positions after graduation.

“Obviously, we support our veterans because of their sacrifice to our great country. We want to assist these men and women who want to enter the brewing and distilling industry job market,” says Dr. White. “We have many veteran graduates that are gainfully employed in the brewing and distilling industries. From our past experience, our veteran students are extremely disciplined, dedicated and passionate about learning the industry trade and entering the job market or even starting their own brewery or distillery.”

With a scientific and entrepreneurial background as veterinarian, an architect, a collegiate science instructor and a craft beer shop owner, “Doc” considered the rapidly-expanding US craft beer market and wondered “Where are these new breweries getting qualified, trained brewers?” After market research, he discovered a demand for affordable professional brewing and distilling instruction. In 2013, the Brewing & Distilling Center was established to meet this demand.

Fall Course
13 weeks | 12 hours/week
Classes: Monday – Wednesday, starting 5:30 PM EST
On Site Brew Days: 4.

Learn more here:

Brewing And Distilling Center Knoxville Is Kicking Off Sign Ups For Their New Class In The Fall.

Quick Bite – After a Year of Uncertainty the Value of Professional Financial Advice Goes Up

Advisors are considered people’s most trusted source for guidance

According to the latest findings from Northwestern Mutual’s 2021 Planning & Progress Study, U.S. adults aged 18+ say financial advisors are the most trusted source for financial advice. This represents a reversal from 2020 findings when people said they trusted themselves most.

Americans’ most trusted sources of financial advice:

1.   Yourself (30%)1.   Financial advisor (26%)
2.   Financial advisor (22%)2.   Yourself (20%)
3.   Family member (13%)3.   Spouse/partner (16%)

“After the events of the last year, many people are looking for someone they can trust during unpredictable times,” said Tim Gerend, executive vice president and chief distribution officer at Northwestern Mutual. “The value of professional advice is on the rise in America.”

Guidance through a storm
The study found that the market volatility and economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was a major factor influencing individuals to seek out professional financial advice.

Nearly four in ten (38%) Americans currently work with a financial advisor, representing a significant jump from pre-pandemic levels (29%).

Fifteen percent of survey respondents reported that they didn’t have a financial advisor pre-pandemic and they now either currently work with an advisor or plan to start working with one.

The trend was most pronounced among younger generations, with 23% of Gen Z and an equal 23% of Millennials reporting that they have or plan to work with a financial advisor as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the markets and economy.

“It’s encouraging that younger people are taking action with their finances, as this is a crucial step towards creating positive financial planning habits and achieving financial security over the long term,” said Gerend. “This study data reflects trends we’ve been seeing amongst our clients as well – the pandemic has prompted many to revisit their financial plans and seek help from their advisors.”

Financial planning priorities
When asked to identify their top financial planning priorities over the next year, respondents identified:

  • Paying bills/expenses (48%)
  • Saving for retirement (39%)
  • Paying off debt/loans (38%)
  • Taking care of family (37%)
  • Investing (32%)

“Financial decision-making can be difficult, especially when outside factors are at play,” said Gerend. “Financial advisors have the expertise and perspective to help simultaneously navigate present priorities while also planning for long-term goals. It’s times like these when the value of that becomes crystal clear.”

About The 2021 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study
The 2021 Planning & Progress Study was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual and included 2,320 American adults aged 18 or older who participated in an online survey between March 16 – 26, 2021.  Results were weighted to Census targets for education, age/gender, race/ethnicity, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.  No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

Affinity Creative Amplifies Women’s Empowerment Message for The Cycles Gladiator Wine Brand

Wine Hooligans, a beverage company focused on relentlessly solving puzzles together in Santa Rosa, CA, recently appointed Affinity Creative Group to design and develop a new digital style and website for Cycles Gladiator Wine.

Inspired by women’s empowerment, Cycles Gladiator derives its name from the Gladiator Company, a 19th-century bicycle manufacturer based in Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, France. To honor the spirit of the brand’s figurehead, the iconic woman flying on her bicycle, Cycle’s leadership wanted to update the brand’s website design and user experience to mirror the company’s influential wine label and support women’s equality. 

“With the help of Affinity Creative Group, the Cycles Gladiator brand celebrates a contemporary wine culture that is uncontrived and genuine. We believe in women taking back their agency and reveling in that empowerment, and we’re thrilled to finally make that a priority throughout the entire Cycle’s brand image.” – Adam LaZarre, Founding Winemaker of Cycles Gladiator & Director of Winemaking for Wine Hooligans.

The wine brand owners wanted a total digital revamp with a strong foundation, supporting their creative brand assets, both old and new. The Affinity Creative team rose to the challenge and developed a cohesive visual style and digital tone with meaningful messaging. 

After establishing a robust brand personality framework, the Affinity Creative team updated the brand’s logo, typography, and supporting elements, while retaining strong, existing brand equities. Thus, the agency magnified the powerful theme of the Cycles Gladiator brand—both on and off the website—effectively promoting a female-empowering message of self-love, confidence, and liberation. 

The agency’s brand strategy groundwork also informed and inspired the production of ‘evergreen’ media content for the brand’s digital channels beyond Cycles Gladiator’s new website. From a modern interpretation of Belle Epoque poster typography, colors, and textures to the use of candid female-focused imagery, new digital assets reflect the iconic cycling maiden’s brand values of sincerity and energy.

A seamless UX completes the digital package, with compelling lifestyle photography and dynamic video components. All elements merge perfectly to inspire wine lovers to “join the movement” and represent the brand’s late 70s California vibe with a confident nod to modern-day women’s empowerment.

Quick Bites – A Website Builder That Finally Stands Out From the Rest: ‘Heroic’ – Helping Coaches, Advisors and Other Consulting Entrepreneurs Build Easy, Professional, Affordable Sites That Attract New Clients Fast

Heroic officially announced it was under new ownership, having completely redesigned its services to become a single-stop for coaches and consultants looking to reach an online customer base by providing beautiful, vibrant turnkey website setup. With a host of pre-made packages, Heroic offers either an effortless starter site so clients can hit the virtual-ground running, or a wide variety of options to allow a more hands-on approach to website construction, letting clients build a website from scratch if they desire. Heroic is currently running a free 14-day trial to give customers a chance to test-drive its powerful website building tools.

Templates found on Heroic

“There are so many website builders out there and most of them are just phoning-it-in at this point,” said Phil Weyland, Heroic CEO and Co-Founder. “They offer one or two web pages, focus less on service businesses, and many lack customer service altogether. We wanted to approach web-building with passion, helping those who are also passionate about what they are doing. We’re specifically focusing on life-coaching, financial advisers, and entrepreneurial consultants right now, giving them a large toolbox to help launch their online presence in no time. But we’re also adding prebuilt website designs for authors, speakers, health and fitness experts, personal branding gurus, and agency sites.”

Heroic: Simply Click, Drag, Drop, and Swap

Created to make web-building easy for those with little to no experience with tech-related tasks, Heroic can save new entrepreneurs thousands on web design costs. With multiple building options, ranging from high-performing, pre-built starter sites to webpages clients can build from the ground up, Heroic even has expert technicians who can craft a new website for clients after answering a series of just 13 simple starter questions.  

Other Heroic features include:

  • One Click Integrations: Integration with online-based apps and social media.
  • SEO Friendly: Inbuilt, powerful SEO designed to be a search-engine super attractor.
  • Superfast Hosting: No additional hosting fees; delivers content to visitors in seconds.
  • Advanced Security: Advanced DDoS mitigation techniques to prevent malicious traffic.
  • SSL: A 2048-bit SSL certificate at no extra charge. Secures all visitor connections and improves rankings.
  • Simple, Affordable Pricing: Transparent pricing models for all businesses.

Explore the various Heroic web design packages online, and for free tips on SEO secrets and other important web design info, visit the Heroic Blog.

Vimeo and TikTok Partner to Drive Small Business Success With Video Ads

The partnership connects Vimeo’s powerful creation tools with TikTok Ads Manager; Vimeo is the first video software company to join the TikTok Marketing Partner Program

Vimeo (NASDAQ:VMEO), the world’s leading all-in-one video software solution, and TikTok, a leading destination for short-form mobile video, today announced a new partnership that integrates Vimeo’s powerful video tools with the TikTok platform. The partnership gives small and medium businesses (SMBs) everything they need to make effective video ads to engage customers, while enabling them to take full advantage of Vimeo’s suite of video tools and the broad reach of the TikTok platform. In pre-release tests of the combined capabilities participants saw up to 50% higher clickthrough rates compared to previous campaigns on other platforms and were able to double the number of videos they created in a short timespan. 

Vimeo is joining TikTok Marketing Partners, a group of vetted experts who create, implement, and measure TikTok ad campaigns. Vimeo is the first partner to be badged under TikTok’s all-new Creative Tools subcategory of Creative Partners, who help brands produce creative assets that leverage TikTok’s best practices.

With this first-of-a-kind partnership between TikTok and a video software company, SMBs can now use Vimeo Create, an advanced AI-driven video production tool, to produce and publish ads directly into the TikTok Ad Manager in minutes. The companies also collaborated on developing custom video templates exclusively available in Vimeo Create, optimized for the TikTok platform.

Pre-Release Test Advertising
Ahead of launch, Vimeo and TikTok invited small businesses to try Vimeo Create and advertise on TikTok for the first time. More than 85% of participants reported successful campaign results and plan to run additional TikTok campaigns. NaturalAnnie Essentials, a family-run, Bridgeport, CT-based soy candle company, saw a 5.5x increase in conversion rate within the first two weeks of the trial campaign when compared with other forms of online advertising.

“We’ve saved thousands of dollars, the stress of shipping candles to a production studio, and lots of headaches by using Vimeo for our TikTok ads,” said Annya White-Brown, CEO of NaturalAnnie Essentials. “Vimeo Create made it super easy — it was as simple as adding your assets to the templates to fit your brand. Now we create anywhere from 30-75 videos per month.”

TikTok gives small businesses opportunities to reach and attract wider communities where they spend their time today. However, the high level of user engagement on the platform creates a challenge for marketers who need to publish new content and ads with far more frequency than on other online channels. It’s recommended that businesses test new TikTok ad creative on a bi-weekly basis, and that they post new organic TikTok videos multiple times a week – if not every day – to maximize their engagement.

“Vimeo and TikTok are solving one of the most significant pain points for SMBs in reaching customers — how to easily and affordably create professional-quality content at scale,” said Richard Bloom, SVP, Business Development, Vimeo. “We’re thrilled to be the first video creation platform to integrate with TikTok For Business and to expand the reach of Vimeo Create, so more businesses can engage even more customers online.”

“As small businesses recover and rebuild after a challenging year, TikTok is working on ways to make it easier to reach their community and grow their business,” said Melissa Yang, Head of Ecosystem Partnerships, TikTok. “Our partnership with Vimeo provides small businesses with simple, effective video tools that rival what the biggest brands in the world have access to — and they drive real results.”

Following the launch, Vimeo and TikTok plan to find more ways to join forces in helping every SMB succeed with video. This integration is available immediately to all Vimeo users.

About TikTok
TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. TikTok has global offices including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.

About Vimeo
Vimeo (NASDAQ: VMEO) is the world’s leading all-in-one video software solution. Our platform enables any professional, team, and organization to unlock the power of video to create, collaborate and communicate. We proudly serve our growing community of over 200 million users — from creatives to entrepreneurs to the world’s largest companies. Learn more at


A Basil & salt quick bite – No ordinary sheep, no ordinary cheeses – 3Pecorini

3Pecorini encapsulates three different yet equally tasty cheeses: Pecorino Romano PDO,Pecorino Sardo PDO and Fiore Sardo PDO.

Produced almost exclusively in Sardinia, these cheeses have been protected by the European PDO status since 1996, certifying their highest quality and guaranteeing their territory of origin. Having maintained the respectful farming method of having the sheep roam the island’s wild pastures gives the milk a high qualitative value and an undisputable fresh taste.

Learn more about these 3 extraordinary cheeses, the extraordinary sheep behind them, and the value of their PDO seal of guarantee and quality in the attached infographic. Download below.

Looking to book an airbnb this summer? You might be too late.

June kicked off a mammoth summer for U.S. short-term rentals, with lead times normalizing and demand high, reports AirDNA. Summer travel starts strong with record occupancy levels.

The U.S. short-term rental industry posted another strong month as occupancy rose to an all-time high of 70.2% in June 2021, a full 20% higher than June 2019. This is the first time the U.S. has exceeded an average occupancy of 70%. 

“Longer lead times and higher demand mean hosts can get high occupancy, even at higher rates,” – Jamie Lane, AirDNATweet this

The July 4th holiday weekend is historically one of highest demand weekends and the biggest winners in 2021 relative to 2020 were markets in the Hawaiian Islands, where demand more than doubled for the weekend.

In Maui, demand was up over 230% vs the same weekend in 2020. Resort cities in the U.S. saw the biggest gains over 2019 for the Fourth of July weekend where Fort Lauderdale (+36%), Phoenix/Scottsdale (+35%), and Cape Coral/Fort Myers (+32%), each had more than 30% growth in demand for the weekend. 

Book Ahead? Too Late in Top Destinations
Booking lead times, typically around 30-90 days from confirmation to arrival, peak in the summer as limited available supply leads guests to book their rentals months in advance to secure the best homes.

“Monitoring lead times is key to making smart pricing decisions,” said Jamie Lane, VP of Research at AirDNA. “In May 2020, lead times dropped as low as 18 days, with guests delaying booking decisions. The natural response was to discount your listing, but now as lead times normalize hosts can have much more confidence their unit will book, even at higher rates.” The median lead time in June 2021 was 59 days, catching up to the 62 days in June 2019.

Demand Is Hot, but Can Investors Capitalize on It?
New U.S. short-term rental unit additions reached 55k in June and are now at the highest level since the start of the pandemic, but just shy of the average of 60k new units per month that were being added between 2017 and 2019. 

“With a strong summer on the books and the fall looking positive, many industry participants are setting their sights on making new investments in the sector,” said Scott Shatford, AirDNA CEO. “Seeing the positive returns that hosts are realizing by investing in short-term rentals and record high demand, we expect continued strong investment.”

Click to read the full Monthly Review


Why Empathy is a Back-to-the-Office Cure

Maryland Smith Expert Gives 5 Tips for How Leaders Can Handle the Transition

While there is no single playbook for successfully bringing employees back to the office after pandemic restrictions have waned,  Gerald Suarez at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business says there’s a crucial element that leaders can use to ease the transition: empathy.

One of the toughest things that anyone can do, Suarez says, is starting something new or stopping something old.

“COVID-19 accelerated people leaving behind things the way they were and embracing the new way, which led to them developing new habits,” says Suarez, professor of the practice in systems thinking and design. “Now people are being asked to abandon this new way and let go quickly. That manifests in disruption and vulnerability with people having already adapted and being forced to adapt once again.”

It’s these types of moments where leaders need to be sensitive to what people are going through, Suarez says. Understanding how employees are feeling at this time is critical to accelerating the organization’s reintegration. “People have been impacted by this pandemic in varying scope and levels of intensity, and every conversation is unique.”

Suarez offers five insights for leaders facing those tough conversations:

Look for meaning. Consider why someone is sharing specific details with you, Suarez says, but don’t rush to solve the situation right then and there – just listen. “Silence is your friend. Don’t interrupt, but ask questions for clarification when necessary,” says Suarez. “‘What do you mean by that?’ ‘Tell me more.’ Or a simple nod, will allow you to relate to the situation at a deeper level.”

Read between the lines. Stay in the moment and focus on what you hear and what you see. The unspoken parts of communication can offer relevant clues, Suarez says. “What emotions are you observing? What expressions and gestures are reinforcing the feeling? Are the spoken and unspoken communications in harmony? All of those details are important to pick up on,” says Suarez. Seek the proper context. After allowing for the meaning and feelings to emerge, it is important to get some specifics and demonstrate curiosity, Suarez says. When, how and where did something happen? “Gather the facts, make your assumptions explicit and seek clarification. How widespread is this issue? Is this person representing the views of others or is this their own point of view? Paraphrase your understanding of the message and let the person react to it. Never walk away without this validation,” says Suarez.

Assess the consequences. Are there unintended consequences or irreversible implications that may emerge? “As you seek empathy, be mindful of your own emotions. Are you genuinely interested in how others feel? Are you in tune with how they feel? How do you know? Are you mindful of how their emotions are influencing you?” says Suarez.

Don’t watch the clock. When people ask if you have a minute, consider the intensity of the request and try not to postpone the conversation, Suarez says. They may change their minds and not tell you. Is this a priority that requires immediate action or attention? “Assess the risk of inaction or postponement,” says Suarez. “Recognizing the time sensitivity with respect to the request is an opportunity to take action and our options should be to respond with compassion and comfort.”

About the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

SOURCE University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
See this and more articles like this at Smith Brain Trust

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