Don’t Dress Down

Networking outside the office is your best chance to meet new people beyond your corporate circle who can help promote your career. It’s also a no-man’s land when it comes to the dress code.

Networking is not an interview, and once outside the office, the strict rules of the dress code no longer apply. You’re left on your own to overdress and look like you don’t belong or under dress and look like you’ll never belong.

If you’re not sure what everyone will be wearing, ask around to ensure that you won’t be the only one sans suit. When in doubt, business casual is your best bet. But the clothes call could run the gamut from a suit to jeans. Networking outside the office, with more focus on culture and entertainment, is also the perfect opportunity to be more fashion forward and express yourself. This is not a free pass to don your sequined ‘80s jumpsuit, but wear your favorite colors; accessorize; and, most of all, smile.

Remember, dress for success every day, no matter what’s on the agenda – you never who you will run into on your lunch break. Our appearance contributes to how people perceive us. Take control of your appearance. Make sure people perceive you the way you want to be perceived.

Can We Talk?

In today’s society, instant gratifications has infiltrated the workplace in all areas of communication. This has changed how colleagues and management interact. However, this change is not necessarily for the better. We have moved from submitting meeting requests on paper or via the phone, to emails, and now on to instant messages or texts. The expected response time has decreased dramatically from a business day to several hours, and in some cases down to just several minutes or even seconds.

There are some people who do not even employ these types of communication. They simply walk right into their colleague’s office and begin discussing whatever topic is on their mind. This is very disrupting to the other person’s productivity. They have not only been interrupted from their train of thought and have to find it again, but are now expected to remember a meeting, for example, that they have only heard about verbally, versus through at least an email for reference.

Communication etiquette does not need to remain a lost art. Here are a few examples of places where the most common etiquette pitfalls occur and how to resolve these issues.

Email – An email is essentially a business letter that is delivered to the recipient in minutes versus days. Email is considered a standard for of communication in the workplace. However, many treat it too causally. All emails should be kept formal. The use of emoticons and excessive punctuation would never happen in a formal business letter. Therefore, they should not appear in emails sent from your work email address. An easy way to make sure that you are on track with proper email etiquette is to ask yourself, “If there was ever an issue that my boss needed to get involved with, and this email had to be pulled out as part of the resolution, is it something that I want my boss to see?”

Meetings – It is very tempting to walk up to a team member’s desk for a quick meeting, especially in open office settings. This is not only distracting, but considered rude by the staff member and others working near them. You can set an example of how to properly set up a meeting by showing your subordinates what to do. Next time you want to meet with someone in your office, even if it is urgent, do not say, “Come to my office right now.” Instead, show that person proper etiquette by sending a message stating, “I need to meet with you in my office immediately. Please finish what you are going and come see me.” This tells the person that even though you have something urgent to discuss, you respect the fact that he is in the middle of something and are willing for him to complete his thought or his task before meeting with you. When you do meet, do so in your office or an empty conference room (i.e. behind closed doors) so others are not disturbed. When you extend this sort of respect, your subordinates will begin to extend this behavior as well.

Cell phones, tablets, etc. in meetings – it is a myth that multitasking makes us more productive and efficient. If you look in on most meetings, you will see a few people with their heads down checking their email or social media accounts. This is disrespectful to the person speaking or presenting. Set the standard by employing a universal rule that cell phones, tablets, computers, etc. are not allowed in meetings of any sort, unless otherwise stated. Ensure that you follow this rule too, so that even if you are not conducting the meeting, you are showing your subordinates that you respect the presenter and what he has to say.

Conversations with colleagues – Humans are social creatures by nature. Having a conversation about your weekend with colleagues at lunch is perfectly acceptable. Walking from office to office, or cubicle to cubicle, and striking up conversations while others are working is not acceptable. It is also important to remember the necessary separation between work life and personal life. Sharing too much personal information can negatively impact your image. The rule of thumb is to stick to neutral topics, maintain a more neutral position, and always keep the conversation light and positive.

It is important to practice proper etiquette when utilizing all forms of communication. Doing so shows respect to your clients, customers, and coworkers.

Itemizer-Observer

The Polk County Itemizer-Observer is your local news source. We print Wednesdays to a circulation of roughly 4,000, and daily online, reaching more than 10,000 unique readers each week on our website. Our Classifieds are mailed out across the county to nearly 9,000 additional homes.

Back by popular demand, we will publish the Eagle Directories, updated with current listings for both business and residential. Call us to find out how to spotlight your business in this annual publication mailed to about 19,000 Polk County customers. Want to include your cellphone in the phone book? Let us know by emailing iosales@polkio.com.

Also coming up is our annual, award-winning Explore Polk County, with about 10,000 distribution in print. The publication also is linked on Travel Salem’s website, as well as found on our website. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your message out!

Got a story tip or want to submit a photo to Explore Polk County? Send it to ionews@polkio.com. We’re still searching for our cover shot – do you have a Polk County photo that could make the cut?

Deadlines on both of these publications is early May, but that will be here before you know it. Don’t delay, call today! 503-623-2373.

http://www.polkio.com

Funding Available for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Through Pacific Power Grant Program

Up to $300,000 available to applicant projects that show innovation and creativity around promoting sustainable transportation

Pacific Power is helping to make its business customers’ electric transportation goals a reality through an electric vehicle charging station grant program. The program will help fund up to 100 percent of the eligible costs of installing electric vehicle charging stations for selected non-residential applicants.

The application cycle opens on April 15, 2019. Up to $300,000 in grants will be available during this cycle with a total of $1.45 million in Oregon awarded in quarterly cycles through the end of 2019.

“As an active member in the communities we serve, Pacific Power wants to help our customers achieve their sustainable energy goals,” said Cory Scott, director of customer solutions. “The electric vehicle charging station grant program is one of the ways we’re empowering local businesses, non-profits and governments to pick up speed toward more charging options for electric vehicle owners.”

Oregon businesses of all sizes installing chargers as an amenity for customers and employees are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted up to May 15, 2019 at 5:00 PM. Recipients will be announced June 2019.

For detailed eligibility requirements, project qualifications and application forms, please visit pacificpower.net/ev-grants.

Materials may be submitted to plugin@pacificpower.net.

To learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles, visit pacificpower.net/ev.

Office Etiquette 101

Emily Post said it best when she stated that “Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” Proper office etiquette is an essential business tool. It impacts your reputation with your team, colleagues, and customers. Unfortunately there are no universal rules that govern all workplaces. However, the basics of good etiquette translate to all settings and industries.

What are the basics?

“When in Rome…” What you ear to work can affect the impression you leave upon others and your overall productivity. While comfort is important, wearing workout attire to an office where your team members and colleagues are wearing khakis and button-down shirts is not advised. The rule of thumb is to dress as you expect your team to dress.

Keep personal grooming, personal. There is a big difference between applying some lip balm or hand cream at your desk and giving yourself a complete manicure. Desks and offices are for performing work. All grooming, including makeup application and hair brushing, should be done in the restroom. Manicures should be limited to your home or the salon. If you remember that is completely inappropriate for your company pay you to do your hair and nails at work, or to do anything that is necessarily something to be done on your own time, then your subordinates will remember that too. It would be extremely difficult for you to reprimand this bad be3havior with your subordinates if they know you do the same thing. You should strive to always lead by example. Doing so will always make your life easier at work, both in correcting behavior and in maintaining productivity.

Table manners. Offices are not dining areas. Eating at your desk not only decreases productivity, but is annoying to those around you. No one wants to hear you chewing on your salad. They especially do not want to smell your leftover fish or last night’s spicy delight. Be mindful of what you bring for lunch. If there is a break room or a kitchen, then use it. This will keep your office space neat and work-focused., as well as allow you to casually catch up with your staff. When you are done eating, clean up after yourself.

Voices carry. As more offices remove their cubicle walls for an open concept workspace, voice control is imperative. Mind your volume when talking to the team or colleagues in open areas.

Sick time is available for a reason, use it! The absolute worst violation of proper business etiquette is going to work when ill. Staying home and resting will help the recovery process and prevent the spread of germs throughout the office. Honestly, it is worse to infect everyone, thereby risking temporary lulls in productivity, than it is to leave the team in order to recover and to rely on another manager for a few days. This is where leading by example is key.

These basics of proper office etiquette are universal. Adhering to them shows a level of leadership that will encourage your colleagues and teams to maintain an environment conducive to optimal productivity by adopting the same office habits.

Dallas Area Visitors Center

How would you like to be in a minimum of 5,000 copies of the new Dallas Directory? We are pleased to announce Our Town Publishers, located in McMinnville Oregon, has committed to producing an online and print directory for our community.

The Dallas Directory is the perfect place to tell the story of your business and community to visitors, residents and potential new business owners. Our Town print publications and websites are designed to let you talk directly to your current and future customers with not only a beautiful, full color ad, but also an option to tell the “story of your business” with a personalized article showcasing you and your business. Print publications and our website will feature a story about our town, almanac-style information, calendar of events and a business directory with additional content available specific to Dallas. Take a look at www.ourtowntwinfalls.com for a preview of what they have worked on with other communities.

As a Chamber Member, you’ll receive a complimentary business directory listing, a 15% discount on all full color advertising options and first selection at ad placement. These directories will be distributed to a minimum of 5,000 Residents, Chambers of Commerce, Visitor Centers, Hotels, Relocation Packets and other places nationwide!

Robert Sudeith, Director of Sales and Marketing along with Christie Nielsen, Senior Partner and Creative Director, both with Our Town Publishers, will be in contact with you soon to discuss your promotion in the new Dallas Directory!

https://www.exploredallasoregon.org/

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

March 29th is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day which celebrates small business owners. These individuals spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demands, and lack of a hired staff, often translates into long and late hours, and many missed family and personal events. But, all in all, they love what they do. After all, they are their own boss.

New businesses have always been a vital, yet not fully appreciated, part of the US economy. On the retail side, they bring different and unique products to the marketplace. They provide stellar and personal service support. When you call, you are most likely getting a real, live person. And unlike big national chains, they know their products. They are outstanding performers in the niche markets. In manufacturing, they create many new concepts and ideas, making them creators of new products.

Celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day by showing your support and shopping their stores today and every day. Dallas is blessed to have many Mom and Pop Businesses, people that you know and who know your name in return. Businesses such as Grandma’s Attic, Dallas Antique Mall, and Main St. Emporium for shopping. For food be sure to visit West Valley Taphouse, El Pique, or Washington Street Steakhouse and Pub. Stop in today as they are always happy to see you!

Communicate to Impress

Effective communication can impress anyone, at any time, in any place, and through any medium. Some of the best communication opportunities happen in the most unlikely places. A great example when you see someone use an “elevator pitch”. This term was first coined to define the scenario of a chance meeting with someone important in an elevator. The goal is to have a clear, concise message that can be delivered within the time it takes to ride an elevator, which would then lead to an exchange of business cards or an interest to continue that conversation outside the elevator.

The concept of creating an impression in two minutes or less is even more powerful in a world full of urgency and instant gratification, such as ours. Chance meetings can happen anywhere, not just elevators or city sidewalks. They can happen online through social media, online forums, or even within the comment sections of blogs you frequent. Many of the elements of an effective elevator pitch can be translated to social media interactions. Some of the best talent can be discovered through these chance meetings.

Remember, KISS – Keep It Super Simple! Your message should be professional, but able to be understood by anyone regardless of their level of education or literacy. This means replacing complex concepts and jargon with common terminology in such a way that anyone in your audience can appreciate not just the message, but the direction and the impacts that your message communicates.

Know your stuff. Know the subject matter of what you are talking about. Always be prepared for follow-up questions and how they need to be answered. This means doing your research and tailoring your message to the audience. Tailoring your message can be a challenge when chance encounters happen in person. However, when communicating to impress on LinkedIn or other social media sites, it is easier to understand your intended audience.

Secretly sell yourself. Highlight your unique abilities and accomplishments as well as the value you add to the potential relationship. Showing off your assets without overtly selling yourself leaves a lasting impression. Top talent is drawn to leaders that know how to subtly sell the organization, especially when done in a way that they can see themselves blending nicely into the goals and culture of that organization.

Follow up. Timely follow-up via phone, text, or social media keeps the conversation at the forefront of the mind. Regardless of the situation, following up a day or two after the initial meeting shows your interest and professionalism. This could be the difference between becoming memorable or quickly forgotten.

Perfecting your elevator pitch can make a huge difference in how effectively you communicate in a variety of social situations and how you are viewed by those who can be the next great asset to your team or partner to your goals.

Identity Theft Prevention at the Office

Do not share your login credentials.

Not with the public, your coworkers, or even the Service Desk. What happens while you are logged in is your responsibility.

Change default passwords.

Always change standard or factory passwords immediately. This applies to company-issued cell phones, PCs, email services, voicemail, FTP servers, members-only websites, routers, etc. Check your password strength at www.howsecureismypassword.net. Never use the same password on multiple sites.

Do not use your person email for business.

Or it may be subject to management scrutiny and public records requests. Don’t forward business emails to your personal email. Likewise, do not use your business email for personal use.

Do not use your personal business email to correspond with clients.

Instead of first.lastname@oregon.gov, use a generic email, such as info.dcbs@oregon.gov, especially if a client is belligerent. In some cases, you may want to use your first name only. Check with you manager.

Avoid putting confidential information in email chains and group emails.

“As much as necessary, as little as possible.” Best practice: truncate Social Security Numbers and medical records in your communication. Even better: Use a generic ID, such as a policy account, or case number.

Track and report incidents

“Incident” definition: Confidential information is disclosed to a person not authorized to see it, or used for an unauthorized purpose. Internal and external reporting may be required, e.g., to the client, your manager, administrator, CIO, Attorney General’s office, or credit reporting agencies.

If you telecommute, don’t use personally-owned devices for business.

E.g., PCs, fax, printer, cell phone, text messaging. This opens up your devices to public records requests and searches by management, even if you have a BYOD agreement. If prosecution ensues, your device could be seized as evidence. Talk to your manager if you don’t have the tools you need. Is your family home? Remember, they’re not authorized to see or overhear confidential information.

Keep confidential information safe during transport

Confidential information transported in vehicles by employees should be logged, inventoried, kept locked and out of-sight when the employee is not in the vehicle. Use point-to-point receipt for mailing if necessary (UPS, FedEx). Use tamper-proof packaging. Always ship password separately from encrypted media.

Let clients know what the agency will and won’t do with their data.

“Privacy involves each individual’s right to decide when and whether to share personal information, how much information to share, and the particular circumstances under which that information can be shared. Privacy is more than security, however, and includes the principles of transparency, notice, and choice.”

Meet with clients in transparent settings.

Don’t let conversations be overheard by fellow clients, coworkers, etc. Stay within view of others. Be aware of appearances. Be safe.

Become a Great Communicator

Every living being communicates. Dogs bark, birds sing, and primates use hand gestures and noises akin to speech. Effective communication is needed in all areas of life. Paul Meyer describes communication best when he says, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal career success.” While basic communication skills are inherent, advanced skills that lead one to becoming a great communicator takes practice.

Effective communication begins with listening. Too many times, people are either thinking about their responses or about something else entirely, and they fail to completely listen to the other person. By doing this, you lose focus on the conversation and may find out, in embarrassment, that your response is completely off base. When you are not listening, you are creating a one-sided conversation that shows others that you really do not care about what they have to say. Showing a genuine interest in learning what others think and feel about any matter they find worth discussing will place you in a position to be the one they go to for encouragement and to brainstorm solutions to difficult problems – because what you say in response will all of a sudden matter, too.

Focusing on your interactions shows respect. Checking emails, texting, or engaging in social media while in a conversation is rude. Great communicators respect those they are with by putting away or turning off their electronic devices when engaged in conversation. One-on-one conversations are becoming a lost art because of the ease of technology. Eliminate the distractions and hone in your listening skills.

When communicating to anyone be specific. Make your message clear. Doing so ensures that you are heard and understood in the way you intended. If giving instructions, provide details in order to avoid confusion and ensure better outcomes. When setting up appointments, be specific about your availability and give details about the time, location, who else will be in attendance. Frustration occurs when specific details are not shared and people have to go back and do something that could have easily been done correctly the first time.

While being specific is very important, it is also important to simplify your message. Make certain that what you are communicating is understandable. If the thought is confused in your mind, it will most certainly be confusing to the person you are communicating with. Take the time to think through what you need to convey. Pauses should not be feared, especially if that pause helps you communicate your point clearly and more effectively.

Finally, ask questions. Great communicators ask questions and they are not afraid to get specific. Taking a genuine interest in learning more about people and what they think, feel, and experience helps keep the conversation going and shows that you are engaged. People appreciate it when someone wants to get to know them better and the knowledge gained through great interactions can help you further yourself both personally and professionally.

Effective communication is a great skill for everyone to have. It is also a necessary skill in order to get along successfully in the world around you. It is a lost art by many that can be easily revived by practicing your listening skills, being specific, and asking questions.