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How to get creative juices flowing

tips to get creative

At times, creating original content can be difficult. I’ve been there enough to have developed a list of helpful tips for how to break through a creative rut.

• Brainstorm like crazy. That means write down ALL your ideas, good and bad.

• Go for a walk. Studies have shown that walking improves creative thinking.

• Seek out inspiration. Inspiration can be found in almost anything.

• Move around. Work out of a coffee shop, sit in a different part of the office, or put some headphones in with upbeat music to get the juices flowing.

• Always collaborate and ask for advice from peers.

– Cora Pursley, The Atlanta 100

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3 items executives should keep at the office

As a professional in the workplace, it is good practice to always be prepared for the unknown, which might mean your attendance at an unexpected meeting or event. Here are the top three items to keep at your desk so you can always present your best self:

• Gum – you’ll never have to worry about bad breath (plus everyone likes the person who has gum).

• Blazer – choose one that has pockets so you can store items you don’t want to carry, such as your phone, keys or wallet.

• Extra pair of shoes – don’t let uncomfortable shoes get the best of you.

Carolyn Taylor, The Oklahoma 100

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Earning respect from your employees

Employee respect

Being in a management position means being a valued and respected leader for other members of your team, but respect does not usually come simultaneously with the title. So, how can you earn it?

• Hold one-on-one meetings. Ask each employee what you can do to help them thrive in the organization.

• Don’t demand respect right away. If accepting a new leadership position, allow the transition period to play out as you adjust to the role.

• Establish your role as a firm leader, but not as superior. Treating employees with respect is the best way to earn it back.

– Haley Pegg, New Orleans Chamber

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Refresh your networking skills

Networking skills

No matter the type of business you are in, you more than likely have to attend networking events regularly whether you are a new or seasoned professional.

1. If you collect a ton of business cards at an event, grab a piece of paper, label it with the event name and date, and rubber band it together. Do not forget to write notes to those you connected with.

2. Have your elevator speech ready and practiced, so it comes out natural.

3. Wear something comfortable.

4. Keep your hand-shaking hand free of cold drinks.

5. Make an authentic connection by customizing your LinkedIn invite.

– Taylor Ketchum, The Oklahoma 100

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Positive ways for giving criticism in the workplace

Constructive criticism

It can be hard to receive negative feedback, especially in the workplace. It’s also difficult to give negative feedback in a manner where employees listen, understand and eventually grow from the experience. By using a few tactics, there are ways to improve the experience of criticism from both perspectives.

First, have the conversation earlier in the day – we’re human and we lose patience as the day wears on. Second, consider what else may be going on that day in the recipient’s life (professional or personal). Lastly, balance your negative feedback with something they did well in order to encourage them.

– MaryGrace Williams, The Atlanta 100

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Effective ways to be more productive at work

PRSA has some great advice:

• Stretch: Stand up and take a walk to get your blood flowing and increase energy.

• Don’t multitask: Direct your attention to a single task at hand to increase efficiency and accuracy.

• Meditate: Meditating daily can make you feel more mindful or present within your day. The app Insight Timer leads you through a meditation that’s based on the amount of time you have to practice.

• Set timers: Work in a 25-minute increment with a five-minute break. This enables you to see exactly how efficiently you are working and where you are wasting time.

Tess Rowland, The New Orleans 100

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Copper State of Mind

copper state of mind

Tardiness is just plain disrespectful and in many places simply not tolerated.

Starting meetings and appointments on time should be the norm in most settings. There are occasional events out of our control that can cause a glitch in the system, but promptness helps keep everything crisp and in order in both personal and professional lives. Being late for no apparent reason says without words, “My time is more valuable than yours.”

An excuse police officers often hear when they are issuing speeding tickets is, “I was running late.” A common response is, “You should have left a little earlier.”

– Scott Hanson, HMA Public Relations

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How to find your voice on the page

Don’t be so formal, write conversationally, find your voice – you’ve probably heard it all before.

Written content today isn’t necessarily about good grammar and following the style manual you were trained on in high school (author’s note: AP style is correct now and always). But what does it mean to write conversationally? Real conversations are verbal – full of tics, “ums” and “errs.” They don’t look good on the page.

Instead, think about how you interact with others on a daily basis. Are you sarcastic, excitedly educational, friendly? Inject your personality into your writing. You might start writing conversationally without noticing.

– Dan Stefano, The Pittsburgh 100

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Owning your presentation: Own the moment and take your time

owning your presentation

What kills a good presentation almost as much as a lack of preparation? Letting the adrenaline get the best of you.

Your first few sentences set the tone for a speech or presentation – don’t let that nervous energy force you into speaking too quickly.

Do more than just exude confidence – claim this moment as yours. Approach the mic (or the head of the table) at your own pace. Pause to inhale. Take command of the room by taking your time. It is always better to pause until you are cool and calm than to let the adrenaline do the talking.

Chelsea Spring, The Kentucky 100

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Facing rejection in the workplace

workplace rejection

The sting of rejection doesn’t hurt any less in the professional world than it does in your personal life. Being rejected at work can feel like a breakup. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion or had one of your ideas shot down by a manager.

Many people tend to take rejection as criticism. Try being objective in your thinking rather than taking it personally. A rejection of your idea or proposal is not a rejection of you. Understanding why the rejection happened can help settle your mindset, so seek feedback and try viewing the situation from other perspectives.

– Haley Pegg, New Orleans Chamber