Virtual News (En)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Six key ideas for effective networking


Still unknown and underused by many business people, online professional networking platforms can represent a major source of business opportunities.
Besides the specific qualities of sites such as
Ecademy, OpenBC and LinkedIn, these platforms have a series of principles in common that are useful for making the most of them.
Here are six key ideas to get the most out of your business networking activities, online or in the real world:

1 – Your network is not your market, but a way to access it
Even if some of your direct contacts may need your services, your network provides you with the opportunity to increase the profitability of your business approach thanks to leveraging.
So do not pitch your network, but pump the contacts who know potential clients.

2 – Winning by sharing
Giving before receiving is often the best way to become known and appreciated by those who could point you to opportunities. Update your contacts regularly without trying to sell at all costs. When they will meet someone who needs your services, it is your name rather than that of another that will come to mind.

3 – Communicate clearly
Your contacts are not necessarily familiar with your business or your job. It is up to you to communicate clearly by reaching out to them. Make sure that they understand what you do or what you are looking for, as only then will they be in a position to help you if the opportunity arises.

4 – Take your time to pamper your network
First, your contacts are not your key-audience, nor partners or potential clients.They are first and foremost human beings with whom you are looking to create a relaxed and pleasant interaction.Take the time to find out more about them, find out if you have anything that can be useful to them, and contact them or answer them in a personalised way.

5 - Participate
Most platforms have forum and blog functionalities.
Participate! By interacting in forums or publishing online content, you are sure to be noticed and increase the chances of useful contacts.

6 - The network will give back to you
Online networking platforms are a multilateral source of opportunities. Also, when you help out a contact, do not expect reciprocity on their part. It is the network that will give back to you and often enough you will get back a hundred times what you put in!To find out more: Ecademy, OpenBC, LinkedIn, Soflow, Viaduc, 6nergies

About the author:
Pierre LEONARD is Founder and Managing Director of the Virtual Words translation agency, which provides a complete range of language services in some 40 European and Asian languages thanks to a global network of 1,500 translators, interpreters, subtitling specialists and other language professionals.

English Translation by Virtual Words

Seven steps to improve the ergonomics of your workstation

By Sacha Kocovski

Freelancer, employee or employer, we all believe in using means that guarantee our well being in the work place. Here are a few tips that will allow everyone to increase his well being by improving his workspace.

1. Listen to your body
Do you feel pain in your back, wrists, hands, neck or shoulders? Your work posture could be the problem!
Arrange your workstation properly and think about improving your posture.
If the pain persists, consult a specialist (i.e. an occupational physician) who will give you the best course of treatment.

2. Vary your posture
To avoid too much weight on one part of your body (back, neck, etc.), vary your work posture as often as possible.
Try to perform repetitive tasks in different ways: sitting, standing, and/or using different movements.

3. See to your seating comfort
Make sure to always have your seating comfort adapted to your morphology and work. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are firmly flat on the floor and that your knees are at an angle of about 90°.
Also make sure that your back is well supported by the chair: lower back firmly in the chair, neck straight, shoulders back.

4. Be on the level
Make sure that your forearms are slightly raised and parallel to your desk.
To minimise the risks of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist), try not to rest your wrists on the ‘sharp’ side of your desk for long periods of time.

5. Position your screen
The position of the screen is vital. To avoid neck movements, place your screen so that the upper part of the screen is at eye level.
Also, with your back firmly in your chair, you must barely be able to touch your screen.
Finally, position your screen so that no source of light (window lamp, etc.) hinders the legibility of your screen.

6. Tame your mouse
When using your mouse, your arm must be in a comfortable position. Make sure that your mouse is not too far away from you and that your arms are sufficiently supported (using the adjustable armrests, for example).

7. Vary your tasks
Think about using the variety of tasks that make up your work in an effective way. Every now and then, leave your desk to find out about a project from your colleague, file some documents or read a report on paper rather than on screen.

Good luck in your work!

About the author:
As an ergonomics consultant, Sacha Kocovski founded the ERGOLABS group in order to help businesses improve their products and work systems by paying more attention to their users.

To find out more, read Kelly Andrews’ (2004), Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics.

English Translation by Virtual Words

Being the boss

By Sophie Januel

Being the boss is not obvious, and according to a study published in the February 2006 issue of French magazine, L’Entreprise, profiles of European bosses in all sectors oscillate between autocrat, democrat and meritocrat.

La Tribune of 5 December 2005 published an article by Sandrine L’Herminier entitled “What will be the profile of tomorrow’s CEO?”, which provides the following definition: “The CEO of the 21st century will be ephemeral or not at all…” Not everyone can relate to this answer. In fact, the requirements of a microcosm that combines elitism and globalisation do not necessarily correspond to the reality of hundreds of thousands of ‘small bosses’ whose businesses constitute the actual economic fibre of Europe.

Aspiring too much to standardised profiles such as the “standard management aptitudes of global conglomerates with the goal of achieving great figures for the next quarter” type, we forget all about the SME bosses running the show, with ethics and values, and who have the daily task of squaring the circle.

Therefore, let us put these ‘world leader’ profiles aside, and look closer at the bosses who can serve as role models or at least as sources of inspiration and comprehension in matters of living and know-how as a boss.

In this view, the creed that French author Jacques Benoît develops notably in his book Graine d’Ethique takes on all its significance: “Being the boss means doing management, but also doing it with heart”.

This creed relies on the sharp sense of responsibility of a boss or entrepreneur towards his employees and on his pragmatism favouring actually working in serenity and efficiency, which gives meaning to decisions and actions.

According to Jacques Benoît, “the finality of the company is above all human and social”. Besides attempts at commercial and communicative takeovers, ethics are above all a fundamental element, a common denominator of the adhesion and construction of identity of an individual as well as within a group. It is the source of motivation and involvement of people in the company’s ecosystem.

To this day, this theory is still considered out of touch with reality by some, but at least it offers an alternative to the attitude favouring purely financial management.

About the author:
Sophie Januel manages Arcseo Office Management, a company that handles the organisation and external management of SMEs.
First published on 6 February: and

English Translation by Virtual Words

Thursday, June 08, 2006


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