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The day for your interview has been scheduled. That means you were among the handful of people selected out of dozens of applicants to continue the competition toward the job offer. Not only do you need this job very badly, but also you studied for it thoroughly by preparing yourself for difficult interview questions and you’re really psyched up. But wait. What will you wear to this coveted interview?

An administrative assistant will usher you into an office or conference room where the interviewer and possibly others are waiting for you. They’ve studied your résumé and are prepared. The door opens and you walk in–energetically and with a big smile. They’re looking at you and noticing your appearance. You’re making an impression, and you want that impression to be excellent. You also know that that first impression is a lasting one. Some of what they see cannot be changed. This is the way you look–whether it’s good or bad. But there’s a lot you can do to improve this first and vital impression.

For men it is to some extent easier. Make sure your appearance is clean. A recent haircut and a close shave are musts; a graying beard or mustache adds years to your age. Typically, a well-tailored suit in a dark color–but not black–is recommended. In summer a nice light color is appropriate but preferably for the follow-up interview, not the first one. However, if the dress code is business casual, the suit may be waived. The shirt–well fitted and in a contemporary style–should complement your attire. Investing in a today’s-fashion tie is smart. A haberdashery sales associate could guide you, or you could look at a few pictures in one of the clothing-store catalogs that get stuffed periodically into your mailbox. A belt, too, should accentuate your positive appearance. Socks should be in a solid color, without any visible pattern, and should match the color of your shoes. Shoes are extremely important, not only to feel comfortable in but also because they, too, speak about you. A well-shined pair of new shoes creates the image you want to present.

The same principles apply to women as well. A hairstyle that enhances appearance is important. Don’t overdo makeup, and my recommendation is to skip the perfume when going for an interview. Your taste in perfumes may not match others’, and the aroma may linger long after you’ve left the office. If you smoke, I suggest you refrain from smoking for at least six hours prior to the interview and that you make sure your interview clothing has been aired out; nonsmokers can detect smokers from far away. Keep jewelry to a minimum, and remember that cleavage and revealing, short skirts might enhance your candidacy in the modeling profession, but if you’re applying for other jobs, consider a more professional, conservative look.

Remember the cliché that “the clothing makes the man,” and if you believe it, then investing in your interview wardrobe to enhance your image and thus your chances for the job offer makes sense.   Your comments are welcome.


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Opportunities for Managed Service Security Providers

Cybersecurity remains one of the most challenging issues for small business owners. And the problem leads small business owners to seek out managed service providers to present them with solutions.

But a new report from Continuum says the state of cybersecurity among small businesses in 2019 still needs to improve. The data suggests great opportunities for service providers who offer cyber security as part of their package. And predicts troubles for those who don’t.

The reason MSPs are so important for small businesses is many providers offer a one-stop shop for all things IT. However, some providers don’t include cyber security. And as the report reveals, SMBs are holding MSPs accountable when a security breach takes place, whether they provide security solutions or not.

In the press release, Michael George, CEO, Continuum, addressed this very issue in the press release. George said, “Businesses expect to be protected by their MSPs, and are ready to pay more for that protection – whether from their existing MSP or by switching to a provider that promises a better solution.”

Opportunities for Managed Service Security Providers

Businesses now have a better understanding of the digital ecosystem they operate in and the cybersecurity threats they face. The increased awareness has resulted in looking for and implementing the best system possible to protect their digital assets.

For MSPs providing cyber security as part of their service, this means more opportunities. George said, “If MSPs can deliver the right cybersecurity solutions to their end-clients, they will hold the competitive advantage in the SMB market.”

In the US close to half or 47% of SMBs said they would pay at least 20% more from a new provider if they have the right cyber security solution. Overall small businesses are willing to pay 24% more on average for the right cyber security solution.

An even more startling finding is 93% would consider moving to a new provider if they have the right cyber security offering.

The growth opportunity for MSPs providing cybersecurity is on the upside. The report says 77% of the businesses in the survey expect to outsource at least half of their cybersecurity needs in five years’ time. In the near term, 78% are planning to invest more in cybersecurity in the next 12 months.

Worsening Cybersecurity Threat

Cyber attacks cost small businesses in the survey $53,987 on average. Large organizations lost more money.

Companies with 10-49 employees lost $41,269 and those with 50-249 employees were in the hole for $48,686. Those with 250-1,000 employees ended up losing $64,085 per incident.

The cyber threat landscape is getting worse. The good news is small businesses are more aware of this fact, but not everyone is.

In the survey, more than 6 in 10 or 62% of the organization don’t have an in-house expert to properly deal with security issues.  Only 41% currently have cybersecurity experts in-house.

The Survey

Continuum commissioned Vanson Bourne to conduct the 2019 State of SMB Cyber Security report research. It was carried out between January and March 2019.

A total of 850 IT and business decision makers involved in cybersecurity as part of their organization took part in the survey. The organizations represented a number of core industries across different sectors in the US, UK, France, Germany and Belgium

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Cyber Attacks Cost Small Businesses $53,987 on Average, Survey Claims” was first published on Small Business Trends

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By Jennifer Faught

I recently was working with a new team who shared that their management meetings last five-plus hours each week, and they still leave without clear results or outcomes. In fact, this practice has infiltrated the entire company culture, with people complaining about the frequency and inefficiency of meetings, leaving them frustrated, confused and with little time to execute.

Meetings are necessary in business, so how can you make the most of them and keep them from wasting your valuable time? Try eliminating these seven time wasters and improve the efficiency of your next meeting.

1. Cut out unnecessary meetings and number of attendees

Is a meeting the right place to talk about a certain agenda item? Are the right people at the table? Lay out all your company’s or department’s meetings in a spreadsheet and then decide if each meeting is worth your time. Meetings take time and time equals money. One weekly meeting that lasts five hours with five employees means those team members are spending 25 hours each week in meetings. If you multiply 25 hours by the average salary hour rate of the employees in the room, you can see why it’s essential to only have the right people in the room for the right amount of time.

2. Cut out non-outcome-focused agenda items

Make sure agendas are outcome-focused and put time constraints on each item. Be very clear about the main topic of discussion and the expected outcome you are looking for. This will allow you to stay on task and within time limits. If there are any topics in the agenda that don’t require everyone’s input, take that item offline and come back with a solution or with a better identified outcome. If a topic is on the agenda and it isn’t the right time or place for that conversation, move that item to another time or remove it completely.

3. Cut out the assumptions

The problem with most meetings is people walk away with action items, but without clarity on when the items need to be completed. If you have a conversation about “who” the item is assigned to, “what” exactly is assigned, and “when” the action should be completed, you will maximize communication and outcomes. Create a “Who/What/When” worksheet and review it at the end of each meeting.

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4. Cut out the dominating personalities

Appoint a facilitator and a notetaker. The facilitator will keep the team on topic and make sure everyone can be heard by drawing out insights from the group. The facilitator can also ask clarifying questions and keep the conversation moving and on time. The notetaker will capture any action items to review at the end of the meeting and can follow up with notes from the meeting as a resource and record.

5. Cut out the piggybacking and repetitiveness

Always add value or new information to build upon other’s ideas. This will keep the conversation from spiraling out of control and keep people from talking just to hear themselves talk. Avoid repetitiveness by using simple visual cues like a thumbs-up or holding up a card that says, “I agree.” Before you speak, always ask yourself these four questions:

  • Is it important?
  • Does it need to be shared with the whole group?
  • Are you the one that should share it?
  • Has anyone else already shared something similar?

6. Cut out the advice

Ask questions that allow others to participate and contribute their own ideas. When you ask for clarity and push for engagement, it promotes the personal growth and development of your team. Sharing your own experiences and asking questions of others allows team members to feel more comfortable speaking up and sharing their own experiences. Avoid simply stating something as a fact; instead, turn a statement into a question to draw knowledge from the team.

7. Cut out ineffectiveness

At the end of a meeting, go around the room and ask your team to rate the effectiveness of the meeting from zero to 10. If scores are low, ask for feedback on why and how to be more effective next time and look for where to improve.

Meetings are a tried and true way to exchange information, assign tasks, and share ideas, but they lose their core purpose when you fall victim to various distractions. Take the initiative and implement one or all of these meeting improvements in order to make your next meeting your best one yet.

RELATED: 9 Great Places to Hold Your Next Team Meeting

Jennifer Faught is a Petra Coach and entrepreneur who brings a quiet intensity to helping people align intentional action with beliefs. She spent the past five years coaching creative business owners on how to scale their companies while simultaneously building a nationwide online learning platform for business owners. Jennifer has served on the leadership team for a family-owned SaaS and IT business, as well as a venture-backed health-care company. As an entrepreneur, she launched a graphic design business and sold her learning platform, which grew over 450% in four years.

The post Want More Productive Meetings? Cut These 7 Time-Wasters appeared first on AllBusiness.com

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