Tag Archive | Business

What to know about Zoom Fatigue

 

By Kif Leswing at CNBC.

Ever get off of a video call and feel like it wiped you out?  You’re not alone — as people around the world left offices March 2020 and replaced in-person meetings with videoconferences from spare bedrooms and kitchens, they started noticing that videoconferencing made them feel tired.

The phenomenon was dubbed Zoom fatigue, after the popular videoconferencing software.

As the Covid pandemic enters its third year, with many people still working and attending school remotely, researchers from Stanford and other schools are starting to closely study how videoconferencing affects people on a psychological level. There are four main ways that videoconferencing could contribute to feelings of exhaustion, wrote Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, in a paper published recently:

  1. Videoconferencing forces users to make extended eye contact
  2. Nonverbal signals like nodding require more effort
  3. The little box where users see themselves is unnatural
  4. Users are forced to sit in one place.

“Going from, on average, a handful of video conferences per week to, in some cases, nine or 10 a day, that’s a really new thing in media use history,” Bailenson said. The possible explanations aren’t specific to Zoom, and apply to other videoconferencing software, too, but the researchers used the Zoom brand name because it was recognizable and became a verb during the pandemic.

In Bailenson’s opinion, the biggest contributor to Zoom fatigue is the little box during a videoconference that allows users to see themselves. Lots of research has looked at what happens when people see themselves in the mirror, and suggests that constant self-evaluation leads to negative emotions.
Also, videoconferencing software often displays faces so large that it tricks your brain into thinking they’re directly in front of you, in your personal space. That can trigger some deep-seated instincts.

“We know from a physiological standpoint, that if somebody is really close up to you, and they’re looking at you, that you’re about to mate, or you’re about to fight, from an evolutionary standpoint,” Bailenson said.

How to fix the problem
The next step for these researchers is to gather data to validate or reject some of these theories. Eventually, they want to make evidence-based recommendations on best practices, like whether certain meetings should be a Zoom or a phone call.

Researchers including Bailenson have developed a 15-question scale for evaluating Zoom fatigue, and are currently collecting data from study participants across the web. In the meantime, Bailenson said in an interview that there are some easy fixes that he’s been working on that people can try at home now to improve their videoconferencing experience:

Hide self-view. On Zoom, you can right-click the video then press “Hide Myself.” Other videoconferencing software has similar options.
Shrink the Zoom window to make other people a little bit smaller. Make it a third of the screen instead of maximized, Bailenson suggests. Or you can place your chair a little farther away from the webcam.
Spend half an hour tinkering with your setup ahead of an important meeting. Check the lighting, figure out where to place an external camera, and make sure your chair is comfortable and at the right height. Maybe try placing your laptop on a stack of books to raise its height.
Turn off your camera and take a five-minute audio-only break during a long meeting to give yourself a chance to move around.

Set cultural norms with your co-workers that it’s OK to turn off the camera sometimes.

9 WAYS TO BE MORE GENEROUS AT WORK AND GET FURTHER IN YOUR CAREER

Generosity is often an overlooked characteristic in a list of desirable traits for the workplace. Most people consider hard work, strong leadership, and team cohesion as more important when determining an employee or employer. But it all comes back to generosity and a workplace won’t function without it. In any job that involves working with others (essentially all of them), there is a level of give-and-take, making generosity absolutely essential.

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Picture thanks to wisebread.com

In order to be a stand-out team member and get further in your career, consider generosity. Are you generous in the workplace? What does workplace generosity even look like? Here are nine steps to becoming more generous at work. We suggest implementing them and then watching your career take off.

  1.   Make your boss’s life easier.

Your boss is most likely not only supervising you but a slew of other employees as well. Improve your generosity by trying to make their work life easier. You can achieve this by completing tasks ahead of schedule and picking up the slack before even being asked.

  1.   Plan ahead.

Most offices are a tightly run ship; there just isn’t enough room in the deadlines to fall behind. Be generous with your fellow co-workers by planning ahead and staying on top of your specific tasks. If you’ve accomplished your to-dos ahead of time, ask if anyone needs help completing theirs.

  1.   Give credit.

One of the easiest ways to increase workplace generosity is to give credit where credit is due. If you are praised for a completed  team project, make sure others receive recognition as well.

  1.   Assume responsibility.

On the flip side, if your team dropped the ball or made a mistake, be sure to assume collective responsibility for it. Don’t let the rest of your team take the fall for something you all had a part to play in.

  1.   Provide guidance.

If you are in a position of seniority with employees beneath you, be generous with them by providing guidance. Always ask if you can help them with something or if they have questions.

  1.   Be a mentor.

Mentorship is key to successful businesses. You should always be looking to both give and receive mentorship. Help cultivate a generous place of learning by making yourself available to mentor another.

  1.   Share information.

Some employees view the knowledge they possess as their key to job security. But in order to be truly generous and effective in the workplace, you must share that expertise with others to create cohesion in your office.

  1.   Be happy.

The workplace is often stressful and chaotic, but when you keep a positive attitude, you build an environment of calm and peace that helps improve workflow.

  1.   Be kind.

The golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated applies in the workplace as well. By building each other up, you become a more effective team that gets noticed for its great work. Each person should feel valued and you can help cement that through kindness.

Being generous at work is important. It helps get things done as a team and catapults your own career toward success. In order to collaborate with others, every person should strive to improve their own generosity. We hope these tips help!

Source: written by Ariix editor Ariix

Four ways your generosity might improve your workplace 

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 picture thanks to emotivebrand.com

Hiking pay to motivate skilled employees is just so last century.  In 2018 more nuance is needed to incentivise high performance in a sophisticated team.   Leaders need to develop a more advanced approach to generosity:

 

  1.   Time – be generous with your time. Many leaders are time-poor so how they choose to use the potential ‘people’ time they do have available will be important.  And it will be noticed by the people they lead. In those precious free moments, do you take the opportunity to really talk to someone on your team about how things are going? Or do you put your head down, take out your phone and catch up on those emails…?

 

  1.   Experience – be generous with your experience:  share what you know; what you’ve learnt; and, crucially, the mistakes you’ve made.  Great leaders need to communicate their knowledge and experience – including the stuff that shows they are less than perfect.  Particularly in highly competitive workplaces, where there’s pressure to succeed, it helps others to know you are human and fallible.  If you’ve never shared one of your mistakes with your team, you might be surprised how significant it can be in building trust and making you more approachable.

 

  1.   Opportunity – be generous with the best work.  You might be more experienced, and you might believe (know?) you’d do it better, but if you keep the key clients and files, work, etc. for yourself…how will anyone else ever be able to get there? Take a look at the current work distribution in your team. Could you be generous and give someone else the next thing you really wanted to do yourself (or even the thing you believe only you can can do)?  And then support them to truly excel at it. Do you trust them?  

 

  1.   Interpretation – be generous with the benefit of the doubt (to a point).   When someone does something or says something that’s “not okay”, begin with the best interpretation the situation reasonably allows.  Try to start from the assumption that no harm was intended. Assume mistake rather than negligence. Assume error rather than evil. Take it from there.  Most of the time, most people don’t intend to get things wrong or cause upset. If you at least start with assuming benign intent – you’ll be better able to see the situation from their point of view – and have a better conversation about the impact it had. That’s not to say problematic behaviour should go unaddressed.  It’s just that a generous starting-point leads to a better conversation – less defensiveness, more honesty and willingness to hear a difficult message.  

 

If all else fails – there’s still the cash option as an outlet for your generosity.  The odd generously stacked plate of chocolate chip cookies can’t hurt either.

Source: written by Alison Best for Byrnedean

What is Giving at Work

Giving at work refers to the charitable contributions of money [payroll deduction, employer matching funds and workplace fundraising activities], personal time and personal skills [volunteering] and in-kind support by employees and their employers. Many employers choose to enhance their giving at work initiatives with broader business-related community activities such as formal sponsorship engagements and cause–related marketing.

giving at work

Picture thanks to PsychologyToday.com

For employers, offering giving at work campaigns connects them with the communities where their employees and customers live, and demonstrates their commitment to values apart from “the bottom line.” Many times giving at work campaigns can be linked to overall business strategy and positioned as part of the business’s overall community engagement programs.

For employees, giving at work is easy, especially when spread out through a number of pay periods. Donors give with confidence because participating charities have been reviewed and qualified.

For charities, the giving at work campaign can function as a teaching place for generosity in giving. Encouraging young employees to make their first contributions may lead to future generosity. Giving at work campaigns also offer additional chances to communicate and present mission, capabilities and results.

 

Giving at work:

  • Encourages employee and community engagement with business organizations
  • Increases donated resources into the community through a cost-effective and impactful process
  • Generates additional unrestricted general operating funds for participating nonprofit organizations
  • Results in many cases with larger contributions per individual than might be given in “one shot.” $10 per pay period could total $260, an amount higher than most contributions resulting from other fundraising methods
  • Raises support at a lower cost than would be possible if every charity had to contact each worker individually by mail or phone

 

Source: written by Caring Connection

5 Ways to Be More Generous At Work (Without Spending A Dime)

Being generous doesn’t just make you a better person, it makes you feel better and often makes people like you more. Whether you’re looking to be generous for generosity’s sake or hoping that being generous will improve your life, there are a wide variety of ways you can do it. If you’re looking to infuse a little more generosity into your life, why not start by doing it at work? Here are 5 ways you can be more generous at work without spending a dime.

kind boss

Picture thanks to Lopscoop.com

 

1. Thank You/Thinking Of You Notes: The simple act of writing a thank you or thinking of you note to coworkers, clients, or people within your professional network is a small act of generosity that can go a long way towards fostering long lasting career connections. These notes take little time to write and are vastly appreciated by almost everyone who receives them.

2. Lend A Hand on A Stressful Project: We’ve all worked on projects that have gotten to a point that makes us want to tear our hair out. If you want to be generous, try lending a hand to one of your coworkers when they’re dealing with a stressful project.

3. Share Your Skills: If one of your coworkers is struggling with something you’re great at, offer to share your skills and teach them a batter way to do it. Being generous with the knowledge you already has will make your coworkers more knowledgeable and that results in your whole team being easier to work with. Plus, they may be more willing to share a skill that you haven’t quite grasped with you down the line.

4. Open Lines of Communication: If you’ve had some success in your career there are probably plenty of people in your company or students who are hoping to some day be where you are who would love to speak with you. Being generous with your contact information can help these people reach out to you for advice, tips, or just a connection that may some day help them get to where they want to be.

5. Favors Without Expectation of Return: Although generosity can make you a more likable, pleasant person in many people’s eyes, it’s important to remember that doing so without expectation of return is one of the most truly generous things you can do. When people ask for favors do them but don’t say “You owe me one”. When someone asks for help don’t expect them to help you later on. Performing favors without expectation of return when you can builds up great career karma for you but it also shows you the true meaning of generosity.

You don’t have to spend money to be a more generous person and, if you’re looking to infuse a little more generosity in your day-to-day work life, these 5 options are all great. Try out one or all five of them this week and see how much better you feel!

 

Source: written by Chelsea Babin for Camden Kelly

Desk Organizing Ideas

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Picture thanks to Nick Slater for dribbble.com

Bookcase Desk

Our inventive ideas can help you create the perfect office, no matter how much extra space you have. Easy organizers and decorative touches will ensure your office is as stylish as it is functional.

Doors make great desktops: They’re inexpensive, roomy, and readily available in a variety of sizes. For the legs, you could use sawhorses, but low-rise bookcases offer the added benefit of extra storage. Thirty-inch square bookcases are the ideal height for a desk and are the same width as a standard-size door.

Prime and paint the bookcases and door in the same color. To give the desk a finished, cohesive look, line the back of the shelves with marbled paper (secure it with double-sided tape).

 

Wood-Grain Desk Accessories

Bring a natural note to your home office with coordinated wood-grain accessories. All it takes to make a matched set of mouse pads, file boxes, and straight-sided jars is faux-bois self-adhesive shelf liner.

 

Create a Hallway Office

With the right furniture, an organizing strategy, and a few pretty touches, a dead-end hallway, an under-the-eaves nook, or another such charming corner can have surprising office potential.

 

Office Wire Organizer

Eliminate tangles under your work area by feeding all cords through a hole drilled in the desktop. Then plug the wires into a power-surge protector strip mounted on the underside of the desk. Keep cords in a coated wire basket (available at housewares stores) suspended under the desk with wire hooks. Tags identify where each machine wire comes from.

 

Shared-Space Office

It can be a challenge to create a desk that’s roomy enough for one person, let alone two. This symmetrical setup is the perfect solution, unifying a pair of workstations in an open configuration that fits snugly against almost any stretch of wall without overwhelming the rest of the room.

 

Source: Marthastewart

Five Tips to Get Organized at Work

No one wants to be considered the office airhead. But losing just one important phone number (“I can’t believe I spilled coffee on that sticky note!”) or forgetting one vital meeting (“Where is my darn calendar, anyway?”) because you’re disorganized may make you look like one. These five organizing tips can help you become known for your brilliant ideas rather than your scattered brain.

 

organized workplace

Picture thanks to Britrix24.com

1. Chuck Your Junk

Just like when you declutter at home, think about whether you’ve needed something within the last year. Make a “toss” pile, a “store” pile and a currently active “to-do” pile. That take-out menu from the bankrupt sandwich shop down the street? Toss it. The budget report from 2009? Store it, but only one copy. A printout of the presentation you’re giving on Friday? Keep it on hand.

2. Store, Store and Store Some More

Resist the urge to be a perfectionist in dealing with the old paperwork in your “store” pile, or you’ll be lost amid stacks of miscellany for days. Just create a way to organize your materials in a way that makes sense to you. Everything related to the annual meeting could go in one labeled plastic bin or box, for example. Then work with your boss to find a place outside your office or cubicle to store this stuff.

3. Tackle Your To-Do Pile

This is where you should invest your efforts for the biggest payoff in long-term, sustainable organization. Create file folders for each project you are currently working on (or a different folder for each client or for each upcoming due date — whatever makes sense for you). When you complete a project, go through the file and discard the unimportant documents within. Then store the folder — which has been winnowed down to include only the project essentials — into an appropriate bin.

4. Keep Your Desk Clear

The surface of your desk should now be visible. Hooray! Keep it that way. One surefire way to prevent clutter from accumulating on your desk is to adopt the one-touch rule. Deal with every piece of paper that crosses your desk immediately. Trash it, act on it, file it or — if you really must — place it in your inbox until you have time to deal with it. (The one-touch rule is also applicable to email. Either respond right away, or direct your incoming messages to appropriate email folders.)

5. Use Technology Wisely

Strive to keep phone numbers and other often-used data on your computer and/or mobile phone. Online organizers — which you can access via your computer or your phone — can combine your calendar, address book, to-do lists and more. They can also send you pop-up reminders about meetings and deadlines. It may take a little time to master using these tools, but they’ll save you time (and lots of sticky notes) in the long run.

 

Source: written by Megan Malugani for Monster

How to Organize an Office Filing System

Learning how to organize office filing systems is crucial for any business that handles a lot of invoices, receipts, and other documents. Paperless offices sound great, but the reality is that many small businesses still need to store easily retrievable paper documents.

It’s important to know what files are most important, who needs to access them, and how they can be retrieved easily and efficiently.

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Picture thanks to MoneyCrashers.com

Receipts and Invoices

Filing receipts and invoices properly is one of the most important things a small business needs to do. A nonexistent or messy filing system can add days of extra effort at income tax time as you don’t want to miss out on tax deductions because of missing receipts. If your business is ever subject to an audit and you are unable to produce the required documents in support of your expenses your claims will most likely be rejected and your tax return re-assessed.

As a small business owner, you need to be able to operate at your desk swiftly and easily. Though setting up a paper filing system sounds difficult, it is a relatively easy task that can be made easier through a few filing tips and tricks.

5 Steps to Organize a Filing System

To get yourself and your business on the right track, follow five steps to make sure papers are easily accessible and easily identifiable.

 

1. Assess personal and office habits: Think about which employees need access to files, where they work, and what will make the most sense based on their work stations. If you are the person who is most in need of access to papers, think about how you use your workstation. If that filing cabinet to your right instinctively makes sense, that’s probably a good starting point. If it is someone else, get their input—what works for one person won’t always work for another.

2. Decide on a filing system: What you do as a business will determine, to a certain extent, whether you choose to file numerically, alphabetically, or some other way. For example, do you search for customer information by name or account number? Do you file paperwork by category, such as expenses, financial, marketing, etc.? This is a critical step, as it will determine how you will lay out your filing system. Do this before you buy anything for your filing system.

3. Calculate storage needs: If you have a large number of files that you access daily, they should be at your fingertips. If you access them less frequently, you might not need them at your work space, but you still might need them close by. There may be a combination. Some files might be needed daily while others can be filed in long-term storage further away. Allow for growth when looking at filing cabinets—buy something to accommodate twice the files you think you will have now. This will limit the number of times you will have to reorganize your filing system.

4. Invest in a good labeling system: Being able to read file labels sounds obvious, but clarity in labeling will save you more filing time than you can imagine. Most companies who make labels provide templates that integrate with the most popular word processing software. You may want to consider one of the small label-making systems that also can print out individual mailing labels. Items that perform double duty are usually a wise investment.

5. Purchase file folders: The best investment is to purchase colored hanging folders with plastic label tabs and plain manila file folders. Colored hanging folders are easily available and easily recognizable. For example, if you put all of your client files in yellow hanging folders, financial information in blue folders, and anything related to marketing in red folders, you easily can see roughly where you should be searching for a particular file.

Simple Is Best

The KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!—applies to setting up a filing system that is easy to use and easy to grow with. Broad subject categories will allow you to easily add new files as you grow and will eliminate the need to upgrade or reorganize your filing system regularly.

Keeping it simple also will make it easier to integrate your paper and digital files as part of your overall document management system.

Going Paperless

If you are trying to green your business and make the shift to a “paperless office” you can scan expense receipts and store them with your other digital accounting information. Some cloud-based accounting software applications facilitate this by having mobile apps that allow you to take a mobile phone snap of an expense receipt and record it on the fly.

Reviewing Tax Laws

The IRS and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) both accept digital images or paper copies of scanned items including:

  • Cash receipts
  • Bank statements
  • Canceled checks
  • Pay stubs
  • Credit card statements

The copies must be clear and legible. If not, the IRS or CRA may demand to see the original paper documents during an audit or routine request for documentation, so keep originals for the prescribed period of time.

 

Source: written by JILL CHONGVA / SUSAN WARD for The balance smb

Reasons to use social media in your job search

Using social media is a great way to boost your job search. Taking advantage of social media sites can help you find companies hiring. Here’s how to do it!
Job search on the internet.Picture thanks to jobjourney.com
You Can Become an Expert
Demonstrating a deeper knowledge about the industry you’re in — or would like to be in — through blogging builds your credibility, says Lisa Parkin, CEO of social media consultancy Social Climber. “Whether it’s on a personal website or on a dedicated blog about the industry they’re seeking employment in, job hunters can show potential employers their knowledge and skill sets by writing about a news event or relevant topic once or twice a week.”
You Can Blog Your Way to a Job
Commenting on the issues in your industry or field of work can itself be a path to a new job. Michelle Bramer, marketing and PR manager for online advertising firm eZanga.com, says blogs are an excellent resource for job candidates looking for new opportunities. And linking back to your blog while posting on other sites can lead recruiters right to your virtual door.
“Some of my favorite bloggers are small companies, and surprisingly, many of them are always looking for marketing and sales support,” Bramer says. If you’ve blogged about a company before, it can help strengthen your pitch when you apply there. As someone who routinely manages content writers and PR specialists, she says, “some of our best writers have been found by forging a relationship on a social network.”
You Can Learn About a Company’s Culture
Social media can go both ways — you can tell hiring managers about yourself, but you can also use it to learn about companies you’re interested in. Following a company on social media can give you an inside look into a its culture, clients and work, says Lauren Maiman, owner of the Midnight Oil Group.
“Use that info to your advantage when it comes to a cover letter or interview,” she says. “Use this insight to make sure you mesh with and want to be a part of their team. If you’re connecting in a meaningful way with them on social media, by the time you get to the interview, they should feel like they already know you (so careful what info you put out there, too).”
Source: written by Catherine Conlan for Monster

Social Media Success: A Guide for Job Seekers

Most people know that posting questionable content online could be detrimental in your job search. However, if you use social media professionally to showcase your skills and expertise, it could propel your application to the top of the stack and land you a job.

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Picture thanks to http://www.salesforce.com/

Recruiters are looking for candidates online, and what they find will help determine who they hire.

“When a recruiter searches an applicant’s name to learn more about them, it’s actually a red flag nowadays if someone isn’t found to be active online,” said Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs. “LinkedIn is the bare minimum a job seeker should be using to help show employers that they are technologically savvy and understand the basics [of] digital communication.”

Social media can also be used to learn about companies you’re interested in and to find potential jobs.

“Companies post relevant articles and other information related to any changes happening within the company,” said Brooke Cordova, healthcare branch manager at Addison Group. “This knowledge can help a job seeker not only understand if this is a company they want to be a part of, but also give them an advantage in an interview setting.”

Each social network has its own unique characteristics and best practices. Business News Daily talked to hiring managers, recruiters and social media experts about how to optimize your social media accounts for your job search.

As the go-to network for both job seekers and hiring managers, your top priority should be perfecting your LinkedIn profile.

“Hiring managers may look to your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you,” said Reynolds. “If it doesn’t match your resume with your most up-to-date jobs, projects and skills, they may be confused. It may send the message that you’re not taking enough care with your job search or professional image.”

Reynolds also said you should keep your profile up-to-date because many hiring managers use LinkedIn to find applicants – sometimes before they even post a job opening.

“If you’re interested in new opportunities, even in the least, keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date so you’ll be findable when a recruiter starts searching,” she said.

Cordova also reminds job seekers to turn on the “open to new opportunities” feature, which will expose your profile to more hiring managers.

Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com, also recommends keeping your profile up-to-date. “

“Focus on updating your profile to be as current as possible,” she said. “Ask trusted individuals you’ve previously worked with for recommendations and write blog posts to establish your credibility within your given industry.”

The brands and people you engage with on Twitter directly impact your followers’ perception of you and may affect whether hiring managers believe you’re worthy of working for the company.

When you’re looking for a job, a good percentage of your tweets, retweets and replies should focus on topics that are relevant to the companies you want to work for. You can achieve this by using keywords and hashtags that professionals in your field talk about and follow.

“Twitter can be used to identify leaders in an organization that you are interested in joining,” said Heather Monahan, life coach and business expert. “By following them and retweeting their tweets you can get their attention. Responding to their tweets and showing your value can give you an advantage over the other candidates who aren’t trying to communicate.”

Case also recommends taking advantage of Twitter chats.

“Engage in Twitter chats that are relevant to the industry you want to work in,” she said. “This is a great way to network with existing professionals already in these fields, follow them to begin building a rapport together, and cement yourself as an expert.”

Before you start using Facebook to your advantage, you need to make sure it’s not hurting your image. Be sure to delete or untag yourself from any questionable posts or pictures. Once your page is scrubbed clean, you should only post appropriate content.

“It’s important to be careful with the type of content you post,” said Karla Ruiz, social media director at Casanova//McCann. “Make sure you are posting content you’ll be proud of in the next few years. Keep control of your privacy settings and if you are out partying, enjoy the moment and leave your phone by your side. Once it goes live, it lives online forever.”

While it’s important to use privacy settings for personal information, you should keep some information public such as your employment information, location and professional skills. You should be searchable to hiring managers.

It’s always a good idea to engage with industry leaders and portray yourself as a thought leader on all social media platforms. A great way to achieve this on Facebook is by commenting and contributing to industry-specific Facebook groups.

“Being engaged and part of these [Facebook] groups can be a huge asset,” said Andrea Hurtado, director of marketing and brand health at Protis Global. “These groups can do quite a bit for you – assist and propel you in developing yourself professionally, connect you with other individuals in your field and/or get you closer contact with an organization that is looking for talent like you.”

While each platform serves a different purpose, it’s also important to have a consistent voice and style throughout all your social media profiles. You should be using social media to build yourself as a brand.

“Be sure to have a clean and consistent social media presence,” said Ruiz. “Don’t just share stuff just of the sake of sharing. Before posting, ask yourself – does this add value to my personal brand?”

Source: written by Saige Driver for Business News Daily