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Monthly Archives: November 2016

7 Ways to Give a Kickass Business Presentation

Business presentations don’t have to all be the same, and being in the audience during one doesn’t have to be sleep-inducing. It is possible to make every business presentation entertaining, informative and enjoyable for all parties involved.

Experts shared their best tips for creating and giving a killer presentation that will engage your audience and help you land the sale.

“A good business presentation … has one main point and everything is structured around that point. It doesn’t rely heavily upon PowerPoint or slides filled with text, and it allows time for discussion and asking questions.”

“No secret sauce, tech or gimmicks. What makes any presentation engaging and effective is to put the bottom line up front and then provide whatever backup data may be needed. I’ve seen many presentations where the story is dragged out and tension is built, as if the person was trying to make a movie. But … people are busy and need to deal with the issue and then move on.”

“Focus more on what you will say and how you will say it rather than on having the coolest slides. Not everything you say should be on your slides. No more than three sentences per slide. Present your best data, or no data at all – but not all your data.”

“The true meaning of the presentation is to engage with people and persuade them to your point of view, not just deliver chunks of information. Every presentation, no matter the subject, must be tailored specifically to the people you are talking to. If you tell an anecdote, don’t simply repeat the same story wherever you are – not only will it become stale, you’ll also fail to make a connection to the people you’re addressing.”

“What makes a good business presentation is practice, practice, practice! It’s just like sports. You have to repeatedly practice your presentation to improve it.”

“Authenticity is engaging. Too many presentations are technically proficient but lack heart. If you are not genuine, there will be an unbridgeable gap between you and your listeners. Authenticity is the most important element of an effective communication in any context.”

“A high energy level (is) the most important step to take in presentations. This applies to any type of speaking, any size audience and any topic. If you seemed bored or tired, that vibe will translate to your audience.”

The Top 7 Workplaces for Women

As gender equality continues to take the spotlight in workplace issues, more women are seeking job opportunities with companies where they’re most likely to receive equal pay and treatment.

InHerSight, a workplace ratings and matching site for women, collected user ratings data on 27,000 U.S. companies across five main categories: equal opportunities for men and women, salary satisfaction, maternity and adoptive leave, top leadership, and management opportunities for women.

While InHerSight used its data to rank the best workplaces in each category on a five-point scale, the top 7 workplaces for women overall include:

  1. Title Source (4.6)
  2. Procore Technologies (4.4)
  3. The Boston Consulting Group (4.2)
  4. The Motley Fool (4.0)
  5. Netflix (4.0)
  6. Facebook (4.0)
  7. NetSuite (3.9)

According to Ursula Mead, CEO of InHerSight, female representation in leadership and management opportunities for women, as well as equal opportunities and salary satisfaction, are strong predictors of women’s satisfaction at work.

Last year, several high-profile companies announced improvements to their parental leave programs, so maternity and adoptive leave became a highlighted factor for InHerSight. Mead hopes that trend continues in 2017.

“The great news about many of these larger companies is that they’re always hiring, and often hiring for a lot of open positions,” said Mead. “For example, a quick look at the Netflix careers page shows hundreds of open positions right now. Of course, there’s a lot of competition for these jobs, but that shouldn’t stop you from applying.”

While it might be difficult to get a job at many of the bigger-name places on the list, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all those benefits at your current or future company. InHerSight found that reviewing salaries and correcting pay gaps was the policy change women wanted the most at their current employer (more than 31 percent).

“Companies aren’t mind readers – if you want to see changes to benefits or initiatives, you may have to initiate that conversation with your manager or HR team. Most companies want to know how they can better support their employees and will welcome that dialogue,” Mead said.

She also suggested that women hoping to make a change at their company do some initial research on how their company’s policies compare to others and what the options are. “It’s also important to think about your request from the employer’s perspective to demonstrate awareness of what some of their concerns and constraints might be so you can both be solutions oriented.”

Women on the job hunt have access to a lot of information that can help them determine what job or company is right for them. Sometimes all it takes is doing a little research to uncover what could potentially be the perfect match.

“If you know people at the company, talk to them,” Mead advised. “If you don’t, there are a lot of great resources online to help you find the right company and for you to learn more about their culture and benefits. It’s important to keep in mind that a company can have great benefits on paper, but how those policies are implemented matters a lot.”

How to Protect Your Data from Tax-Time Hackers

Protecting your data is especially important during tax season, when sensitive information about your business and your employees is susceptible to attack by would-be identity thieves. Faux calls and emails from attackers posing as representatives of the IRS or even managers within your organization are commonplace and can lead to the theft of information from unsuspecting employees. Luckily, there are steps you can take to bolster your security during this time of increased vulnerability.

As Eric Cernak, U.S. cyber and privacy risk practice leader at Munich Re, noted, W-2 phishing attacks are just one popular method of thievery amongst digital ne’er-do-wells. Ransomware is also increasingly popular amongst hackers, he said. In a ransomware attack, hackers generally infiltrate a system and encrypt large swaths of a company’s data. They then demand a payment in cryptocurrency, usually Bitcoin, in return for decrypting and returning the stolen data.

“These types of attacks can be costly for a (small business) in terms of productivity and dollars,” Cernak said. “Additionally, with the current value of virtual currency, ransomware attacks are costing small businesses more and more in terms of real dollars, not to mention the interruption to their business income and cost to restore files should they decide not to pay the ransom.”

While these types of attacks are particularly prevalent during tax season, cybersecurity is no seasonal game – it’s a 24/7/365 defensive slog, said Adam Levin, chairman of data protection company IDT911, which is now known asCyberScout. He added that small businesses might feel as though they aren’t a prime target because of their size, but that hackers often target small businesses to gain access to bigger companies they work with. As a result, every business large and small must remain vigilant.

“As a business you are a defender, and as a defender in the cyber world we live in, you have to get everything right,” Levin said. “As an attacker, you just need to find one point of vulnerability that might only be open for a moment or two, but then you’re in.”

It sounds scary, and indeed it is, that a breach of your business’ system could lead to a complete destabilization of your entire company and, in the worst case, its total failure. That’s precisely why developing a culture of security, constant monitoring, testing for vulnerabilities, retesting and constantly adapting is so important. As hackers are always evolving and adapting new techniques, so too must businesses in order to adequately defend themselves.

“The first thing a business has to develop is a culture of security from the mailroom to the boardroom,” Levin said. “That involves employee training, and a sense of employee responsibility for security.”

While implementing secure systems and utilizing effective monitoring tools is a must, Levin said, humans are often the easiest vulnerability for hackers to exploit. Educating employees, then, is imperative.

“This has to be an almost daily event,” Levin said. “The system is only as good as the weakest link, and humans tend to be the weakest link.”

By keeping several best practices for security in mind, you can reduce the odds that your business becomes a victim of a cyberattack. Moreover, you can implement policies and technology to mitigate the damage of any successful attack, turning a potentially catastrophic event into nothing more than a minor irritation.

Based on our expert sources’ insights, here are eight steps you can take to better secure your business data right now.

1. Secure your computers: Using up-to-date software and effective monitoring tools is essential to maintaining a secure browser. Ensure that software updates are installed promptly when available.

2. Use two-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication is a key strategy to avoid falling victim to an attacker using stolen credentials. Oftentimes, two-factor authentication means the employee logging in will receive an additional authentication request, often via smartphone, to confirm their identity.

3. Avoid recycling passwords: Once you change a password, change it for good. Browsers often store passwords insecurely, and reusing a password increases the risk that a user’s credentials will be compromised.

4. Train your employees: Create a culture of security. Make sure each employee understands where they fit in the big picture. Security is not just something for the IT department to worry about, but should rather be a team effort.

5. Always encrypt data: Encryption thwarts many would-be snoopers and hackers because they cannot access your encrypted data without the proper keys. Encryption and other services, like virtual private networks, are important aspects in protecting your information.

6. Back up data: You’ll want to back up your data in case of a ransomware attack. However, it’s important to note that the devices storing the backed-up data should not always be connected to your network. Otherwise, they could be compromised during an attack. If your system is attacked, you can wipe your hard drives and then download your backed-up data, avoiding a catastrophic incident.

7. Manage portable media: When employees use their own mobile devices on your company’s network, it creates new opportunities for hackers. Mobile devices are also more likely to be lost or stolen outside of the workplace, further increasing the odds of security being compromised. If you’re a BYOD workplace, ensure employees are conforming to your company’s security protocols. Minimize mobile device use, or ensure all data stored on these devices is encrypted.

8. Destroy unnecessary information: Make sure you destroy any sensitive documents you no longer need. Hard copies of tax documents or financial information can be used to determine possible avenues of infiltrating your system. Any connected devices in your office should be secured and routinely cleared to ensure safety.

How Your Personal Traits Impact Your Salary

Think your attractive co-worker earns more than you just because of his or her looks? Despite previous reports suggesting that more attractive employees tend to make more money they tend, a new study shows that looks are just one component that can impact earnings.

The new research, which was recently published in Springer’s Journal of Business and Psychology, discovered that unattractive employees aren’t discriminated against just because of their looks. The study’s authors found that health, intelligence and personality traits also factor into the salary equation.

“The association between physical attractiveness and earnings largely disappeared once individual differences in health, intelligence, and personality were statistically controlled,” the study’s authors wrote.

For the study, researchers analyzed the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The data set measured physical attractiveness of all respondents on a five-point scale at four different points in their lives over 13 years.

The study’s authors discovered that workers who were healthier and more intelligent, and those with more conscientious and extroverted, less neurotic personality traits had significantly higher salaries than other employees.

“Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent, and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings,” Satoshi Kanazawa, one of the study’s authors and a reader in management at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom,said in a statement.

The researchers also found instances of what they referred to as an “ugliness premium.” They discovered that workers who were rated “very unattractive” always made more money than those with “unattractive” ratings. In addition, there were instances in which those rated “very unattractive” also had higher salaries than their average-looking and attractive peers.

Mary Still, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, said there are several reasons their research contradicts previous studies that suggested there was a premium paid to beautiful people. Besides failing to take into account heath, intelligence and personality factors, the past studies also didn’t break those with “very unattractive” and “unattractive” ratings into separate groups. Instead, they simply categorized them all as below average.

“Thereby they fail to document the ugliness premium enjoyed by the very unattractive workers,” Still said.

Since the data sets studied only surveyed people up to age 29, the researchers admit that the wages of beautiful and less attractive employees may become more unbalanced as time goes on.

“If the beauty premium and ugliness penalty are cumulative throughout working careers, then they may show up in earnings of older workers,” the study’s authors wrote.