• Enneagrams at the Workplace

    How much do you know about Enneagrams? An innovative approach to leadership development, analyzing the way people think, feel, act, and relate to others, it can be an important tool in today’s business environment. It’s used in corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits across the globe, as a way to boost professional skills and self-awareness to develop high functioning teams. Integrating enneagrams into your management may be the strategy you need to take your team to the next level, embracing diversity by tapping into the deeper resources of your employees, building an organization that rises to the challenges of today’s rapidly changing business world.

    So what, exactly, is an Enneagram?  It’s a typology system that describes nine different ways of seeing the world, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing and understanding these different points of view helps us appreciate other people’s styles of working and relating and their different points of view. The nine different types are:

    1. The Perfectionist: Responsible, thorough, hardworking, with high standards, they know how to focus on doing things the right way. The challenge Perfectionists face is knowing how to balance critical thinking with acceptance, and know when getting something “exactly right” is not as productive as going with what’s “good enough.”
    2. The Giver: Positive and people-oriented, Givers are excellent communicators who will support the best interests of the organization. They’re empathetic and understand what people feel and need, but have trouble with establishing personal boundaries and choosing when and how much they help others.
    3. The Performer: Tremendously productive, Performers are enthusiastic, highly motivated, and good at accomplishing results by springing into action. They struggle with listening to others, building good relationships, and developing long-term strategies, and are prone to “workaholism” and personal burnout.
    4. The Romantic: Focused on authenticity, meaning, and aesthetics, Romantics value excellence and want to make personal connections with their work and the people around them. They have trouble tolerating the mundane aspects of work and struggle to reduce their emotional reactions and not take things too personally.
    5. The Observer: Seeking to develop technical expertise and accumulate knowledge, Observers are excellent at thinking and strategizing. They need privacy and autonomy, and their challenge is to communicate warmth, recognize that there are more human assets besides mental intelligence, and be available to other people.
    6. The Loyal/Skeptic: Loyal and dependable, this personality type is good at anticipating problems and creating solutions. They focus on creating safety and structure, and struggle with managing suspicion and doubt and de-motivating themselves and others.
    7. The Epicure: This type is quick thinking and adaptable, with a positive outlook and the ability to see opportunities where others see problems. Epicures enjoy multiple interests and multiple options, and their challenge is to acknowledge problems and limitations and focus on the task at hand.
    8. The Protector: Good at taking charge of their environment, Protectors are good leaders who know how to mobilize and get things done. They’ll stand up for the positions and people important to them, but they struggle with moderating their forcefulness, being adaptable, and avoiding creating conflict.
    9. The Mediator: Steady and balanced in both work and relationships, Mediators see all sides of an issue and are good at bringing people together in a spirit of harmony and cooperation. The challenge for this personality type is to focus on priorities and defend their own position, even in the face of discomfort or conflict.

    How does this apply to the workplace? When we understand each other better, it builds a sense of connectedness that reduces conflict and helps us cooperate more effectively. While no one is all one thing or another, the Enneagram gives us a way of creating an environment in which each member of the team can optimize his or her particular strengths and challenges. When you know your personality type, you can focus on what’s most relevant to you and look at how you can become more flexible and creative. As team members, it helps us develop professional skills and self-awareness, in order to make better choices and more intelligent decisions. As a manager, it empowers us to tap greater resources in others.

    If you’re looking for a place to hold an Enneagram workshop for your team, we have the place for you. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on providing companies with training facilities that feature high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Our computer labs and other spaces come equipped with internet accessibility, printers and fax machines, Wi-Fi setup, on-site tech support, full projection systems, workstations, whiteboards, and computers furnished with the most cutting edge technology, to ensure that your training event is a success. Soundproof rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the other ways we provide the little niceties that make a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

  • Top Tips for Dealing with Workplace Bullies

    Did you deal with bullies when you were in school? From the playground bullies of elementary school to the cliques of high school, kids who pick on other kids are a frustrating reality. If you were excited to leave that all behind when you graduated, you might want to hold off on celebrating. Bullies are nearly as prevalent in the workplace as they are in the schoolyard. In fact, it’s estimated that 60 million Americans deal with bullying each year, and 61 percent of those bullies are bosses. How you deal with workplace bullies can make all the difference in your work environment.

    Workplace bullies come in many different varieties. There’s the aggressive communicator, expressing displeasure loudly all the time, whether it’s by yelling, sending angry emails, or using aggressive body language. Some bullies take their power by disparaging and humiliating others, constantly criticizing and insulting their targets, whether verbally or through email. This type of bully socially isolates people, pointing out their mistakes to others, but taking credit for their work. Some of the most frustrating bullies are those who manipulate others and withhold resources, setting their targets up for failure. There’s also the behind-the-scenes meddler, who pretends to be on a person’s side and yet undermines that person behind his or her back.

    No matter what type of bully you’re encountering, it can make you dread going to work. In fact, nearly half of the people who are targeted by a bully at work experience stress-related problems including anxiety, panic attacks, and clinical depression. Workplace bullying has been defined as “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees, abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating or intimidating, work sabotage or verbal abuse,” according to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute. An estimated 81 percent of employers are perceived as doing nothing to combat bullying, and in fact, 71 percent of employer reactions and 60 percent of coworkers’ reactions are harmful to the targets of bullies. Considering that bullying isn’t illegal if your boss and coworkers are unlikely to help, what can you do about a bully?

    It’s going to take personal courage, but it’s worth it if you’re able to improve the environment of your workplace.

    • Nip it in the bud. If you’re going to stop bullying at your workplace, you need to speak up as soon as possible after it starts. As soon as you feel you’re being mistreated, call the problem to the attention of the person creating it. Explain why it’s a problem, and call to the bully’s values to cast your request for a change in behavior in a positive light. Use assertive body language, and say the person’s name frequently during your exchange. Establish clear expectations, setting limits on what you will tolerate, describing the behavior and offering suggestions for a different way to handle things.
    • Document what’s happening. Keep a journal of what’s happening, and save emails or any other evidence of this bullying behavior, printing things so you have a hard copy as well as digital. If there were any witnesses to an incident, make a note of that, too. Pay attention to how the bully treats your coworkers, and ask them to document things as well. Bullying has a negative impact not just on the person being bullied, but also on the business as a whole, so it’s important to be ready to report it to HR if it doesn’t stop.
    • Practice self-care. Bullying is hard on a person, and if you’re being bullied it can take its toll. Find ways to take care of yourself, spending time with family and friends and participating in activities that make you happy. If you are having trouble handling things, talk to a therapist or counselor, preferably one well-versed in trauma-informed counseling.
    • Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies. Many companies don’t have a formal policy on bullying, but by reading the employee handbook you can find language that explains your organization’s values, as well as what is expected of employees. You might also consider seeking legal advice, especially if your situation qualifies as harassment.
    • Talk to someone with power. Sometimes, ending bullying behavior is as simple as speaking to the boss about it. Unfortunately, sometimes the boss is the bully, in which case you’ll need to go higher. Talk to management and HR, bringing documentation and explaining what you’ve already tried. Plan what you’ll say ahead of time, being specific about actions you’d like management or HR to take.
    • Don’t be afraid to find greener pastures. Unfortunately, most bullying situations lead to the target leaving the job. If you don’t see any resolution forthcoming, it’s smart to polish your resume and start looking at what else is out there, in case things don’t improve.

    If you’re a boss looking to help your team bond and stave off workplace bullying, you might consider holding off-site training sessions. Away from familiar surroundings, in a more relaxed atmosphere, team members can learn together and connect. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on providing companies with training facilities that feature high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Our computer labs and other spaces come equipped with internet accessibility, printers and fax machines, Wi-Fi setup, on-site tech support, full projection systems, workstations, whiteboards, and computers furnished with the most cutting edge technology, to ensure that your training event is a success. Soundproof rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the other ways we provide the little niceties that make a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

     

  • How to Multi-Task: Training an Employee

    Training An Employee

    As a manager, you’ve got plenty of responsibilities. You’ve got so many, in fact, that when it’s time to train a new employee it may feel like an annoyance, adding one more thing to your plate. However, since the right training can produce a valuable team member, it’s worth taking the time to do it correctly. The good news? You can do that without having to stop doing your job. Here’s how.

    • Take the time ahead of time to make a plan. First, look at your current workload, and determine your priorities at the moment. What are some of the less important things you’re doing, that you can set aside to give yourself time to focus on training the new employee? Next, create a document that details what you expect from the new employee. Make a copy of this document for yourself, and one for your new hire. Think about:
      • Your goals for the new employee’s first 30, 60, and 90 days
      • Which tasks you expect to delegate to this person
      • Meetings the person will be expected to attend in their first few weeks
      • Information the person needs, including links, calendars, logins, and details about team members and colleagues.
      • Necessary details about projects perhaps gathered from other teammates with whom the new employee will be working.
      • Questions and ideas that you have for the new employee
    • Carve out some space in your calendar. Training a new employee is a time-consuming endeavor, so you should be proactive about setting aside time to do it. Schedule a one-on-one meeting every day during the first week, but also set aside time for training sessions in which you’ll need to be involved. Time management is an essential skill when you’re adding a new responsibility like training, and it pays to use your calendar wisely, putting everything down so that nothing slips between the cracks.
    • Connect with your new hire digitally. Send the person a message on LinkedIn, welcoming him or her to the team. This is also a great way to help get your new employee connected to your professional network. Send an email, too, conveying how happy you are to have a new team member. You can use that email to address important details of the first couple of days, request any necessary information, offer to answer questions, and generally help your new hire be more comfortable in the new office on the very first day.
    • Delegate training tasks and assign a mentor. Your team is an invaluable resource when you’re training someone new. Delegate some of the new hire’s training to people who are comfortable in stepping into a leadership role, because this helps each of your employees develop professionally. In particular, it’s good to assign a mentor or buddy to show your new employee the ropes.
    • Don’t hover. It’s important to check in frequently during the first couple of weeks, but after that, your meetings should taper off. Your employees need to know that you trust them to handle things on their own, so emphasize that you are confident in their problem-solving skills. When you give them space to solve their own problems, you’ll be helping them to become confident, independent professionals.
    • Involve the rest of your team. Getting your new hire up to speed on projects so that he or she can hit the ground running is important, but it’s also important for your team to be Schedule in time for your new employee to get to know his or her colleagues, planning an outing or two like lunch, coffee, or drinks together. Put it on everyone’s calendar ahead of time to make sure everyone’s on board. If you’re hiring more than one employee at once, you might plan a larger event, to help your employees bond and learn to function as a team. You can work in some training sessions, but keep team building the focus, making sure to provide plenty of time that’s free from any discussion of work-related topics.

    If you follow these steps, you can help your new employee adjust to his or her new job without taking time away from yours. The goal, of course, is to have an employee who is a valuable and productive member of the team, quickly jumping in and getting up to speed. When you properly train your new employees, it helps your group to become an effective and unified team.

    One way to strengthen the unity of your group is to hold training sessions off-site, where team members, both established and new, can learn together and form bonds. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on providing companies with training facilities that feature high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Our computer labs and other spaces come equipped with internet accessibility, printers and fax machines, Wi-Fi setup, on-site tech support, full projection systems, workstations, whiteboards, and computers furnished with the most cutting edge technology, to ensure that your training event is a success. Soundproof rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the other ways we provide the little niceties that make a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

  • What You Need to Know About Attending Your First Conference

    Attending Your First Conference

    You’re about to attend your very first conference? How exciting! You’ll want to make the most of it, learning everything you can, and networking to your best advantage. If the prospect seems overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with these helpful tips on maximizing the benefits of your first conference.

    • Pack light, but remember the essentials. If it’s an established event, you can easily stalk the website to see what people are wearing. If not, bring some professional-looking basics that can be dressed up or down, as the occasion warrants. Don’t bother bringing notebooks and pens, as they’ll be provided for you, but do bring a large collapsible bag, into which you’ll put all the papers, freebies, and general swag you accumulate during the conference. One absolute “must” on your packing list is business cards, and it’s also smart to download the LinkedIn mobile app. If you’re going to pitch your product to anyone while you’re there, bring demo materials to make your presentation more effective. Don’t forget your chargers, and keep your devices charged during the event, so that you don’t have to be tethered to an outlet when you should be interacting.
    • Know before you go. Study the agenda so you’ll be able to set goals for yourself at the conference and devise a plan to meet them. Attend all the conference-wide events, then carefully consider the smaller sessions, determining which ones will be most useful to you. If you can walk around the space ahead of time to get oriented, that can be helpful. If not, make sure to study a map so you’ll know how to get around. Find out who will be attending, perhaps by finding the event’s Facebook page or Twitter hashtag. That way you can make plans to touch base with peers and customers, and maybe even book some time with prospects so that you can have their full attention for a few minutes. Plan to get to the event early, so you maximize your time by registering before it starts.
    • Have a strategy, so you can learn as much as possible. There will be a ton of information, packed into a short amount of time. By staying organized, you can retain most of what you’ve learned and keep yourself on track. Write notes on the back of business cards to remind you of conversations you had with the people whose names are on the cards. For sessions, consider digital note-taking, or at least make sure your notes are organized so that they’ll make sense once you’re home from the conference. Sit as close to the front as you can in the sessions you attend, and attend as many sessions as you can.
    • Plan to interact. Remember, conferences are about more than just presentations. Networking is an important part of the opportunity you’re afforded at a conference. Make sure that you don’t just hang around with people you know; you’ll learn more by interacting with your competition, colleagues, and the thought leaders in your industry. Make sure to briefly meet each speaker you listen to, as well as the conference organizers. Strategize even your meal times: don’t eat lunch with your friends, choosing instead to make new acquaintances at the conference lunches, then choose people you’d like to know better to invite out to dinner. Try to connect with both existing customers and potential prospects, focusing on providing information rather than closing deals. Make sure to take the time to walk the exhibition floor, because you may be able to get free products and services for your business, as well as interesting swag. The after-parties, too, can be a wealth of information, as long as you stay sober, get to know people, and don’t leave the party early. Don’t neglect the social media aspect of conferences, tagging your tweets and Instagram posts to further connect you with the event.
    • Don’t stop thinking about the conference as soon as it ends. Review the information you’ve collected while it’s still fresh in your mind, and share it with colleagues to whom it will be relevant. Immediately after the conference is also the best time to follow up with the people you met at the conference, while you’re all still fresh in each other’s minds.

    If you’re in a position to weigh on the place where your conference will be held, it’s important to find a location that’s equipped with the right technology and tools to facilitate learning. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on the high-quality equipment and exceptional service you’ll find at our training facilities. Our computer labs and other spaces come equipped with internet accessibility, printers and fax machines, Wi-Fi setup, on-site tech support, full projection systems, workstations, whiteboards, and computers furnished with the most cutting edge technology, to ensure that your training event is a success. Soundproof rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the other ways we provide the little niceties that make a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

  • Team Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Enjoy

    Team Enjoying Team Building Activities

    What do you think of when you hear the phrase “team building?” Trust falls and sharing? Time with your coworkers that makes you want to run for the hills? As important as team building is for fostering camaraderie between coworkers and reminding them that working together is the key to success, it can be a real drag in practice. Fortunately, team building doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. In fact, we’ve got a few suggestions that will make your team want to come back for more team building.

    • Give them something to figure out. Present your team with a word problem or a jigsaw puzzle- the task itself is not as important as doing it. Give them a certain amount of time to solve the problem or assemble the puzzle together, making it clear that everyone must participate, and then take some time to talk about strategy, roles played by different team members, and why people made the decisions they did. This kind of exercise can be enlightening, revealing interesting information about how your team members think and how they can work together.
    • Complete an escape room together. These are becoming ever more popular, and it’s no wonder. They’re a fun way to work together as a team and accomplish something. If there are escape rooms in your city, checking one out can be a fun excursion. If not, you can create your own escape room, either on your own or by picking Escape Room in a Box.
    • Brainstorm together. Sometimes, the best team-building exercise involves solving a problem you’re actually facing as a business. Take some time to hash out new ideas together, cluing your team in on the problem ahead of time, and asking everyone to come up with a few suggestions. Throw everyone’s ideas up on a board, and discuss amongst yourselves to come up with some great solutions.
    • Learn about your personalities. Take a personality test together, and discuss the results. This is a fun way to get to know your coworkers, discovering commonalities as well as learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You may also learn something new about yourself in the process.
    • Host an old-fashioned “Show and Tell”. Get together over snacks and talk about what’s going on in your lives, both professionally and personally. Give people the opportunity to brag about accomplishments, talk about hobbies, and discuss projects they’re working on, welcoming feedback.
    • Do something that inspires healthy competition. There are many different ways to have fun competing with your coworkers. Maybe you’ll hold a desk decorating contest on a holiday, a cook-off or bake-off, or some other in-office contest. You might also take your team out for trivia night to let them show off their knowledge and work together. For that matter, you can invite a trivia host to your office and divide into teams to compete against each other. Board games are another way to loosen up and learn to work together as a team.
    • Do something worthwhile. Look for ways that your team can have an impact on the larger community. Hold a can drive, volunteer, participate in a charity walk or fun run, do some community service work, or collect money for a worthy cause. Make participation voluntary, so that your team feels they’re doing something meaningful.
    • Do something outside. Maybe it’s a ropes course, maybe a scavenger hunt, or perhaps participation in an intramural league. There’s something about being together in the fresh air that makes it easy to work as a team. It doesn’t have to be a physical event, either. If your team is more artistic than sporty, consider splitting into teams and making movies on a common theme, to be screened and judged on a particular date.
    • Tell each other some stories. Talk about work experiences, using trigger words to get everyone started. Alternately, you can talk about things that have nothing to do with work, perhaps sharing your bucket lists and explaining why each thing on your list has meaning. The purpose of this kind of exercise is to get people to open up and share stories, in order to better understand each other.

    One way to strengthen the unity of your group is to hold training sessions off-site, where team members can learn together and form bonds. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on providing companies with training facilities that feature high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Our computer labs and other spaces come equipped with internet accessibility, printers and fax machines, Wi-Fi setup, on-site tech support, full projection systems, workstations, whiteboards, and computers furnished with the most cutting edge technology, to ensure that your training event is a success. Soundproof rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the other ways we provide the little niceties that make a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

  • How to Excel as an Introvert in the Workplace

    Introvert In The Workplace

    Employees in office settings are commonly expected to intermingle with those around them, sharing cubicles and making small talk on their lunch breaks. As an introvert, you might prefer one-on-one communication or, quite frankly, to avoid social interactions altogether sometimes. Unlike your extroverted friends, you need alone time to recharge and help you make it through a busy work week. Here are some techniques you can use to excel as an introvert in the workplace.

    • Flex your creative muscles. Contrary to popular belief, being introverted isn’t a weakness. You simply need to find a job that maximizes your strengths. For instance, fields such as marketing, graphic design, writing, and editing require creativity and attention to detail, skills that introverts often have.
    • Consider freelance work. Many introverts are self-starters who don’t need the external motivation that extroverts require. This means you might excel in a freelance position working as a social media analyst, event coordinator, editorial assistant, graphic designer, copywriter, or proofreader. Freelancers tend to work independently for long periods without a supervisor breathing down their neck. This is just what many introverts need.
    • Look for a technical job. Do you enjoy thinking things over and taking a thorough approach to your work? If you’re this type of introvert, you may excel in engineering or science, fields that require research and problem-solving skills.
    • Find a company that communicates asynchronously. As an introvert, group meetings might turn you off. You may wonder why emails and group chat can’t get the job done. Many companies utilize such asynchronous communication methods to avoid breaking people away from their work while still providing channels for support and feedback. Find a company that uses technology to the fullest so you can benefit in this way.
    • Request a private area to work. If you’re already looking for a job where you can work independently, there should be no reason to share your workspace with someone else. Whether it’s a private cubicle or an entire office to yourself, having a quiet place to work is invaluable as an introvert.
    • Plan your tasks ahead of time. While extroverts tend to fly by the seat of their pants, introverts often prefer a higher level of organization and predictability. If your job allows for it, schedule the tasks you plan to perform at least a few days in advance. This may be critical to remain on schedule if there are multiple tight deadlines you must adhere to.

    If you’re a leader in your company, you can help all members of your team—introverts and extroverts alike—interact and get to know one another at training and team-building events. Texas Training and Conference Centers is the ideal place to hold such events. With our fully equipped, soundproof conference rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches, you have everything you need to have a successful event. To learn more about our services, or to reserve a training facility in Houston, please contact us at 832.982.1708 today.

  • Inspiring Interns to Become Full-Time Employees

    Inspiring Interns

    Rolling the dice on new employees can be a big risk. What if you had the chance to test out workers before hiring them full-time? By leveraging internships, you can! This is the perfect opportunity to find summer workers, see if they’re a smart match for your company, and invite them to stick around.

    Of course, your interns must be equally interested in joining your company as you are to add their enthusiasm and talent to your team. Here’s how to inspire interns to become full-time employees.

    • Bring on a group of interns all at once. This eliminates the feeling of being the “new kid” and helps young, like-minded talent bond with one another. Then, when the time comes to hire, you can turn your interns into a new group of “fresh” employees.
    • Convey your company’s purpose. Your interns may feel uninspired by your business if they’re unsure why you do what you do. Crafting a compelling purpose—and reminding your interns of it often—gives the feeling of being on a mission. This way, your interns feel as though their time and energy are being put to good use.
    • Determine your interns’ specific skills. To help you identify where your interns might fit best within your company, bring them to meetings, cross-train them in different departments, and let them brainstorm on projects.
    • Assign mentors. When each intern works under a different full-time employee, two important things happen. First, your interns become excited about the opportunities that await them if they perform well. Second, it gives them an inside look at the culture of working at this company.
    • Don’t treat your interns like children. If you want your interns to be vested in your company, prove that you take them seriously. Let them work on real projects and contribute their ideas. When you offer worthwhile work experience, your interns are more likely to remain as full-time employees.
    • Provide positive reinforcement. Just like your senior employees, interns want to feel valued for their time and commitment. If they’re doing a good job, let them know. This simple feedback is a highly effective way to mold new company champions.
    • Include interns in company activities. Interns often feel disconnected from the rest of the team. To prevent this, invite them to attend training and team-building events with the rest of your staff. Your interns will feel like part of the group, making them more inclined to stick around when you extend the invitation.

    As a company leader, it’s your job to make your interns feel welcome and valued so they want to join your team full-time. Hosting corporate training seminars for your entire staff, including interns, is one way to do this. Consider holding your event at Texas Training and Conference Centers in Houston. Our facility is fully equipped with the latest technology to make your time with us a success! To learn more about our Houston training and events center, please contact us at 832.982.1708.

  • Mindfulness at Work: Tips and Tricks to Remain Calm

    Remain Calm

    Do you often feel overwhelmed or stressed? We spend much of our lives at work, and while work can be rewarding and meaningful, it can also be the cause of a great deal of stress. How do you cope? Have you ever considered the concept of mindfulness? It’s an idea that many companies are beginning to embrace.

    Mindfulness, simply put, is being consciously present moment by moment, and having an awareness of yourself and your surroundings in the present, rather than focusing on the past or future. Mindfulness means stepping away from multi-tasking, being calmer and more focused, and striving to be gentler with ourselves and those around us. When mindfulness becomes part of your company’s culture, it increases creativity and productivity by improving focus, attention, and behavior. Even if your company isn’t ready to jump on this trend, though, there are simple ways you can improve your own workplace experience by practicing mindfulness.

    • Start your morning with mindfulness. Prepare for your morning the night before, and wake up early enough to be able to start the day slowly. Create a morning routine that engages your mind and makes you feel calm. Rather than engaging with technology immediately, spend time in the morning being in the moment, and thinking about your day.
    • Make a conscious decision to be present in the moment. More than anything else, mindfulness is about being aware and awake, rather than running on auto-pilot. At the beginning of your day, make a decision to be present in what you’re doing, whether it’s working on a task, eating your lunch, or talking to a coworker. When you find your mind drifting, acknowledge the thoughts you’re having, and refocus your attention on what you’re doing.
    • Stop all the multi-tasking. In today’s high-paced world, many of us pride ourselves on being able to effectively multi-task. The truth, though, is that focusing on one thing at a time increases your efficiency and productivity.
    • Just breathe. Simply focusing on inhaling and exhaling can relax you and can be done anywhere. Breathe in through your nose to the count of three and then release the breath through your mouth to the count of three. Slowing down and taking a minute to just breathe can help put you into a calmer emotional state. Try spending one minute of each hour simply focusing on your breathing and nothing else, and you may be surprised at how much better you feel.
    • Take breaks when you need them. It may seem counterintuitive to take a break in the middle of a busy workday, but detaching from work for a few minutes can improve your concentration. Sometimes, it just takes a moment of tuning into your body, thinking about how you’re feeling, to help you re-center. Don’t hesitate to take a lunch break, though, or go outside for a 15-minute refresher.
    • Cultivate a healthy mindset. Practice gratitude and positivity, while acknowledging that there will always be things you cannot change. Look for ways to turn frustration into an opportunity to reflect and regroup and stress into an exciting challenge. Sometimes, just being mindful of how you think can make a huge difference in your overall well-being. Here’s an easy exercise to help you: at the end of each day, wrote down one positive thing that happened that day and why it made you happy. By doing this, you’ll be training your brain to focus on the positive.

    If you’re a leader in your company, you might consider hosting a mindfulness seminar to acquaint your team with the practices that can help them thrive moment by moment. When it’s time to start planning, consider Texas Training and Conference Center for your next group event. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on offering training facilities that feature the technology and tools to facilitate learning, with high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Soundproof rooms, state of the art electronics, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the ways we create an environment that makes a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

  • Success Secrets for Small Talk at Work

    Secrets For Small Talk At Work

    How good are you at chit-chat? With all the skills you need to be successful in business, this is one that often gets overlooked. Being a good conversationalist, however, is vital if you want to get ahead. Fortunately, small talk is a skill that can be learned; with a little bit of practice, you can become proficient at making conversation.

    • Be mindful of the moment. Often, we’re so involved in our own thoughts or focused on our devices that we miss the opportunity to connect with those around us. Put away your phone when you’re around other people, and make a point to interact.
    • Know before you go. If there’s a company event, find out what you can about people who will be in attendance. Think about the people you’d really like to meet, and what questions you might ask to engage them in conversation.
    • Be prepared. Make a plan before you enter a social situation, thinking of questions you can ask to start conversations, current events that are interesting without being controversial, and interesting personal facts that you can share without oversharing. It’s also smart to plan for the close of a conversation, making sure you know how to gracefully exit when it’s reached its logical conclusion.
    • Make the first move. Don’t wait for people to initiate conversations with you. Instead, take the initiative and branch out from people you already know. Be inclusive, introducing people to each other, and be friendly, conveying warmth and sincerity.
    • Listen more than you talk. A big part of conversation has nothing to do with coming up with things to say. Focus on the person with whom you’re conversing, asking questions and paying attention to the answers. It’s likely that the answers will act as springboards for further conversation, so look for opportunities to ask follow-up questions.
    • Be sure to share. If you only ask questions without volunteering information about yourself, the person with whom you’re talking may feel like you’re conducting an interrogation. Share details about your life, taking care to keep the conversation light and upbeat.
    • Be mindful of your purpose. Small talk is more than mindless chatter. Rather, it’s a way to get to know people, forming connections in order to build more substantial relationships with colleagues and associates.

    If you’re a leader in your company, you can help foster relationships by providing opportunities for team members to interact and get to know each other. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on offering training facilities that facilitate team-building, with high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Soundproof rooms, state of the art technology, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the ways we create an environment that makes a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.

  • Top Five Traits That Make A Great Leader

    Great Leader

    Are you a good leader? What would it take for you to define yourself as a great leader? Is there a certain personality trait or character aspect that makes someone a great leader, or can outstanding leadership be taught and learned? What would you say are the top five traits that make a great leader?

    • A great leader has integrity. A leader who is honest and has a clear vision is capable of building a team from the ground up. People are inspired by leaders who believe in what they’re doing and are honest in their interactions. In fact, a recent survey indicated that over 80 percent of workers surveyed rank honesty as the most important personality trait for a leader.
    • Great leaders are decisive. Making decisions is central to leadership, and to be an effective leader, you have to be confident that the choices you are making are in the best interest of your organization. To do this, you must have a vision and know how to weigh all your options and move forward in pursuit of that vision.
    • In order to lead well, you must be open. Openness is an important trait of leaders, and that means being imaginative, open to new experiences, and open to the ideas of others. A leader who has this kind of openness can create a culture of effective communication, where team members feel that their ideas are heard and valued.
    • Attention to detail is imperative in leadership. Conscientious leaders are organized, thoughtful, and forward thinking. They are strategic planners who empower their teams by creating both long and short term goals to propel the organization forward. They can see the big picture as well as the little details, and they notice how their employees contribute to the success of their company.
    • To be a great leader, you must be a team builder. In addition to listening to the ideas of their team members, great leaders recognize achievement in their team, acknowledging each member’s contributions. By supporting employees this way, leaders create a culture that promotes confidence and positive energy rather than stress. In such an environment, expectations are communicated clearly, but there’s also room for fun and camaraderie. What’s more, good leaders provide learning opportunities and chances to grow and advance.

    Good leaders know that sometimes, team building requires time and space for training outside of the office. At Texas Training and Conference Centers, we pride ourselves on offering facilities perfect for team building, featuring the technology and tools to facilitate learning, with high-quality equipment and exceptional service. Our computer labs and other spaces come equipped with internet accessibility, printers and fax machines, Wi-Fi setup, on-site tech support, full projection systems, workstations, whiteboards, and computers furnished with the most cutting edge technology, to ensure that your training event is a success. Soundproof rooms, continental breakfast, and optional catered lunches are just a few of the other ways we provide the little niceties that make a big difference for your event. For the past 18 years, we’ve provided exceptional service to businesses throughout Houston, and we have the expertise to help you make your event a success. To learn more about Texas Training and Conference Centers, call us at 832.982.1708 or contact us through our website.