10 Types of Jewelry For Men

When we think of jewelry, we automatically think of jewelry for women. These days it is becoming increasingly common and fashionable for men to wear jewelry. Although much of men’s jewelry serves a purpose, there are many items that have no other purpose than to complement a man’s natural good looks. Read on to discover some obvious (and some not so obvious) jewelry choices for men.

Make a Statement with Men’s Jewelry

1. Watches

Timepieces have been around for a few centuries and serve a useful purpose. Jewelry or machine? Honestly, a watch is really a piece of jewelry that also happens to tell time. This is a way to get men who do not like wearing “jewelry” to actually wear jewelry without knowing it. The type of watch worn has to match the image the man wants to project,: a watch for the executive, a Swatch for the artist, a Nike for the athlete. Since many men have active lifestyles, there are different watches designed for different activities.

2. Rings

The next most common piece of jewelry men wear is a ring. The reason being in just about every culture, rings are worn to symbolize marriage between two people. Rings have been around for ages. Unlike watches, they do not serve a purpose, but when worn on the left ring finger, they do send out a signal about a man’s marital status. Wedding rings used to be made out of just gold or platinum. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that wedding ring designers began to experiment with the idea of using alternative metals. One of the first alternative metals was titanium. The metal was valued for its light weight, white color and strength. It is used for many other types of jewelry, not just rings. Only less than 5 years ago, tungsten carbide – a relatively unknown metal to the general public – suddenly exploded in popularity. It now comprises 20% of all men’s wedding ring sales in North America. Men’s tungsten wedding bands are valued for their extreme hardness. They are four times harder than titanium and have a hefty weight that men like. Tungsten is so hard that only a diamond or sapphire can scratch it. Tungsten is also very affordable. If you want to stick to a precious metal ring, but don’t want to pay through your nose for a gold or platinum ring, palladium may be the way to go. Palladium rings look and act just like platinum because both these metals are from the same family of metals, the Platinum Group Metals. Palladium, however, is about 70% less expensive than platinum rings. Many jewelers only deal with a few select metals.

3. Earring(s)

Traditionally for women, the earring is now accepted by society for men. Some men wear one earring and some wear two. Men that have traditional jobs in an office setting are often discouraged from wearing earrings or not allowed to wear them by company policy. Although, less popular as a man’s gift, earrings are here to stay as men’s jewelry.

4. Bracelets

Although less popular than watches, bracelets are a piece of jewelry many men wear. Men’s bracelets used to be made of heavier and more expensive metals such as gold, but alternative metals are becoming increasingly popular. The variety of materials used for bracelets are more varied than for rings or watches, and many of them are not even metals. There are bracelets made of wooden beads, carbon fiber, and ceramics, as well as stainless steel and titanium. Frequently, they incorporate more than one of the above mentioned materials.

5. Necklaces

Necklaces were worn by more men in the past than today. Men who wear necklaces tend to wear just one. In the past there was a higher tendency to wear multiple necklaces. Multiple necklaces can be viewed as tacky or “slimy” today, and as such many men today avoid wearing multiple necklaces.

6. Pendants

Men have mostly switched from wearing necklaces to wearing pendants. Pendants can be used to show a man’s religious faith or just to express oneself. The most common pendant to wear is the cross, in countless variations, and much like bracelets, pendants which were mostly made of gold in the past are now being made in all kinds of metallic and non-metallic materials. Some men wear pendants in conjunction with necklaces, while others choose to wear their pendants around their neck with a modest black leather cord.

7. Cuff Links

Commonly referred to as men’s accessories, cuff links are actually jewelry that men wear without thinking they’re there just keep shirt cuffs buttoned, right? Cufflinks are most often worn in an office setting where more professional dress is required. They make great Father’s Day gifts or birthday gifts. They are usually made of stainless steel or in some cases titanium. Gold is used, but is less common.

8. Money Clip

Men who like to show they have higher status, or at least the appearance of high status, tend to use money clips. With credit cards beings so ubiquitous, many men do not have cash in their pockets, which defeats the purpose of a money clip. The clip part of the money clip is typically made of stainless steel and if there is a decorative element on the clip it can be made of silver, gold or some other type of material. Money clips are usually given on the same occasions as cuff links.

9. Fountain Pens

Designer fountain pens can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, and tend to be gifts that companies give to their male and female executives. They can also be given to friends or spouses. In today’s high tech world, writing with pens is less common – even signatures can be electronic now. The fountain pen is becoming more of a piece of jewelry than a functional item.

10. Key Chains

Key chains are a jewelry item used to perform a function more than jewelry. For this reason, few key chains are made of expensive metals. Most are made of stainless steel, leather or titanium. This is a gift that is popular for Father’s Day or birthdays, particularly from a son or daughter.

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What Is Computer Aided Engineering And Computational Fluid Dynamics?

Computer Aided Engineering (CAE)

CAE is the broad use of computer software with the aim to aid engineering tasks. It is a broad field that involves computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, optimization and multibody dynamics. Software tools developed to support the activities are known as CAE tools and they can be used in different application, including analyzing robustness and also performance of assemblies and components.

Computer aided design has indeed revolutionized modern engineering as it allows easier development of products and management integration of the same. It has also made modeling greater and offers basis for virtual networking. In the engineering world, the design is used widely to develop products to meet consumer expectations. It is this knowledge that makes engineering students and professionals important because of the benefits they bring to the engineering workforce.

Using computer aided engineering designs can be simulated in all kinds of scenarios without any physical change to the model. The technology is therefore widely applied to engineering applications. It comes with drawing benefits, project management benefits and networking benefits as well. It is applied to fields like aviation, space, shipbuilding and automotive industries. Computer aided engineering systems are supportive to businesses because they can place information views into the business process and make reference architectures useful especially when it comes to manufacturing models and products.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)

This is a discipline that falls under computer aided engineering and is used to engineer products and process designs as well as fabricate and analyze all elements involved in the processes. The technology also falls under fluid mechanics that rely on numerical methods and algorithms to analyze and solve problems that are related to fluid flow as well as heat transfer. Computational fluid dynamics are made up of three phases:

· Pre-processing that defined computation fluid dynamics models that include physics environmental factors, geometry and boundary conditions

· Analysis which offer solution of transport equation using the computational fluid techniques

· Post processing which involves results using visualization tools

CFD started way back in the 1960s with the first successes becoming prominent in 1970s. In services industry it took effect in the 1980s and the industry significantly expanded in the 90s. CFD packages continue to develop and significant changes are definitely expected in the future. The knowledge on how fluid flow and the quantitative effects of solids that are in contact helps:

· Architects and building service engineers to provide safe and comfortable human environments

· Power plant designer to achieve maximum efficiency and also reduce pollutant releases

· Chemical engineers in maximizing yields from processing equipment and reactors

· Designers of marine, air and land vehicles to achieve maximum performance at minimum costs

· Safety engineers and risk-and-hazard analysts to make predictions of the damage extent of structures, human beings, vegetation, animals and even equipment as a result of blast waves, explosions and fires

The flow simulation also proves helpful to the metropolitan authorities in determining pollutant emissions, meteorologists in foretelling water and wind current, petroleum engineers in designing oil recovery strategies among many other applications.

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Are You Eligible for These Sunshine State Travel Discounts?

If a Florida vacation is in your future, then find out if you’re eligible for these travel discounts in the Sunshine State. Although they are relatively easy to get, if you don’t know how or where to apply for them, you’ll totally miss out on some hefty savings.

Save at the Toll Booth

First and foremost, if you have a significant dexterity disability, you may be eligible for a free pass when it comes to Florida’s toll roads. The Disabled Toll Permit saves drivers both time and money; and although it’s often overlooked by visitors, it’s easy to obtain if you meet the minimum qualifications.

In order to qualify for a Disabled Toll Permit you must have:

A valid driver’s license
An upper limb or dexterity disability that prevents you from tossing coins into a toll booth basket
An adapted vehicle
The permit is valid for five years, and it can be used at manned toll booths throughout the state. Just show the toll booth operator your permit, and you’re good to go. For more information about the Disabled Toll Permit, call (800) 983-2435.

Once you receive your Disabled Toll Permit, you can also apply for a Sun Pass non-revenue mini transponder. There is a $4.95 fee for this electronic device that attaches to the windshield, and allows users to pass through unmanned toll booths at no charge.

For more information about a Sun Pass non-revenue mini transponder, call the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged at (561) 488-5344.

State Park Savings

Additionally, veterans with a service-connected disability can receive a free military entrance pass, good for admission to all Florida State Parks. This lifetime pass is valid for park admission of up to eight people, except at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife and Weeki Wachee Springs parks, where it’s good for up to two people.

Proof of identification, service-connected disability and honorable discharge are required. Acceptable documentation includes:

Valid driver’s license.
Documentation from Department of Defense or another appropriate agency of service-connected disability.
DD Form 214 showing honorable discharge.
The military entrance pass can only be obtained in person at any Florida State Park. Surviving Spouses and parents of US military members who have died in combat are also eligible for this pass.

Honorably discharged veterans can also receive a 25% discount on individual or family passes. These passes, which are valid for one year, are good for admission to all parks. A valid driver’s license and a DD Form 214 are required to get the discount; and like the military entrance pass, it can only be obtained in person.

And if you don’t qualify for either of those passes, but you plan to visit a number of Florida State Parks, you can still save some money by purchasing an individual or family annual pass. These passes are good for one year and they can be purchased at any state park entrance. The individual pass is priced at $60, while the family pass costs $120.

So plan ahead, bring your documentation, and rack up some savings on your next Florida vacation.

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20 Anytime Gifts That Will Last Forever

It’s that time again. You need a gift to take to a birthday, wedding, anniversary or any other occasion. Most of us don’t want to get just another gift, we all want to give and receive gifts that are timeless.

From the thoughtful custom necklace to the one-of-a-kind handmade trinket; we have you sorted out with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion

The Thoughtful Gifts

1. Personalized Letter

In this day of technology, who wouldn’t love receiving a handwritten personalized letter? Personalized letters are particularly a great gift from children to grandparents or vice versa.

2. Memory Capsule

Memories are timeless. The best gift you could ever give a loved one is a piece of encapsulated memory. Recreate old photos taken with loved ones to form your memory capsule.

3. Quality Time

Sometimes your present is enough of a gift for that special person. Set aside ample time to spend a day together or go on a getaway.

4. Personalized Gift Cards

Personalized gift cards are still a timeless favorite from kid to parents or vice versa. Give out several with thoughtful tasks that they can be redeemed against.

5. Technology Lessons

Time has flown by and our grandparents, and parents, might need a little help catching up. Kids can gift their grandparents and immediate parents technology lessons to teach them about social media as well as the use of other gadgets.

Gifts for Him

6. RFID Wallet

Wallets are overly popular gifts for men, but not the RFID wallet. The RFID wallet will protect unwarranted card data theft, and it is one wallet he’ll be keeping for long.

7. Bartender Kit

Men love their drink, well most do. There isn’t a better gift for that drink lover than a bartender kit. A bartending set will also benefit you because, with it, he’ll be whipping up those delicious cocktails well into your hay days.

8. Balance Board

Balance is necessary for everyday life, and as we age, we lose our elementary balance. For the man looking to regain balance or just to keep fit, a balance board would be the perfect gift for them.

9. Smart Sprinkler Controller

Who is in charge of the sprinkler system, or just about any electronic, in your house? For that man, an intelligent sprinkler system would serve them well. Men love gadgets, and he will rave over the ability to control the sprinklers conveniently from a laptop/tablet/phone.

10. Watch

A good watch is always a great gift for that man in your life. It doesn’t have to cost much but go for a durable timepiece that will end up being an heirloom.

Gifts for Her

11. Jewellery

Let’s face it; time has proven it, women love jewelry. You can’t go wrong with a good custom necklace or just about any tasteful jewelry that she can pass on down the family tree.

12. Tea Set

Know a woman who loves tea? Then a tea set would make the perfect gift. This isn’t necessarily an age-restricted present; any woman who hosts company will like to add a good tea set in her collection.

13. Character Apron

Aprons are functional pieces of protective clothing and contrary to tradition; they don’t have to be flowery. Character aprons can instantly transform a lady into her beloved hero.

14. Scarf

Often overlooked, scarves are exquisite and complimentary outfit accents. Most women keep them for years, and that’s why they make it to our list of timeless gifts.

15. Handbag

Next to jewellry and shoes, women love handbags. Women also keep bags for years and getting her a good, quality bag is an ideal gift choice for any occasion.

A Custom Necklace and Other Custom Gift Ideas

16. Custom Pendants

A custom necklace is a good gift, but a custom locket is a great gift. A pendant allows you to take a treasured photo with you on the go. Anyone would love getting a personalized jewelry as a gift.

17. Picture Mug

Who doesn’t love a photo mug? Why not get her or him a collection of mugs with pictures of the people dearest to them?

18. Keychains

Everyone uses keychains at one point or another. Personalized keychains are thoughtful gift options.

19. Clocks

Clocks are also great options to personalize with custom photos. Go for a traditional wall clock or a wrist watch for a custom gift option.

20. Map

Have someone you have shared countless of adventures with? Get them a customized photo map to map out your travel memories.

There you have it; with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion, you are equipped to give timeless and ageless gifts for any occasion.

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Know When Your Business Needs IT Consulting Services

Businesses must ensure that only the latest technologies and software are deployed at the workplace, in order to provide quality solutions to their clients, and to be ahead of the competition. With the ever-changing technological trends in the industry, businesses find it cumbersome to adopt these technologies. Instead they can hand the entire function over to a sound IT consulting services company – who in turn will tap into their global pool of highly skilled IT professionals, who have the advantage of working in various IT environments, and have extensive experience across sectors. By providing assistance to business, IT consulting services providers free up existing resources; ensure IT transitions are smooth and problem-free; optimise key business processes; identify areas that benefit with further cost saving; build competitive advantage through IT; reduce IT complexities; provide IT strategy consultancy services, IT project management services and provide specialised programme management solutions – all of which, help the organisation achieve significant business efficiencies and cost benefits.

Choosing to work with an IT firm definitely boosts a company’s overall efficiency, which in turn decreases costs. Firms tend to look for a flexible and bespoke solution to address the client’s IT needs, thereby delivering solutions that are in tandem with the client’s goals.

The advantages listed above necessitate hiring an IT company. But how will a business know that it needs IT consultancy services?

A business may function with its existing IT architecture without knowing the benefits of such services. In order to discern the need for IT consulting services, businesses must first understand the details of their services. According to Wikipedia, ‘IT consulting is a field that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use IT to meet their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on businesses’ behalf, known as Outsourcing’. IT consulting services firms thereby help businesses strategise and evaluate their IT functions as a whole and take the necessary steps to implement and/or deploy and then administer effective and robust IT systems in place. Businesses can seek the services of an IT firm when:

  1. IT investments regularly overshoot the set budget. Fast-paced technologies and trends warrant proper planning. When making strategic use of the allocated budget seems difficult, seeking the advice of IT consultancy services providers is imperative.
  2. A business decides to relocate or reduce staff.
  3. Projects regularly miss deadlines. Lack of specialists, complex projects and shoestring budgets lead to inefficient project management. A sound IT consulting services company designs bespoke, safe and cost-effective solutions, either full time or part time.
  4. Challenges of globalization, technical and regulatory changes arise. Business and technology management when integrated help the business survive, and therefore IT strategy consultancy is important.
  5. Programmes and projects eat into the budget. A business needs specialised programme management solutions to achieve significant cost savings. A robust IT services company provides either the co-sourcing or the outsourcing model to help businesses remain ahead of the competition, by providing tailored solutions.
  6. There is a need to change networks or when the need to shift to a new IT architecture arises.
  7. The company is in need of a robust disaster recovery plan.
  8. There are no data storage systems in place.

Availing the services of the right IT consulting services company may be a challenge. A business must choose a provider before the problems stated above get worse – and must choose a provider who is able to set in place a sound IT system in place. Therefore, a business must choose a provider who provides flexible solutions. Businesses must also remember that though they think they are able to fix small issues, the reality is that these issues must be treated at the root, and they can be properly tackled only with strategic IT solutions – only provided by an effective IT consulting services company.

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The Importance of Automotive Filter Changes

Humans require clean, easy-to-breath air in order to live. And just like humans, vehicles also need to be able to “breathe” clean air in order to survive. While human lungs make it possible to breathe, a vehicle’s air filters do just the same. But after some time, they begin to accumulate mass amounts of dirt, debris, and other airborne particles, which eventually decreases their quality and function. For this reason, it is critical to have your vehicle’s engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed on a routine basis to promote safe and efficient driving. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of routine automotive filter changes.

Air Filters

Keep in mind that your car’s air filters are your first line of defense against irritating and obstructive airborne contaminants. Dirt, dust, pollen, mold spores, exhaust gases, bacteria, and more are examples of airborne contaminants that have the ability to negatively affect the quality and performance of your engine and vehicle as a whole. And according to Community Car Care, there is a 1 in 5 chance that YOUR car needs an air filter change right now! Many drivers are guilty of overlooking this small but highly-necessary scheduled maintenance.

Engine Damage

The long list of airborne contaminants can have a powerful impact on your vehicle’s engine, and in a very negative way. Everything from pistons, cylinders, and cylinder walls, to piston rings and bearings, are just a few areas of a car engine that can begin to lose performance value from clogged or dirty air filters. Over time, neglecting to change them can lead to serious engine malfunctions and breakdowns, which means frustrating, costly repairs.

Cabin Filters

If you like to have clean, breathable interior air that smells good, you need to change your air filters on a routine basis. Once they start to become clogged, they begin to slowly lose their ability to do their job. So once they are entirely clogged, you can suffer some mild but irritating consequences, such as musty smells, sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes, tightening of the chest, and more. Changing them regularly keeps the interior environment of your car fresh and easy to breath.

Schedule

Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual for the manufacturer recommendations on factory scheduled maintenance. The general rule of thumb is to have your air filters inspected and changed every time you take your car in for an oil change. In fact, it is often a part of oil change packages. This should be every 3,000 miles or so. Talk to your mechanic for professional advice.

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Hobby Classes For Children

Parenthood is definitely the toughest and the most challenging task. From giving birth to a child to growing him up into a civilized human, parents have to face various turbulences in life. The way the child grows and what he becomes in future is all influenced by the way parents handle their child and the kind of environment they give. As the child grows up it is very important to keep him active and busy into good activities. More of free time makes your child lazy and pushes him to get indulged in something that may not be good for him. It’s the job of parents to choose some constructive activities and pastimes to ensure healthy growth and development of their child. This is where the role of hobby classes comes into course.

Hobby classes for children are the best pastimes for them that contribute to their overall development. It also plays a vital role in exploring their hidden talents and boosting their self confidence. Children also discover their skills and abilities during the course that they use to their benefit to showcase their credentials in due course of life. Nowadays there are many hobby classes conducted in various places. Some are regular classes and some classes are conducted during vacations so that children can make wise of their holidays. The only thing that parents need to consider is the interest of their children. They should not push their children to learn something that they are least interested in.

Some of the most popular hobby classes for children are art and craft, dance classes, music, and sports. Art and craft classes are great for those children who have a passion for drawing. A class like this will help to enhance their drawing skills and help them explore their imaginations and creativity. Art and craft classes include variety of courses like drawing, flower making, basket making, greeting cards, paper decorations, and jewelry making.

Dance classes are also of various types like free hand dancing, kathak, bharatnatyam, hip-hop, salsa, jazz, and movie dance. These classes contribute in boosting self confidence and bring an open outlook towards life. Dance makes children more expressive and helps in improving the coordination between heart, mind, and body. This coordination is really essential in human life as it influences our behavior and controls our daily activities. Music and singing classes are also very impressive for children. Almost all children are influenced by the movies and enjoy music to a great extent. Vocal music, singing classes, guitar training, tabla, and harmonium are all different types of music classes that are conducted for children.

Children today are also involved in various sports activities like skating, cricket, tennis, badminton, and swimming. All these activities make children sporty and active. It not only enhances physical activeness but also offers freshness to mind and calmness to heart.

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How to Take a Vacation And Make More Money In Your MLM Business

Being able to make more money in your business when you are taking a vacation sounds amazing and it is possible. In this article, you will learn how to take a vacation and make more money in your MLM business.

There are 3 reasons that you will be able to make more money in your MLM business because of your vacation so get ready to pack your bags.

Shows the Lifestyle

The last thing people want to “sign up” for is another job but when you can show how network marketing allows you to travel and enjoy life, more people will be interested in joining your team and coming on board with your business. Show people the lifestyle by going out there and living life. Not everyone is impressed by your ability to be a shut in.

Sense of Urgency to Get Things Done

When we are getting ready for vacation we understand that we need to get things done. We often get more done in the last few days before a vacation than we have gotten done all month. This is because our brains are helping us work toward the reward instead of just trying to keep busy with mundane tasks.

Clears Your Mind

After you get back from your vacation, you are going to have a new drive and desire to get things done. You will be operating with a clear mind. It is kind of life rebooting your brain so that you can think clearly and be able to get things done in a much more efficient manner.

So, now that you know, get ready to take your vacation and reap the benefits. Grow your network marketing business and enjoy your life at the same time.

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Tips on How to Start a Home-Based Facial Business

Beauty is a very lucrative business. Every year, billions, even trillions of dollars are spent all over the world just on hair care, cosmetics, and skin care. This is the reason why it’s not surprising to see beauty based businesses popping up like mushrooms all over the place. Cosmetology, or anything that has to do with the beauty industry is probably one of the most popular professions at present. It provides a lot of opportunities for growth and profit which makes it one of the fastest growing careers. However, a lot of people get intimidated to put up their own beauty business because of the high capital cost that it requires. But don’t let that hinder you from starting your own business. If you don’t have enough funds yet to rent a commercial space for your business, having a home-based facial business is a great way to start your beauty career. Let me share to you some tips on how to start your very own home-based facial skin business.

1. Plan it out. Like any other business, you have to make a detailed business plan. A well written business plan will definitely play a big role on your business’ success.

2. Learn before you earn. Before you even open your home business, you have to be armed with enough knowledge on what you will do. It would be best if you become a licensed aesthetician first prior to opening your business.

3. Once you’re all set, you can now register your business on your city or town. You need to have the necessary permits for your home-based business to operate.

4. Designate an area of your house to your business. It could be a spare room or a small space anywhere in your house. Once you’ve designated an area, you can now start to decorate it. Make your space appear like a professional spa. You can do that without spending a lot. Just choose your decors properly. Don’t forget to load up on aromatherapy candles and other spa essentials such as oils.

5. Invest in a skin care device. There are a lot of skin care devices available in the market today. Having your own skin care device could really help your business boost its popularity.

6. Market your business. There are many ways to market your home-based business. You can put up your business website so that people on your area and surrounding cities can find you. If you have the budget, you can also have some ads placed on your local paper and you can also give out flyers. It’s also best to have business cards ready so anytime a customer hops in, always give out a business card so that he or she can endorse your business to others.

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Dealing With Conflict in the Workplace

Introduction

Conflict is a major concern in both your personal and working life. If not deal with quickly, tactfully and efficiently conflict could lead to serious confrontation and / or a complete breakdown of relationships. It could even lead to violent and dangerous situations.

A conflict could stem from a minor complaint that was not resolved and left to fester. This could then gradually grow into an insurmountable problem. A conflict can be as innocent as sibling rivalry – arguing over a toy – to a dispute with a customer or colleague over a product, service or procedure to a war between countries in extreme cases.

There will be times during the course of a working life where you will have to deal with complaints and conflicts. Your successful handling of these situations will have a direct bearing on you and your organization's reputation for customer service and its continued success.

What causes conflict.

Conflicts usually occur when people have different ideas and believe they have the superior view point. This is particularly true of conflict in the workplace – between collections and / or management. The issue becomes one of power, of gaining control or of 'being proved right'. To resolve this type of conflict it is necessary to move from the power clash, to one of service and responsibility – to work for the good of the group rather than individuals within it. In resolving a conflict it should be more important to make sure that both parties needs are met rather than winning the argument.

Conflict can also be caused by a lack of communication or by a failure to recognize the needs of another person. Whatever the scenario, the main component in conflict is misunderstanding. These misunderstandings can occur due to differences in age, culture, race or religion. Conflict situations can include customer related issues, misunderstandings or communication barriers or Conflict among work collections.

Conflicts due to customer related issues.

A complaint, no matter how trivial it may sound to you, is legitimate in the eyes of the customer and must be taken seriously. Customers come into your organization to do business. They have a need and they believe (or hope) that you will be able to fulfill that need. They are willing to pay you for your time, effort and service and they expect your full and undivided attention. If they do not receive this attention or a satisfactory product or service, then they are not receiving value for their money and then have every right to complain.

Conflicts arising out of customer related issues could include;

  • Problems or faults with services or products. The customer has not received the quality of service or product that they expected and are unhappy enough about it to complain. A complaint of this nature can be fairly easily resolved if the parties involved are prepared to communicate and compromise.
  • Delays or poor timing of product or service supply. The customer has been kept waiting longer than expected or advised for their product or service and, as in the point above, become upset at the delay. Delays can cause a great deal of inconvenience for customers, particularly if they have made time to be on hand and are then disappointed.
  • Difficult or demanding customers. Some customers are hard to please and are, by nature, very demanding and aggressive. If they are not handled carefully they could, potentially, become threatening.
  • Drug or alcohol related issues. These could include being refused entry or ejection from concessions due to their condition and the risk they represent to other customers or staff.

Conflicts due to misunderstandings or communication barriers.

No two people are exactly alike – not even twins. People have different points of view thought about by the many influences on their lives.

These effects include;

Genetics – the things that we inherit from our parents and over which we have no control. These things might involve the color of our eyes and hair to our health.

Upbringing – which involves the way in which our parents raised us and the values ​​they instilled in us.

Culture and religion – this influences the things that we believe to be true and the customs and traditions we follow

Economics – our view on life can be strongly influenced by our economic situation, whether we are financially comfortable or struggling to make ends meet.

Education – our level of education will also have a large impact on what we think and how we view the world.

The environment – this means the environment in which we operate: our neighborhoods, housing situation, and the people we are surrounded by.

Life experience – involves all the experiences we have had in our lives, the successes and failures, the lessons we have learned from these experiences and the many roles that we have played to date.

All of these things and more go in to making us the individuals we are and our thoughts and feelings about almost everything we come into contact with will be shaped by these influences. So we have our own opinions and points of view on a whole range of things and these sometimes clash with other peoples. These clashes can take the form of a lively but friendly debate but they could just as easily become heated and aggravated and degenerate into shouting matches. The beginnings of conflict.

We can avoid these situations by reaching an understanding between the parties. This can be done by communicating openly and honestly, being willing to listen to the other person's point of view – remembering that the influences that have shaped their beliefs and view points could be very different to yours – but no less valid.

Misunderstandings and communication barriers could occur because;

  • People do not listen to each other with an eye to reaching an understanding
  • People are not prepared to compromise in order to resolve the situation
  • People do not understand cultural differences and are not prepared to make allowances for them.

To resolve a conflict situation steps need to be taken to bring the two points of view closer – to reach a compromise that both parties can accept. Part of good conflict resolution skills is the art of communication and recognizing the barriers to a good two way communications flow. These barriers can include;

  • Not paying attention . Customers or colleges who are trying to communicate with you will feel ignored and frustrated if you allow yourself to become distracted. Not paying attention to them is rude and unprofessional and stops the communication flow. The result of this could be the loss of a customer, a complaint about you to your manager or a loss of respect. Do not allow yourself to be distracted – focus your attention on what is being said and really listen to your customer or colleague. If you must interrupt the conversation to answer the phone, or speak with another staff member, excuse yourself.
  • Not looking at a person . Maintainable reasonable eye contact with the person you are communicating with is very important. It shows you are paying attention and that you are interested. By not looking at the person who is talking to you, you are indicating not only disinterest, but are also making them feel uncomfortable. They may think you are not being honest or trustworthy – you may be trying to hide something from them.
  • Interrupting . Interrupting someone when they are talking is a major barrier to open, two way communication and could easily cause conflict. Once again, you are indicating that you are not interested in what they have to say. Breaking into what they are saying to make your own thoughts known, or worse, to finish their sentences for them is no way to gain a proper understanding of the other persons needs and expectations. Allow them to finish what they are saying and pay attention. If, for some reason, the conversation needs to be wound up, then take control by asking leading or closing questions – that allow for short answers only.
  • Tone of voice. The tone of voice used during a conversation could also start a conflict. Arrogance, demand, anger, whining, disinterest etc. All add a tone to the voice that can cause people to react negatively. When dealing with customers or collections you should keep your tone friendly, calm and pleasant. At the very least, if you do feel annoyed you should try and keep the tone of your voice neutral.
  • Sarcasm . Sarcasm has no place in any conversation between two people and is an open invitation for conflict. There are times, in everyone's working life, when you think "If I get asked one more stupid question, I'll go mad!", But sarcasm in the face of a silly question or remark does nothing but hurt the other person and, Possibly, dent their self esteem. We often forget that not everyone knows everything we do about our industry – in fact most customers know very little about the tourism and hospitality industries. We can forgive our customers or junior collectors, therefore, for asking questions that may have obvious answers – obvious only to someone who knows. Show patience and understanding – it's just as easy and much more pleasant than giving a sarcastic or snide answer.
  • Rudeness . There is never any excuse for rudeness. A respectful and courteous attitude on your part should avoid or defuse any antagonism a person brings with them into your office. Should you find yourself never the less, dealing with a person with whatever you simply can not get along – rudeness is not the solution. Speak to your supervisor or manager and ask for their advice.
  • Cultural differences . Cultural differences can be the source of a great many conflicts. When dealing with people from other countries, other beliefs and so on, it is easy to misunderstand words, gestures and customs. If you want to excel at your profession it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the more prevalent customs of other cultures. On the whole, however, people from all over the world, from all walks of life and from all creeds respond well to respectful and courteous behavior. Do not make fun of customs you do not understand. Treat everyone you deal with, both customers and colleagues, with respect and you should do very well.

Any one of these points could provoke a customer or a college into complaining – which could then, potentially, turn into a conflict. It is a good idea therefore, to remain courteous and polite when dealing with other people.

Signs of potential conflict

A conflict does not happen suddenly. People do not go from calm and cool one moment to angry and aggressive next.

Conflict builds. It may take hours, weeks or even years. However long the process takes, there are always signs that a conflict is building. If these signs are recognized early then steps can be taken to quickly and efficiently resolve the situation before it becomes a major issue.

Early signs of conflict can include (but are not limited to):

  • Aggressive body language: Narrowed eyes – trying to intimidate you Flared nostrils – a sure sign of building anger as the person takes a deep breath, either to control themselves or to go on the attack Stretched muscles in the face and jaw line – tightened in building Anger and aggression Tapping fingers or feet – shows impatience
  • Malicious or negative gossip among collections
  • Difficulty in discussing an issue calmly and rationally
  • Tone of voice – indicating boredom, sarcasm, irritation

These are all signs of irritation, dissatisfaction or impatience. If you recognize any of these signs when dealing with a complaint or a conflict you should endeavor to find out the reasons why the other person is starting to feel impatient or irritated. You can do this by asking relevant questions and listening carefully to their answers. In this way you can reach an understanding of the issue at hand and possibly avoid escalating the situation.

If not recognized and acted upon these signs could then be followed by;

  • Raised voice – speaking rapidly in a loud, high pitched voice – or even shouting
  • Body leaning forward in an effort to intimidate
  • Hand gestures – finger poking and pointing in an aggressive manner.
  • Refusal to cooperate
  • Storming out of a room, slamming doors, drawers or implements

At this point you may already have a conflict and it will take careful handling to bring the situation back under control

Crisis situations

Complaints can escalate into conflict and conflict, if not resolved effectively, could potentially escalate into a crisis.

People wish to be taken seriously. If they are not, or are repeatedly ignored, it can become aggressive and a threat to safety and security of the organization and the people in it. Equally, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and are not in control of themselves, can present a danger to those around them if they are not handled carefully.

Situations where personal safety of customers or colleges may be threatened and assistance required may involve:

  • Drug or alcohol affected persons
  • People with guns or other weapons
  • Situations where someone has been or may be hurt
  • People who appear to be violent or threatening
  • Situations where customers refuse to leave or to be pacified.

In these cases it is extremely important to:

  • Keep calm yourself and to try and calm the other person.
  • Move them, discreetly, out of the main area of ​​your office or shop
  • Take note of details of the problem for future reference
  • DO NOT argue with a person who is visibly upset or aggressive as this will only compound the situation.
  • Bring in the assistance of relevant management, security and / or entities such as police as soon as possible.

Organizational requirements

You can not simply make a conflict go away by giving the complaining party whatever they want. Resolving a conflict is a deferred balance between reaching an agreement between parties while at the same time staying within the constraints of your organizations requirements and policies.

These constraints may include:

Costs issues. Often, a conflict with a customer will be centred around dissatisfaction with a product or service. If the product or service was actually found to be faulty then the simplest solution to the problem is a straight forward replacement. Sometimes, however, the situation is not as simple and the customer will demand further compensation. In these cases a replacement may not be enough and something extra may need to be done. When determining the amount of compensation, if any, to be offered to the client, there are a few issues to consider. These could include;

  • Customer good will & repeat business. If your organization is dependent on customers coming back again then this is an important consideration.
  • Organisations reputation. A dissatisfied customer will tell many people that they received bad service from an organization who did not meet their needs and this can lead to a loss of business.
  • Direct cost. Compensation to a client can be in the form of cash, additional products or services, or an upgrade to the product or service they have purchased. If compensation is to be of a monetary nature then the cost to the organization must be considered.

Organization policy on refunds or exchange . Most organizations will have policies on giving refunds. Some companies will give money back, others will give credit for products or services they provide. In the tourism industry you must also consider the refund policies of the principals you deal with. For example some advance purchase airline tickets do not allow refunds at all within a given period prior to departure and if the customer does not use the ticket, they have lost their money.

So before agreeing to provide a solution to the customer, you must first determine if it is financially viable to do so and to take the organizations policies and procedures into account.

Resolving conflict situations

When a person has purchased a product or service from your organization and it is not what they expected it to be, or does not perform properly they will feel dissatisfied and disappointed. As a consequence when this person complains that they generally believe that they have a legitimate reason for doing so and they may do so long and heatedly to the first person they come across in your organization. This might be you – even though you had nothing to do with the original sale and have never met the customer. The worst thing you can do is tell them its not your problem.

Take ownership of the issue, regardless of whether you were involved in the problem or not. "Passing the buck" at this point is not going to help matters. The customer approached YOU, so deal with the issue and do not pass them off saying "It's not my problem" or "The lady who handled this is not here now ….". At that particular moment in time the customer does not see you, the individual, they see you, the representative of the company, so it is you, the representative of the company, they expect to help them.

If you were not part of the original transaction where the problem occurred get as much information as you can from the customer to help you determine what to do. For example, you could ask;

  • Exactly what the problem is
  • When & where it occurred
  • How long ago the problem occurred
  • What they paid for the product or service
  • How they see the situation being resolved – this will give you an idea of ​​the person's expectations and how they impact on the organization's policies and procedures.

If the person who was involved in the original transaction is available you should ask them to join the discussion in order to get both sides of the picture. It is very important, however, to keep to the issue at hand and not to let emotions or ego get in the way of finding a solution to the problem; Stay calm, listen to all points of view with an open mind and try to keep the communications process flowing in a positive manner.

Finding a solution to a conflict involves a certain set of skills and techniques. It takes a step by step approach to ensure a positive income for all parties concerned.

Steps in resolving conflict

Finding a solution to a conflict will often become a matter of "give and take" where one party makes a suggestion that may not be entirely acceptable to the other. When this happens you will need to define the issues as seen by all parties and negotiate a mutually acceptable exit. This would normally occur in a logical sequence:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Work out what you want out of the conflict
  3. Brainstorm for options
  4. Evaluate solutions
  5. Decide on solutions

Define the problem

Everyone involved in the conflict needs to agree on a definition of the problem before it can be solved. This could mean describing the problem in terms of each persons needs and understanding of the issue at hand. Questions to consider might include:

  • What is the problem? Is it only my problem? Who else is involved?
  • Can I solve it? Is it worth solving?
  • Is this the real problem or merely a symptom of a larger one?
  • Does it need an immediate solution or can it wait? Is it likely to go away by itself? Can I risk ignoring it?
  • Does the problem have ethical dimensions?
  • What conditions must the solution satisfy?
  • Will the solution affect something that must remain unchanged?
  • Will I need help?

Asking these types of questions will outline what all the issues are from various perspectives giving you a firm foundation for exploring options. Depending on the nature of the problem and what it will take to resolve it, it might in extreme cases even be worth letting the matter go. It is important to keep a customer satisfied, but not at all costs. If a customer is being completely unreasonable and demanding then sometimes it is the better option to lose that customer.

Work out what you want out of the conflict

You also need to develop a clear understanding of the expected outcome. This could be; An agreement on acceptable compensation for faulty products or service a better relationship with the other party a mutually acceptable solution to an ongoing work issue the other person to respect your opinion With firm expectations of what would be an acceptable exit in mind, you can then begin To negotiate with the other party until an agreement has been reached.

Brainstorm for options – When all parties concerned have had the opportunity to explain their feelings on the matter, then all of the issues should be out in the open. At this point you can look at the various options available. There might be a number of solutions to the problem which could work for everyone involved. Do not get stuck on one solution just because it's the first one you find. Be creative about the possibilities available to you, and look for common ground. You can decide from the options later.

Evaluate solutions – In deciding the best result from the options available you should weigh up the pros and cons of each one based on the organizations policies and procedures, cost or budgetary constraints, legal ramifications and mutual benefit. When discussing and evaluating options it is often the case that each party will prefer an option that most closely gives them what they want regardless of its impact on the other party. In these cases you need to negotiate and compromise so that an agreement that both parties are satisfied with can be reached.

The Art of Compromise – Compromise does not mean giving in or losing. It means looking for ways to meet each others needs by making concessions to the other party involved. Compromise involves negotiating what you are, or are not, prepared to do in order to get what you want.

You should be open to good arguments rather than pressure or manipulation from the other party. Be open to reason but closed to threats. In difficult conflicts it might be necessary to bring in another person to mediate. This person may need to be skilled, mutually respected, and not have a personal interest in the outcome.

Decide on a mutually acceptable solution – When all available options have been tabled and considered then you can decide on the best one – the one that keeps both parties happy! Make sure each person takes responsibility for agreeing with the decision. This may take the form of a written agreement or contract, or a letter outlining what was agreed to.

Separate your feelings from the problem . When your emotions get tangled up in the pros and cons of an argument you can not reach the best conclusion. If you take a strong position because of the way you feel, you can not work out the best solution to the problem because your perception of it is controlled by things which are likely to have nothing to do with the problem. It's not about who is right or wrong. Arguing over who fault it is or placing blame will do nothing but increase tension and get in the way of resolving the situation. You should not let your feelings get in the way. Points that can help here include:

  • Act and speak calmly. Arguing with a customer or colleague could result in a full blown confrontation. Pause before making a response to them. This will give you time to collect yourself, to calm any irritation you might feel and also gives you a chance to work out how to phrase your response in the most appropriate way.
  • Try to put yourself in the other person's place; Empathise with them. Use expressions such as "I can understand why you would feel that way" and encourage them to share their point of view.
  • Listen carefully and completely to what they are saying. Hear them out without interrupting them. Show you are interested through a positive listening attitude and ask clarifying questions to make sure you have understood them correctly.
  • Be patient and understanding. Do not interrupt them. Once they have had their say, they will generally be a lot calmer and easier to reason with. The problem can then often be resolved in a civilized manner.
  • At the appropriate time, acknowledge their point of view and ask them to give you the court of now listening to your (organization's) position. For example; "I understand what you are saying, may I now explain our position to you, and then we can see how we could solve the problem together?"

Documentation

Recording accurate information about complaints, conflicts and their outcomes is a very important part of any business. This type of information will show (among other things);

  • Areas of the business that are not working properly
  • Processes and procedures that need to be changed.
  • Things that customer like / or do not like about your products or services
  • Gaps in the supply and demand of your products or services

With this information in hand, an organization can then use it to continuously improve its products, services, image and reputation.

Information can be recorded by way of (but not limited to):

  • Letters (or emails) of complaint. These should always be taken seriously. A written complaint should be answered immediately – even if it is simply to advise the customer what will happen next. An investigation of the complaint should follow and the customer should then be advised of the outcome. A report of the complaint and the outcome should then be sent to the relevant supervisor or manager for any further action needed.
  • Notes taken during a phone call or after a face to face meeting. Once again, it is good business practice to record the details of complaints or discussions about conflicts. These notes can be used for the organization's continuous improvement program but they can also be used as reminders of the conversation should a dispute arise.
  • Formal documentation. These could be; Refund forms Credit notes Contracts or agreement forms

Evaluating conflict situations

It is good business practice to continuously look for ways in which an organization can improve its practices and procedures. One of the main ways an organization can do this is by seeking feedback – comments from customers, staff and other visitors to the organization. Reasons for seeking feedback can include;

  • To ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business
  • To maintain its reputation
  • To learn from errors or mistakes
  • To make improvements to the service or product delivery or quality to improve productivity and efficiency
  • Follow up to see if customer is satisfied in the case of a complaint or conflict

In a matter as important as a complaint or a conflict, feedback can also be taken by way of a phone call, letter or even even a personal visit to the person concerned to ensure that any issue that exists between the conflicting parties has been successfully resolved.

When looking for how effective the solution to a conflict was, some of the questions that should be asked could include:

Why did this situation happen in the first place ? A close examination of the circumances surrounding the matter of conflict from both the customers and the organizations perspective can show up problems in procedure, policy or product or service delivery. Issues to look at could include;

  • Was there a breakdown in communication?
  • Is the service delivery as good as it could be?
  • Are the organization's policies and procedures as effective as they could be?
  • Was the service / product faulty in some way?

Did we resolve it effectively ? This is a very important question from the customers and the organizations point of view.

  • For the customer, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they are satisfied, that they have received value for their money and most importantly that they will probably continue to do business with you.
  • For the organization, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they have retained a customer and kept within organizational guidelines and budgets

When looking at how the problem was resolved:

  • Ask critical questions about the output – was it the best possible option for every one concerned? Did it cost your organization money? Too much money? Was the income worth the cost?
  • Evaluate the customer's reaction to your proposal – were they happy with it? Were they prepared to be reasonable? Will they continue to do business with you?
  • Compare the situation to any previous incidents of this nature. How was it handled last time? Is there a pattern emerging that should be addressed?
  • What can we do to prevent it happening in the future? By looking at how the problem occurred in the first place and how effectively you resolved it you can then take any necessary steps to prevent the same thing happening again. This might mean; A change in policy or procedure A change in a product or service training staff in customer service skills Training staff in conflict and complaint handling

By asking these, and other relevant questions, you can make improvements to the organization. This could lead to greater customer and staff satisfaction which will have a positive impact on the organizations continued success and prosperity.

For more information go to: www.lptraining.com.au

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