Professional Conferences

Group of Business People Working in the Office

I woke up before daylight to help my husband get out the door to a professional development conference. Not only was he attending, but presenting and the ‘details’ of what he needed to take, prepare for and remember – I knew would be daunting.

I travel often – and had lots of ‘tips’ for him as he readied his suitcase and garment bag to leave the condo…”Do you have your phone charger?… your workout clothes?…. your sunglasses?”..while this may all sound like predawn nagging – I know from traveling these are all things you don’t want to forget. So it got me thinking (in the season of professional conferences)…what tips have I learned (and my staff) ..that we could pass on to others?…

Here’s our best and I believe most useful advice for those of you buying tickets and planning to get those CEUs!..how to make the trip less stressful and more enjoyable….

Planning ahead…

  • Have a separate set of toiletries packed and ready – always having a waterproof wrap in your closet to grab will alleviate you forgetting those ‘last minute’ items. Remember the indispensables – medications/prescription sunglasses/phone chargers/etc
  • When flying pack a carry on with a change or two of clothes and those irreplaceable items in case your luggage is lost/rerouted – or if traveling with a significant other share suitcase space so that if one is lost you will both have clothing.
  • When booking ask for a room close to the conference center. This will allow for quick ‘sneaks’ back to your room during breaks and alleviate long lines for the rest rooms.

Once you arrive….

  • Always ask for an upgrade. It’s amazing how many times you can get a better room just by asking. And ask to not be near an elevator or the ice machine – they are the noisiest areas of each floor. Another tip to alleviate (street) noise is to ask for the highest floor.
  • Try to maintain your home schedule (reading, working out, etc) as much as possible so you don’t feel so ‘off’ when you get back.  Remember traveling can be the perfect storm for getting sick. Stay healthy by exercising as much as possible, walk instead of taking cars, avoid alcohol and junk food – all (which) suppresses your immune system and makes you susceptible to picking up viruses.

Saving $s…..

  • Use Airline Credit Cards when possible. Or any card with travel points…and remember to save your receipts! .. this is a business trip – you’ll want to be deducting all expenses!
  • If you’re driving to a conference, see if you can find an open parking lot to leave your car and then carpool into the hotel to save on daily parking fees.
  • Ask for free wi-fi when booking – again, just by asking you may very well save dollars.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks to your room to avoid the temptation of the snack bar.
  • Ask for early check-in/late check-out upon booking and ask there be no charge – these are usually only added on if they are a surprise to the hotel staff….and speaking of the hotel staff….

My personal aside…

Many of us have worked in hotels – which can be – a really tough job – PLEASE remember to tip the staff. Bring a stack of $5 bills with you and be generous. Don’t forget the person who cleans your room daily, brings up room service or hails you a taxi. All of these people depend on tips for their income and often work for minimum wage.

We at EIS hope you enjoyed our favorite tips on how to make your conference travel – or any travel a bit more enjoyable!!

Exploiting technology

Vrtual Business world

The question looms….how do I live in the ‘real world’ of technology=communication and still keep those critical personal relationships while running a company?

At the onset of any company communicating your message to a variety of groups is of utmost importance. The highest priority getting the word out to potential customers. Equally critical recruiting and communicating with employees – and lastly to inform consumers of your goods/services with the goal of building lasting relationships.

For me that meant late nights on the floor of my living room putting together hand made brochures and prospect lists.  It necessitated long phone calls with Interpreters, and endless inservice trainings with consumers. All of these were required but yet a true pleasure. However 2017 looks vastly different than late nights stuffing envelopes – as I was tugged yet allured into using technology. All in order to keep up with new modalities of interpersonal communication.

So it bears the question –  how does a small business built on the workings of face-to-face encounters embrace technology in order to remain current and relevant?….for EIS it means…

Today texting our Interpreters quickly replaced the phone call, so we have developed a ‘Secret Corner’ on social media where we can communicate as a group and have a reciprocity of both business and personal news (all while keeping that EIS community feel). Several years ago we also developed a software platform  to communicate assignment-related information – the what/where/who – again proprietary and special to our Interpreters.

For customers the conference room negotiations evolved to online contract signings and inservice trainings have been replaced by webinars and Youtube videos. Bringing in a ‘personal side’ to each of these is a challenge, however doable – again using databases available such as professional social media platforms to develop bonds based on information gathering.

Our business has moved into the virtual realm using technology to put each employee in a different physical and geographic work space. We stay connected through constant iChat throughout the day, end-of-the-day ‘stand up meetings’  and weekly staff meetings – all taking advantage of the best of technologies.  Off hours we are connected through various social media to share personal stories, helping to strengthen our bond.

You cannot change the way technology pulls us, however you can exploit it. Ignoring its bad reputation of faceless relationships by inserting those personal elements that keep us all connected. And remain humanly, strongly bound.

 

 

Back to Basics

Business 101. Businessman holding business card

Entrepreneurs begin our businesses  by ‘doing everything’…we are the practitioner – the rainmaker – the bookkeeper – the bill collector – the HR person….we do it all.

Think back to the days when you knew what every check was written for – what the role was of every new hire and who each of your customers were. Of how much people were paid and how much each customer was charged.

Fast forward to the present…year after year you learned where your value as a business owner lied. You knew that hiring the right people to take over day-to-day responsibilities freed you up to bring your best value to the company. You slowly would hand over the reigns….

But…your success can mean losing touch –  with what needs to be attended to and not just a backdrop to your busy routine. Take stock – – as you ready yourself at the door in your business suit and with briefcase in hand – –  to yet another client meeting, networking function, or board meeting…that you are leaving behind your years of hard work and entrepreneurship to others. To people who now drive your business from the ground up…

I learned last year when I lost my CFO and decided to temporarily take over the accounting just how much I had actually lost in terms of being  in touch. What was I paying people? Who were my rainmakers? Who were those customers that were so valuable and which ones did I need to cut ties with? Where was the waste and what needed updating?

Eight months later I am still running my business and doing the accounting. I am now looking forward to handing back the books to someone else and focus more full-time on where I can bring (the best) value.  However..this time has been with monumental lessons learned.

Go back to basics – take time to step into those roles you once had in the beginning of entrepreneurship and dig deep into your business. Remember your company –  (that you gave up so much for, worked so hard for and changed lives with) – should always be looked at from the perspective of what once was – ‘Business 101’…

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is all about children…and not a more precious child can you find than little Shaylee.  Here’s her rendition of ‘The Night Before Christmas’…enjoy!

(click on the Story Title/not the photo)…

The Night Before Christmas

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See Shaylee’s Mom’s website here to learn more about this beautiful family!  http://sheenamcfeely.com

Fraud Alert: Immigration Scams

I recently received the following from the office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman:

“In light of increased fear and anxiety in immigrant communities……, I have issued a fraud alert warning immigrants to be aware of potential scammers offering immigration services. My office and other legal aid organizations have received an increased number of calls and reported scams in recent weeks”…

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For more information please watch the following video found here: Press Conference:Immigration Scams

To report potential immigration scams, contact the Attorney General’s Immigration Services Fraud Unit Hotline at (866) 390-2992 or email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov. This office will never ask for your immigration status or share immigration information with federal authorities if you contact the Immigration Services Fraud Unit Hotline.

We also want to provide some key resources for New York’s immigrant communities to seek immigration and naturalization-related support.  Managed by Catholic Charities Community Services, the New Americans hotline is a toll-free, multi-lingual hotline that provides live assistance in receiving immigration and naturalization information and referrals, regardless of citizenship or documented status. All calls to the hotline are confidential and anonymous. Call 1-800-566-7636 (toll-free) anytime between 9:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday.

Fingerprints on the window

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The title of my blog post today started out to be something along the lines of ‘How to lead through uncertainty’ or…. ‘Talking to your staff after the election’…with the crux being how leaders can put things into perspective when it feels like the whole world has tipped on it’s axis…and then I remembered. Wisdom from the two most influential women in my life. Something my Mother always said and the most memorable story my Grandmother had ever told me.

“This too shall pass“…my Mother’s favorite saying no matter how bad things seemed. She believed that one way or another, the issue at hand will be resolved. And only the permanent (in life) and the people in our lives were what really mattered. This memory from my mother was to be the first half of my lesson.

The second was the sobering story my Grandmother had told.

Grandma was the eternal optimist. I saw it until the absolute end of her 99 years on earth. And I honestly wondered how, knowing she had lost two children as a very young mother. A daughter at age 6, her son just a toddler of 2. She had told me the story of losing her little girl and only a short year later her tousled hair baby boy.  She told of how he would toddle to the old wooden windows that hung low enough in their house that he could reach the window panes on his own. And there make handprints when it rained. Where warmth met cold and he could play on his tablet of glass. His favorite place in their little apartment.

Her lesson to me  – at the time – was to learn that by trying to control things and make them better, we often make them worse. By my grandmother’s second loss she was left literally speechless and in a dark hole of sorrow. Her mother-in-law had been summoned to come stay in order to offer comfort and temporarily take over the household.  The visit was ended – and punctuated with horror – when my grandmother came out of her bedroom one morning to touch the pane of glass that still held little Benjamin’s fingerprints – only to discover they had been wiped away by the hand of his grandmother. Trying to remove a memory she thought would be painful to her daughter-in-law only cracked her soul once again… As she realized those precious fingerprints were gone forever.

What it reminded me of today is that the bad – the stress – the unknown in life is not what should matter. It is the people that we love. Who will not always be here. The family, the memories. The fingerprints we can hold onto.  All other things… ‘shall pass’.

 

Nondiscrimination Rule – Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

affordable care act text write on blackboard

We have recently received several calls regarding telephonic interpreting and translation of medical materials due to the new Nondiscrimination Rule 1557 that took effect this month. This covers the requirement of having translation services for particular items.

Medical practices/facilities will need to post notices of nondiscrimination and taglines that inform patients with limited English, the availability of language assistance services. The taglines are sentences written in the top 15 languages in the state regarding this service. This includes postings in office, in materials and on websites.  This federal mandate recognizes 15 top languages in each state that must be recognized and translated. The top 15 languages in New York State (required) are:

1 Spanish

2 Chinese

3 Russian

4 French Creole

5 Korean

6 Italian

7 Yiddish

8 Bengali

9 Polish

10 Arabic

11 French

12 Urdu

13 Tagalog

14 Greek

15 Albanian

Please contact us at Empire Interpreting Service if you need any materials for your office/website/patient records translated in any language. We can quickly assist in satisfying these compliance issues.  Call 844-620-8594 (toll free) or email our Director of Spoken Languages, Corissa Hedrick – at chedrick@empireinterpreting.com for more information.