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Professional development news and articles by our Zoe Associates and staff

Going Paperless: The Legality of Using E-signatures

K.J. McCorryby K.J. McCorry

Often, one of the many hesitations in organizations going paperless is getting rid of or converting records that have hand-written signatures. This issue is related to two legal issues: 1) the legal standing of hand-signed records that are in electronic format; and 2) if e-signatures are legally defensible.

E-signatures have been upheld in numerous court cases and are considered legal defensible documentation according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Based on the Rules on Electronic Evidence from the Supreme Court, essentially electronically signed or scanned in hand-signed documents are: Continue Reading

Business Communication Skills – Influence by Asking Questions

Shari Harleyby Shari Harley

When selling a product, service, or idea, people often think that providing more information is better. The more data points, the more likely the other person is to be persuaded. This is not necessarily the case. Excluding data hounds, most people don’t like to be overloaded with information. But people do appreciate the opportunity to talk about what they want and need. So if you want to sell something, give people a chance to talk.

I’ll never forget one of my first sales calls, many years ago. I was selling Dale Carnegie Training. After calling a prospect for six months, he agreed to spend ten minutes with me. Feeling rushed, I laid out all of our training brochures and quickly told him about every program we offered. Then I asked if he wanted to buy anything. He didn’t.

If I had asked a few questions and listened to his answers, I could have provided information on just the training programs he needed, instead of giving him a list of likely irrelevant options. Continue Reading

How to Offer Criticism that Builds Confidence & Inspires Responsibility

Christina Haxtonby Christina Haxton

3 Steps to Offer Negative Feedback or Criticism that Builds Confidence & Inspires Responsibility

Are you responsible for doing employee evaluations? For giving criticism to employees in the hopes to inspire them to get motivated?  Statistics say that managers who have to give negative feedback to employees suffer almost as much as the employee receiving the criticism, and here’s why:

Remember the last time you hit your thumb with a hammer?  You didn’t think twice when you yelled and let the words fly.  For a few moments you stopped thinking about the task at hand, caring who was within earshot and instinctively reacted, grabbing your thumb to stop the physical pain.

Your brain went into “survival mode” and reacted.  No thinking required.  If we had your brain hooked up to a fMRI (a technology used by neuroscientists to produce brain images in real time), we would also be able to see the physical pain center in your brain “light up” or get activated possibly even split seconds before impact.  It’s how we are wired so we can stay alive and we can’t prevent it from working (which is a good thing). Continue Reading

Ten Hot Topics in Training

by Ashley Andrus

thermometer in the sunIt’s summer and the temperatures are hot, hot, hot!

In honor of the record temperatures we’ve been seeing recently we wanted to share the answer to one of the most frequent questions we get asked—What are the hot topics in training these days?

Here are some of the top programs we are seeing our clients implement in 2014:

  1. Conflict Management & Negotiation – These important skills go hand and hand both within teams/organizations and with external partners/customers.
  2. Leading Change – Organizations must be able to embrace change and implement new initiatives at all levels, from individual contributors to executives. Continue Reading

10 Tips for Social Media Success

Julie Millerby Julie Miller

1. Provide value. Most tweets link to blog posts or other media. Pull a brief value point from your post, such as “always offer value in your tweets” and include a teaser to more information, along with the tiny URL. Of course, the blog post should follow up with plenty of additional tips.

2. Cut superfluous words. It’s obvious with Twitter’s character limit, but still good advice for all business writing. Why use “in order to” when “to” usually does the trick? Other unnecessary words: very, really and quite. For example, replace “very warm” with hot! Continue Reading