8 Ways to Help You Become a Millionaire

Written by Ariel Wallace

Here’s a helpful article that so many could only dream about ! Let’s face the facts there aren’t so many “Rags from Riches” stories, but there is hope alongside helpful hints to produce millionaire qualities. Focus more on the aspects of money rather than spending it. Learn how to make revenue and keep producing it. You don’t have to always land a dead end job that can sometimes lead to you to nowhere. Instead change the way you think. Train yourself to adapt to more informative ideas on wealth. Study the Forbes List and get intuned with Wall street. The world is playground if you take a chance and go outside.

1. Follow The Money:

Get engaged in seminars. A well known seminar is” Rich Dad, Poor Dad founded by Robert Kiyosaki. Another engaging way to learn how to establish your empire and stay afloat.

2 .Don’t Showoff, Show up!

You don’t have always look like money to have money! Even though it wouldn’t hurt your image there’s more important things to worry about. Do not let having less in your current situation discourage you, show up with the Will Power within you.
3. Save to Invest

If you are a Business minded person, you may want to think about putting money to the side to invest in your own business. A simple business account could make the difference.

4. Avoid Debt that doesn’t pay you

If you’re the type of person that loves to help everyone you may want to reconsider helping everyone you know. It’s like having a full pitcher of lemonade, the more you pour out the less you have.

5.Treat Money like A Jealous Wife

We all love money! So let’s treat our money like a very special insecure person. Learn not to be so wasteful, become more conservative. your money is your lifestyle what you eat, where you sleep, and what you wear.

6.Money doesn’t sleep… neither should you

You should always have a grand scheme of plans how to earn more income. Money doesn’t have a curfew and neither should you.

7.Poor makes no sense

We all heard the saying “You have not because you ask not” you are the only one that can change the situation. Being a Hard worker can quickly change the situation.

8.Get a millionaire mentor

What can be better than shadowing a millionaire? They have already lived out everything. Soak up as much knowledge as you can. The best experience yet.

5 Things We Can Learn from Malena Crawford’s New Book

Malena overcame her struggles and fears through faith, vowing to help heal other women along the way. Her debut novel “A Fistful of Honey is sure to be one of the hottest, unforgettable, inspiring tales of the year.   Iyanla Vanzant called her novel “a healing balm of a book” and a “must read.”

Malena stated “Writing A Fistful of Honey was life changing and life affirming for me. It was adventure that literally had me on the banks of the Oshun River in Ogsobo, Nigeria to the Gullah Sea Islands of South Carolina. It transformed me as a woman and a writer. I offer this work to the reader to receive whatever is there for them to behold.”  Below she gives us the 5 things readers can learn from her book on various topics.

Perseverance

Alena Ford, our protagonist, had to persevere or she stood to lose everything- including her own daughter’s life. She had to find enough love in herself to endure the darkness, the dark forces that plagued her, and keep going. Perseverance doesn’t require that you be strong all of the time. Alena was weak, she lacked faith , and she was a very reluctant hero. Perseverance requires that you keep going, keep fighting even if you are fighting through your own fears- until you get to your destined place! You have to let your vision of that destined place pull you through all of it.
Overcoming Failure

The novel opens with Alena having what some call “a dark night of the soul.” A dark place that exists right before the breakthrough. She’s lost almost everything she held dear, everything that she leaned on to give her life meaning and value- or so she thought. Alena’s failure is like ours, it was Spirit getting her attention, a clarion call moving her to a destiny she could never have imagined. She slowly overcame all of those failures when she started to gain true vision. She found a whole new perspective when she started to meet Mary Magdalene, the Orisha Oshun, and even Jesus. A Fistful of Honey reminds us that failure is an illusion, and in most ways a divine setup for something only God can orchestrate.
Making Sacrifices

There are so many layers of sacrifice in this novel. There are sacrifices that are far too great and cost too much. Alena’s journey in and out of the spirit realms delves into the enormous sacrifices that the black and brown races have made for the good of all humanity. She unknowingly meets ancestors who endured the horrors of slavery, those that took the night so that she could have the day, the “honey”. It is a sacrifice that she (and I) deeply resented but eventually consider the miracle and the honor of it. Now that Alena has the “choice” that her ancestors did not, she must learn to put herself first. Alena had been sacrificing herself all of her life, and her self abuse was not required. Alena was the prize, she was the destination. All that was required was her acceptance and agreement with that truth.

Staying Motivated
The best lesson on motivation I received was in the completion of the novel. My motivation to begin it was to heal myself. My motivation to finish was to share that healing with millions. It kept me up late at night and nudged me awake in the early hours.

The importance of religion in your life

For me, God moving in and through me, and in and through my life trumps religion. Religion is the beautiful package but God is the gift. My relationship with the Divine is what stirs my soul. I want every reader to reflect on the calling and the lessons from the God of their own understanding.

Dr. Roshawnna Novellus Host EnrichHER Conference for Female Entrepreneurs


On Thursday, April 27, the inaugural EnrichHER Business Conference was held at Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead, GA. Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, event creator and co-founder of Bootstrap Capital, partnered with the City of Atlanta to support women entrepreneurs during a two-day conference that engaged over 250 participants.

The conference focused on the development of successful women business leaders. Six women led businesses participated in EnrichHER’s business pitch competition. The winner, Lalanya Abner of Imagination Beyond Boundaries, was awarded $5,000 in funding.

Lisa Nicole Cloud, CEO of Elite Marketing Strategies and star of BRAVO TV’s Married to Medicine, was the keynote speaker. Rashan Ali, multi-media personality, was the master of ceremony

EnrichHER speakers and panelists included Abigail Trembel, president of Randstad; Kimberly Blackwell, advisor for PMM & NBWC; Susan Oh, managing partner of Telemundo; Veronica Maldonado-Torres, program director for Georgia Protege Project; Genevieve Bos, managing partner of Thought Capital.

Judges for the business pitch competition included: Grace Fricks, president of Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs; Theia Washington, executive director of Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative; and Dina Marto, founder of Twelve Studios.

Please send media coverage and interview requests to Hello@BefriendYourBrand.com

10 Facts about Entrepreneur and Shark Tank Star Mark Cuban

Written By Ariel Wallace

Mark Cuban is an Entrepreneur and Co host of the hit television show Shark Tank. We all know he is owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, but here’s 10 cool facts you didn’t know about him!

1.Mark Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2.When Mark Cuban was a child he sold sets of garbage bags to save up for a pair of shoes he liked. Cool beans, looked like the business ethnic was already inside him.

3.Mark was such a genius at a young age , he started taking Psychology classes at the University of Pittsburgh during his Junior year of High School.

4.Mark’s Grandfather Morris Chobanisky, emigrated from Russia. He fed his family by selling merchandise out of back of a pickup truck. I guess Cuban took a page out of his Grandfather’s book.

5.Mark paid off his College tuition by giving dance classes to cover is education. Who knew this Jazzy guy had dance fever in him!

6.Cuban was the first Basketball team owner to launch his own blog.

7.Mark Cuban was more business minded than we thought, he purchased the Landmark Theaters Chain and Magnolia Pictures in 2003. There’s popcorn and lickerish sticks laying around somewhere in his bedroom.

8.When we thought Mark Cuban could become anymore strategies, he goes on fourth to launch a Social media app called Cyber Dust in 2014.

9. Mark also wears the producer hat as well. Turns out this talented guy was Executive Producer for Akeelah and the Bee movie.

  • 10.The last interesting fact about Mark Cuban , he gained his revenue by selling companies like Micro solutions and Broadcast. I will surely take a lecture from this man any day of the week. Certainly he did it by hard work, patience, and leadership skills.

13th & Joan Publishing Founder Ardre Orie Launches US Book Tour for VH1’s Amina Buddafly

imageTell our audience about 13th & Joan?

13th & Joan is a multi media publishing company that creates words and images to change the world. Our book publishing arm is becoming a household name in the hearts and minds of many and we are just getting started.

What compelled you to start 13th & Joan?

I started 13th & Joan because I wanted to create media that feeds our souls and tells our stories. I believe that every face has a story and every person deserves to be heard. 13th & Joan has helped many to achieve their goal of becoming an author and I couldn’t be more proud than to be a small part of their journey and their dreams!

What’s next for 13th & Joan?

We are in the process of expanding our Author Coaching Services to accommodate more clients. It is sheer joy to watch people who dare to dream achieve their goal of becoming an author. We are also in the process of ghostwriting some amazing books for some household names. Lastly, we are preparing to launch a US Book Tour for client Amina Pankey. The world knows her as Amina Buddafly from VH1’s Love and Hip Hop New York.

Tell us more about the tour for Amina. What can her fans and followers expect?

I am excited to oversee the planning and execution of Amina’s book tour because I believe in thinking outside of the box. I want to ensure that each book signing is an experience for her fans and followers. She had an idea to do an acoustic perforance at each stop and I think that it will be a great way for people to connect with her on a deeper level. Far too often, we are consumed with the images of people that we see on tv and we don’t really know them or their stories. It is awesome to watch Amina prepare to tell the world exactly who she is. She is uber talented and she has so much to offer through her story and through her music. Her book and this tour is yet another opportunity for her to shine.

How has it been working with Amina? Is she like what you see on tv?

Amina is a joy to work with because she is genuine. I have not watched the show in depth but I have had the privilege of working with her as a person. There are so many people who pretend but she is a real woman, working to follow her dreams and to raise her beautiful babies. I relate to her as a working mother who knows exactly what she had to offer the world. Not to mention, she can really sing!

How did the US Tour come about?
As we began to round out the completion of the publishing process, we discussed next steps. This is something that I do with all of my clients to ensure that they have a strategy after the book is completed. Amina and I began to brainstorm and dream together and determined that this partnership would be a natural progression for her book as well as 13th & Joan.
What cities can we expect the tour to visit?
We have received so many requests for Amina already and we hadn’t even made the official announcement but we have strategized to make appearances in Atlanta, Miami, DC, NY, LA, Dallas, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

What can readers expect?
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (laughs).

You work so hard, what do you want the world to know about your work?
I believe that every face has a story and we all deserve to be listened to and valued for our stories. I acquired the nickname “Queen of Storytelling” because I will do whatever it takes to ensure that others have a way to leave a piece of themselves with the world. Our stories live on long after we depart this earth. To me, that is building legacy. We all deserve such an opportunity.
To connect with Ardre Orie, follow her social media @iamardreorie

To connect with 13th & Joan, follow them @13thandjoan

To book Amina, visit www.13thandjoan.com/aminabuddafly

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Brandi Jordan of Chic Desires LLC

Interview by Abner Jackson III

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Chic Desires LLC is a mobile hairstyling and makeup artistry business, based in Orlando, FL, with the ability to service diverse clientele in multi ethnic environments. Licensed Natural Hair Care Stylist, International Makeup Artist, and CEO of Chic Desires LLC, Brandi Jordan, is living her dream. Brandi is well on her way to becoming a recognized name amongst some of the industry’s top photographers, hair extension companies, cosmetic companies, and clientele. As a young woman with the ability to adapt to any scene, Brandi is continuously sought after for weddings, promotional shoots, editorials, and more.

Brandi has had the opportunity to work with some of the who’s who of beauty and style including Celebrity Stylist and Reality TV Star Mushiya Tshikuka (WeTV’s “Cutting It In the ATL, Runway Curls, The Damn Salon), International Makeup Artist Rory Lee (Tracy and Alonzo Mourning, Dr. Oz, Pit Bull, Rory Lee Makeup), and Celebrity Makeup Artist Lena G. (P. Diddy, Essence Festival, Elle Girl Magazine). Brandi has worked with Jockey, NIKE, and Signet Jewelers, as well as worked events for Jones Magazine and had her work featured in Essence Magazine Online..

Brandi realized her passion for hairstyling at a young age, often styling friends and family’s hair at the age of thirteen. She has since dedicated her time and efforts toward her hairstyling and makeup artistry career. Brandi also spends her time pursuing her education and Master’s degree in Accounting. She recognizes that it is necessary to have other skills to complement her creative skills. Therefore, she plans to utilize her accounting and business skills to enhance her harstyling and makeup artistry career.

In her spare time, Brandi enjoys being a Philantropist and strives to continuously enhance herself and others. She is the founder of Beautiful YOU charity projects and a dedicated Spokesmodel for Our Girls Enrichment Program. Brandi also volunteers with Coalition for the Homeless, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Russell House, and many more.

Tell readers about your Chic Desires LLC company and when did you start it?
Chic Desires LLC is an award-winning, mobile hairstyling and makeup artistry business based in Orlando, FL. We specialize in natural hair care and makeup artistry and the majority of our clients are brides. I have been styling hair for 20 years and doing makeup for 9 years. Chic Desires LLC was created, in 2010, when I decided that pursuing my passion to be creative was more meaningful than being a corporate accountant.

When did you start your Luvlee Hair Accents website and what are your best sellers now?
The LuvLee Hair Accents online boutique was created in August 2016. Currently, the best sellers are the bridal fascinators, which can be worn everyday, and the medium florals in vibrant colors such as teal, red, and violet.

What type of makeup do you specialize in and did you take any specific training to become a makeup artist?
I speciaize in bridal makeup, which are more natrual makeup looks that enrich a woman’s natural beauty. Makeup artistry is a natural talent, however, I took (and continue to take) specific training to sharpen and broaden my makeup artistry skills.

What do you feel separates your work from others?

My hairbraiding and twisting techniques in addition to essential oil hair treatments separates my hair care and styling work from others. My precison and close attention to detail separates my makeup artistry work from others. Also, my overall friendliness and professional separates my work from others.

Tell us about the Beautiful YOU event you host annually?
Beautiful YOU started as a charity makeover day for the women at a local women’s shelter where a host of hairstylists, makeup artists, and nail technicians provided free services to the ladies. The makeover days also included a life coaching session, gift giveaways, toiletries gifted to the ladies, and refreshments. Beautiful YOU also provided makeover days to the graduates of the Boys and Girls Club – Taft Branch S.M.A.R.T. Girls Program as a reward for the young ladies finishing the health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program.
We are in the process of incorporating Beautiful YOU as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and have some amazing programs and events in the works. Please stay connected to learn more about Beautiful YOU, the foundation.

What is your biggest accomplishment in this field of work?
Providing great customer service and leaving each client happy and feeling more beautiful are accomplishments within themselves. However, my biggest accomplishment as a beauty professional would be being a Makeup Artist at Mercedes Benz Swim Week, in South Beach, FL, closely followed by being invited to speak at the Hair She Grows Natural Hair Expo, in Maitland, FL. Both accomplishments truly show that my hard work and dedication are recognized and appreciated, which I am grateful for.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Five years from now, I see myself working full-time as a beauty professional and entrepreneur. I also see myself living bi-coastal within the next five years as Los Angeles, CA seems like a great fit for Chic Desires LLC and LuvLee Hair Accents to expand to.

Thank you again for your time and letting our readers get to know you. Please let everyone know how you can be reached ( twitter, IG, FB, websites, etc)?

You are very welcome… it was a pleasure sharing with your readers and thank you for interviewing me. We can be reached (and would love to stay connected) via:

Email: chicdesires@gmail.com
Website: www.chicdesiresllc.com
Website: http://luvleehairaccents.chicdesiresllc.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/chicdesires
Instagram: www.instagram.com/chic_desires_llc
Instagram: www.instagram.com/luvleehairaccents

3 Smart Ways to Shine Above Your Colleagues

Written by Salina Jivani

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We all want to excel at work. After all, with hard work follow perks like pay increases, promotions and recognition. And who in their right mind would say no to any of that?

But let’s be realistic. We live in an extremely competitive environment where people are constantly trying to outdo one another to clamor to the top of the workplace ranks, striving to gain recognition and earn accolades. This isn’t to say that the fierce competition out there makes it impossible for you to be noticed as a respected and esteemed associate. In fact, if you follow three simple rules, you’re almost guaranteed to set yourself apart from the rest of your colleagues and catch the eye of your manager, or possibly other leaders within your company.

From my personal experiences, I can tell you that people who go the extra mile almost always garner the favor and attention of supervisors.

Jessica, a lady I worked with at the onset of my career, was the epitome of a go-getter and the shining star on our team. She’d jump into projects wholeheartedly and with complete commitment. I remember when I first joined the team, I’d always feel most comfortable going to her with questions about my own clients.  She’d patiently walk me through the resolution and even reach out directly to my clients (who everyone dreaded working with) right then and there with a solution—without me ever even asking. Amazing!

But being a Jessica is easy if you set your mind to it. In your own work, think about the daily tasks that are part of your job requirements, then think about how you can go beyond those baseline requirements and adopt a side project that can make life simpler or more streamlined for those around you. For example, you could do something as simple as compiling and distributing a code of commonly used keyboard shortcuts your entire team can benefit from. Or an Excel sheet embedded with formulas your coworkers often use but enter manually in a spreadsheet. Be sure to share these projects with your manager as you complete them and before you share with the team.

Tasks like this demonstrate your willingness to go beyond your job responsibilities while benefiting those around you—resulting in a win-win for everyone.

Associates who go above the norm often benefit from promotions and increased bonuses.

Do what no one else will

There’s always that one task that absolutely no one wants to take on. You know what I’m talking about. The moment your manager makes mention of it, everyone shrinks into their chairs, starts itching their noses or suddenly has a speck of dirt stuck in their eyes. Grab opportunities like this to stand apart from the masses. Be the person who takes on what no one else will. Not only will your superiors appreciate and respect your willingness, but you’ll also quickly become the favorite of coworkers, who will admire your courage.

Have an amazing attitude

Though this is the last item listed, it’s definitely one of the most important. Being motivated and delivering beyond expectations is great, but if you’re a brat to work with, it’s almost a guarantee that you won’t get very far.

We all know that sometimes it can be tough to maintain a great relationship with everyone at work—especially because these are the people you spend the majority of your day with and sooner or later you’re bound to discover each other’s shortcomings or have differences of opinion. But remember, while it’s okay to not always agree, it’s not okay to be disrespectful, loud, rude or obnoxious. Attitude is all about the way you carry yourself, handle conflict and navigate disputes. So when faced with a difficult situation, be sure to remain tactful yet diplomatic, firm but professional, and overall, a positive, fun, and reliable person, and you’ll easily be labeled as someone who’s a pleasure to work with.

Lastly, don’t sweat it. Remain motivated and your natural desire to excel will shine through in your interactions and in the quality of your work, paving the way for unbridled success.

Reasons Why Mobile Apps Are Necessary for your Business

Written by Matic Satler

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If you are a small or medium business owner and your profession does not have a mobile application, you need to think of one soon. Having a web presence alone is no longer sufficient, as online activity continues to shift to mobile. Smartphone apps have become very important as a marketing tool for small business owners.
Smartphone activity has been on a streak lately. Almost three-quarters of Americans check their cell phones at least once per hour, according to a Gallup survey. Almost all of that mobile-phone time is now devoted to using apps, analysis reveals. Americans now spend more time looking at their mobile phones than they do watching television.
This rise in mobile-phone usage means that smartphone apps have become a key marketing tool for companies of all sizes, including small businesses. Mobile apps increase engagement with customers. They boost repeat visits, and permit a wide variety of online transactions, including the deployment of loyalty cards, push promotions, and ecommerce transactions. Apps deliver coupons and send announcements that build your sales with customers. Apps also accelerate contact with your company, which enhances relationships with customers in a world where speedy responses are prized by buyers.

Smartphone icons even help build brands by providing a visual design that customers recognize.
Many small-business owners still think that getting an app is expensive and complicated. They are worried about the need to build different apps for the various platforms customers are on – iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry. They are unsure about building dynamic or static apps, and the difficulty of coming up with an app design. Moreover, most small-business owners don’t have the expertise to build apps themselves.
Your customers can benefit from being able to access your products/services anytime they want and while on the fly. This is especially true if you don’t have a help line that’s available 24/7. Your app can include a feature where they can contact you day or night, and without necessarily going to your website.
More than just an application, a mobile app can double as a valuable marketing tool. It can be easily integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media platforms. That means, with a single tap, customers can share with their network your app and or their experience with your company, which can then offer you free publicity. Plus, using push notification, you can quickly send upcoming promotions or special events to your customers and prospects.

4 Important Things You Should Consider Before Hiring a Millennial

Written by: Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

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Ever wonder why organizations spend so much research, time and money analyzing each generation, say for example the Baby Boomers? Yes, of course there’s the marketing aspect of it; after all, marketers realize the importance of understanding their target consumers. Because it’s only after they unveil information about the likes, dislikes and habits of these consumers that they’re able to better develop the right products and reap outstanding profits.

But retailers and organizations aren’t the only ones who can stand to benefit from understanding the idiosyncrasies of various generations. In fact, this information can help employers glean golden tid-bits about employees to better interact, understand and motivate them. Taking strides toward this effort can ensure that your organization is making the most of its associates by understanding each generation’s drivers, behaviors, tendencies and values, and then shaping its associate culture around those key discoveries.

At one point, Baby Boomers, also known as Generation X, drove the workforce. And that generation valued freedom, family and fun. But today, Baby Boomers are retiring or preparing for retirement and their children, Generation Y or millennials, have taken center stage and are commanding control. In fact, it’s entirely likely that you yourself are a millennial or work with someone who is.

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Millennials are individuals who are born approximately between the years of 1980 – early 2000s. They’re as unique as their predecessors, Generation X-ers, and come with their own set of characteristics, ideologies and attitudes that set them apart from Generation X-ers in so many ways.

If you’re a manager or an entrepreneur looking to effectively run your team or company, you’ll benefit from understanding this group of individuals and knowing what makes them tick so that you can manage them effectively and help them be the most successful they can, both to their benefit and yours. Here are four traits of millennials that set them apart from preceding generations.

Desire flexibility

Millennials prize mobility. They don’t like being tied down to a single spot. So it’s not unlikely that you’ll come across a millennial who will tell you they don’t want to be rooted down to a single work location.  Often these individuals seek jobs that offer flexibility so that they can strike the right work-life balance.

If your company has the opportunity to offer flex schedules, or remote work on a regular or occasional basis, use that as an incentive to attract top talent in the millennial age group. And if you’re fearful that these millennials will slack off, rest assured that according to studies, most people work longer hours rather than shorter when they work from home. Plus, another great trait of millennials is that they’re multitaskers, so even though they might sneak a moment to put in a load of laundry or grab a quick coffee with a friend, they’ll honor the privilege of being remote and will work twice as hard to make sure they’re able to retain it.

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Saavy with social media

With the creation of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and so many other platforms that help people stay connected, it’s no surprise that millennials, who are pro-connectivity, are all about social media. And because, these individuals comprise 80 million of the population, it’s easy to understand why marketers have turned to social media full throttle for advertising, promoting and even garnering new ideas.

And if you happen to have a marketing division of your company and are fumbling with social media, who better to help revive or implement your strategy than the very people who use them the most—millennials?! Approach a millennial about help with social media, and you’re likely to see their eyes light up, signaling the start of a win-win relationship for all parties involved. You’ll be astonished by the clever tips and suggestions you might get on how you can make your company stand a chance against fierce competition, using these platforms as your arsenal.

Seek recognition and praise

Many tend to label millennials as narcissists. And it doesn’t help matters that one of the characteristics of this generation is love for praise and recognition; but don’t be quick to judge. After all, who doesn’t like being told that they’re doing a great job?  If you want to point blame, direct it at their Generation X parents, who constantly showered them with praise by for the slightest successes. But all that aside, one thing you should take from this revelation is that praise goes a long way with millennials, so be generous with it—when appropriate—and don’t underestimate its power where this bunch is concerned.

Value transparency

Millennials seek to build strong relationships with their managers and don’t like being kept in the dark when it comes to matters concerning work, which means they value real talk and transparency. So if your workplace has major changes up and coming or is in the process of implementing a change that might impact staff, consider communicating these changes in advance to maintain the trust and respect of your millennials, if not the rest of your staff.

Millennials can be a fun group of individuals to work with if you understand what makes them tick. Once you know the idiosyncrasies of this generation, you can bet your bottom buck you’ll be on the path to a firm professional footing with this dynamic, talented group.

How To Overcome Your Fear of Asking Questions at Work

Written by Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog 

file3171263251671When I worked at Bank of America, I attended a training with our offshore employees from India. Of course because the entire team was together for the first time ever, the managers saw this as an ideal opportunity to fill our days with endless trainings, seminars and lunches, creating a draining agenda that left us scrambling for our hotel rooms by late evening.

One thing I noticed during those seminars was that while the America-based group sat engaged with a sprinkle of questions every now and again throughout each presentation, the offshore group asked a flurry of them. Quite honestly, I was amazed at their ability to so candidly and bravely barrel through question after question with rarely a breath in between. After about fifteen minutes, I felt embarrassed for the offshore group. By the second day, the endless questions became frustrating. By the third day, most of us were either clenching our teeth or falling asleep with our eyes open.

Don’t get me wrong, these were wonderful, smart, astute people who had some pretty interesting things to ask. And in the time we spent with them, they made me realize that the prospect of asking questions is perceived completely differently in the Western culture versus the Eastern one. Here in the good ol’ U S of A, excessive questioning is often perceived as annoying and a waste of people’s time. People who ask many questions are thought of as daft or slow to learn.

Subsequently in India, asking questions demonstrates eagerness, engagement and intelligence.

I will follow up on the latter and admit that when it came time to working on projects, the offshore team was always on par and even brought up game-changing inquiries, catching flaws in our plans or theories, which helped the onshore group further flesh out or even reconsider some thoughts. As a result, my admiration for them grew and I started wondering if perhaps instead of biting my tongue in fear of sounding stupid, I should venture out of my comfort zone every now and again and lodge some questions of my own.

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In fact, much after interacting with this group, I begin to pay more attention in future meetings to those who dared to ask multiple questions. And those who did almost always had a better understanding than the rest.

If you’re looking to excel in your career, it’s a good idea to start breaking out of the invisible bubble wrap we often wrap ourselves in in fear of sounding dumb or silly. Want to give it a try? Muster some confident and follow these simple rules to become a better, more informed, more engaged individual by learning how to ask intelligent questions.

Pay attention

This one might seem obvious, but it’s actually a lot easier said than done. We all have (very limited!) attention spans. And I’ll be the first to admit that I more often than I’d like to admit find my mind wandering during meetings. But that’s not okay—especially if you’re gearing up to be an intelligent questioner. You don’t want to sound silly and ask something that’s already been answered. Don’t be around anything that offers a distraction. Whether that’s your best friend/co-worker or the TV. Tune in completely. If you need something to do grab a notebook and take notes so you can keep yourself busy and better comprehend what each person is saying.

Ask the right question

If you hear something you don’t understand, gather courage and get ready to speak up. But before you do, be sure to think about what exactly it is you don’t understand, and phrase your question accordingly. For example, if the meeting is about a deadline that needs to be met, but you know that creating one of the project components will require time beyond the deadline, you could ask “Given the April 20 deadline, how do you foresee squeezing in the creation of the XYZ, which takes typically X days to complete?” instead of something like “But our deadline is April 20,” which could leave people confused as to what exactly you’re trying to communicate or what hurdle you foresee. This might seem simple enough, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what it is you’re trying to convey. So be sure to give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and structure your question to accurately reflect your outlook.

Opt for open ended

Open ended questions will always yield you a more thorough, in-depth response versus a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no (also known as closed-ended questions). Notice that in the above given example question, we don’t ask a closed ended question, which would be phrased “Will we be able to meet our April 20 deadline with the creation of the XYZ?” If we did, it’s likely that the answer we’d get wouldn’t be a sufficient one or wouldn’t work to prove our point—that the deadline cannot be met or that alternative arrangements (or possibly a new deadline) need to be considered.

Focus on what you don’t understand

Once you pose your open-ended question and receive a sufficient response, analyze the response and see if there is any component of it that you’d like further clarification on. If not, you’re set. But if so, think about what you what you don’t understand or need clarification on and translate it into an open-ended question.

Probe for more    

If you’re hearing the response to your question, but aren’t able to comprehend it, it can be difficult to think of a follow up question. This is where probing is helpful. Probing means to encourage the replier to provide more details and information so that you’re able to connect the dots in your mind and make sense of what he/she is trying to say. Ask for examples, a deeper/more thorough explanation or simply say, “Could you help me understand by elaborating a little more?”

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Asking the right questions and making sure you understand the explanations provided will not only help you gain confidence and knowledge, but will also earn you the appreciation of those who will benefit from the results of your attentiveness.

So the next time you find yourself in a meeting where people around you seem to be speaking Pig Latin, throw back your shoulders, take a deep breath and fire away!