Saturday, 21 November 2009

A look at online dating rules

Follow these simple rules to make online dating a great new experience.


Wide varieties of online dating sites await your visit. Most work in a similar way. You may register, explore the site and even search for a possible match. However, when you are tempted to contact your dream partner, you need to take out a subscription. While these may vary, the rules of most online dating sites are much the same. Complete your profile and add your pictures for free. To make contact, you must pay.


Online Dating profiles provide your window to the site. First is a bunch of questions about you. Questions about your ideal partner follow. Then there is a free-form text area for you to describe who you are and what you are looking for. It is a good idea to apply the rule of honesty when completing your profile. Honesty simplifies the whole process.

Add a photo of yourself to your profile. Again, the honesty rule applies. If you use a photo of someone else, then there will be some serious explaining - possibly at the expense of a great relationship.


Once you have updated your profile, you may explore the site at your leisure. Have a look at who is available, those that you may want to meat. If you like the look of someone, you may mark them as a favorite - they will see you as a fan. The main rule to remember at this stage is that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.


Most dating sites have a simple rule about exchanging contract details before both parties have communicated with each other. Apart from protecting its revenue - it does cost money to run an online dating site - the site is protecting you. Most of the people that you meet online are normal people. But there are dangers. Criminals use the Internet too and target dating sites as a source of revenue.


Sometimes a potential partner may seem too good to be true. If in doubt, contact the site administration with the username. The common sense rule is that you don't send money to anyone. A common scam is to get you to transfer money to pay for an air-ticket to meet you because there is a 30 day hold on their own funds.
The second common sense rule is to arrange your first meeting in a public place such as a restaurant. This gives you the opportunity to leave if you are not happy with your date. If he (or she) is not the person you saw in the photo, rather leave and find somebody new.


While there is no rule to compel you to respond to mail, it is common courtesy to do so. If you are not interested, then let the other party know. It can save you the trouble of receiving persistent mail. If someone is bothering you, you are able to block mail from that person.
Online dating provides a great way to meet new partners without having to frequent singles bars or clubs. Follow these few simple rules to ensure a happy and safe experience.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Lorraine, then and now. Oil and collage on canvas. Lorraine Marcus, November, 2009.
For more work by Lorraine, go to Lawlie's Art

Why you need good communication skills in business

Every aspect of a business is governed by communication. Effective communication between the executive and those that do the work is essential to ensure that the right work is being done. Every business must be able to communicate with its customers. A lack of communications skills can affect the bottom line. How often does your interaction with a company's call centre drive you to the opposition? Never underestimate the importance of communication skills in business.

Communication in business takes place on a number of levels.

Communication between the business and the outside world is of prime importance. Effective communication with clients is one of the keys to keeping a business alive. Without its clients, a business has no reason to exist. Only a monopoly with 'captive clients' can sustain itself without effective external communication.

Client communication begins with marketing. Marketing lays the foundation of a business's communication with its client. Marketing is the ability to communicate the benefits of the products and services that a business offers. It establishes the image of the organisation, and creates an element of public trust in the organisation.

The sales force provides the next level of client communication. The sales force must be able to represent the company and its products accurately to potential clients. A failure on the sales front can cause irreparable damage to the business.

Many companies fail on the third level of client communication. The call centre is often the first line of support for a company's products. Often too little time and effort is invested in the call centre. All too often call centre consultants are under-trained, incompetent or lacking in motivation and commitment. The call-centre is the business's window to the world. A good call centre consultant is able to retain a client even where past service has been bad. A bad consultant can lose almost any client!

Also in the realm of communication with the outside world is communication with stakeholders, other businesses and the media. These areas of communication are crucial. Appropriate communication skills are required to represent the company to the world through the media. Stakeholders may include shareholders, government and other interested parties.

From time to time it may be necessary to use other businesses to provide services for the company. In a typical scenario, a firm of consultants is brought in to achieve specific objectives. Three years and many millions of dollars later, the consultants are removed in disgrace. The failure is often one of communication. The consulting firm is brought in and left to intuit the requirements. The objectives have not been communicated to the consulting house and the executive are just too busy to meet with the consultants. Proper communication includes carefully specifying the requirements and discussing the expected outcomes. Lines of communication must be open to manage the project effectively.

Internal communication plays as important a role in running an effective business. The most important principles here are the ability to communicate requirements effectively and accurately. Lines of communication must be open. Secrecy is the enemy of effective communication and may lead to misunderstandings and mistrust.

There are many lines of internal communication. These include communication between board members, communication between the board and the executive, communication to management and communication to staff. Departmental or divisional barriers should not be allowed to become communication barriers.

Open lines of communication are essential if the businesses strategy is to work.

Effective communication skills are required at all levels. These include both oral and written communication skills. Presentations must be clear and to the point. A skilled negotiator is able to listen effectively. Reports should be concise, accurate and readable. Errors and failures of an organisation are often the result of miss-communication, at times the total absence of communication. When it comes to the business's window to the world the call centre must ensure that the consultants are trained and able to communicate. They must be able to listen, and their responses should be backed by genuine knowledge.

Communication includes an often neglected skill the ability to listen. A business that listens to its clients is more able to meet their requirements. A business that listens to its staff may enjoy better labour relations and may benefit from the many ideas and innovations that its staff suggest.

If a business has a will to succeed, it must be able to communicate to the world, its clients and to itself.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Why choose home solar energy?

Climate change and escalating energy costs have driven many people to consider using solar energy. Home solar energy can be a viable way to provide much of your hot water, central heating or pool heating requirements for your home. Solar energy can also supplement your home's lighting and other electricity needs.
The sun is an unlimited source of free and clean energy. The quest to harness this energy began many years ago. Solar energy has become a viable alternative to provide or supplement the power for your home. The sun's energy consists of heat and light. Both are used as a source of free energy.
The sun's heating or thermal power is commonly used in sunny climates to supplement the hot water requirements of many homes. Thermal panels are mounted on the roof of the home. Water is circulated through a series of pipes and stored in a tank ready for use. These are very effective in sunny climates and have even been used with some success in climates with few sunshine hours.
Photovoltaic panels transform the sun's light directly into electric current. This electricity can be used to provide lighting for your home or to provide power for your home appliances. Surplus energy produced during daylight hours may be stored in a battery. These cost of these units at this time makes their use for large appliances prohibitive.
Home solar energy has some great advantages. Once the initial installation costs have been met you will have a long-term supply of free energy. While you may not eliminate the power grid completely, you should be able to produce savings of anything from 40-80% of your monthly energy bill. Solar power is clean and environmentally friendly. There are no emissions such as those produced by burning coal. Although generally clean, nuclear energy produces potentially dangerous waste that could present long-term problems for our planet.
As with everything under the sun there are disadvantages. The sun's power is only available during daylight hours. Thermal panels are not effective during prolonged periods of overcast weather and at night. Photovoltaic panels do not work at night. The cost of solar powered hot water panels will be covered quickly by the electricity savings achieved. Unfortunately the cost of photovoltaic panels is still prohibitive. At current costs it takes many years cover the initial layout. But as the technology develops these costs should fall, making this type of solar energy more affordable.
The provision of hot water is one of the major costs in most homes energy bills. Solar Energy can effectively reduce that cost by providing some of the hot water requirements. In the right climate, solar panels can supply most of the hot water requirements. This hot water can also be used to power the home's central heating system.