Robert’s Blog

Who’s watching your network – Part 4 Unified Collaboration

While you were enjoying summer break, who was watching your network? Just because you were on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you and your employees take time off from your business.

Over time, businesses have slowly added more and more communication tools to their arsenal. What started as in-person talks, turned to phone conversations, email, and now many other options including video chat and communicating within the same cloud-based document. In order to keep it organized, you need unified collaboration. This is especially important during the summer months, as employees take vacation or work remotely.

Managed unified collaboration services help find the right solution for your business, including massively scalable Over The Top (OTT) and cloud-based unified communication tools. You can enjoy around-the-clock infrastructure monitoring including voice/IP telephony, voicemail, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), instant messaging, multi-media conferencing, telepresence, and contact center, as well as support for connectivity and business analytics. Thanks to the cloud, communication doesn’t have to stop when someone leaves the office.

Maybe your business needs an innovative video call center to seamlessly connect employees, customers, company representatives, support staff, and more. This can streamline communication and keep the team together, even while operating in different parts of the world.

Managing your communication options can become overwhelming. You need a reliable team to maintain and organize your unified collaboration, so your employees are educated on the latest technology and processes.

With unified collaboration, you aren’t restricted if an employee needs to work remotely, or someone else takes a vacation. An organized system helps your business operate as usual, wherever and whenever the team needs to work. The cloud allows these services to work in synchrony, with an effortless suite of communication tools to help grow your business.

Updated communication tools allow you to empower everyone in your business, no matter where they are located, anywhere in the world—by giving them all the same powerful communications assets. Support remote, mobile, and traveling workers by providing them all with powerful streamlined tool sets and avoid the risk of losing a sale due to communication errors with a customer. Custom solutions allow you to connect every time, using the customer’s preferred communication methods.

As a business owner, you don’t want to worry that everything will fall apart if you take time off. Managed unified collaboration services offer network diversity, routing fail-over, 24/7 network monitoring, proactive notifications, dual provisioning and load balancing so you can enjoy peace of mind. Should an error occur, your team will know who to contact to get things up and running again.

Technology is constantly changing, and it can be a challenge to stay up to date on the latest innovations. Your business can stay on the cutting edge when you rely on the experts to update your communication tools as necessary. Plus, you can enjoy a system that grows with you, as your needs change. A team of experts can easily adapt your conferencing network for high-quality, reliable communication applications.

With unified collaboration, you can stay in communication with your team and your customers all season long. No longer are you restricted to traditional methods, which can be difficult to use if employees are traveling or out of the office. Everyone can work seamlessly toward the business’ goals with the latest collaboration services. Enjoy your summer while growing your business by updating your communication system.

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Who’s watching your network – Part 1 Managed IT

While you’re enjoying summer break, who’s watching your network? Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you take time off from your business. managed IT

If an emergency occurs with your system, who is looking after it? The web is a 24/7/365 structure, and you need eyes on your network at all times. A managed IT contract can ensure you have a team of dedicated tech experts serving your network around the clock. This summer, take the opportunity to actually enjoy a vacation and take a much-needed break from the business and outsource your IT management. Your system will be monitored with a proactive approach to errors, as well as go into defense mode should an attack occur.

Managed IT is a smart solution whether or not you have your own IT team. These services can remotely manage your entire system which is perfect for small or medium-sized businesses that aren’t ready to hire their own IT employees. Skilled technicians can also work side by side with your staff to provide support and expert advice should errors occur.

The last thing you want is to receive emergency phone calls from your business while you’re on vacation. Whether you’re off the grid or just trying to enjoy quality time with your family, it can be hard to solve system errors when you’re away. Not to mention it can be stressful for you and your employees at the office as precious minutes of downtime slip by, costing your business money and productivity.

Managed IT contracts provide 24/7 network monitoring with a proactive approach to managing your IT infrastructure. This constant monitoring can help eliminate small problems before they becoming debilitating to your system. Remote monitoring and management of servers, desktops, and mobile devices ensures that nothing ever slips under the radar. Managed IT identifies and fixes problems before they create downtime.

 Whether it’s a software update, harmful virus, hacker, or spyware, your system can’t afford to wait until your IT team gets back. If a problem gets out of hand, your website or primary applications could go down, causing you to lose business. With managed IT services, you get peace of mind at all times should an attack occur. This is perfect for the busy summer season, when you and your employees are hoping to enjoy family vacations and unplug for a while.

Unfortunately, businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk of a cyber-attack. Managed IT providers also offer security services by partnering with trusted vendors to provide cybersecurity solutions that keep your business protected. They install components such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and anti-virus software to reduce risk. Should an attack occur, constant monitoring means threats are proactively detected in real time and automatically mitigated.

With managed IT, you can spend more time building your business, not learning how to take care of your IT infrastructure. A team of experts takes care of your system and suppliers, including giving strategic advice on how technology can help support your goals. Whether your expertise is in something other than tech, or you want someone else to take the reins sometimes, managed IT is a smart business decision.

Consider managed IT this season, so you can enjoy peace of mind while you and your team spend days by the beach, pool, or exploring a new city. Proactive monitoring keeps your system updated and running smoothly, and the team is ready to snap into action should an error occur. With a team of IT experts on your side, you can trust your network is safe and your business is growing. When we work together, we can achieve more for your business.

Learn More about our Managed IT

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What to do if your email gets hacked

If you missed part 1, you can click here to read it.

This is Part 2 of our 3 part series on email hacking.

Now that you’ve determined if your email has been hacked, what do you do? You definitely shouldn’t ignore it. You don’t have to be a celebrity to have valuable information in your email that hackers want. They aren’t looking for gossip – they want your data. Some will keep passwords or logins to government departments or large companies they may want to ’target’ to hack them. But the more sophisticated ones will sell your details including name, telephone, email address, and credit card details and cash in on The Dark Web.

Here’s what to do to clean up the mess the hackers left behind.

  1. Change your Password
    If you still have access to your account, change your password immediately. Always use at least 8-10 characters with a variety of upper and lower case and throw in some symbols and numbers. Avoid using any information a hacker could easily find, like maiden name, address, kids’ names, birthdays, pets’ names, etc.
  2. Report It To Your Email Provider
    Most likely, your email provider has seen this type of hack before and may be able to give you more details about the nature and source of the attack. They may also have specific tools to help you protect your information and get you up and running. If your work email was hacked, also inform your IT professionals for additional guidance.
  3. Inform Your Email Contacts
    Many email hackers will send emails to your contacts, posing as you, with links to then remotely hack your friends as well. Let your contacts know they should not open any emails or click any links from you that look suspicious. Also, if they did open anything from you, encourage them to check their own accounts for hacking.
  4. Change your Security Question
    It’s not enough to just change your password. If your email provider uses security questions, change those as well. Pick the most obscure questions, with answers that only you would know. Or better yet, come up with lies for the questions (as long as you remember them). If hackers get access to your answers to the questions you already had associated with your account, they could use them to log into other accounts.
  5. Add Multi-Factor Authentication
    If your provider has the option, add multi-factor authentication, which requires use of a one-time code to log in. It does add another step to your login, but you’ll be extra protected.
  6. Check Your Email Settings
    Hackers might have changed your email settings so they get a copy of your messages forwarded to them. Look to make sure there’s nothing suspicious hidden in your settings. Don’t forget to check your email signature, ‘reply to’ email address, and your sent folder. Eliminate any weird links or email accounts you don’t recognize.
  7. Scan Your Computer for Malware and Viruses
    Your hackers may have gained access to your entire computer. Scan your computer for any viruses, and get them taken care of as soon as possible. You may need to take your computer in to a repair shop so they can remove any that might be present.
  8. Change Other Passwords
    First, update any accounts that use the same password as your previous email account. This includes social media, banking, Amazon, Netflix, wherever you commonly login. Then, think about any other accounts associated with your email address where you may have sent recent “change password” requests, or have passwords that were shared in your email. Change those accounts as well.
  9. Consider Creating a New Email
    If you continue to get hacked, and your email provider isn’t helping, you might need to start a new account, but don’t delete your old account! Hackers could then recreate the account and spoof the old account causing unknown issues for yourself.
  10. Monitor Your Information
    The hacker may have been able to access your Social Security Number or other pieces of valuable personal information from your email. If this is the case, you need to monitor your credit and other financial accounts for suspicious activity. Check your credit report through the free sites to make sure nothing suddenly changes. You may want to contact the fraud department of these financial institutions or other organizations to let them know that you were hacked to ensure that they investigate and protect you from further issues.

Read part 3 of our series to learn how to protect yourself from further email hacks.

If you missed part 1, you can click here to read it, or Read part 3

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How to See if Your Email Has Been Hacked

Whether it is a personal email or a business account, getting your email hacked is a scary possibility. Hackers can quickly gain access to anything you’ve sent – like passwords, account numbers, or bank information – plus, they could use your account to send viruses to other computers, and then hack them.

In this three-part series, we discuss how to determine if you’ve been hacked, how to report the hackers and get them out of your accounts, and finally, how to protect against them in the future.

To start, how do you know if your email has been hacked? A first hint is if someone in your contacts informs you that they received a strange email from you. Ask them to send you a photo of it. If you don’t recognize it, you’ve been hacked.

Let’s do some detective work. Has your password been changed but you don’t remember doing it? That’s a problem. The first thing a hacker typically does is change your passwords and change the contact email so you can’t get back into your account.

Open your email app and look over your messages. Pay attention to the read/unread status to see if any messages have been read that you don’t remember reading. Look in the sent folder to see if there’s anything you did not send. Deleted emails can also give you clues. Also, look to see if there are any password reset request emails for different websites that you don’t remember sending. The hacker could be trying to get into your other accounts.

If you have any other unexpected emails from your bank or other official business, it may be a hacker attempting to get you to reveal more information about yourself. Call your bank and ask about the message before responding.

You can also check the recent activity of your account (if you have a service including Yahoo!, Google, or Microsoft). They will have a record of who has been accessing your email, including date, user’s operating system, mobile device type, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you’re seeing unrecognizable information on there, that could be evidence of outside hacking.

A third-party website can also do a final check to see if your email has been compromised. Have I Been Pwned? will inform you (for free) if your email has ended up in a database due to a data breach. But don’t get too alarmed right away. Make sure to check the dates –it could be reporting an old breach for which you’ve already changed your password.

If you’re not seeing any suspicious information on these sites, but you still believe you’ve been hacked, it might be an inside job. If an outside computer isn’t doing the hacking (which would be indicated by someone accessing your email from a different IP), then someone is directly logging into your computer to hack it. This could be someone in your home or office, or a public place you may have left your computer unattended. Always log out when you step away from your computer, and don’t leave it out if you leave the room.

If you’re seeing these signs, unfortunately, your email has likely been hacked. Depending on the severity of the attack, you might be able to rid yourself of hackers and clean up your accounts in just a few days. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we discuss how to report the hackers and how to get your accounts up and running again.

Questions about email hacking or internet security? Browse our blog for more topics, or contact us to see how we can help your business stay protected against hackers.

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3 Things to Rely on for Ransomware Protection Before You Resort to Backup

Relying on backup recovery is a good backup option to have, but it’s equally important to invest in security approaches that help you avoid ransomware in the first place. Here are few things you can easily do to help ensure it doesn’t come down to you putting all your eggs in the backup basket:

  1. Use a multi-layered security strategy: No security tool is 100% effective, but using a multi-layered approach that includes firewalls, antivirus, and behavioral-based malware detection can help ensure that even if one layer doesn’t catch a threat another layer will.
  2. Conduct user training, and lots of it: Whether it’s through malvertising, phishing, or social engineering the biggest weak point attackers target is user behavior. Schedule regular training with your users to go over best practices and how they can avoid having their computers compromised by malware.
  3. Patch early, patch often: Security software needs regular updates and patching to keep up with new cyber-attacks. Make sure all your security software is regularly updated.

LammTech hopes you enjoyed this email blog and will Visit our blog page if you missed the other segments of this series.

Want to know more? LammTech is always available to discuss your data back up and data protection needs.  Call us at 660.827.9944 to discuss your needs and if you are protected.

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Beware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Beware: Black Friday is coming. What was once a one-day in-store shopping spree has become a week (or even month!) shopping marathon. The introduction of Cyber Monday and the rise of online shopping has led deal-seekers to make online purchases as they prepare for the holiday season.

In 2016, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales came in at $12.8 billion, a 15.2% bump from the same period in 2015.Cyber Monday made $3.45 billion in sales in 2016, making it the biggest day ever in U.S. e-commerce history. Almost 40% of sales on what was a brick-and-mortar shopping weekend occurred on a mobile device.

This year, 69% of Americans plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend, and 84% of this year’s holiday shoppers will be shopping online, according to data from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2017 Holiday Outlook.

In all, Americans are expected to spend about $680 billion this holiday season, marking a 3.6 percent to 4 percent increase from last year’s $655.8 billion, according to estimates released by the National Retail Federation. Those figures are in line with last year’s 3.6 percent growth in holiday spending.

Before the sales days hit, businesses need to make sure their websites are ready, for the traffic of shoppers and the possibility of cyber-attack.

Holiday sales can bring a big surge of traffic to a website, so owners should ensure their sites can handle it. There are numerous sites that will simulate a traffic test for any URL, such as this one. You should consider contacting the web hosting provider and inquiring about the traffic limitations and cost of an upgraded server. Or, if you use Content Delivery Network (CDN), contact the provider to ensure they’ve planned for the increased traffic.

Unfortunately, getting a site ready for shopper traffic isn’t the only thing to prepare for. While this rise in shoppers is a boon for retailers and the economy, it comes with a certain risk. Cyber hackers know to follow the money, and as in years past, experts expect an increase in cyber-attacks this week. Some are predicting as many as 50 million global fraud attempts will occur in the next week as scammers look to capitalize on a busy shopping period to slip past fraud filters. Hackers have realized that by targeting busy shopping periods, it’s easier to hide their activity from e-commerce filters.

Due to consumer’s new shopping patterns, which continue up until Christmas itself, it’s difficult for retailers to notice the attacks have happened. A report from Verizon found it took a majority of businesses they studied two weeks or more to recognize that a crime occurred. In contrast, the holiday shopping period lasts for only eight weeks. More and more customers’ data may be at risk if it takes too long to identify that an attack has occurred.

Before the sales begin, monitor for malicious and unintentional changes affecting your network, with a solid Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution that would flag outdated versions of software and firmware currently running on your assets that may pose security vulnerabilities.  This will address threats and provide time for risk mitigation before the big crunch on Cyber Monday.

If you’re planning on being a shopper yourself during the holiday season, take a few precautions to keep your data safe. Just like hackers start working overtime over the holidays, so will scammers looking to target consumers individually.

  • Only deal with retail companies you trust. Understand how they operate. More importantly, keep in mind that every entity can be spoofed in email or online.
  • Look for some sort of “Safe Shopping” badge on the site that shows they’re looking out for your safety
  • Remember to use a unique password for every online account. If you reuse passwords and the password file of the company with the least secure infrastructure is compromised, then your user ID and password combination are the keys to all your other accounts, especially for those that lack two-factor authentication.
  • Make sure the website is using HTTPS in the URL. This ensures that the data transferred between the web browser and the website is encrypted.

With the right precautions, you can walk away from Black Friday with great deals – and your data still protected.

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Five Things to Protect Yourself from Ransomware

In June, thousands of businesses fell victim to a computer virus instigated by hackers who took data hostage and required businesses to pay a fee for its return. It was the second massive ransomware attack this year, after the “WannaCry” hackers came for businesses around the world in May.

This recent cyberattack is proof that hackers are getting more advanced and professional. The new strain affects even new computers (whereas WannaCry worked mostly on older systems). Attacks such as these are becoming more common due to the unfortunate combination of the outdated systems found in many businesses and government-grade hacking tools that are widely available.

2016 had a 300 percent increase in ransomware attacks compared to 2015, and in just the first half of 2017, mobile ransomware has risen by over 250 percent. One report from Cyber Security Venturespredicted that the cost of ransomware damage would exceed $5 billion in 2017. This includes not just the ransom payment that the hackers require, but also the costs of the loss of data, downtime, and lost productivity.

Protecting networks and data should be the No. 1 priority of business owners at the moment. Every company has data about their customers, employees, business plans, and more. If compromised, that could be devastating.

To help keep your business safe from hackers, be sure that you’ve taken care of these five things:

  1. Don’t click links in emails.

Many hackers can install viruses through phishing emails, malicious ads on websites, and questionable apps and programs. Although many people know they shouldn’t open emails from unfamiliar senders, studies have found that people do it anyway. In one group tested with a mock phishing email, 20 percent said clicked the link in the email, but 45 percent actually did. In the second group tested, 16 percent of people said they clicked the link in the email, but 25 percent actually did — so not only are people clicking suspicious links, they know it’s dangerous and that they shouldn’t admit they did it! Make sure your employees know the dangers of opening emails that seem questionable, and make sure they know not to click any links in those emails.

  1. Back up your data.

Save copies of your data to an external server that won’t be affected even if your main network is attacked. While this won’t protect you from a cyberattack, it will allow you to restore your network and information without paying a ransom. Make sure each employee’s computer is consistently being backed up properly and that you store that data in a safe way.

  1. Install antivirus and antimalware programs.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but installing these programs can stop ransomware and other malware from being downloaded and can find it if a breach occurs. Most of these programs will scan files for ransomware and can block secret installations from malicious activity. Find the best antivirus program for your network and install it on every computer.

  1. Install updates.

Failing to keep your computers up-to-date and ignoring software updates can be very harmful. Many users who fell victim to WannaCry would have been protected if they had just updated their computer’s operating system software. Set up your equipment so it automatically downloads the latest software as it becomes available.

  1. Don’t pay the hackers.

If you do suffer from a ransomware attack, do not pay the fees. This will encourage the attackers and will not necessarily result in the data being recovered. Use other programs to decrypt files, or just use the network backup you hopefully have stored. You can always contact an IT consulting firm to assist you in the process and help eradicate the threat from your infrastructure.

The last thing any business owner wants is to compromise the integrity of their company data, their employees, or their customers. Taking precautions to protect yourself from ransomware will help you recover, even if an attack occurs.

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Stay Lucky: Think Before You Click

Think Before You ClickWhen you run a company, your list of things to worry about becomes endless: budgets, meetings, client relations, payroll, company culture, and SO much more. But don’t forget about technology; it powers your company, keeps it running efficiently and allows for a constant stream of internal and external communication. But what happens when—and not if—your technology fails? BOOM. Your business could lose data, time and money. Sometimes, it takes more than just luck; it’s important to remain aware of the most common security threats, so you can be one step ahead of any irreversible disaster.

Sometimes, the biggest IT threats can sprout from your mailbox, and since email communication still reigns supreme, it’s the preferred ‘in’ for many cyber attackers. Company policies that allow employees to bring in their own devices or work remotely can boost productivity and job satisfaction, but they also have the potential to usher in an array of unlucky security threats.

Impersonating Your People

Cyber criminals will occasionally attempt to compromise your network by impersonating your company’s leadership. For example, messages can appear to be sent directly from the CEO’s email address, with the body of the email addressing your employee directly without a trace of malicious intent.

Once your employee opens the attached file and clicks on the link, an intruder can make way into your servers and attack them with malware instillations. Cyber criminals are getting increasingly better at deceiving users through this method, called spear-phishing, which involves using personalized emails tailored directly to the target. Using publicly available information, criminals can learn more about their targets in order to appear legitimate.

These attacks are becoming increasingly difficult to detect, so you can never be too careful. Encourage employees to think twice before downloading materials or clicking suspicious (or even unsuspicious) links. If you have any doubts about an email’s legitimacy, it never hurts to call the apparent sender for confirmation.

A False Sense of Urgency

Sometimes, an employee will receive a seemingly legitimate, “urgent” email from a colleague, requesting them to take immediate action. These messages are usually personalized, leading the employee to click the link and fall victim to another form of phishing attacks.

For this reason, it’s important to remain weary about messages that encourage you to act now, especially because criminals frequently tap into this vulnerability. It’s also helpful to look for slight misspellings in the sender’s domain and confirm questionable claims over the phone or face-to-face.

Prevent Criminals From Phishing In Your Water

As spear-phishing attacks become increasingly common and sophisticated, unfortunately, there are no signs of them slowing down anytime soon. It’s critical for business leaders and employees to take proactive measures.

Conducting a phishing simulation can help you evaluate your company’s preparedness for cyber crime. You can also set standards around sharing to teach your employees about what may be unsafe to share via email. For example, even if the sender is legitimate, an employee should still never share sensitive information through a digital medium.

Last but not least, the best way to avoid bad luck is to think before you click.

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Top 5: Excel 2016 Tips and Shortcuts

Anyone familiar with Excel knows that it offers a multitude of tools to help keep your data organized by creating spreadsheets, tables, charts, and more. Excel 2016 has some great updated features to streamline processes and give you the ability to present your data in a way that makes it stand out and pack a punch. Working with Excel doesn’t have to be a nightmare, in fact, in can be as simple as knowing the right buttons to click to get the desired results!

1. Tell Me Search Box

This new addition to the Home ribbon lets you quickly find the feature or command you are looking for. Typing a key word or phrase into the search box prompts a drop down with results relating to what you typed. Every keystroke refines your results so that you can choose the option or command that you are looking for. You also have quick access to Help content or options to get more information online. No need to hunt through the ribbon to find what you need, its right at your fingertips!

2. Smart Lookup

Fact-checking just got easier with Smart Lookup powered by Bing! This feature allows you to highlight terms within your document and bring search results from around the web into your reading or authoring environment. You can use Smart Lookup by selecting a word or phrase in your document, right clicking, and choosing Smart Lookup (previously the Research button). This opens the Insights pane with definitions, Wiki articles, and other top related searches pertaining to your highlighted information.

3. 3D Maps

This feature is perfect for those who deal with data that has geographic properties such as rows and columns that contain city names, states, counties, zip codes, etc. If you are familiar with other versions of Excel you’ll recognize 3D maps as the previously named Power Map.

3D maps allows you to discover patterns in your data as well as adds three dimensional visualization. It also has the ability to handle more than one million rows from an Excel table!

Bonus: If you are a visual person, take a look at the six new chart types that were added to Excel 2016! You can now chart your data with Treemap, Sunburst, Histogram, Pareto, Box & Whisker and Waterfall. Play around with each and decide which works best for your data!

4. Get and Transform (Query)

Get and Transform may look familiar if you used Power Query for Excel in previous versions. It can be found on the Data tab in the Get & Transform section and allows users to discover, combine, and refine data across numerous sources. You can now work with data from multiple platforms such as corporate databases, public websites, cloud based sources, and services like Salesforce. You can also combine data from multiple sources to create models and once you’ve completed your query, you can share your findings and use them in reports.

5. One Click Forecasting

The last tool on our list is a perfect addition for users who work in sales, use Excel to track inventory, or are tasked with predicting consumer trends. One Click Forecasting can be found on the Data tab in the Forecast Group. It allows the user to take historical data and a series of corresponding values and create a visual forecast that can be used to explain and understand future trends. Highlighting your data and clicking the Forecast Worksheet box will create a new worksheet that has both a table of historical and predicted values as well as a chart that expresses the data. Manipulating how your charts appear is simple and hassle free by changing the advanced settings.

These are just a few of the new and updated features offered in Excel 2016. We encourage you to explore these and other features the next time you need to gather information, manipulate data, or create a professional presentation in Excel.

LammTech understands that downtime and interruption of work flow aren’t an option when updating or implementing new software. This can be a daunting task when you work in a fast paced business environment. Let us advise and assist in making the process as smooth as possible for you and your business. Call LammTech today!

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Communication for Better Leadership

 

When you meet an exceptional communicator, you usually know it within seconds of talking with that person. They radiate a confidence about their message that typically resonates with you. From the tone they speak with to the body language they use, it is clear they have dedicated time and energy into making sure their words are heard and better yet, that those words inspire action from those they are speaking to. So, what’s the secret to becoming a great business communicator? It starts with focusing on a few key business communication solutions, including:

Always Consider Your Audience

Walking into a room full of people who are eager to hear what you have to say means scaling back on trying to sound like an expert or bragging about your accomplishments or expertise. Truly understanding your audience means knowing what that audience wants and providing them with quality information they can actually do something with. A word of caution though, this doesn’t mean simply telling your audience exactly what you think they want to hear, you need to be honest and thorough, even if it means the content they receive isn’t exactly what they had hoped for.

Open Ears Creates an Open Mind

Excellent business communicators know how to use their ears, too. Communicating is a two-way process and great leaders know that often what they hear from others is more important than anything they may have to say. Great communicators don’t interrupt or try to formulate what they are going to say next before the other person has finished speaking, they wait until the other person stops speaking so they can fully process the other perspective.

Take Responsibility for Your Words

When a great communicator says something wrong, they admit it. They aren’t waiting around for someone to point out what they did wrong, they take ownership of it before it becomes a distraction from the rest of the information they are trying to convey. Accountability is important for both the words used as well as the actions taken. This is true even if it would have been easier to not point out the error at all. Also, when a great communicator admits a mistake, they do it with humility and tact.

Ask for Feedback

Experienced communicators know that there is always room for improvement, so they are constantly asking for feedback (both positive and negative) to learn and grow from. They verify   their message was understood by the audience and they humbly accept suggestions as to how that message could have been conveyed more clearly. They also never blame an audience for the lack of understanding, but they adjust their message to better meet the needs of their audience.

One of the main similarities between all great communicators is their ability to be honest and authentic with others. They value the importance of communication in the workplace and with an audience and because of this, they excel in many other areas of leadership.

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