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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

Sweepstakes Entries Can Garner some Freebies Are you ready to cash in on the web's best sweepstakes and freebies? When it comes to finding the best of freebies on the web, sweepstakes entries and freebies go hand on hand. There are many fine websites that act as repositories for free stuff and sweepstakes. Here are some tips for finding the best sweepstakes entries and cashing in on the best freebies to be found on the World Web. Tips and Hints for Finding the Best Sweepstakes on the Web There are many websites out there that advertise the best of the free web. These sites often list dozens (if not more) of freebies and sweepstakes. Unfortunately, there are good deals of disreputable and not-legitimate websites that offer erroneous information or simply dozens of outdated sweepstakes links. Fortunately, there are many easy to use tips that you can use to find the best in sweepstakes. Ordering Your Sweepstakes Entries by Category Part of the secret in winning sweepstakes is that winners are able to organize their sweepstakes entries. First, you want to order sweepstakes by category. What are you most interested in winning? Are you lusting after a brand new car, or are you coveting that full makeover and shopping spree? Remember?sweepstakes usually come in big packages, so it does not hurt to think and dream big. Of course, it is important to keep a healthy sense of perspective when you go about filling out sweepstakes entries, but you want to make sure that you are focusing on the right kinds of sweepstakes. Ordering Sweepstakes Entries by Entry Deadline Date Another easy way to bring order to the crazy world of sweepstakes entries and freebies is to organize all of your sweepstakes entries by the deadline date. The last thing you want to do is to focus your energies on sweepstakes entries that are already expired. Purchase a notebook with file pockets that allows you to organize all of your sweepstakes entries by category and date. Keep a calendar handy and make sure that you note the various deadline dates for submitting to sweepstakes contests that you want to enter. Keep an Eye on Your Favorite Companies and Sponsors Once you have been in the sweepstakes business long enough, you begin to notice a definite pattern?your favorite companies, businesses and corporations probably sponsor their sweepstakes contests on a regular schedule. Make sure you bookmark your favorites?those companies that are frequent sponsors of sweepstakes contests?and visit their site often. You want to get a leg up on the competition by knowing who will be holding a sweepstake contest at any given time. Make the Sweepstakes Directory Your Best Friend If you are serious about winning sweepstakes freebies, you will want to become very well acquainted with sweepstakes directories. The World Wide Web is a haven and treasure trove for sweepstakes directories. These are websites that contain libraries of links that can connect you to new sweepstakes. Thank the organizers out there, who feel the need to collect and label links for the rest of us. These websites can be great places to start your search for the perfect sweepstakes entry. Sign Up for Newsletters that Keep You in Touch with Sweepstakes Sponsors If you know that certain companies sponsor sweepstakes contests, consider joining the newsletters of the contest sponsors. Many sponsors use their free newsletters to promote sweepstakes contests. This is a good way to learn more about their giveaway patterns. You will also be the first to know whether about sweepstakes contests as soon as they go online. You can search the Internet for the best of these newsletters. Be warned that your inbox will quickly fill up if you rely on this method.

From the Publisher?s Desk: How Book Publishing looks from the Other Side (book publishing) Many writers aspire to writing books. Writing a book is a long, involved, difficult process. Book publishing is harder. A writer may submit his book time and time again only to be turned down again and again. He may eventually be successful. Wouldn?t it have been easier to have just gotten published the first time? Is that possible? You can improve your chances if you understand a little bit more about what happens at the publisher?s desk. Book publishers are busy people with several projects crossing their desks every day. They must make fast decisions about what will sell. They must also delegate their time efficiently in order to keep the business running. Only occasionally do publishers actually seek out work. Maybe understanding the work day of a publisher will help you to get a book published. Persistence Has a New Meaning You all know that writers must be persistent. Regardless of how many times you get shot down and your ideas are thrown in the trash, you have to keep going back for more discouragement. The idea is that eventually you?ll make it in the door. If you can get all the way through, you will finally get to the place where more of your work is accepted than declined. When working with the book publishing world, the rule is the same. If you have a book that you know will sell, you can?t give up on getting it onto the publisher?s desk again and again. You probably won?t be sending the entire book, but excerpts from it. As you continually send your manuscript again and again to publisher after publisher, you should try to market it in different ways. Publishers are looking for a particular kind of writing and will dismiss anything that doesn?t look like what they are looking for. Variation in your marketing techniques may turn a rejected book into an accepted book. The Right Stuff Book publishing is a strange area of business. The people?s tastes are somewhat fickle and a book publisher has to keep up with what kinds of books will sell. It seems that technically written mysteries will always have a place on the bookshelves, but it is unclear how many authors readers are willing to get to know. That market may be tied up until Crichton and Grisham are finished. That is just one example from one genre of books though. Publishers have to keep track of what is selling in all areas of literature. The best way for you to get your work noticed is to make it look like the other writing that is selling. Be careful not to imitate style or voice of another author. Write with your own unique words while imitating the use of popular public opinion. Another way to improve your chances of getting your work onto the right publisher?s desk is to find out who?s publishing what. Are You Barking Up the Right Tree? Some publishers specialize in a certain kind of writing. If you are writing a novel, it won?t do you any good to send it to the people who publish technical manuals. How do you find out who is the most likely candidate to publish your work? There are reference manuals at your library that will tell you the kinds of book publishing that is happening. It will contain valuable information leading you to children?s book publishers, novel publishers and textbook publishers. If the handbook at your library is not quite up to date, your next option is to check out the new release and best seller rack at the book store. Buy a few books and read them. You?ll have a much better feel for the market if you are a consumer. Book publishing is a difficult field to break into. It can be helpful to approach the issue from the direction of the publisher. Before you send out your manuscript again, there are things you can do to improve your chances. Change your marketing style so that you just may grab some better attention. Make sure that you are a book consumer yourself. You?ll get a better feel for what?s selling and therefore what a publisher will buy. You?ll also find out who is publishing which types of books. Finally, by buying the product you are trying to sell, you will improve the book economy all together. Publishers need to see people buying books before they can commit to publishing more.

Web Hosting - Sharing A Server Things To Think About You can often get a substantial discount off web hosting fees by sharing a server with other sites. Or, you may have multiple sites of your own on the same system. But, just as sharing a house can have benefits and drawbacks, so too with a server. The first consideration is availability. Shared servers get re-booted more often than stand alone systems. That can happen for multiple reasons. Another site's software may produce a problem or make a change that requires a re-boot. While that's less common on Unix-based systems than on Windows, it still happens. Be prepared for more scheduled and unplanned outages when you share a server. Load is the next, and more obvious, issue. A single pickup truck can only haul so much weight. If the truck is already half-loaded with someone else's rocks, it will not haul yours as easily. Most websites are fairly static. A reader hits a page, then spends some time skimming it before loading another. During that time, the server has capacity to satisfy other requests without affecting you. All the shared resources - CPU, memory, disks, network and other components - can easily handle multiple users (up to a point). But all servers have inherent capacity limitations. The component that processes software instructions (the CPU) can only do so much. Most large servers will have more than one (some as many as 16), but there are still limits to what they can do. The more requests they receive, the busier they are. At a certain point, your software request (such as accessing a website page) has to wait a bit. Memory on a server functions in a similar way. It's a shared resource on the server and there is only so much of it. As it gets used up, the system lets one process use some, then another, in turn. But sharing that resource causes delays. The more requests there are, the longer the delays. You may experience that as waiting for a page to appear in the browser or a file to download. Bottlenecks can appear in other places outside, but connected to, the server itself. Network components get shared among multiple users along with everything else. And, as with those others, the more requests there are (and the longer they tie them up) the longer the delays you notice. The only way to get an objective look at whether a server and the connected network have enough capacity is to measure and test. All systems are capable of reporting how much of what is being used. Most can compile that information into some form of statistical report. Reviewing that data allows for a rational assessment of how much capacity is being used and how much is still available. It also allows a knowledgeable person to make projections of how much more sharing is possible with what level of impact. Request that information and, if necessary, get help in interpreting it. Then you can make a cost-benefit decision based on fact.