What Is The Best Handicap Stair Lift?

If you’re handicapped a stair lift can really give you back your independence. But the cost of a handicap stair lift is expensive so before you part with your money you should make sure you buy the best stair lift for you. Here’s a quick review of stair lifts for the disabled.

There are two basic types of stair lift; the straight stair lift and the curved stair lift. These further divide into electric AC mains stair lifts and DC battery operated stair lifts. First off, do you require a curved stair lift? The price of a curved stair lift is many times more expensive than a straight stair lift. And most stair lift manufacturers only make straight stair lifts. These manufacturers will tell you that you can use two straight stair lifts if you have a middle landing, however you should bear in mind that you will have to get on and off the stair chair lift twice; this may not be so easy, depending on your handicap, especially when changing stair lifts on a small interim landing.

Until recently just about all stair lifts for the disabled were powered from mains electricity. This had some problems: the units were noisy: they had a trailing cable, which could be easily tripped over; the ride action was somewhat ‘juddery’; and you couldn’t use it when there was a power failure. Most new handicap stair lifts are battery powered. You get many advantages with a battery stair lift: quiet ride; smooth ride; no mains wires and easy to install; and you can use it when there is a power outage.

However, there are some advantages to main power. With an electric stair lift you can use it as much as you like; battery operated stair lifts need to be recharged. So, if you think you might use the handicap stair lift more than 20 times a day, then you could consider an electric stair lift.

The following manufacturers make handicap stair lifts for straight stairways only.

The Acorn Superglide 120 stair lift is a very good battery powered unit. You get many features as standard; safety sensors to stop the chair when it encounters an obstacle, fold up seat and flip up foot rest, swivel seat, and a directional paddle switches that are operated by the lightest touch and can be used easily by those even with limited dexterity. You also get a choice of safety belts; inertial reel lap harness comes as standard – you have to pay more for a fixed 3-point shoulder harness.

Finally, Acorn also manufactures the Superglide Perch Stair Lift. This perch stair lift is especially useful for those who have only limited movement in their knees – it’s also ideal for stairways that are narrower than normal.

Summit stair lifts are designed to be cheap and easily installed. The company makes electric stair lifts and not battery. You get many of the features that come with the Acorn; however the controls on the Summit stair lift are not ideal for the disabled. Also, you don’t get a safety belt. If your disability is such that you have limited use in your hands or you need to be secured with a safety belt, then you really should consider the Acorn; the price of its disable stair lift is more than that of the Summit stair lift but you do get a lot more features that are better for the handicapped.

If you need a curved stair lift then you’re probably best is considering either a Bruno stair lift or Stannah stair lift – both of these companies also make excellent straight stair lifts.

All Bruno stair lifts are battery powered. The company makes the Bruno Electra-Ride III Curved Rail stair lift. You get a retractable safety belt; optional wrap-around parking so the chair doesn’t occupy too much space on the landing; and it can carry up to 350 lbs. All in all, the Bruno is an excellent stair lift for the disabled.

Stannah is a UK stair lift manufacturer who supply handicap stair lifts all over the world. The Stannah 260 stair lift is its curved stair lift. This stair lift is ideal for the disabled. The arms come with integrated controls that operate at the lightest touch – you can also get a joystick option if you prefer. You get a manually operate swivel seat as standard but there’s also a powered swivel option. The stair lift comes with 9 sensitive safety edges to detect any obstacle and stop the chair. Finally, the chair travels along a unique dual track that is very elegant in design.

The Stannah stair lift is a little more expensive that the Bruno handicap stair lift but it is worth paying that little bit extra.

The above four stair lifts all work well for the disabled. For a straight stair lift, the Acorn Superglide stair lift is your best option. For a curved stair lift, the Stannah stair lift is my recommendation. Whichever model of handicap stair lift you choose make sure it has the features you need.



Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

The real benefits of aerobic exercise are achieved by increasing your heart rate and breathing hard for an extended period of time. During this aerobic activity your body produces more energy and delivers more oxygen to your muscles. Your heart beats faster and increases the blood flow to your muscles and then back to your lungs.

Aerobic means “with oxygen” and your body’s aerobic system is your heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles. The benefit of aerobic exercise is based on how well your body can deliver oxygen to your muscles and use it for energy. Regular aerobic workouts increase your ability to take in and transport that oxygen and improves your aerobic capacity.

A good aerobic exercise program can help you live a longer, healthier life and enhance your well being. You get a multitude of benefits if you do your aerobic workout on a regular basis even if the intensity is low or short in duration. It’s fun to keep a log of your workouts that track your progress to see how far you have come in your pursuit of fitness.

The bottom line is to start an aerobic workout that you enjoy and look forward to doing on a consistent basis. Aerobic activity is fun and it doesn’t require a lot of concentration. So listen to music, watch TV or listen to educational tapes while you are performing your aerobic exercise program.

Aerobic workouts make you feel better about yourself so you can enjoy life more. It boosts your mood, strengthens your heart muscle, helps you maintain your weight and can even lower your blood sugar levels. It can help increase your stamina and help you manage stress. A session of aerobic activity can help you relax after a stressful day at work. It can even improve your sexual performance.

If you maintain a regular aerobic exercise program as you get older, your muscles will stay stronger and help you avoid fractures and falls. This will help keep you independent and on your own longer. People who engage in exercise and cardiovascular fitness appear to live longer than those who don’t.

Aerobic activity comes in many forms and you can benefit from the time you spend in doing them. The benefits of aerobic exercise are good for your body and your mind and will help to make you live longer, stay healthier and feel great.

Copyright © 2005 Treadmill Info.com All Rights Reserved.



So You Want to Own and Operate an "Alarm Company" – What is Your Plan of Attack?

There are an immense amount of things to consider once you choose to enter the electronic security and alarm field as your next business. In my experience, the people who take this endeavor on, are coming from careers as alarm installers or have a great amount of engineering experience. What attracts a person to the alarm industry and makes them want to run their own alarm company are usually the recurring revenues from monitoring. There is a great amount of money to be made in the monitoring side of the business. Many also find the industry to be somewhat recession proof as it is a product that is both needed and accessible to all, no matter what their financial status might be.

Alarm installers have an advantage over many that open an alarm company. I equate it to opening a restaurant, you can have the nicest dining room in town and the best service in place as well, but if the chef is no good, your restaurant will fail. Installation is the one side of the business that controls the quality of all other aspects. As with most things, when you sub work out, you will sacrifice quality unless the owner of the company comes from an alarm installation background and can supervise and train other installers, to maintain the highest standards of the industry. Many municipalities and state governments have extensive licensing and background check requirements to operate or even work for an alarm company. Other states require minimum experience and their licensing is as informal as getting a permit. A good starting point to research these requirements would be to contact the (national) NBFAA or (your state) burglar and fire alarm association.

When you decide to build an Alarm Company from the ground up, there are many considerations that one must take into account. As there are few places to turn where all the needed information is under one roof, you may find yourself speaking to many experts in individual aspects of business and alarm company operations. After a great amount of information is gathered, you can then begin to put the puzzle together.

The inherent problem with this approach is that the information taught by one was not designed to flow with the information taught by another, and you end up putting out many fires, at a time that you should be learning how to prevent them.

Here are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself at the beginning stages of starting your alarm company:

*Do I join an alarm dealership program or run an independent alarm company?

*How will I set up administration for the daily operations of my alarm company?

*What should I pay all the crucial positions?

*How does the paperwork flow from sales, to alarm install, to administration?

*What numbers should I target and expect?

*How is my alarm sales department structured?

*How is my alarm installation department structured?

*How do all of these positions get managed productively?

*What equipment should I sell and install?

*What is normal industry pricing?

*How do I find potential customers?

*How do I efficiently convert these people into clients?

*Who does the monitoring of these alarms?

*How do I hire for all the necessary departments?

*How do I train them and make them accountable to success?

In order to fully understand your options and be able to make decisions that will be both financially beneficial and easily assimilated, you should seek expert advice and training from a singular source if at all possible. This way the programs you learn are designed to interact with each other. Below is a list of the training modules that you will need to learn in order to complete the picture and compete in our field.

Hiring- A sales manager is only as good as their ability to hire new employees. Learning to hire quality employees is multi- faceted endeavor with an emphasis on time management. Seek out the best concepts in ad writing, ad placement, cost controls, ad calls, interview process, time management and employee retention.

Training- Buildings that last the longest are built on the most solid foundations. New hires are evaluating their future with the company on their ability to learn the job as quickly as possible, and to make themselves productive members of a team. Experts will teach you methods of training, and help you add structure and accountability to your in house training programs.

Scheduling- Understanding time management and scheduling, allows you to get the most out of each day without sacrificing or delaying other tasks. A manager must be able to perform all necessary roles without the sinking feeling of never being able to catch up. An employee must be able to attend training and meetings and still be able to use the available workday productively.

Pay Plan- Experts will introduce you to some of the most cutting edge and motivating pay-plans in the industry. If your pay and commission structure is not consistently benefiting the company and its employees equally, it is time to learn about alternative concepts.

Time Management- Explore how all the necessary growth in your Management, Sales and Marketing divisions can be accomplished, taught and maintained on a daily basis, while affecting your bottom line positively from day one.

Accountability- Accountability programs are controlled by both supervisors and the employees that are holding themselves accountable to the highest standards. Learn how to make these programs work for all parties involved. When accountability programs are administered improperly they will create the perception of baby-sitting. When done properly they will provide pride in workmanship, a feeling of accomplishment, and job security.

Reports- Accurate and comprehensive daily record keeping and periodic reports to teammates and officers of the company will keep all players on the same page. Experts can help you design a custom database that will take minimal time for a team manager to maintain. Experts will teach you how to share this information with your superiors and employees alike. A comprehensive daily report is a “Crystal Ball” and will guide your individual training needs.

Forms- There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Experts have a complete database of the forms necessary to maintaining daily training and record keeping in our industry.

Motivation- Learn the methods for team motivation which include employee acknowledgment programs, bonus programs, team display boards and most important, earning genuine loyalty and respect as a manager.

Bonus Programs- Explore new concepts for employee bonus programs that work in conjunction with production growth, without becoming expected and repetitive. Learn how to create the budget for these programs and manage them from request for funding to distribution of bonus awards.

Meetings- Productive team meetings are a privilege and something to look forward to. Are your employees seeing the opportunity to get together with teammates and grow as positive? If your answer is anything less than an exuberant YES, you should be looking for methods of creating positive and constructive team meetings.

Goal Setting- Individual goal setting is the most important tool a quality sales manager has at their disposal, for growing a consistent and loyal employee. It allows you to get to know an individual’s hopes and dreams on a personal level, while helping them to accomplish the steps necessary to success. Experts can review any existing goal setting programs or concepts that you have in place and suggest alternative ways to manage this program.

Lead Production- Explore field proven programs that have been created to increase your dealerships lead production. Residential Referral Programs, Canvas Lead Production, Exhibition Lead Production and Preferred Partner Programs are a few of the methods that should be learned.

Protocol-Consistent handling of each possible situation creates accountability. Learn to teach employees how to report in on all aspects of daily work. Teach employees how any breach in protocol will be recognized and addressed in a constructive manner.

Lead Runners- Develop your lead runners as specialists in the art of the first visit close. All aspects of lead runner’s daily requirements are taught, from time management to the actual processes of:

Rapport, Body Language, Equipment Presentation, Product Knowledge, Cost Analysis, Creating the Greed, Creating the Need,

Assumption, Walk Through, Creating Possession, Take-Away’s,

System Design, Parts Sales, Pre-Pays, Paperwork, Cancel Killers, Self-Generating. (Sales without leads)

Canvasser’s- Masters of the doorstep with proficiency in all the modules above. Teach your canvasser’s not to burn doors, and to stop turning their jobs into door to door sales. An effective canvasser should speak to only four homeowners to put two on paper. This is taught through constant roll playing and attitude adjustment in the arena of creating opportunity. Explore field proven methods of converting your canvasser’s into an elite team of productive experts with a high quality of life as a reward.

Telemarketing- Time tables, concepts and controls for development of an in house telemarketing department for creation of sales and promotion leads.

I have only begun to scratch the surface of all the things that need to be considered when opening an Alarm Company. Set yourself a consultation with an industry expert that can help you decide on the complete structure. This way your chosen path will have continuity and flow, while saving you time getting to where you are going as a

competitor in a complicated but lucrative venture.



Mortgage Pay Off Trap – Why the First Five Years of Your Mortgage is Set to Work Against You

The first 5 years of your mortgage is the most critical. The general rule of thumb is that you spend at least 5 times more in principal than interest. You can run the numbers for yourself at http://www.bankrate.com

The banks’ hope you won’t break free from this cycle and have designed the mortgage tables to trap you into paying interest for a longer period of time.

To get ahead of your mortgage…

…it is important you have a basic understanding of your mortgage amortization schedule so that the banks don’t take advantage of you and suck you into a lifetime of payments.

HUH!

I know this may sound strange but nothing in life is constant.

Chances are at some point you will move, need to borrow money from your mortgage, pay for the kids education or take out a reverse mortgage in retirement. Knowing how your mortgage works will help you make those important financial decisions.

Let’s take a closer look at an example.

For a $334,000 mortgage at a 6.3% interest rate you will end up paying approximately $774,252.88 in repayments over 30 years.

You will spend $410,252.88 in interest and $334,000 in principal.

That sounds pretty fair right?

At approximately year 21, you will pay off 50% of your mortgage. So in the last ten years you will still owe $167,000.

Can you see what going on?

For the 1st 20 years you are working for the bank. Most of your hard-earned paycheck goes towards interest.

Which sucks!

Let’s take a closer look at the first 5 years of your amortization schedule. You will notice that you spend $22,068.33 in principal and $101,973.82 in interest.

Out of a total repayment of $124,042.15, you would pay approximately 82% in mortgage interest as compared to principal.

This made me feel sick when I found about this for my mortgage.

So where did it leave me and what does this mean to you?

You really start making a small dent in your mortgage after the first 8 years.

Please don’t take my word for this. You can go directly to http://www.bankrate.com and check this for yourself if your mortgage balance has changed. Pay close attention to your outstanding balance and how much of your monthly repayments are applied to interest at this point.

At the year 21 mark of your monthly mortgage payments, more of your money will go towards principal than interest. Your hard-earned paycheck would finally begin to work for you.

There are two key numbers to understand when dealing with your mortgage.

  • The first 5 years, where you would typically pay five times more in interest than principal, is the first key milestone.
  • The second key point is at year 21 when you still owe at least 50 percent of your mortgage principal.

This is interesting to know that at the 21 year mark, you pay less in interest and in the last 10 years you get very little to almost no tax deductions for your mortgage interest.

To make a dent in your mortgage, the first barrier you need to break is the five to eight year mark. Once you get past this, a little more of your cash goes towards principal and you begin to build some momentum.

Just imagine if you refinance or take out a new home.

The process starts all over again and you are stuck in a lifetime of payments.

Now here is how the banks really make their money by lending your funds to buy a home.



They count on a homeowner like you to move within the first 8 years or refinance their home. The more times you do this, the cycle starts all over again and you end paying a significant amount of your money on interest.

The goal is to break through this barrier.



OLTP vs DSS systems

Information systems are classified into two major categories, according to international developments: A. On-line transactional processing systems (also called operational systems)

B. Decision support systems (DSS)

Α. On-line transactional processing systems OLTPs are systems which serve transactions with suppliers, partners and customers, as well as internal business transactions. They support operations throughout the value chain of the Organization:

  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Production support (e.g. MRP, Advanced Planning & Scheduling)
  • Customer interface management (e.g. sales, order management and billing) (CRM)
  • Finance and Accounting (ERP)
  • Sales force automation
  • Web channel operations (eCRM)
  • Internal workflow support systems

Β. Decision support systems DSS provide management at all levels of the Organisation, with information which supports understanding of the current Business position and taking informed decisions (fact based management). OLTP vs DSS systems Even though OLTP (on-line transactional processing) and DSS (decision support systems) functionalities may overlap (e.g. an OLTP system may provide some operational reporting functionality used for decision support), it is clear that the purpose of the 2 categories differs, given that they serve different functions and different User groups in the Business. Therefore the development philosophy of the two categories differs radically. Specifically, differences are identified on the following criteria (1 for OLTP, 2 for DSS): System functional requirements:

  1. Clearly specified given that the system serves specific functional needs – the predetermined transactions
  2. the determination of a complete requirement set is a challenge, given that there are dynamically changing informational requirements.

Capture of current and historical information:

  1. Current state information is captured (some historical data may exist only to serve potential future transactions)
  2. Recent and historical information is captured (current may not be captured, given that data from the OLTP are retrieved at regular intervals)

Data models used:

  1. Complex, focused on business entities (in terms of relational databases it is called normalized data structure (e.g. 3NF))
  2. Different approaches exist. The simplified denormalised dimensional structure gains momentum, since it allows easier understanding by business users and optimized execution of complex queries.

Information level of detail:

  1. Detailed data per transaction are kept
  2. Detailed data are kept in a different structure and are enriched by ‘dimensional’ information which allows analytical processing. Moreover, aggregated data like KPIs (key performance indicators), are calculated and stored in persistent storage.

Volume of data:

  1. The volume of data is relevant to the size of the Business and the penetration of IT in it.
  2. The data volume handled by a DSS, is multiple of that of the OLTP systems on which it is based, given that it maintains multiple historical snapshots

Copyright 2006 – Kostis Panayotakis



Illustrative Speaking in Your Promotional Oral Interview

Certainly one of the primary performance objectives in the oral interview is to be distinct and disunited from the assembly line of others who are competing for your promotion. Panel members are looking for a diamond amongst a pile of rocks.

A very powerful technique, often overlooked or underused, is illustrative speaking. Reciting a memorized definition of leadership; describing pre-scripted motivation techniques; or discussing supervisory styles are fine, however such average descriptions pale in comparison when they are exemplified through real-life examples or verbal pictures so lucid that the panel can see what you saw or feel what you felt.

Using ethics as an example, most candidates might describe integrity by using the cliché; “Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody else is watching”. This is a nice statement, but does it really define integrity? Others will define integrity with other ethical descriptors such as being honest, having high morals, or possessing strong values; all of which help to describe integrity, but even collectively, cannot define it.

Using illustrative speaking, integrity might be defined as a gun safe that can never be breached or compromised; it’s a nuclear submarine with no crush depth and no crack will breach the hull, no nut will fail under the pressure, and no water will compromise the sub’s interior; it’s a line of police officers standing shoulder to shoulder linked holding back a riotous mob, none of whom can get through the integrity of the line. Illustrations such as these are followed by a concise definition; Integrity is uncompromising completeness and wholeness that cannot be breached.

Now, instead of the panel members merely hearing the words honesty, doing the right thing, principles, and values, they are visualizing a sturdy gun safe; they are seeing a submarine deep below the ocean’s surface prevailing against the great pressure; they are remembering when they were once shoulder to shoulder with other officers during civil unrest or that large party call that turned violent. Panel members are not only hearing what you say, they are seeing it as well and that is powerful communication and this technique can be used with any subject.

Equally effective to illustrative speaking-the use of metaphors and analogies-are the use of real-life examples. For example a candidate may respond to a question about motivation by not only defining it, but also describing in specific detail how he used several techniques to successfully motivate others in the past. This represents a candidate who has been there and done that and illustrates tangible experience. Lastly, the candidate might identify this experience as a valuable and needed characteristic of the position he or she is competing for.

Illustrative speaking, used correctly, can be very powerful and it allows the candidate’s words and descriptions to come to life, enabling the panel to see the answer as well as hear it. Compare an interview response that provides only a definition to one that offers a descriptive illustration, followed by a concise definition, and then supported by a true-life example and the choice is clear. Test well!



Nonverbal Communication in Business

There are five key elements that can make or break your attempt at successful nonverbal communication in business:

  • Eye contact
  • Gestures
  • Movement
  • Posture, and
  • Written communication

Let’s examine each nonverbal element in turn to see how we can maximise your potential to communicate effectively…

Eye contact

Good eye contact helps your audience develop trust in you, thereby helping you and your message appear credible. Poor eye contact does exactly the opposite.

So what IS ‘good’ eye contact?

People rely on visual clues to help them decide on whether to attend to a message or not. If they find that someone isn’t ‘looking’ at them when they are being spoken to, they feel uneasy.

So it is a wise business communicator that makes a point of attempting to engage every member of the audience by looking at them.

Now, this is of course easy if the audience is just a handful of people, but in an auditorium it can be a much harder task. So balance your time between these three areas:

  • slowly scanning the entire audience,
  • focusing on particular areas of your audience (perhaps looking at the wall between two heads if you are still intimidated by public speaking), and
  • looking at individual members of the audience for about five seconds per person.

Looking at individual members of a large group can be ‘tricky’ to get right at first.

Equally, it can be a fine balancing act if your audience comprises of just one or two members — spend too much time looking them in the eyes and they will feel intimidated, stared at, ‘hunted down’.

So here’s a useful tip: break your eye-to-eye contact down to four or five second chunks.

That is, look at the other person in blocks that last four to five seconds, then look away. That way they won’t feel intimidated.

Practice this timing yourself, away from others. Just look at a spot on the wall, count to five, then look away. With practice you will be able to develop a ‘feel’ for how long you have been looking into your audience member’s eyes and intuitively know when to look away and focus on another person or object.

When focusing on individual members in a large meeting or auditorium, try and geographically spread your attention throughout the room. That is, don’t just focus your personal gaze (as distinct from when you are scanning the room or looking at sections of the room) on selected individuals from just one part of the room. Unless you are specifically looking to interact with a particular person at that moment of your presentation, select your individual eye-contact audience members from the whole room.

Gestures

Most of us, when talking with our friends, use our hands and face to help us describe an event or object – powerful nonverbal aids.

We wave our arms about, turn our hands this way and that, roll our eyes, raise our eyebrows, and smile or frown.

Yet many of us also, when presenting to others in a more formal setting, ‘clam up’.

Our audience of friends is no different from our business audience — they all rely on our face and hands (and sometimes legs, feet and other parts of us!) to ‘see’ the bigger, fuller picture.

It is totally understandable that our nervousness can cause us to ‘freeze up’, but is is in our and our communication’s best interests if we manage that nervousness, manage our fear of public speaking, and use our body to help emphasise our point.

I found that by joining a local Toastmasters International club I was rapidly able to learn how to ‘free up my body’ when presenting to others.

Movement

Ever watch great presenters in action — men and women who are alone on the stage yet make us laugh, cry and be swept along by their words and enthusiasm?

Watch them carefully and you’ll note that they don’t stand rigidly in one spot. No, they bounce and run and stroll and glide all around the stage.

Why do they do that?

Because they know that we human beings, men in particular, are drawn to movement.

As part of man’s genetic heritage we are programmed to pay attention to movement. We instantly notice it, whether we want to or not, assessing the movement for any hint of a threat to us.

This, of course, helps explain why many men are drawn to the TV and seem transfixed by it. It also helps explain why men in particular are almost ‘glued’ to the TV when there is any sport on. All that movement!

But to get back to the stage and you on it… ensure that any movement you make is meaningful and not just nervous fidgetting, like rocking back and forth on your heels or moving two steps forward and back, or side to side.

This is ‘nervous movement’ and your nervousness will transmit itself to your audience, significantly diluting the potency of your communication and message.

So move about the stage when you can — not just to keep the men in the audience happy, but to help emphasise your message!

Posture

There are two kinds of ‘posture’ and it is the wise communicator that manages and utilizes both.

Posture 1

The first type of ‘posture’ is the one we think of intuitively-the straight back versues the slumped shoulders; the feet-apart confident stance verses the feet together, hand-wringing of the nervous; the head up and smiling versus the head down and frowing.

And every one of the positions we place the various elements of our body in tells a story—a powerful, nonverbal story.

For example, stand upright, shoulders straight, head up and eyes facing the front. Wear a big smile. Notice how you ‘feel’ emotionally.

Now-slump your shoulders, look at the floor and slightly shuffle your feet. Again, take a not of your emotional state.

Notice the difference?

Your audience surely will, and react to you and your message accordingly.

A strong, upright, positive body posture not only helps you breath easier (good for helping to calm nerves!) but also transmits a message of authority, confidence, trust and power.

If you find yourself challenged to maintain such a posture, practice in front of a mirror, or better yet join a speaking club like Toastmasters International [http://www.toastmastersa.org/champion/index.html].

Posture 2

The second type of ‘posture’ comes from your internal mental and emotional states.

You can have great body posture but without internal mental and emotional posture your words will sound hollow to your audience.

For example, the used car salesman at ‘Dodgy Brothers Motors’ might have great body posture and greet you with a firm handshake, a steady gaze and a friendly smile. But if in his heart he is seeing you as just another sucker then sooner or later his internal conflict between what he says and what he really thinks will cause him to ‘trip up’.

His body will start betraying his real, underlying intentions and you’ll start to feel uncomfortable around him, even if you can’t figure out why.

But, if that same used car salesman had a genuine desire to help you find the right car for you, and he puts your needs before his own, then his words and actions will remain congruent (in harmony) with his underlying intentions and you will trust him, even though you might not be able to identify why.

I have seen some supposed ‘self help’ gurus who don’t actually practice what they preach. Consequently their words ring hollow to me and their books, cds, dvds and training materials remain unpurchased.

I have met salesmen and women who don’t actually make the money they claim to make in their ‘fabulous business opportunity’, and while their words are practiced and polished, and their body posture is ‘perfect’, their words ooze like honeyed poison frm their lips and I remain unconvinced.

This second type of ‘posture’ is fundamentally tied to truth and honesty. It is about ‘walking the talk’ and being who you say you are.

It’s about not trying to sell something you don’t believe in or use yourself. It’s about not trying to pass yourself off as an expert when all you’ve ever done is read a book on the subject.

It’s all about making sure that your words and your intentions are underpinned by truth and honesty. Because all of us, no matter how polished a presenter we might be, are at the mercy of our body and its ability to ‘tell the truth’ in spite of what our lips might utter. Nonverbal clues rule!

Written communication

I could spend a lifetime writing about the art of written communication.

There is an art (and also a science) that can be learnt with diligence and practice. To write too formally; to write too informally; to write too briefly; to write too lengthily…

My first suggestion would be to avail yourself of one of the following three books, each of which is absolutely brilliant at giving you the skills and insights into effective business writing:

  • The Business Style Handbook: An A-to-Z Guide for Writing on the Job with Tips from Communications Experts at the Fortune 500 by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene
  • The Elements of Business Writing: A Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly
  • Effective Business Writing: Strategies, Suggestions and Examples by Maryann V. Piotrowski

From persuasive memos to complaint letters, sales letters to executive summaries — these exceedingly useful guides help you to write clearly and in an appropriate format, style and tone. Each book has numerous examples that show how to overcome writer’s block, organize messages for maximum impact, achieve an easy-to-read style, find an efficient writing system and much more.

In conclusion…

There are five key elements that can make or break your attempt at successful nonverbal business communication:

  • Eye contact
  • Gestures
  • Movement
  • Posture, and
  • Written communication

Nonverbal communication in a business setting requires not only recognition of these elements, but confidence in meeting their challenges.

Good luck and remember to communicate with passion!



Hill Walking to Take Your Fitness Goals to the Next Level

Walking is one of the finest forms of exercise for adults. It is easy on the joints, does not require any special equipment and you can do it in practically any setting. For people who are initially starting out an exercise program it is also an excellent way to progress in their goals of achieving improved heath and well-being.

For those people who are more advanced in their walking program and who would like more of a challenge, hill walking is an excellent way to take their fitness to the next level.

Before starting any hill walking program it is always important to first check with your doctor and get approval for your new exercise program. Once you get the go ahead you can start your hill walking program.

Walking up hills will build strength and give your heart an excellent workout. Hill walking is also a safe way to ramp up the intensity of your activity

Many sports injuries occur because people push themselves to speeds to which their bodies are not accustomed. Some of these injuries arise out of the mistaken belief that achieving greater intensity demands an increase in speed. While this is true when training on flat surfaces, as in the case of accelerating from a slow jog too a rapid sprint, it is not the same thing when comparing intensity levels on flat and inclined surfaces. Walking for 100 yards up a 30° incline is a more intense workout than walking at the same speed on flat ground because gravity is always resisting the movement.

By walking up hills you can raise the intensity of your exercise without having to increase your speed. This translates to improved fitness without a significant increase in the risk of injury.

When starting your hill walking program you should try to find a hill that is about 50 yards long and has an incline of about 20°. This is something you can just judge and does not require any careful measurement. Starting out once a week you should try to do one to five repetitions of this hill at whatever speed feels comfortable for you.

Walk up the hill and then if you feel that you need to stop, feel free to take all the time you need to recover. Because this is higher intensity exercise you do not need to worry about stopping or starting.The benefits of higher intensity training do not require the continuous movement of aerobic training. When you feel recovered, walk down the hill and then, if you are able, do another repetition. Walking down the hill will also force your muscles to work as gravity will be pulling you down faster than the speed at which you are walking, forcing you to adjust.

The goal should be anywhere from one to five repetitions up to twice a week. People who are only able to do one repletion on their first attempt should not feel disheartened. Think of this training program as a progression. Eventually you will be able to do 5 repetitions but it is important to take your time and build up in a natural way. The idea is to introduce intensity into your walking program. You will find that over the course of weeks and months your body will adapt very well to this new challenge and you will take your fitness to a new level.



What Are Lava Rock Beads? How They Are Formed and How to Make Lava Bead Jewelry

What are lava beads

They are a new type of jewelry-making gemstone that is becoming increasingly popular. Everyone who makes and sells home-crafted jewelry should try some. The inexpensive stone is surprisingly light, making the present fashion for large chunky jewelry, comfortable to wear. The chic usually-black beads are also available in many different shapes and sizes allowing creative designs. Some are even dyed brown, and others brighter colors.

How they are born

Lava beads started life as molten rock over 1,000 degrees Celsius. It takes this high temperature and huge pressure to make rock melt beneath an active volcano. Most rock deep inside the Earth’s interior is not molten. This molten rock is spewed out of the erupting volcano and flows in streams until cooler air freezes it solid. Sometimes the flow can travel as fast as 30 km/hour on steep slopes and reach tens of kilometers, destroying everything in its path. However, usually it moves less than 1 km/hour, giving people time to move out of the way.

Properties

Lava beads promote strength and fertility. Bringing stability in changing times, driving away anger – and helping one to understand a problem in order to spring back to a stronger position. A very grounding stone that strengthens our connection to Mother Earth.

Lava bead jewelry

Beads from these rocks make very unusual jewelry. Used as pendants or parts of a necklace, these unusual black beads ooze style and mystique, drawing attention whenever worn. When admiring lava bead jewelry, people will ask, “whatever is it made out of?” This ensures all the mystique and power of a volcano are in your design!

Designing lava bead jewelry

Take advantage of how light these beads weigh, and try making long earrings to match large lava bead pendants for necklaces and bracelets. Mix different sizes and shapes to make the design interesting. Because most are jet-black, they go well with any color or style of clothes, making them more appealing, and so easier to sell. By their nature, these beads create an earthy rustic style – ideal for “wild” outdoor jewellery, especially for late-in-the year or Halloween. And as most are large and powerful in a design, you need fewer beads to make your piece, saving you money.

Lava bead finish

Although looking coarse with tiny holes and cracks, most of these beads are polished to feel smooth, making your jewelry comfortable to wear.



How to Increase the Firing Distance of a Catapult

So you decided that you wanted to build a catapult. Now it’s finished and ready to fire. Your excitement builds as you pull the release mechanism then, plop. Your ammo sails a few feet and drops to the ground with a disappointing thud. So much for your plans to hurl water balloons at your neighbor on the other side of the fence. You feel the sting of defeat. What went wrong? Why didn’t it work? Do not despair my friend, for I may have a solution to your problem. The next couple of paragraphs will explain a few things that you can do to increase the firing distance of your siege engine.

Check your construction. Make sure your catapult has been properly built. Improperly fitted parts or loose parts can affect the efficiency of your machine. One of the biggest areas of energy loss in a catapult is the pivot points. Anywhere something pivots there will be friction. Make sure the parts move freely, without binding. Depending on your construction lubrication may be needed. If your pivot point is a wooden axle through a hole drilled in another piece of wood make sure it’s not too tight. If the fit is too tight, lightly sand until a proper fit is achieved. If there is too much play replace the piece of wood with the hole in it with a new piece that has a smaller hole. Too much play can also cause energy loss.

More tension! Many catapults are built using springs, bungee cords, or surgical tubing as the source for tension to the firing arm. Beef them up! Replace your existing springs with stronger springs. The same applies to bungee cords rubber bands. Replace the existing ones with something a little stronger. You can also add more springs or cords to the existing ones (double them up). If you have an onager, try winding the cord that is attached to the throwing arm a little tighter. This will increase the tension and force of the throwing arm when it is released. One thing to keep in mind if you are going to increase your spring tension: make sure the framework and firing arm are sturdy enough to handle the increased tension. You don’t want your siege engine to blow apart when you fire it. You may need to reinforce the frame and throwing arm to accomplish this.

All hail the trebuchet! Ah, the mighty trebuchet. It is by far my favorite of all the siege engines. It is far more sophisticated in design than other types of catapults. When properly tuned the distance and accuracy are incredible. Getting to this point can be a real pain in the rear end if you’re not sure what to do. You can build a trebuchet that works, or build one that works really well. I have a small table top model that can hurl a small wooden cannonball about 20 feet across my basement. If I place a 9″ paper plate on the floor as my target I can land every shot in the plate. I achieved this accuracy by simply making adjustments to the sling (length is critical!). Read on to find out how to tune your trebuchet.

As I mentioned above, pivot points are areas of friction. Excess friction means energy loss. Make sure the pivot point of the throwing arm moves freely without binding. Adjust as necessary. If your trebuchet has a hinged counterweight make sure this pivot point moves freely as well. While we’re on the subject of counterweights, keep in mind that the further the distance the counterweight falls, the greater the energy is to the throwing arm. Raising the height of the main axle (pivot point for throwing arm) and lengthening the throwing arm will allow the counterweight to travel further when released. Increasing the weight of the counterweight will help as well. Note that changing the length and height of the throwing arm will require adjustments to the sling. Slings are a very critical piece of a well tuned trebuchet. Incorrect lengths can cause the sling to release at the wrong time. This can result in a high arc with very short distance or a low arc with a short distance. Experiment with the sling length for greatest distance. Make sure the pouch isn’t too large for the ammo. This can result in excess wind drag. Use as small a pouch as possible for the size ammo you are using.

I hope this information is helpful to those who may need it. As a final note I want to mention that while catapults are fun, they can be dangerous as well. When making modifications to your catapult make sure the overall structure can handle the changes. Reinforce as necessary. Always use proper safety measures when firing a catapult. Eyewear is always recommended. Maintain a safe distance from the machine when you are firing it. With safety in mind operating a catapult can be a fun experience for people of all ages. Happy Hurling!