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  • 1
    object(stdClass)#14549 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "6144"
      ["title"]=>
      string(47) "How To Replace Small Talk When Working Remotely"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(47) "how-to-replace-small-talk-when-working-remotely"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(285) "

    People working from home tend to feel lonely since they don’t get to meet people around the coffee machine, the washrooms, or bump into colleagues you would never talk to in the hallways.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(3567) "

    We have the resources, we have the support of our teams, we have work from home guidelines, we have full control over our projects, we can track progress, and we have remote team building activities. It seems like we are back to business with our new, more flexible workspace. But there is one thing missing, and you reminisce about it the most. 

    What can your team do to bring back the element of small talk into work from home when even reaching out to their coworkers alone can seem like a difficult feat? 

    Though things seem to be going great, you want your teammates to have the same level of comfort that comes with small talk. Here are a few things you can do to facilitate this:

    • Set communication channels for business conversation, business casual, and just casual, so that people have a medium to communicate.
    • Team building activities give them a chance to reconnect with people which enables some delightful small talk.
    • Bring about interests in casual group chats so that your team knows how they can approach whoever they want to talk to. 
    Leave comments, review documents, engage in team discussions, all under one roof with ProofHub. Start your FREE trial today!

    Give This Memo To Your Team

    To make small talk delightful for both parties, here are some pointers your team needs to follow:

    • Talking to people during remote work will require a person to take the initiative.
    • When you do begin to talk, always keep the conversation positive and constructive. 
    • Discuss common interests such as TV shows, music, and movies. 
    • Don’t start with “hello” or “good morning” these imply that you just have work to discuss.
    • Other great topics of the small talk include politics, family, health, and of course the coronavirus numbers. 

    Leaders, remember! All work and no play will steer your team to the unproductive lane!

    Lending a hand to remote work, here at ProofHub, we are providing free access to schools all around the world until the end of the year 2020. Learn more about how you can claim this offer.

    About the Author

    Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub — leading project management software. From contributing to websites such as The Huffington Post, Bussiness.com, Elearning, Dzone, and The Next Web to becoming LinkedIn Top Voices in 2017 and 2018, she has recognised amazing new ways to reach the audience. She weaves stories about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, and common workplace events. She also loves to read and travel to new places.

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    How To Replace Small Talk When Working Remotely

    Vartika Kashyap
  • 2
    object(stdClass)#14548 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "6128"
      ["title"]=>
      string(28) "Three Mega-Realities of Life"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(27) "five-mega-realities-of-life"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(296) "

    The three mega-realities of life serve as a framework to understanding change and how we can adjust our thinking and activities to maintain some semblance of control.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(1561) "

    Wisdom Reality of Life


    Sitting right where you are, what you now know about population — the fact that the world gains more than a quarter million people per day enables you to safely predict the following:


    1) Investing in real estate, more specifically a home, now while prices are depressed and interest rates are low will be a sound financial move almost independent of your economic station in life.

    2) Adopting a somewhat contrarian mindset will prove to be advantageous. Attempting to head into the city or out of the city at the same time as everyone, or booking theater or restaurant reservations at the same time as everyone else will be problematic or increasingly so as time passes. Commutes in all directions will become more arduous. Hence, living closer to work, living closer to shopping and conveniences, telecommuting occasionally, and shopping online will only grow in attractiveness and utility.

    3) Old friends become more valued friends. Anchors such as family, close business associates, former college roommates and those who have shared experiences with us become more important with the passing of time. This is not to downplay the role of new friends, for indeed they can become great friends and eventually even old friends!

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    Three Mega-Realities of Life

    Jeff Davidson
  • 3
    object(stdClass)#14551 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "6119"
      ["title"]=>
      string(36) "Microlending: A Financial Revolution"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(35) "microlending-a-financial-revolution"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(213) "

    The advent of technology and connectivity to places all over the world has resulted in the development and prominence of a new method of finance known as microlending.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(6808) "

    Although loans, credits, and banking facilities are at their best in the current age, there are still many restrictions hindering people from using the banks to their fullest. It's not the bank's fault either. After all, credit repayment and risk-benefit ratio are essentials to be considered before every decision for banks to function effectively without collapsing.

    So what microcredit or microlending brings to the financial sector? Before we explore the possibilities, here is a brief on microlending.

    What is Microlending?

    Microlending or microcredit is the extention of small loans whose value falls below the institutionalized banks' risk-benefit ratio to provide credits and loans. They are typically used to help the business owners, innovators, entrepreneurs, and simply everyone in need of money, especially in third-world countries where banks are yet to mature.

    Microlending blesses lenders with lucrative and abnormal interests even more than 30% in popular platforms, but there is a catch. If the loan defaults, there is no way to get the money back. And that's an expected risk; banks term them as risky investments because there are no collaterals involved.

    The lender is clarified of the borrowers' intention on where the credits are spent to give lenders options to analyze the risk and determine their worth.

    For example, consider two investment options: an entrepreneur with a good credit score but low interest, and a businessman with a poor credit score with high interest. The entrepreneur who seeks funding to work his killer business idea with execution strategies to reach all the way up to the sky of profits is more likely to get the funding than the businessman with a poor record. Not to mention, the lowest interest in microlending is always higher than the highest the banks can offer.

    What Does Microlending bring to the Financial Sector?

    Microlending majorly serves two groups of deserving people: one, poor entrepreneurs of third-world countries; and two, people in developed countries who are not eligible for loans because of poor credit score.

    Both the groups are susceptible to get affected by notorious loan sharks who charge unreasonably high interest and take advantage of the borrowers' plight. There are also incidents when the entire family of the borrowers was made to involve in the transactions against their will.

    Microlending completely eliminates the need to sign a blood pact with the loan sharks that burn out the fires of entreneurship and rekindles the embers of innovative minds to strive for greater purposes, while enabling the lenders better profits.

    How Technology Can Further Improve Microlending?

    Jan Sampath is a microlending-based startup leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to build a reliable microlending community.

    1st Tech Upgrade: Blockchain

    Microlending platforms are haunted by large overhead costs, hefty fee structure to compensate for the high operating costs, tortoise-speed transaction, centralized structure, and intensified potential for corruption.

    If it isn't for Blockchain, it is nigh impossible to deal with.

    Blockchain-powered microlending platforms inherit every single advantage of the technology. It greatly reduces the transaction cost making it lucrative for lenders and affordable for borrowers at the same time. It speeds-up transactions and verifications, secures data and protects data integrity, and eliminates the possibilities for corruption.

    2nd Tech Upgrade: Artificial Intelligence

    AI-powered conversational chatbots can guide lenders and borrowers in setting up their profile and tweak them to improve their chances for investments and profits. They can also get all the information about the borrowers and their reason for funds to allow lenders to make better decisions.

    For example, if a borrower has a poor credit score even for the microlending platform, the AI can gather the reason for defaults. It can also up the game by checking the legitimacy of the claims.

    The AI-enables Microcredit platform can further estimate the risk-benefit ratio of projects to assist lenders with their financial planning.

    3rd Tech Upgrade: Machine Learning

    Machine Learning, with the help of its historical data analysis, can identify the authenticity of the borrowers' claims.

    The algorithm can also identify the scamming patterns and warn lenders of fraud way ahead in their journey.

    In short, machine Learning adds trustworthiness to the microlending platform with the help of analytics to form an extra layer of security. It simply shouts to the lenders that the platform cares about their money.

    Wrapping Up

    Microlending, although being talked about since the 1980s, the idea has started bearing fruits only recently that it could still be considered new.

    Fraught with dangers, microcredit or microlending can only be lifted from the dangerous tides of fraudsters with the help of technology.

    In fact, it has more room for innovations than any other technology in the financial sector. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can convey the means of investment effectively. Computer vision can be used to identify and authenticate new signups for borrowing and read facial ques to know integrity.

    Yet, these are but pieces of all the ideas startups and businesses can come up with to leverage technology and contribute to the microlending industry.

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    Microlending: A Financial Revolution

    Vagisha Arora
  • 4
    object(stdClass)#14556 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
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      ["title"]=>
      string(40) "Multitasking Renders You Less Productive"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(40) "multitasking-renders-you-less-productive"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(187) "

    Dividing your attention to complete multiple activities at once can make you less effective at everything you're doing.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(5067) "

    From top executives to newbie hires, every career professional has numerous tasks to manage throughout the course of a day, week, month, and year. The multitude of responsibilities on your plate requires the capacity for self-management, time management, and the effective allocation of your resources. However, don't confuse legitimate workplace skills with the contemporary, ill-advised phenomenon called multitasking.

    Multitasking might appear to be a reliable way to tackle many issues that compete for your time and attention. It seems intuitive that if you can juggle both A and B concurrently, you're achieving a productivity gain and saving significant time. But the fallacy in that argument is surmising that the human brain can double-up or triple-up on tasks with no loss of attention, focus, or effectiveness.

    A plethora of psychological studies have shown that the human brain can only give "sharp attention" in one direction at a time. Seeking to give this level of attention in multiple directions yields a reverberating type of attention allotted to each activity and predictably results in a loss of mental acuity and productivity.

    A clear example of multitasking is when you're driving along the highway and speaking on a smartphone. Even if you switch to the hands-free speaker phone feature, both activities compete for your brain's vital sharp attention. So you execute neither activity as effectively as you could by undertaking one activity at a time. It's also prudent to point out that driving while talking on the phone-hands-free or not-contributes to distracted driving and an elevated rate of vehicular accidents.

    Multitasking Coexists Best With Routine

    Certainly, it's okay to multitask while completing some repetitive and familiar work activities. You can run a print job while you work with a file on your screen, for example. As long as the printer has adequate toner and the paper feeds through as designed, there is no deficit in multitasking in this manner. Nevertheless, for whatever task you are attempting to handle, the fact that you are running a print job at the same time is likely to diminish your overall effectiveness.

    The loss in mental acuity will be relatively minor, and you might not even be aware of it. The real risk of workplace multitasking, however, is that you never quite retreat to that mental space where you can offer concerted concentration and, hence, your best work. But if you trace your actions over time, you'll likely see that for the larger tasks you executed effectively, you stopped multitasking and focused on the task at hand.

    Sending the Wrong Message

    Multitasking sends a message to your subconscious that this is the way you have to proceed to stay competitive and succeed. When multitasking becomes ingrained in your psyche, you're telling yourself deep down that you can't make it in real estate any other way. You end up missing the benefits derived from practicing the art of "doing one thing at a time."

    Multitaskers have trouble "seeing the forest for the trees" and often fail to focus on the most critical components of their day-to-day operations, abandoning less palatable tasks because they require creativity, concentration, and analysis. As an everyday practice, repeated often, multitasking separates those who continually scramble to keep pace from those who rise to the top.

    Avoid the Bind

    Since we all face multiple priorities on the job, it's easy to equate managing multiple priorities with multitasking. The larger and more vital the task, the more essential to focus on it intently. Practice doing one thing at a time. When you've finished a project or have taken it as far as you can, only then should you switch focus to your second most important task, and so on.

    As your day and work unfold, mastering the art of doing one thing at a time is the best way to proceed. You may, however, multitask on issues that represent the routine or familiar and that carry few consequences for lost time on the trail. In general, though, your best strategy for high productivity is to forsake multitasking and its false promise as you handle the multiple priorities that you face.

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    Multitasking Renders You Less Productive

    Jeff Davidson
  • 5
    object(stdClass)#14555 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
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      ["title"]=>
      string(45) "Five Ways to be a Breathing Space-Type Leader"
      ["alias"]=>
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      ["introtext"]=>
      string(154) "

    At predictable times throughout the year things can get pretty hectic in your career.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(4441) "

    It’s one thing to have breathing space for yourself: a sense of control most times throughout the day. It is perhaps even more important as a CEO, partner, leader, or manager of others to convey a sense of breathing space to the people who report to you. There are many ways to do so. 

    In executing assignments, everyone should be afforded the opportunity to have as much leeway as possible, based on their own productivity levels, talents, and inclinations. In addition, here are five other ways to convey a sense of breathing space to your team members:

    1) Done in a Comfortable Time Frame – In issuing any assignments of a non-deadline nature, which ideally represent the majority of assignments – ask delegates when they can comfortably finish the assignments. That simple question, and the way you pose it, conveys a powerful message. It tells your team that you respect their time and schedules, and that you know they will do their best to choose a reasonable time frame and then honor that obligation.

    2) Involved in Strategic Sessions with You – Your team members relish the opportunity to be in on strategic sessions with you, at least on occasion. Since they see the organization from different angles than you, give them the lowdown on what you’re seeking to accomplish. They might know of potential opportunities and resources that have not been exploited. Encourage their participation, and don’t be surprised if you hear some gem ideas from people who previously had no outlet to offer them. 

    3) Feedback on Your Performance – Soliciting feedback is not something that most leaders want to do, but something which all leaders need to do. Who could know better how you can improve your leadership capabilities than the people who report to you? Yes, you could receive some commentary that might not be all that useful. The brunt of it however, is likely to be useful and applicable. 

    Decades back, New York City mayor, the late Ed Koch, became famous for constantly inquiring of his constituents, “How am I doing?” Sure, he invited some unnecessary commentary, but he also received useful feedback. You can ask team members for their feedback in one-on-one meetings, or invite them to drop suggestions in a box attached to your door. Receive and review such suggestions in a gracious manner and act upon those that are worth pursuing. 

    4) What Else You Should Know – Your team members represents varying levels of education, experience, training, observation, and insight. Your younger staff members likely can supply a wealth of information on technological issues, including greater use of the internet, social media, software applications, and mobile device applications. 

    It is to your benefit to quiz your team members often about what opportunities are available to you, the department, and the organization as a whole. No one has a monopoly on great ideas, and today, as situations change quickly and opportunities are fleeting, it pays to attain vital input from many, different qualified sources.

    5) A Better Place to Work? – Books and articles on the best places to work are available. On a similar theme, you can conduct your own surveys for ideas on how everyone can have a greater sense of breathing space within your offices. Maybe having fewer meetings with greater impact will work. Maybe maintaining an open-door policy at specific intervals, offering telecommunicating days for key staff, or introducing other such innovations will make a positive significant difference. 

    Undoubtedly from the variety of ideas you receive, a few gems will be worth pursuing. In any case, involving your team in innovative ways gives everyone a greater sense of breathing space throughout the work week.

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    Five Ways to be a Breathing Space-Type Leader

    Jeff Davidson

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Recently efinancial news reported on changes made by the new heads of tech at Goldman Sachs. Within this they reported that Marco Argenti was “asking Goldman's engineers to stop communicating their ideas in the form of PowerPoint presentations and to adopt the sorts of 'narrative memos' used at Amazon instead.” Argenti is looking to his teams to “to start with the customer and to consider their problem or opportunity. Begin with their most important benefit, what they want and what their experience will be like. Write as crisply and precisely as possible and use simple and concrete language. Be objective, factual and humble.”

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7 months

UFOs, Jesus and the Second Coming: Could they be connected?

 Mt. Rainier, 1947, Kenneth Arnold coins phrase “flying saucers” They’re here! Those ominous words were spoken in the thriller Poltergeist (1982). The little girl sensed what was going on, and then things got rolling in the movie. And, now they’re being spoken by UFOlogists like Stephen Zoller. Well, guess what—UPAs are indeed here! Say what? A recent Washington Post headline read: Those UFO videos are real, the Navy says, but please stop saying ‘UFO,’ with UPA standing for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. But, let’s back track. In May 2017, “60 Minutes” featured Robert Bigelow, who was working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space. Right on the show, he was “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth. Also, that year, the New York Times ran one story about some unexplained UFO sightings from 2014 and 2015, ‘Wow, What Is That?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects. Then, another one was about the Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program. What the Navy pilots saw and photographed  Everyone who watched—including the pilots who filmed them—had the same question: What, exactly, are these things? Well, the recent Washington Post story goes on to report that: “The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena,” Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told the Black Vault blog, a massive civilian repository of government documents mostly obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests. Black Vault’s founder, John Greenewald Jr., also told The Washington Post: “The most powerful military doesn’t know what these objects are,” Greenewald said. “That doesn’t mean aliens, or that they don’t have some plausible logical explanation. But … admitting that they see things in the sky and they can’t identify them, that to me is the most amazing part of this.” For people like Greenewald, the truth is still out there, so “we just have to keep asking those questions." I reached out to my UFOlogist pal Stephen Zoller, whom we last spoke to in several recent eye-opening articles, including: “The Reality of UFOs May Be Hiding in Plain Sight”; and, “UFOs & The Great Convergence.” By Dawn’s Early Light…   Fire — was one of those pivotal moments in human history being watched over?    Zoller, whose contribution to an audio/video presentation called “Isolation” was recently screened at the prestigious Art Gallery of Ontario, was happy to continue the conversation about UFOs, and how they may even be connected to Jesus and the Second Coming (yes, you read right): Q. There’s much to discuss on the UFO front, let’s start with the “swarming” of Area 51? A. The big event that wasn’t. Just a handful of “Burning Man” types looking for drugs and anonymous sex. It illustrates how tone deaf the public has become as we approach the 20-year mark of the 21st century. The San Diego Comic Con (and its Cosplay competition) attracted more than 150,000 comic and sci-fi nerds, young and old, many who had to travel far and wide, and at considerable expense to get there. However, arguably the most momentous news in the history of the human race—that we are being “visited” by a super advanced race on a regular basis—doesn’t register on their radar. Talk about having your cosplay head stuck firmly up your cosplay butt. In this era of lies and conspiracy theories the lines between reality and fantasy are increasingly being blurred. Q. Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed. But can you talk about a story that quietly infiltrated the news with that US Navy spokesperson suggesting UFOs or UAPs are for real? A. I don’t for one second believe the disclosure was happenstance. There seems to be a sea change inside the Pentagon, Don’t tell me that the military doesn’t have think tanks discussing exactly what we’ve been discussing in this series of interviews. I think they are fully aware of the confluence of events headed our way. Q. A convergence of catastrophes? A. Mikhail Gorbachev, former Secretary of the U.S.S.R. recently stated that the world is in colossal danger. It would be wise to take notice. A Futurian Residence, sometime in our future  Q. Let’s return to a subject we touched upon earlier in the series – the idea that our time traveling descendants—the Futurians—are at the center of this whole thing and may have interacted with humans dating back many millennia. By the way, on sites like “ufocon.blogspot” I received great comments—“I like the use of the epithet ‘Futurians.’ It's a new meme in the making”—calling for us to chew more fat on the subject. A. Then let’s chew away. There is pretty convincing archeological evidence that a super race visited sites like Giza and Petra five to ten thousand years ago. A few cave paintings around the world point even further back to pre-civilization times. Ancient texts such as the Bible contain numerous accounts of encounters with otherworldly beings who bear more than a passing resemblance to space travellers Q. But if meddling with the timeline could eradicate their future, why would the time travelers risk something so catastrophic and for what purpose? A. It does sound counter intuitive. But what if those ancient interactions were made by an early generation of time explorers who had yet to determine the limits of what they could and couldn’t do when traveling back in time? So, putting myself in their shoes, I’d say that bearing witness to key moments in the evolution of our species is central to their ideology. Imagine being able to go back and be a fly on the cave wall when our ancestors discovered how to harness fire or witness the first “burial” some 150,000 years ago. Q. That significance being? A. The burial ritual represents a belief in the hereafter which would eventually lead to the creation of religion(s)—let’s face it, which is the root of much of the madness being on display today. Q. I’m trying to decide which moment I would choose to visit – attend the first and only time England won the FIFA World Cup in 1966 or the Beatles first set at the Cavern Club. A. Good one. But the one that tops my list is the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Q, But you are a card carrying atheist. Why?   A. It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus has had great impact on who I am or who I chose not to be. Like it or not, Catholicism rose out of obscurity to became the dominant religion in the West. It shaped our philosophy, ethics and art. Q. 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Wouldn’t you want to go back and witness the crucifixion first hand and see what really went down at Golgotha outside the gates of Jerusalem, oh those many years ago. What if a Futurian scientist/scholar whisked “JC’s” body away Q. I hear you but what does this have to do with UFOs today? A. Is it possible that a religious scholar in the future was/will be given permission to go back in time to witness the crucifixion? Is it possible that this scholar took pity on the poor bastard and stole the body from the crypt, being careful not to deviate from the timeline where Christ was believed to have risen from the dead and gone to live with the Big Guy up in heaven. The resurrection is the foundation that Christianity rests on. What if the Futurians aboard the time-ship then availed themselves of their hyper-advanced bio-tech and resuscitated the “rabbi” then returned back to the future with him? Q, LOL. 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I had to look it up but: “When the great disasters come, the Lord shall begin rewarding the good and punishing the wicked, and then He shall come with clouds and appear openly to all peoples. When that time comes, all who resist ‘The Word’ shall be caught in the disasters and there shall be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Q. It’s so stupid it’s brilliant. Science and mysticism meet atop the mountain of knowledge, right? A. It may be crazy but not as bat-shit crazy as the mountains of crap being shoveled our way by so-called leaders like Trump and Putin. Q. Again, if anything, Mr. Zoller, you’ve given us a lot more food for thought. A. I’d say it’s more like a pig-out. And before we go I’d like to invite anyone in the Toronto area who is interested in participating in a one-off UFO event at Workman Arts to contact me through Facebook. All graphics by Stephen Zoller. 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