One of the many wonderful things about the good ol’ summertime is the way the business world eases off the throttle a bit as families take much anticipated, long-budgeted vacations; the grind of the workplace slows ever so much; and we all have a chance to catch our breath before it kicks into high gear again for the back-end of the year.
This oh-so-brief respite is also a great time for business folks to explore a bit and discover new tools and resources that can help us all be better in our roles.
Here are four you definitely want to check out …
itseasy.com – When was the last time you checked the status of your passport? When was the last time you tried to get your passport renewed when turnaround time was critical? Not fun.
That’s where ItsEasy (sic) comes in.
Based in New York City with offices in Washington, DC, Boston, Denver and LA, ItsEasy is one of the nation’s largest expeditors of passport and visa applications for travel to virtually any country on the planet. Some applications are turned in a month, some in a week, and there’s even a 1-day turnaround if you’re really up against the wall.
The application process is clean and simple. Say you’re looking for a travel visa, simply enter your nationality, state of residence, destination country, type of visa needed, and number of entries. It immediately lays out all relevant rules and regulations for travel to/from and within that country and allows you to select from pricing tiers with turnaround times designated. Gather the required documents and either hand-deliver or Fed-Ex them to the company and, whoosh, just like that, you’re only days away from receiving your visa.
In a word, it’s easy!
unsplash.com – Budgets are tight, deadlines tighter, and you’ve got a presentation due tomorrow that’s looking, well, sorta blah. The content and triple-checked data are all correct and
relevant but the lack of photo imagery makes your PPT deck look more like the front page of the WSJ.
Unleash unsplash.com, a great go-to resource for freebie, high-rez visuals that will breathe life into that dull deck you’ve been fretting over. Go to unsplash.com, key in the type of image you’re looking for and, voila!, options galore. And in varying aspect ratios (i.e., vertical, horizontal, square, etc.) A prompt encourages you to give credit where credit is due and name the photographer but also states that’s not required. I searched for a lighthouse and had a beauty of a shot on my desktop ready for use in just two clicks.
Check ‘em out!
lumosity.com – If you’re a distance-runner — marathoner, half-marathoner or weekend 10ker — you understand the importance of giving your weary bones a rest every now and again. But you also know how easy it is to lose your edge if that brief timeout turns into a week away from training.
Same’s true for your brain. Don’t let the summer slowdown rob you of your mental edge. Stay sharp with Lumosity.com, an online provider of games, puzzles and mind-benders that will keep that cranial matter a rich shade of gray (if there is such a thing).
You’ve probably heard their commercials on satellite radio but maybe you haven’t checked ‘em out. It’s worth it. For about 15 bucks a month (or choose 80 bucks a year), you can access hundreds and hundreds of mental challenges that will keep you alert and focused. And they’re fun and engaging, too!
Programs are scientifically developed and users’ results are used for ongoing research to help us all better understand mental cognition (which sounds a bit funny – “better understand mental cognition”).
Stay sharp, y’all!
corbinball.com – Stumped as to how to make your upcoming event or tradeshow experience truly meaningful and memorable? Wondering how to structure your next program to create a palpable “buzz” and get your folks energized? Enter Corbin Ball, one of the world’s leading experts in the area of technology applied to events, tradeshows and conventions. To visit his site is to stroll around a virtual Disneyworld if you’re a corporate event professional. There is so much content, so many rich topics, and so many tips and insights, it’s almost dizzying. (All the more reason to keep your brain sharp with Lumosity, right?)
One recent article by Ball, entitled Virtual Meetings Will Not Replace Face-to-Face Meetings, addresses the distinct advantage of in-person events despite a massive, worldwide trend to do everything in life virtually, thanks to the tech explosion of the past decade or so. While there is a role for the periodic virtual meeting or expo, Ball believes the traditional meeting and tradeshow models are here to stay.
“Webinars and other virtual meetings are great for short information exchange,” the article says. “However, in today’s multi-tasking and often distracting work environment, attention spans are short. Thirty to forty-five minutes is usually the maximum you can expect someone to pay attention to a webinar while sitting in front of a monitor.
“Meetings, on the other hand, take people to a more-focused environment with fewer distractions. As long as attendees are informed, entertained and fed, event hosts can keep them engaged for days … the opportunities for networking, brainstorming, and relationship-building are usually far greater at face-to-face events than online. Meetings provide a vastly richer, more targeted, and more focused learning experience than nearly any virtual meeting.”
Remember that line: “As long as attendees are informed, entertained and fed, event hosts can keep them engaged for days.”
Take advantage of the brief summer slowdown to brush up on some great new tools and resources that will make you a superstar in the corporate meetings and events industry.
Cheers to summertime and discovering new tools and resources!