- Compose a mini auto-biography
- Write a poem or short story
- Utilize aromatherapy
- Make a collage
- Do visualizations
- Keep a journal
- Read poetry
- Create a mind-map
- Get a massage
- Perform breathing exercises
- Spend time outdoors in nature
- Listen to relaxing/inspiring music
- Practice Martial Arts, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga
Newsletter Resources, Advice and Tips
Companies That Prepare Newsletters
- Whenever possible do demonstrations with a colleague so that one person can be talking while the other is performing the demonstration or moving through the room.
- Always check your equipment and supplies beforehand. Bring spares.
- Allot sufficient time to set up and disassemble displays.
- Be flexible in your demonstration plan. The audience may not be dressed appropriately for certain activities or may be limited in their ability to physically participate.
- Do things sequentially. Coordinate the demonstration with handouts, transparencies or posters that illustrate what you're doing.
- Invite the group to stand up and surround the demonstration area so everyone can see.
- If a volunteer is unable to do what you ask, change your approach, alter your pace or use different language. Make the volunteer feel at ease and reinforce his/her self-esteem by saying something like, "It takes a while to master this" or "As you continue with these techniques, you will notice vast improvement."
- Be prepared with a contingency plan in case a demonstration goes awry.
- Practice talking and working at the same time.
- Invite the group to stand up and surround the demonstration area so everyone can see.
- Distribute sample practice items for the group to work with while you are demonstrating. For example, if you are showing people how to massage their pets, pass out stuffed animals that they can rub while you demonstrate.
Evaluating an Answering Service
Hours of Operation and Call Forwarding
Most answering services operate 24/7/365. You control when your calls are forwarded to your answering service. Make sure you have the option to daily change when you forward your calls. Also consider activating an automated answering option offered by your answering service during the evening hours.
Knowledge of the Industry
Most answering services serve a wide variety of customers. Ask if they have any experience working with your type of practice. Find out if they understand your industry and can answer specific questions that callers may ask about you or your services.
Ask for and check their references. Talk to their customers that are in your line of practice and ask them what they like and don't like about their service.
In addition to answering your incoming telephone calls, ascertain additional services they might offer such as:
- Schedule appointments.
- Provide credit card processing.
- Send e-mail notifications to you and your staff for new appointments and appointment updates.
- Send e-mail appointment reminders to clients.
- Manage more than one location as one account.
- Process gift certificate sales.
- Build your client database with each appointment scheduled.
- Offer marketing and business development tools.
Establish the level of return on your investment their services deliver.
Computer Savvy Tips
Computer security is preventing outside influences, such as viruses and hackers, from fooling with your files, as well as protecting files from accidental damage. (If unprotected, in as little as five minutes from the moment your computer is connected to the Internet, you can expect it to be infected!) Research how the following tips can help secure your particular operating system, (e.g., Windows 2000 and later, Mac OS X, Linux). The good news is, your computer may already include most of these features!
- Anti-Virus Programs: Cleaning Out Viruses and Trojans
- An infected computer often runs slowly, becomes plagued with pop-ups or crashes frequently. Here are some options to cure your computer:
- Commercial anti-virus programs: Norton's Anti-Virus or McAfee
- Freeware programs (free download from the Web): Spybot or AdAware
- Take your computer to your local trusted computer shop
- Encryption: Coding Private Data
- Encryption is the process of saving documents and other files which contain private information in coded form. Client information, for instance, should certainly be kept in encrypted form. You enter a (secret) password and the encryption program uses this password to scramble the bits of the document, or a whole drive; the document cannot be unscrambled without the password. Encryption can be applied at different levels: single files; multiple directories; and whole disks.
- Backing Up: Data Loss Prevention
- Data backup is making sure your information is safe even if there's a system crash or some other equipment failure. You can lose a document in lots of ways, such as accidentally deleting it; your hard drive failing for some reason; or you mess it up while moving it from one disk to another. There are several different ways of backing up: full backup; daily backup; specific backup; disaster backup; and automatic scheduled backup.
- Firewalls: Protecting against Viruses and Trojans
- A firewall is like a force field for your computer. Though Windows XP has a built-in firewall, it isn't necessarily enabled when you first get your computer. You can switch on the built-in firewall yourself by following the instructions on one of the following websites:
- XP. Vista, 7, and beyond have the firewall enabled by default.
- Windows 2000, unfortunately, does not include a software firewall at all. You can buy a firewall program from one of the vendors listed here.
- User Accounts: Access Control
- Most operating systems allow you to setup several user accounts on the same computer. Each user is assigned a name and a password, so that he or she can have the computer set up differently. Some programs can be made available to everyone, as needed.
Among these accounts, there is a pre-defined account called "Administrator." It is strongly suggested that this account is used only for system maintenance (e.g., installing programs, setting up firewalls, running anti-virus programs). A separate ordinary account should be created even for the principal user of the computer, with reduced privileges for general use.
Getting to Know You
These questions help learners get to know each other better. Choose one or more of these categories. Start the process by answering the question yourself. Then either ask for a volunteer or simply pick the next person. Give that person something that can be tossed or passed (e.g., a small stuffed animal, a koosh ball or a talking stick). When the first person is done, he passes the item to another person who answers the question and passes the item. Proceed until everyone has shared.
- Your Name Origin: Are you named after someone? Is there a dictionary definition for your name?
- Do you have a nickname? If so, what's its significance?
- If you could be anybody in the world (past or present), who would it be? Why?
- If you could be any literary character, who would it be? Why?
- If you could be any celebrity, who would it be? Why?
- If you could be any comic-book superhero, who would it be? Why?
- What animal best represents you? Why?
- What would you buy if you just won a $1 million lottery and had to spend it in six months?
- Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world (money being no object)? Why?
- If you could trade places with an animal for one week, which animal would you choose? Why?
- What was your favorite subject in school? Why?
- Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
- What is your favorite website? Why?
- When you are not working/being in school, what are your favorite things to do?
Seasonal Cheer Tips
- Hold an appreciation circle where each learner tells someone what they appreciate about that person. Start with a volunteer. Then the person chosen picks someone of their choice and shares. Continue the process as long as it is fun. End with a group hug.
- Organize a holiday bake exchange. Everyone (including the instructor) bakes three batches of their favorite goody and brings it in to class. Divide each person's goodies into the number of people attending. This way everyone gets an assortment of goodies to take home (and of course, nibble on a little bit during the class celebration). Make sure everyone brings tins, plastic bags or baskets to carry home their shared baked goods.
- Learners choose a "holiday spirit" good deed and complete them before the class breaks for the holiday. In an informal setting, possibly with background music and hot cider, the class shares their good deeds and how they felt these acts changed their views, made them feel or added to someone's joy.
- Gift exchange: Each learner brings in a wrapped gift that costs no more than $10. The gifts should be non-gender based and must relate in some way to their future profession. Pass around a basket that has numbered slips of paper (with as many people as are in the class). The person with #1 gets to pick any present and unwraps it. The person with #2 has the choice of taking the present from #1 or getting an unopened one. If #2 takes the gift from #1 then #1 gets to choose another present. Then #3 gets to pick either a new present or any of the opened presents. This continues untill everyone receives a present.
- Class concert: Everyone brings in a percussion or small musical instrument such as a hand drum, bongo, flute, rain stick, tambourine, maraca, kazoo or triangle. (Note: the instructor should bring extra instruments in case some people forget.) Lay the instruments on a table. Each person takes an instrument and the group plays for two minutes. Then switch instruments and play for another two minutes. Continue these rounds several times. Audiotape it for later laughs.
Summer Motivation Tips
- Make your students feel welcome by putting a daily message on the board that they see when entering the classroom. Include a personal greeting, highlights of what they will be learning in class and an activity or question to get them thinking about the lesson theme. You can even tie the greeting header into the class lesson: Hello Financial Wizards; Good Day Marketing Masters; Good Morning Future Successful Business Owners.
- Gain a new perspective by holding class outside (weather permitting) or even in a different room.
- Take a field trip to the offices of a guest speaker (e.g., a marketing business, a print shop, a successful graduate of your school).
- Bring in a guest to speak on motivation.
- Create a "School Name" for your class and mascot that represents both the character of the class and inspires the class to excellence.
- Plan with other teachers to bring your classes together for a mutually beneficial collaboration.
- Have a potluck lunch and practice networking skills.
- Develop a community project that incorporates several ideas from class such as planning a public education and service outreach featuring activities within the students' scope of practice.
- Hold a comical awards ceremony gifting each learner with an appropriate title commemorating their unique talents. It's particularly effective if you can relate it to skills necessary for successful business, like "most sincere handshake."
- Solicit suggestions from learners for motivational activities for the class.
- Have learners write questions on index cards to be collected and answered "creatively" in the next class.
Website Marketing Tips
- Print your website address on all your promotional materials (e.g., business cards, brochures, fliers, newsletters).
- Send out a special mailing to your client list announcing your website.
- Send press releases to local media about your website.
- Notify your Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau about your website.
- Post your address with Regional Website Directories and city sites (usually the listing is free but a charge is assessed if you want a direct link to your site).
- Link your site to other massage- related sites (contact the webmaster to ascertain if linking is an option).
- Crosslink (provide reciprocal links) your site with affiliated sites. For example, if you specialize in working with fibromyalgia, link with some of the online fibromyalgia support groups and resource organizations.
- Advertise on Internet classified sections.
- Deliver e-newsletters to clients and prospects.
- Check out ineedhits to find out which sites on the Internet are linking to your site.
- Purchase advertising on sites that you feel would be a likely source of people to visit your site.
- Join newsgroups, chat rooms, forums and discussion groups. You are not allowed to
directly promote yourself but you can list your website address as part of your
signature line. Visit Topica for a comprehensive directory
of discussion groups, go to ChatMag for a chat room
directory and check out Yahoo! for creating
your own listserv. (By the way, there are several bodywork-oriented newsgroups already
- Send broadcast E-mails to specific target markets inviting them to visit your website. These are mostly used when announcing a new site, additional services, special promotions and upcoming events. They can also notify people that you have information on your site that is of benefit to them (e.g., a specific article or tips). Use broadcast E-mails judiciously. If they are not substantive, they are perceived as junk mail!
Classroom Celebration Tips
- Examples of appreciation: applause; certificates acknowledging fulfillment of student contract; awards; verbal thank-you's; "learner of the week" announcement and name posted.
- Secret Celebration Fairies: In honor of Winter Celebrations initiate secret appreciation pals. Each person has a name assigned or drawn out of a hat of another person in the class to honor each day or at other specified times. How to honor or appreciate the person is up to their pal though some parameters should be given lest it become too burdensome.
- Decorate with non-religious based items. Most winter holidays incorporate light due to the short days. Candles are always inspiring. Hanging lanterns, reflective garlands and symbols of light all bring the awareness of the light within to the space. Even a simple light string will add joy.
- Have learners generate holiday gift ideas for their clients. Make sure they consider if the gift is appropriate and ethical. Fun examples include: Stress-O-Meter/Mood cards; bath fizzles; laminated pocket reflexology cards; affirmation cards; and aromatherapy samples.
- Give a little gift that says something about who you are, such as a stick of incense wrapped in pretty paper with a string. Or you could print an inspiring saying and wrap it in a tube with ribbon. Candy often goes over well, perhaps even candy made with honey or organic sweetener instead of sugar.
- Encourage learners to put together a community "appreciation" project.
- Incorporate appreciation with the season by having your learners explore ways to show appreciation to each other and to their future clients.
Classroom Confidentiality Tips
- Do have students write questions/responses on 3x5 cards if the discussion topic is of a sensitive nature.
- Do meet with students privately.
- Do secure student records.
- Do emulate confidentiality in the way you discuss others in the classroom.
- Do provide private areas for the intake interview in the school clinic.
- Do be aware of your environment and potential listeners when having a personal conversation.
- Do have clear policies for all employees, faculty, students and student clinic personnel.
- Do make yourself available to students for private conversations.
- Don't give a student's grade out loud.
- Don't have students correct each other's papers.
- Don't ask direct questions of a personal nature during class time.
- Don't treat Teaching Assistants as confidants.
- Don't leave sensitive information unattended.
- Don't discuss classroom interactions beyond the classroom.
- Don't press a student for the reason he is late to class when he comes in.
- Don't correct students who have breached a classroom agreement in front of the class, unless it's an appropriate issue for the class to address together.
Tips for Closing a Class
- Recap a class lesson: At the end of a class, have students put away their notes. Each student shares one thing they learned that day or found interesting (it must be different from what anyone else related). Hold a short discussion on each point.
- Make class notes on flipchart paper. When finished with a page, fold it in half and put it aside. At the end of the class/section shuffle the sheets, divide the students into groups (2-4 in each group) and hand out the sheets. Each group prepares a presentation based on the contents of the pages. Variations: groups prepare questions for an exam based on the contents of the pages; students create 60-second commercials based on the contents.
- End each day s lesson with a question and answer period to help encourage better understanding of material covered during class.
- At the end of a class/section divide the class into groups of 3-5 students each. Instruct each group to review their notes and choose 5 key words that they write on a note card. The groups then exchange cards. Each group writes and performs a jingle that incorporates the 5 key words.
- At the end of a class/section ask students to take 5 minutes to write down the clearest and vaguest concepts. Collect the sheets and use the information to correct common themes in misunderstandings and pursue certain topics in the next class. At the end of the next class have students review their sheets and check off the vague concepts that have been clarified. Then repeat the whole process.
- Students write test questions.
- Do a white board review with class participation.