Online Forums – How to Use an Online Forum

Online forums (also known as online discussion sites, message boards, newsgroups and internet forums) are powerful tools for sharing information. Their use has become omnipresent and wide reaching. Many people use discussion sites on a daily basis, whether it’s to gain knowledge, share ideas or simply to feel as part of a community.

Why use Online Forums?

* communicate with other like-minded people who have the same or similar interests

* exchange intellectual ideas and thoughts

* offer your opinion or advice

* submit materials for others to consider and provide feedback on such as your website, business ideas or questions

* find out new opinions and ideas

* be up to date with latest news and trends

* meet new friends and leads

Participating in forums is another way to stay in contact with persons belonging to the same community and to keep abreast of recent events. It’s a place to voice your opinions, be heard and discover other’s thoughts.

This social media outlet can become addictive. For some, Online Forums provide a haven; a place to escape the daily grind and indulge in the community aura. Forum usage is certainly a concern for employers, due to reduced productivity and procrastination on behalf of the users involved. However, most of us are thankful for their existence.

How to Use Online Forums:

The appearance of an online forum may seem daunting at first. There’s information, posts and threads flowing all over the home page in what appears to be an ad hoc manner. Occasionally, the initial reaction of first time users is to put discussion sites in the too hard basket. Here’s an easy step by step guide to using Online Discussions:

* Registration. Most discussion boards require you to become a member by registering or signing up in order to post. Invariably, you will need to provide a Username (your alias), password and an email address. The forum will also require your agreement to its terms and conditions.

* Validation. After registering to an internet forum, you will need to validate your email by following the validation link emailed to you by the site.

* Rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules and netiquette required by the forum. Generally, spamming, double posting and registering multiple user accounts is prohibited. Try to adhere in order to avoid being called a troll for unintentionally breaking the rules.

* Posting. A forum has predefined topics (called threads). Members may submit messages or comments (called posts) within these topics. The message will be enclosed in a box with the username, time and date notified either on the left hand side or appearing at the top of the post. Usually members are allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Many online forums limit posts to a certain number of characters.

* Threads. A thread (topic) is started by a post. Other members may then follow in the conversation started by the original post (sometimes called the thread starter). At times the responses and comments can become derailed. The tread generally displays posts in opposite chronological order (from first to current). The abbreviation OP often refers to the original poster. Some message boards enable you to customize the view to commence with the starting post. They may also have a thread view which shows the branching of replies in priority to chronological order.

* Moderating. Moderators monitor and enforce the message board rules. They may have access to all posts and threads or just those within their area of responsibility. Mods have the power to delete a post and to ban and suspend members who violate the discussion site’s policy. The moderator is usually the site owner’s friend. Among other responsibilities, they also help members in need and respond to complaints.

If you’re a first timer to online forums, try some smaller message boards to start with. Smaller sites still have that community feel and are more than happy to accommodate beginners. Once you become accustomed to the way discussion websites work, you can then join some larger expert message boards if you wish. Above all, don’t be shy to voice your opinion; that’s what forums are for.

What Does a Concierge Do in a Hotel?

Have you every looked at the facilities and services offered by a luxurious five-star hotel and seen concierge service and wondered why this is so important or what a concierge actually does in a hotel? Having a concierge service can be beneficial and help you have a more relaxed, enjoyable and memorable stay.

A concierge works at a hotel deck where they provide clients with a range of services to help them have the best experience when visiting their location. This is very different from reception as they do not handle any administrative tasks within the hotel, so you cannot go to the concierge to book you in, but they will be able to provide you advice and assistance on the check in process and where to go to get booked in and taken to your room.

You will find that a concierge will have extensive area knowledge and be able to provide you with useful services, such as arranging a car hire for you on your chosen dates. You may be in a strange city and caught a taxi to your hotel and now you want to explore at your own pace without relying on someone else. They will be able to secure you the best deals so you are guaranteed to pay the best prices for hiring a car for the period that you need them for.

Another service provided by these hotel staff members is to arrange tours and book clients on tours. If you want to explore the area, see all the sights and enjoy a cost defective experience, then the concierge service will be able to assist you. You can discuss your tour requirements and expectations with the concierge and they will be able to make recommendations and point you in the right direction so you get the best experience.

A concierge will also book your spa treatments for you. Whether they have an on-site spa or they have access to a nearby spa. They will ensure you get the treatments you want whether it’s a relaxing massage or a cleansing facial. They will be able to provide you with information on pricing and more so you can make the right decision based on your particular needs.

Whether you want to dine in the hotel restaurant or you want to find a celebrity restaurant nearby, the concierge will not only be able to make recommendations but they will make your reservation for you, saving you time and energy in the long run and ensuring that you don’t have to run around making reservations when you are on holiday.

Depending on where you are staying, there may be shows, operas, ballets on that you want to see. If you want to see one of these shows, the concierge will be able to advise what is on and book your tickets to ensure you get the see the production you don’t want to miss.

A concierge is there to recommend and direct you. They are a wealth of information and they can help you with anything from finding the nearest train station to helping you find your way to the top sights and attractions. They will book your taxi, car hire service or make your restaurant reservations. These individuals are customer orientated and will go out of their way to ensure that all guests have the best stay when staying in their hotel.

Wholesale Fashion Jewelry – 5 Shortcuts to Retail Success

Something in the human spirit is always itching for independence and this itch translates to a constant flow of new entrepreneurs that so often gravitate towards fashion jewelry. What is so irresistible about this accessory? Beyond the high profit margins that wholesale fashion jewelry can open for retailers lies an intrinsic beauty that creates truly wearable art. Yes, wholesale fashion jewelry offers plenty of profit potential that enables retailers to turn small investments into the longest mark-up in the fashion industry, but the magic of fashion jewelry’s beauty stops consumers in their tracks and this magnetic attraction, more than anything else, brings the entrepreneur into retail sales specializing in jewelry.

Many of these new fashion jewelry businesses begin on the simplest level with retailers buying wholesale fashion jewelry and presenting it to friends and co-workers. Easy sales and new found profits ignite a fire to grow the business, but what step comes next? As a twenty-five year veteran of the wholesale fashion jewelry industry, I have seen business after business start in this way and often grow to become the major supplier of fashion accessories in a community. The learning curve never ends as fashion jewelry evolves as well as retail tactics, but some things never change and these key techniques will have positive impact on your fashion jewelry business.

But first, how are you going to sell your treasure of wholesale fashion jewelry? Outgoing personalities love the active sale. Visit businesses, do parties, set up in flea markets or craft shows, and bubble over with enthusiasm as you introduce stunning fashion jewelry to consumers. All they need is a crowd and permission to set up. Bingos, festivals, school picnics, car shows, sporting events-the list is endless. Overhead is low and actually stops when not engaged in sales activities. But so does sales, so many prefer brick and mortar businesses with a higher overhead, but continuing business even when you’re not there.

The quieter, methodical personality may not be up to this bubbling enthusiasm and choose a passive sales mode. Successful businesses often build without the entrepreneur ever engaged in active sales to the consumer. They connect with beauty shops and other locations to provide fashion jewelry on consignment with the owner profiting as well as the entrepreneur. Methodical personalities think out the details like how to handle shrinkage of missing items with no sales recorded. Increasing price and lowering consignment fees compensates for losses when fashion jewelry has open exposure that can result in more shrinkage. The flip side is reduced sales in secure environments like showcases or behind the counter, which reduce shrinkage, but unfortunately, also sales.

Okay, both personalities have a selling method they are comfortable with and both can expand their business with online marketing by working on websites while their sales support them as the websites grow, climbing higher in the results of major search engines. But what about the 5 shortcuts to retail success? They boil down to pricing, selection, presentation, knowledge, and benefits.

-First comes pricing the wholesale fashion jewelry. New entrepreneurs often feel shock waves as they see the wholesale cost compared to retail prices they paid as consumers. The first temptation is undercut all the competition. Stop there!-because fashion jewelry is cyclical and low prices generate low profits that don’t carry retailers through the tough times. Do you want to spend all your earnings on restocking wholesale fashion jewelry and covering overhead? Of course not, you want to grow your business and make a profit and pricing is important.

Retail uses a term called keystone-a nice word for doubling the wholesale price. Make keystone the minimum for mark-up in fashion jewelry and look for the items that give you room for far longer mark-ups. The upside has no rules. Let your intuition guide you because prices can always come down, but it is difficult to go up.

-Next comes selection and this is a factor that major retailers like fine department stores are always struggling to get right. Stroll through one and you will see they have reduced staff on the floor so selection often has to sell itself. The fine department stores need “no miss” choices and have resources, forecasts, statistics, and trained buyers to make these decisions. Small retailers don’t need to be discouraged because this isn’t rocket science and you are closer to the clientele in your location than any major retailer.

Making the perfect selection rests on the age and demographics of your main customer base. Add this to the fashion trends of the season and you are close to perfect. How do you keep up with all those rapid changing fashion trends? Well rapid change is a myth. Trends change very slowly-often over a decade. Yes, colors and subtle adjustments occur every season, but today we are in the midst of classic trends that started in the early 21st century and have a promising future. More on this when we cover knowledge.

-Now for presentation-making the fashion jewelry look special. Ever notice how necklaces clumped together on a tee bar on top of a showcase seem to scream “I’m on sale” while the stuff in the showcase whispers “I’m special”. That’s presentation and how it has changed even for fine department stores.

Teri Agins in The End of Fashion details how department stores that were once “the first visual contact with fashion” and “introduced merchandise concepts to customers” changed in the late 20th century to a collection of brands. Agins quotes one upscale shopper who “was appalled when she discovered $19.99 Nine West shoes displayed right next to $350 Chanels” in her favorite department store that was compromising its image of elite fashion. Make an item look special and it takes on the perception of higher value.

-Next comes knowledge that is worth more than price. Don’t believe it? Think of items you bought because the sales person impressed you with a deep understanding of the product. That was worth more than price. I personally experienced this lesson when I did a trade show with a colleague. I told my customers the fashion jewelry was a real value at the price. His sales person painted a word picture of the wholesale fashion jewelry with the season’s apparel and wrote more orders without the customers even knowing the price.

Knowledge is knowing the trends and knowing the item. Consumers trust a well-informed source and when you know what is today’s style and why it looks right on the customer, you remove the burden of choice from the buyer.

Knowledge today goes deeper because classic trends in fashion jewelry bring gemstone components, shell, Murano style glass, Millefiore, and more to jewelry designs. A story is worth volumes in explaining glass jewelry and knowledge of gemstones that removes the doubt about whether it is real. Don’t be overwhelmed about understanding the trends and knowledge of today’s components because everything is detailed in a report, Wholesale Fashion Jewelry-The Magic of Trends (find a link to the report at the foot of this article).

-Finally there are benefits. Think of benefits as vision-what the customer envisions. Anyone that buys fashion jewelry wants to make a positive statement. They want a look that is flattering and appropriate. So like the car commercial running on the radio, features describe the details like length, color, texture, and shape while benefits say “matches apparel while complementing your complexion”, “draws attention to your slender neck”, or “creates a youthful look that is so you”. The old adage of sell the sizzle, not the steak, gets to the point. Pick the right item for the customer, be sincere, and sell the sizzle.

Will all this work in a slowing economy? Absolutely! In worrisome times women appreciate an escape valve of some small new purchase. What fulfills this better than fashion jewelry? Apply the five shortcuts and lift your customers’ spirits with a feel-good experience.

Pre-Employment Testing

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, many employers are resorting to pre-employment testing to determine the best candidate for the job. While resumes provide employers with some insight into the capability of applicants, a relevant test can really help narrow the field. Unfortunately, there are also several disadvantages to pre-employment testing. Additionally, there are strict laws prohibiting discriminatory or disrespectful questions from being asked.

Advantages

Pre-employment tests provide employers with a number of advantages. Some such perks, include:

• Employers can identify positive traits within candidates, such as integrity, competence, motivation, and reliability

• Employers can identify negative traits within candidates, such as substance dependency and inclinations toward theft

• Provides further insight into candidates

• Can help determine differences between candidates who seemed equal after evaluating their resumes and undergoing an interview.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, pre-employment testing is also disadvantageous for many employers. Some drawbacks include:

• Test results are only one factor of the hiring process. Employers should base their decision on other factors, such as their experience, qualifications, and interview.

• All tests administered by employers must be certified for validity and reliability

• Test results are not necessarily indicative of applicants’ ability to perform their job. Instead, tests focus on applicants’ potential.

• Testing conditions must be fair and consistent for every candidate

• Testing may eliminate some candidates who are highly qualified, but do not perform well on tests

• Applicants may react poorly to the test. Additionally, if they believe the test was discriminatory, they can legally challenge the test.

Discrimination

When writing tests, employers must be aware of the laws pertaining to employment testing. Any questions which require applicants to divulge something about themselves that could result in discrimination is illegal. For example, employers cannot ask about an applicant’s:

• Age-Some employers discriminate against older applicants because they assume that the older they are, the more pay they will request.

• Race/Ethnicity-Race and ethnicity are irrelevant factors when applying for a job. This law protects minorities from discrimination.

• Disability status-Some employers will discriminate against persons with disabilities, even if they will not impede the applicant’s job performance. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from asking questions pertaining to an applicant’s disability status.

• Sexual preference-Because sexual preference is private and irrelevant to one’s job performance, employers are prohibited from inquiring. This law protects members of the LGBT community who might otherwise be discriminated against.