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Social Media Blues

A recent Computers in Human Behavior study co-authored by Bradley University professor Patrick Ferruci found Facebook use can lead to symptoms of depression. While previous studies have found a connection between Facebook usage and envy, Ferruci’s survey of more than 700 college students examined the specific link between depression and the social media site. It found that the more people use Facebook—particularly to survey other people’s pages—the more likely they are to develop envy, which, over time, may lead to depression. 


Manufacturing Pays

In Illinois, the average manufacturing worker makes $17.50 an hour, compared to $16.45 an hour for other workers, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute. The annual wage difference—$2,184 for the usual 2,080 hours of full-time work per year—illustrates the importance of the manufacturing industry to the economy. Illinois ranks 18th in the country with its 10-percent share of total state employment in manufacturing jobs, and fourth in raw numbers, with 579,600 total manufacturing jobs. 


Printing Ink

With the market for 3D printing materials predicted to surpass $1 billion by 2019, researchers have discovered an ecological alternative to plastics for potential use in traditional manufacturing processes like molding and casting, or as feedstock for 3D printers. Certain squid DNA, says the Penn State research team, has a stable thermal response within a number of its protein sequences. Produced by inserting the protein genes into E. coli to induce the bacteria to produce thermoplastic molecules, the material may be a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based plastics, as it maintains its chemical purity during melting and cooling.  


Fight Back When Hacked!

In light of recent data breaches—like the 80 million patient records compromised when health insurer Anthem was hacked last month—protecting yourself after becoming a victim is a topic of increasing relevance. Anthem’s hackers gained access to patients’ names, birthdates, email addresses, employment details and Social Security numbers, among other personal information. In the wrong hands, that can be a devastating loss, as a Social Security number links your identity to your financial information, including credit history, current accounts and tax information. Given its importance, recovering from having one’s Social Security number stolen requires a proactive approach. Take it step by step with these tips from lifehacker.com:

  • Put a fraud alert on your credit report. The free 90-day alert warns creditors and lenders that if they’re going to pull your credit report, they should take extra steps to verify the request is really coming from you. You only need to contact one of the big three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax or Transunion—to place an alert on all three reports.
  • Monitor your credit. Be on alert to make sure nothing unusual happens—particularly after that 90-day fraud alert period. Take up the hacked company’s offer for free credit report monitoring, and consider extending the 90-day fraud alert period from one of the credit bureaus. You may also want to check out the credit monitoring services available from your bank or card issuer, or through third parties like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. Consider a service like Mint or BillGuard to track your transactions in one detailed, up-to-date account.
  • Freeze your credit report. The most aggressive approach, freezing your report will allow no one—including you—to pull or modify your credit report until you unfreeze it. While that makes it impossible for hackers to open new accounts in your name, it can also be a headache, given all the information you’ll need to close and reopen your account.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration and the IRS. Make sure your Social Security number remains yours. Verify with both agencies that an identity thief can’t file a change of address to have official documents sent to a new address or to attempt to obtain employment in your name.
  • Use two-factor authentication wherever you can. While a hacker may not have enough information to open a bank account in your name, they may know enough to call your bank and gain access to your accounts. Two-factor authentication requires both “something you know,” like a password, and “something you have,” like a phone, in order to gain access. It’s far more secure than using a password only.

Check out more tips to protect yourself after being hacked at lifehacker.com. 


When A Client Says You're Too Expensive…

How many times have you heard “Too expensive!” or “Can’t you do anything about the price?” when trying to close a deal? It can be an uncomfortable situation for anyone, but if you know what to say and are prepared, you can stay firm on your offer while maintaining your pride.

The next time this happens to you, says Martin Limbeck, author of NO Is Short for Next Opportunity: How Top Sales Professionals Think, be ready with a stock phrase to fire back with. The key is to say it swiftly, clearly, firmly and resoundingly. Here are Limbeck’s 20 favorite responses:

  1. The other offers are cheaper, and they deserve to be.
  2. Discounts are the first signal of bankruptcy. Are you sure you want to go down that road?
  3. Quality comes at a price, and that price includes me.
  4. If you pay 100 percent, you get 100 percent. If you pay 90 percent, that’s what you get.
  5. If competence is too pricey for you, then wait until you try incompetence.
  6. Cheap dreams lead to rude awakenings.
  7. What would you advise your own salespeople to do if they were constantly under pricing pressure?
  8. I can assure you: nobody is paying less than you are today.
  9. Thrift is good, but quality is better.
  10. Lowballing is not a sport I play.
  11. You’re also buying our blood, sweat and tears.
  12. Go with the cheaper option, and things will really get expensive.
  13. The price is a reflection of our experience.
  14. How motivated would you be working for $10?
  15. If you want to haggle, try the flea market.
  16. This is not a yard sale.
  17. Cutting the price means cutting the quality, and that is not an option for us.
  18. The grass is always cheaper on the other side.
  19. Discounts don’t fit in our budget.
  20. If I give you a discount, you may as well give me a donation receipt.

Take your pick, Limbeck says, but be careful: not every phrase is appropriate for every customer or every sale. But they all should be delivered with a smile and a slight twinkle in your eye.

Source: martinlimbeck.com


Set the Stage for a Memorable Presentation

When you are asked to introduce a keynote speaker at an event, you don’t want to pull a “John Travolta” (see below). If you think there’s no preparation involved in a well-executed introduction, think again. Diane Gottsman is a national manners and etiquette expert, accomplished speaker, author and owner of The Protocol School of Texas. She offers the following tips to help you set the stage for a memorable presentation:

  1. Add your own flair. Including your own personal experience with the speaker can make a powerful impact. For example, “I first heard Julie Jones speak five years ago, and I have been following her blog, along with her professional words of wisdom, ever since.”
  2. Double-check the pronunciation of the speaker’s name and company. If you think this step is a no-brainer, just ask John Travolta, who mangled the name of singer Idina Menzel before she sang “Let It Go” live at the 2014 Academy Awards. Spell names out phonetically (fo-NET-ically) so that anyone could easily step in and pronounce everything properly in your absence. Make no assumptions; many names have variable pronunciations—for example, Stephan can be pronounced STEE-ven or Stef-AN.
  3. Practice your delivery. Just as the speaker should avoid reading their speech, the emcee should carefully rehearse their introduction so they are making eye contact with the audience and are comfortable delivering a flawless introduction.
  4. Anticipate the speaker’s needs. Does the speaker want to stand at a podium or walk freely across the stage? Do they require a lapel microphone or a hand-held? Do they prefer a can of soda, a glass of water or a cup of hot tea with lemon? Attention to every detail gives a speaker the ultimate environment for success.
  5. Lay the ground rules. Inform the audience about the format for the presentation. Will there be an opportunity to ask questions? If so, how will questions be accepted? Will the speaker take questions from the stage, will questions be written down and collected, or will an assistant with a microphone roam the floor?
  6. Keep it brief. Let the presenter deliver the information. The introducer’s job is to generate excitement for what’s to come, not to give away the key points the speaker will discuss. Too often, the introducer gets nervous and starts to add his or her own thoughts on the topic before the speaker even sets foot on the stage.

“A well-executed introduction establishes the speaker’s credibility, piques the interest of the audience and creates an environment for an impactful speech,” Gottsman says. "A great introduction is not as simple as briefly reading the material that has been handed to you moments before the speaker is set to come out.” iBi

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