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Wherever I’m traveling, I always initiate the conversation with strangers. Some of my friends even ask me to “go talk to these people” because they’re too shy to do it themselves.

Building trust with strangers is not the best way to make new friends, it is the only way.

81 percent of consumers complain about the difficulty of communicating with businesses. So if you own a business, especially B2C, you are confronted with this question everyday: How do I build trust with prospects and customers?

Treat your customers as if you were their friend

What is a friend, a true friend? It’s someone you’ve already built trust with, someone you can contact anytime about anything and you know they’ll get back to you eventually. …


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Geneva, 2012.

“With your keycard, you can access every room, in any part of the compound. Offices, meeting rooms, plenary rooms, technical areas, and everything in between. There are only two rooms you cannot get access to, and both need a special analog key to get in. These rooms are not marked on any floor plan and have no name. Don’t try to enter these rooms, your keycard will be useless anyway”.

In 2012, I was just named Head Architect for the International Labor Organization renovation project in Geneva. The warning from my boss sounded like the Bluebeard fairy tale: someone was hiding bodies in a forbidden room, and no one could ever see them. But who could possibly be the Bluebeard at the United Nations and whose bodies were these? Why couldn’t I access it? One thing was for sure: I would find out one day. …


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“Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.” (Agent Smith, The Matrix)

Our system collapsed long before many realized. I’ve always thought I read and watched too many dystopian stories. It made me a bit paranoid, but not in denial. Here are ten of the best science-fiction stories you should both read and watch to help you make sense of what has happened, and most importantly, what’s yet to come. Between paranoia and denial, the choice is yours. …


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I’ve been working with all sorts of companies for the past decade, gathering data, dissecting processes, and unlocking opportunities they would never have imagined. The one pattern I discovered is not even how unprepared companies are in general, but how many of them lack a proper long-term vision and purpose. The first step to becoming resilient is your purpose as an individual and your vision as an organization.

In an unprecedented situation in modern history, businesses all around the world are forced to rethink their way of working because of tiny, microscopic life form -a virus- called Covid-19. There will be a before and an after Coronavirus. This Kafkaesque episode will teach us a few things, as individuals and companies, such as becoming more resilient and agile. …


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I met Robert Beal about five years ago in New York through a friend in common. I was finishing my second Master’s degree at Columbia University, and he was just retiring from his family enterprise, one of the most successful real estate companies in Boston: the Beal Companies, more recently renamed Related Beal after the 2013 partnership with Related. Robert passed away a week ago. He and I were 45 years apart, yet he is one of the most inspiring friends I’ve ever had. Our favorite topics included modern art, architecture, politics, Europe, and the world. There is no generation gap when you talk about timeless topics. …


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The flight to Dubai was packed. I was nervous, and traveling by myself again. I’ve never been to the Emirates, let alone to far-East Asia. The Geneva-Dubai flight was only the first leg of a longer trip to South Korea and Japan. It was in the summer of 2013. I planned to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi for 3 days before continuing to the far East.

Whenever we board a flight, we always hope it won’t be full so we can have more space. In my case, I pray for someone interesting to sit next to me. After take-off and routine announcements by the crew and captain, meal service began. …


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Ever asked yourself why you get so tired every day at work? You already stopped the carbs, took your vitamins, and went for a run before going to work, but nothing seems to work. Have you ever considered lighting? Photons around us have the power to make us feel good or contribute to serious fatigue. Let’s review the most important (yet underrated) lighting factors to promote the best work environment at any company:

Window seat

Having your desk by a window is a must. Good natural light sufficient to work comfortably generally travels up to 20 feet (6 meters) into the building. Beyond this distance, you will need to supplement with artificial light all day long. …


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Whether you work in an open space or a private office, noise can quickly become a problem. As an office manager, head of operations or CEO, your job is to ensure a productive work environment for all. As our ears get easily distracted, here are 5 easy tricks to avoid noise disruption for you and your team:

1. Noise canceling headphones

Buying a pair of noise canceling headphones for the whole office might seem like an expensive solution, but think about the long-term benefits. Noise is very much psychological, and who doesn’t like gifts? …


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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend 87% of their lives indoors. Whether you work in an office, a school, or any other indoor facility, air quality is crucial to ensure a good work environment for everyone. Air quality is a broad term usually encompassing bad smells, contaminants, bacterias, allergens, and even the proportion of the gases composing the air itself. Here are 7 tips to improve air quality and ensure a productive work environment.

  1. Clean the invisible.

This is one of the most underrated solutions to improve air quality. Just because the space looks clean does not mean it is. Bacteria might be invisible to the human eye, not because they are small, but because they might form in isolated areas such as under a sink, behind a fridge or underneath carpets. A common type of bacteria is mold. Mold can be toxic and spread through the air. If you don’t get rid of the source, it can cause serious health problems such as fatigue, or skin irritation. So make sure to perform an in-depth cleaning of your workplace at least every other month. …

About

Lio Slama

Spreading authenticity through chatbots. Authentic bots ;-) CEO at askneo.io

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