In Iowa, mid-summer brings exciting, inviting, sunny, fun, fried-food-filled fairs.  At HON, this mid-summer is bringing some hot new updates.  Let’s take a walk through HON’s “furniture fair” and see “what’s hot with HON”:

  1. Sit to Stand Solutions: Whether it’s our new Height Adjustable Tables or our new 10500 Series standing height desk shells, a standing workstation has never been easier or more cost effective.Sit-to-Stand Desk
  2. New Fabric Offering: HON has ramped up its selection of fabrics and finishes by adding 4 new graded-in fabric cards with Momentum Textiles (Color Card, Vision, Perspectives, Performance) as well as the CF Stinson Reliance 2 card.  All of our available fabrics and finishes can be found on hon.com or by downloading HON’s Digital Swatch Card Binder.New Fabrics and Finishes
  3. New Laminates: Open for orders now, we have 3 new laminate options: Pinnacle, Mocha, and Cognac!
    Laminates
  4. 10500 Series™ Refresh: Our popular 10500 Series laminate desks have been updated to fit in the contemporary workspace.  Open o-legs on worksurfaces and new storage capabilities, including the work wall, are just a few of the new solutions available.
    HON 10500 Series
  5. Healthcare: HON introduced its new Soothe® collection in April, offering a complete solution designed specifically for the healthcare environment. From patient recliners to guest seating, Soothe maximizes comfort along the patient’s road to recovery, enhances functionality for the caregiver and provides the versatility necessary to deliver a higher level of care. Learn more about the unique features on the Soothe patient recliner and other healthcare furniture solutions from HON.HON Healthcare Soothe Patient Reclinder

What has been your favorite new product or update from HON recently?

Light scale and open concept designs have definitely made an impact on workplace trends. While collaboration has a great story and allure for many employees, there is still a need for office space conducive to “heads down work”. So, how do you keep this open work environment appeal and increase productivity at the same time? Glass!

Below are 3 ways to use glass to help enhance productivity in open workplace applications.

Product: Voi®  Glass Privacy Screens
Benefit: Space Division and Visual Privacy

Benching applications are a great space and money saver compared to panels, but make communication extremely easy. Use Voi privacy screens to help bring seclusion to these stations while still encouraging collaboration when needed.

Privacy Screens

Product: Frameless Glass on panels
Benefit:
Fewer Interruptions

When using 50”H panels for seated privacy, some issues may arise. The panel height can block light from entering your workspace and provide a natural resting position for co-workers to easily stop and visit when you’re trying to work. Adding Abound® or Accelerate® frameless glass to the panels is a great way to access natural light, while still providing seated-height privacy without unwanted interruption.

Frameless Glass

Product: 7.5” Frameless Glass
Benefit: Visual Privacy

Utilizing low panels for benching type applications is a great way to provide more privacy and power needs, but inadvertently making eye contact with the person at the station across from you all day can be distracting. Adding the 7.5” frameless glass to Abound or Accelerate can give you that needed visual privacy.

Frameless Glass

What strategies are you using to help increase productivity in an open office environment? How have you incorporated glass into your workspace?

Fight the office Zzzzs

Fight the 2 o’clock, post-lunch fatigue with these 5 energizing stretches that you can easily do at your workspace without having to throw down a downward dog or another yoga pose in the middle of your office.

  1. Take a Lap: No, I didn’t say nap – lap.  It’s recommended to get up and walk around for at least 5 minutes every hour. So, go refill your water, say hello to a coworker, or just take a walk around your department.
  2. Shoulder & Upper Arm Stretch: This is one of my favorite stretches.  You may not realize how much proper posture has depleted over the course of an hour, so stretch out your back and re-adjust.
  3. Neck Roll: You may be holding more tension in your neck than you think.  Slowly roll your neck from side to side and front to back.
  4. Flex those Digits: Give yourself a quick hand massage because, let’s face it, most of our day is spent on the computer typing and clicking.  Don’t overlook those little speed racers.
  5. Ankle Rolls: This may sound silly, but it’s a sneaky way to wake up your legs.  And you can do it under the privacy of your desk!

*Bonus Stretch:  Do you have a height adjustable worksurface?  If so, lucky you! You can stretch whenever you like. Don’t have a height adjustable worksurface? Never fear! HON is here with our new Height Adjustable Tables. Finally, a workspace that moves with you.

Ready. Set. Stretch!  What helps re-energize you during the work day?

Beckey Bridge Muscatine, Iowa

Since its founding in 1944, HON has been headquartered in Muscatine, IA, a small city located along the Mississippi River. If you’ve had the chance to visit us in Muscatine, you may have had the opportunity to view a beautiful sunset (or sunrise, for the morning people out there!) over the river. In fact, Mark Twain, who briefly lived and worked in Muscatine, described the sunsets as follows: “I have never seen any, on either side of the ocean that equaled them. They used the broad smooth river as a canvas, and painted on it every imaginable dream of color, from the mottled daintiness and delicacies of the opal…to blinding purple and crimson conflagrations which were enchanting to the eye, but sharply tried at the same time.” Mark Twain was just one notable visitor to Muscatine, and the sunsets are just one of many things for which Muscatine is known.

Here are some other interesting facts you might not know about Muscatine, Iowa:

  1. There are no other cities in the United States named Muscatine.
  2. Muscatine is known as the “Pearl of the Mississippi” in reference to pearl button manufacturing that was once the central economic focus of the city.
  3. A wide variety of crops are grown in Muscatine, but arguably the most notable is the Muscatine Melon.
  4. HJ Heinz Company has a location in Muscatine that is the largest outside of their headquarters in Pittsburgh—check your Heinz products, you may see Muscatine as the producing location!
  5. Max Allan Collins is from Muscatine. You may know him as the author of Road to Perdition.
  6. Muscatine’s two national historic districts, Downtown and West Hill, are  listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  7. Maxwell Stanley, co-founder of HON, was also a founder of Stanley Consultants, the Stanley Foundation, and was a delegate to the United Nations.

Muscatine may not be all that big, but The HON Company is proud to be headquartered in a city that’s home to a variety of industries, historical significance, and notable residents. If you haven’t had the chance to visit us at HON Headquarters, please do! If you have been here already, what was your favorite part about Muscatine?

Glossophobia is defined as “the fear of public speaking, or speaking in general” and is often referred to as speech anxiety.  Fear of presenting is experienced by many, and affects individuals of all ages and in all positions. While many of us do not fall into the category of a diagnosable medical condition, it is estimated that 75% of the population experiences some kind of anxiety when it comes to public speaking. Let’s examine a few ways to help relieve this all too common fear.

Public Speaking Tips and Tricks from The HON Company

 

1. Know your stuff!

Everyone has occasional moments of apprehension. It’s only natural and it can present itself throughout all stages of life. When we experience fear and anxiety before an event, whether it is a new job, an important meeting or a presentation, a great amount of our unease stems from a fear of the unknown.

The higher the level of expertise on the topic you’re presenting on, the better, so it’s a good idea to try to master your topic and content as much as possible. A helpful tip when preparing a presentation is to anticipate any questions or points your audience may bring up. I recommend analyzing your content and identifying any logical questions or clarification points, and prepare how you want to answer those prior to your presentation.

However, it is unrealistic to think that you can prepare for every possible question, so don’t get tripped up if there’s something you cannot answer. Simply let them know it’s a great question and you’ll have to look into it. An audience will always appreciate honesty over the alternative.

2. Don’t equate nervousness with negativity

Something to keep in mind when the anxiety starts to set in is that it is perfectly normal to feel this way. Remember that 75% of the population experiences some sort of anxiety in public speaking situations, so don’t let this get you down. In fact, experiencing some level of anxiety prior to an event shows that you are personally invested in what you are doing and that you care about the outcome.

A tip for calming the nerves is to try and start your presentation off with something interactive to ‘loosen up’ the room. Think of some relevant conversation topics to get things going. This will take the focus off of yourself, and you’ll be amazed at how much more comfortable you feel once your audience has had the chance to contribute. So, embrace those nerves, take a deep breath, and have confidence in your preparation and skills to make it a great experience.

3. Avoid memorizing your content

A common mistake made by those who are trying to control all aspects of their presentation is attempting to memorize the entirety of their content. It is hard to touch on all types of public speaking experiences, as they vary greatly in nature, but one way to easily mess yourself up is to try and go word for word from memory. We’ve touched on how nerves are a common part of public speaking, and even with adequate preparation, nervousness can interrupt the brain’s normal flow and ‘take over’ in the heat of the moment.

If you rely exclusively on reciting a presentation word for word, you’re operating only on memory. Nervousness can cause a mental disconnect, and all of a sudden you’ve forgotten what comes next. A nice tip to avoid this ineffective method is to try and speak in ideas. Know the main points you want to cover and allow yourself to naturally expand on them.

4. Have a structure in place

As we discussed previously, preparation is key to a successful and worry-free presentation. In order to stay on track, it is essential to take the time to organize a consistent structure with your main topics outlined. Having an outline of your presentation is sure to make you feel more calm, relaxed, and confident. It also never hurts to have an agenda prepared to go over prior to diving into the details. This overview will keep everyone informed and involved.

HON offers training to its internal members through HON University to equip people from all areas of the organization with tips and tricks for stronger presentation skills and effective public speaking.
What has helped you stay calm during a big presentation?

 

The summer months mean many things: cookouts, pool parties, camp fires, vacations, and all sorts of fun. They also mean you might want to be sure to have a few things in your backpack, purse, suitcase, or car.

1. Sunscreen

Sunscreen really should be utilized all year round, but particularly so in the summer months as people tend to spend more time outside. Pack your favorite sunscreen in a backpack, laptop bag, or purse to have on hand when you need it. If you are a frequent flyer, make sure to add a small container of sunscreen to your liquids bag. And most importantly- apply and reapply the sunscreen as directed.Sunscreen

2. Water

Water is essential as the weather heats up. It keeps you hydrated and can help cool your body down. The more you sweat the more water you should consume. As the heat increases, opt for cold water over room temperature water for the cooling effect. Carry a reusable bottle around with you wherever you go. Or, if you need to be in a car for long periods of time, pack a cooler and stay hydrated as the sun beats through the windshield.

Water

3. Bug spray

Being outside is a great way to enjoy the summer season, but bugs area nuisance. Keep bugs bug spray handy at all times in order to keep bugs away. Tuck one in your car and bag. Be sure to spray yourself, your family, and your pets! Caution- be sure to read the labels on your bug spray before using on your furry friends. Also, remember not all bug spray is created equal. Read the labels to ensure your favorite repellant will actually repel the pests you are trying to avoid.

Bug Spray

4. Light jacket or scarf

It might be a scorcher outside but the air conditioning is running full blast indoors. Pack a lightweight jacket, cardigan, or scarf to use when you transition from the outside to the inside.

Summer Scarf

What other items do you keep especially handy in the office during the summer months?

Eight weeks ago I stepped onto a plane in Moline, Illinois and 3 hours later I stepped off in Baltimore, Maryland with no return ticket home. I had earned a promotion and was now a member of the field sales organization! This Mid-western girl packed all of her belongings and was off to become a big city, East Coast dweller. In the blink of an eye 8 weeks has passed, but I have learned some valuable lessons about how to be successful in a field sales role.

LESSON ONE: Always Be OVER Prepared

Create a checklist of items to review before walking into any customer meeting. This check list should be a standard one that can be used for any visit or meeting. For example, a few items on my checklist include:

  1.  Know my customer’s sales numbers: It is important to have answers to financial questions in the event your dealership inquires. Having information and insight on your dealer’s numbers can lead to more productive and efficient conversations.
  1. Always have a training deck ready: Even if you are not visiting a customer specifically for training, you never know when a training opportunity may arise. Have a couple of training decks pre-made and saved to your computer for easy access.
  1. Set a micro goal for the visit: I have found that, when I go to a customer meeting with a micro goal in mind, I am more productive. Your micro goal should complement your visit and could be as simple as discussing a potential project with a customer or building more rapport with a certain individual.

LESSON TWO: Build Your Network

Being in the field gives you many opportunities to meet and build rapport with any number of connections. Being cognizant of this, I do two things to keep my contacts organized.

  1. Use a Business Card Binder: You can find a business card binder, in which you can keep each and every business card you receive, at just about any office supply store. I have categorized my binder by customers, end users, and vendors so when I need to reach out to someone I know where to look. I keep this binder in my car for easy access.
  1. My Network Excel document: This is a document that I update almost every day, or at least every time I meet someone new. It is a simple Excel document and has only three columns – Name, Company, and Comments. I keep it as a working document on my computer desktop so that every time I meet someone new or have a meaningful conversation with one of my customers I can update it. I simply add the individual’s name, company information and any comments that remind me of meaningful details we discussed together, whether it be how many kids they have, where they vacationed last or a project that may be 6 months out. Before I see that customer again, I pull up the Excel document and prepare myself with talking points.

LESSON THREE: Car time is Call Time

One difficult hurdle I had to get over in my new role was determining how to get the most out of my time in my car. Often times, I found myself coming home around 5pm and working until 9pm to try to catch up on all of the emails coming in to my inbox while I was driving. This is when I decided that “car time is call time”. I now use my car time to resolve any issues that can be dealt with over the phone. Instead of waiting until I get home to email customers, set up appointments or answer questions my customers have sent me via email, I simply call the customer while I’m driving. This helps me eliminate some email time when I get home and also gives me an excuse to network with my customers and build more rapport.

These three lessons that I have learned from being in the field for 8 weeks has helped to make my work days more efficient and effective. I plan to abide by these three lessons and several more that I pick up along the way to help make me a successful field sales representative.

For those of you who also work in Sales, what tips have you learned along the way?

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