Skills

5 Quick Fixes For Common Computer Problems

quick fixes for common computer problems

There are lots of computer problems that arise, but many of them require very simple technical skill and knowledge to fix. This post will show you 5 quick fixes for common computer problems. Anyone can learn these simple solutions and apply them to common computer problems.

quick fixes for common computer problems

We live in a day and age where computers are indispensable. Almost every job, task or occupation requires the use of a computer one way or the other. It becomes a problem when our computers start acting up. This can be very frustrating especially when we need to quickly accomplish one task or the other.

When common computer problems occur, many people are worried they would have to visit a computer repair store. However, it may interest you to know that not every computer issue requires the skill of an IT expert to fix.

Below are 5 quick fixes for common computer problems:

quick fixes for common computer problems

Quick Fixes for Common Computer Problems

5-30 minutes 30 minutes

Your computer wouldn’t start 

Quick fix when your computer won't start

If your computer refuses to start up, do not fret. There are a few easy troubleshooting steps you can take. Firstly, you should check to be sure if the issue is not from the power source. A failing power source could cause your laptop to have start up problems. Ensure you check your power source with another device, or plug your computer to a different source. 

If the problem persists, then the issue might be from your charger. Ensure your charger is plugged into its port properly. If you check and it is properly plugged in, then your charger might be faulty and you might need a replacement. However, if the issue is not from your charger, you might want to check your monitor. Try connecting your computer to an external monitor and see if it turns on. If the problem still persists, you might have to take your computer to a technician for a check up.

Your screen is frozen

Quick fix to frozen computer screen

This usually occurs when your computer’s RAM is low, if there is spyware, or if there are corrupt or missing files on your computer. If your screen is frozen, you might have to consider rebooting your computer. Try pressing and holding the power button until your computer turns off. Restart it and free up some space to relieve it from its load or download an anti-spyware tool. You could also consider doing a factory reset, or reinstalling your operating system.

Computer monitor goes blank

Monitor goes blank

This may occur when your monitor isn’t properly connected to your computer. This occurs mostly on desktop computers, however on a laptop, there might be an issue with the internal connection which would require an expert to fix.

If your screen shows a blank white screen or a rainbow colored screen, it might be an issue with the video card, and would need to be replaced by an authorized repair center. One of the major causes of a blank screen is a faulty operating system which is usually caused by a corrupt system file. If you are using a Windows computer, you may need to restart your computer. After restarting, if the problem persists, then you might eventually have to erase the hard drive and then reinstall your Windows OS.

Your computer is usually slow

How to fix slow computer

If your computer is functioning at a slower rate than normal, there are a few simple fixes you can try before heading over to your local technician. Try ridding your hard disk of unwanted files. This is usually the cause of a slow functioning computer. If that doesn’t work, then you could try installing a firewall and antivirus on your computer, and scan frequently. You could also try getting an external hard drive if your CPU is overworked. This would often help your computer work faster.

System starts overheating

laptop fan

Overheating often occurs when your computer is doing too much work. Your computer would start heating up especially when it lacks an appropriate cooling system. Overheating could also occur if your fans are not working properly. To fix this issue, you could simply turn off your computer to let it rest and cool down. You could also try getting an external cooler to use when working on your computer.

Supply:

  • Power supply

Tools:

  • Anti-spyware or antivirus software

Materials: Charger, external cooler, external drive

There are so many issues that can arise when working with your computer, the above are just a few. If you need quick fixes for common computer problems, you could try applying the solutions above. However, if the problem gets too complicated, ensure you seek out a competent computer technician for assistance.

10 Profitable Skills You Can Learn Online

Skills you can learn online
Profitable skills you can learn online
Profitable skills you can learn online

It’s a sad fact that getting a degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’d get a job. Even when your certificate lands you a job, you might need supplementary income to settle the bills. Such can be gotten from little businesses popularly known as “side hustle” in the Nigerian lingo. Most people however use the skills they’ve acquired to earn more money apart from their jobs. The good part is some of these skills can be learnt online. This post highlights 10 profitable skills you can learn online.

Learning a skill or two helps boost your chances of getting a job. It could also be your main source of income. However, when deciding on a skill to learn, you should consider your area of interest. It helps a lot. If you really know your onions, you should earn money from it.

Here are 10 profitable skills you can learn online:

Graphic design

Graphic design is a craft where professionals create visual content to communicate messages. Usually, employers value graphic designers as their skills are useful in promoting businesses and brands. There are several online courses that teach graphic design for both beginners and professionals. Fortunately, graphic design is one skill that can be learnt easily. All it needs is your attention, commitment and creativity. Finally, the pay is quite juicy.

Photography

Photographs help document fond memories. That’s why they are taken during important occasions like weddings, graduations and the likes. If there’s one skill you should learn, it’s this one. In today’s Nigeria, photographers earn a lot especially if you are good at it. So, if you’ve got an interest in it, go right ahead to learn it. It pays well.

Ethical hacking

Ethical hacking is simply an authorized attempt at gaining unauthorized access to a computer system, application or data. It’s actually legal because it ensures a company’s system is safe from vulnerabilities. Online security is a high priority for companies nowadays and so IT professionals with this skill are highly in-demand. If IT stuffs interest you, you could learn this course online.

Copywriting

Dan Lok defined copywriting as using written words to start, enhance or extend a relationship with a customer that includes salesmanship in print. Simply put, it is using written words to compel people to buy a product or service. The problem of every business or brand is to make sales and that is where a copywriter comes in. This skill can be learnt online and it guarantees a juicy pay.

Video marketing

Video marketing is a medium of advertising products, brands or service. It seeks to keep the audience engaged with the brand or business in a way that’s easy to digest. This skill is quite easy to learn and boosts your finances.

Adobe Photoshop skill

Adobe Photoshop is a software application that was designed for image editing as well as photo retouching. Understanding how to edit images makes it easier to create graphics for websites and also marketing materials. This skill can be used for marketing purposes so if you‘ve got an interest in marketing, this skill is for you.

Typing skill

Skills you can learn online

If you’re interested in working in an office environment, you should develop this skill. Apart from the numerous sites that teach this skill online, several apps do so too. One of such is Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. In no time, you can become a typing expert. That might just make you stand out when seeking for a job.

Language skills

The ability to speak a new language can make you more valuable within any organization. This has no regard for what industry you work in. Also, a language skill can qualify you for advanced opportunities especially if the language in question is one harder to find in candidates.

Excel skill

Spreadsheets are used generally by businesses and brands to manage company data. This tool makes it easier to manage and utilize data. So, understanding how to effectively use formulas and other features in Microsoft Excel is sure to make you stand out at your place of work. Remember, it can be learnt online.

Mobile app development and design

Mobile app development is the process by which a mobile app is developed for mobile devices. App development has been steadily growing in revenues and jobs created. Most brands or businesses use mobile apps to relate with their customers easily. As a result, mobile app developers are highly in demand. Though this skill involves a lot of technicalities, it can be learnt easily and online.

Please keep in mind that learning a skill online doesn’t necessarily mean on internet websites. It could be on Zoom, WhatsApp or other social media platforms. To learn any of the skills mentioned above, you don’t have to go to a physical location. You can simply learn from the comfort of your home, office or even hostel (if you’re a student). For me, that’s a bonus.

Money, which is needed by everyone is somewhat difficult to come by. It’s also not easy to keep in steady flow enough to meet your needs. Learning a new skill puts you in line for new income streams. If you’re looking for a skill to learn easily, try one of the profitable skills you can learn online.

How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Know exactly what you are offering

To start with, I’ll tell you why you need negotiation skills. Then, we can talk about how to improve your negotiation skills.

How to improve your negotiation skills
Learn to improve your negotiation skills

Why do you need negotiation skills?

Negotiation skills are the qualities possed by an individual that makes it easy for them to come to a compromise or agreement with others while avoiding dispute. The goal at the end of the day is to have a win-win situation.

Here’s the thing; the world, generally, is a market place where everyone is either buying or selling something. Some people sell actual products, some others are selling a business pitch. Others sell their competence and professional skills when they go for a job interview and the likes. So, the truth is we all sell and buy. The question is how do you put the best price on what you are selling or trying to get someone to pay you for?

Again, a good negotiator has one goal. It is to reach an agreement that is suitable for both parties. So, you want to make more money on your product or with your professional competence, but it’s also important to understand that the other party on the other side of the table wants what’s best for them. Creating the best offer that suits both parties is what negotiation is all about.

Now that we understand what and why it is important to develop one’s negotiation skills. Let’s talk about how to improve them.

How to improve your negotiation skills

1. It starts with effective communication

To be able to negotiate properly, you need to be able to communicate clearly so that people would want to listen to you. Communicating effectively means that you are able to state your desired outcome confidently with a sense of reasoning as well. You also need to be able to communicate in a manner that the other party feels respected, valued and ready to push the negotiation to a favourable position for both parties.

Your communication with people should be able to build trust between both parties. You should also be able to build rapport with them in a way that they can connect with you while still maintaining a professional relationship.

When you are able to communicate effectively, it’s easy to find out what the other party’s goal is. With that in mind, it’ll become easy to reach a friendly agreement or compromise that will leave both parties happy at the end of the day.

2. Know exactly what you want in the negotiation

Know what you want in the negotiation

To improve your negotiation skills, you need to know what you want or intend to propose. Know exactly what you want before you begin the negotiation process.

The problem with not having a goal is that you might end up with something less valuable than what you have to offer in exchange.

So, do your research and be prepared at all times so that you won’t ever be caught off guard.

3. Know exactly what you are offering

Know exactly what you are offering

Next to knowing what you want is knowing how much value you intend to offer. Most times when we think of negotiation, we concern ourselves only with what we have to gain, forgetting that it’s value for value. Money is a means of exchange of value. So, if you hope to secure a pleasant deal for yourself, then you should be willing to offer a pleasant deal as well. What value are you willing to offer for the amount of money you are negotiating?

So, to improve your negotiation, you have to not only know what you want but also know what you intend to offer.

4. Listen actively during negotiation

Develop active listening skills during negotiation

Active listening involves a person’s ability to read body language/non-verbal communication as well as verbal communication.

To improve your negotiation skills, you need to be able to understand the message that the other party is passing across. So, instead of spending the bulk of the time debating or pushing for your interest, spend it listening to them. perhaps, in hearing them out, you will rethink your original position and arrive at an even better alternative.

5. Learn to explore other possibilities while negotiating

It’s called negotiations (not conclusion) for a reason. So, don’t be too rigid with your decision or standpoint. The truth is that being flexible is the only way to walk out with a satisfactory outcome. Do not approach negotiation with an all or nothing mindset. Explore other possibilities. You might get an offer that aligns with your goals.

Again, negotiation ought to be a win-win situation. So, always approach it with the intention of coming up with an outcome that’s best for both parties, even if that means choosing something slightly different from your initial plan.

In a nutshell, create options that you can explore easily.

7 Important Qualities of a Great Leader

Vision is one of the important qualities of a great leader
Important qualities of a great leader
7 Important qualities of a great leader

A great leader is someone who knows how to inspire others to achieve their goal(s). Although it sounds like an easy thing to do, it isn’t. Well, it’s not that simple. To be a great leader, you need to know the important qualities of a great leader.

In leading people, you have to understand that everyone has different perspectives and experiences of life. We all have different temperaments. We all feel different things at different times. Now, imagine dealing with a bunch of people who think differently, see the world differently, and are going through different things or situations in life. How do you help every one of them achieve a common goal? Now, that’s what it means to be a leader.

So, let’s break it down a little. A great leader has the job description of inspiring people in a way that makes them pursue and achieve a common goal, no matter what it takes. So, not only is a great leader responsible for achieving a goal, but also in charge of taking care of the team members. Now, that sounds like a lot of work.

To be a great leader, however, certain characteristics or qualities are required. I’m guessing this is where you want to ask; what are the qualities of a great leader? Or what are the attributes of a good leader?

Here are 7 essential qualities of a great leader:

1. A good leader must have a vision

Vision is one of the important qualities of a great leader

Vision is the first attribute or quality that every great leader has.

A great leader has to be able to see the big picture of where your team or organization is going. Think about it this way, say you want to take your friends and loved ones out for a get-together picnic or any other outdoor recreational activity. However, you do not know or have any destination in mind. How easy do you think it will be to convince them to set out with you when you clearly have no idea where you are taking them to? Of course, it won’t be easy. That’s exactly what it means to be a leader without a vision.

People will only agree to be under your leadership when they know that you’ve got a picture of the end in mind. No one wants to be led aimlessly. So, to be a great leader, you’ve got to be a person of vision and purpose.

2. Communication

Next to being a person of vision is being an excellent communicator. Every great leader should know how best to communicate with their team. This is one of the most important qualities of a great leader. Without clear communication, your team will have difficulty understanding the purpose, goals and mission of the organization or project, whichever the case may be.

A great leader must be able to communicate
Communication is one of the most important qualities of leadership

Not only should a great leader know how best to communicate but also do it consistently. It’s important to constantly remind everyone on the team what goals they are working towards, and why it is important to achieve them. When people understand the reason why they are expected to do the things appointed to them, it becomes easy to carry out their various responsibilities.

As a great leader, it is important to understand that listening is a vital part of communication. So beyond speaking and relaying information to your team members is listening to them as well. You need their feedback if you intend to do a good job leading them.

3. Emotional intelligence

Remember what we said earlier about dealing with different people with different temperaments, perspectives and experiences of life? Well, that’s why you need to be emotionally intelligent to be a great leader.

Leaders are influential people. However, to take advantage of the influence that you have as a great leader, you need to be emotionally smart so that you can connect with people better irrespective of your differences.

A highly emotional intelligent leader can manage people’s emotions better, communicate seamlessly and resolve conflicts better.

Also, being emotionally intelligent as a leader will help you control your emotions so that you won’t influence people negatively or make bad decisions.

4. Strategic planning

Alongside having a vision is creating a great plan to help you achieve your goal. Every great leader is both a critical thinker and a strategic planner.

It’s like this; you have a vision of where you are leading your organization or teammates to, how about the plan to get there? So, it’s important to map out a route and direction to get to where you are going. Otherwise, you all are likely to get stranded at some point.

5. Delegation

A leader must be able to delegate tasks

As a leader, you can’t do everything all by yourself. You need the help of others. So, as a great leader, you need to learn to delegate and empower others to get the job done. So, instead of micromanaging people, provide all the necessary information and resources that they need to get a task done. That way, you’ll be building trust between you two, and also improving their capacity to perform excellently.

6. Consistency

Every building process takes time. Whether you are building an organization, a career, working on a project, etc. It takes time and hard work. In the beginning, everyone is always excited to be a part of a building project because they can’t wait to see how it ends. However, when the process gets rough and challenging, not everyone will be willing to go through with it.

As a great leader, the only one to convince every other person to stick with the challenges that they are facing in the process of achieving their goals is to be consistent and committed. When you are consistent, it becomes clear to the rest of the world that you believe in what you are doing. As a result, people will not only respect you but join you in the building process. So, you can’t afford to give up. Instead, keep going.

7. Optimism

Every great leader has to be optimistic.

You see, you want to keep your team motivated at all times so that they can keep working towards achieving the goal. So, even if that means buying some snacks and drinks, helping out with some personal matters, etc, it’d be best to do it. When your team members are happy and motivated, it becomes easy to get the work done.

Conclusion

Yes, every great leader needs these qualities and attributes to lead effectively, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you don’t have it all. The good news is that you can learn to do these things. Every great leader out there wasn’t born one, they learnt to become one. So, you’ve got this also. You can cultivate the essential qualities of a great leader if you aspire to be a leader.

4 Effective Tips For Negotiating a Salary

4 effective tips for negotiating a salary
Tips for negotiating a salary

Negotiating a salary is the part of a job interview most people are interested in. Well, except that we also get worried that we might not know how best to do it. You know, we don’t want to shoot ourselves in the leg by mentioning a figure that’s too small, neither do we want to scare the recruiter by going for something way above their budget. So, we get stuck in the middle.

In my first job interview, I thought I had everything figured out until we got to the point of negotiating a salary. Long story short, I shot myself in the leg. I think the hiring manager was pretty shocked when she heard the amount I had mention. I can tell you it wasn’t such a tough decision for them to make. I was hired immediately. I mean, not just because I had value to offer to the company, but I’d also be reducing their expenses. Who wouldn’t like that?

So, you see, when it comes to negotiating a salary, everyone wants to make sure they get what’s best for them. However, you should also know that the recruiter or employer-to-be also wants what’s best for the company; in terms of getting valuable skills and cutting expenses as much as they can. So, finding the balance between these will help you when negotiating a salary.

Below are 4 tips that can help you negotiate better for your next job offer.

1. Find out your industry average

The first thing you should do to help you do a good job when negotiating a salary is to find out what the industry average is. That way, you would be in a better position to negotiate an amount that will both favour you and your employer to be.

So, do your research. Find out the national average salary for the position. Also, find out how much similar companies in the area pay employees in that position. With this information, you’d be in a better place to negotiate a salary.

2. Help your recruiters understand what you have to offer

Let your recruiters know what you have to offer

Okay, now you’re done with the research and you know how much money you’d like your employer-to-be to offer. The question is, why should they pay you that amount? Even if you think oh! It’s not a big deal. They can afford to pay you the amount of money as your monthly salary. Again, why?

You have to convince your recruiter that you have so much to bring to the table

Start by presenting your industry experience (if you aren’t an entry-level job seeker). Share your leadership skills and experiences. If you have other skills that might be relevant to the position, then feel free to also share. Share relevant certifications, licenses and degrees that might give you an advantage over others, and also suggest to your employer that you can offer a lot to the company.

When you present adequate information about the value you have to offer based on your experiences, achievements and knowledge, it becomes easy to convince the recruiter that you deserve the salary that you are negotiating.

Also, one reason why you need to know and evaluate the value that you are bringing to the table is that it helps improve your confidence (we will talk more about this later on in this post). When you are confident, you can easily present a counteroffer.

3. Have a salary range instead of a specific amount when negotiating a salary

Another important tip for negotiating a salary is to have a range in place of a specific figure.

Once you’ve done your research and you know the industry average, you can easily come up with a range around that figure. That way you’ll do a good job negotiating a salary. Here’s the thing; having an acceptable salary range helps you negotiate and come to a compromise easily, for both you and the recruiter.

4. Practise your pitch

Be confident when addressing a crowd

I know you think that knowing the value that you have to offer is all you need to be confident, but it isn’t. For you to be completely confident in your delivery, you need to practise your pitch at least once or twice before the actual negotiation.

For instance, you need to know the order in which you want to present your pitch. Be organized. It’d boost your confidence.

Also, if you have to present a counteroffer, you need to be confident to do so. Hence, the need to be prepared.

Skills With Rising Level of Demand in 2021

10 skills with rising level of market demand

This post highlights 10 skills with rising level of demand in 2021. When looking to start a career or find that dream job, skills are the most sought after qualities to ensure your success. Many people today are looking to improve themselves by learning skills they feel are most relevant to elevate them career wise. The problem is that many people do not know what skills to acquire. Consequently, they end up adding an obsolete skill to their inventory. It is important to know what the market is demanding before deciding on the skill to acquire.

Skills with rising level of demand in 2021

With the resent global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a tremendous shift in the kinds of skills in demands by many companies globally.

There has also been many changes in technology which has affected the need of many companies. This has resulted in changes in their demand for skills.

Below are 10 skills with rising level of demand in 2021

1. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is an emerging skill

Many businesses and companies depend on AI to keep up with demand with COVID-19 running rampant.

The demand for employees with sound knowledge in AI has been on the rise since 2019 and 2020. It became LinkedIn’s number one emerging jobs and was fifteenth on the lists of future emerging jobs.

2. Business analyst

Due to the rampaging pandemic ravaging the world, many businesses have fallen into turmoil. Many businesses have been shut down, and those still standing are barely managing to stay on their feet. Hence, the need for problem solvers have risen.

Business analysts are problem solvers who make research, analyze, and proffer solutions to the problems that businesses face. Many businesses are on the look-out for individuals with problem-solving skills to help them make important business decisions.

3. Digital marketing

The world is quickly becoming digital. With increasing technological developments and innovations, the digital world is becoming the norm. Businesses are adapting to this new digital world. Digital marketing has been incorporated into the digital world to help businesses promote their goods and services. It involves the use of digital platforms like social media, email, search engines and the likes to bring or connect businesses to prospective clients. The need for digital marketers is on the rise as many businesses seek to move their businesses online for better visibility.

4. UI/UX design

With the need to avoid human contact as much as possible due to the ravaging pandemic, many businesses need to go virtual. Hence the need for UI/UX designers. UI stands for user interface, and it is concerned with the designing of interfaces for apps and websites to make the more attractive and pleasing to the eyes. While UX stands for user experience and deals with research and testing to see how individuals can better interact with a company website or application. Many businesses today are going virtual, hence, the need to design aesthetic applications and websites that will be attractive to prospective clients.

5. Mobile App development

Mobile App development skill is in high demand
Mobile App development is one of the top skills with rising level of demand in 2021

As companies and businesses take their activities to the internet, the need for app developers have been on the rise. This skill involves the development or creation of mobile apps for smartphones, smartwatches, tablets and other mobile devices.

Mobile devices have become a norm in today’s world and as more people utilize mobile devices, the need for mobile app developers are increasingly on the rise.

6. SEO and SEM

With the rise of the digital era, the need for online visibility for businesses have also increased. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it involves promoting a website to increase visibility on search engines such as Google, Bing and the likes, in order to increase the amount of traffic they receive

SEM stands for search engine marketing, and it involves getting paid SEO strategy to help businesses increase visibility on search engines by placing them on top positions in searches. The need for individuals with profound knowledge in SEO and SEM are on the rise as businesses seek to increase traffic to their websites in order to improve sales.

7. Data analytics

Data analytics is one of the skills with rising level of demand in 2021. Businesses now rely upon information in order to make important business decisions. Many businesses rely on data to influence their decisions, hence the need for data analytics.

With businesses becoming more data-driven, the need for digital marketers having both creativity and data strategy have been on the rise.

8. Video production

In today’s digital world, the need for video production is unarguable. Companies need video content to promote brands and the entertainment industry also needs video producers for movie production.

Prospective clients tend to have a taste for video content, hence, many businesses require video producers to help create pleasing video content which can help them drive sales. This skill is increasingly on demand as companies and businesses need to keep putting out content for advertisements to help promote their brands.

9. Robotics

10 skills with rising level of market demand

This is one of the skills predicted to have a higher rate of demand in the nearest future. Robotics engineers are needed for software and hardware development. Robotics are needed in the medical field, especially with the rise of the COVID-19 scourge and the need for social distancing. Knowledge in the skill is also needed in the entertainment industry as well as for scientific exploration. This is a skill of the future whose demand is already on the rise in many parts of the world.

10. Programming

Last but not the least on list of skills with rising level of demand in 2021 is programming. Many companies need individuals with profound knowledge in different programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, HTML and the likes. The rate of demand for this skill has been on high rise since 2015. It is an invaluable skill that can open up many opportunities for individuals with profound knowledge in it.

How to Learn Any Language Fast

Languages
How to Learn Any Language Fast

Whether you want to become a linguist, travel the world, or work in a foreign country, learning a new language is a good skill to acquire. Many people would love to learn a new language, but the thought of starting from the basics, and how long it would take to learn puts them away from the idea. It can be quite daunting thinking of how you’ll have to memorize new vocabulary, foreign grammar and speaking a fluent sentence.

Languages

Undoubtedly, putting in the effort to learn and being dedicated to the process is absolutely essential, but the learning process doesn’t have to be slow and stressful. You can learn any language quickly if you stick to the process. All it takes is the willingness and the right attitude. You can learn any language quicker that you think.

Below are useful tips that will help you learn a new language fast.

1. Set goals for learning the new language

As with doing anything else, setting goals helps you achieve much more in a short period of time. The first thing you should do when learning a new language is to set your goals. With these goals written down, you can work towards a specific destination, and check to see if you have achieved them.

Starting from the basics can be cumbersome and overwhelming. Your mind is filled with so many details and information that you don’t even know where to start. Having your goals written down can help you focus on the important details and quicken your learning process. Your chances of successfully learning a language increases greatly when you set the right goals.

2. Use mnemonics

If you find a foreign word particularly difficult to remember, I suggest using mnemonics to help you remember. Mnemonics are excellent for memory retention as they help you keep stuff in your memory with ease and effectively. Make up a song, funny sentence, name or humorous story that you can attach a difficult word to. You will notice it will be exceedingly easier to remember words, and it’ll make your learning process a cinch.

3. Learn the common words in the new language you are learning

Every language has a list of most important or common words used every time in almost every sentence. Identifying such words can be a great time saver and also save you from unnecessary headaches.

All languages have countless words in their vocabulary. You can spend ages learning each one of those words. But luckily, you don’t need to learn all the words in a language to know how to speak it. In fact, all you need is less than 5% of the total number of words in a language to speak it fluently. Take for example the English language. There are over a million words in the English vocabulary, but the top 300 words make up about 65% of English texts, and the top 1000 take 90%.

4. Using electronic flashcards would speed up the learning process of the language

One of the quickest ways to learn any language is by using the most effective techniques. Electronic flashcards are a good recommendation for learning any language. Flashcards help you retain more information by memorizing. You can focus on words one at a time and test your memory retention capacity.

Paper flashcards work just well, but using electronic flashcards gives a number of benefits. With electric flashcards, you can have a large stack on your device and take with you wherever you go. You can also make use of flashcards made by others. You can learn faster by using flashcards programs which can be used wherever you are as it would be on your device.

5. Communicate with the new language daily

One of the most efficient and effective ways to learn any language fast is by communicating with it daily. Sadly, this is also one of the reasons why many people get discouraged to learn a new language. They feel there will be no one around to talk to, so why learn it when you might end up forgetting how to commune with it? But that shouldn’t be a source of discouragement. You can be an expert in a language without living in the county where it was a native language.

All you need is to be immersed in the language. You can get immersed virtually by watching foreign videos, or reading books in the foreign language.

6. Enjoy the learning process

It is very easy to get carried away and take our learning process too seriously. Doing so will leave you mentally stressed and make it more difficult to learn. Enjoy the process of learning. We learn better when we are having fun.

You can attach your learning process to a hobby you like. Learn words related to your hobby and watch videos about your hobby in the language you are learning. You can also play games that help you learn. There are many smartphone games online for different languages. Doing so helps you relax and ensures that you have a better learning experience.

7. Practice the language you are learning with speakers of the language

Practise with native speakers of the language

Try to meet people who speak the language you are learning and interact with them. With social media, you can meet people from all over the world. Make friends with people who are natives speakers of the language you are learning, and learn their culture as well. These conversations help make learning fun and fulfilling, and you could even make a long-lasting relationship in the process.

Learning a new language doesn’t have to be as difficult and time-consuming as people might think. It can be a very quick and fun experience if you follow the tips mentioned above. Remember to have fun when you are at it, and you will be surprised how fast you would pick up the language of your choice.

How to write a professional email – with examples

How to write a professional email

A professional email is a form of communication that is written to a recipient that you aren’t familiar with or someone in authority. So, to avoid sounding disrespectful, rude or ignorant, you need to know how best to write a professional email.

Tips for writing a professional email
How to write a professional email

A professional email is like a formal letter. In some cases, you could be a little bit familiar with the subject. In other cases, you might have zero knowledge of who the recipient is. Imagine that you want to apply for a job, and you don’t know who you are writing to. You probably do not know the name of the person you are addressing your email to. How then do you go about it?

Here’s a piece of advice: when you are not sure whether to write a formal or informal email to a person, it’s best to go for formal. The way you communicate with people that you hardly know via your email can go a long way in determining if they’d be interested in you.

So, first of all, I’ll show you the elements of a professional email. Then we’d talk about the Dos and Don’ts of a professional email.

You can write a professional email with the tips below:

1. Start the email with a subject

How to write a professional email

The purpose of including a subject in your professional email is to inform the recipient of what the email is about, even before they read it. It should be as concise as possible.

For instance:

  • if you are writing to resign from your job, you can write: Resignation- Jane Fowe
  • If you are writing for a request; Request- Recommendation letter
  • If you want to write a professional email to follow up on something: Follow up- project presentation

2. Greet your recipient

To start the email, make sure you greet your recipient. It’s rude to just go straight to the body of your email without greeting them.

For instance, you can say, Dear Jane, Dear Sam Edet, etc.

In a situation where you don’t know the name of the person you are addressing your email to, then you can write; Dear Sir/Ma, To whom it may concern, etc.

You can also go ahead to thank them for something they have done.

For instance;

Dear Jane,

Thank you for reaching out to me…

Dear Sam Edet,

Thank you for responding swiftly…

If you are writing the email for an organization, you can also thank the person you are writing to for something that they have done as well.

For instance,

Dear Mrs Stephen,

Thank you for contacting XYZ company….

Note that your greeting or salutation should be as short as possible. A sentence is enough to thank them (only if there is something to be thankful about, in the first place).

3. State the purpose of your email

Once you are done with the greeting, get to the body of your email already. This is where you state what the purpose of your email is about.

For instance, if you are writing to apply for a job or to resign, you can write this;

I am writing to submit my resignation for my position as head of sales at XYZ company.

I am writing to apply for the post of a senior content producer at ABC company.

Other examples include;

I am a TV presenting looking to schedule an interview with you ahead of your tour in march.

My company is in need of a graphic designer’s expertise for a design project.

4. Get to your closing remark

After you must have stated the reason for reaching out to them, then go straight to your closing remark. Remember it’s a professional email, so you don’t need to bit around the bush to make your point.

Here’s a good example of a closing remark depending on the body and subject of your email.

Thank you for your patience and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to let me know.

Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

5. Sign off

The last thing to do in your professional email is to include an appropriate closing or signature followed by your name.

Here is an example:

Best Regards,

Jane Smith

Now, let’s talk about DOs and DON’Ts

The DOs of a professional email

  1. Keep it short

Your professional email should be as short as possible. Here’s why. When your email is lengthy, the recipient will most likely just skim through. This can make them lose some vital details in the body of your email. So, instead of writing a lengthy email, keep it short by going straight to the point. As soon as they respond, you can go ahead to include more details that you left out in the first email.

  1. Proofread to avoid errors
Proofread your email

Always make sure you proofread your emails to avoid spelling and grammatical errors. It’s a professional email. So, it’s important to ensure that everything is done correctly so that your recipient will take you seriously.

The DON’Ts of a professional email

  1. Avoid using playful fonts

Again, to be take seriously, you need to understand that your professional email is not a creativity class or any of that. You have to keep things formal. So, stay away from playful fonts when writing.

  1. Avoid cracking jokes

You are not familiar with your recipient. Always remember that when writing a professional email. So, don’t crack jokes, or go about asking about their welfare and that of their family. Just get straight to business.

How to be confident when addressing a crowd

speak slowly when addressing a crowd
be confident when addressing a crowd
Be confident when addressing a crowd

Appearing confident when addressing a crowd can be nerve-wracking. It isn’t because you aren’t prepared, but because you’re conscious of not disappointing the audience and yourself.

A lot of people around you give you a lot of tips and advice on how to prepare for a presentation, but they don’t really touch on how to be confident in front of all those eyeballs.

It’s like this; You wonder if you have the ability to carry your audience along so that they don’t feel bad. Eventually, you get bothered because you don’t want people to tell that you are nervous. In the end, you spend the first 10-15 minutes trying to calm yourself down. Before you know it, the entire presentation is over.

Below are tips on how to be confident when addressing a crowd:

1. Start by preparing and organizing your speech

Be confident when addressing a crowd

I know that you know this, but I cannot overemphasize the place of preparation. When you know that you are fully prepared in every way possible, it gets you closer to your goal of being confident when you address the crowd.

I get it! You might still experience stage fright, but being prepared will help you feel confident when addressing people. All that will be left is dealing with your ability to face the crowd.

2. Practise the first minute of your speech or presentation over and over

You can choose to start your presentation with a story, a quotation or an introduction of yourself and what you do. Well, that’s not the point. The point is whatever you choose to be your opening remark, practise it over and over until you can say it confidently without looking at your notes or slides to remember. It’ll create a great first impression of you to your audience. When you can tell that your audience likes you, it’ll make you more confident to give your speech.

3. Speak slowly

speak slowly when addressing a crowd

A lot of us tend to speak quickly when we are nervous. The implication of this is that we rush the entire presentation and finish too quickly. Most times, we don’t give enough room for the audience to grasp what we are saying.

To avoid this, however, speak slowly, and learn to pause from time to time during your presentation. Doing this will help you think and put your thoughts together properly. Don’t rush your speech. When you speak slowly, you’ll feel calm and organized. That way, you will be confident when addressing a crowd.

4. Make your audience laugh

make your audience laugh

I suggest starting your speech by cracking a joke. You see, one reason why you might be nervous is that just as you don’t know what to expect from the audience, they equally do not know what to expect. So, you have the first 2-3 minutes to show them what they stand to enjoy listening to you.

Making your audience laugh lightens the mood in the room, and makes everyone, including you feel relaxed. When you ate relaxed, you’ll be confident when addressing a crowd.

Here’s a tip. How about opening your presentation with a joke about yourself? Joke lightly about something you had done in the past while addressing an audience. The aim is to make the crowd see as a part of them. You’re not trying to be different or perfect because you are up on the stage. You are just like the rest of them. This will help the crowd open up to you, and you’ll become a lot more confident when addressing them.

5. Focus more on people who are nodding

It can be extremely nerve-wracking when you feel disconnected from your audience. So, how about focusing on those that seem to be paying attention to what you are saying? Look out for people who are nodding and agreeing with what you are saying and pay attention to them. That way, you will feel a sense of reassurance and confidence. The more confident you sound, the more people you will attract. So, start with the people who are interested, get confident and then attract more people. It’s that simple.

The next time you have to speak to a large audience, follow the tips above you should be confident when addressing them.

See also how to deliver a presentation.

How to Deliver a Presentation

How to deliver a presentation

Occassionaly, you might be required to deliver a presentation. It could be during the course of study at school, at work, or at a social event. In this post, I will give you useful tips on how to deliver a presentation that would captivate your audience.

Below are 6 tips on how to deliver a presentation that your audience would find interesting:

1. Do a thorough research of your presentation topic

Before you deliver a presentation, do a thorough research of your topic so that you can provide adequate and useful information for your audience. Another benefit of conducting a thorough research before delivering a presentation is that you might receive a question from the audience. Thus by doing adequate research before you deliver a presentation, you will be equipped with sufficient knowledge on the topic.

2. Prepare notes or slides before you deliver a presentation

Most often than not, you would need to prepare some notes or slides for your presentation. In some cases you may have to print out copies of your notes for the audience. In other cases, slides would be used and the slides would be projected for everyone to see. Ask in advance from the relevant person whether slides would be used and whether it is necessary to print copies of your notes for the audience. If you would be using slides, ensure that your slides are well written and organized.

2.1 There are usually three types of relevant notes for a presentation:

  1. Your own personal note to help guide your thoughts when you are delivering the presentation.
  2. A note that highlights the keypoints of your discussion – copies of this are usually giving to the audience where necessary.
  3. A full transcript of your presentation.

The 2nd and 3rd types of notes are not usually required in many cases. But as mentioned above, it is always a good idea to ask from the relevant person in advance. Nevertheless, it is still recommended that you make your own personal notes before you deliver a presentation. This is because it could be difficult to memorise everything you are going to talk about during the presentation.

You should also avoid writing down everything you are going to talk about in your personal notes. Your personal notes are supposed to help you to guide your thoughts rather than being a transcript of your whole presentation.

3. Start with a story when delivering a presentation

To deliver a presentation that your audience would love, start with a story. When you start by telling a story, you will get your audience attention and involvement. You will also make it less nerve-racking to ease into your presentation.

Suppose I come to you and say that at 2:00 pm on Saturday, I went to the mall to get some groceries, and I didn’t get back until 8: 00 pm. What would be your reaction? I bet you’ll become curious to know why I took so long at the mall. Isn’t it? Then I go further to explain the rest of the story, just to make a point at the end of the day. I’m pretty sure you’re likely to remember my point for a long while. Do you know why? I got your attention, to start with. I also gave you a pictorial representation of what I was driving at. So, every time you remember the story, you’ll remember what it was all about. Guess what, it’s easier to remember stories.

You should also tell stories from time to time while giving your presentation. Give examples of real-life situations as well. It’ll make people remember your points much better. Plus, they can easily relate to the subject that way.

4. Talk passionately about the subject

Have you noticed how comfortable you get when you are talking about something that you are passionate about? Well, the truth is that it’s hard to be yourself when you are nervous. So, allow yourself to get into the conversation, and talk passionately about it.

When you are passionate about the subject of your presentation, you’ll be able to connect easily with your audience, especially because you are talking about their need.

Be enthusiastic and honest and watch how well your audience will respond to you.

5. Keep it simple

Whether your presentation involves using PowerPoint slides, graphs and the likes, the key is to keep it simple. Use simple vocabulary that people can understand easily. Also, try to make your presentation as short as possible.

You can also read this: How to be confident when addressing a crowd.

6. Move around

Try to move around when delivering a presentation

A great way to also capture your audience attention is to move around as calmly as possible when delivering your presentation. Try not to stand behind the lectern or your computer the entire time. Instead, ensure that your audience is participating and following your presentation by moving slowly from one point to another.

You can start your introduction at the centre of the stage, and then move around as you make the rest of your points.

Note that you shouldn’t move too far from your computer or slides so that you don’t rush back too quickly when you need to make the next point.

7. Maintain eye contact

How to deliver a presentation

To help deliver a great presentation, consider it as a conversation with a friend. Your goal is to interact with your audience and ensure that they understand and are interested in what you are saying so that they don’t get bored.

To achieve this, you have to make them feel involved by maintaining eye contact with them. Look from person to person so that they feel like you are speaking to them directly. This will make them pay more attention to you.

8. Engage your audience when delivering a presentation

Engage your audience when delivering a presentation

Finally, the best way to get people to remember your presentation is to get them involved one way or the other. Make it interactive. So, ask questions or plan group activities that will get everyone involved. Not only will you be dealing with likely chances of boredom but also improving their participation. I’m sure at the end of the session, everyone will want to deliver a presentation as you did.

Knowing how to deliver a presentation is an essential skill. If you follow the tips above, delivering a presentation should be fun and you would most likely be applauded at the end.

You might also be interested in how to be confident when addressing a crowd.

10 things you need to write a novel

Things you need to write a novel

In this article, I’ll be sharing with you 10 things you need to write a novel. To a lot of people, writing a novel can seem like a huge project. But it isn’t as challenging as it might seem, if you know what you are doing.

10 things you need to write a novel
10 things you need to write a novel

Like doing anything else in life, if you want to write a novel, all you have to do is start. Begin that project you’ve been putting off till later, and you’ll realize it can be quite fun and easy. Of course, you cannot write a novel in a day, it requires a lot of persistence and diligence.

10 things you need to write a novel

Below are 10 things you need to write a good novel:

To write a novel, you need to write down your plot

Once you have established your genre, and you know what your story is about, the next thing you need to do is to write down the plot. Develop the series of events that will take place in your story, and in what order you want them to take place. Ensure that you write it down because as they say, “a pen is sharper than the sharpest mind.” No matter how good you are at remembering stuff, you can’t remember all the details. Writing down your plot will also help you escape the ‘writer’s block’ which happens occasionally to most writers.

Read novels In your genre

If you want to write a novel, you must like reading books. Reading other books that are within your genre will be very beneficial to you. This exposes you to prospective ideas, and helps you understand how a reader thinks and what a reader would expect. Reading books in your genre also helps you know how to apply your plot to the right standard and helps you avoid mistakes that others may have made.

You need to decide on a point of view (POV)

Your novel must have a point of view which your readers will see your world through. The point of view used in your novel must be consistent until the very end, so choose carefully. You could decide on the first-person POV where you as the writer or narrator tells the story from your perspective, and you refer to your character as “I”.

You might also like the second-person POV where you place your readers in the position of the characters, and refer to them as “you”. Or it could be the third-person POV which I personally prefer. In this POV, you are writing based on the perspective of each of your characters, and each individual’s knowledge is limited. Here you refer to your characters as “he” or “she”.

There is also the omniscient POV. Here you as the writer are all knowing and tell the story from the perspective of a god figure. Your characters are also referred to in the third-person POV, but the plot wouldn’t be from their perspective, but the god figure perspective.

You need to decide on character development

Character development refers to how much your character has grown in terms of wisdom, strength or behavior. The growth of the characters in any novel is absolutely crucial. Your characters have to grow, or it might be frustrating for your readers. Decide how you want your characters to develop, and set up a series of events that will help teach or mold your characters into better versions of themselves.

Create conflicts

This is what adds taste to your story and makes it more appealing to readers. There has to be one conflict or another that begins the story of your main characters. This will help drive the story forward and not make it seem like you’re writing a documentary.

Conflicts can be internal, external, or both. Internal conflicts refers to what your character is presently struggling with and tries to resolve, whether on his own, or through external aid. External conflicts refer to the obstacles your characters face in getting to their destination or final goal. These conflicts will also help shape up and build your characters.

Love your story

This is one of the most key factors a writer should have. You must love what you are writing about. Like I stated earlier, writing a novel is all about persistence and diligence. If you do not love your story, you will eventually get bored with it and end up stopping midway. Your characters should be real to you and your story should have life. Your story can only have these when you love what you write.

You need to develop your character’s personalities

Each character in your novel should have a personality unique to them. It is important that you take your time to give each one a personality. You must have a vivid imagination, and picture how you want each of your characters to behave, then write down your ideas. This will help give life to your story, and make it seem more real to your readers.

You need to be descriptive

For me as a reader, there is nothing more frustrating than not having a good enough picture of the scene that’s currently happening. I’ve read many fantastic novels that lack that descriptive ability, and I’ve seen average novels as well that were excellent at describing their scenes. If I had to pick one of the two, I think it’d be the latter.

Learn how to describe your characters’ features, their surroundings and what exactly is happening at the moment. You need to have a pretty good image of what you are trying to portray and know how to give clear descriptions. But don’t go into too much detailing as this could end up being tiresome for your readers.

Don’t read and write

Unless you have a pretty good memory, or a well detailed plot written down, I would advise that you don’t read other novels while still writing your own novel. This is because you can get your ideas mixed up. The plot and characters of the books you might be reading can get stuck in your subconscious and make you write your own work to resemble theirs. If you must read while writing, stick to one book at a time, and finish it up before continuing on your story, or pause your story to read other novels.

Edit your work

Before handing your novel over to an editor, ensure that you proofread it yourself. You’ll find that there might be some parts that need to be rewritten. An editor can only do so much like correct grammar, change sentence structure and so on, but only you know your novel and can edit it the best.

That’s it! Apply the 10 things you need to write a novel mentioned above, and you are well on your way to being an author of your very own novel. Ensure that you love your work, and you will reap the reward of having satisfied readers.

How to Write Authoritative Article: Freelance writing

Freelance writing tips
How to write authoritative article
Make your articles look authoritative

As a freelance writer, you might be capable of writing on diverse topics. However, doing freelance writing on various topics might reduce the authoritative weight of your articles. The freelance writing tips in this post will show you how to write authoritative article.

What is the significance of authority in writing?

It is important to establish authority
Establish Your Authority

Your authority on a topic determines the significant weight of your writing. For readers to take your articles seriously, they need to be convinced that you know the topic well enough. Keyword here is ‘AUTHORITY’. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your audience. For someone to read a 500 word (or more) article, they are most probably capable of investigating whether you possess some authority on the topic. More often than not, readers would try to find your authority on an article before even reading it.

In contrast, you might publish a meme of 10 words and get away with it. When it comes to publishing articles on the other hand, it’s a different ball game.

The concept of establishing authority is similar to what lawyers do in courts when they tender evidence. They call it ‘laying proper foundation‘, ie, showing preliminary reason why such evidence should be admitted.

Common ways readers investigate author’s authority include:

Through a website info or about page

For instance, a reader who discovers an article on immigration law might try to check whether the website is owned by a law firm or legal experts. This is often done by checking the website’s ‘about page’.

Vide writer’s profile

It is not unusual for experts to publish articles or guest posts on third party platforms. For instance, a doctor could publish an article on a news blog. This is why readers might check authors’ profiles to find out whether they possess authority on the topic.

How to write authoritative article

1. You can show authority through your profile

The best way to show your authority on a topic or genre is through your profile. If you are an expert in a field or discipline, include your expertise in your profile.

2. You can build authority through previous publications

Another way to establish authority for your freelance writing is through previously published articles.

Imagine that a freelance writer wrote the following articles:

  • How to build house
  • Baking bread at home
  • Top 10 travel tips
  • How to pass your exams

Now imagine that another freelance writer wrote the following articles:

  • How to bake bread
  • Roasting a Christmas turkey
  • How to make jollof rice
  • Top 10 Christmas dishes

In the second scenario, you could deduce that the writer is probably a chef. You would also be interested in reading further posts from that writer. Whereas in the 1st scenario, articles written by the writer would carry less significant weight in a reader’s mind. Why? Simply because the topics are too diverse.

However, if you really love writing on diverse topics in your freelance writing career, nothing stops you from doing so. However follow the tips below:

3. Stay away from topics that might be reserved for professionals

Examples of such topics include but are not limited to:

Medical topics such as medications etc. You might get away with articles relating to healthy lifestyles such as exercises, healthy meals etc. But avoid recommending medications if you are not a medical expert.

Articles on legal topics. Likewise, readers would not take your articles seriously if you wrote a legal topic without establishing some authority to write on such topics.

Articles on engineering works. For example, you cannot publish an article about how to make fried rice today, then tomorrow: ‘how to fix your car’.

Readers might not take your articles seriously if you do not establish a significant authority on topics that exude expertise

Many readers might not take your articles seriously if you do not have expertise on the topic you are writing about. Another thing to note is that you might also be violating regulatory statutes in some jurisdictions. This is because advice on some issues are usually reserved for professionals. A notorious example is prescription of drugs.

It is not unusual for some experienced freelance writers/bloggers to occasionally venture into topics that include some elements of expertise. However, they often use various techniques/precautions such as:

Tip for linking to authoritative sources

When creating links to authoritative sources in your post/article, follow the tip below:

Do not link to hearsays

An example of hearsay is when you link to a blog post that cites or links to another authoritative source. Consider the example below:

www.iheardfromsomewhere.comwrote that:

According to a research carried out by Londoon School of Economics, sales of renewable energy stocks have risen more than 65%.

If you are making a statement in regard to rise of stocks, you should link directly to London School of Economics instead of ‘www.iheardfromsomewhere.com‘. Here comes another important point to note: when writing on a topic that pertains to esoteric knowledge, try to use journals for your research instead. This is because journal articles are usually written by experts.

Conclusion

Knowing how to write authoritative articles will keep make your articles/posts look more credible. Not only would showing your authority increase the significance of your articles, it would also boost your freelance writing career.

Benefit of sticking to a specific genre as a writer

For instance, if an organisation needs a freelance writing service, they might prefer to hire an expert on a specific genre. This is because a freelance writer with expertise on a specific genre is more likely to produce authoritative contents. A ‘jack of all trades’ on the other hand would likely produce contents with less authority.

Writers on the other hand who write on diverse genres often have to do research before writing
Writers on the other hand who write on diverse genres often have to do research before writing

If you stick to a particular genre, with time you would find yourself producing contents rich in originality.

Writers on the other hand who write on diverse genres often have to do research before writing. The problem with this is that they might end up reproducing ideas that have already been published elsewhere. I would like to write on how to produce quality contents from a research. However, I think that topic is broad enough to be discussed in a separate post.

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