Communication has basically two kinds: verbal and non-verbal communication. In the communication process, the sender or speaker must learn how to deliver or disseminate the messages to his receiver or recipient clearly and completely. As it is defined as a two-way process of exchanging and sharing thoughts, insights, feelings, experiences and information from one person to another, people from all walks of life have to learn how to communicate promptly – speak and listen accordingly.
Primarily, communicating with others is an essential skill in business dealings, friendships, family affairs, and romantic relationships. The best thing is that, it is up to us to improve it since such skill is essentially important in our daily activities especially in our workplace. With these, it is your advantage if you indeed have good communication skills particularly that of interpersonal – your ways of dealing with other people as well as your means of handling and reacting to communication situations.
Interpersonal skills are not just talking and listening to other people. It is all about working with and relating to them. These include being able to encourage others, motivate and support them, accept their opinions, and give them friendly, constructive criticisms and suggestions.
Also, communication skills do not limit the conversation with our ideas or opinions. It includes the culture and unique history of a person – how he deals with the situation and how he reacts to it. From this point of view, interpersonal communication skills become crucial to some. To help you out, here is my list:
First, learn how to listen. A good communication skill starts with patience and attention in listening. By understanding others, you will be able to get across your message successfully.
Do not read other minds. We are not capable of doing that in anyway. So, the best thing to do is to communicate effectively. Frequently ask questions to clarify ideas and get the message promptly. Share your opinions and insights to make the conversation more meaningful.
Do not complicate. The more communication there is, the more difficult it is for the communication process to succeed. This simply reminds us that it is difficult to have an accurate conversation, so let us work it out.
Focus and be attentive. The success of communication relies on the interest and attention you are giving in. By being focused, you would be able to listen carefully and provide right judgment about the situation.
Wear their shoes. One of the best things to do to understand people is to put yourself in their situation. Then, you can think of what to do in case you are in that moment. The more you understand the reasons behind their thinking, the more you can understand their point of view or help them to better understand and eventually accept your point of view.
Make strategies your weapon. When you are caught in a conversation where in there are contrasting ideas, you should stay composed and relax. Use low-tone voice and avoid disturbing body language like hunching shoulders or fidgeting that will make others feel uncomfortable and offended.
Motivate others. As you show your interests, try to give those encouraging ideas and suggestions especially when in a complex situation. Value their inputs as much as they will do to you. Do not interrupt them by stating that you have the same experiences and tell your long stories while their unfinished stories are still unfold.
Learn from each conversation. There are no same conversations. Each has different words and stories to tell. If the conversation is such a success one, then you must remember the pointers that you can use to another conversation. If it is a failure, definitely, there must be something wrong that you must figure out to avoid them and learn from it too.
Smile and laugh – the most positive thing you can give and share while in a communication setting.
Indeed, improving interpersonal communication skills is such a big deal especially in our workplace. Reality bites, people judge us in our behavior and not in our purpose or intent. With this, we must be consistent in projecting our image and setting personal trademarks. Also, we should be open for some evaluation and assessment. These can be done by asking other persons’ feedback and opinions.
Just like what Paulo Coelho stressed in his book, The Alchemist, “It’s not what enters men’s mouth that’s evil, it’s what comes out of their mouths that is.” Words are just symbols of defining ourselves. They are powerful because they show who we really are, so we better watch our words and be more considerate in communicating with other people.
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Food allergies are never easy to deal with. They occur repeatedly and bother the people in the same manner. You might get allergic reactions accidentally because you are unaware that the food you eat has contents of the food to which you are allergic. Less sensitive people may be able to tolerate small amounts of a food to which they are allergic. But what if you are highly allergic?
The first step to cope with your allergy in the most effective way is to have a correct diagnosis if you really do have a food allergy. Consult a doctor. Others just presume they have such food allergy because they have observed that they have adverse body reactions to specific foods. They tend to self-medicate. They are unaware that those reactions may not really be caused by food allergens.
Other kinds of reactions to foods that are not food allergies include food intolerances (such as lactose or milk intolerance), food poisoning, and toxic reactions. Remember that an effective treatment needs a correct diagnosis.
How is food allergy diagnosed?
The doctor primarily determines if the patient is experiencing abnormal body responses to specific foods. Then, he makes an assessment with the help of a detailed history from the patient, the patient’s dietary diary, or an elimination diet.
A detailed history from the patient needs a support to establish a diagnosis. The doctor may ask the patient to keep a record of the contents of each meal and if the reactions occurred are consistent with such allergy. With the oral history and the written one at hand, these provide more details that are essential to the determination if there is a consistent relationship between a food and the allergic reactions.
With elimination diet, the doctor will ask a patient to refrain from eating the food that is suspected to cause allergies. For example, an egg – the food that is believed to cause allergy – will be substituted with another protein source. If after the patient removes the said food and the allergic reactions or symptoms do not show up, the doctor can make a diagnosis of food allergy. If the patient resumes eating the food, still with the supervision of the doctor, and the allergic symptoms occur, it confirms the diagnosis that the egg is the primary source of the allergic reactions. Thus, the patient will be advised to refrain from eggs as well as from foods that have egg contents.
How is food allergy treated?
The best and primary treatment for food allergy is simply avoiding the offending allergen in your diet. Any foods or drinks that contain food allergens must be kept away from your dining table. Affected people need to read lengthy, detailed lists of ingredients on the label for each food they consider eating.
You may be surprised now how many allergen-producing foods such as eggs, milk, and peanuts appear in foods that are not ordinarily associated with them. You need to be fussy over small details – and that is a requirement. Besides, it is for your own good.
There are also several medications available for treating the other symptoms of food allergy. Antihistamines can relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, hives, sneezing, and a runny nose. Bronchodilators can relieve the symptoms of asthma. They are not effective in preventing an allergic reaction when taken prior to eating the food. In fact, no medication in any form is available to prevent an allergic reaction to a certain food before eating that food.
What if something you really like turns out to be on your ‘not-to-eat’ list?
You can still enjoy your food that sadly happens to be the one that causes you an allergy as much as you used to. It is simple – learn how to indulge in food substitutes. There is a variety of food substitutes available in the market today. Many food establishments manufacture products exclusively intended for those with food allergies (e.g. chocolates with milk or nuts).
Be a watchful and a careful eater yet stay to be a food lover – that’s the secret.
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Tea is like the lifeblood of most cultured society. It is true more so now than then. We can’t deny it. People love to eat and drink. Not just for survival, but also for self-satisfaction. Tea is the primary refreshment for a lot of people who want to avoid the heavy caffeine of coffee. Tea is also preferred by a lot of people due to its medicinal properties.
The fun with tea pairings is the variety of teas out there. A lot of tea tastes different enough to warrant experimentation and the spirit of adventure on the consumer’s part.
So what food do you think goes well with tea?
This variety goes well with Asian cuisines like Thai or Chinese. However, black tea is also good with desserts like coffee cakes, muffins, custards, and cinnamon rolls.
This tea variant is almost as good as black tea when paired with Asian cuisines like Indian, Thai and Chinese dishes. Oolong also compliments the flavor and texture of red meat.
This healing, medicinal variety goes well with light crackers and cereals. Sweet herbal tea will also go well with salty snacks to balance the flavor of the food.
This kind of tea goes well with food that is also paired with white wine. So it goes great with shrimps, smoked fish, salad, chicken, and rice recipes. Meat sandwiches also go well with green tea.
This tea is not heavy flavored enough to compliment strong tasting food. Waffles and tea biscuits are good to go with this kind of tea. You would also want to sip a few white teas as it is more medicinally potent than green tea.
This kind of tea goes well with an abundance of animal fat and oily type of cooking. It goes well with stir fry, chicken, and meat.
The End of the Line
As with the coffee article, tea goes well with the food that you like. There is no secret tea-food pairings that will really make your palate sing. It is up to you to experiment with your own tea experience. Because tea is not just for tasting, it is also about living the moment.
At the end of the day, your taste alone matters in the grand scheme of your own gastronomic satisfaction. You alone will know what pairings and combination you will love. So go ahead, get your favorite tea and indulge.
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A SWOT Analysis for Working Internationally in the Recession.
Life is not easy these days, and regardless of your ‘belief’ in a recession, there is one.
There are lots of cutbacks, delayed openings, abandoned projects and more, and this is a global thing – not a local one.
The situation for established business is also tense, with many looking to cut costs and overheads, delay expansion, and to re-assess their current levels of staffing.
For the chef who wants to work overseas, what does this mean?
For many of us, it means the possibility of being laid off, or the reduced chance of finding a new job.
There are silver linings to this cloud though.
Performing well in this climate is a great way to get noticed. While many are using hardline tactics to slash staff and cut costs, other approaches can be managing holidays and using unpaid leave as a way to save costs while retaining key staff.
Increasing productivity is also a great way to do more with less.
Rather than moving to convenience foods and reducing quality, consider reducing the size and scope of the menu – so you can reduce stock on hand, and staffing needs and actually increase turnover.
Travelling is great right now – Everybody is chasing your business and cutting their prices.
There has never been a better time for getting around with low airfares, cheap accom, and lots of choices wooing you towards their front doors.
The closure of businesses is sad on a personal level – and tragic for staff and their families.
On the bright side, it is a much needed correction, and many bad concepts, poor operators and inexperienced business people will be forced out – leaving a much stronger, leaner, more competitive bunch of hotels and restaurants remaining.
There is an oversupply in many places, leading to price wars, bad quality and lowest common denominator bandwagons to be jumped on.
The good thing is that good operators will emerge leaner, stronger and more profitable than before, with less competition – and competition of a higher standard.
It is a little easier to make an impact right now. There are many businesses cutting back on marketing, advertising and promotion. Even more are failing to respond to their customer’s wants and needs.
Many hotels and restaurants are being deserted by guests. They ARE going somewhere!
Being a smart operator means looking at the best way to attract the AWOL punters from your competition.
Don’t sell yourself short.
A hotel on a large international hotelier’s website got lambasted about 8 months ago by large quantities of chefs on the site for offering $3000 a month for an Executive chef in a five star hotel.
Recently I saw an ad somewhere online offering $1800 for a similar role.
It IS supply and demand – but remember – people will “try it on”.
It IS easy to lose self confidence when out of work – so market yourself on your strengths and abilities – and like a chef does with costing recipes – cost appropriately – competitively enough to attract customers (employers) but enough to be profitable (for you).
You will get fewer responses, quicker rejections, and many “no replies.”
It isn’t you. Half of the HR departments you are applying to have probably been downsized too, and they have 10 times more applicants to go through.
Stay positive, and don’t apply for everything and everything. You will regret it if you do, and you end up with something unsuitable.
Target positions and companies that you are best suited to, and put time into learning more about improving your interview and application skills – including your CV.
Lots of pressure to cut. Cut everything!
Try and make a conscious decision to cut frills and extras – and be smart about the core business – taking care not to impact perception of quality, timeliness, consistency or service.
DO expect packages to be tighter than in the past – which may mean fewer or no bonuses, less benefits and sometimes lower salary – but negotiate with the long term in mind, not the short term.
DON’T be forced into joining an unethical employer, or living at subsistence level.
DO be flexible though. If your salary is a problem, tie the increase to a measurable benchmark that suits the employer and yourself.
Many companies are looking to get rid of poor performers right now – the economy is a good excuse. Equally, they are looking to retain key performers, and pick up good people with little effort due to the much larger pool of available candidates. A good chance to pick up some great key staff yourself as the number of chefs looking for work has never been higher.
Answer your applications, and demonstrate your values via your actions.
It will pay off as you develop a reputation as an ethical employer of choice.
Niche marketing to the “new economy” – re pricing, re positioning, and taking advantage of new trends in spending are all smart moves.
Many restaurants and hotels are noticing their business being “lost to the competition.”
They should wonder why.
It is because the competition is offering the guest what they are looking for. Check guest feedback and establish a rapport with your guests. Turn them into brand ambassadors by responding to their needs, desires and fears with well positioned products.
Take care of your people – guide them, train them, communicate with them and be upfront. Their demotivation and fear of losing their job is reflected in their productivity, quality of work and attitude. Remember – they are also your brand ambassadors, and if you lose them now, you have a whole lot more hiring and training to do to come back to consistent quality standards.
Slashing is for dummies.
Not overstaffing in the first place – and keeping positive, productive, hard-working people long term is the best way to win market share and maintain a consistent quality product in the times when it most matters.
Obviously the loss of a job, the loss of income and the failure of previously stable businesses are the initial fears in this economy.
Being overseas as an expat usually means a salary higher than the locals – and one of the first things to be cut when the going gets tough.
Additionally, FIFO applies to staff as well as stock on hand, so try and avid a move now unless it is a necessity.
Research the country that you are moving to, or the country you are in, and look for trends or corrections that could be foreseeable.
Currency movements, unstable governments, social and political issues, and unsustainable growth are all concerns and will have an impact.
A good time to avoid new openings as well, unless well niched and well marketed. Many of these are being delayed, abandoned or cut back, chefs along with it.
Currency – if you are moving, consider its impact on your salary and your disposable income.
If you are sending money back home, factor these movements into your break even calculations. Allow space for a bit of movement so that you are not caught out by your local currency or salary currency falling too much against your home currency.
The Culinary Globe Trotter
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