How to Remain Ethical With Modern Business Practices

The past year has really opened people’s eyes to the way that big tech companies use their data to make enormous amounts of profit. While it is certainly true that these companies need to earn revenue and remain profitable in order to survive, but the fact of the matter is that the manner in which these companies use data to remain profitable is questionable at best and is in some instances downright unethical.

Hence, it has become more important than ever for people to start asking how we can remain ethical in an increasingly data driven world. Data is quickly becoming one of the most valuable resources in the world, mostly because of the fact that it can be used to advertise to the right people thus generating sales which is what makes this industry so profitable in the first place. Contrary to what a lot of people think, it is most certainly possible to remain ethical and protect the privacy of the people whose data is being collected and also earn a significant profit that would enable a company to remain viable for the long term. There are actually examples of this in the real world. Read More

5 New Year’s Resolutions That Can Help Your Career

Pretty much every year at around this time we all tend to go through the same pattern. We see the onset of a new year as an opportunity for us to improve ourselves, and we attempt to do so by thinking of a New Year’s resolution. This is ostensibly done to give ourselves some kind of direction as we move forward throughout the year. It seems like a good enough idea, but pretty much all of us know that we don’t last very long with our resolutions. Only very rarely do we manage to work towards resolutions past January, with February being the burial ground for the vast majority of resolutions

There are many reasons why this is the case. One of the most important reasons is the fact that our resolutions are often, to put it gently, unrealistic. You are never going to start the rest of your life on the first day of a New Year. It is going to take a lot more than that, and the first step that you can take can always be a small one. Try to focus on an area of your life that needs improving and take a small step there. One great choice that you can look into is your career.

There are a number of relatively easy resolutions that you can make that would allow you to make the most of your career opportunities. Five of these resolutions are provided below.

#1 Commit to a TED Talk

While a lot of people have reduced the concept of a TED talk to little more than a joke, the fact of the matter is that TED talks are still extremely informative seminars that allow people to learn about things that they might not have had access to otherwise. While you might already have some experience with giving presentations, you should realize that a TED talk is very different.

This is primarily because of the fact that the presentations you might have given at work were probably done half heartedly and delivered to an audience that might not have cared about what you have to say. A TED talk on the other hand is going to be a bigger test of your mettle. The audience will be hanging on to your every word, so you will need to prepare a lot more than you would have otherwise.

You should definitely bear in mind the fact that preparing for a TED talk is going to be one of the most intense experiences of your life. This is where the benefits of this resolution come in. It will allow you to become a much better orator, and it will help you learn what it’s like to stand in front of an audience that is taking you seriously. One of the biggest benefits of doing a TED talk is that you will be able to get a lot more confidence in yourself. Whether you realize it or not, this is seriously going to help you get ahead in your career.

#2 Be Someone’s Mentor

We live in a society where people are increasingly thinking only of themselves. They are focused on the ways in which they can move ahead in their career. This can often create a rather ruthless working environment, one where everyone is one their toes and no one is loyal to their fellow employees. The fact of the matter is that this is really not the way to go about things, and it ends up creating a toxic environment in the workplace that could potentially make it very difficult for you to progress in your own career.

Hence, you can be a little out of the box with this one and vow to help other people at work. This could be particularly useful if you are able to help people who are somewhat disenfranchised and would have a little more difficulty moving forward than someone with as much privilege as you. A lot of people are fine in their careers, so this resolution can help them stay focused and help other people as well which is useful in situations where you are more or less set in what you are doing.

Some of us are born with more privilege than others. Others could be unlucky enough to belong to ethnicities that are discriminated against, or perhaps have a gender that people have a problem with. Others might have disabilities that would hinder them from working to their full potential. You can use your privilege to ensure that these people are heard.

#3 Socialize With People You Don’t Know

If you want to get ahead in your career, one of the most important things that you will have to do is get outside your comfort zone. The fact of the matter is that most career opportunities come out of the blue, and you need to know how to capitalize on that. If you talk to people that you don’t know very well, you could get their opinion on a lot of things that would help you think out of the box in your day to day work life as well.

The fact of the matter is that when you are working in a specific company for an extended period of time, you end up getting rather myopic. This is because of the fact that you are surrounded by people that have the same goals as you do, the same views as you do and are experiencing the same day to day routine as you do. This can make it difficult for you to see what you might be doing wrong. Indeed, even people that are higher up in the company can get myopic.

Hence, if you start socializing with people you don’t know you are going to get invaluable insight into what you could be doing better. Even if the opinion that you are getting is thoroughly uninformed, you might be able to use it in some way because the world involves a lot of unexpected shared experiences that you would do well to learn about.

#4 Attend Conferences on Your Own

The key to moving forward in your career is to keep learning. Education is something that continues for the rest of your life. If you stop learning, you stop growing and if you stop growing then people are going to quickly move past you. This isn’t just about learning new things either, you need to take steps to stay up to date with the current goings on in your field as well. One of the best ways to accomplish the goals of learning new things as well as staying abreast of the latest updates in your field is to go to conferences.

However, there is a problem here. When you go to conferences on behalf of your company, you usually end up going with people that you work with. The sense of camaraderie that comes from trips of this nature can be good for team building, but in all the merriment and fun you might end up forgetting that you are there to learn.

This is why you should try vowing to go to a conference on your own instead. You would be surprised at just how much you will end up learning, simply because of the fact that you don’t have anything else to do or anyone to talk to. You could even try meeting strangers here, thereby fulfilling two resolutions in a single day!

#5 Find a Problem And Fix It

If you have been working somewhere for long enough, chances are that you have a long list of problems that you wish weren’t there. While it can be easy to bellyache about these problems and moan about how they affect you, it is a lot more difficult to solve these problems. This is why you should resolve to solve one of the problems you associate with the people that you work for. You don’t have to do it alone either, you can make it an office resolution that you accomplish with the people that you work with. This can help build team spirit as well, and make it more likely that the people you work with will enjoy one another’s company.

Even if you don’t end up solving the problem that was being faced, chances are that you are going to learn a lot on the way. Sometimes it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. In the case of this particular New Year’s Resolution you would find that this is especially true. This resolution is all about bringing people together and proving yourself to be a leader. Even if you try to do this, the people higher up are going to take notice of you and this could potentially lead to some very good things in your future if you do the work, keep your head down and focus on making it to the very top.

5 TED Talks That Can Greatly Improve Your Customer Support

Customer support is one thing that your company can’t survive without, so you must be constantly willing to reevaluate and analyze different sources so that you can consistently keep your customer support working at optimal efficiency. You need to do more than work like a machine, you need to possess genuine empathy so that you can understand what your customers are going through and help them in the best way possible. It’s fair to say that this list of skills does not come easily to anyone.

One of the best sources of information for pretty much anything is a TED talk. This is true for improving your customer support as well. If you truly want your customer support to be the best that it can be, you need to utilize as many avenues as possible and TED talks are one of them. This is because of the fact that these talks compress a great deal of pertinent information that you receive n short bursts, and even if the TED Talk is not focused on customer support itself it can still be a good source of information for you to utilize. Listed below are some of the best TED talks for improving customer support.

#1 Why Aren’t We More Compassionate By Daniel Goleman

As has been mentioned before, some of the most important skills associated with customer service are compassion and empathy. This talk by Daniel Goleman is all about how we struggle to empathize with one another, and how we often end up lacking compassion in our day to day lives. This often happens as a result of ardent individualism which is often taken to toxic extremes by the people that are partaking in it.

The talk also addresses the fact that the modern day and age has left us extremely busy. We are always on the move, we are always with intent. As a result, we don’t have time to look around us and see how everyone is doing. There are people in need all over the world yet we usually don’t spare them a second though because we have our own problems that we are dealing with.

The important lesson that this video teaches is how you can put aside what you are going through in order to help someone in need. This is an invaluable lesson that will truly optimize your customer support.

#2 How Airbnb Designs For Trust By Joe Gebbia

One of the most important pillars of a good relationship with your customers is trust. Trust allows your customers to ask for what they truly need, and it allows you to have the autonomy and control to give this to them. This video talks about trust in a way that is pertinent to companies that involve heavy interaction with customers, and it teaches an important lesson about going above and beyond the call of duty in order to give customers what they deserve from you.

The video itself involves the presenter, Joe Gebbia, relating a story. In this story, someone that had offered up their home on Airbnb. The offer was taken up by a guest who, unbeknownst to either of them, was about to have a heart attack. When the heart attack occurred, the owner of the Airbnb did not hesitate to donate blood in order to save the man’s life. While you are probably not going to have to donate blood to any of your customers, this video is a powerful metaphor that describes how you can safeguard the trust that your customers have placed in you and ensure that they don’t feel insecure.

#3 The Art of Asking By Amanda Palmer

The host of this TED talk discusses a very important element of the field of customer service: how to talk in a way that would allow people to understand what you are saying, and how to ask them if they need help. The main purpose of her talk is to describe how she manages to form rather personal bonds with the people that are listening to her. She does this in spite of the fact that she often does not have a lot of time, nor does she have the luxury of being able to make mistakes while she is giving her TED talk.

The great thing about this TED talk is that it teaches you how to form relationships with the customers that are phoning in. You need to learn how to establish trust in a short period of time, and one of the important lessons that you are going to learn from this TED talk is how to modulate your voice in order to make people trust you a bit more. This will help you give customers the kind of support that they need.

#4 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation By Celeste Headlee

When you are speaking to a customer, one of the most important things that you should always keep in mind is that you are basically just having a conversation with someone. Hence, being a good conversationalist is going to allow you to have a much more in depth discussion with your customers because you will be able to put them at ease and let them feel relaxed enough to go into further detail. This video by Celeste Headlee is going to teach you the skills that will allow you to become a great conversationalist.

#5 All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes By Andy Puddicombe

We live in a technologically advanced time. A help desk ticketing system such as the one offered by Kayako is going to make it a lot easier for you to do your job. In spite of this, the responsibility of a customer support representative is massive. Hence, it can be easy to feel scattered and confused. This video can teach you how to be mindful of your surroundings and calm yourself in a way that would enable you to perform your job to the best of your abilities.

How to stop screwing yourself over | Mel Robbins | TEDxSF

Mel Robbins is a married working mother of three, an ivy-educated criminal lawyer, and one of the top career and relationship experts in America. Widely respected for her grab-’em-by-the-collar advice and tough love, Robbins drills through the mental clutter that stands between people and what they want. Her approach is smart, effective and entertaining. Five days a week, Mel hosts her own syndicated radio show The Mel Robbins Show, discussing hot topics and giving advice to callers across America. She is starring in a new series, In-Laws, airing this summer on A&E. In addition, she writes a monthly column for Success Magazine, is a former CNBC contributor and is the co-founder of Advice for Living, Inc., which develops products and television programming with experts in the wellness, health, relationship and career categories.

Most nights, once the kids are in bed, you’ll find Mel at home with a bourbon on the rocks and her Australian Shepherd at her feet, writing about life, love and everything else on her award-winning blog: www.melrobbins.com

Team-member recognition – a sign of the society’s successes this year

Author: Hanif Osman, outgoing Co-President


TEDxLSE committee members were generously recognised for their contributions to the society at the LSESU’s STARS Awards Ceremony, on Monday 20th March 2017.

Co-President, Amaima Fatima, won an ‘LSESU: Honorary Lifetime Member’ award. This is ”the highest award that the Students’ Union can bestow upon an LSE student and means that the individual is given lifetime membership of the Students’ Union… [for] those who have displayed continuous outstanding contribution for achievement across a broad range of Union activities.”

Amaima’s involvement in TEDxLSE over the past two years, last year as Events Director (2015-16), this year as Co-President (2016-17), was key to the achievement. However, Amaima has also served in a variety of other positions at LSE. Amaima sat on the LSE’s Court of Governors last year (2015-16), assisted with ISOC’s Charity Week last year (2015-16), and was Events Officer of the Pakistan Society (2014-15); all demonstrating her deep commitment to fellow students at LSE.

Meanwhile the society’s secretary, Akmal Rafiq, won an ‘LSESU: Outstanding Contribution’ award. It is to ”reward those who have devoted an enormous amount of their time over the past academic year to Union activities.” Akmal’s huge involvement in TEDxLSE this year, serving as secretary, but also significantly contributing to the training of student speakers and the technical side of things, was integral in this award. Akmal’s additional roles as the hockey club’s 3rd team vice-captain, ‘Discover Islam Week’ helper, and ‘Welcome Week’ volunteer, are all also indicative of his contribution.

Further, TEDxLSE’s Marketing Director, Yo-en Chin, won an ‘Outstanding Society Member’ award. As director of the marketing team, Yo-en has led it in its efforts to push the boundaries of the society’s presence on campus much further. Yo-en was also Secretary of Global Brigades at LSE this year, too.

A special ‘thank you’ goes also to Megha Thakker, the society’s outgoing Creative Director, who has worked tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that the creative and representational aspects of the conference were a success.

Particular recognition is also extended to Speakers Associate Rishav Das. Rishav enthusiastically trained student speakers throughout the year, in addition to effectively curating speakers for the conference in March.

Indeed, all committee members deserve the deepest thanks for all their work throughout the year, and they have all contributed a great deal to the society in different ways. Other committee members not already mentioned, and who have done an excellent job, include: Julia Cournoyer (Speakers Director), Laure Boissat (Events Director), Ryan Chin (Treasurer), Orane Stepczynski (Sponsorship Director), Fadekemi Abiru (Website Editor), Salvador Pitta Gouveia (Marketing Associate), Yusuf Amanullah (Events Associate), Jerome Greutmann (Speakers Associate), Jessica-Anna Peters (Speakers Associate), Tess Farmer (Marketing Associate), Ana Vergara (Sponsorship Associate), Asligul Armagan (Events Associate), Hippolyte Genet (Sponsorship Associate), Manya Grover (Events Associate), Dickson Lam (Sponsorship Associate), Netra Takwale (Events Associate).