Using Social Media as a Support Group

Going through change can you can feel very lonely.  Some people find support from friends and family – this is the ideal.  But for those who can’t social media can help.  The right kind of on line communities can provide a neutral space to share problems and that might be helpful for all of us.  This article – extract below provides some guidance on finding a group.

“It seems that now-a-days we can do most things online… clothes shopping, looking for Colleges, buying Holiday gifts, doing our banking… pretty much anything.

But there is something else we can do online….. something much more personal and sacred. We can even work on mending our inside pain and turmoil.

Before I get deeper into this topic I want to show why finding support groups online can make a lot of sense.

The Definition of a Support Group

Support Group – A support Group is a group of people who support each other over a problem they all share.

The Definition of an Online Community

Online Community – A group of people online who share a common interest.

Wow, both of those definitions sound very similar, don’t they?

An online community and support group are on the same type of idea. They have a common ground…. a common interest. And, the group builds from there. Because of this it makes sense that support groups would work online…. that they not only work, but they thrive.”

More at  Using Social Media as a Support Group | Collective Thoughts.


In an earlier post on being a great boss in a recession, we wrote about aligning your priorities with the needs of your business. We emphasized how important it was to “explain your priorities clearly to your team – make sure they understand.  If things have changed make sure they understand why!”

What should the priorities be for you in a recession? Here are some ideas!


Now is the time to work on your business, not in it! You need to understand your resources (including your suppliers), your costs and your market; and how they are moving over time. Make sure you know what resources you have you got in terms of infrastructure and staffing. Who are your suppliers and what is in their contracts? Take some time out to do some mapping  and make sure you understand the real detail of your costs. On the market front, now is the time to look at those trade journals that have been piling up in the corner and to get on the net and look at your trade association’s web site! And don’t forget to check your bills and look out for those expenses from which you gain no real benefit!


Stand back when you observe and rate your organization realistically! If you mark it out of 10 on operations, infrastructure and marketing – what mark would you give? Determine what essential improvements you need to make!  Plan those improvements and then monitor their implementation!  Do it and do it now – you may not get another chance!


Get out your business plan and revise it realistically. Re-do your SWOT analysis! Set clear targets for income and expenditure. From now on you are going to monitor it not put it back in the drawer! Some of the changes you make will be dependent on some of the later items here.


If you understand your contracts, you will know how you are likely to be able to open them up and apply pressure to get better agreements. Your suppliers would probably rather reduce the price than see you go out of business but be reasonable – they are going through the same hard time. Defer non-critical investment that doesn’t have a short-term pay-off. Consolidate your infrastructure and operations where you can. Pay only for what you need and don’t over purchase equipment or services. Make sure your team understands why this is important – their jobs may depend upon it!

Keeping your customers warm

Work on the relationship and get them talking to you – there may even be new opportunities. You need to understand who is going to survive and do well in the new climate and who is not. Be very realistic about pricing – are you in a position to help them out and will that be critical to their survival?

Thinking the unthinkable

You hope that your organization will survive intact and even do well in the changed circumstances. You are a good boss and you don’t want to let people go. But you may have to. You need to understand who is essential to your business and who isn’t. Remember this is not just about their job role but also about intellectual capital! Who do you rely on for essential information in a crisis? Who has the closest relationship with your customers? Consider the alternatives to redundancy – part-time working, career breaks etc! Know what the law and good practice requires you to do if you do need to let people go and know where to go for help . Make your own plan and then keep it to yourself! I would keep it off site at home – when and if you need to tell your team about this – you want to be in charge of the message.


Involve your staff in the processes above where you can. Help them to support you and themselves and be as honest with them as you can. They want the organisation to survive. Handle their feelings with sensitivity and keep them on your side. They really are your greatest asset.

I hope all of this works for you and that you not only survive but thrive and grow! I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this and how you are doing!


People make a very quick decision about you when you first meet – probably in the first 3 seconds. Their view will be based on your appearance, your expression, your body language, your mannerisms and how you are dressed. Once that impression is formed it will be very difficult to change it. Here are some tips to help you make the right impression

Don’t be late

“Good excuses” for being late for a first meeting or an interview don’t usually work – a view will already be formed. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. Plan your route – you don’t want to get lost! Allow for possible delays in traffic etc..

Arrive early but not very!

Arriving early a few minutes early is great –  it gives you time to calm your nerves and  the opportunity to prepare for the meeting.  But arriving very early is not a good idea – it can embarrass the person you are meeting – a few minutes early is the best plan.

Be yourself – try to relax

If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease.  That creates tension and a wrong impression. Try to be calm and confident – or at least act as if you are. Quite often acting confident leads to you feeling confident! This puts the other person at ease. There is a relaxation technique on this site.

Dress appropriately and present yourself well

What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting, it is usual even today to wear a suit! But this is not true of all companies particularly for example in the Arts and Media! Ask yourself what the person you’ll be meeting is likely to wear? If you not sure try for a company brochure on line and see if you can judge from that what kind of environment its likely to be! Dress varies between countries and cultures, so it’s good to do your home work. Above all do be clean and tidy – apart from anything else it will help you to be confident!


It is important to show who you are! But you do need to give the impression you will fit in. If you are serious about wanting to make a good impression then keep your strong views to yourself until you know the person a little better. The same goes for emotion – a first encounter is not the time to wear your heart on your sleeve – keep it balanced. Having said that, do show the person who you are! Do have opinions when they are asked for – don’t be bland – but keep it appropriate to the occasion!

Smile, just smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too.” is just so true! Smiling (not grinning like a Cheshire cat of course) makes the very best impression. A warm and confident smile makes both of you feel at ease. It gives an impression of interest in the other person. But make it genuine. Be pleased to meet this new contact – who knows what it may lead to. But do mix expressions during the encounter – smiling inanely through-out will not make a good impression. You can look interested and engaged while looking serious – once the first impression is established!

Be Open

Body language speaks volumes –use yours to project self assurance and honesty. Stand tall, make eye contact and have a firm handshake. Be aware of your own nervous habits and try to control them –relaxation and a few deep breaths while you are waiting to meeting them will help! We  all get nervous but you can learn to control it. Be attentive and listen carefully – it will show in your posture and its flattering to the other person.

Your questions

Conversations are based on verbal give and take. It may useful to prepare some questions for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. If you can, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. Social media e g LinkedIn is great for that. Find out more about the company for a job interview.

Be Positive

Project a positive attitude, even in a difficult interview or if you are nervous. Keep it up beat and try to learn something from your meeting and to contribute appropriately. Even if its not a success you will have learned something about the process if you are observant.

Be Courteous

Good manners and being polite, attentive and courteous help make a good first impression. Now is the time to be on your best behavior! In a different culture find out what good manners are locally and try to follow them – your host will appreciate the effort. Turn off your mobile phone for all significant first encounters, if you can, and certainly for business meetings – you are going to concentrate on the other person.

With these few tips and practice, you can learn to make a brilliant first impression. Make it one of your key competences and learn to enjoy meeting new people even in challenging situations. If you have other ideas – it would be great to hear them.


In managing any change (or indeed in handling life) an understanding of emotional intelligence theory (EQ – Emotional Quotient) is a huge advantage – here is a useful article from on the subject.

Emotional Intelligence – EQ – is a relatively recent behavioural model, rising to prominence with Daniel Goleman’s 1995 Book called ‘Emotional Intelligence’. The early Emotional Intelligence theory was originally developed during the 1970s and 80s by the work and writings of psychologists Howard Gardner (Harvard), Peter Salovey (Yale) and John ‘Jack’ Mayer (New Hampshire). Emotional Intelligence is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people, because the EQ principles provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. Emotional Intelligence is an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service, and more.

Emotional Intelligence links strongly with concepts of love and spirituality: bringing compassion and humanity to work, and also to ‘Multiple Intelligence’ theory which illustrates and measures the range of capabilities people possess, and the fact that everybody has a value.

The EQ concept argues that IQ, or conventional intelligence, is too narrow; that there are wider areas of Emotional Intelligence that dictate and enable how successful we are. Success requires more than IQ (Intelligence Quotient), which has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence, ignoring eseential behavioural and character elements. We’ve all met people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially and inter-personally inept. And we know that despite possessing a high IQ rating, success does not automatically follow.

Different approaches and theoretical models have been developed for Emotional Intelligence. This summary article focuses chiefly on the Goleman interpretation. The work of Mayer, Salovey and David Caruso (Yale) is also very significant in the field of Emotional Intelligence, and will in due course be summarised here too.

emotional intelligence – two aspects

This is the essential premise of EQ: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:

  • Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviour and all.
  • Understanding others, and their feelings.

emotional intelligence – the five domains

Goleman identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as:

  1. Knowing your emotions.
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Motivating yourself.
  4. Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
  5. Managing relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Transactional Analysis, and empathy. By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, and help others to be more productive and successful too. The process and outcomes of Emotional Intelligence development also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.

emotional intelligence competence framework, case studies, examples, tools, tests, information and related theory references

The following excellent free Emotional Intelligence materials in pdf file format (Acrobat Reader required to view) are provided with permission of Daniel Goleman on behalf of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence, which is gratefully acknowledged:

The Emotional Competence Framework – a generic EQ competence framework produced by Daniel Goleman and CREI covering in summary:

  • personal competence – self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation
  • social competence – social awareness, social skills

‘Emotional Intelligence: what is it and why it matters’. An excellent information paper by Dr Cary Cherniss originally presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, in New Orleans, April 2000. This is a detailed history and explanation of Emotional Intelligence.

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence – a paper by Dr Cary Cherniss featuring 19 referenced business and organizational case studies demonstrating how Emotional Intelligence contributes to corporate profit performance. The paper is an excellent tool which trainers, HR professionals and visionaries can use to help justify focus, development, assessment, etc., of EQ in organizations.

Guidelines for Promoting Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace – a paper chiefly constructed by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman featuring 22 guidelines which represent the best current knowledge relating to the promotion of EQ in the workplace, summarised as:

paving the way

  • assess the organization’s needs
  • assessing the individual
  • delivering assessments with care
  • maximising learning choice
  • encouraging participation
  • linking goals and personal values
  • adjusting individual expectations
  • assessing readiness and motivation for EQ development

doing the work of change

  • foster relationships between EQ trainers and learners
  • self-directed chnage and learning
  • setting goals
  • breaking goals down into achievable steps
  • providing opportunities for practice
  • give feedback
  • using experiential methods
  • build in support
  • use models and examples
  • encourage insight and self-awareness

encourage transfer and maintenance of change (sustainable change)

  • encourage application of new learning in jobs
  • develop organizational culture that supports learning

evaluating the change – did it work?

  • evaluate individual and organizational effect

More information about Emotional Intelligence, plus details of EQ tests, EQ training and EQ development in general are available at the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations.

tips on how to explain emotional intelligence – perspectives and examples

As mentioned above, Daniel Goleman’s approach to Emotional Intelligence is not the only one. The work of Mayer, Salovey and Caruso is also very significant in the field of Emotional Intelligence and can be explored further on John Meyer’s Emotional Intelligence website.

When teaching or explaining Emotional Intelligence it can be helpful to the teacher and learners to look at other concepts and methodologies, many of which contain EQ elements and examples.

Emotional Intelligence tests/activities/exercises books – for young people ostensibly, but just as relevant to grown-ups – provide interesting and useful exercises, examples, theory, etc., for presentations and participative experience if you are explaining EQ or teaching a group. For example ’50 Activities For Teaching Emotional Intelligence’ by Dianne Schilling – my copy was published by Innerchoice Publishing – ISBN 1-56499-37-0, if you can find it. Otherwise look at Amazon and search for ‘activities for teaching emotional intelligence’).

There’s a very strong link between EQ and TA (Transactional Analysis). To understand and explain EQ you can refer to the ‘adult’ aspect of the TA model (for example, we are less emotional intelligent/mature when slipping into negative child or parent modes). In this way we can see that one’s strength in EQ is certainly linked to personal experience, especially formative years.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is very relevant to EQ, as is Multiple Intelligences Theory.

Ethical business and socially responsible leadership are strongly connected to EQ.

So is the concept of love and spirituality in organisations. Compassion and humanity are fundamental life-forces; our Emotional Intelligence enables us to appreciate and develop these vital connections between self, others, purpose, meaning, existence, life and the world as a whole, and to help others do the same.

People with strong EQ have less emotional ‘baggage’, and conversely people with low EQ tend to have personal unresolved issues which either act as triggers (see Freud/Penfield TA roots explanation) or are constants in personality make-up.

Cherie Carter-Scott’s ‘If Life Is Game’ and Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements’ also provide excellent additional EQ reference perspectives.

Empathy and active interpretive modes of listening are also very relevant to EQ.

Ingham and Luft’s Johari Window and associated exercises on the free team building games section also help explain another perspective. That is, as a rule, the higher a person’s EQ, the less insecurity is likely to be present, and the more openness will be tolerated.

High EQ = low insecurity = more openness.

A person’s preparedness to expose their feelings, vulnerabilities, thoughts, etc., is a feature of EQ. Again the converse applies. Johari illustrates this very well (see the Johari Window diagram pdf also).

Maslow’ theory is also relevant to Emotional Intelligence. Self-actualizers naturally have stronger EQ. People struggling to meet lower order needs – and arguably even middle order needs such as esteem needs – tend to have lower EQ than self-actualisers. The original 5 stage Hierarchy of Needs explains that all needs other than self-actualisation are deficiency drivers, which suggest, in other words, some EQ development potential or weakness.

There is a strong thread of EQ running through Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits.

In fact, most theories involving communications and behaviour become more powerful and meaningful when related to Emotional Intelligence, for example:


Buying Facilitation®

Benziger Thinking Styles and Assessment Model

McGregor XY Theory

The use of this material is free provided copyright (see below) is acknowledged and reference or link is made to the website. This material may not be sold, or published in any form. Disclaimer: Reliance on information, material, advice, or other linked or recommended resources, received from Alan Chapman, shall be at your sole risk, and Alan Chapman assumes no responsibility for any errors, omissions, or damages arising. Users of this website are encouraged to confirm information received with other sources, and to seek local qualified advice if embarking on any actions that could carry personal or organisational liabilities. Managing people and relationships are sensitive activities; the free material and advice available via this website do not provide all necessary safeguards and checks. Please retain this notice on all copies.

© alan chapman 2000-2009, based on Daniel Goleman’s EQ concept.


Courtesy of About.Com:Job Search

Networking is one of the most important components of job searching. Use these top social and professional networking sites to enhance your career and boost your job search, and learn how to use social networking sites to job search.

How to use the full power of LinkedIn to job search, including effectively using your connections and utilizing all the information available on LinkedIn when you’re applying for jobs.

If you’re using Facebook for professional networking, and more people are every day, here are tips on the best way to use Facebook when you’re job searching.

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service utilising instant messaging, SMS or a web interface. Twitter is open ended and people and companies use it in a variety of ways, including to job search.

MySpace is a social networking website offering users the opportunity to connect through personal profiles, blogs, groups and other features.

Ning is an online service to create, customize, and share a social network. Users have used Ning to create online social networks about lots of subjects, including jobs and the job search.

Doostang is an invite-only community, founded by a Stanford MBA and an MIT engineer, that connects young professionals to career opportunities through social networking.

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search
Most people know that the best way to find a job is through networking. You can go to networking meetings, tap into your own personal network, or ask friends who they know. With the Internet buzzing with social media, there are similarly many ways to use social media in order to network, and eventually find a job.

How to Create a Professional Brand
How to create a professional brand using social networking sites and how to build a strategic online presence to help with your job searching and career building.

More Career / Social Networking Resources
Career and social networking online resources. Where to network online as part of your job search and how to use a social network to help land a job.

Job Search Networking

Career NeworkingJob Search NetworkingOnline Career Networking

New posts to the Job Searching forums:
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Social Networking Sites – Top Social Media Sites for Job Searching.

How To Keep Your Job (and Flexibility!) in a Recession – BusinessWeek

How To Keep Your Job (and Flexibility!) in a Recession

Posted by: Lauren Young on April 04

Today’s news that U.S. payrolls declined by 80,000 jobs in March left a sinking feeling in my stomach. BusinessWeek’s chief economist is predicting job cuts in sectors such as financial services, real estate, as well as some consumer areas like hotels and restaurants.

How can you keep your head off the chopping block? Career experts say this is the time to shine at work, but plenty of the working parents I know already have a tough time juggling the demands of their professional life with their personal life.

So that’s why I turned to Cali Williams Yost, president and founder of Work+Life Fit and author of Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You (Riverhead/Penguin Group, 2005). Her tips for keeping your job afloat during a recession are geared to working parents, but this advice applies to anyone who wants to stay gainfully employed:

Set goals: Ask your manager what is expected of you

More at  How To Keep Your Job (and Flexibility!) in a Recession – BusinessWeek.


Most people feel a loss of confidence when they lose a job. It’s not just about losing the income but also an image of you. Many place a value of themselves based on their work. For many of us work is the place where we spend the majority of our waking life. It’s often where we find our friends and make our major achievements. So when we lose a job we lose part of ourselves and we grieve for it.

But you can get over it – just like any grief. You are much more than your job and your real friends and family value you for much more than your salary even when they are dependent upon it.
But here are some particular areas you may need to address

Understand why it happened

If you have been made redundant then remember it’s not personal – you were just unlucky and you are part of a very large and growing club. If you lost your job for other reasons then make sure you understand why and learn from it – change something about you to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In both situations, now is about going forward, not dwelling on the past.

Money Worries
You feel bad about the loss of income. But there is help – make it a project to find out all the sources of financial support available to you. There is guidance on this in other posts on this site for people in the UK. Take time to understand what you can get and then get out there and get it.

Feeling Alone

You have lost the contacts you had at work. Now you need to work on your own network. Get out the old address book; look up your email contacts and those on your mobile phone. Find people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Friends Reunited etc. Pick up the contacts and find out what people are doing. It will give you company but also it might just give you a lead to the next job. Meet up – have a coffee with them if you can’t afford lunch – many people prefer that these days anyway. Tell them you are interested in new opportunities – don’t dwell on why you lost the last job – that is in the past now!

Lifestyle Changes

Living with less money may mean changes in lifestyle for all the family. Not so many meals out and subscriptions to clubs etc. Make the changes carefully, particularly if they affect your children – plan and prioritize just like you would at work. Hopefully it’s not going to be for very long. If you can’t eat out then become more creative about eating at home. Now is the time for long country walks perhaps rather than paying for theme parks. There are lots of free events around if you look for them – again use the involuntary spare time to find them.

Self Blame

We all do it but it doesn’t actually get us anywhere. Blaming yourself doesn’t change the past. But you can change the future. Leave the past to itself – it’s only useful if you can use it to learn from. If you lost you job because you lacked a skill, then it’s worth working on gaining it. Otherwise leave it alone and make the future your project. Get up each day determined to go one step forward even if it is only working on your exercise plan.

Last but not least

Don’t be hard on your self. You are one amongst thousands. You may not have a job but my word do you have a project and that is you.

Coping with redundancy | Leaving a Job Advice –

Coping with redundancy

The Career Guru – Monster UK

The days when you could land a job after leaving school or university and keep it until you chose to move on are long gone. Even in traditionally ‘safe’ industries like banking or the Civil Service, redundancy has become a fact of life as organisations are forced to change to keep pace with market pressures.

But why me?

Don’t take it personally. Redundancy is a numbers game – reducing overheads and cutting positions which have been judged expendable for a variety of reasons.

You may have seen it coming and take the final redundancy notice as a kind of relief from the uncertainty. However it happens, it’s likely that you will feel angry, betrayed and possibly a bit desperate. These are all perfectly natural emotions but, as ever, it’s how you respond that matters.

Link to follow

Redundancy Advice From ACAS

Advisory booklet – Redundancy handling

Booklet summary

Advisory booklet – Redundancy handling – opens in a new browser window from the link below.

The aim of this booklet is to provide guidance for employers, trade unions and employee representatives on how best to handle redundancies.

The booklet emphasises the importance of planning labour requirements to avoid or to minimise the need for redundancies; the benefits of establishing an agreed procedure for handling redundancies; and the need for fairness and objectivity when selecting members of the workforce for redundancy.

The booklet considers the practicability of offering redundant employees alternative work, counselling or other assistance. It is hoped that the booklet will act as an aid to improved employment relations practice by ensuring that the need for redundancies is minimised, and that where they are unavoidable, decisions are made in a fair and consistent manner.

To help differentiate between the extensive legal provisions and good employment relations practice, the statutory requirements relating to redundancy including consultation, unfair selection, alternative job offers and time off to look for work or to arrange training are in bold type. Good practice and the relevant decisions of employment tribunals remain in normal type.

This booklet is not, however, a guide to current law on redundancy. In particular, it is not intended to give advice on the rights of employees when businesses are transferred or sold.

Download the booklet at the link below

UK Redundancy: the facts you need to know – Times Online

Redundancy: the facts you need to know

Finding out about your rights is essential when you’re faced with the daunting prospect of unemployment

Clare Dight and Emily Ford

What is redundancy? Redundancy is a form of dismissal. People are usually made redundant because their employer needs to reduce the workforce or because the job they do is no longer necessary. Redundancies often happen because an organisation is cutting costs and needs to reduce staff numbers, or because new systems or technology have made a job unnecessary. It could be because your job no longer exists or because the business is closing down or moving.

Usually, in order for a dismissal to be redundancy, your job role needs to have disappeared. It is not redundancy if your employer takes on a direct replacement immediately. All workers are protected from being sacked or chosen for redundancy unfairly by the Employment Rights Act 1996.

More at  Redundancy: the facts you need to know – Times Online.