I have always dreamed of what it would be like if snow was warm instead of cold.
As I write this blog post, the skies over Canton, Ohio, are filled with fluttering flurries floating to the frosted ground. The wet streets outside of 4150 Belden Place are being swarmed by the locals, all whom are deeply engrossed in the pre-Thanksgiving hustle and bustle that seems to usher in each holiday season. If anything, watching cars seems more like watching metal, mechanical animals migrating through the roadways that glisten beneath headlights and shop signs.
Thanksgiving is here and, along with it, it brings a sense of self-reflection that has a tendency to make us all look back at not only our year and what happened to us but our whole lives up to this point. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m glad for holidays like this. As we get older, Thanksgiving gives us a much deeper pool of hindsight to jump into, and that is what I’m about to do myself.
I am thankful for…
- My job at Incept. It wasn’t until I started working at Incept that many opportunities opened up in my life, especially working directly in social media, working in a leadership position, and actually having a job where my creative skills are challenged. It is a place where I am able to be a director, editor, and writer all at once.
- My mom. Easily, she is the strongest woman in the world in my eyes. My mom serves as the head of my household at home and takes care of my terminally ill dad, who has had an extremely severe case of Multiple Sclerosis for my whole life. If it wasn’t for her, our family would have fallen apart by now.
- My friends. The people I share many of my life adventures with are very close and dear to me. I come from an incredibly solid group of friends. They have been there for me in both awesome and rough times and have made me feel like people care about me in this world when it has been difficult to perceive that.
- My imagination. I feel as though my imagination gives me a constantly different recognition of the possibilities I am able to accomplish. People have always told me I dream too big, and I never have listened. Why limit yourself? It is because of my imagination that my creativity grows, and that is something that is important to me.
- Bass guitars/playing music. Music is the language of the soul. It is how the mind speaks when our mouth fails to find the right words. Ever since I was about fifteen years old, and I bought my first bass guitar at a secondhand shop, I’ve played music to have fun, to socialize, to create, and to tell the world how I feel. It is an outlet for me.
- My Camaro Z28. I’ve owned a few sportier cars, but the (1995, six-speed) Z28 I own takes the cake. It is red, loud, and fast. I’m in the process of completely rebuilding it. Part of the reason I wanted a car like this is my father’s love for muscle cars from when he was my age, and I wanted him to see that his son was so much like him. With my Dad being so sick and bed-ridden, I haven’t ever had the chance to do many activities with him. When my Camaro comes out this spring, I have made it a goal to literally pick my dad up, carry him to the front seat, and take him for a ride in it. If you can’t tell, my love for my car is about more than just a car.
- Being alive. For every sad moment in my life, I’ve been granted a euphoric moment in return. Life runs in a pattern of high points and low points, and I find it important to learn from every experience I have. There are days when I drive to work and feel the sun on me and look at how beautiful everything around me is and I am never hesitant to feel a genuine thankfulness that I am indeed alive. This world is an ugly place at times, but I won’t let that be the death of me.
It is amazing how writing can also make you reflect on yourself.
Enjoy this holiday with your family and friends, but I encourage you to also take some time for yourself and wander into your own past. Recognize what is important to you. Recognize the good things that you have going for you. Recognize how amazing your life can be and has been to this point.
What are you thankful for?
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With Thanksgiving coming up, it is certainly hard not to give in to all the sentiment about this time of the year.
The fall is winding down, and the trees stand bare without leaves against the cold, winter wind streams that approach. The holiday season is reaching the starting point where it will be in full swing soon, and as we gather around our tables to celebrate another year and gives thanks for what we think is important, we want to also show sincere appreciation for people who donate blood.
It takes a person who demonstrates the ability to be selfless to donate blood. On a deeper level, you have to remember that a blood donor is literally giving a part of who they are. The blood that goes in to the unit collection pouch is the same blood that flows through the brains, hearts, and bodies of the original owners. In my opinion, it is a very humbling thing to donate and realize that the blood from your body will go to help out another person’s body. I’ve always said that even if your blood donation isn’t the blood donation that initially saves someone’s life, you are at the very least making someone else’s life better in terms of living quality. Your blood donation could be the one that gives a family time to say their goodbyes to an ailing loved one. That is truly worth less than an hour for most of us to give up, I’d like to think.
Here are a few of our own Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) who personally wanted to thank blood donors this Thanksgiving.
Why are you thankful for blood donors?
You know, I used to remember a time when the Christmas catalog came to my parent’s house around this time of year. Sadly, it has been sitting on the coffee table as a coaster for the last few months now, probably since August. The holiday season seems to come earlier and earlier each year. My family has a cardinal family tradition that many other American folks (used to) abide to: not discussing anything Christmas-related until Miracle on 34th Street or It’s A Wonderful Life was done playing, at the very least. Still, as I walk around the neighboring mall’s food court and corridors of shops on my lunch break, I already see Black Friday advertisements plastering store windows.
Right now many blood banks are approaching a very hard time of the year. Believe it or not, the holiday season is one of the hardest times of the year for many blood centers to be able to fulfill their blood unit goals. The only other time of year on the calendar that is comparable in that sense is summertime.
Giving just one whole blood donation can save up to three people’s lives, in most cases. At the very least, if your donation does save a life it is definitely improving the living conditions of a person who needs it. For all the time we take during the year to do mindless tasks, watch mind-numbing television shows, and basically just sit around, if we take just an hour out of our lives to give a pint of blood, we truly have the power to change a life forever.
That is the thing about donating blood. You don’t just change the recipient’s life, you change their family’s lives, you change their friends’ lives, and you inspire others to donate with your nameless and heroic action.
Remember, blood centers crucially need your help during the holidays.
What is stopping you from scheduling a simple blood donation to save others?
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I don’t know about you, but when I give money to a charity or good cause, it always helps me feel better about my donation when I actually know and understand where it is going and how it is being used. The same can be said for many donors when it comes to the topic of blood donations.
“What happens to my blood after I’m done?” is a very common question to hear from a donor. Here is a breakdown of what happens before that blood donation can be used for patient treatments.
What Happens To Blood Donations After A Donor Donates?
- The blood donation is labeled and processed. You’ve probably noticed that on your blood donation, there is a small, scannable barcode. That little barcode contains information such as who (and where) the donation came from, when it was donated, and other bits of specific identification. It is packed in extremely cold transport containers and then shipped to the blood center’s respective laboratories for testing.
- The blood is tested for abnormalities and diseases before use. Naturally, blood donations must undergo a series of strict and regulated tests for diseases and other considerations before being actually transfused into a patient. After the blood is received from the donation center, it will be divided into its individual components such as red cells, platelets, and plasma. At this stage, the blood is typed, which comes down to actually identifying the ABO type and a positive or negative Rh factor. The blood is then specifically checked through a series of panel tests that will determine if it is positive for hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, or other sicknesses. No blood that is positive for anything that would defer its use is used, and the donor who made that donation is contacted if anything abnormal shows on the initial vial testing.
- The blood is kept at cold temperatures, packaged, and awaits distribution. After the blood passes the tests it needs to go through, it awaits transportation in cold storage and is organized by blood type. Doing this helps a blood center be quick about shipping out blood that is urgently needed. When it comes to blood donor recruitment, a big reason why we schedule blood donors comes down to the fact that most blood centers want to be able to estimate how many units they can expect to receive to have better estimates of how many units they realistically can supply to a hospital at any given time. With the need for blood on the rise and already at high levels, blood units at this point do not remain idle for very long before the next step.
- The blood unit(s) is used and transfused into the recipient. This is the moment and reason why people donate blood. It honestly does save lives. The number of blood units needed to treat specific accidents or medical circumstances can vary widely, and the same can be said about the specific component that is needed. At the end of the day, many lives are saved thanks to blood donors being able to provide a safe blood supply. Blood centers regularly need hundreds if not thousands of individuals to donate blood every single day, so that is why it is important to give when you can and as often as you can.
What questions do you have about where your blood goes after you have donated it? Feel free to post them below!
Image Credit: http://www.donateblood.org/
Flexibility seems like a simple word, but in the workplace this ability can make all the difference. Being able to work with others and around what they need to do while still doing what you need to do is a good skill to have. Have you ever gone into work expecting to do one thing or call one program but find out you will be doing something else or calling something else that day because of outside circumstances? Of course you have, and of course you do as you are instructed.
The best thing to keep in mind is that what you are doing – be it calling a certain program, on-the-fly coaching, putting together a last-minute training – in the end you are doing what’s best for the company. You are helping make your supervisors your customers by being flexible. Flexibility means being willing to do something different from what is expected, for the good of someone or something else.
In your life, you will find many opportunities where it is best to be flexible. The best way to handle any change is with open arms and eyes. Don’t get upset about something that is thrown your way that will help better you, better someone else, or better the company as a whole. By showing your bosses that you are flexible and willing to do what needs to be done without complaining, your dedication and willingness to help out will be obvious.
Flexibility is not just dropping what you’re doing to do something else; it’s being willing to help out a teammate or employer but doing what they need help with currently. Keep an open mind and remember that when you are asked to do something, it is for a good reason. And whoever is asking this of you needs your full support. Sometimes opportunities will change, so do your best to be open-minded in these situations, and it will take you a long way.
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Plasma is the blood component that makes up the majority of your blood when compared to red blood cells or platelets. When you break your blood down into the three components, it actually makes up about 55% of the blood. It is most often a translucent yellowish color and water actually makes up about 90% of plasma. One of the main jobs of plasma is to help carry away used vitamins, proteins, and other spent nutrients from the blood stream.
One of the most common things that we as Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) really address with donors is the question of “Do I get paid to donate blood?” The act of donating blood, for the most part, is willingly voluntary. Most donors understand this and are proud that they volunteer to be a blood donor. After all, it is a pretty awesome thing that one person can do. Sadly, when people donate plasma for money, which is understandable with the current economic times, it doesn’t really go to where it is needed the most.
But what happens to my plasma donation?
Be sure to check with your local plasma center and what organization owns and operates the facility. These centers are commonly owned by parent pharmaceutical companies that use plasma for research and testing with new medications.
This can be a definite blow to a local blood center who supplies hospitals with blood for lifesaving procedures. I actually used to donate plasma myself before finding my job at Incept. I wasn’t being paid for my plasma but rather for the time I spent at the plasma center. While I was younger and struggling to put gas money into my Honda, I wish I would’ve known more about where my plasma was being used.
Take the time to ask your local plasma center where their donations go, and ask them if they can supply a list of hospitals they help. Better yet, donate at a local volunteer blood center to guarantee that your blood will be used to actually help someone out.
What experience(s) do you have from donating plasma?
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At Incept, we are always striving to improve. Even when we are already doing great, our core value of Never Satisfied keeps us inspired to find ways to become an even better company.
We take pride in our blood donor recruitment work and have scheduled countless blood donors to make lifesaving blood donations in their communities. We always make sure we give blood donors friendly reminder calls the day before their scheduled donations, as well. Lately, we have looked at our reminder calls not just as ways to remind a donor of an appointment to donate but as a makeshift retention process to keep donors showing up and a way to boost our inbound appointments.
This is also a rare occasion to see me in action within this blog post, so don’t let that pass you by!
Why is it important to consistently fine-tune your business practices and recognize where you can strengthen company-to-customer relationships?
Sometimes it takes some education to make people realize the meaning behind an occupational title.
I love when people ask me what I do at Incept, because, to be honest with you, I always am doing something different almost every single day. Whether that be shooting a new video for our Facebook page, writing a blog post much like the one you are currently reading, or making phone calls to blood donors on behalf of our clients. At the root of it all, though, I am a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME). But don’t confuse that with being a telemarketer!
A Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) vs. A Telemarketer
People might initially think that the words Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) is just another fancy, fluffy term for a contact center rep, but the meaning goes beyond that. First you have to understand what Conversational Marketing™ actually is at its core: a conversation! Let’s take a brief moment to compare the two terms.
- A Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) is trained out of the gate to be knowledgeable about the service or product they are marketing. When you are hired at Incept, you don’t just get the crash course. Rather than just throw a new employee into the shark tank to sink or swim, we believe that education and knowledge is the cornerstone not only to producing effective Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) but also in helping our clients’ donors to the highest level possible. Through a two-week training period, we are able to fully educate and guide our new employees into feeling comfortable, confident, and self-sufficient in being able to create the best possible customer service experience.
- A Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) understands how important it is to actually strengthen the relationship with who is on the phone. The reason why telemarketers seem to have such a bad rap isn’t even because of the persistent calling but rather their overall approach. A telemarketer initially is out to have you do something they ask or buy something they are selling and deploy a number of different hard-sell techniques in accomplishing this almost as if they are in a rush. They can come off as very brash, rude, and impersonal (or many other negative qualities). As a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) it is the exact opposite. We value the time we spend on the phone with each customer or donor. We address the little things as much as the larger concerns a customer or donor might have. Overall a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) realizes that no matter how the call ends, the important thing is that the relationship with the donor was strengthened.
- A Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) believes in what they are doing. It is easier for a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) to be able to truly believe in the good that donating blood provides to the world. They fully know the difference between an apheresis style donation vs. a whole blood donation and are able to customize their call-to-action based upon the blood type of the donor they are talking to. It is also much easier to rally behind the notion of donating blood as opposed to satellite television service or magazine subscription renewal.
These are just three reasons off the top of my head that make us different from telemarketers. It isn’t just a way of integrating company branding throughout our organization, but being a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) is a job that can make someone proud. After all, this is an entry-level office job, and in an economy where it is hard to find anything that isn’t fast food related or occupations without as big as an impact that we have every day, working at Incept truly makes one feel good about the environment we work in and the type of work that we do.
What are your thoughts on occupational titles for your representatives?
Donating blood is a selfless act. It always has been, and until we are able to create something that can be a safe substitute for human blood, the act of donating blood is a crucial call to action that relatively few people actually answer.
Three out of four American citizens will need at least one blood transfusion in their lives, at some point. Out of all the population of the United States, only thirty-six percent of individuals are eligible to donate, and an even smaller percentage actually do donate their blood.
At one of our last blood drives, I decided it was time to make a video of myself donating to show the world how easy it is for someone that is in relatively good health to donate blood. I was well-hydrated and had a good iron-rich meal within four hours of donating. Without further delay, I give to you my only experience on camera donating a whole blood donation at an Incept company blood drive.
So what did you think? If you are already a blood donor then you know how easy it is to give the gift of life in the form of a blood donation. Hopefully if you’ve never donated blood before, this video will inspire you to contribute your first whole blood donation.
You are saving up to three lives, and, at the very least, you are making life conditions better for someone else.
Think about it!