IRF MENA Regional Congress & Exhibition 2017

A conference was organised by the International Road Federation (IRF) on 29th to 30th October, 2017, at Dubai World Trade Centre. Transport leaders and decision makers were gathered to discuss on the topic, ‘Mobility Solutions for the 21st Century.’ There were 50 sessions of talks and seminars, to cover topics such as, the latest innovations in transport engineering, 21st century parking solutions, road network design, next generation urban mobility and work zone safety.

Speakers in the group included Patrick Sankey, President and CEO of IRF Global, and Maitha bin Adai, CEO of Dubai’s Traffic & Road Agency. More than 1000 professionals from around the region gathered at Dubai World Trade Centre for this conference. Attendees also had the opportunity to share their research and network with industry professionals.

Why Negative Feedback Should be Viewed Positively?

Reacting harshly to negative feedback is a by-product of our egotistical nature. We are, after all humans, and we hate to be told we’re wrong. Employees especially detest negative remarks from management and this often leads to low self-esteem.

Let’s face it, there’s no avoiding negative feedback. Irrespective of the industry you work in, or the level of experience you possess, you are bound to falter at some point in your career. You will no doubt get defensive and feel the need to justify why you did what you did. Arguments could break out and the tension will only add to a negative experience.

Negative feedback, however, when viewed as constructive criticism can become empowering. Learning to accept negative criticism amiably and working on using the feedback to improve is a good attitude to face life with.

Giving Negative Criticism

As a manager, or a team member, you might be hesitant to critique a co-worker. It is after all an awkward conversation. A good way to break in negative feedback is by first asking permission. A simple “Can I give you my opinion?” will pave the way for a better conversation.

Be specific about what exactly the problem is rather than beating around the bush. Giving negative feedback should be like ripping off a band aid, quick and effective. Offer suggestions on how they can improve and always maintain a calm composure and tone.

Accepting Constructive Criticism

First and foremost, do not get offended. Negative feedback can feel like a personal attack, but is never one. It’s your work that is receiving criticism, not you as a person, so relax. Hear the person out and give their opinion a thorough thought.

Do not get defensive and lash out with excuses. The mistake is done, excuses aren’t going to change that fact. Accept the negative feedback graciously instead, and promise to strive on improving that part of your work.

View criticism as a source of improvement. We are too close to ourselves to see the flaws in us, and often need an outside stimuli to bring about improvement. Do not let negative feedback bring down your self-esteem; let it instead be a source of betterment.

10 Things Humans Tend to Forget

There is a saying that a human mind is like a pea which will remember the silliest reasons, but will forget important or common things. Here are 10 things humans tend to forget, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help to remind them at the right time:

Passwords

With so many passwords for different applications, it becomes difficult to remember them all. Thanks to the feature of ‘forgot password’, you can regenerate your password by providing few basic informations. But with AI, that feature can become obsolete in the near future.

Special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries

Each one us must have witnessed that moment when we have forgotten special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries of our families and friends and tried to mitigate the awkwardness of the situation by hurriedly arranging a surprise gift or working out on a satisfactory reason. With AI to remind you, you can forget to remember dates.

To send out important emails

A busy schedule often wipes the memory to send that important email. With proactive email settings, emails can now be delivered on the right date and time we intended the recipient to have received them.

Phone calls

In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we tend to forget in making those important phone calls or return calls that we couldn’t take. It’s so easy now to keep a track of such calls with smart features in phones like call history, call reminder, etc.

Feeding your fish

You love to watch that beautiful aquarium in your house. You like to peacefully watch the movements of your pet fish, but you come under stress when you realize after reaching your office or your holiday destination that in a rush of packing and leaving, you have forgotten to feed your fish. Relax! Automatic feeder keeps your worries at bay.

Medicine

It’s important to take our medicines on time, but it’s difficult to tune your brain into reminding you. Just set the reminder in your phone and you will never miss a single dose.

Appointments

Organizing appointments and remembering them all is a tedious task. How nice would it be if someone else could do it for you. Well! It’s possible with AI.

Recipes

You love to cook and feed, but you just can’t hold all recipes in your mind. Rejoice! you don’t have to do that. It’s all there a click away with video instructions.

Routes

You visited your friend’s house once, but six months later you forgot the way. Never mind, Google maps can take you anywhere, anytime.

Important documents

Isn’t it tedious and messy to organize and maintain all those important documents you need throughout your life? Now you can save them all digitally and retrieve them whenever and wherever you need.

Vaccinations

Important as it seems, this is often overlooked by the many of us. It is quite a task to keep a check on the number of important vaccinations that we need to give ourselves, our kids, our parents or even our pets. AI helps us in not remembering but i reminding these important dates when the time approaches.

The human brain is the most complex thing created by the divine. It can retain a huge amount of data, but quite often doesn’t supply the right information at the right time. AI can aid with that.

Why is Digital Marketing so Important?

Every company, small or large, invests in creating a ‘brand’, because the brand encapsulates its vision and is what customers identify it by. It is brand awareness, however, that gives your company visibility and facilitates growth, for both startups and established businesses. If customers aren’t aware of your product, they are not going to buy the product.

Traditional promotional methods, like radio, television and billboard advertisements worked perfectly fine until the 2000s, which was when the internet slowly took over. With the majority of today’s target audience now online, digital marketing is the most effective way for your brand to reach out to potential customers.

Here are 5 reasons why Digital Marketing is Important for business growth

1. Creates Visibility

At least 90% of today’s population is active on some online platform. With such a massive audience accumulated at one location, creating brand visibility becomes easier via online marketing. Through smart ad placement on social media and websites, your brand can reach the target audience with little effort.

2. Cost Effective

Digital marketing is not only more effective, but also cheaper than traditional marketing methods. Small and medium sized industries, and especially start-ups who run a tight budget can leverage digital marketing for promotion and not cause a dent in their funds.

3. Facilitates Customer Interaction

Digital marketing provides a platform for your customers to review your product, and provide feedback. This not only builds positive relations with existing customers, it also sows the seeds of trust in potential ones.

4. Helps Reach out to Mobile Customers

Almost everyone today owns a smartphone with internet connectivity, and carry it with them wherever they go. Digital marketing makes your brand visible to people irrespective of their location, through their mobile phones.

5. Analytics for Better Returns

Digital marketing tools come with a host of benefits, and analytics is a powerful one. Analytics provides reports on which of your marketing strategies are working, and which are not. This gives you the option to modify your marketing strategy on the fly and tailor it for maximum returns.

Striking a Balance

While digital marketing is clearly today’s best method for audience outreach, traditional marketing methods should not be completely ignored. Investing on basics like billboard and television advertisements along with full-fledged digital marketing is always the best way to promote a brand.

5 Things to Consider Before Buying Packaged Food

Packaged food is a boon to people with strenuous and hectic schedules who do not have time to indulge in fresh cooking every day. However, picking right and nutritious packaged food could be extremely gruelling. Here are five simple hacks to consider before buying packaged food to ensure you are having a balanced nutrition

Check the packaging and expiring dates

Packaged foods may have a longer shelf-life but inevitably they are perishable. Every packaged food must contain its packaging date and expiring date on the food packet. Ensure to have it checked as the first thing.

Check the nutritional information

The packaged food industry is entitled to display a label of every packaged food’s nutritional facts. The nutritional value disclosed is in line with the serving amount as per the company. However, the serving size on the label may differ from the nutritionally recommended serving. Hence, ensure to buy and consume the recommended serving amount.

Avoid food with added sugar and high saturated fats

Packaged foods are packed in fancy ways to make them more attractive and desirable. However, to make a healthy choice, have an eye only for the nutritional information and its ingredients. The ingredients are listed on the food package from top to bottom as per decreasing quantity. If sugar lists on top three, then avoid such kind of food as it is packed with high amounts of sugar. Also, consider packaged foods that have low saturated fats and high unsaturated fats.

Check for ingredients you are allergic to

The food label on the package contains a list of ingredients used to create that specific food item. It’s advisable to look at the list carefully to avoid picking food with ingredients you are allergic to.

Combine high and low GI (Glycemic Index) packaged food

Foods with high GI are not so good for health but one cannot avoid them completely. Hence, it is recommended to combine and consume foods with high GI along with foods with low GI. For example, you can pick white bread which has high GI and combine it with green salads or fresh fruits.

If you have to squeeze in packaged food due to time crunches then be smart to pick one that’s closer to fresh food. You must ensure to look at every information provided on the label and avoid fancy food with too much added preservatives and sugar. Eat right, eat good and stay healthy!