Posted in communication, Digital Marketing, small business, technology, women in technology

My Kuza Experience

The journey begins…

It was one of those lazy afternoons and while browsing through my Facebook, I found the application link to the Social Media and Digital Skills training. The first thought that crossed my mind was this must one of those scams but what harm is there in trying it out?

I remember going through the Kuza Biashara website and thinking, “This must be good!” I wanted to have a taste of it.  And you can imagine when I got the invitation to attend an interview, I was over the roof.

I filled in the online application form with mixed feelings of hopeful as well as skeptical. A part of me wanted to be part of it but another part too was afraid. It happened to be the first time I came across Kuza Biashara.  You cannot blame me entirely; not with the news that take over the headlines almost every other day about con men.

The interview

The interviews were not a walk in the park unlike what I expected. Mugure Kamau the no no-sense yet very inspiring gent and James Keru the very informative guy  took me through the interview. They were not easy but I must say they had me pulling my hair just to make sure I delivered beyond the expectations.

The questions sent me shivering and I almost lost all hope. I gave it my best shot and let all other to fate or should I call it destiny…

Much to my amazement.. I was among the 50 plus girls that qualified  for the orientation and also the last elimination stage, I made it! My celebration was cut short when we were told a few more will be eliminated. Unfortunately they needed only 50 girls!

The rest is history. By the mere fact that you are reading this piece is good enough indicator that I made it.

Fast forward to the first day…I almost missed but by all means I had to attend. I needed to create a good first impression. But the stars did not work for me that day. No sooner had we started than I started having this dizzy feeling.

I brushed it away as just nervousness until everything and everyone around me started spinning like crazy. I couldn’t hold it anymore. I made my way to the washroom. Tried to make a few calls all which were unsuccessful.

The Kuza team came to my rescue. I was wowed by their concern (just by the way I have always taken care of myself literally my whole life, not used to people minding about me) this was new to me. They made sure I was as comfortable as it can get.

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I missed a few days after that to recuperate. And you guessed it right! The Kuza team made it so easy for me I almost never felt the gap.

The technical bit

This was great shock to me.  I did not expect the training to be so technical. It was way beyond what I imagined. We were given all the information even what we had no idea about. These people were really generous with information.

Everything seemed so easy and now I can appreciate ICT, something I had no interest in. When I enrolled for the program, I expected to be taught simple basics such writing marketing texts, emails and what have you. I did not expect the technical details and the so much information we received.

Paul HUghson
Paul Hughson during one of the session: Photo by Ivonna Dezeba

Paul Hughson the tech guru from Hyderbad and our facilitator was heavenly sent! He went overboard to make sure were nothing but the best. He made the training not only insightful but something I always looked forward to.

He made the training interesting I just could not afford to miss a single session. The few days I missed due to unavoidable circumstances made me feel like the world was crumbling down on me… Yes! You got me right! That was the intensity!

It is unfortunate that the training has to come to an end. I believe this is something you can keep learning like they said learning goes on to infinity. Technology advancement is real! You sleep thinking you are ahead only to wake up and realize that it evolved through the night and you have to run faster than the legendary Kenyan athletes to keep up with it if not a few steps ahead.

Paul was not exactly easy on us! He made sure at the end of every session, there was a mind blogging assignment that sent us pulling out our hairs. I mean he had to make sure we grasped every bit of what he was teaching us.

I am now a proud digital marketer and I must say this is just the beginning. I plan to continue working on my skills until am an expert in this field that is soon going to be a very demanding one as technology continues to advance rapidly.

Communication skills

The social media and digital marketing training was not all about the technical stuff that hardly anyone wants to hear about, they brought in the communication sessions which were facilitated by one remarkable and mettlesome lady Avni Shah.

Avni Shah
Avni Shah inspiring the girls: Photo by Ivonna Dezeba

This was one eye-opening session. I got to learn among the many about how to appreciate myself and understand others. I am the judgmental type;  believe everyone got their weakness and well I just let the cat out of the bag!

The communication sessions emphasized on the saying that, “Charity begins at home.” I learnt that I am the problem and the solution to all my challenges. A contradiction, right?I had to understand myself first to be able to understand my neighbor and if I had a problem with my friend, I had to check myself first.

I could write volumes and volumes about this but unfortunately time is limited. I learnt a whole bunch of things about myself and how to improve my communication skills. I will definitely live to tell a story about this. Believe me it works wonders!

The social bit

friends
#SheGoesDitigal: Photo by Ivonna Dezeba

The training did not end at the there. No! the old adage goes like all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. The assignments made sure we made a few friends or acquaintances if you may like. Some were group assignments while most were individual based.

This was an opportunity to make a few friends; friend I know will go beyond the Kuza gates. I have made good friends and friends for keeps. If I did, besides being the most shy girl in that class, am certain all else did.

The girls were nothing short of amazing. Each one of us had a story to tell and definitely were leaving the training with even more inspiring stories. Stories to build and leave a remarkable and long lasting impression.

Memorable moments.

I will miss attending the training that’s for sure. But we have to move on to spread and practice the gospel. The whole experience was great and very inspiring. I will miss my classmates who made me long for the next day just to listen to their experiences and share mine.

I will miss the communication session. Oh how I wish we had more time to learn and apply the NLP model. The little I have learnt has helped me a great deal.

I will surely miss the photo-shoots. Hahaha, Kuza also equipped us with photo posing skills. I am not exactly the photogenic type but Kuza unleashed that bit in me. Credit goes goes to Ivonna Diziba and Vaines Jedilia. These two amazing ladies not only unleashed the photogenic version of me but also the professional photographer in me.

ivonna vaines
Vaines and Ivonna: Photo by James Keru

The whole experience was one I will live to tell a story about. Am leaving a more enlightened lady boosted with self-confidence and digital marketing skills. Now I can browse Facebook without feeling guilty of “wasting time.

Summary

Kuza means growth. Kuza has had the whole Kuza experience on me. It has transformed me in ways I never imagined it especially my writing and digital marketing skills.

Sri
Sri Bharatam: Photo by Vaines Jedilia

Kuza Biashara was co-founded by one impeccable gentleman; Sri Bharatam. he is the great mind behind Kuza Biashara and he empowered in his own way. He has the BIG DREAM of making sure we emerge the best in the market and bring out the best in us.

I will definitely come back for another session. Long live Kuza!

Posted in communication, Digital Marketing, small business, technology, women in technology

Women and Technology

We are on the third week in a Social Media and Digital Marketing skills training courtesy of Kuza Biashara. Thanks to the awesome Kuza Biashara team I can now boast of knowing a thing or two about the tech field, something I often shied away from.

I have never considered IT as something I would spare time for, I was comfortable with the little I learnt in my Computer Packages classes. “IT ina wenyewe!” (IT has its fellows ; direct translation) I would often console myself. It was not exactly my cup of tea. But now I know better.

This, however, triggered me to find out just how do women embrace technology and what challenges do they encounter in the practice. I was puzzled. A few courageous women have readily embraced the tech field just like I do my accounts. I mean I eat, sleep and breathe finance and in the same charisma a lady has embraced IT.

This doesn’t come easy though. In a world that seems inclined towards the boy child more than the girl, despite the many awareness campaigns, some careers are still considered male related and IT happens to top the list.

IT field leads with the least number of women according to a report released by Code.org. and what is alarming is that more and more women are leaving the industry. Giant Tech companies including Google, Apple, Facebook and more have released reports indicating that men continue to outnumber women in a ratio of 4:1 in the technical fields. This is expected to get worse in the future.

But why? You may ask! Besides this being a very lucrative field in terms of earnings and working hours flexibility; something most people would go for, women are quite few. It is either they don’t feel welcome or they don’t want to feel welcome. When women go into venture capitalist looking for finance to work on their startups, many are the times they receive different treatment from their male counterparts. While a few push on, most women give up at this stage.

This got me thinking, why do women get such treatment? And why do they seem to give up so easily? The answer was right there with me.

I took my experience into perspective. I had this mentality that I can never indulge in IT after all it is just too difficult and of course there are many other simpler options. If I was to try and look for funds for an IT related venture and I got dismissed, chances are I would not try a second time. This is the same with most ladies.

 

Image courtesy of Anita Borg Institute

Posted in communication, Digital Marketing, small business

Importance of Effective Communication for Small Business

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Communication plays a vital role in all facets of business. It is very important that one should equip themselves with an effective set of communication skills.

Currently am attending a Social Media and Digital Marketing Marketing Training #shegoesdigital courtesy of Kuza Biashara. One of the areas the training is handling is communication skills. Am crystal clear that almost everyone has gone through a communication skills class at one point in their career be it in school or workshops outside the education system.
In campus we had Communication Skills as a unit and I have also attended a few seminar where effective communication skills was one of the main items in the basket. However, I have never had a better eye opening experience similar to the one I acquired at the Social Media and Digital Marketing training Session at Kuza Biashara.
Introduction to NLP
We, a group of 50 entrepreneurial ladies attending the training, are being taken through the NLP communication model. NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. The model takes into account the five senses.

Neuro

Neuro expresses how we take in information with our five senses;
Visual- this is how we see things
Auditory- this explains how we listen and hear information directed at us
Kinaesthetic- this factors the way we feel things and perceive information
Olfactory- this is the smell we perceive through our noses of course
Gustatory- explains the tasting sensory bit

Linguistic

This put into account the non-verbal as well as the verbal communications.

Programming

Programming involves learning to control the ‘software’ inside our bodies.

NLP Explained

Information we conceive is stored in the subconscious mind. Everyone has a different filtering system depending from their upbringing, growing up environment etc.

We often make a mistake of wanting people to see things from our angle, but to effectively communicate. We need to understand that everyone is filtered differently hence the thinking should also be different.

We need to learn to be empathetic. Learn that everyone is thinking differently from us. We all have a different procedure to filter information.

The Communication Model

The communication model involves five main steps as follows;

Event happening Filtering Internal representation Emotions Physiology and behavior

External event occurs and comes in via all the five senses. Information received is filtered in terms of values and experiences. It could either be deleted, saved or bundled up into different compartments such as sadness box, a happy experience and more. Information that is deemed as not important is deleted.

Internal representation involves developing your own image of the events perceived. Emotions then results from the image created which then result to physiology. Physiology leads to behavior towards the physical event.

If you know what your filters are you can change your internal behavior. If you really listen to your partner and match them you can form a rapport. From there you will be more compassionate, you both understand one another and the result is a win win situation.

So how does this affect the business?

Through following the NLP model one is in a position to improve their communication skills which is very paramount in the business filed. The following reasons explain in details why effective communication should be the main focus point in any business.

Effective communications results to an effective team.

Encouraging effective communication in the job environment leads to a more cohesive team who are enthusiastic to be productive in the company. This is because they are able to identify not only with themselves but also with the company.

They are able to identify with the firm leading to increased productivity. Regular and effective communication also leads to improved work ethics where employees are aware of the achievements and they work towards a common objective.

It leads to effective management of employees.

Effective communication sees to it that the executive informs their subordinates of their responsibilities and expectations. It also ensures adequate and timely feedback is delivered. The staff are able to understand their goals and work towards achieving them.

Effective communication facilitates innovation.

An effective communication environment where staff and executive are empathetic of each other, it leads to a comfortable situation which opens up to new ideas and innovations. These ideas could be developed into great income generating opportunities.

Efficient communication builds rapports and maintains relationships.

In the business environment, it is mainly about creating a great network of like minded individuals as well as royal clientele base. Effective communication is the key to great rapport and a great network of potential investors and customers.

It maintains transparency in the business.

Regular and reliable communication channels ensures that all information is passed to the right parties and correspondences takes places in due time. This ensures transparency in the running of the business which makes it easier to identify and correct loopholes as well as potential investments.

It contributes greatly to the growth of the company.

Effective communication is the strong hold of the marketing strategy. Lack of proper marketing strategy and communication both internally and externally, the business will end up collapsing in due time. Efficient communication results to productivity in the organization which helps in avoiding unnecessary delays during implementation of policies.

Summary

The NLP model, is a perfect communication model if applied effectively. It is not only beneficial to the larger business but also to individuals.

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