VOIP Quality Test- The Complete Guide

Smooth communication is crucial when you’re dealing with customers over the phone. It’s equally as important for all internal communication as well.

But if you’re using a VoIP phone service, an unstable internet connection and other factors can cause significant problems. Dropped calls, muffled noises, and delayed sounds are just a few examples of issues you might experience.

In addition to the frustrations associated with poor phone quality, these issues can cause in-house efficiency problems and lead to bad customer experiences.

Top Rated VOIP Phone Services for High Quality Phone Communication

If you want to have high quality and consistent phone communication, you’ll need a VOIP phone service. Here’s the best options.

  • Nextiva – Best overall (For a limited time get 25% off when you sign up!)
  • RingCentral – Best no-hardware solution for businesses of any size
  • Ooma – Easiest to set up for smaller businesses
  • Phone.com – Most affordable VoIP system for simple needs
  • Grasshopper – Best for using your personal device for business
  • Vonage – Best VoIP service for specific needs
  • 8×8 – Best for international calling
  • GoTo Connect (formerly Jive) – Best bang for your buck
  • 1-VoIP – Best for switching VoIP providers to save money
  • Mitel – Most scalable VoIP phone solution

You can read our full reviews of each VOIP phone service here.

Quicksprout.com's complete beginner's guide for VOIP quality testing.Quicksprout.com's complete beginner's guide for VOIP quality testing.

If you haven’t yet selected a VoIP phone system, our above list is a great place to begin. But before you commit to any product–or if you’re having issues with your existing VoIP phones–running a VoIP quality test can help identify what…

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How to Build Stability during Turbulence

How to Build Stability during Turbulence

My brain never leaps to the best thing that could happen.

When I don’t hear back from a friend, I imagine they’re mad at me. A headache is a brain tumor. Thankfully I don’t get headaches very often.

People usually jump to negative conclusions. Imagined catastrophes make stability unlikely.

Stability is unlikely when your brain leaps to the worst that could happen. Image of a person running through fire.Stability is unlikely when your brain leaps to the worst that could happen. Image of a person running through fire.


  1. Distorts reasoning.
  2. Elevates stress.
  3. Pollutes decision-making.
  4. Strains relationships.
  5. Increases distrust.


Your team sings the Gloom and Doom Song during uncertainty unless you stop catastrophizing.

HEE HAW was a comedy tv show that ran from 1969 to 1971. One sketch featured people singing the Gloom and Doom Song.

Gloom, despair, and agony on ohhhh!
Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!
Gloom, despair, and agony on ohhh!

“Gloom, Despair & Agony.” (one minute video)

Predictability increases stability:

#1. Satisfy the need to know.

Your team will fabricate stories if you neglect communication. Answer high anxiety with consistent communication.

#2. Comfort people with scheduled communication.

You might say, “We’re in an uncertain situation. I’ll keep you in the know with an update on our situation every Monday Morning.”

Imagination: Imagined monsters are like body odor. The go where you go. Image of a pigs snout.Imagination: Imagined monsters are like body odor. The go where you go. Image of a pigs snout.

#3. Manage expectations.

You might say, “This situation will develop slowly. Some updates will inform you that nothing has changed.”

When nothing changes, use your update email to encourage your team to continue doing a great job.

#4. Commit to truthfulness.

You may not feel the need to say you’ll keep everyone informed, but others might need to hear it.

Turn people to day-to-day tasks. Remind everyone that your customers need you.

Rituals add stability during uncertainty.

How can leaders build stability during turbulence?

John David Mann and I invite you to check out our new book, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership.

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This Vitamin Could Quadruple Weight Loss, Research Study Finds

Up to 40 percent of the population have a vitamin D deficiency.

Taking vitamin D supplements is linked to losing four times as much weight, research finds.

People who took a vitamin D supplement also doubled the number of inches by which they reduced their waistlines.

As many as 40 percent of the population have a vitamin D deficiency.

A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to increased inflammation the body.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.

Being deficient in vitamin D is repeatedly linked to being overweight and obese.

The conclusions come from a study of 400 obese and overweight people, all of whom had a vitamin D deficiency.

All were put on a low-calorie diet, but they were split into three groups, with each given different amounts of vitamin D supplementation.

One had none, another had 3,000 IU per day and the remainder had 800 IU per day.

After six months, the results showed that those taking the highest amount of 3,000 per day had lost 12 pounds.

Those taking 800 IU per day had lost 8 pounds and those taking none lost just 2.6 pounds.

The study’s authors explain the results:

“The present data indicate that in obese and overweight people with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation aids weight loss and enhances the beneficial effects of a reduced-calorie diet.”

The results also revealed that vitamin D helped people lose more from their waistlines.

The group taking 3,000 IU per day lost two inches in comparison to just 1 inch in the control group.

The researchers conclude:

“All people affected by obesity should have their levels of vitamin D tested to see if they are deficient, and if so, begin taking supplements.”

The study was presented at the European Congress on Obesity, 2015 (Vigna et al., 2015).

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Top 9 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best SEO plugin for WordPress for most people is Premium SEO Pack.

If you want website traffic, you can’t ignore search engine optimization anymore.

But applying SEO best practices to your site can be tricky. Fortunately, SEO plugins for WordPress will make your life much easier. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an SEO expert, this guide has you covered.

The Top 9 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

These nine WordPress plugins offer a wide array of SEO assistance for writing blog posts, updating website copy, linking, and so much more.

Let’s dive in.

The Premium SEO Pack from AA-Team has been a WordPress plugin available to users for over seven years. During that time, they’ve continually improved upon it (AA-Team is now on version 3.0 of the Premium SEO Pack) to keep it abreast of the best practices and most important needs of WordPress users.

The regular license of this plugin costs $44 and includes a dizzying array of SEO tools.

At the forefront is its potent SERP Rank Tracking Module, which makes it supremely easy to track, log, and analyze search engine rankings for your keywords and keyword strings. You can even track your competitors in the same metrics, up to five.

Premium SEO Pack SERP rank tracking example.Premium SEO Pack SERP rank tracking example.

There’s also a new module for comparing your website’s quality between two dates in time, which can even be compared to competitors, as well.

Those are just two of the newer features and they only scratch the surface of what this plugin is capable of. Go deep on everything from page loading times and audience metrics to referral…

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Take the Next Step – Leadership Freak

Take the Next Step

The life you want won’t appear like a rabbit out of a hat. Magic won’t help. Just take the next step.

Fear stands between you and the life you want.

  1. Fear of failure.
  2. Fear you are average.
  3. Fear of success.
  4. Fear of being wrong.

The life you want won't appear like a rabbit out of a hat. Just take the next step. Image of a young magician looking in a hat.The life you want won't appear like a rabbit out of a hat. Just take the next step. Image of a young magician looking in a hat.

The next step:

Do more than fear – love. When you’re afraid, look for something to love.

Do more than watch tv – read. I watch too much tv at night. How about you?

Do more than wish – plan. Plans enable you to check progress.

Do more than avoid – bring it up. Tough issues don’t magically disappear.

Do more than talk – listen to understand. Stay quiet for just two beats more than usual.

Do more than criticize – support. If you aren’t willing to support, stop criticizing. Ask, “What can I do to support improvement?”

Do more than gather – give. What can you give today? Knowledge. Resources. Encouragement. Time.

Do more than complain – improve. Notice your complaints. Stop talking unless you’re willing to participate in making things better.

Do more than react – reflect. Design three questions to ask yourself at the end of the day.

Do more than grumble – express gratitude. Gratitude doesn’t solve everything, but almost.

Do more than point out faults – improve yourself. Don’t comfort yourself with the shortcomings of others.

Do more than work – rest.


William Arthur Ward’s quote inspired this post.

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

Which ‘next step’ applies best to you today?

What might you add to the above list?

John David Mann and I invite you to check out our new book, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership.

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Statins Side-Effects: 20 Percent Report These Unwanted Issues

Statins may reduce the risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third.

Statins are cholesterol-busting drugs that are designed to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, some people naturally worry about the side-effects these drugs may have, despite the fact that they are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs.

Statins may reduce the risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third.

Still, many refuse to take them because around 20 percent of people report side-effects.

Some of the most common side-effects are fatigue, muscle aches and joint pain.

Other common side-effects of statins are headaches, stomach pain, dizziness, constipation and feeling sick.

In addition, some people taking the cholesterol medication report pins and needles in their hands and feet.

The ‘nocebo’ effect

However, research suggests that some of these people may be experiencing the ‘nocebo’ effect.

The nocebo effect is when a person experiences side-effects due to the negative associations the drug has rather than because of its pharmaceutical effect.

One study has found that 90 percent of symptoms reported were from patients who were taking a placebo.

In other words, many people, despite taking a pill with no medicine in it, are still getting side-effects.

Dr James Howard, study co-author, explained:

“Statins are life-saving treatments that can help prevent the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease.

Previous studies have shown that statins are safe and effective at preventing serious health conditions but some patients stop taking or refuse the drug due to reported side effects, potentially increasing their risk of heart attack and stroke in the long-term.

Our study suggests that the reported side effects of statins are not caused by the statin themselves but by the effect of taking a tablet.

Some of the side effects could also be from the typical aches and pains of getting older.

Our findings are significant because they are further evidence that side effects from statins are minimal.

These drugs play a significant role in keeping patients who are at risk of cardiovascular disease healthy.

One way to help encourage patients to take or stay on their medication is for doctors to talk to their patients about the nocebo effect.

In more severe cases patients could be referred for talking therapies.”

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Wood et al., 2020).

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7 Tools for Generating Infinite Content Ideas for Your Blog

Blogging sucks.

Okay that’s a bit extreme. In fact, there’s a lot that we enjoy about blogging—mainly connecting with you guys.

But what does suck is having to constantly come up with new ideas for blog posts.

It’s a grind that can be quite exhausting, especially if you’re simply coming up with ideas off the top of your head.

Research from The Content Marketing Institute found that “57% of B2B marketers say that producing content consistently is their biggest struggle.”

And the struggle is real.

If you’re like us and writing up to eight posts per week while juggling multiple businesses, it can be seriously draining.

So out of pure necessity, we’ve experimented with a plethora of different tools to aid us in the process of generating new content ideas.

Some have been home runs and some have been strikeouts.

But there are seven in particular we really like and want to share with you.

Using one or more of these tools will allow you to generate an infinite number of content ideas for your blog—without having to do any heavy lifting.

1. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

HubSpot logoHubSpot logo

This is one of our favorites for generating a handful of ideas quickly. Five to be exact.

We love it because it’s incredibly easy to use.

Literally within seconds, you’ll have five legitimate blog post titles at your fingertips.

All you have to do is enter up to three nouns in the search boxes:

image02image02 image12image12

In this case, let’s try “content marketing.” Here’s what happens:

Voila! We instantly get five viable blog topics.

If you…

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3 Ways to Lead for Growth 

3 Ways to Lead for Growth 

20 copies available!!

Leave a comment on this guest post by Eduardo Briceño to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of his new book, The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action.

Special bonus: 30-minute live Zoom call with Eduardo Briceño see below for details.

Deadline for eligibility is 09/03/2022. International winners will receive electronic version.

Leaders who want to foster business growth must foster human growth. But the way to do that is not obvious. How can we encourage colleagues to adopt learning habits while still projecting confidence in our leadership?

3 Practices to Foster a Culture of Development

#1. Set the stage

Are your colleagues leery of taking risks, soliciting feedback, or discussing their mistakes? Many people associate these learning behaviors with novices, not competent professionals, which can lead them to focus on proving themselves rather than improving.

Leaders must clarify that the best performers use these behaviors to become even better and that every colleague should adopt them as the default way of working. Since leaders are nine times more likely to be perceived as under-communicative rather than over-communicative, you must reinforce these messages more than you might think.

#2. Set up systems and habits

If you hope to make growth behaviors the easy default, you must put in place everyday tools and systems to support them.

  1. Prompt colleagues to identify and share learning goals by adding this item to the performance management system.
  2. Foster discussion of lessons learned by including it in the weekly meeting agenda.
  3. Generate customer feedback by soliciting it as part of the standard process.
  4. Keep teammate collaboration improving by setting a recurring meeting to share perspectives and identify what to work on next.

#3. Model learning

Leaders often talk about the importance of learning, but engage in it privately, when colleagues aren’t watching. This makes leaders seem like know-it-alls, leading others to act like know-it-alls, too.

We must make our learning process visible and explicit.

We can do that while still conveying confidence that we have what it takes to succeed. In fact, learning behaviors strengthen our ability to adapt and innovate.

What key opportunity might shift the way you lead?

Special Bonus for 10 days only!

30-minute live Zoom call with Eduardo Briceño exclusively with you or your team when you purchase 11 or more copies of The Performance Paradox (a Next Big Idea Club “Must-Read”) from Porchlight Books at bulkparadox.com.

Only from August 29 – September 7, 2023.

Eduardo Briceño guides many of the world’s leading companies in developing cultures of learning and high performance. His TED and…

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An Alarming Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency early in life can lead to these cognitive problems.

Difficulties with memory and thinking skills can be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

People with a deficiency in this vitamin can find it hard to recall memories or to concentrate.

A study finds that low levels of vitamin B12 in infancy would result in poor development and performance on visuospatial skills and social perception tasks later on.

Social perception and visuospatial abilities are part of cognitive functioning, like understanding information and responding to them, or making judgments about social rules.

In this study, children low in vitamin B12 at 5 years of age scored poorly in cognitive tests such as recognising other children’s feelings and solving puzzles.

Dr Ingrid Kvestad, the study’s first author, said:

“Our results clearly demonstrate associations between early vitamin B12 status and various measures on development and cognitive functioning, as for example the ability to interpret complex geometrical figures, and the ability to recognize other children`s emotions.”

Their findings suggest that vitamin B12 deficiency causes harm or delays the development of children’s brains.

Previous studies have found that vitamin B12 is important for the developing brain, learning, problem solving skills, and memory.

Dr Kvestad said:

“The number of children in low-income countries that do not develop according to their potential is large.

Our results indicate that correcting children`s vitamin B12 status early may be one measure to secure a healthy development for these vulnerable children.

We are currently in the process of confirming our results in randomized controlled trials.”

Red meat is a good source of vitamin B12, but in South Asia and countries with low incomes, animal products are limited, thus low B12 status is often seen in those population.

For this study, 500 infants in Nepal underwent a blood test to estimate their vitamin B12 levels.

Then five years later, these children underwent several cognitive development tests.

Dr Kvestad said:

“Most of the Nepalese children participating in the study did not have severely low levels of vitamin B12, but their levels were suboptimal, below the recommendations for best possible growth and development.

It’s like a hidden deficiency of the vitamin in these children’s bodies, making their cells work rigorously to signalize imminent danger.

Our study is one contribution in the big puzzle to understand the implications low B12 levels might have on small children’s cognitive development.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Kvestad et al., 2021).

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How to Create The Best About Us Pages

Your about page is the most important page on your site. 

It might not be the first page people visit, but it’s the page they’ll use to decide if they like you, trust you, and whether they’re coming back again.

And yet most businesses still have about pages that are boring, lack personality, and don’t offer visitors any value. 

People like to buy from peoplethey like, and your about page is the BEST page on your site to connect with your audience and show them how nice you are.

In this guide, we’ll break down how to create an about page that works, what to avoid, and take a look at sites that do it well.

The Easy Parts of Creating an About Page 

The easiest part of creating an about page is sharing your brand story. 

If you’re proud of your business, you naturally want to share that with the world. And on your about page, you get to talk about your journey to success, how great your business is, and show off all the praise you’re getting from others.

Another part of an about page that’s easy to nail is sharing social proof. Once you have a glowing testimonial or review, you can just add it to your about page. It doesn’t take much work, but it will boost your conversion rates.

This is especially easy if you automate your testimonials, so you don’t even have to upload or find them yourself.

Using a plugin like Thrive Ovation, which can pull testimonials directly from your web forms or social media, makes it easy to automate social proof and testimonials. You can manage them from one dashboard in WordPress and update your page regularly with new testimonials.

The Difficult Parts…

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