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Archive for October, 2012

26
Oct

Meeting Tips

Do your meetings ever feel like they are going nowhere fast? Meetings are often significant sources of wasted time. A good meeting starts with good planning. Here are three tips for planning meetings that are more effective.

Clarify the purpose of the meeting.

Determine your outcome and put it on the agenda.

Invite the appropriate people.

Keep the list of invitees as small as possible and identify who has to do what before the meeting. Give people a heads-up if they need to prepare a presentation and clearly explain what you expect them to deliver.

Prepare and send an agenda ahead of the meeting.

The agenda needs to include the meeting date, time, location, directions, the names of attendees plus who is speaking on what topic and for how long. Make sure it goes out at least a week ahead of the meeting and again the day before with the meeting reminder.

Make meetings positively productive with these quick planning tips.

19
Oct

Write Better Emails

Email is supposed to be a quick communication. The goal is to have the recipient open and read it, and then do what you want him/her to do! Here are some quick tips for improving email productivity.

Don’t spend time formatting email.
Email servers may strip out or garble formatting. Don’t take time using bold, italics or other formatting tools in the body of an email.

Always send attachments as PDFs.
Email servers often block Word attachments since they can carry viruses. PDFs, however, usually make it past the firewalls. If you are not sure your Word attachment will go through, save and send it as a PDF.

KISS it.
Keep your email short and simple. Most readers will scroll once; some will scroll twice; very few will keep reading.

Watch your tone.
Make requests; do not give orders. Be courteous. Say please and thank you.

Spell check.
Turn on automatic spell check, but don’t trust it. You have to proofread email before you hit “send.”

And remember, email might not be the best form of communication!

11
Oct

Speed Up by Slowing Down

Would you agree that you have to slow down in order to speed up?

I was at Talladega Speedway this past weekend watching the NASCAR race and that’s exactly what they had to do. The drivers are racing around the track at 197 MPH and eventually they knew that if they didn’t come to a screeching halt for about 13.9 seconds, taking a pit stop, they would never finish the race. Everyone’s watching the lead driver, and as soon as he pulls into pit road, they all follow suit. Getting fresh tires, fuel, making adjustments, and back on the track they went.

Same applies to you. Scientific research is showing that taking a time out can reduce stress and make you more productive. So, how do you slow down when you have too much to do? Here are some tips.

Set a timer to remind you take a break.

Every 60 to 90 minutes you need to stop what you are doing and take a breather for five minutes. Get away from the computer and focus on something in the distance to rest your eyes. Gently stretch your back, neck and leg muscles. Walk around a bit to rev up circulation.

Focus on a picture of somewhere relaxing.

Where do you feel most relaxed? On a beach somewhere warm and tropical? In front of a roaring fire with the snow piled high outside? With your family around the Thanksgiving table? Whatever your image for relaxation, get a picture of it and put the image where you can see it. Focus on it and experience what you feel when you are actually there. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what you experience in your imagination and in real life. A quick mental “vacation” will do wonders to relax you.

Meditate or pray.

Meditation and prayer can reduce stress. These activities lower blood pressure, encourage deeper breathing and improve your mood. You don’t have to become a yogi to learn to meditate. Just repeating a word such as “peace” or “calm” can put you in a meditative state. If you prefer praying, the power of prayer can produce the same results as meditation.

What are you doing to slow down?

4
Oct

Focus on Results

In order to hit the bull’s eye on a target, archers aim above the target. That’s because the arrow flies in an arc, and they have to send it above the target if they want to hit the bull’s eye. They also have to account for the wind. They may aim to the left or right of the target. What does this have to do with productivity?

While you always want to focus on results, you want to actually aim higher. By taking a tip from the archer, aim for results that exceed your goal. This way you will be sure to achieve the results you want—and maybe more!

Aiming to the right and left teaches you to account for factors in the work environment that may affect hitting the target. Limited resources, shifting priorities, changes in workflow, all of these require you to shift focus a bit.

If you want to hit the bull’s eye in business, focus like an archer.