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Archive for August, 2016


Tips for Getting Organized

In my programs, Go System and Writing and Managing E-mail, people complain that they don’t have time to get organized. But if you are buried under paper, if your computer desktop is disorganized, and if your e-mail in-box is overflowing, you need to take the time.

Clutter drains your productivity and negatively affects your self-esteem. Having to sort through stacks of paper or lists of e-mails to find the one thing you need wastes time, diminishes your sense of accomplishment, and erodes your energy.desktop keeping order series

Here are five tips to take charge of the clutter.

  1. Set an intention to touch something only once—do it, delegate it, file it, trash it, or put it in a folder for follow-up if you need more information. Never open a document and close it without taking action.
  2. Clear paper stacks one inch at a time.
  3. Move completed e-mails into a folder labeled with today’s date to get them out of your in-box. Take time each day to go through them and take care of them.
  4. Tackle your computer desktop by setting aside time each day to sort and file electronic files.
  5. Don’t add to the clutter. Handle incoming paper, electronic documents, and e-mails using Tip 1.

Clearing clutter will make you more positively productive and improve your sense of accomplishment and well-being. See my blog post Is Your Computer Desktop a Mess? for more information.


Controlling Your Tone in E-mail

Have you ever received an e-mail and felt as if you had been slapped? Most of us have; some of us have responded in a similar way, igniting an e-mail war of words.

Tone is what you hear when you read something, and it creates a feeling in the reader that is either positive or negative. Here are three things to watch for that can affect the tone of your e-mails. tone

  • Pronouns. First person singular pronouns show responsibility; first person plural pronouns communicate accountability, formality, and authority. Second person pronouns are inflammatory and should be avoided as much as possible, especially if you are sending bad news. Third person pronouns are neutral.
  • Sentence length. Generally, short sentences are punchier and may be perceived as rude. Longer sentences soften tone. For example, “See attached” has a harder tone than “I have attached the document you requested.”
  • Positive wording. Using positive wording is better than negative wording since people find it easier to understand, and it has a more pleasing tone. For example, “I will process your claim when I receive the documentation from the doctor” is more positive than, “I can’t process your claim without documentation from the doctor. “

If people have said your tone is harsh or abrupt, review your e-mails with these tips in mind.

Need help being more positively productive with e-mail? Check out my program Writing and Managing E-mail.


Seven Tips to Serve Millennial Customers

Serving Generation Y or Millennial (b. 1980-2000) customers is a challenge for many businesses today, especially those in more traditional industries. It’s important to understand this generation’s expectations and preferences for customer service.generation-y

Millennials use technology for just about everything and rely on social media more than any other generation. Their need for social interaction requires businesses to have a robust, Internet presence.

  1. Build loyalty to your business and brand by blogging regularly and providing valuable information that Millennials can use and will share with others.
  2. Be active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites and grow your followers by engaging them in conversations.
  3. Communicate in sound bites and short, punchy, memorable sentences.
  4. Keep things lively, fast, and fun.
  5. Monitor sites like Yelp where customers give feedback about service, promptly respond to negative comments, and send a quick thank you for positive ones.
  6. Provide opportunities for Millennials to interact with you and each other through virtual events.
  7. Ask for their input and collaborate with them to develop new products and services.

Knowing what Millennials want and delivering it can help you meet their needs and develop successful, profitable business relationships with them.

Need help serving multi-generation customers? Ask me about my newest training program, Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience.


Is Virtual Training Right for Your Team?

Part of your job is to help your employees grow and stretch, so they can take on additional responsibilities and develop professionally. Providing regular training for your team is the mark of a leader.shutterstock_33146896

Many offices have a hard time covering jobs for onsite workshops that take people away from their desks for several hours. Virtual training, on the other hand, gives you the ability to offer programs with minimal down time for your staff. It also helps you provide training for employees who work offsite or who are located in different geographic areas.

Virtual training comes in two forms: e-learning and webinars.

  • Employees can access e-learning programs at any time from any location.
  • Live webinars are held at a specific date and time.
  • Recorded webinars can be taken at any time.

Both e-learning and webinars provide state-of-the-art training at a cost that is less than live training programs. They allow your employees to maintain daily workflow and be positively productive while gaining new skills.



How Flexible Work Schedules Work for You

Many employees today want flexible work schedules, and your ability to accommodate them can help you improve morale, motivation, and recognition.

The desire for flexibility is strongest with Generation X and Millennials, who value work/life balance. These younger generations work to live unlike Baby Boomers who live to work. However, Boomers, too, are finding flexibility attractive as they approach retirement and are starting to consider options for part-time work.shutterstock_58333501

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Compressed workweeks. Employees work the same number of weekly hours, but squeeze them into a shorter workweek. For example, they work four 10-hour days and have one day off a week.
  • Flextime. This option offers windows for starting and ending the workday, and the employee chooses the window they need. For example, an eight-hour workday with a one-hour lunch could start between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and end between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
  • Work-from home. Employees may work from home one or more days per week, depending on the responsibilities of their jobs and the need for them to be onsite. 

Flexible work options can boost morale and motivation because they recognize the demands on your employees’ lives and give them opportunities for meeting them. It also shows that you trust your team to deliver results even if they are not onsite. See my blog posts Boost Employee Morale Again and Again and Motivate Employees for Results for more information.