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Archive for June, 2018


You’ve Got Too Much Email!

Most of us get too many emails, and many of us have overflowing in-boxes. While you can’t stop email from coming in, you can manage them to be more positively productive. Here are five tips to make email management easier.

  1. Get responses faster by using a keyword in the subject line. A keyword is the first one or two words of the subject line, and it tells the recipient what is expected of them or communicates the content of the email. Good keywords are Review by [date], Approve by [date], Decision needed, Update, Action needed, and so on.
  2. Set rules to capture emails with certain words and direct them to special file folders in your in-box. You set a rule by:
    1. Identifying a word or name, such as a keyword, your manager’s name, a project name, etc.
    2. Define where in the email this word or name should appear, such as the sender, recipient, subject line, body, and so on.
    3. Set up a file folder with that word or name.
    4. Direct the email server to directly deliver all emails that meet these criteria to that folder.
  3. When you finish an email, never leave it in your in-box. Immediately file it or trash it.
  4. Create a “To Read” folder for emails and attachments that just need to be read, but don’t require a response. When you have some free time, for instance if you are waiting for a meeting to start, read items in the folder and then either file or trash the item.
  5. Implement a follow-up system that makes sense for your work. A good follow-up system lets you remove incomplete emails from your in-box and still be able to find them when you need them. I have an easy-to-use system in my Writing and Managing Email

Need more help with email? See my blog posts Email Matters and Organize Emails for Quick Response.



Five Tips for Building an Inclusive Team

Having team members who work well together and who support each other makes your entire organization positively productive. However, there may be times when team members don’t get along. While you can’t make people like each other, you can create a work environment where differences are accepted, and people are always treated with respect.

  1. Help employees understand that people have different work styles and preferences and that being different isn’t wrong. Departmental goals and work can be achieved in more than one way.
  2. Make it clear that everyone has the right to complete their work as they see fit without judgement or criticism if they deliver results.
  3. Use meetings as opportunities to help your team members better understand each other and work more effectively together.
  4. Immediately address any episodes of bullying, backbiting, gossiping, or any other form of disrespect.
  5. Publish a code of conduct that outlines what behavior is appropriate and expected in the workplace and create it with input from your entire team to ensure buy-in.

If you need help creating a more cohesive team, look at my program Bridging the Generation Gap at Work.


Build Rapport with Customers

Building rapport with customers is a good way to establish trust and loyalty. Rapport means that you cultivate a close, harmonious relationship with every customer, so they feel welcome and cared for when they interact with your business. Here are some steps to help your employees build and maintain rapport.

Teach your employees to:

  • Show empathy for the customer by having them imagine themselves in the customer’s position. How would they want to be treated? What would they want to hear? Have employees treat each customer as they would a close friend.
  • Stay completely focused on the customer, use listening skills, and ask questions that get at the heart of the customer’s needs. See my blog post Ask the Right Question for more information.
  • Give the customer time and let them talk without interruption, especially if they are upset or angry. Keep in mind that an upset customer is frustrated because they cannot see a solution to their situation, and it is up to the employee to provide the solution!

Some people establish rapport easily and naturally; others must learn how to do this. See my program Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience to improve the skills of your employees.


Delegation Works!

As you may know from my monthly newsletter and blog posts, I’m a strong advocate of using delegation to make you more positively productive and to develop your employees. Despite the proven benefits of delegation, some managers are afraid of it, either because they haven’t tried it, or they have been unsuccessful. Here are five tips to make delegation easier and ensure success.

  1. Match each task to the person’s skill set while giving them an opportunity to stretch and grow. Review career goals and performance plans to tie delegation to their career path.
  2. Clearly describe your expectations about deliverables and explain any metrics you will use to evaluate results.
  3. Give the person the authority they need to succeed and make sure that others understand.
  4. Allow them to handle the task in their own way and avoid micromanaging.
  5. Be available to answer questions, provide guidance, and coach the person, as needed.

Delegation gives you time to focus on the tasks that only you can do. An effective delegation takes preparation and planning. For more information, see my blog posts Why Delegation Doesn’t Work and Delegate to Be More Positively Productive.