Here is a short 3-minute video created by AsapSCIENCE that offers a great visual presentation of many of the concepts that we write about often in this blog and in The Organized Executive newsletter, and I thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy!
I’m always looking for great resources that cover productivity and time-management. Which resources do you find most useful?
Imagine how much time we could save and how many misunderstandings we could avoid if everyone thought for a moment before hitting “Send” on the emails that they write. Following is great guidance for every email user, adapted from C3: Clear Concise Communication, a multimedia training kit that includes guidelines for more than a dozen types of communication.
When using email …
- Use a specific subject line so that readers know exactly what your email is about.
- Post a “call to action” in the subject line, such as “Please respond by August 1.”
- Delete previous, unnecessary text from earlier responses when you reply.
- Utilize the “bcc” function if it is appropriate to share an email with a particular recipient without other recipients knowing.
- Insert a privacy statement in emails, which protects against the spread of misinformation.
- Send one- or two-word confirmations or responses in the subject line, such as “Yes” or “Date confirmed,” followed by EOM for “end of message.” That way recipients don’t have to open the email to learn your response.
- Respond in a timely fashion. Reply to all urgent messages immediately. For others, follow up within 24 hours, even if you are simply telling the recipient that you will send a more detailed message later.
- Bold, underline, italicize or capitalize entire words or phrases. Not only does it make a message hard to read, but it can come across as rude.
- Experiment with humor or creative writing styles that could leave the recipient offended or confused.
- Share intimate or offensive thoughts over email.
- Send a large attachment without first confirming that the recipient’s server can open it.
- Jazz up emails with fancy fonts, colors, emoticons or other graphics. They can be distracting and look unprofessional.
- Insert the recipients’ names into the “To” field until after you have carefully proofed your email.
- “Reply all” to an entire group if your message is not relevant to everyone.
- Address conflict, poor behavior or other sensitive topics in email. Pick up the phone or meet face to face instead.
- Write anything in an email you would not say to someone’s face.
Order C3: Clear Concise Communication to learn the C3 process for writing effective emails.
With an effective communication strategy, your team can excel. You and your employees can work together to reach—and even exceed—your goals. And people can be happy at work. C3: Clear Concise Communication presents you with that strategy. With it, you will learn how to communicate in a direct manner—across all channels—that will ensure that you get the results you want while you avoid the communication pitfalls that can wreak havoc in the workplace.
No one ever said that being the boss was going to be easy. In fact, supervising employees can be downright hard. You have to be a manager, coach, cheerleader, disciplinarian, and most important, a leader. Your employees have to believe in you and in your ability to lead them to succeed. The fact that you read this blog shows that you care about and are committed to becoming a strong leader—and a great boss. The following “15 Rules for Being a Great Boss” come from the Detox Your Workplace training kit. Are you following them all?
- Make decisions that support your objectives.
- Delegate tasks to trusted employees, but don’t just dump unwanted assignments.
- See your behavior from employees’ perspectives.
- Give credit when it’s due.
- Be accountable for your team’s shortcomings.
- Take calculated risks.
- Ensure that you hire the right people.
- Clarify your expectations.
- Communicate regularly.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Arrive on time.
- Avoid blindsiding employees with work.
- Get down in the trenches with employees.
- Have faith in your employees.
- Have confidence in yourself.
Stop by OrganizedExecutive.com to read this month’s Focus On Efficient Communication section, which includes the following tips and articles.
- Can you pass the clarity test?
- Improve team communication
- Avoid absolutes
- Choose your words wisely
- Connect weekly
- Replace jargon
While you are there, download these complimentary reports:
- Agenda Form
- Outlook 2010 Tip Sheet
- Goal-Setting Worksheet
- 10 Tasks to Start Delegating Today
- Office 2007 and 2010 Tip Sheet
- Vacation Planning Worksheet
- How to Say “No”
- Stop the Meeting Madness: Make the Most of Your Time Together.
- 25 Tips for Using Email More Efficiently
- Take a Positive Approach to Employee Complaints
I came across that quote recently, and it has me thinking. Cleaning and organizing are what I do when I procrastinate. The kind of cleaning and organizing that has me emptying drawers and cabinets and alphabetizing my bookcases. Many people have told me that I missed my calling and should consider becoming a professional organizer, but I can’t imagine that would ever be a job that would fuel my passion. Although, the idea of improving people’s lives by decluttering and streamlining their homes and offices is a lovely one, so maybe there is some truth to that quote after all. What’s your take?
What do you do when you are stalling to start a project/task? Can you make a career out of that?
Turn over assignments with confidence by asking employees these questions whenever you delegate work:
- Do you feel confident you can handle this assignment?
- What do you need from me in order to complete the work correctly and by the deadline?
- How do you think you will start the assignment?
- What steps will you take?
- What obstacles do you anticipate?
- What will you do if you run into challenges?
As they respond, clarify any misunderstandings or confusion. Briefly offer suggestions for overcoming any challenges. Next, provide them with needed resources, and let them know you have confidence in them but that they can come to you with any questions. Then back off and let them impress you.
Note: You may want to provide these questions in a form employees can complete and give back to you so that they don’t feel like they are being put on the spot. We have provided a print-ready version for you under the Free Reports section at http://www.OrganizedExecutive.com.
— Adapted from “8 Steps to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need,” Business Management Daily, wwwbusinessmanagementdaily
Productive meetings do not happen by accident. You can ensure better results for your next meeting if you do these three things:
- Plan the right length. People become tired and lose focus and creativity after two or three hours of meeting. If the meeting will require too much time, break the agenda into two or more sessions and schedule follow-up meetings at an appropriate time.
- Post clear, results-oriented meeting objectives. “Discuss marketing strategy” does not meet that criterion. “Choose marketing campaign and select launch date” does. Make sure that attendees agree with and support those objectives.
- Record assignments, decisions and deferred issues. Include who is responsible for each along with a deadline. Record assignments and decisions on several flip chart sheets you hang on the wall. Label them “Decisions made today,” “Issues for future meetings” and “Action items.”
— Adapted from Teamwork From Start to Finish, Fran Rees, Pfeiffer, http://www.josseybass.com.