Here are some suggestions for when you’re creating deadlines:
- Create both long and short term deadlines – Long-term deadlines are good, but you also need stepping stones to measure your progress. If you don’t break-up your tasks, you’ll be knocked over by the giant wave of things to do. Don’t leap across the river, use stepping stones.
- Get outside help – Have others help you create your deadlines. Research shows that people who are given a series of interim goals perform better then when they establish the interim goals themselves. It also helps to have people track along with your progress.
- Be honest - Sometimes deadlines are unreasonable. Look to the past as a guide of what you’re capable of doing. And if you’ve got more work then usual, be honest with yourself. And if you end up missing a deadline then adjust accordingly for next time.
[Bonus tip]: Under promise, over deliver. Deadlines are not only for you, but others. Meeting a deadline will make you feel good, but it can also get you promoted.
I read an article about childlike productivity that I wanted to share. It'’s from a website that provides tips on "living life with less stress and more fun."
Childlike Secrets to Productivity (Summary):
- Plan – Most kids know exactly what they are going to do the next day "I'’m going to build a huge fort with my lego'’s tomorrow!"
- Don't over-plan – You never hear a child say "I will wake up at 6:00am and play with my legos until 8:00. Then I’ll color in my coloring book until 9:30, when I'll have a snack before taking a quick ride around the block on my tricycle…"
- Mind your passions – Once in a while you've got to step back and ask yourself the question "why am I doing this?" Kids make sure that they spend their time doing things their passionate about.
By Andrew Clogg
I once had a basketball coach who said “This game is 10% skill and 90% mental.” Before each game he would have us close our eyes and imagine shooting, passing and scoring. He always emphasized the importance of maintaining our “game face and attitude.’
And it worked… at least, I think it did.
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “mind over matter.” Below is my interpretation of this phrase and how it relates to conferencing:
Key Point: If you think you’re an expert, they will think so too.
When you start your presentation, speak with confidence and state the purpose of your presentation up-front. Share with your participants why you’re the person with all the answers. Remember that you’re the expert on the subject and that they are attending your conference to hear you speak. Keep this at the front of your mind and you will perform much better. And as a side note, never downplay your content. Even if you are running out of time an expert never “short changes” himself.
If you don’t think you’ve got what it takes, then check out this blog which says you can be an expert on anything. (warning… this is a parody!)
As a manager or business owner it's awkward having to give"constructive criticism."
Here are some tips for making the process easier.
- Take a "breather" – Think through what you’re going to say. Try not to be emotional.
- Choose a private location – free from interruptions and curious bystanders.
- Get to the point – quick and painless is always best.
- Let them respond – to prevent misunderstandings and to understand the problem.
- Listen to what they say – and make sure you’re having a two-way conversation. When you actively listen you can brainstorm a better solution.
- Create action items – and be clear about your expectations. Outline measurable objectives and put them in writing.
- Give them a chance – to prove themselves. Change doesn't happen overnight. Acknowledge improvements and provide coaching along the way.
Conference call etiquette…who needs it? You do! According to a survey conducted by Wainhouse Research, virtual meetings now outnumber in-person meetings. The study found that virtual meetings save time and money and improve productivity. It also mentioned that conference call technology is growing at a rate of 60% every year.
This is a growing technology so it is important that you understand basic conference call etiquette:
Here is a quick review
Video Conferences should be treated as in-person meetings and therefore you should dress accordingly. Avoid clothes with patterns (such as stripes or prints) because they can sometimes cause interference when the compressed video signal is distributed. You should speak clearly, look at the camera, and don’t leave the room unless you have to.
Audio conference calls have their own challenges. You should always introduce yourself when you speak so that other participants know who is talking. Avoid using a speakerphone and turn off (literally) background noise distractions.
As you may have read, a San Fransico Bay Area bridge collapsed on Saturday. A gasoline truck caught on fire and caused the upper overpass to collapse on the highway below. Luckily nobody died.
The governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has declared the area a state of emergency. Authorities say that the crash is the worst disruption for commuters since the 1989 earthquake. Approximately 280,000 cars will be affected by this accident.
Citizens have been encouraged to start Telecommuting. Unfortunately, many people are not familiar with this technology and are not equipped to use it.
What is telecommuting and how do you get started?
Telecommuting (a.k.a. working from home) eliminates the daily commute. This is done by setting up a virtual office enabling you to access important office information without being at the office. A virtual office lets you have access to your email and office network. Also, it enables your phone to ring at your home instead of your office. Recent technology now lets you take the office on-the-road.
AccuConference can assist with this telecommuting process. Our Accu800 service provides a toll-free phone number that can re-route to any location. You can use the same toll-free number regardless of what phone you are using or where you are at. You can participate in business meetings and conference calls from home, in your car, or at a local restaurant.
Click on the link if you want more information on telecommuting or Accu800
Are your telephone conferences cutting out when you’re listening on your speaker phone? It’s a common occurrence with a simple solution.
Many conference call systems use a feature that mutes everyone to eliminate background noise. But if you or your office uses a speakerphone, then it’s also important to press the mute button. If you don’t, the conference call will intermittently cut-out.
Click here to find out why
Here are some tips for speakerphone users:
- Use the mute button on your speakerphone when you’re not talking
- Test your speakerphone to make sure the volume sounds right.
- Choose a quiet location. Shut door, turn of the cell phone etc.
- Speak directly into the mic
- Speak one person at a time
As Lisa writes, people procrastinate on processing the inbox. The unspoken dread factor allows it to slowly increase in volume, threatening to spill out and take over.
Why is it scary?
- You don't know what's in it. (There is nothing worse than the fear of the unknown.)
- It looks bigger than you.
- You think you know what's in it, and it's not fun.
Here are some tips for making processing painless...
- Integrate personal emails with your business emails so you have “treats” to look forward to.
- Don’t sort the entire inbox at one time, just focus on one at a time.
- Try to make it enjoyable. Brew a nice cup of coffee, listen to music and do it at a time when you’re typically relaxed.
Remember - the more organized you keep your inbox, the better you’ll feel. The better you feel, the better you’ll work.
We tried a fun activity on Saturday and we’re still feeling the effects today (literally)! We had so much fun that we’re planning on doing it again next week.
Whether you need to blow off some stress or just want to have fun, nothing makes you feel closer to a co-worker then diving into the same trench while under fire.
Here are some pictures from our day:
By Andrew Clogg
I was on the phone the other day with a customer. She was in a rush and I was more than happy to get her the information she needed quickly. The call only lasted about 30 seconds.
Halfway through our brief encounter I requested some account information from her and then said “Thank You.”
At that moment I heard her voice change. It was as though my “thank you” caught her by surprised. She laughed and said “You’re welcome, but thank you!” It happened very quickly, but I’m sure she hung up with a smile on her face.
Case in point: People like it when you say thank you, and that little bit goes a long way.