Thursday, February 25, 2010

Regain Control of your Inbox

A full inbox often means unopened messages, backlogged responses, and unnecessary stress. Here are three ways to clear your inbox and your mind:

Read email in batches. Don't scan your email for urgent messages and leave everything else for later; that's how you begin to get buried. Check your email at set times during the day and immediately file messages into one of three folders: follow-up, hold, or archive.
Use the "two-minute rule." If an email will take less than two minutes to respond to (and many should), respond right away and get rid of it. Letting those easy-to-respond-to messages pile up can wreak havoc on your inbox.
Unsubscribe. There's nothing worse than unread messages from mailing lists that clog your inbox. Think about which lists add value and unsubscribe from the re

Habits of Highly Effective Networkers (Business People)

I came across this information on a blog that deals with networking and job searching. But in reading the 10 things it struck me that these can be used in our everyday business life.

10 Habits of Highly Effective Networkers

1. Be Memorable – Grabbing the positive attention of people at networking events is critical. And the way you do that is to have a great story. A great elevator pitch that includes something compelling. It will be different for all of us. Some are personal stories of triumph. Others are tales of work successes. But you need a story to engage people. Period.
2. Be Patient – You will meet all sorts while networking. Many of whom will not do it right. They will make mistakes. The “new”, the “impatient” and the “needy” will find their way to you. And your reaction to them is critical. Instead of looking for an out, look for the opportunity to educate. You will be thanked and remembered for that . . .
3. Be Consistent – Don’t crawl under a rock and don’t expect that showing up at a quarterly event will properly freshen your network relationships. You need to pick a few key organizations or events and go consistently. This way you become a part of the fabric. And you start to build friendships that will now extend beyond your visits. Set a goal for yourself that gets you in one general and one industry or function specific group event per month.
4. Be Relevant – You are relevant if people attending events see you as having value. To them. Right now. How do you do that? First, keep up friendships and each time you re-connect, ask great questions to make sure you know what is happening in their lives. This allows you to offer value that is specific to them. If it is a job search driven group, offer to serve as a volunteer and create subject matter expertise. Be the resume expert for your group. Or the interview prep person. If you help someone achieve their objectives in life, you are relevant.
5. Be Social Media Savvy – To be effective in today’s world, you really need to be savvy in social media. It is the easiest and most effective way to keep in touch with your network. In a personal way. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare to name a few. If haven’t already done so, get started today. Really.
6. Be Honest – In order to really do this right, you have to be honest with people. If you tell everyone what they want to hear and promise the world, the results will be poor. If someone approaches you the wrong way, I encourage you to tell them. “Hey, I appreciate what you are trying to do, but . . .”. You can make great friends with people by helping them see the benefits of selfless networking. Those who come to an event as only a “taker” will find frustration in this new economy. Unless someone like you gently straightens them out.
7. Be Influential – How do you build influence? Well you can read my post on the subject. But, in short, it has to do with creating a sense in your network that you have something unique to offer. Something you’ve created. A group, a presentation, a helpful spreadsheet (for example). You can also do it by being selfless. Over time, your good acts will create a wave of positive momentum. And people will come to events looking for you. That makes networking easy. And fulfilling.
8. Be Considerate – If you bruise your network, it will be less pliable. Less interested in supporting you when you need it. And I think we all know that this new economy has been a teachable moment for us all. Don’t ask for more than you deserve. Don’t disregard a networking request if you can help it. And don’t over-use a networking contact.
9. Be Thankful – Say thank you. And display your thanks in more ways than one. Know the needs and wants of your network. So that you can give targeted gratitude. Instead of something coming back to bite you, this effort will come back to kiss you. Gently on the cheek.
10. Be Present – In order to do this really well, there will be sacrifices. Less time at home with family. Less American Idol. Less Sunday football. OK with that? Being present means that you are there. At the events. And are there mentally as well. Focused uniquely on whoever is standing in front of you. It means having the ability to move around and “be present” with as many people as possible.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Managing by Expectations

One of the greatest tools I have ever come across is the Balanced Score Card. It is a great way to grade different aspects of your business and come up with plans that help you be successful. There is a lot of information out on the internet regarding the topic and plenty of consultants who sell their services. Even if you try to do it on your own, it is a great tool and worth the effort