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    9 Facts about coaching you need to know

     

    What is Coaching? Coaching is a fairly young discipline, so there are a lot of definitions of the term "coaching". Let's take a look at various descriptions offered on the World Wide Web. Coaching can be defined as: * A process providing an individual with feedback, insight and guidance on achieving their full potential in their business or personal life. * A strategy used to help individuals reach their fullest potential and achieve their goals. * A set of practical skills and a style of relating that develop the potential of both the individual being coached and the coach. * A professional relationship in which you work together with your coach to clarify your options, set goals and develop action plans to achieve these goals. The notion of coaching originated from sports, but nowadays there are lots of different coaching types. However, in this article we'll look at the two main types of coaching: life (personal) coaching and business (corporate) coaching. Benefits of Corporate Coaching: Organizational Development. 1. Increase of performance. This is perhaps the main advantage without which coaching literally would have no sense. Coaching develops the best qualities of people and teams and enables the usage of these qualities at work for the benefit of organization. Thus using coaching in management significantly increases staff productivity. 2. Improvement of relationships at work. Questions asked during the coaching process add value both to the person being asked and his/her answers. Thus an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust is being established. Good relationships at work provide the fertile ground for staff productivity, while the instructions and directions typical for the directive style of management aren't likely to bring such positive changes. 3. Staff development. Staff development means not only educational seminars and trainings, but also unlocking the inner potential of the company's employees. Whether the employees are going to develop themselves or not depends mainly on the company's management style. Initially, all of us have a great potential which can be revealed through coaching. Coaching allows the employees to develop themselves directly in the workplace, thus increasing their efficiency. 4. Flexibility and adaptability. Improving competitiveness on the market requires such skills as flexibility and adaptability. Coaching aids in quickly adapting to every kind of change, which is quite important in today's business world. 5. Staff motivation. Nowadays people work under their own will, not under constraint. Coaching helps people to fully develop their potential, increase their self-esteem and thus raise the quality of their work. Of course at the same time people become motivated to be productive and work efficiently. Benefits of Personal Coaching: Personal Development. 1. Life quality improvement. The most important constituent of a person's quality of life is emotional satisfaction. This factor must be taken into account in regard to HR management. When using coaching, apart from improving relationships, every employee gets higher emotional satisfaction from their work, which cannot but motivate them to perform at their best. 2. Creativity. Coaching itself and the working environment created by it encourages employees to make creative suggestions. At the same time employees aren't afraid of being laughed at or rejected. Moreover, they are motivated to put forward their suggestions to improve business processes. And one creative idea, when properly evaluated and accepted, generates lots of new ideas. 3. Fast and effective response to critical situations. If people feel an atmosphere of respect and recognition, they're always ready to stand for the company's interests in critical situations. Working overtime and temporary changes to the working environment won't be a great problem for them and will be accepted with understanding. Moreover, the employees will do their best to avoid such a situation, and will handle it themselves, without any direction from management. 4. Unlocking hidden resources and potentials. Coaching creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence, where a person discovers inner resources that they didn't know about earlier. The coach's questions help the coachee to see the ways of achieving their goals. Coaching helps a person to find their inner 'assembly point', from which the way of approaching goals becomes clear. Conclusion. We can talk about the benefits of coaching for a long time. Today it's indeed the most effective personnel management style, a powerful tool, which allows achieving amazing results. Coaching is not a theory, first of all it's a practice, not difficult to master, but at the same time extremely efficient. To make sure it works, all you have to do is try to use coaching at work, and the results could well be positive, even the first time. There is lots of useful literature and training on coaching. However, coaching can also be learned online. We offer the "Corporate Coaching" online course. speedteach/corporate-coaching-training. aspx This course gives you not only theoretical knowledge, but also gives you the opportunity to practicing coaching with business case characters. We wish you success on your way to becoming a successful coach!

         
    10 Characteristics of effective meetings

     

    Here are ten fundamental concepts that characterize an effective meeting. 1) Definition: A meeting is a business activity where select people gather to perform work that requires a team effort. 2) A meeting, like any business event, succeeds when it is preceded by planning, characterized by focus, governed by structure, and controlled by a budget. 3) Short meetings free people to work on the essential activities that represent the core of their jobs. In contrast, long meetings prevent people from working on critical tasks such as planning, communicating, and learning. 4) Three things guarantee an unproductive meeting: poor planning, lack of appropriate process, and hostile culture. Effective leaders attend to all of these to create an effective meeting. 5) Effective meetings require sharing control and making commitments. 6) The ultimate goals of every meeting are agreements, decisions, or solutions. Meetings held for other reasons seldom produce anything of value. 7) Unprepared participants will spend their time in the meeting preparing for the meeting. 8) It is better to spend a little time preparing for solutions than to spend a lot of time fixing problems. 9) Meetings are an investment of resources and time that should earn a profit. 10) A meeting can be led from any chair in the room. And if it’s your meeting, you want it to be your chair.

         
    10 Effective ways to reduce your business costs

     

    10 Effective Ways To Reduce Your Business Costs 1. Barter If you have a business you should be bartering goods and services with other businesses. You should try to trade for something before you buy it. Barter deals usually require little or no money. 2. Network Try networking your business with other businesses. You could trade leads or mailing lists. This will cut down on your marketing and advertising costs. You may also try bartering goods and services with them. 3. Wholesale/Bulk You'll save money buying your business supplies in bulk quantities. You could get a membership at a wholesale warehouse or buy them through a mail order wholesaler. Buy the supplies you are always running out of. 4. Free Stuff You should try visiting the thousands of freebie sites on the internet before buying your business supplies. You can find free software, graphics, backgrounds, online business services etc. 5. Borrow/Rent Have you ever purchased business equipment you only needed for a small period of time? You could have just borrowed the equipment from someone else or rented the equipment from a "rent-all" store. 6. Online/Offline Auctions You can find lower prices on business supplies and equipment at online and offline auctions. I'm not saying all the time, but before you go pay retail for these items try bidding on them first. 7. Plan Ahead Make a list of business supplies or equipment you'll need in the future. Keep an eye out for stores that have big sales. Purchase the supplies when they go on sale before you need them. 8. Used Stuff If your business equipment and supplies don't need to be new, buy them used. You can find used items at yard and garage sales, used stores, used stuff for sale message boards and newsgroups etc. 9. Negotiate You should always try negotiate a lower price for any business equipment or supplies. It doesn't hurt to try. Pretend you are talking to a salesman at a car lot. 10. Search You can always be searching for new suppliers for your business supplies and equipment. Look for suppliers with lower prices and better quality. Don't just be satisfied with a few. ----

         
    10 Questions to consider when growing your business

     

    Here's a provocation for the coming year, decade, century or millennium. By now, you've set a working direction for the year, established clear-cut objectives. Your first-iteration plan to reach them should be in place. This now seems like an ideal time to rethink the whole thing, doesn't it? After all, one of the effects of internet time is that plans are subject to change just as soon as - or perhaps even before - they are written. Along these lines of thinking, perhaps there are some items you missed. Maybe there are issues you didn't have time to consider, or even things your mind touched on, but quickly passed over to deal with more urgent and pressing events. If you are off-cycle, and on the verge of a new period, you can use this exercise ex ante, rather than ex post. To help you stimulate your neural pathways and hopefully create an idea or two, I offer the following thoughts for your consideration. These "considerations" are not sequenced in order of importance. I think they are important. 1. How far in the distance is your planning horizon? Most companies today plan 12-24 months out, calling anything beyond that "vision." Internet time implies a shortened time frame for activities, but does that time-collapse extend to a shortened vision as well? How much have you thought about what you will accomplish this decade? What will be your company's impact on the millennium? (OK - perhaps millennium is too far out. What about the century?) You may say you have more pressing fish to fry. Your investors would like to see increased returns sooner than that. While this might be true enough, taking the long view can inform the short view, leading to greater returns for years to come. What do you see when you take the long view? 2. How are your prospects' needs going to change? How is their world affected by the dramatic increases in connectivity and the compression of time? What are you doing to understand their changing environment - their changing business issues? What are you doing to improve your customer's business under these slippery conditions? To take it one step further, what do your customers' customers want? While you are at it, you might stop to consider how your suppliers' needs are changing? Could those changes open up new opportunities for you, or darkly portend changes downstream totally derailing your business model? What about your distributors? Is their world shifting? Can you both benefit? 3. Who in your organization simply isn't contributing? As they say, your mileage may vary from individual to individual but everyone has the responsibility to go some distance, to make something valuable happen. Not everyone will make good on that implied promise. The often observed 80-20 rule applies to your staff as well: 20% of your people will produce 80% of the value. That leaves 80% producing only 20%. Do the math: the bottom 10% of your organization produces almost nothing. Who isn't making the cut? Should you be doing something about it? You may think it beneficent to provide that bottom percent with a paying job - don't. It isn't. The non-performers know who they are, but they won't cut the cord on their own. Do what you can to help them reach the bar, but if after a while they don't make it, set them free to find an environment in which they can succeed. Free up your own resources for people who make a difference. 4. Are you creating solutions to today's problems? What about next week's, next year's, or the problems of several years from now? How are you figuring out what those problems are going to be, way out there on the time horizon? Because the solution you sell today should certainly address today's problems, but the solutions on today's drawing board better not. Who in your organization is responsible for trend-tracking and forecasting? Are you building scenarios for the future? What about prospect focus groups, or some other market-based feedback mechanism? Who is your resident futurist? 5. What do you believe about the business you are in? For most people this is a strange question - we rarely spend time thinking about our own beliefs. The collection of beliefs you hold about your business - what the Germans call Weltanschauung - is decisive in most of the choices you make. How much risk to take. What's risky and what isn't. What projects and initiatives to undertake. What kind of resources you need and whom to hire. Whom to partner with, or should you have partners at all? Cooperate or compete. How to treat your team. What your customers should expect from you. How hard do you expect people to work? All these decisions stem from your beliefs, and it will help you to make them explicit. Once you surface those beliefs, you can start to distinguish which are useful beliefs and which are not. What is the benefit of a particular belief? Is this belief relevant to your current world, or is it a holdover from some past part of life? Then, when you are ready, you can experiment with new beliefs. 6. What are the obstacles to proceeding along your current path? Yes - you've set a plan in motion, and you are taking steps toward its achievement. But what roadblocks may rise up to stop you? What things could get in your way - foreseen and unforeseen? (I know, if it's unforeseen how are you going to see it? Use your imagination, that's the point of this exercise.) Rank these obstacles in terms of likelihood, then rank them in terms of severity. Consider how you might deal with them if they come up. The value of this is a) like the Boy Scouts, you are better prepared; b) you may illuminate issues you have been trying to sweep under the rug; and c) you just may invent a whole new approach to get where you are going, and it just might be better than what you are doing now. 7. What, if you only knew how, would you be doing? What would you do now if you had additional resources - and should the lack of resources be stopping you? What, if you were sure it would be successful, would you jump on right away? What would you begin immediately, if your resources were limitless? (Yes, limitless can be relative.) What are you betting the future of your company on? What would you be willing to bet the future of your company on? 8. What are the most important issues, right now? Make separate lists for issues in your market and issues in your company. Which of these issues are you dealing with, which ones are on the backburner, and which ones aren't even in the kitchen? What are the processes you use to deal with these issues? Which issues are you ignoring, or hoping will go away? What breakthroughs might be possible by addressing or resolving issues in the latter category? Where are you "resolving" issues by compromising? What possibilities are available by refusing to compromise, or by breaking your compromises? What old stories or old ways of looking at things make these compromises seem inevitable? Where could new technologies (either material, virtual, or societal) be applied to break these compromises? 9. What are you sacrificing to accomplish your current objectives? The definition of sacrifice is giving up something of value for something of even greater value. Did you intend to give up that thing of value, or is it a thoughtless byproduct of your other choices? Do not dismiss this lightly. In your business there are a number of priority-conflicting critical success factors. These include profitability, product development, new sales, customer satisfaction, recruiting and retention, revenue growth, sufficient capital - which one gets the most attention? And in this operating cycle - will each area get the attention it needs? Even in a lower position of priority, these areas cannot be neglected. What isn't getting done that needs to be done and how are you going to do it? 10. What is the purpose of your organization? I don't just mean increasing shareholder wealth that simply won't inspire your people to greatness. What besides that - a given - is the purpose of your company. Purpose is not something you invent, it is there already - you have to uncover it. Why do you come to work each day? What do you hope to accomplish in the long run? What about your executive team? Your individual employees - why do they come? What do they think they are doing each day? Do you know? Have you bothered to find out? You've just completed a planning cycle, and I'm asking what your purpose is! If you can't answer this question easily, now would be a great time to start. Bonus question for consideration: Are there any questions I've listed above that you do not have easy answers to, but wish you did? Every so often I do an exercise called the "One-Hundred Questions." Download a copy of a recent 100 questions at paullemberg/tipsandtools. html, along with how to use this simple thought-provoker. (c) Copyright Paul Lemberg. All rights reserved

         
    10 Things that lead to one great meeting

     

    Here are ten things that you can do to make your meetings more effective. 1) Avoid meetings. Test the importance of a meeting by asking, "What happens without it?" If your answer is, "Nothing," then don't call the meeting. 2) Prepare goals. These are the results you want to obtain by the end of the meeting. Write out your goals before the meetings. They should be so clear, complete, and specific that someone else could use them to lead your meeting. Also, make sure they can be achieved with available people, resources, and time. Specific goals help everyone make efficient progress toward relevant results. 3) Challenge each goal. Ask, "Is there another way to achieve this?" For example, if you want to distribute information, you may find it more efficient to phone, FAX, mail, E-mail, or visit. Realize that a meeting is a team activity. Save tasks that require a team effort for your meetings. 4) Prepare an agenda. Everyone knows an agenda leads to an effective meeting. Yet, many people "save time" by neglecting to prepare an agenda. A meeting without an agenda is like a journey without a map. It is guaranteed to take longer and produce fewer results. Note, without an agenda, you risk becoming someone else's helper (see tip #6 below). 5) Inform others. Send the agenda at least a day before the meeting. That helps others prepare to work with you in the meeting. Unprepared participants waste your time by preparing for the meeting during the meeting. 6) Assume control. If you find yourself in a meeting without an agenda walk out. If you must stay, prepare an agenda in the meeting. Collect a list of issues, identify the most important, and work on that. When you finish, if time remains, select the next most important issue. Note: you can use a meeting without an agenda to recruit help for your projects. 7) Focus on the issue. Avoid stories, jokes, and unrelated issues. Although entertaining, these waste time, distract focus, and mislead others. Save the fun for social occasions where it will be appreciated. 8) Be selective. Invite only those who can contribute to achieving your goals for the meeting. Crowds of observers and supporters bog down progress in a meeting. 9) Budget time. No one would spend $1,000 on a ten-cent pencil, but they often spend 40 employee hours on trivia. Budget time in proportion to the value of the issue. For example, you could say, "I want a decision on this in 10 minutes. That means we'll evaluate it for the next 9 minutes, followed by a vote." 10) Use structured activities in your meetings. These process tools keep you in control while you ensure equitable participation and systematic progress toward results.

         
    10 Ways to stimulate employee motivation

     

    Today’s fast-moving business environment demands that the effective manager be both a well-organized administrator and highly adept in understanding people’s basic needs and behaviour in the workplace. Gaining commitment, nurturing talent, and ensuring employee motivation and productivity require open communication and trust between managers and staff. 1. Understand their behaviour People at work naturally tend to adopt instinctive modes of behaviour that are self-protective rather than open and collaborative. This explains why emotion is a strong force in the workplace and why management often reacts violently to criticisms and usually seeks to control rather than take risks. So, in order to eliminate this kind of perspective and to increase employee motivation, it is best that you influence behaviour rather than to change personalities. Insisting what you expect from your employees will only worsen the situation. 2. Be sure that people’s lower-level needs are met. People have various kinds of needs. Examples of lower-level needs are salary, job security, and working conditions. In order to increase employee motivation, you have to meet these basic needs. Consequently, failures with basic needs nearly always explain dissatisfaction among staff. Satisfaction, on the other hand, springs from meeting higher-level needs, such as responsibility progress, and personal growth. When satisfaction is met, chances are employee motivation is at hand. 3. Encourage pride People need to feel that their contribution is valued and unique. If you are a manager, seek to exploit this pride in others, and be proud of your own ability to handle staff with positive results. This, in turn, will encourage employee motivation among your people. 4. Listen carefully In many areas of a manager’s job, from meetings and appraisals to telephone calls, listening plays a key role. Listening encourages employee motivation and, therefore, benefits both you and your staff. So make an effort to understand people’s attitudes by careful listening and questioning and by giving them the opportunity to express themselves. 5. Build confidence Most people suffer from insecurity at some time. The many kinds of anxiety that affect people in organizations can feed such insecurity, and insecurity impedes employee motivation. Your antidote, therefore, is to build confidence by giving recognition, high-level tasks, and full information. In doing so, you only not refurbish employee motivation but boost productivity as well. 6. Encourage contact Many managers like to hide away behind closed office doors, keeping contact to a minimum. That makes it easy for an administrator, but hard to be a leader. It is far better to keep your office door open and to encourage people to visit you when the door is open. Go out of your way to chat to staff on an informal basis. Keep in mind that building rapport with your staff will effectively increase employee motivation. 7. Use the strategic thinking of all employees. It is very important to inform people about strategic plans and their own part in achieving the strategies. Take trouble to improve their understanding and to win their approval, as this will have a highly positive influence on performance and increasing employee motivation as well. 8. Develop trust The quality and style of leadership are major factors in gaining employee motivation and trust. Clear decision making should be coupled with a collaborative, collegiate approach. This entails taking people into your confidence and explicitly and openly valuing their contributions. By simply giving your staff the opportunity to show that you can trust them is enough to increase employee motivation among them. 9. Delegate decisions Pushing the power of decision-making downward reduces pressure on senior management. It motivates people on the lower levels because it gives them a vote of confidence. Also, because the decision is taken nearer to the point of action, it is more likely to be correct. Consequently, by encouraging them to choose their own working methods, make decisions, and giving them responsibility for meeting the agreed goal will encourage employee motivation among your staff. 10. Appraising to motivate When choosing methods of assessing your staff’s performance, always make sure that the end result has a positive effect on employee motivation and increases people’s sense of self-worth. Realistic targets, positive feedback, and listening are key factors. If you follow these simple steps in increasing employee motivation, rest assured you will have a good working relationship with your staff at the same time boost you company’s productivity. Just bear in mind that people are employed to get good results for the company. Their rates of success are intrinsically linked to how they are directed, reviewed, rewarded, trusted, and motivated by the management.

         
    11 Secrets to better time management for entrepreneurs

     

    Why is it that the Bill Gate's of this world are rich and famous? What secret do they know that the rest of us don't? If you study their lives closely, you'll discover the rich and famous have certain habits that attribute to their success. Successful people are very careful about how they spend their time. No matter how you slice it, we all have 24 hours in a day, so the key lies in learning to use our time wisely. Below are some ways you can dramatically increase your productivity through more effective use of your time. 1. MONITOR HOW YOU CURRENTLY USE YOUR TIME: If it seems like your day slips by all too quickly, try creating a log of your daily activities. Once you see where you are spending your time, you can identify and focus on the activities that provide the greatest returns for you personally and financially. Start your log by writing down what time you wake up, get ready, and begin work. Calculate how much time you spend on individual activities such as email, phone calls, and client work. => FREE TIME TRACKING TOOL: Here's a personal time survey to help you discover how much time you spend on various work activities: Personal Time Survey Tracker 2. CALCULATE HOW MUCH YOUR TIME IS WORTH: Time is money. Knowing how much your time is actually worth can help you make better decisions as to whether you should perform a task or outsource it. For instance, if your time is worth $200 an hour, you are far better off paying someone $30 an hour to edit your newsletter. You can "bank" the other $170 per hour by spending your time on profit making activities. Also take the time to determine how much time a day you need to spend on billable activities to make your desired profit. I try to spend 1.5 hours a day on money making projects. => FREE TIME COSTING TOOL: Here's a time costing worksheet to help you determine how much you are actually when you subtract the expenses. Time Costing Sheet 3. CREATE A DAILY SCHEDULE: Don't start your day without a to do list. Make a list of tasks and categorize them into business building activities, client activities, and personal items. Then break bigger unmanageable projects into smaller "doable" chunks so they less intimidating and are easier to accomplish. => FREE DAILY TO DO LIST: Try this free all inclusive WebMomz To Do List 4. PRIORITIZE: Have more to do than hours in the day? By prioritizing your tasks, you'll make sure that you are tackling the items that matter most. Create a system that works for you. One standard way of prioritizing is to mark items with A, B, and C. Ask yourself these key questions: What items MUST be done today? Which items can be rescheduled? What can be delegated? Which tasks most closely match my priorities and goals? Which items can be eliminated? 5. LEARN TO SAY NO: Are you adding one more item to your never-ending TO DO list? You are in control of your time. Be strong and uphold your personal boundaries. When you are well rested and treat yourself and your family to the time off you deserve, you'll feel happier and more productive when it's time to go back to work. ** Before you say yes, ask yourself these questions: Do you really have the time or energy to do that extra task? Do I like this customer? Are they good for me? Will it be profitable? Does it invade on your personal time? Does it involve doing something you enjoy? Does it fit in with your list of priorities and goals? 6. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS AND TIME SUCKS: Time sucks are lurking everywhere like viruses. Think about which activities are eating up your time. For me personally, these items include email, social calls, and telemarketers. I "conquer" the email demon by shutting down my Outlook when I am working. When a family member calls during work time, I politely ask if I can call them back during the afternoon and remind them of my work hours. Caller ID valiantly saves me from the "would be" telemarketer time thieves. With one glance, I can quickly differentiate telemarketers from important client calls. 7. STICK TO THE PLAN: Try not to get sidetracked from your plan. One of my friends has a motto, "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency for me". It's a smart one to live by. Unless it's a true emergency, or you are being paid "rush" time, you probably don't need to squeeze a last minute request in today. Also, by assigning yourself project deadlines, you can keep on top of projects and avoid those dreaded last minute emergencies. 8. CHOOSE AN INSPIRING PLACE AND TIME: We are all "built" differently. Do the tasks which take your most "brain power" when you are at your prime. Are you a morning person or do you work best burning the midnight oils? Create an ultimate work haven that is clean, distraction free, and inspiring. My office overlooks my flower garden and is right in the heart of family activity. As I glance to the right, our Angel fish "Spike" proudly parades across the fish tank. In front of me, Monet has a glorious display of peach poppies in a field. Above me, Monet is painting a vivid portrait of his flower garden. In the living room, my son is softly singing the Spiderman theme to himself - music to my ears! 9. BUNDLE LIKE TASKS TOGETHER: As you work through your daily list, try to chunk your tasks into like activities. By creating a separate "chunk" of time for answering email, invoicing, making return phone calls, you'll save time and mental energy. 10. AVOID INTERRUPTIONS: Trying to do the same thing over and over again with interruptions can be maddening. Once you start a task, try to finish it to the end. If something comes up that you need to remember or do, unless it's urgent, simply add it to your list and continue on with your current project. 11. BE ORGANIZED: When things are tidy, it saves you time and frees you to focus on the task at hand. Digging through a pile of papers and finding a squished Twinkie isn't very conducive to the work experience. Follow your own organizational style. PHONE LISTS: For instance, I arrange my phone lists into groups according to how I use them: friends, family, doctors, my children's playmates, etc. I also list people in my phone book that I talk to on a first name basis by their first name alphabetically. For instance, I list my mom under "M" and my brother under "T" for Troy. "D" has a list of all my doctors. This works for me, because it's how I think. EMAILS: Another time saving idea is to color code your emails. In my personal color scheme I use one color for clients, one for newsletters, and another for my coworkers. You can also group your emails using categories and folders. ONE CALENDAR MEETS ALL: Keeping track of work appointments, Brownie meetings, and committee meetings can be very difficult. My secret to keeping on top of family and work appointments is to schedule them all on one calendar. DAYTIMER SPECIAL SECTION: Create a special section of your Daytimer just for special interests, hobbies, or kids. My husband keeps one with all his stock info. I have a special kid section with phone numbers for Brownie leaders, playmates, doctors, school contacts, bus number and other items. SUMMARY: Why wait for success when you can literally schedule it! By mastering your time, you can accomplish much more with less effort. Be choosey about how you spend your time. Focus on activities which most closely match your goals. By taking time to monitor, measure, and manage your time, you will enjoy an abundance of success and happiness.

         
    12 New tips for effective meetings

     

    1) Ask everyone to arrive five to ten minutes early. This gives everyone time to socialize, obtain coffee, or organize materials before the meeting. It also ensures that everyone is present at the scheduled starting time. Make this part of the agenda. 2) Discuss sensitive issues with the key participants before the meeting. Use this as an opportunity to listen and gather information on the issues. From this you will understand the different views, needs, and histories. This information can help you prepare the agenda and conduct the meeting. In addition, you may be able to facilitate solutions or strategies for solutions before the meeting. In either case, the result will be a more efficient meeting. 3) Plan small meetings that focus on a single issue. People work more effectively over short periods of time (such as 45 minutes). This also allows you to match experts with issues for more productive meetings. 4) Only invite those who can contribute to at least 50% of the items on the agenda. For meetings lasting more than 30 minutes, invite special participants only to the part of the meeting that deals with their contribution. 5) Send copies of the minutes to everyone who could have been invited for informational purposes. They can read the minutes in a small fraction of the time that they would have been spent in the meeting. 6) When invited to a meeting with a vague (or missing) agenda, ask: what role will I have? Why do you need me? If your impact is minor, refuse to attend and use the time for other work. Meeting planners often attempt to add importance to a meeting by inviting prominent members of the organization. 7) If the chairperson seems to have allowed the meeting’s intent to drift, ask: “What do you want to achieve?” or “How can we help you?” or “How will we know when we are done working on this?” These questions can help focus the meeting on a goal. 8) If a meeting seems out of control, suggest adjourning and reconvening at a later time. This will allow you to clarify goals, prepare strategies, and better understand the issues. 9) Reflect the content of key points. This ensures that everyone has the same understanding of the key point. Although this is one of the chairperson’s responsibilities, it can be filled by anyone else in the meeting. 10) Prepare a list of questions, ideas, suggestions before the meeting. Then you can focus your attention on the discussion in the meeting. 11) Watch the listeners instead of the speaker. Their faces and body language will tell you whether they agree or disagree, which can help guide you participation in the discussion. 12) Work with a sense of appropriate urgency. Life is finite, and the discussions in meetings should be the same. Plan a time budget and then use it to guide your meeting. Spend extra time only when an issue warrants it.

         
    15 Tips to streamline your business and become profitable in 2006

     

    Here are some tips to help you ‘cut the fat’ and improve the productivity of your business. If you apply a few of these, you’re well on your way to achieving greater profit and creating less stress! 1. Cut the Slackers! “Carrying dead-weight employees? Lose them now!” Ever tried to run a marathon whilst towing an old tire? This is what it’s like trying to grow a productive business with unproductive (or unmotivated) employees. Not only will they not add value to your bottom line, they’ll drag other ‘productive’ workmates to their level. Cutting a slack worker (legally of course) will actually increase the productiveness of other workmates. 2. Cut the Paper! “Start a war against paper!” Do you need to print that email to read it? Or that brief? Reduce office clutter on desks and encourage better use of digital filing. Ask clients to email files rather than send faxes, and printed media. Use a web based project management or time tracking solution rather than paper based timesheets. Get the drift – saves trees too! 3. Cut the Time! “A task can take both 10 minutes and an hour!” Have you noticed that if you give a task (i. e.: write a proposal) to an employee and they have a day to do it, they will, but if you give them 3 days to do the same task, guess what, they’ll take 3 days! Put tight and exact deadlines (i. e.: Wed 3:30pm) on important tasks, and your staff will become more productive. 4. Cut the Expenses! “Plug all the holes in your cash flow!” Make a list of all general expenses in your business. Next to each one, write one of the following: Need it, Review it, Cut it. Take this list to either a receptionist or employee with some free time. Have them work down the list firstly on the expenses to ‘Cut’. This will create immediate savings. Then have them ‘Review’ the expenses you need, but perhaps could get a better deal on. ‘Trimming the fat’ every 6 months can help you create profit. 5. Target Different Work! “One project for $20,000 or ten projects for $2,000 each”. Look at the type of work you’re targeting. Is it worth targeting a different type or value of work? Most businesses just ‘do what they’ve always done’ rather than looking for more profitable types of revenue. Think hard about other more profitable work your business can do with its available resource. 6. Don’t Work Late, Come in Early! “A clear mind is a productive mind!” Outside of work, this time should be used to recharge. Don’t take extra work home, rather just go home, relax, play golf, go for a run, enjoy the family & come in early to do that extra work. Not only will you work better after relaxing, but your family life will improve! 7. Motivate Staff, Offer Incentives! “Staff priorities are not the same as manager priorities!” Managers, Owners & Directors have different motives and priorities than staff. Just because you are excited about your business doesn’t mean the staff are. Your mind is on the bottom line, whereas staff think of their pay, and they’ll get paid whether they perform or not. Motivate staff with performance related bonuses such as money, time off & job flexibility. 8. Hire multi-skilled workers! “Enlarge your skill base without the cost!” It’s better to have two designer/developers, than a designer and a developer. Multi-skilled workers, by nature are generally better problem solvers, more flexible and more productive than single skilled workers. You’ll also have more options for work delegation and due to an increased skill base will be able to take on a wider range of projects. 9. Clean your Desks! “Start the Week Fresh”. Make it company policy that every Friday, before staff leave, all loose paper is to be filed away or organized in racks, drawers, folders or cabinets. A messy workspace is a messy mind. By having staff organize their desks on Friday, when they start on Monday, they’ll get straight info focused work, rather than looking at clutter wondering where to start. More productive time! 10. Clean your Digital Files! “Make it easy to find information!” Searching hard drives and servers for information can waste a lot of productive time. Designate a tech employee the job of tidying the server. Have them organize files logically into client folders, archive or remove old files, check everybody has good network access and tidy the other staffs’ desktops and PCs. 11. Prioritize Your 20%’ers! “Do the important things first!” Most people procrastinate on the 20% of the tasks that create 80% of the revenue. At the end of each day, make a list for the next day. If you have 25 tasks, list the 5 most important revenue generating tasks (the 20%’ers), then list the 5 most urgent tasks (usually admin). By working through the 20% items first, you’re working ‘on’ the business (growth), rather than ‘in’ the business (maintenance). 12. Review your Services! “Your services should be team players, not just expenses!” Do you consider your accountant, or lawyers an expense? Or do they truly add value? A good accountant will save you more money than they cost. With so many accountants, lawyers, printers, couriers etc available, are you sure you are working with the best you could be? Every 6 months you should review your external services with this question in mind: “Are they helping or hindering my business?” 13. Systemize your Processes! “How can I do it easier, faster, and cheaper?” As a matter of habit, always look for ways to systemize processes. Create templated emails, templated forms and documents, a ‘roles and responsibilities’ chart, use process automation applications, digital timesheets, auto responders, automatic payments etc. Almost every process in your business can be creatively systemized to be easier, faster, and cheaper! If you systemize 3 processes a month, that’s 36 processes a year – what a difference! 14. Use Remote Workers! “Only pay for what you use!” Every staff member not only costs a salary, but also a chair, a desk, a computer, power, square footage, coffee in the kitchen etc. By using remote workers and contractors, you’ll save money and maybe not even need a huge office. They’ll even pay for their own coffee! 15. Learn to Delegate! “Work on your business, not in it!” If you are a manager, you should be spending at least 80% of your time working on growing, systemizing, trimming, and strategic planning. Are you spending too much time on menial tasks and grunt work that can be delegated? If so, learn to delegate (or use contractors) as this will free your time to concentrate on the big picture – “Growing your business and making it profitable!”

         
    19 Timeless tips to keep meetings short

     

    Copyright 2006 Deborah Torres Patel Thorough meeting preparation alleviates anxiety. Good planning guarantees that meetings are relevant, don’t overrun and aren’t held back by uniformed, boring or disinterested attendees. Follow these 19 timeless tips to keep your meetings on track and on time. When preparing your agenda … 1. Identify the aim of your meeting 2. Put the most important items first 3. Establish a clear outcome for each point 4. Judiciously choose meeting invitees. Ask yourself, “Who should attend?” “Should attendees be present for all or just part of the meeting?” 5. Place controversial points towards the end so the early part of the meeting can flow smoothly 6. If you work for a large organization and not everyone knows each other there may be a need for very short introductions. Schedule time for people to quickly share, “Who I am, my role in the company and why I’m here.” Distribute a specific agenda at least one week before the meeting. Make sure that everyone attending has all the information they need and that presenters know exactly how much time they are allotted. When circulating the agenda, state that the meeting will start sharp and end on time. This will subtly set the tone for an efficient meeting. Obviously, it is critical that the meeting chair sticks to the timeline. The meeting day… 1. Rehearse your presentation (if applicable) 2. Arrive early 3. Double check equipment 4. Serve coffee, tea, water or refreshments before a 30-60 minute meeting. Any meeting longer than 30 minutes should have drinks available throughout. 5. If it’s an important meeting, bring a colleague with you to take notes so you can concentrate on the meeting. A discreet alternative is to record the meeting if there are no objections from attendees. 6. Avoid giving all handouts at the beginning because people often leaf through the paperwork instead of being attentive. Unfortunately, well-planned meetings can be derailed by meeting participants. If you have an assertive meeting chair, s/he can easily get the meeting back on track. However, anyone can step in if they have confidence or organizational clout. 7. An upright and open posture is commanding. You can change the volume, pitch, speed or tone of your voice to keep people’s interest and engage them by simply leaning forward. 8. Monitoring other people’s body language can keep you on top of the meeting. Involve slouching or disinterested people by asking for their opinions. 9. When it is your turn to present, remind others that your aim is to keep the meeting as short as possible. Your intention can motivate others to do the same. 10. If speakers are long-winded or have a personal agenda, you can take control assuming a moderator’s role with a few well-placed interruptions like, “May we address the next item on our agenda?” or “Would it be possible for us to go over the details later? Or “Can we discuss the specifics offline?” 11. Suggest a short toilet break to stretch if the meeting is dragging. 12. If an argument or unresolved item prolongs a meeting, call the formal part of the meeting to an end and organize a separate meeting to address the issue. 13. Before ending the meeting, solidify specific task ownership and action items. To ensure your valuable time isn’t usurped by an endless meeting, communicate in advance that you are only available for the scheduled meeting time and politely excuse yourself if the meeting runs overtime. It is your right to leave. Start and end your own meetings on time and develop a reputation for short, well-organized gatherings. Your colleagues will respect you and contribute much more when they feel you value their time.

         
    20 Tips on presenting corporate office areas

     

    1. If you operate an office that receives visiting clients you probably have a reception area. Such an area can be used to great advantage. While your client is waiting to see you why not give them the opportunity to learn about you and the company? Large photographs of the factory or the products / services you provide help to make it clear what your company does or stands for. It also gives an insight into areas your visitor may not be able to access under normal circumstances. You may be surprised at how interested people are in you and what you do behind the scenes. 2. Alternatively you could take the opportunity to feature pictures of the key workers in your team. A head and shoulders photo and a name plate will enable first time visitors to recognise the person they are to meet and to determine their position within the management team. This is considerably comforting when you are about to meet someone for the first time. It also helps to make the staff feel valued and a real part of the organisation. 3. If you think that you need to be a little more creative why not feature your staff in poses that display their favourite pastime. If the M. D. is a keen angler, or the Sales Manager takes part in amateur dramatics, feature them in suitable attire. This makes the person appear “human” and not an office automaton thus making them easier to relate to. 4. If customers are to be required to wait a while, or even if waiting to make a complaint, consider carefully how you can entertain them while they are waiting. You need the area to be calming and friendly so avoid aggressive colours such as bright reds or solid blacks and consider featuring pastel colours in abstract designs of a gentle nature. You may even consider some humorous cartoons or caricatures of the senior management as a way to present yourselves as people of a good humour and friendly nature. Try to be general in subject so as to appeal to everyone. For example, avoid pictures of football clubs etc even if the M. D. is a big fan. If customers are entertained and relaxed by your choice of images and you come out to meet them with a big helpful smile on your face, they will find it harder to be angry with you when you first meet. 5. Similar rules apply when decorating the general admin areas of the office. It is likely that the work is constant and repetitive so make the staff comfortable by displaying bright and positive images they can enjoy. But avoid scenes of Far Eastern Beaches and Palm Trees, you might just find them drifting off on a mental holiday. 6. In your Marketing or Sales Area try and avoid the clichй pictures of Lions stating “The Customer is King” etc. While true, such messages are tired and lack impact these days. Instead, why not feature nicely framed letters from happy customers, certificates of achievement, employee of the month awards, pictures of staff outings that were earned as rewards against results. These will make it quite clear why everyone is there and reminders of the rewards they get for effort will spur them on to win future acknowledgements. 7. Make sure your art is modern, popular and right up to date. Framed calendar prints of Monet’s Water Lillie’s in tired frames against decrepit wall paper or wood wall panelling just will not do. They give out signals of being slow, old fashioned and behind the times. If you happen to like the classics it okay to hang them, just make sure you do so in a celebratory way. Big positive prints and good frames will make much more of a statement than something old and tired. 8. As with flowers and fish tanks it may be possible to hire art for your workplace. This has the advantage of regular refreshment as the supplier visits at allocated times to change the displays. It may also just give you the chance to see what you want to keep on a more permanent basis once you have a had a chance to live with them for a while. 9. If you would rather put your money to a good cause why not sponsor a local School or Hospital to provide paintings by pupils or patients. These are fun and different and show a caring side to your business. Framed well, even the poorest of efforts can look very interesting considering the source. 10. Whatever you choose, make an effort to frame it well. Cheap tatty frames do nothing for your image or your perceived attitude to quality. A tatty attitude to your dйcor could suggest to a client that you have a sloppy attitude to your business or the service you will give them. The presentation you make in your place of work says a great deal about you and what you stand for. 11. Try to discourage staff from littering the walls of their work area with personal effects such as pictures of Pop Stars, bawdy calendars, humorous verses about working here being made easier by being crazy etc. If these areas are encountered by your clients they will give the impression of a loosely run ship. By all means allow staff to personalise their area to an extent, pictures of the family can remind clients that after 5pm this person returns to being human again. If possible, keep the other trends exclusively for the staff room. 12. Try not to make the work environment too sterile. Make good use of plants, preferably synthetic as these do not take the oxygen out of the air, maybe a fish tank, theses done well can look very impressive and encourage tranquillity. Good use of lighting can make an enormous difference to the atmosphere of the place as can a TV screen permanently tuned to a news channel. Again, announcing to all who visit that you are in touch with the World beyond your own doors. 13. Strongly discourage staff from holding personal conversations within earshot of waiting clients. Not only is this immensely embarrassing for the person waiting, it suggests lack of discipline and attention to the job at hand. What Molly did with her boyfriend last night should remain the exclusive interest of – Molly and her boyfriend. 14. Make sure reception staff speak well and convey elegance. Make sure they know your clients name and use it each time they address them to offer coffee or update on your availability. Only select individuals with a good spoken voice to greet clients in person or by phone or make announcements on the P. A. system. This is very important when aiming to establish the quality of your company to clients and staff alike. 15. The smart appearance of staff is essential to maintain standards. Clean shaven, well tied ties, smart haircut etc go a long way to making a great impression. In these days of increased casual attitudes it is not difficult to stand above the competition. You don’t have to go over the top but rolled up shirt sleeves still look much better than a Tee Shirt. 16. Washrooms for use by you and your clients are often over looked when it comes to setting standards. Simple things like making sure soap, tissue, toilet seats (believe it or not) are all there, along with a working extractor fan, hot water and hand dryers are the simple things that can be allowed to let slip. Cleanliness is paramount too of course. Why not go and check your facilities right now and see how much you can improve them. 17. If welcoming foreign visitors make the effort to ensure you are familiar with their customs when greeting. For example if greeting a guest from Malaysia it is customary not to shake hands (although they will as they are also aware of your culture) but to greet them by placing the palm of your right hand against your own left shoulder as you make a subtle bow towards them. It is also good manners for the majority of far eastern countries to intently study their business card for a few seconds when it is offered to you and to avoid pointing with your finger, instead gesturing direction with a gentle upturned hand. 18. When clients are leaving you after a meeting, make the effort to at least see them to the door of your building or, if appropriate, walk them to their vehicle. So many times I have been given excellent treatment by my host only to feel hurriedly ejected at the end of the meeting. Though this was never intentional, it is often the last few minutes of your meeting that you remember after leaving. 19. Go the extra mile to impress. Always send a short note or Email to thank your guest for coming and to suggest the next steps of your trading relationship. Any deal you are after is not in the bag until the contracts are concluded. 20. Constantly appraise your working environment and create a check list of points to maintain at all times. It’s easy to forget these important details but they can make all the difference to your image both within and outside the office walls.

         
    Greed is good remuneration motivation and organisation

     

    The 1980's business culture in the USA and internationally put a considerable emphasis on personal reward on the basis that highly motivated individuals could transform organisations and societies. The extreme example in film was Gordon Gekko in Wall Street stating that greed was good. The 90's, however, have seen companies traumatised and bankrupted by the inappropriate use of remuneration as a motivator. Yet major corporate successes have been built on reward based remuneration systems. Phones4U recently and Allied Dunbar in the financial services market is an earlier example. The notorious Barings Bank had individual traders on bonuses in the millions yet in the long term these motivated individuals were not fulfilling the company's objectives. Moreover even when an individual's reward system is based on entirely appropriate performance indicators, resulting in the organisation’s success and he or she is rewarded, there may still be problems arising from the large differential between salaries of senior people and those of middle management. A payment system that depresses or demotivates 10 people for every one it motivates may not be the best for the organisation. Wise organisations are therefore trying to reward and motivate all staff so that staff act energetically to further the corporation’s interests both short and long term and feel they have been treated fairly. However there must be properly in place the link between the items on which they are being rewarded and the actions they are able to take to influence the desired outcome. A wise organisation accepts that: • It is reasonable for the individual manager to act in his or her own interests. • Managers work for people not organisations and want to please the superiors closest to them, or failing that, their peer group. • Managers want to achieve and will be attracted to those tasks at which they know they can succeed, usually favouring the short term at the expense of the long term. The clear implication is that an organisation should lay some groundwork before relying on a remuneration structure to change performance and behaviour. In other words the management and organisation system must be in balance with the remuneration system. There are 5 major pre-conditions to the installation of an effective reward structure. 1. Measurement: “If you don’t measure it you won’t get it”. There are various measurement systems of which Balanced Scorecard, which sets multiple objectives and is used by Tesco, is perhaps the best known. 2. Monitoring: If the performance measures are not monitored properly or only monitored in a review at the year end, it can give the manager signals that they don’t really matter or, worse still, that failure is acceptable providing all the managers fail together. 3. Control of the tools for the job: The organisation must ensure that the individual is not over dependent on factors outside his control to achieve the performance measures set out (this is the ‘how’ part of the equation). 4. Consistency: Ensuring that short term organisational factors don’t over-influence managers or drive them from their real objective. The organisation must also ensure that its own design (be it bureaucratic or loose) is appropriate to what is being asked of managers. 5. Reward and strategy in line: An organisation's achieving a clear strategy is not an event that will take place in the future; it is a journey. A remuneration system can be put into an organisation even when it has a relatively muddled strategy providing that organisational and management disputes are resolved by reference to strategy and the “balanced score card”. Only then will there be pressure on the organisation to refine its strategy, structure and remuneration systems. Based on these 5 pre conditions, there is a checklist of 10 factors that the effective remuneration and reward structure must achieve: 1. Support the business strategy 2. Encourage the desired behaviour 3. Reward relevant performance 4. Be fair 5. Be substantial 6. Be tax efficient 7. Be timely (The reward must take place close to the achievement) 8. Incorporate non financial rewards (Recognition can be as important as cash) 9. Be firm (A bonus lost through missing target should not be recoverable whereas a salary increase should only be delayed until target is reached) 10. Be crystal clear

         
    A four square statement

     

    Here's a quick and simple way to develop a strategic plan for any written document. And while it doesn't require much actual writing, it will help you focus your attention and get a better response to your message. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into about four equal parts by drawing a horizontal line across the page and a vertical line down the page. Starting in the upper-left corner, write down the germ of the idea. Take just a few words and describe the basic idea. Don't elaborate and don't use any space beyond that square, which will force a certain amount of conciseness. For example, "Try invoicing occasional customers at mid-month and end-of-month, rather than just at month-end." Moving to the upper-right corner, concisely explain the 'what' and the 'why' of the idea. What will I gain by pursuing this idea? For example, "Could improve cash flow and reduce our line of credit cost by 5%." Now, go to the bottom-right corner and make notes about the 'who' and the 'how' involved in implementing the idea. For example, "Sales reps submit billing info by the 10th and 25th of each month, billing department processes and prints invoices by the 15th and 30th." Finally, in the lower-left corner, explain how you will know whether or not the idea worked. What will you measure or monitor to see whether or not you're getting the benefits you identified in the upper right corner. For example, "Review the accounts receivable ratios and the costs of the line of credit each month." Now, you've got a one-page summary of your idea, and while it's not a detailed plan, it should have helped you think through the idea, and even communicate its essence to others.

         
    A golden rule to manage job workplace stress

     

    A Golden Rule To Manage Job/Workplace Stress: Having gone for a sea bath, don't be afraid of the oncoming waves. Take your plunge! * Getting a job, involves lots of stress. * Getting a job, without the stressful environment, is a blessing. * Getting a job, with the type work profile that you like, a cheerfully disposed staff, and the administration that maintains the human relations at its best, is a boon! You put in your best efforts, but everyone around you is dissatisfied. The reasons are beyond your understanding. Your fellow-workers are not happy with you; some of them do not hesitate to taunt you. Your boss frowns at you for nothing. Your wife nags you for your late arrival by 30 minutes from the office. Traveling through public transport, leaving your kid to school, going to the market in between hustle and bustle of office and home-what more is required for you to say, ‘oh, this hellish life!’ These are some of the issues that contribute to your job workplace stress. If someone else is to be blamed for your stress, blame yourself much more for giving that prominent place for the Satan of stress. Throw him out lock, stock and barrel from your personality. Take a firm stand. Yes, it is possible; it is achievable. A story goes thus: An educated youngster, fed up of his job workplace stress, ran away to Himalayas. There he met a Yogi. The youngster prostrated at his feet with all humility, and prayed that he wants to stay at His hermitage, as he was fed up of the city life and the job workplace stress. Yogi’s reply was historic: Don’t runaway to any Ashram; create an Ashram, where you are! What you need to to is to analyze and understand your stress. Take out the negativities one by one. Unburden the burden! Mind in itself, doesn’t have any existence. It is supposed to be a bundle of thoughts. Take out the thoughts, one by one and reduce the heavy load that you unnecessarily carry on your head. There was another young man who wanted to take a bath in the sea. He stood at the seashore all the time worrying - let these waves disappear from the ocean, then I will take bath. Will that situation ever be possible? The message to such an youngster would be - having gone for a sea bath, don’t be afraid of the oncoming waves. Take your plunge! With a positive bent of mind it is possible to control and transcend job workplace stress. Stick to your job, have patience and understanding! Go placidly amidst the noise and din. Everything is happening, as it should!

         
    A good squeeze is hard to find

     

    Lead capture pages or "squeeze" pages are the best tools to use in a traffic exchange. That way, you can collect names and email addresses for your "list" of potential customers. You know the saying--"The Money Is In the List." But, do you know how to build a squeeze page? A “please sign up,” and a fill-in form won’t get you many (if any) sign-ups. Here are some hints: First, you need to intrigue viewers to get their information. If you’re offering a free newsletter, the best thing to do is to give readers a sample of what they might find inside. For my newsletter, OVMarketing One-Tip News, I offer a tidbit of advice, such as using your picture to brand your business or another teaser about what people might find once they subscribe. If you don’t have a newsletter to offer, you may be offering a short marketing course or a course on pet care. It really doesn’t matter what you offer, as long as you’re offering something of quality. You can even buy autoresponder messages now. You can also find tons of stuff out there to give away. Various programs provide a clearinghouse of sorts, where product owners allow their products to be downloaded in exchange for coveted names and email addresses. Of course, before you give an ebook or product away be sure you have permission from the author to do that. You’ll find that information within the ebook or product or in a separate file that accompanies your download. Using something without permission is plagiarism and could result in legal problems for you. Once you have something of value to offer and permission to distribute, then you’ll need a good autoresponder. These services offer a system that will not only store your “list” of names, email addresses, and other information. They send a confirmation message to the person who signs up, which the enlistee must verify. This provides you with what’s known as a “double opt-in.” (The first opt-in is signing up, and the verification is the second.) Having this verification assures that you can never be accused of spamming, which is a truly obnoxious practice that can get you booted from your ISP. Just don’t do it. In the United States, it’s now against the law. Your autoresponder will also provide the code you need to make the sign-up form. You give it some basic information, such as what fields you want to acquire and then, an HTML code will be provided, which you have to add to your splash page. Usually you’ll want to do this at the bottom of the page. But directly before the code, you’ll need to type in a disclaimer. It will be your privacy statement and you can make it as simple as you like: “Your information will not be sold, rented, or given to anyone for any reason.” And then, live by it. This is very important. Your privacy statement could encourage potential clients to sign up by giving them a bit of added security. So, you have the autoresponder, your client has double opted-in, and now you want to welcome them. You need to set up your autoresponder’s first message. In it, thank your potential customer and welcome them to the newsletter or thank them and give them a link through which they can download your book, software, etc. For a newsletter or e-course, you’ll need to set up subsequent messages, too, and let the autoresponder know at what interval you’d like the messages sent. You’re set! Now, you can forget about it and just continue to build your list in the exchanges and anywhere else you advertise. Don’t expect your list to grow overnight. If you’re getting 25 names a week to add to it, you’re doing well. Just keep showing the page, brand it with your image or logo, and folks will get used to seeing your page. The more folks that see your page, the better they come to trust you and the quicker they will sign up. But once you have a list, don’t abuse it. If you do, you won’t have that list for long. Don’t spam members everyday with the newest, best product you’ve ever seen, or even every week. I tend to feel used when people do that, and you probably do, too. If you are offering a newsletter, perhaps you can put the item you’re pushing into your signature file or even better, a P. S. (Folks usually read those.) But never betray people’s trust by shoving stuff into your newsletter that doesn’t belong. If the service or product is not relevant to what you’re writing about, don’t even think about using it. Be kind to your list and your list will be kind to you.

         
     
         
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