Communication – Proactive Methods to Improve Business

I once heard the expression, “Communication is the lubrication in your organization.” That couldn’t be truer, especially in the world of business. You simply can’t over-communicate when dealing with clients. I find that the best way to eliminate the constant state of reactivity in which most of us work is to employ proactive communication strategies, such as the following:

Make a list of the people with whom you correspond regularly.
Take note of all the recurring questions that you have to answer time and time again. Then ask yourself how you can provide the information to these individuals in advance. For example, let’s say you’re a real estate agent, and you know that during every transaction you are going to receive a telephone call from the buyer regarding the home inspection report. Instead of being at your client’s beck and call, why not create a document that provides the answers to these frequently asked questions? This would cut these questions off at the pass, save you time, and allow you to provide better overall customer service.

Have your team give you status on important events at the end of each day. 
This frees you from having to interrupt them during the course of the business day to ask numerous questions. It also creates peace of mind for both you and them, and encourages accountability on their part. This can also be accomplished via daily or weekly email updates. They simply begin an email at the beginning of each day or week, and continue adding notes as things come up. Then, at the end of the day or week, they simply hit “Send,” and you’re completely up to date on what they are working on.

Encourage your clients to depend on you by providing a level of communication that is unparalleled. 
One example would be to create an audio CD for clients to listen to in their car. For a real estate agent, this CD may highlight the top ten questions that a prospective homebuyer typically asks when shopping for a home. After meeting with a client for the first time, the real estate agent can send the CD and ask them to listen to it before their next meeting. The clients will be amazed at the agent’s ability to address their most pressing questions, including a few questions they hadn’t even thought of! Best of all, the agent wouldn’t waste time answering the same questions over and over again.

Continue to think of ways that you can communicate at a higher level, and take control of your activities instead of letting them control you. Be proactive to avoid reactivity. Let’s get together and share these ideas over a cup of coffee some time in the near future

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Keyboard Shortcuts – Improve Your Efficiency

PCs are an integral part of our lives. We use them extensively at the office and usually end up logging on in the evening as well, to read email and catch up on the day’s news.

Since we spend so much of our time in front of the computer, it makes sense to find ways to improve our efficiency. This is where shortcuts come in. By using combinations of keystrokes, you can quickly access several tools without ever having to use your mouse. Most Windows shortcuts may be used for any Microsoft program (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) as well as selected products from other manufacturers.

If you would like to incorporate these shortcuts into your repertoire, try keeping a copy of this list at work and at home. Refer to it daily until the keystrokes become second nature. You’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll save!

New Year, New Dreams

 

 

Just got me some new Moleskine Cahiers. On the left are my last 3 years of journaling. On the right, new year with new dreams and goals.IMG_3397

Breaking Up With The Love of Your Life and What NOT to do

Ten things NOT to do after YOU break up.

  1. Do not call her
  2. Do not send her letters
  3. Do not send her texts
  4. Do not try to make her hurt as much as you are hurting
  5. Do not send her mom emails about how much you love her
  6. Do not hack her Facebook or email
  7. Do not analyze everything she says
  8. Do not wonder what she is doing every minute of the day
  9. Do not tell all your friends how much you miss her
  10. Do not rebound

One thing you MUST do after you break up with the love of your life.

  1. See list above and move on

[Video] #Hashtag #Funny

These are probably two of the most relevant people in the entertainment business right now. And, they’re funny!

Habits For Easy Email

email-inbox

If you’re like me, every morning you wake up to a large amount of email in your inbox. I’ve had the same email for 19 years now and get more spam than I care to count. I’ve just gotten used to deleting them and moving on.

One thing I’ve seen most friends and colleagues do is make folders in their inbox. I see these long lists of folders of different topics ranging from departments, projects to names and companies. I can’t do that. Everything that comes to me comes to my inbox.

I say forget the use of folders. Searching your inbox is an average of 42 seconds according to IBM research. I like knowing that everything is in one folder. It’s like having one physical inbox on your desk. Have you ever seen more than one inbox on someones desk let alone over a hundred?

Simple makes e-communication more efficient.  Keep your inbox simple.

Here’s 4 items that will help you streamline some issues you may have.

  1. Your email gets lost in the shuffle. Consider Boomerang. Say you want to write an email on Friday but it gets lost in the shuffle by Monday morning. Boomerang let’s you set the time and date for delivery. Cost is FREE for up to 10 messages a month, then $30 for Outlook or $5 for gmail.
  2. Need a quick response to work contacts. If you don’t have time for lengthy responses, with a tap Zoomin will respond “I agree” or any other preset reply. This is a Outlook plugin and app that doesn’t require you to open your email. Cost is Free for now but I heard they’re going to start charging an annual fee of $75.
  3. Missed a message from the boss. Inky is a downloadable service analysis that categorizes your incoming email and filters them so that the most important are at the top. This works with Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and other email programs on Mac and PC. Cost is FREE
  4. Staying on top of social media and email. Download Rapportive. This tool is an easy way to keep tabs on friends and associates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. When you receive emails Rapportive compiles links to the sender’s online profiles on the side of the message. It will also display their latest updates and tweets. This is a Free app owned by LinkedIn.

These are my picks for keeping you inbox in line.

Personal Note Cards

Send Out the Personal TouchImage

The business professional with the most friends WINS! Period. The formula for success is that simple.

The power to attract people is what gauges success. The more people consider you a friend and a business professional, the greater your potential for success. Your existing client base, if managed properly, can become your most treasured outside sales force for referrals, the champions of your cause.

Your style of marketing to these people will profoundly impact their impression of you. I firmly advise implementing a personalized, hand-written note campaign. It’s quite simple: Two cards a day and 10 a week equal 520 notes per year. That’s 520 subtle yet powerful marketing opportunities for a very small investment on your part.

It’s important that these personalized cards don’t mention anything about your business, nor should they contain a business card. Never send them in an envelope with your company name and logo. You wouldn’t send your mother or cousin holiday greetings with your business card or company logo. Likewise, if your goal is to create a multitude of friendships, then why jeopardize them by sending business information to a prospective client?

Here’s the drill: Purchase several boxes of blank, inexpensive note cards. Place two blank cards on your desk every morning. Sometime throughout the day, perhaps at lunch, during a break or while on hold for a business phone call, grab a card and write that personalized note to someone in your database. You’ll find it most helpful to have your database open when you are ready to draft that note. You might write, for example:

Hi Joe, 

I’ve been thinking about you. Did you catch that Dodger game last night? It went into the 11th inning. Sure was exciting! I hope that you and your son are both doing well. Perhaps we can all go to a ball game sometime this summer and enjoy each other’s company. Let me know if that would work for you. 

Sincerely,

Your Name

That note doesn’t say “business,” it says “friend.” Remember, two cards a day and 10 a week equal 520 a year. Ask yourself this: If you reached out 520 times a year to people you know with a friendly note, how many more transactions would be referred to you as a result?

[Video] Creating TOC with Evernote

If you’re a Evernote user as I am, this is a useful video from Evernote on creating a Table Of Contents.

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Home Theatre

Here are some great ideas on how to create you own home theatre. Smart and efficient.