Communication Briefings

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  • Secrets to managing difficult training session attendees

Leading training sessions can be great when you have an energized group that is ready and willing to contribute to the discussion, asks probing questions, and absorbs the material like a sponge. Unfortunately, most trainers have had the grueling experience of dealing with difficult attendees who seem to thwart the best-laid plans. Indeed, it is amazing how one truly problematic attendee can dampen and even destroy the learning experience for the entire group.

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  • Briefings Bonus: 7 common credibility blind spots

Beware your credibility blind spots. These bad behaviors are unintentional, yet they can derail your image. What’s more, you might be completely unaware of just how irritating and distracting these behaviors are to others. The good news is that once you identify your blind spots, you can take steps to eliminate them. Find out how in this month’ Briefings Bonus!

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  • 2012 Communication Briefings Special Issue

Leading from a distance: 6 lessons for success

Leading a team of diverse employees with different needs is hard enough. Scatter those employees across different geographic areas, where face-to-face contact is infrequent, priorities are constantly shifting, and there is little time to address their individual needs, and you can begin to understand why leading a virtual team is one of the most difficult jobs in business today ...

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  • Briefings Bonus: Earn authority as a project manager

For project managers, the team's support is critical for completing projects successfully. Yet a team's respect cannot simply be assigned like a task. Acquiring the respect and support of a team requires careful and skillful planning ...

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  • Briefings Bonus: Practical advice for applying 'The Character Triangle'

The Character Triangle is a personal guide and habit system for achieving success at work (and in life). It involves thinking and acting with intent, based on three values that are uniquely important on their own. These values become even more powerful when connected to become what I call the “The Character Triangle” ...

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  • Briefings Bonus: Understand your leadership style

At the risk of placing style over substance, all leaders must understand this simple truth: Style does matter. It is not about matching your belt to your shoes or accessorizing appropriately for the occasion, but rather understanding the way you go about leading.

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  • How clearly do you communicate?

Assess your communication aptitude.

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  • Tips for 25 commonly misspelled words

Follow the tips on this handout, and you'll never make a mistake with one of these commonly misspelled words again.

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  • Briefings Bonus: How to listen so people will talk

When we listen to others, we adopt one of three mindsets. Which one we choose—intentionally or not—has a dramatic effect on our relationships, because that determines how we respond to the speakers.

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  • Goal-setting worksheet

Help your staff meet and exceed goals with this comprehensive goal-setting worksheet.

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  • Wage war on wordy writing

Are word counts the bane of your existence? Do you struggle to prune your sentences to the bare minimum number of words, balancing the urge to purge with the need to convey meaning and support data and nuance?

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  • Break down language barriers

The business world is becoming more diverse. Today, many of your customers may speak a language other than English as their primary language. If English is not their primary language, they may speak with an accent or have a hard time understanding what you are saying.

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  • Take a positive approach to employee complaints

Dealing with employee complaints is a common - albeit frustrating - part of any manager's job. Mastering that responsibility will enhance your performance and allow you to improve your work group's efficiency and effectiveness.

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  • Stop the meeting madness

A random survey of your friends and co-workers will confirm what you already suspect: We all spend too much time in meetings. In fact, when you add up the amount of time you and your colleagues spend sitting around the conference table, and multiply that by your salaries, the costs become staggering.

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Surprising ways to make your team more productive

May 27, 2011
by Amy Beth Miller, Communication Briefings

Is your team running at peak productivity? Probably not. Even if they are working hard, their best efforts can be ineffective. Simple changes can make a powerful difference in what they accomplish. Reap the rewards of these improvements:

  • Tell them what you want. You gave them job descriptions and assign work. Isn’t that enough? No. Guide staff in managing their workloads. Explain what their priorities should be and how much time you expect them to devote to different tasks.
  • Grant free time. Many organizations—including 3M and Google—have discovered that great ideas result from setting staff free for several hours each week to work on projects and ideas that aren’t part of their regular workloads.
  • Assign fewer projects. Within a year, your team will complete more projects if you limit the number they are working on at any time. With a dozen projects on their plates, team members can’t devote enough attention to each of them. A delay or problem with one ripples through all the others. Assign only three projects and they can manage the workflow effectively. As they complete one project, assign another.
  • Communicate more—or less. Think about the messages you deliver to your staff. Do you forward emails without providing any direction or context? Do you encourage questions from them? Do you bury them in too much information? Tailor your communications so that they don’t waste time figuring out what you want.

Increasing productivity doesn’t take a major overhaul in how you work. The Organized Executive’s Priority One shows you 260 simple ways to manage your time and your employees for maximum results.

Last month’s question

The warmer weather is already starting to take a toll on workers’ productivity. Last month we asked you to choose which description best matches your team’s mood right now. Twenty-four percent chose: “It’s obvious spring fever is setting in: Productivity is starting to dip.”

More than half said their team was “Same as usual: hard working, enthusiastic, cooperative.” But 18% chose: “Same as usual: low performance, resistant to change, bored.

Check the “Focus on” section of for ways to keep your team’s morale high.


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