Write executive summaries to provide readers with the crux of your report’s message without requiring them to read the entire document. Limit a summary no more than 10% of the report’s entire length.
Include the following sections:
- Statement of Purpose. Succinctly declare why you wrote the report. Aim for one sentence.
- Statement of Scope. Clearly state the boundaries of your report by pointing out its focus and limitations.
- Findings and Conclusions. Summarize the main sections of your report without using graphs and illustrations. Include references to section headings so readers can jump to the sections of interest and read the details.
Remember: Incorporate only those items covered in your report rather than including additional aspects of the project.
— Adapted from “The Executive Summary: A Tool for More Effective Reports,” Helen Wilkie, COMMUNI-KEYS, www.communi-keys.com.
1:30-3:00 p.m. (EST)
Let’s face it—most PowerPoint presentations stink! How can you make your point faster, better, and more convincingly with just a few simple tweaks to your PowerPoint presentation?
Join professional speaker and trainer Norman Wei, as he teaches you how to achieve your goals without putting your audience to sleep.
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- Why are the first 5 slides the most important?
- How to structure your slides to engage the audience
- How to convey your ideas without using those dreadful bullet points
- Practice makes perfect! Specific points for when you rehearse and prepare
- How to manage your stage fright before and during your presentation
Here are three bits of feedback your employees would love to share with you but likely never will:
- “You have no idea what I do each day.” Many employees believe that their supervisors don’t grasp the requirements of their jobs and the amount of work they do.
Action item: Counter that belief by finding out. Shadow employees, sit down with them to complete workload assessments or, better yet, do their jobs for one day.
- “I hate your meetings.” Most meetings are a waste of time and your employees resent you for it.
Action item: Before you schedule another meeting, decide if it is necessary. In addition, employees may hate your meetings not because of the frequency but because they are tired of hearing you do all the talking. Invite only people who must attend. Let team members run meetings. Listen more and talk less.
- “Stop calling me outside of work.” If you expect people to respond immediately to every text, email or call you send them during their time off, you are disrespecting work/life boundaries.
Action item: Don’t contact them unless the issue is urgent and can’t wait
until the next workday.
— Adapted from “10 Things Your Employees Are Dying to Tell You,” Barry Moltz, http://www.openforum.com.
Phone calls continue to be one of the most dependable and effective communication tools. In a world where emailing and texting are becoming the most popular choices for reaching out to someone, the phone call is a more personal option. A quick call can be much more efficient than a round of emails, text messages or instant messages. They are crucial in maintaining customer relationships. And when face-to-face meetings aren’t an option, they are the only choice for addressing conflict, providing feedback, and discussing sensitive or confidential matters.
- Answer the phone enthusiastically.
- Identify yourself always. When answering the phone, say something like “John Doe, XYZ Co.” When making a call, say “This is John Doe from XYZ Co. I’m calling to …”
- Focus on the call. Turn away from your computer, set aside what you are working on and pay attention. If you multitask, the other person will know, and you could appear scattered or rude.
- Answer a call by the third ring.
- Give your recipient a true estimate of the amount of time that you will need.
- Speak in a pleasant and professional tone.
- Maintain a moderate speed. If you speak too fast, you’ll seem hurried or the person may not understand you.
- Show a genuine interest in the person’s call.
- Use standard manners, such as saying “Please” and “Thank you.”
- Ask your callers for permission to put them on hold. Always offer a brief explanation as to why you are placing a caller on hold.
To learn even more rules for communicating on the phone, purchase Professional and Promotable: Etiquette for Today’s Workplace. The new training kit teaches you business etiquette ground rules for the workplace. Follow them, and you will prevent conflicts, build stronger work relationships, present a polished and professional image, and be seen as a model employee—the type that is sure to advance in your organization.
[Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr.