Posts Tagged ‘Tasks’

Be Prepared For Your Next Meeting

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

It doesn’t matter if you are a sales person or a warehouse manager, we all go to meetings.  Some of us go to multiple meetings a day while others may attend a single meeting a week or month.  All meetings may be different, however, they have a few similarities when it comes to being prepared.

The first step is to determine if this is a paper meeting or a paperless meeting.  In the new world of “going green” you will find that paperless meetings become the accepted norm.  However, I have yet to attend a paperless meeting without seeing at least one piece of paper floating around and a few scattered pens and pencils.  To start, let’s assume your meeting is a traditional paper meeting.  You will want to have a nice Padfolio or Organizer that you keep all your documents and note pages in.

If you are the one hosting the meeting, make plenty of copies of all the documents you plan on going over.  The better solution would be to email PDF copies of these documents to all meeting attendees prior to the meeting so they can familiarize themselves with the content.  Electronic documents also give them the option of printing each page out or keeping it electronically.  If you are printing copies, do so ahead of time so the flow of the meeting does not get interrupted by the famous statement: “I don’t think I have a copy of that.”

Having a little more of a high tech meeting?  Be sure to download all attachments to your laptop or iPad prior to leaving your office.  You already have your device powered on and connected to the network, take advantage of that.  Technology has a way of sometimes letting us down when we need it the most.  The meeting location may not have internet access, or you might not have a good wireless signal.  If you can’t access your email server, those important documents that were sent to you are useless right now because you can not open them up.  Get prepared before you step out the door, or out of your cube/office and you will do just fine.

Now for the most important piece…a calendar!  A majority of meetings generally involve scheduling a followup meeting or they relate to an event that occurs on a specific date.  It doesn’t matter if you have a full size paper calendar, pocket calendar, BlackBerry or iPhone…just make sure you bring a calendar with you.  This should go without saying, but also ensure this calendar is up to date with all your professional and personal appointments.  Keeping one master calendar helps prevent scheduling conflicts or missing out on a personal appointment.

The 3 Keys of Effectiveness

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Dave Weber - CEO/President

Years ago I learned a very simple formula for helping me stay focused on what I truly needed to be working on. I wish I could remember where I learned this 3-step process, as I would certainly give that person a shout out right now. Anyway, suffice it to say, this is not my idea at all, but one that bears repeating.

The three keys to effectiveness are:

  1. Determine the most important task for now.
  2. Concentrate on it.
  3. Forget the rest.

That’s it.  Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? So why do so many people struggle doing it?

It really boils down to three separate issues: setting priorities, reducing distractions, and possessing a self-management and personal organization process that ensures nothing will fall through the cracks.

These are the very skills that we teach in two of our hottest programs entitled:

“I’m Spread So Thin You Can See Through Me”


“My Inbox is Full and I Can’t Get Out”

Check out some of our Training Programs!

Why You Need an iPad for Business

Friday, February 12th, 2010

A couple weeks ago, Apple announced their new “magical and revolutionary device”, the iPad.  Since their announcement, there have been a lot of questions flying around as to the usefulness of this new device in the workplace.  Most people simply see the iPad as something that would be fun to have but really isn’t necessary to purchase.  We’ll if you spend any time in business, here are a few reasons why I think the Apple iPad is something you might want to consider:

Apple iPad

The Apple iPad - Image Copyright Apple, Inc.

For the Conference Room

  • Most of us at work are tied to our desktop computers…that are stuck at our desks.  So what happens when you need to go into a meeting?  Generally you pick up a binder or portfolio, maybe even a legal pad, and you print out anything that you need to use for your part in the meeting.  Well, instead of that, just grab your iPad and make way for the conference room ready to go.  Once there, you can use it to take meeting notes or enter some tasks that can automatically sync with your Outlook to-do list so they will be ready when you get back to your desk.
  • What if a colleague is talking about a big project and keeps referring to a spreadsheet, but nobody printed it out?  Use the iPad to access the company file server wirelessly and open up the document in question.
  • Need to schedule a follow-up meeting on a topic?  Just open up the company calendar and figure out the best time to meet while you are still in the room with everyone.
  • Ready to make that proposal or pitch to the boss?  Don’t print out information pages…Have your Keynote/PowerPoint presentation loaded up on the iPad, flip it around and show it off in amazing interactive color.

For the Sales Traveler

  • Don’t walk in to a potential sale with a stack of printouts and a legal pad!  Load up all the sales brochures on the iPad and you are ready to do business!
  • What happens if you are meeting with a customer to sell Product A, but after talking with them for a few minutes you realize that Product B is a better fit for them?  If you printed out everything for Product A…you’re stuck!  You would have to reschedule the meeting and potentially loose traction with that customer.  Or, you have all your products loaded up on the iPad and you simply switch to a different folder that contains all of Product B’s information.  Problem solved!
  • This not only keeps you fully prepared for the meeting without wasting any time, but it lets you conduct a personal Keynote/PowerPoint presentation without bringing along a laptop and projector.  Also, if there is a file you forgot or you need an updated file, using the 3G capability, access your company file server remotely and download what you need.
  • Have you reached the negotiation phase?  You pull out the printed contract and your pen…you scratch out a few parts, or make notes in the margins.  What’s the point of that?  Open up the draft contract on the iPad and make real-time changes to a live document!  No longer do you have to finish up with the pen and say “Let me make these changes and I’ll email the new copy to you.”  Finish up the work on the document and email it to them right from their own conference room!

For the IT Guru

  • Servers need to be checked in on from time to time, that’s just the way it goes.  Why not have the ability to check in on the lifeline of your company from anywhere?
  • Using a VPN connection, you can keep up with everything that is going on with your network, whether you are in the server room, out in the field, at home, or sitting by the pool (my personal favorite).  There are a lot of applications available to monitor server stats as well as remote desktop applications that let you sit down at your server console from anywhere in the world!
  • Maybe you manage the company website?  At a conference, your boss announces a new sale or promotion that needs to “go live now” but you are at the conference with him/her…pull out the iPad, make the changes and make your company (and your boss) look good!

For the Marketing Master

  • This one works like the Sales Traveler, in that you can take your entire portfolio with you everywhere you go.
  • One crazy example: Are you designing an add that is going to be displayed inside the local subway and you are meeting with the client…on the subway?  That is not the kind of place where you can easily pull out your laptop, wait for it to boot up and then open up your potential campaign!  Space and time are limited and your business is on the line.  Pull the iPad out of your bag and instantly it is on and ready to go.  Show off your newly designed ad campaign, and even hold it up in front of where your ad could potentially be hanging.  Think of the possibilities!
  • Sitting at the coffee shop and Finally! the idea pops into your head that you have been worried about for the past week with your deadline approaching!  Don’t grab a napkin or your sketch pad and pencil.  Grab the iPad and open up a sketch application where you can draw out your idea in full color!  Finish your sketch and your coffee, then email it to your design department so they can get the ball rolling by the time you get back to the office.

For the Photographer/Videographer

  • If you’re meeting with a client for the first time to show off your skills, take your portfolio with you on the iPad!  Easily show off large sizes of your best shots in stunning, bright color.  They weren’t sold after showing off images from your last shoot?  Open up another set of shots that might appeal to them!
  • On location doing shots for a catalog and the boss/client wants to see how things are going?  Don’t turn your digital camera around and scroll through the images on a 2 inch screen!  Using the optional camera attachment, you can plug your camera’s USB cable or SD card directly into the iPad and import your latest photos to show them off on the 9.7 inch full color display…no computer necessary!
  • You are more of the video type?  Instead of handing over a DVD or explaining what your video is like…let them see it!  Have your demo reel loaded up and ready to play full screen.  In fact, show off some of your entire portfolio.

Are you convinced that the Apple iPad has a place in the business world?  And this is only the beginning!  As more applications are written, the possibilities truly are endless.  Whether you are a doctor who wants to carry around your entire patients chart/history with you into the room, or you’re a warehouse manager walking around with the real-time inventory in your hand…there is a business use out there for the iPad.

Missing Tasks on your iPhone?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

So, you finally got an iPhone to make yourself more productive…only to find out that it doesn’t have a built-in task function?

Don’t worry, you are not the only one missing tasks/to-do’s on your “do it all” device in your pocket.  One of the biggest complaints about the iPhone from a business perspective is the lack of a simple task application.  Virtually all handheld devices have some form of task management, so why was it left out of the iPhone’s core features?  Who knows!  But that’s ok, because of the phrase that you are now so used to, “there’s an app for that!”

After searching through all the task apps in the iTunes App Store, I have narrowed it down to one that works really well in most situations.

Before I tell of my findings, keep in mind that this application requires a Microsoft Exchange Server (2003 or 2007) running at your office with web access enabled.  Since most companies use Exchange as their email server, this shouldn’t be a problem.  If you are an independent user without access to exchange, I’m sure this application will still work for you, however you just will not be able to utilize its syncing capabilities with your desktop.  Now, on to the application:

iMExchange (link opens iTunes) from RERLSoft – $7.99

iMExchange from RERLSoft

iMExchange from RERLSoft

In my opinion, out of all the currently available task applications, this is the winner.

In addition to handling all your tasks flawlessly, it allows you to control all the additional features of tasks as well, such as: Notes, Priority, Categories, Start/Due Dates, and Percent Complete.  You also have the capability to sort your tasks a variety of ways with additional filters for completed/active views and by category.

If that is not enough to make you want to download the app right away, there is an added bonus…it syncs notes also.  If you use Notes in Outlook, this is a real plus for you as you can now take those notes with you on your iPhone wherever you go.

You also have the option to setup an “Out of Office” auto-reply in case you forgot to do that on your desktop before you left the office.

These features, with the addition of being able to view your Exchange contacts within the app itself, make this the best task handling application currently available for the iPhone.