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October 10, 2010

Productivity Tips Newsletter
For Better Results, Goals & Success

Working Smart with Outlook On Line Class
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November 17, 2010 OfficeUSA Conference Birmingham, AL

"The 5 Hidden Sales Weaknesses"


Improve Communications 41%

Jim was coaching Bill a long time employee regarding some recent issues that continually presented challenges to the team. One particular challenge was communication between team members. It seemed every time Bill was faced with bringing information to a meeting with other team members he would forget and the data he was responsible for was missing. It was also evident from looking at his outstanding calendar; Bill was behind on returning his follow up calls. Bill was using the Microsoft Outlook program for his personal information management software. When Jim asked to review Bill’s contact folder and subsequent notes in each contact record for individuals on his team nothing was found. The conclusion was that Bill was only using Microsoft Outlook mainly for for e-mails.

Bill is a typical knowledge worker in today’s economy suffering from information overload. No amount of writing things on legal pads, message slips, back of napkins, sticky notes, smart phones and message slips can save Bill from himself. Bills behavior is ineffective. The mere act of writing it down does no good if you cannot retrieve the information in a moment’s notice. The issue is behaviors, these old routines or habits of writing things down in various places may have worked when information was not doubling every 18 months. In today’ got to have it yesterday world, one must learn the behavior that will track information rapidly in real time. For instance, Bill needs to link what he committed to on his project work then link and activate that task to his to day view in Microsoft Outlook with the proper start, due dates and priorities. Next he needs to categorize the information for easy view in his task folder.

Jim instructed Bill in three simple behavior changes within the contact folder in Microsoft Outlook. The first was to use his contact records notes section properly. Jim instructed Bill to date stamp each entry and then list and prioritize based on importance and value what he wants to talk about. Next Jim instructed Bill on how to capture the important information from his contact below each prioritized agenda item. With a few clicks Bill was also able to use various fonts and colors to delineate his ideas from the contacts information. Bill was creating a ledger of information that could be viewed by anyone with access to the server. Jim went on to show the insert function of the contact record so Bill could hyperlink documents and inset e-mails when necessary. The next new behavior change was to show Bill how to assign a task and link it to the contact record on the start date necessary so the information will not fall though the crack. Linking is part of some configurations that Jim learned while attending a Working Smart with Outlook workshop. These workplace behavior changes are never taught in traditional Microsoft Outlook so called keystroke training. While knowing which button to press in Outlook is nice it does not relate to what workers have to do in the workplace today to improve their behavior so they improve communication by 40% or more while saving an additional 60 minutes of productive time.


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