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1-Minute Strategies: Aug. ’10

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Proofreading alert! According to search engines Google and Yahoo, the most common misspellings in searches are not due to the difficulty of the word, but rather to sloppiness. Example: “Facebok” instead of “Facebook.” Google estimates that between 10% and 20% of queries contain a misspelling.

Make restaurant reservations in a fraction of the time, now that Yelp.com and OpenTable.com have integrated their web sites. You can read the valuable user reviews on Yelp, and then click to make a reservation, rather than jumping between web sites. The new feature will cover about 11,000 restaurants.

Reduce ink use and save money by changing your default e-mail font to Century Gothic, which requires 30% less ink than Arial. Ink accounts for about 60% of the cost of a printed page, according to the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s IT department.

Create your own mentor with an input board, says a recent tip on the Harvard Business Review Answer Exchange. Line up a group of colleagues who are willing to give you day-to-day feedback on things like the clarity of a presentation or whether you should take an issue to your boss. This type of quick, frequent input can be especially valuable when it comes from a group with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Tired of the way some people rudely interrupt? It could be that they don’t consider it rude at all. Only 33% of people under age 25 agreed with the general statement “I don’t like interruptions,” compared with 62% of those over age 25, according to a recent Retrevo study.

Brainstorming sessions may not generate the best ideas. Rather, a little time alone can yield more and better results. A recent Wharton study found that giving people time to brainstorm on their own before discussing ideas with their peers resulted in better-quality ideas. When it comes to innovation, one exceptional idea beats 10 mediocre ones.

Three cures for long meetings, from Fast Company: (1) Projecting the image of a four-foot-tall timer on the wall, which tracks the time left for each agenda item (Google); (2) holding a standing meeting in a room with no chairs; (3) asking everyone to check their hand-held devices and laptops at the door, so the agenda is everyone’s singular focus (design firm Adaptive Path).

Make the most of performance appraisals by asking your boss for a copy of the assessment form that will be used during your discussion. Also check to see if your boss has any special requests, such as bringing information about certain projects to the meeting or completing a self-evaluation form.  

Carve out guilt-free time for yourself every day, and block it out on your calendar, says columnist and radio-show host Tai Goodwin. Try setting aside 15 minutes. Use the time to walk, read, take a nap or call a friend. Make a list of things you can do in 15 minutes so when you take the time you don’t spend your block of time trying to figure out what to do.

Disagree in a way that builds goodwill. Ask questions, rather than offer your own opinion too quickly. For instance, “Have you thought about …? What if…? Could another possibility be …?”

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