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1-Minute Strategies: Jan. ’10

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in Office Management

Hold a shorter, more effective meeting by remembering the three purposes for having a meeting in the first place: to inform, to gather input or to ask for approval. Tell attendees which of those goals your meeting will achieve. Example: “First, I’d like to bring you up to speed on __. Next, I’d like to hear your thoughts on __. Finally, I’d like your approval on __.”

Read faster using this technique developed by reading expert J. Michael Bennett: rhythmic perusal. Glide your eyes over the upper half of the letters, reading each line in a single, smooth movement. The practice sharpens your concentration and allows you to increase both your speed and focus.

Try this remedy for a foul-mouthed boss: Melba Duncan, the Duncan Group, used to work for an investment banker with a gutter mouth. She made a rule: For every foul word, he had to deposit $5 in a jar. “He became more aware of how unpleasant it was and it strengthened our relationship,” says Duncan. And she stayed with him for nine years. —Adapted from “How to Keep an Assistant,” Ian Mount, Inc., www.inc.com.

Clean up the grammar, spelling and punctuation on your text messages and e-mails by imagining your English teacher watching over your shoulder. “Anything you put in writing should be done well,” etiquette consultant Anne Marie Sabath says. “If you can’t manage that on a BlackBerry, then just use it to monitor events and respond to e-mail.”

Make a strong impression—fast, whether you’re chatting with others at a business function or speaking up at an all-staff meeting: Find the “who” and the “ooh.” First, gauge your audience—the “who.” Then ask yourself, “What can you say to make them think, ‘Ooh, that’s really interesting!’” Thinking of it that way will help you deliver a message that sticks.

Write a better survey by including open-ended questions. Why? You’ll make unintentional discoveries by allowing people to fill in their own paragraph, leading to new ideas. Turn to Survey.io and SurveyMonkey.com for smart, simple survey software.

Keep this high-energy snack handy: a granola mix of nuts, grains and honey. The protein-and-carbohydrate combo gives you more long-lasting energy than caffeine. Keep some in your desk drawer, briefcase and glove compartment, so you can power up anywhere.

Schedule just 15 minutes a day to read the stuff that piles up “because I don’t have time for it,” advises Dr. Donald Wetmore on www.balancetime.com. In 15 minutes, you’ll read approximately 3,000 words, which is about 10 pages. Do it every day and in a month, you’ll have read 300 pages or one full book. Do it for 12 months and you’ll have read 12 books in the year.

Boost the number of good ideas your office comes up with by following the example of Chicago-based real estate firm Baird & Warner. It formed a Diversify, Improve and Grow (DIG) committee. Each quarter, the committee decides which employee has the best suggestion, awarding him or her a day off with pay.

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