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1-Minute Strategies: Jan. ’12

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

“What do you do?” Be prepared for this question before you head to any networking event because you’ll probably be asked dozens of times. Try to answer within 30 seconds, including the reason why peo­­ple should care about your work.

Keep your voice down. Despite the best efforts of keyboard manufacturers, the exclamation point refuses to die. Even when muffled with brackets (!), it still shouts. The book Eats, Shoots & Leaves advises using it to express surprise, salute someone (“O captain!”) or avoid sounding sarcastic: “Great!”

Need someone to make a decision? Approach him in the morning. “Decision fatigue” is a very real phenomenon affecting people who have to grapple with an ever-increasing number of choices. And it’s more likely to strike at the end of the day.

Suffer for 15 minutes. “Noth­ing is more exhausting than the task that is never started,” says Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. She sug­­gests, “You can do anything for 15 minutes, and 15 minutes, day after day, adds up sur­­pris­ingly fast. That’s how I finally dug myself out of my crushing (if virtual) load of digital photos. Fifteen minutes at a time.”

Keeping quiet isn’t so safe. The path to job security involves making yourself invaluable. And to do that, you need soft skills, such as handling difficult conversations. “Our research for 30 years now is consistently clear that stepping up to crucial conversations does not decrease your job security,” Joseph Grenny, author of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, tells Fortune magazine. “In fact, it increases it.”

Choose a résumé font wisely. Don’t get too fancy with the font you choose for your résumé, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez writes on Careerealism.com. Also, make the size 10 to 12 point for regular type and 12 to 14 point for subheadings.

Two ideas for 2012 workplace resolutions: Renovate your office space. A fresh coat of paint or a cleanup day can brighten your environment. Update, or create, a desk manual.

Improve traffic to your company’s website through search engine optimization (SEO). One of the most important SEO principles is this one, from Write It Well: Find the most targeted key phrases for your site (Woopra or Analytics can help). Then tweak the text on your website, using those key terms no more than once every four to eight sentences.

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