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Use Outlook to better prepare meeting attendees

by on
in Centerpiece,Meeting Management,Microsoft Email Outlook,Office Management,Office Technology

emailLet’s say you have a meeting scheduled to discuss customer complaints. You have forwarded the emails to meeting attendees regarding customer complaints with the goal of coming up with a new process for quicker resolution.

To prepare for the meeting, attendees search their inboxes, computers and network drives to find email messages and the related files they’ll need to begin visualizing a process. If it is too cumbersome a task, they’ll simply come unprepared, costing valuable time in the meeting. By inserting some of these objects right into the meeting notice, you can help attendees better prepare for the meeting.     

Outlook items

Compose a new meeting. First, you see the familiar paperclip, which is how we attach documents, spreadsheets and other files. But, you can also attach other Outlook items. The button next to the paperclip, which looks like a yellow envelope with a paperclip on top of it, is what you use to attach those email messages from customers. If you will be covering how to assign the work involved in the project, you could attach those tasks.

SmartArt

Next, you can insert a diagram into the meeting information to help attendees start thinking about the new process. In Office 2007 and 2010, you can create high quality diagrams without professional graphics help using Smart Art. Using the example mentioned, click on Process and choose this Continuous Block Process diagram. It’s not necessary to type in the boxes with SmartArt. Instead, input the data in the Type Your Text Here panel. It will automatically right-size the diagram objects.

Screenshots

Another new Outlook 2010 item in the Illustrations group is the Screenshot button. Maybe the customer complaints are about a particular error message on a screen. With the error message re-created on your screen, on the Insert tab, Illustrations group, click the Screenshot button. Click the first thumbnail to put the whole dialog box in, or click on the Screen Clipping options to select just the error message. Selecting Screen Clipping will gray out the last screen you were on, and turn your cursor into crosshairs, so you can draw a box around the part of screen you want to include. One important note: If you want to use Screen Clipping, the screen you want to clip from must be the last one you viewed.

Quick Parts

One more new feature of Outlook 2007 and 2010 is Quick Parts. If you frequently use the same words, phrases or paragraphs, you probably open up old meeting notices or emails to copy and paste. With Quick Parts, you essentially have a permanent clipboard. For example, say you have specific language that you use for mandatory meetings. Here’s what to do:

  • Type the verbiage into a new email or copy the verbiage from an existing email.
  • On the Insert tab, in the Text group, choose the Quick Parts button, then Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  • Complete the dialog box with a name and description to make it easy to find again.
  • Click OK.
  • To use it again, just click the Insert tab, look in the Text group and click the Quick Parts button. You’ll see the one you just created in the dropdown list.

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