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Communicating with technology: 3 laptop tips for your next meeting

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in Office Management,Office Organizer

Use your laptop to squeeze more productivity out of meetings.

1. Share data. Say you want to share files, such as a copy of the presentation (so attendees can take their own notes on the PowerPoint slides) or background documents on what’s being discussed.

Even if you have a wireless connection, sending clunky files by e-mail takes time. Bring a USB flash drive instead.

Plug a USB flash drive into an available port on your laptop. Click “Start,” then “My Computer.” You should see the new drive listed. Double-click the “USB Drive” icon to display a list of the files stored on the drive. Work with or copy the files as you normally would, then give the USB drive to others in your group.

2. Brainstorm better, using a free program called MindMeister (www.mindmeister.com). Say your group is brainstorming about a new product. As the group discusses ideas (timeline, design, marketing, customer conversion, etc.), you type them in, and MindMeister turns the ideas into a visual map. During the following weeks, team members can login, edit and add to the map. In the end, you can distribute the mind map as a hard copy or an image file.

3. Take and distribute meeting notes digitally. Digital notes are easier to manage, archive and share than traditional paper notes. For Windows users, Microsoft OneNote has a few notable features that may help: The software allows you to organize notes into sections, flag a note so you can easily identify it later and convert notes into Outlook tasks, appointments and contacts. Download a trial version on Microsoft.com.

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