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Communication Corner: March ’09

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in Office Technology,PowerPoint Tricks

Halt interruptions by giving your office a makeover. If you keep candy or other food on your desk, remove it. People gravitate to food. Place your chair so that you don’t make eye contact with people walking by. If you have an extra chair in your work area, fill it with stuff. People who sit stay longer.

If it’s important, re-re-repeat it. William H. Rastetter, a former Harvard professor and CEO of Idec Pharmaceuticals, says, “The first time you say something, it’s heard. The second time, it’s recognized and the third time, it’s learned.”

The 5 steps to becoming a better conversationalist, according to Sally Hogshead, author of Radical Careering, are (1) ask questions; (2) understand your audience’s true motivation; (3) smile; (4) let go of some control; and (5) google the person with whom you need to connect.

Help employees prioritize their tasks. Corporate Dynamics CEO Mark Landiak prioritizes his to-do items by estimating how much potential income is attached to each item. Example: A phone call isn’t just a five-minute task; it’s a client interaction that might represent a $5,000 contract. With that perspective, employees know where to focus.

Make a good first impression with the “Rule of 12/12/12.” When you walk into a room, consider yourself on stage from 12 feet away. Stand up straight and approach confidently. Next, focus on your body’s top 12 inches (that’s what others will do). Maintain eye contact and avoid nervous movements. Third, make your first 12 words powerful. Ask a thought-provoking question.

Creating a presentation? Follow the 10/20/30 rule. PowerPoint presentations tend to be too long, have too many slides and contain type that’s too tiny. A good rule of thumb: Your presentation should have no more than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes and contain no type smaller than 30 point.

Save e-mail time with the “Rule of 4.” If any correspondence requires more than four e-mails in a short period of time, pick up the phone or walk down the hall.

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