Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Anatomy Of A Thank You Letter

Have you ever given someone a great gift and never received acknowledgement that the person had even received it?

What a missed opportunity for that recipient to have given you the joy of knowing that the gift was being enjoyed!

In both your personal and business life, it is critical to take the time to offer thanks for an interview, a gift, or an event.

When you are going through the process of seeking new employment, it is essential to write a thank you letter after each interview. This not only is the gracious thing to do, but also lets the company know that you are really interested in the position.

There are five important keys to an effective thank you letter.

GET QUALITY PAPER

If you are sending a written thank you letter, it is important to choose good quality paper to give the correspondence the dignity it deserves. Emailing can be acceptable if it is crucial to get a message to someone more quickly than the mail can handle it. This might be true after an interview since the decision can be made soon after the meeting has taken place.

GREETING

Start your correspondence with an appropriate greeting. In a business situation this would be a more formal salutation. Even if you have talked with more than one person at a company, make certain that your letter is to one person. You could ask that person to pass on your thanks or send a separate letter to others involved in the process.

GRATITUDE

Express your thanks in a specific and warm way. This may seem like the easiest part of the letter, but can be the most difficult. One mistake often made is to say that you're "just writing to say..." Of course, you're writing! That does not need to be said. Instead just say the thank you plainly and simply. "Thank you for..."

Part of expressing your gratitude is being timely with your thanks. Write your thank you as soon as possible.

GRAMMAR

Write carefully with your best sentence structure and check your spelling. Make certain names are spelled correctly. Get to the point in your correspondence. Keep your sentences and paragraphs brief. It's best to keep the length to one page or less.

Sending a thank you with sloppy writing can give the impression that you don't care enough to create a quality message. This could mean that you will not be hired for a position you might really want.

GRACIOUS

It is not overdoing it to give your thanks one more time before closing the communication. This is the point of the letter. Just say it again.

Are you challenged by the etiquette of business? Could you use some support in this area? A business coach can help!

Visit http://www.exuberantproductivity.com to find out more about coaching and access resources and research that may be helpful in resolving the sticky situations in your life. Suzanne Holman, MAEd is your Exuberant Productivity Coach and can be reached at suzanne@suzanneholman.com.

Successful Storytelling In Seven Simple Steps

What stories have you heard that you've remembered for years and repeat to others? My guess is that there are probably many in your memory bank!

All throughout history people have told and retold stories. Stories are what we usually remember from a talk we've heard. There is no more meaningful and memorable way to express emotions than to tell a story to illustrate the point you want to convey. It doesn't matter if you are talking to one person or to an audience of thousands. The same applies to expressing a story in writing.

Stories speak to our heart and that connection allows our brain to retain the details. The more connections that are created in the brain when we hear something new, the more likely we will be able to access that information later that day or many years later.

So what makes a good story? Why are we irritated when some people tell stories and entranced by other storytellers?

Here are seven key ingredients that make stories easier to follow, more alive, and more captivating for the listener.

HOOK YOUR AUDIENCE WITH SOMETHING MEANINGFUL TO THEM

Before we listen, we have to relate. If what we are hearing reminds us of something about ourselves or others close to us at work or in our personal lives, we will be more interested. We are focusing and absorbing what is being said.

CREATE CHARACTERS

Memorable characters that we can visualize because of the descriptions we provide set the scene for the drama of the story.

HAVE A BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END

Even with stories, we need some kind of order to follow what is being said. Organize your thoughts before telling a story so that the listener doesn't get lost along the trail of a lot of rambling thoughts..

BE DIRECT AND BRIEF

Keep your sentences clear and brief. Whether you are speaking or writing your story, you don't want long sentences with lots of twists and turns to get in the way of a clear narration of a story.

Paragraphs in written stories need to be short. They should be a collection of just a few sentences. And in oral storytelling, pause between thoughts to allow the audience to absorb what you've said.

FOCUS ON A SINGLE MESSAGE OR MORAL

Paragraphs in written stories need to be short. They should be a collection of just a few sentences. And in oral storytelling, pause between thoughts to allow the audience to absorb what you've said.

FOCUS ON A SINGLE MESSAGE OR MORAL

Be aware of the one concept that you really want your audience to know. What do you want them to take away from your story?

ILLUSTRATE AND EXPLAIN EVERYTHING

Be certain that you don't lose anyone listening to the story because of words or expressions that may not be familiar to someone with English as a second language. Also be aware of industry-specific jargon that some of your audience may not understand.

ENTERTAIN PEOPLE RATHER THAN LECTURE

Finally, realize that your audience wants to be entertained. That is why stories are remembered. Whether they are light hearted or very serious, stories about real people are what we relate to the most. Telling a story is a way that the speaker or writer can bring out thoughts and emotions that may be more difficult to relate in a more direct way.

So, pull out some stories that you may have in your repertoire, think about them with these tips in mind, and use them for a more effective presentation or writing project!

If you are interested in getting your message to people in a way that they will hear it and remember what you've said, perhaps you could benefit from working with a business coach.

Visit http://www.exuberantproductivity.com to find out more about coaching and access resources and research that may be helpful in resolving the sticky situations in your life. Suzanne Holman, MAEd is your Exuberant Productivity Coach and can be reached at suzanne@suzanneholman.com.

* 2007 Suzanne Holman, MAEd and Exuberant Productivity.Com

Who Is Suzanne Holman?

Suzanne E. Holman, MAEd, Exuberant Productivity Expert and Coach, works with professional service providers including financial planners and advisors, realtors, and self-employed professionals who are determined to create a healthy bottom line plus quality time for other aspects of their life.

Suzanne comes from a background of small business and education, teaching psychology and technology. She is a certified Emotional Intelligence coach and certified teleforum leader. She is a member of the International Coach Federation and follows their high standard of ethics in coaching.


What's Great About Groups?

What benefits are there to being part of a coaching group on a conferencing bridge?

  • Collective wisdom of the group
  • Rapid access to multiple perspectives
  • Affordability
  • Resource sharing
  • Accelerated motivation
  • Efficient use of time

A group can often generate more and better ideas faster than one or two people working alone.
Members in coaching groups are supportive of each other in sharing resources as well as perspectives. As a member of a group you have the added accountability of a group of people. You also have the momentum of the energy of the group. This can step up the members' motivation and progress.

Healthy Bottom Line + Quality Time

What does a Healthy Bottom Line mean to you?

  • Production and revenue always increasing?

  • Steady stream of referrals?

  • Prospects converting to great clients?

  • A loyal and efficient staff?

  • Systems in place that allow the business to run smoothly without your constant attention?

  • A clear purpose for your business?

  • A network of rich social capital - people who know and appreciate your work, ready to choose you to serve them?

  • Maintaining momentum in a cyclical business?

  • More free time while maintaining current income level?

What's your biggest challenge keeping you from a
healthy bottom line?

Coaching can provide the extra momentum
to get beyond any obstacle.

How does coaching work?

Coaching generally takes place over the phone.
You can choose from working individually or as part of
a coaching group.
There are advantages to each method.

If you would be interested in a free Strategy Session
to learn more about coaching and how to
get beyond the obstacles you are facing, call or email
and we'll set up a time for your session.


I am a member of the
International Coaching Federation
and adhere to its strict code
of ethics and confidentiality.


International Coaching Federation


Featured in Edmonton Real Estate Investor

I read a great article by Suzanne Holman on how "Struggle Is Not Required" to be successful. If Napoleon Hill and The Secret are to be believed then Suzanne has something right. She lists seven struggles that we all face when trying to succeed and dispels them as unnecessary hold backs, offers useful remedies to get them out of your life and the rewards of doing so.

They are as follows:

1.URGENCY

Remedy: Take A Moment To Breathe
Reward: Satisfaction in being able to move forward in a purposeful, directed way.

2.SCARCITY

Remedy:Remember that there is always enough.
Reward:Your attitude will have a positive effect on those around you.

3.LACK OF FOCUS

Remedy: List your items and prioritize.
Reward: You have the freedom for more personal time.

4.SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINES

Remedy:factor in any obstacles that can get in the way of smooth completion
Reward:Clients are pleased that you have met or exceeded your promised due date.

5.NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

Remedy:Take the time to think of those times that you were successful.
Reward:Passion comes alive when there is room for it!

6.FEAR OF CRITICISM

Remedy:We won't please everyone ALL of the time. Just accept that fact.
Reward:Your creativity will grow exponentially.

7.ALLOWING URGENT ISSUES TO PUSH OUT THE IMPORTANT ONES

Remedy:Focus on what you know needs to be taken care of.
Reward:Others will respect you when they see you taking charge in a centered, empowered way.

This isn't just for business, it is for sports, family and just succeeding at life. If you want to read the entire article CLICK HERE

Monday, July 16, 2007

Five Ways To Destroy An Important Discussion

Of course you want to have a positive outcome to an important discussion!
But sometimes it just doesn't happen and you're not sure why.

Let's look at five possible ways you may have been jeopardizing the success of a conversation. Each of these can have a huge impact on how the communication will develop.

CANCEL THE APPOINTMENT AT THE LAST MINUTE

What better way is there to show that you don't value the meeting you've scheduled?

Setting a time and keeping to it AND being right on time shows the importance you have placed on the discussion.

TALK MORE THAN YOU LISTEN

You may feel as though you have so much wisdom that you just have to share it all! The fact is that your listening will make all the difference in knowing how the situation could be improved. By your intent listening you are able to hear the nuances that may not have been so obvious and you'll know what needs to be said to be resolve a conflict or have a positive influence.

AVOID TALKING ABOUT ANY FEELINGS

Sure it may be a business meeting, but we are all human beings and the feelings that are present can make a huge difference in how productive a company can be. When there are concerns that are not being addressed, there can be an energy drain and less work can be accomplished. So take the time to inquire about feelings and listen carefully to what is being said and avoid reacting defensively to what you hear.

ANSWER EVERY CALL THAT COMES IN DURING YOUR MEETING

Ouch! Having a conversation interrupted by phones ringing AND your answering the calls is so disrespectful of the other person in the discussion. The interruption can also break the flow of thoughts and good ideas can be lost. Turn your cell phone off and forward your phone or turn off the ringer if possible. If there are any calls the do come in, ignore them and let them go to voice mail.

DON'T WORRY IF YOU RUN OUT OF TIME

Yes, you do need to be concerned if you run out of time and don't come to closure. Running out of time during a discussion and not determining the next most important step means that the time and energy expended to have the meeting may have been wasted. It is really important to allow time for winding down from the discussion. With both people working together to determine the next steps, it creates a strong forward moving direction. Set intentions for what both of you would like to see happen and what needs to be handled first.

If these five fatal flaws can be avoided, you will be guaranteed to have more satisfying and productive discussions. This can result in a better relationship, increased productivity, and employee retention.

If you'd like to have more positive outcomes from your important discussions, perhaps you could benefit from working with a business coach. Visit http://www.exuberantproductivity.com to find out more about coaching and access resources and research that may be helpful in resolving the sticky situations in your life. Suzanne Holman, MAEd is your Exuberant Productivity Coach and can be reached at suzanne@suzanneholman.com.

* 2007 Suzanne Holman, MAEd and Exuberant Productivity.Com

Friday, July 6, 2007

Difficult Conversation Needed To Resolve An Issue? Six Questions To Prepare You For The Talk

I just heard an amusing story that illustrates how a lack of communication can create some real problems.

A photographer for CNN was assigned to cover southern California's wildfires last year. He wanted pictures of the heroic work the firefighters were doing as they battled the blazes. When the photographer arrived on the scene, he realized that the smoke was so thick it would seriously impede, or even make impossible, his getting good photographs from the ground level. He requested permission from his boss to rent a plane and take photos from the air.

His request was approved and he used his cell phone to call the local county airport to charter a flight. He was told a single engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.
Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, "Let's go".

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and roared down the runway. Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, "Fly over the valley and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures of the fires on the hillsides."

"Why?" asked the pilot.
"Because I'm a photographer for CNN," he responded. "And I need to get some close-up shots."
The pilot was strangely silent for a moment, finally he stammered, "So, what you're telling me, is you're NOT my flight instructor???"

If you want to avoid getting yourself into a similar situation, it’s important to be aware of what needs to be discussed!

Before you can have an effective conversation to resolve an important issue, it’s essential that you clarify exactly what the issue is and all your concerns about it. Issues come up in all aspects of our lives: strategic planning, employees, career planning, marital problems, relationships, or children.

Strategic plans at work may have looked good on paper, but implementation is just not happening as expected. Employees may be making mistakes and not creating the kind of progress that is necessary. There could be indiscretions showing up with employees that must be addressed.

Even though a job is paying well, it may not be one that you can imagine doing long term and that issue needs to be discussed with one’s spouse. Children may be off track from good performance in school and into self-defeating behaviors that need to be addressed.

The more honest you can be with yourself about the issues, the more ready you will be to bring up the subjects for thorough discussion. Here are six important questions to prepare you for a productive conversation:


1. What is the most pressing issue that needs to be resolved?
2. What exactly is going on right now?
3. How is this issue currently impacting me?
4. If things stay as they are, what’s likely to happen as time goes on?
5. How have I personally contributed to the problem?
6. With a positive resolution, what enjoyable results can we expect?

Actually taking the time to write down your answers to these questions is a great way to get focused for an extremely productive discussion. Without a clear focus, it is easy to get off track, place blame on the other person, and leave the discussion without resolution.

Working with a coach can really be a support to getting yourself focused for any difficult conversation. Visit http://www.exuberantproductivity.com/ to find out more about coaching and access resources and research that may be helpful in resolving the sticky situations in your life. Suzanne Holman, MAEd is your Exuberant Productivity Coach and can be reached at suzanne@suzanneholman.com.