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PERSONAL & CAREER DEVELOPMENT

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  • 12 Ways to Thrive in Challenging Times

    by Carol Kinsey Goman Carol Kinsey Goman

     A dozen tips to consider, whether you feel secure or think your job may soon disappear

  • 17 'Must Ask' Questions For Planning Successful Projects

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    17 insightful queries that can expose the uncertain aspects of your project, and thereby help you avoid expensive surprises

  • 3 Ways To A Happier And More Productive Workplace

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    In today’s shaky economy, many employees have the doldrums. After all, they face longer work days and heavier workloads, and they fear losing their jobs over using vacation or sick time. With a stressed work force, morale and productivity may be low. To boost employees’ spirits and get them working at full speed, employers should foster a more humanistic attitude in their companies. This brief article offers three tips to help them get started

  • 6 Mistakes Managers Make Delivering Performance Reviews

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Ask employees how supervisors could improve the performance review process and you’ll probably get more responses than you know what to do with. This article addresses six common mistakes managers make and how they can improve.

  • 6 Steps To Becoming A More Effective Leader

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    What makes a leader great? One key skill is the ability to garner the support of others. And good leaders realize they must continually enhance their skills and set an example for the rest. This brief article offers six steps to becoming a better leader.

  • 7 Secrets to Psych Yourself Out of Pre-Presentation Jitters

    by Dianna Booher Dianna Booher

    Seven hints helping you deal with that sense of discomfort known as stage fright.

     

  • 7 Steps for Pinpointing Your Audience and Designing Your Offerings (Part 1)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Seven recommendations for identifying your audiences, discovering the most compelling ways to speak to them, and then using the information you gather to create your book, product, service, Web site, or custom solution.

  • 7 Steps for Pinpointing Your Audience and Designing Your Offerings (Part 2)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    In Part 2 (this article), we’ll explore the remaining steps in the sequence to continue determining what to offer your audiences.

  • A Potpourri of Successful Tips and Techniques, Part 2

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Are you ready for quick tips on coaching and inspiring others, building your team, creative thinking, transforming conflict or managing projects? How about managing time, meeting change resiliently, managing your career, or working with style differences? This article features advice and ideas from ten more modules. Pick one or more to apply today.

  • Aim Your Sights at Your Customers' Downstream Success

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    By using a variety of techniques to expose more of your clients’ and customers’ needs, you can pinpoint more completely the project, product, or service requirements.

  • Aligning Consequences: 4 Keys To 'Walking Your Talk'

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Aligning consequences with expectations is easier said than done. But by becoming aware of and applying these cause-and-effect principles, you’ll encourage the very best performance from your colleagues and staff.

  • Answering the Call of Everyday Work

    by John Schuster

    In our work-a-day world, we can see the value in what we do--when we look.

  • Apologize--Do It Wrong and You'll Be Sorry

    by Dianna Booher Dianna Booher

    Suggestions on good ways  to apologize and  preserve the relationship with coworkers and friends.

  • Appraising Performance: The Slide Show

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Many supervisors dread conducting the periodic performance appraisal discussion. That's often because they don't have a framework to make the discussion painless, constructive, and valuable. We see the discussion as a slideshow in which supervisor and employee revisit events and experiences.

  • Are You Aligning Your Business Purpose with Your Passions in Life?

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    From sending crystal-clear, compelling marketing messages, to maintaining our business momentum, to developing a distinct competitive advantage around an appealing cause, nothing speaks as powerfully as doing what we love.

  • Are You Getting Ready To Explode? (Growth-wise That Is!)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Establishing a robust foundation, developing personnel expertise, removing obstacles to productivity, aligning consequences, managing projects, and refining customer experiences with your offerings can produce an organization that thrives on growth — and then sustains its momentum through constant refinement.

  • Ask The Advisor: Are Your Employees Breaking The Dress Code?

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    How to handle the don'ts of employee dress codes.

  • Ask The Advisor: Help! Cupid's Arrow Is Darting Around Our Office

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    How to deal with dating in the workplace.

  • Ask The Advisor: How To Deal With The Wayne Arnolds and Nelson Muntzes of The Workplace

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Bullying in the workplace.

  • Boosting Productivity: 10 Ways To Eliminate Obstacles To Success

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Are you unsure of where to begin identifying your burning hassles? Try asking your staff or colleagues what’s impeding their work. Remember to use these ground rules: No blaming or accusing! Everyone should feel free to speak up without being criticized, and everyone can help brainstorm the solutions.

  • Broadband Communication Skills: Building Open Communication

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Broadband services can send multiple channels of data over a single cable or telephone line simultaneously. Our conversations are also broadband transmissions. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we send and receive information along several channels.

  • Coaching and Counseling

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    How everyday coaching boosts performance, what makes an effective coach, when counseling is needed, and how coaching and counseling create change.

  • Communicate With People The Way THEY Need To Communicate

    by Carolyn Thompson Carolyn Thompson_

    Design your communication around the preferences and expectations of your receivers. With a bit of practice, you’ll see a dramatic increase in your communication effectiveness!

  • Creating Meaning at Work

    by Jamie Walters

    How to discover meaning in your work and encourage your co-workers to do the same. 

  • Don't Forget to Breathe

    by Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D.

    A simple way to focus: breathe

  • E-Mail: The Shortest Distance Between You and Trouble

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Here are some ways to protect your company from devastating e-mail consequences.

  • Effective Employee Performance Management

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Three steps to developing an effective performance management system

  • Effective Selling: Does your aroma come on too strong?

    by Nani Paape Peer-submitted content

    Is your fragrance or cigarette smoke losing you sales?

  • Electronic Support Systems: A Great Way To Stretch Expertise

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    This kind of guidance can come in the form of interviews, tightly interwoven tips and hints, overviews, demonstrations, wizards, decision guidance, calculation tools, and other systematic interactions that intelligently aid people in achieving their goals.

  • Focusing on Consistency (Part 1)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    To recognize the value of consistency in customer retention and in over-delivering on promises, both explicit and implied.

  • Focusing on Consistency (Part 2)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    This article, Part 2, explores four more techniques that can help ensure top-to-bottom consistency in creating positive customer experiences.

  • Glow

    by Lynda Gratton

    How you can radiate energy, innovation and success to create a great work environment and deliver superior value through work

  • How Do You Measure Your Customer's Wow Factors?

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    By continuously measuring your customer "wow" factors — such as ideal features and functions, ease of use, simplicity and elegance, and error-free operation — your efforts will pay for themselves many times over through customer loyalty, a solid reputation, and increased profitability.

  • How To Say Thank You

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Send an email, jot a note, write a card of thanks. Make someone feel valued. Be grateful and show it.

  • How To Stay Ahead Of The Harassment Curve

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    By Jan. 1, 2006, many California companies finished their initial mandatory training for supervisors. Although the law applies specifically to California companies, the details are worth noting regardless of your location. This brief article looks at the new law and why all employers should take notice

  • How to Write an Apology

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Apologies communicate the message “I respect you” without actually using those words.

  • How to Write E-Mail That Gets Results

    by Natasha Terk Natasha Terk

    Steps to better your professional email communications, and common problems to avoid.

  • How to Write Faster and Get Results

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Helpful tips on writing quickly, effectively, and efficiently in your business.

  • How to Write Persuasive Business E-mail

    by Natasha Terk Natasha Terk

    Do's & Don'ts of writing an email that sells.

  • Introducing NetSpeed Fast Tracks: podcasts with a twist

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    The use of podcasting is changing the culture of learning. NetSpeed Fast Tracks combine short podspots with articles, blogs, and expert interviews in a searchable database.

  • Is A Master Mind Group On Your Horizon?

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Developing the perfect Master Mind or other support network can take a bit of work. Parties who mirror your values and are qualified to meet your particular needs aren’t always easy to find.

  • IsYour Writing Too Abrupt?

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Seven simple ways to warm up your writing and reduce the risk of abruptness

     

  • Keeping Your Offerings Easy to Use (Part 1)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Keeping your offerings simple and consistent, while simultaneously supporting whatever people are really trying to accomplish, should lead to years of customer gratitude and loyalty.

  • Keeping Your Offerings Easy to Use (Part 2)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Part 2 (this article), we’ll probe more deeply into how to reverse this trend by simplifying what we have to offer.

  • Know Can Do

    by Ken Blanchard Ken Blanchard

    People today know a lot more about leadership and management than anyone ever sees. The gap between knowing and doing is probably wider than the gap between ignorance and knowledge.

     

  • Leading at Net Speed: How to Stay on Course

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Today's leaders face countless challenges, familiar and unfamiliar. But by following just a few clear principles, leaders can stay on course despite the pull in many directions. We look at five such principles: (1) Create an optimistic culture; (2) Promote collaborative relationships; (3) Encourage exceptional performance; (4) Focus for high impact; (5) Cultivate trust.

  • Learning from Your Successes

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    "What can we learn from our missteps?" and "What can we do differently next time?" are two questions that often come up in project debriefing sessions. But two other key questions -- especially useful in managing your career -- have to do with accomplishments. Ask yourself "What did I do well?" and "How did I do it?"

  • Make Testing and Evaluation Your Best Friends

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    By making testing and evaluation your partners and allies, you will give your brand and offerings enormous competitive advantages.

  • Make Your Sales Compensation Plan Hit The Mark

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Pinpoint weaknesses, redesign your plan, and support your strategic vision for an excellent compensation plan.

  • Managing Project Risks (Part 1): Don't Be Snared by These 6 Common Traps

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    You and your team can learn to avoid project pitfalls by paying close attention to the cause-and-effect relationships among these six important keys!

  • Managing Project Risks (Part 2): 10 Major Mistakes Your Team Can Avoid

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    10 major mistakes to avoid (or risks to flag) when choosing, estimating, and staffing your projects.

  • Managing Project Risks (Part 3): How To Quickly Assess Potential Pitfalls

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    This article (Part 3 of the series) explains how you can quickly evaluate any risks you’ve identified to see whether they’re likely to overwhelm your project.

  • Managing Project Risks (Part 4): A Simple Risk Mitigation Process

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    This article (Part 4 of the series) takes you through asimple, four-step risk management process.

  • Managing Time in Fast Forward

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    "Fast forward" is normal speed in business today. As we move through meetings, demos, projects, plans, phone calls, contacts, and videoconferences, it is difficult (if not impossible) to set our days on "Pause." And "Stop!" is our last resort. In this article, you will find strategies -- some new, some tried and true -- for managing time in fast forward.

  • Meet Your Customers More than Halfway: Anticipate Their Circumstances of Use (Part 1)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    By packaging the components of your products in complementary formats, you can help your customers consume what you offer in any mode they choose. You’ll also provide more value than your competitors will by giving your audiences more convenient ways to learn or do what they’ve turned to your offerings to receive.

  • Meet Your Customers More than Halfway: Anticipate Their Circumstances of Use (Part 2)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    This article, Part 2, addresses an often-overlooked arena — how people might try to use products or services in unusual or even extreme circumstances.

  • Meet Your Customers More than Halfway: Anticipate Their Circumstances of Use (Part 3)

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    In Part 3 (this article), we’ll explore another aspect of meeting our customers more than halfway by screening their eligibility for what we have to offer.

  • Meeting Change with Resilience

    by Marla Mason Marla Mason

    How do we use the challenges presented by change to strengthen our skills and boost our creativity?

  • Meeting Change With Resilience: Preparing For Change

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    What has changed lately? In business, roughly everything: the economy, technology, travel, tourism, employment rates, energy costs and availability, regulations, the global marketplace, and more. Change is everywhere -- some of it anticipated, some without notice. In this article, you will find four key questions. Answering these questions will help you prepare yourself and your organization for the inevitable changes ahead.

  • Performance Appraisal On Purpose

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Purposeful performance appraisals produce effective outcomes.

  • Personnel Development: 7 Keys To Aiming Your Talent In The Right Direction

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Your staff will be much more productive and your customers more satisfied when you apply far-sighted personnel development instead of shortsighted luck.

  • Preparing For Retirement, But Not Yours, Theirs; How To Cope With An Aging Workforce

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

     Baby boomers are quickly approaching retirement age, which may drastically affect many organizations’ workforces. This article explains how preparedness and willingness to step outside the business-as-usual model can help companies make this demographic reality work for them, rather than against them.

     

  • Quality Lives In The Eye Of The Beholder

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Remember that quality in perception is not a substitute for quality in fact. But it can go a long way toward minimizing customer and client dissatisfaction, as well as powerfully reinforcing stellar quality when you ultimately deliver it.

  • Reap What You Sow

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Creating a successful and objective performance review process.

  • Retention: Cost Effective Ways To Improve

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Ways you can retain key employees on a tight budget.

  • Setting and Achieving Goals: Six Questions

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    It's always a good time to set and work toward goals, especially at the beginning of a new year. But every now and then we need to think too about how we set and achieve our goals. Are we doing the right things to achieve meaningful results? Does our approach work for us and for our teams? Consider these questions.

  • Setting the Criteria and Conditions For Success

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    This article explains how developing a set of"business success criteria" can help you select a worthwhile undertaking with much deeper insight, and thus establish conditions for successfully pursuing it.

  • Seven Steps to Your Goal

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Although we cannot control our readers’ behavior, we can easily adapt our writing to improve our results. Here are seven steps guaranteed to improve your chances of achieving your objectives.

  • Six Steps to an Inspiring Work Culture

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    A leader sets the tone for employee performance throughout the organization. These six specific actions -- which involve vision, values, stories, branding, and other elements -- can lead your staff to higher performance through a work culture that inspires.

  • Six Steps to Written Communication that Gets Results

    by Natasha Terk Natasha Terk

    Six-step writing process to get the results you want from your written communication.  

  • Slim Down Your Writing

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    To trim your sentences, cut extra words and phrases.

  • Taming Your Stress with the Five Elements

    by Melody Ivory

    Is your stress level too high? If it is, how do you bring it back down to a normal level—quickly and easily?

  • Tell An Engaging Story In Just 90 Seconds

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Produce a 90-second narrated synopsis and entice your audiences to consume your story, either in advance of your live presentation or after the fact.

  • The Case for Coaching: An Effective Business Strategy

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Individual and small group coaching is a viable strategy for improving individual performance, and ultimately, bottom line profitability.

  • The Case for Delegating Smartly

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    The Gallup Organization reports that only 16% of employees feel actively engaged at work. Organizations that want to develop that sense of engagement ensure that their managers and supervisors know how to delegate smartly.

  • The Communication Styles Challenge

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Strategies for communicating effectively in culturally diverse business environments.

  • The Power of Everyday Mentoring

    by Chip Bell

    Mentoring as an every day event leading to business learning, growth and success 

  • The Rules of Engagement: How To Increase Productivity and Keep Your Best Employees

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    Improving performance, increasing productivity, and keeping your best employees.

  • The State of Customer Service: What's Your Score?

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Developing systems and skills to deliver effective customer service.

  • Thinking to Break the Box: Asking Fresh Questions

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    We often talk about the need to think outside the box. Yet typically it's our thinking methods which create that legendary box. We box ourselves in by the way we approach an issue, problem, or opportunity. Here are some useful springboards for thinking to break the box, which involve asking different kinds of questions.

  • Thoughts on Five Key Management Topics

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Would you like quick, practical tips and bits of wisdom on five important topics? Here is some of our latest thinking on communicating, delegating, managing one's career, transforming team conflict, and working with communication styles, taken from five new NetSpeed Leadership modules.

  • Tips for Giving Written Feedback

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Here are nine tips to help you meet the challenges of written feedback.

  • Tips for Removing 'Customer Hassles'

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Revealing and remedying annoying hassles can stem the exodus of cranky customers and help you begin building a base of “raving fans.” Your customers deserve no less than the very best of experiences with every facet of your offerings.

  • Tips for Winning Proposals

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Follow these 10 tips, and you will definitely increase your chances of having the winning proposal.

  • Transforming Team Conflict: First Steps

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    It's easy to sink under team conflict, especially when it gets "resolved" negatively. But it's possible to thrive and succeed when we constructively transform team conflict. Transformation begins with acknowledging the value of conflict, increasing conflict competence, and giving conflict situations a neutral name.

  • Uncovering The Secrets of Great Bosses

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    There are plenty of reasons to be a good boss. Perhaps, most important, employees with good bosses perform well and are fully engaged in their work — which creates results that support your business. But also keep in mind that, when people jump ship, they generally leave because of their boss, not their job. Researchers have even linked a poor relationship with a supervisor to depression and other mental health problems. This article offers some of the secrets of top leaders’ success.

  • Using Positive Power

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Here are steps to creating a positive experience through writing.

  • Using Stories and Fictional Elements To Get the Most Out Of Your Projects

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Storytelling elements are potent tools for clarifying requirements; exploring new techniques and approaches; and engaging your audiences' attention, interest, imagination, and satisfaction once your project is complete.

  • Vital Success Measures: Keys to Rescuing Ailing Projects

    by Adele Sommers Adele Sommers

    Vital success measures help reveal why a troubled project has gotten off track and how to reframe its success. By 1) continuing to investigate where the project stands, 2) assessing and re-planning the project as needed, 3) resetting everyone’s expectations, and 4) aiming to deliver, you can resuscitate an ailing project and deliver the desired results.

  • Want To Motivate Employees?

    by Lynda Silsbee Lynda Silsbee

    How to build team behavior and assign the right person to a job.

  • What Should You Really Say When Your Customer Complains?

    by Bernice Johnston Bernice Johnston

    High quality service consists of three elements:

    1. Explicit quality: meeting the specifications,

    2. Implicit quality: delivering on the implied and unstated, and

    3. Benefit quality: delighting with the unexpected.

    If you consistently deliver on #1 and #3 and work smarter on #2, you may never have to learn what to really say when the customer complains or how to turn a complaint around: you won’t have any!

  • What to do in Tough Times

    by Kathleen Ryan

    When faced with tough economic times, choose engagement over self-protection.

  • What's Your Networking Quotient (NQ)?

    by Mike Dulworth Mike Dulworth

    The Networking Quotient (NQ) self-assessment measures the strength of your current network and also your current networking capabilities.

  • Working With Communication Styles: A Tip Sheet

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    We are all different. That's a given. The challenge for us in the world of work is to recognize and adapt to style differences. Rather than going through our day thinking that others are "flaky" or "nit-picking," we need to work successfully with them. Here's a tip sheet on how to do it.

  • Working with Purpose: A Powerful Key to Employee Engagement

    by Kenneth Thomas

    Improve employee productivity by making work engaging through non-financial rewards

  • Writing for 1.4 Billion Readers

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    These are ten suggestions to writing effectively for viewers worldwide.

  • Writing for High-Speed Readers: On the Pit Crew

    by Cynthia Clay Cynthia Clay

    Imagine yourself on the pit crew of a high-speed auto racer. You want your vehicle and your team to win. But winning will require -- among other things -- efficient, foolproof, lightening fast communication. How can you communicate at high speeds? Read these 16 tips on writing for high-speed readers.

  • Writing Messages of Comfort and Condolences

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    It’s thoughtful and appropriate to send messages of comfort and condolences to anyone you know—not just friends and family but employees, clients, customers, vendors, and others. Everyone will appreciate your caring message in his/her time of discomfort and loss, and you will feel good about having connected with them.


  • Writing Tips for RecentGraduates

    by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

    Six tips about writing for business

  • Your Personal Brand: Becoming a More Authentic and Effective Leader

    by Karl Speak

    Have a real impact on how people see you--for the better.

  • Your Real Work: Management As More

    by Dan Kennedy

    As the one in charge, your real work is about more than getting the job done.  It's about your people being engaged in getting the job done. 

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