THE COMPLETE

Solutions For Today’s Workplace

PROFESSIONAL

THE COMPLETE
SOLUTIONS FOR TODAY’S WORKPLACE

PROFESSIONAL
E D ITE D
BY

B R I G IT D E R M OTT

L EARNING E XPRESS • N EW Y ORK

etc. cm. manuals. ISBN 1-57685-344-6(pbk. or bulk sales. LLC. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.com 00-042842 . etc.LearnX. p. New York. other LearningExpress products. HF5381 . please write to us at: LearningExpress 900 Broadway Suite 604 New York. I. NY 10003 Visit our website at www. Professional employees—Handbooks. manuals. 2. Dermott.) 1. Career development—Handbooks. Published in the United States by LearningExpress. Includes index. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The complete professional/edited by Brigit Dermott. Brigit.1’3—dc21 Printed in the United States of America 987654321 For Further Information For information of LearningExpress.C6853 2000 650.The Complete Professional Solutions for Today’s Workplace Edited by Brigit Dermott LearningExpress • New York Copyright © 2000 LearningExpress. LLC.

THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL I N C LU D E S TH E W O R K O F TH E FO LLO W I N G: C O NTR I B UTO R S Erik Chesla Elizabeth Chesla. M.D. Ph. E D ITO R Brigit Dermott . Grace Fox Robert Gregor Judith McManus Susan Shelly Dawn B. Sova.A.

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TAB LE O F C O NTE NTS INTRODUCTION Who Should Read This Book About This Book How to Use This Book to Your Best Advantage ix ix x xii 1 1 6 9 12 22 27 29 29 35 50 54 55 56 61 CHAPTER 1: GETTING ORGANIZED Getting Started Organizing Your Desk Space Organizing Your Files Organizing Your Time Getting Organized with Technology Summary CHAPTER 2: WRITING FOR WORK Getting Started Types of Documents Improving Your Writing Summary CHAPTER 3: COMMUNICATING AT WORK Getting Started Communication Skills .

Making a Speech Communicating in a Meeting Summary 70 77 82 83 84 90 105 107 107 113 118 128 132 135 136 146 151 158 161 167 173 CHAPTER 4: RESEARCHING AT WORK Getting Started Places to Find Information Summary CHAPTER 5: GETTING ALONG AT WORK Etiquette Working with Your Boss Teamwork Leadership Summary CHAPTER 6: GETTING AHEAD AT WORK Problem Solving Networking Moving Up Summary CONCLUSION: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER RESOURCES INDEX .

WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK? The Complete Professional has information that will help any professional—from those just starting out to managers—improve their . you can also make the time you spend at your job interesting. you will be more successful.I NTR O D U CTI O N Is your work life as rewarding as it could be or are you only work- ing for your paycheck? While getting paid is an important part of why we work. challenging. and satisfying. You will also find that if you enjoy your work. The Complete Professional is the book you need to make the most of your career whether you are just starting out or if you are well on your way up the corporate ladder.

research. you might think you know everything you need to know about working in an office. which in turn will make your job easier. Working in a professional environment for the first time brings many challenges. networking. While. and proposals. Also. but everyone has room for improvement. leading team projects. and moving up. After you have completed this book. You will be able to organize your space and your time to your best advantage. If you are an entrylevel employee. workplace etiquette. You will also develop your communication skills. understanding the principles of organized filing can help you help your employees do their jobs well. Is your desk as organized as it could be? How comfortable are you writing employee reviews? Do your meetings run as smoothly as you would like? The Complete Professional addresses such topics as writing reviews. communicating. You will know the fundamentals. The topics covered in this book will help you tackle them and help you avoid making some common mistakes. reports. problem solving.x THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL performance at work and advance their career. It is . and building a professional network that are critical for any successful manager to master. ABOUT THIS BOOK The Complete Professional covers all the critical skills any professional needs to succeed: organization. teamwork. writing. this book will introduce to you important skills that will set your career off on the right foot. as a supervisor it is important to know how to help your employees be as efficient as possible. You will be able to write professional documents such as letters. As a manager. running a meeting. thankfully. you will be prepared to meet the challenges of your workplace. and you will improve the clarity and style of your writing. memos. you are no longer responsible for filing.

and leading your colleagues. When you are ready to move ahead. The Complete Professional gives you the tools you need to get promoted or find a new job. working as part of a team. An employee who can come up with effective. The Complete Professional is divided into six chapters that move from the basic skills you need to master to the more advanced skills that will help you move ahead. and can help you see how the skills you are learning can really make a difference. You will come to understand some of the important fine points of business etiquette such as what to wear and how to handle office relationships. There are also some special features. . One skill you should acquire that would make you an invaluable employee is problem solving. you will develop the skills you need to get ahead. The Complete Professional will help you become the best you can be at your job. or just talking with your colleagues. including using the Internet. or looking for a new job. The references at the end of the book will point you to some more resources that can help you in your career. creative solutions to workplace problems will be noticed and rewarded.I NTO D U CTI O N xi important to be able to communicate effectively whether you are giving a speech. These stories can help put your own workplace dilemmas in perspective. this book has information that will make advancing your career easier and more rewarding. Finally. From networking. participating in a meeting. and it will help you capitalize on your success in the workplace. You will also learn skills that will help you stand out. Read the “True Stories” to learn firsthand about other workers’ experiences. You will discover how to research for business. to asking for a promotion. You will learn how to negotiate working with your boss.

go back to the first chapter and start applying what you learned to your workplace. Many people learn these critical skills by trial and . Maybe your company is moving toward a more team-oriented approach after years of a top-down managerial style. this book has something for every professional. you should concentrate on the section about teamwork strategies and the section about communicating in meetings. Where you are in your career will affect how you use this book. There will certainly be some tips in each chapter that will serve to refresh your memory of some basic skills that perhaps you’ve let lapse or never learned in the first place. Remember that any young professional should be looking one step ahead. but it can’t hurt you to learn some skills that will help you in the future. Get your desk organized.xii THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL HOW TO USE THIS BOOK TO YOUR BEST ADVANTAGE As we mentioned. maybe you are starting your career in advertising as a receptionist at a major firm and research seems like something far removed from your duties answering the phone. but research is a vital skill for many aspects of a career in advertising. read each chapter carefully. In this case. you should still read each chapter. and improve your time management so that you are working as efficiently as you can. as you will find yourself in many more meetings. are you writing as clearly and concisely as you can? Each chapter will have some advice that will help you get your career started successfully. Some chapters will be more applicable to your situation than others. If you are just starting out. The Complete Professional is your guide to making the most of your career. Learn the skills now that you’ll need later. Next tackle your writing. Then you can focus your attention on the material that is of specific interest to you. If you are already at a managerial level. When you have read the entire book. For example. Not only does knowing where to find the information you need always come in handy.

After all. doing a job well—without the stress of feeling overburdened or out of your depth—and earning the respect of your superiors and colleagues is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have at your workplace. So read on. By learning these skills you will not only be a better employee but you will also find work more enjoyable. or how to conduct yourself in a meeting. make the most of your job. and get ready to move your career forward! .I NTO D U CTI O N xiii error. how to communicate effectively. Don’t wait to make critical mistakes at work before you learn how to write well.

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THE COMPLETE SOLUTIONS FOR TODAY’S WORKPLACE PROFESSIONAL .

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they are rarely the sole problem and they often disappear once we take control. because we can usually put the blame for our stress and frustrations on any number of other workplace problems. While these factors may contribute to our feelings of being pressured or overwhelmed.C HAPTE R 1 GETTING ORGANIZED GETTING STARTED H OW D I S O R GAN I Z E D AR E YO U? Before you can begin to get organized you need to examine the ways in which you are disorganized and how it affects you at work. It can also hurt you professionally . Most of us really don’t know how disorganized we are. An out-of-control work life can wear you out mentally and physically and make you feel dissatisfied with your job performance and with yourself.

You completed work then misplaced it and had to do the work a second time. You spent so much time socializing in the office that you were unable to complete your work. You put off returning a telephone call until “later. 5. 6. Total Score _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ . 2. no matter how qualified and capable you are. You forgot about or failed to meet a deadline. You forgot about or failed to show up for an appointment or meeting. You submitted work that was hastily done and given only your cursory attention.2 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL because. 3. R ATI N G YO U R WO RK EFFI CI EN CY Identify the number of times each of the following has occurred at work in the past month and place that number on the line after the item. 8. 1. You couldn’t begin a work assignment immediately because you were missing materials or supplies. You misplaced a telephone number or address.” then forgot until the person called a second time. Your office e-mail account contained duplicate messages from people because you failed to respond to their earlier messages. you can improve your professional performance and your professional image as well—if you face your problems openly. You took work home to finish that should have been completed during the regular business day. 10. 7. other people will only see the deadlines that you miss and the information that you misplace. 4. 9. Fortunately.

you may find that your career has remained on hold.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 3 So what is your score? Let’s be blunt about your situation. Forgetting to return even one telephone call or one e-mail message can hurt business relationships and make you an outsider with the wrong people. connect with others on schedule. I opened my drawer to get his check and I had that sinking feeling in my stomach. I searched my office. Missing one appointment or meeting can have devastating professional consequences. My new boss was out of town so I held his check in my desk drawer. through the stacks of papers on my desk. Any score other than zero shows that you have been unnecessarily inefficient and that some improvement in organization is needed. complete projects. Being unable to meet deadlines. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT If your score is between four and eight. When he got back to the office two days later. your level of disorganization is most likely taking personal and professional tolls on you. Beyond the personal toll. You know that missing even one deadline—the wrong deadline—can ruin your professional image and make you seem unreliable to others. all the loose papers in my drawers. It wasn’t there. I never found it. I got a new job in my company and never let my office get that messy all over again! —KAREN. and my boss never really trusted me again. which meant looking through all my overflowing wire baskets. Every payday I got the checks for the department and distributed them. I almost lost my job because I lost one piece of paper—my boss’s paycheck. or finish work during the business day may leave you feeling stressed out and overburdened. you probably have fairly good control over your work life. at least so I thought. rather than advancing at the speed that you had expected. . even though you certainly can identify areas of improvement. If your score is three or less.

Getting organized at work requires that you create a system to suit your particular needs. but together we can improve the situation considerably. Success lies in directly addressing your weaknesses and building on your strengths as you create a system of organization that is right for you right now. do you see a pattern emerging? Identify the three areas in which you seem to have experienced the greatest difficulty in the past month.4 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL If your score is eight or above. The same organizational solutions can’t be randomly applied to everyone because all of us have different needs. Which incidents have occurred the most in the past month? Are you more likely to miss meetings or appointments? Do you habitually forget to return telephone calls? Is work often completed late? As you review your answers. which change as our situations change. while others run into problems with appointments and meetings. First identify the areas in which you seem to be weakest. your situation is critical and you should decide now to take the steps that can turn around your professional life. Some of us have difficulty completing work on time. and focus your attention on developing strategies to turn those weaknesses into . Don’t just put aside your responses to the “Rating Your Work Efficiency” scale—study them. You may have a lot of work ahead. S ET TI N G YO U R G OALS TO GET ORGANIZED Now that you know how disorganized you are—whether you need a little improvement or if your situation is critical—you can begin to tackle the problem by setting goals.

identify the three areas in which you seem to have been most efficient in the past month. remember that you can work toward one goal at a time. do not set a goal of eliminating socializing all together. Now. G OAL STATEM ENTS • I will limit my breaks to five minutes. make your goal to limit your socializing to an appropriate amount of time. Also. If socializing at work is your weakest area.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 5 strengths. If I don’t have the information the person has requested. goal statements must focus directly on your problems at work. This is not realistic. starting with the problem that you think is the most important. this can be a great strength at work. • I won’t let e-mail and voice mail messages accumulate. Your goals must be structured and specific. • I will return each phone call within the hour. You have identified the strengths that you already have and that you will use to create your plan to become organized at work. when managed effectively. You are probably naturally friendly and. I will touch base with them to let them know where things stand. To improve your organization at work you must first formulate specific goal statements that address your weaknesses and exploit your strengths. Instead. Statements such as “I hope to become better organized” or “I want to become successful” are too vague. Your goals should be realistic and manageable. • I will start keeping an appointment calendar. and only take one in the morning and one in the afternoon. and keep track of all my appointments and deadlines in one place. Every Monday I will go through my e-mail messages and make sure I’ve responded to . Instead.

You will sort and file these papers with the piles of paper that you took from the desktop. As you look at the things accumulated on your desk. ORGANIZING YOUR DESK SPACE You will feel more in control of your work if you are in control of your work environment—and for most workers “environment” means their desk and the surrounding area. you must start with a clean desk surface on which to work. organize these using the guidelines in the next section: “Organizing Your Files. do you have a difficult time imagining what you can do without? Everything on your desk may seem necessary and irreplaceable.6 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL the message or taken care of the request. To organize the desktop successfully. • I will reorganize my desk files. so that you don’t add to the chaos. take everything out of the desk drawers as well. and equipment—then place them on the floor at a distance from your desk. (If your desk has file drawers. supplies. but there are a large number of items that you can live without. obtain three boxes to contain the papers and files that you remove from the desk. . Before you begin weeding out items.”) Separate all papers from the rest of the items. put your tools. Clear everything off the desk—all papers. You should also place an empty trashcan near the desk to encourage you to throw out useless paper and other items. As with any major project. You will save time and project a competent image if you can immediately locate whatever you need without having to shuffle through papers and folders or search through every drawer in the desk. Because you plan to be thorough. files. you should plan your approach before cleaning the desk. As for the remaining items from the desk. I will delete any messages that are not important and archive those that are.

and personal items off to the side for sorting later. as well? As you carefully make your decisions.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 7 supplies. return necessary items to the desktop one by one. Do I need this item to complete tasks? How often will I use it? How will I use it? Do I have another item that can do this task and others. but don’t use them immediately. such as a desk calendar and a rotary address file. begin by sorting . OUT. as well? Treat your desk as a valued element in your working life. IN. but this also means taking a new approach to your work habits. and evaluate the need for each item individually. You should view what you are doing as marking a new beginning. and then replace the other desktop items in a logical manner. because it is. You have already placed IN. which should occupy a central position on the desk unless you have been provided with a separate workstation or an adjustable desk extension for it. OUT. Start with the equipment and supplies that you removed from the desk. and PENDING boxes and other essential items that you use throughout the day. The single most important item among such essentials is your computer. and PENDING boxes on the desk. also have their places on the desktop. After you have returned all necessary items to the desktop. Once the desk has been emptied. If you are extending your efforts to your desk. Ask yourself the following questions about each item and decide what absolutely must be on the desktop. Not only are you making an important effort aimed at getting organized at work. Instead. why not start fresh with it. First position the computer in a suitable place on the desk. begin the real work of sorting through the papers and file folders. clean every inch of it so that you can organize a truly clear desk.

or reminders should be entered into the appropriate address books or planners and then thrown out. Put the second pile aside and work on the papers you are keeping. or passed on to a colleague into the OUT box. a second for papers that you will discard. mailed. • Items in the PENDING box should only remain there for a short time. Throw away any paper that is not necessary to keep or to consider further. Use the PENDING box for material that represents work in progress or that requires further information. and a third for papers that must be given further consideration. while awaiting further action. addresses. These three boxes will be valuable tools in your crusade to achieve paper control on the desktop. Likewise. After you have sorted all the papers. invitations to professional events should be recorded in the planner then thrown out. and place material that should be filed. • Items in the IN box should be relocated by the end of each . Move the trash can a little closer and begin the laborious task of deciding which papers stay and which must go. Before you do. Place information entering the office into the IN box. Don’t use this box as a dumping ground for items that you don’t know what to do with. but don’t allow the boxes to simply become depositories of clutter.8 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL the papers into three piles: one containing papers that you will keep at your desk or file. Put these papers into one of the three boxes on your desk. For example. record in the appropriate place any information of value that appears on a paper. scraps of paper containing personal or work-related telephone numbers. Sorting every paper that comes to your desk will keep you organized. you will have two remaining stacks: those to keep at your desk and those requiring further sorting and consideration. • Items that are placed into the OUT box during the day should leave the box by the end of the day.

now that you have given them a second review. file. and be as severe in throwing out unneeded and unwanted material as you were in sorting the paper. and do not allow items to pile up. Review all the papers in the second pile that you put aside and try to sort them as well. but others may be passed on to someone more appropriate to process. As you return items to the desk. organize your desk drawers. You don’t need to be a pack rat. Many may go into the trash. Use one of the smallest drawers to hold only those that you might need during the day. or hard drive—and knowing what type of information is available as well as the correct means of accessing that information is vital to success.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 9 day. As you have probably already learned. or give to someone else to process. and future activities is kept in company files—on paper. You can also keep needed personal items in the desk. Many new employees of seemingly well-established companies have been shocked by the disarray in which they find the company files. Deal with everything in the IN box each day. Install trays or bins to separate items and to provide order in the drawers. Even more shocking is that they are expected to . return any duplicate supplies to the supply room. Place completed items into the OUT box to mail. You probably inherited a filing system when you were hired. present. Information about past. not all filing systems are equally effective. ORGANIZING YOUR FILES ASSESS THE F I L E SYSTE M IN PL ACE Filing is a key activity in any system of business organization. disk. After the desktop is clear. but don’t turn it into a junk drawer.

transactions. decide which key words would come to mind if you wanted to locate it. Archive files usually contain information and documentation . Working files are active files that contain information that you need now. You should scrutinize these files more harshly and purge them more freely than you do the working files. and you will refer frequently to the information contained in these files. Keep the following guidelines in mind when reviewing secondary files: Ask yourself under what circumstances you would use the information. personnel records. Every filing system should contain files that fall into three broad categories: • Working files that must be kept close at hand. • Secondary files that are referred to periodically and can be less accessible. in either your desk file drawers or a cabinet within arm’s reach. and the like all belong in the active file. Secondary files are also current. Client accounts. expenses. If you decide to keep the information. If you can’t think of any reason to keep the material. throw it out. • Archive files that are rarely referred to and can be stored out of the office. The first step in identifying the best filing system for your company or department is understanding the types of files that are common to all effective systems. Consider how you will use the material in order to determine the appropriate key words to use.10 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL maneuver through the files and continue to maintain order in a chaotic system. Use cross-references as they are needed. They should be readily accessible. You add to active files daily as you sort and file incoming papers. but they consist of information that might prove useful as research or support information. They do not contain material that refers to the daily operation of the office.

Laws and policies vary as to how long to keep records. K E E P I N G YO U R F I L E S O R GAN I Z E D The following guidelines will provide long-term benefits in the amount of time that you will save and the aggravation you will avoid later. Other companies purge their archive files on a regular basis because of space limitations. placing the most recent first. divide broad topics into new. • Arrange single sheets and stapled documents within a folder in reverse chronological order. Instead. • Staple related pages of a single document. Don’t just dump a large amount of related papers into one folder. Even if the records are no longer active.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 11 that remains from completed projects or accounts that are no longer active. No matter what organizational approach you use. • File only what you really need to keep. • Remove paper clips from all papers because they create bulk in the folder if they stay on or accumulate at the bottom of the folder if they fall off. and many companies that have substantial storage space simply keep everything from their first days of operation. and they keep only legally required documents. • Check already stapled documents before filing to make certain that the pages really do belong together. more clearly defined categories. you should periodically go through all the active files in each drawer of the file . so that the entire letter or report will be viewed and individual pages will not be misfiled. you should periodically go through the archived files to see if you can combine materials and organize the files to make them even more efficient.

and desk drawer file. Do you have a file maintenance plan? Do you schedule the cleaning of files on a regular basis? You should. and it may take a complete day or more. How often do you promise yourself to finish a task or put the finishing touches on a project “tomorrow”? Then “tomorrow” arrives and new work faces you or another uncompleted task grabs your attention. . A larger company conducts more business and records more transactions. and organization becomes a greater chore. and so on until you reach the end of the alphabet. even in a small company. If the number of files is too great to go through in one day.12 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL cabinet. ORGANIZING YOUR TIME Most of us could benefit from having more minutes in an hour and more hours in a day to do everything that we have to do and want to do. Divide the papers into only two categories:“Refile” or “Discard. so the files are more numerous. By doing so. organize A-D one day. and that the contents of the folders are up to date.” As you sort through the files. be thorough and remember that the work you do now will make your daily filing much easier. How often you do so depends on the size of the company you work for and how busy the office is. For example. Does this sound familiar? If you don’t seem to get as much done as you expected and often wonder where the time in your workday has gone. you can make certain that the headings are still current and useful. Take out all the papers in one file or related group of files. Cleaning and reorganizing files is not an easy task. divide the files into manageable batches. leaving earlier work incomplete and the “finishing touches” undone. vertical file. you need to identify where your minutes go and then resolve to take control of time.

You can afford to devote several hours to gaining control of your time and your life. each day is relatively the same. In which activities do you spend most of your time while at work? Are you really completing work most of the time and taking advantage of the hours available to you? Or does much of the day pass with only spurts of work being completed? What do you do during the time that you are not working? One way you can answer these questions is to keep track of your time by creating a time journal in which you record everything that you do in the course of each workday over a two-week period. and managing your time is important if you are going to succeed. but structure their own work hours. If your daily tasks vary and if you have specific weekly and monthly responsibilities. These employees do not work the traditional nine-to-five schedule. In this case.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D WHERE DOES THE 13 TIM E GO? You probably think that you are too busy to analyze where your time goes. Rather than arranging the day according to tasks. you will be happier and more productive. you need to get organized at work. A big part of managing time is setting priorities. Some companies allow employees to take advantage of flextime. those that must be completed weekly or monthly. Yet. If a different schedule would make it easier . Periodic tasks. view your day according to one-hour increments and identify the activities completed within each increment. Once you do. you should take a different approach to examining your workday. In some jobs. This time frame is necessary to allow you to record and analyze both daily and weekly activities. should be noted in separate areas of the journal. you can simplify your journal greatly by setting up a chart with columns that are headed by the usual tasks in a day.

when do you appear to be most efficient? Are you a morning person whose energy level is highest at the beginning of the day? Do meetings. Use your two-week time and task assessment to create your itinerary. for example. 1. . Identify your periods of peak performance. If you are going to succeed in getting organized at work. Creating a daily itinerary that identifies what you intend to do for every hour of the workday will structure your priorities and help you use you time wisely. you can more accurately explain why you can or cannot accomplish what is needed in the time that is allotted. According to the assessments. you might consider presenting a proposal suggesting that your company institute a flextime option. The itinerary is important because when supervisors or coworkers come to you with unanticipated demands.14 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL for you to balance your work and family obligations. You—not other people—stand to benefit from becoming better organized. Find out if this option is available at your company. If it isn’t. you will have to take several important steps on your own—later we will deal with negative external influences. so begin with yourself. Following are several general ways you can manage your time. That will not always eliminate late work evenings. C R E AT I N G AN ITI N E RARY To get organized at work. you have to use time efficiently. but it will be useful in setting manageable deadlines and preventing you from making promises you can’t keep. flextime might appeal to you. The unexpected will arise and you will have to modify your schedule at times. but the basic structure should be maintained.

Many people return from lunch and become sleepy within a few minutes of sitting at their desks. 2. Schedule your tasks on daily. and monthly bases. as needed) within which the task should be completed. the most boring—work before lunch. Be realistic in scheduling so that you can use the results as a guide to the success or failure of your daily (and weekly or monthly) performance. and telephone calls made early in the day seem to be the most successful? If so. try to manipulate your schedule so that tasks requiring more energy and concentration take place in the morning. Be honest and also include the inevitable moments that you spend in socializing. Include in your itinerary the amount of time for breaks and for lunch that your employer allows.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 15 appointments. you can use activity to keep you awake when your body clock runs down. Are you one of these people? If so. and one that is only useful when it contains current information. and this can save you time and aggravation. make changes in your daily. As your responsibilities change. or monthly itinerary and post them in full sight of your desk. An itinerary is only a guide. when possible. 3. weekly. Draw up a schedule in which you name the task and the time of the day (based on your periods of peak performance) that each task should be completed. arrange to complete the most important—and. As . Save for after lunch those activities that will force you to move away from your desk and walk around. In this way. Also establish a time-frame in minutes (or hours. but don’t overdo it. You might combine several tasks or share tasks with others in the office. Identify how you will complete your usual daily tasks. weekly. Remain flexible in completing tasks.

If you can accomplish something in 30 minutes rather than the 45 minutes that it once took you. the time devoted to these tasks should lessen. rewrite the itinerary to reflect your preferences. Open the mail at 9:15 A. If your itinerary . don’t decide to make calls first or to catch up with a coworker’s social life. If your itinerary indicates that you are supposed to open the mail at 9:15 A. Stalling for time only leaves you out of time when the workday ends.M.M. Stop procrastinating at every point in your itinerary. 4. On a periodic basis. plan to put the remaining 15 minutes to better use.16 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL you use new equipment or become more adept at completing repeated tasks. You need to find the one task that will serve as a catalyst to start your day. review the itinerary and revise it by shortening your time-frame for tasks that have become second nature to you. so that you can end the workday on time.. Your increased efficiency will allow you to take on more challenging projects and can lead to greater job security and more chances for advancement. If your supervisor has given you freedom to decide the order in which you complete work. You may find that you consistently avoid opening the mail as your first task of the day and that you would rather do something else to begin. Of course. 5. Different tasks motivate different people. Gather and use appropriately marked bins to lessen time lost in confusing paper shuffling.—and stay within the time-frame that you allotted to the task. Use your schedule of tasks as a list of deadlines and decide that they will be met. Get started now. the key is to remain flexible and to make up a schedule that works for you and helps you become more organized at work.

Nevertheless. They range from the lowtechnology electronic organizers that cost around $100 to full-blown PDAs. 6. It eats up valuable work time. and generally keeping you on top of your schedule. Use a personal digital assistant (PDA) or scheduling software on your computer to aid you in tracking appointments. the telephone is still a better tool . Use technology to keep you on schedule. managing your calendar. forms. Your needs and career goals will determine just how organized you can afford to be. PDAs differ widely in cost. THE TELEPHONE AND TI M E MANAG E M E NT The telephone can be a major obstacle to getting organized at work. At the least. and paging features and cost around $800. Many will even send you reminders about the items in your agenda. then follow through on that organization. Within each box. which include fax. whether we are making or returning calls. be sure to use your IN and OUT boxes to separate the work that will be sent out from the work that must be responded to and filed. e-mail. obtain wire boxes to hold each type of paper. unless we want to alienate clients and lose business.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 17 includes the use of specific files. organize the papers in order of their importance or in the order in which you must deal with them. And. providing reminders. or other papers on a regular basis. Many office software packages come with an electronic calendar that allows you to schedule your day and create task lists. we can’t just let the telephone ring or switch on the answering machine and selectively return calls. despite the e-mail explosion.

Return calls that do not require extensive explanations during times when the recipient is likely to be out of the office or about to leave.18 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL for making a person-to-person contact when we can’t meet faceto-face. Cut down on telephone tag by telling callers. 5. 2. 4. or if you have only a brief question to ask. Let the recipi- . either directly or by leaving messages on their voice mail. that you will return their calls at a specific time. call right before or during lunchtime or just before the end of the workday. thus lessening the possibility that a flurry of telephone calls will result. 3. Establish a specific time in the day when you return telephone calls that are not of an emergency nature. Formalizing an intended call by setting a time also makes others more likely to wait for your call. This list should contain not only important clients and other business contacts. but should also include technical support numbers for vital office equipment. The following guidelines can help you use your telephone time efficiently. Create a directory of the most important telephone and fax numbers that you call and keep it next to your telephone for ready reference. If your call is simply a brief response to a question. Return calls that require lengthy explanations via email or fax to avoid misunderstandings. 1. Making telephone appointments in this manner cuts down on the need for others to call you at times when you are out. Grouping calls in this manner allows you to create blocks of uninterrupted work time and to control the amount of time that you spend—not waste—talking on the telephone. Most people will not want to extend the conversation and you will obtain more direct responses.

10. Remind people that this arrangement permits you both to have a hard copy for future reference. provide your listener with your complete question and all the specific details. 8. Use a telephone headset for your workday calls if you take a lot of calls or if you must complete other tasks . via e-mail or fax. write down detailed information as you listen to each message and delete the messages immediately. In addition to your name. 9. which may have significant consequences. Saving the messages to listen to later seems like an efficient idea. If your call is to obtain information. As each point is covered to your satisfaction. affiliation. If you use voice mail or an answering machine. Also request that your callers provide lengthy information. so they will be prepared to give you a complete answer. Leave complete messages on answering machines or voice mail when you respond to calls or try to connect with another person. telephone number. leave a message that includes a time when you can be reached. cross it off the agenda and move on to your next point.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 19 6. Prioritize the information in long telephone calls. Provide the recipient of your call with full information at the outset—at least give your name. ent know that you are responding through one of these means and your reason for doing so. and cover the most important issues first in case the call is unexpectedly cut short. 7. and the reason for your call—so that you will either receive needed information or your call can be transferred to the right person to help you. Because you might feel harried or hurried when you have numerous points to cover in a telephone conversation. and the time of the call. organize your thoughts on paper and create an agenda before making an important call. but it can backfire when you accumulate too many messages.

not social. I had a more consistent schedule. and doing so without hurting the feelings of others or alienating coworkers and friends can be tricky—but it can be done. Instead of twisting your head and neck to jam the telephone receiver between your shoulder and ear. This won’t be easy. E DITORIAL ASSISTANT MANAG I N G YO U R TI M E S P E NT S O C IAL I Z I N G Does your workweek contain significant periods of time wasted in socializing? If it does. clear the desk. so that you could end your day on time? Why didn’t you? Were you afraid of being rude? . so I decided it would be easiest if I contacted her first. while inside you may have been silently screaming with frustration. tasks. or take notes as you listen to the caller. and let me know how appreciative she was that I had let her know my schedule. hoping to end the socializing and return to work. and got our working relationship off to a great start! —DUNCAN. I had just begun a project with a freelance editor who had a very busy and erratic schedule. She called me back at a time I had suggested.20 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL while speaking on the telephone. Have you ever sat patiently with glazed eyes as someone related a seemingly endless story about their weekend. and when I had my weekly meetings. letting her know when I took my lunch. It saved a great deal of time. you can eliminate them by changing the way the people who surround you at work view you and by making them understand that you need to focus on professional. She would often be away from her phone—usually at unpredictable intervals. you can move about freely while you sort mail and papers.

Review the assessments and identify the areas in which you have sacrificed work time for social time. This may be hard. So how can you make others understand and accept your new goals? Start with yourself.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 21 Such concerns are admirable in most social situations. plan to remain alert to those situations. Examine each incident carefully and try to remember how that lost time interfered with your workday and prevented you from enjoying personal time. Three possible categories follow: (1) People whom you genuinely like and with whom you have developed an emotional . First of all. according to their importance to your life. • Did you have to stay later just to complete work? • Did you take shortcuts that lessened the quality of your work? • Did you feel frazzled? Stressed out? • Was the time spent socializing important? • What effect did the lost time have on your feeling of control over your work? • What effect did the lost time have on the extent to which you felt you had control over your life? Once you know when and where you are most likely to become distracted. you must remind yourself that these activities will not help you complete your work. You should assess your relationships and divide your coworkers into categories. because people are creatures of habit and they may have some difficulty accepting the change. Getting organized at work means using your time to attain maximum efficiency. you will have to convince your coworkers that the change in your attitude toward work is serious and permanent. Although you may feel pressured to join others around the water cooler or at the coffee machine. not becoming the most popular person in the room. but not at work. especially if they feel guilty about their own behavior at work.

Focus on maintaining a solid work relationship with people in categories 1 and 2. If you are tired of rushing through your work and of leaving long after the day should end. In this case. they will be less likely to take your new behavior personally.22 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL relationship. Unlike telephone . You must communicate your goals if you expect their cooperation. however. you might be surprised to see how supportive they will be of your efforts. and (3) People whom you could gladly do without. If you have an especially stressful project due. GETTING ORGANIZED WITH TECHNOLOGY Sending information via fax or e-mail is a true time-saver because you can send it at any time—day or night—and you don’t have to be present when people respond. (2) People whom you like but who have little or no impact on your life. will applaud your change of heart. which might simply result from the desire to continue a friendly relationship with you and not a deliberate attempt to sabotage your new effectiveness. In fact. Finding the words to let others know that you have changed is not as hard as you might think. be kind but firm in dealing with the person. Be honest. say so. Offer options for socializing during lunch or after work. but do not let sympathy for a coworker’s problems or repeated dilemmas keep you from proceeding with your newly developed sense of organization at work. Let the people who count know what you are doing. and use your newfound dedication to organizing your life at work to eliminate the people in the third category. You should also be ready to meet resistance. Not everyone. Once your coworkers know that you have specific goals. admit this as well. or if you feel that your work performance has held you back from promotions.

can increase your time flexibility and allow you to plan in advance long tasks that might take up the better part of a day. W H AT C A N F A X M A C H I N E S D O FOR YO U? The fax machine can save you a lot of time. . You also avoid the lost time involved in waiting for the mail—even express mail—to arrive. faxes and e-mails are not an appropriate means of communication in all instances. such as polling and broadcast. Business etiquette requires that formal correspondence should be sent in their original condition with the original signature. You should also refrain from sending a letter via fax or e-mail if your boss has instructed you to obtain a signed return receipt from the recipient. The technology helps you organize your communications on your own schedule. both fax and e-mail provide you with hard copy to read. Extensive as the advantages may seem. A fax or e-mail message report is not legal proof that a person has received your document.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 23 calls and voice mail. Your deadlines to complete work actually become more generous when you are able to send a document via fax. study. because you can respond at your convenience. and keep. more pressing work that might have to reach the package shipping counter or the post office before it closes. Knowing that you have such flexibility permits you to schedule other. Do not send an important document via either fax or e-mail if the appearance of the original is vital to the recipient’s appreciation of its value. The law still requires an actual signature for such verification. Other features. because you can complete work on letters or documents late in the day yet deliver them via fax transmission before the business day ends. and your schedule is not disrupted by having to wait for a telephone call.

E-mail allows you to respond instantly to messages. but you can attach long files when you want to transfer a report or even a book manuscript. and text into your computer then send this information as an attachment. and you can read your respondent’s reply with the same freedom. by simply typing in your response and clicking the “reply” button. you can scan pictures. because you can send messages locally or thousands of miles away for the same cost of a local call. In addition. although the potential for distortions in transmission should be taken seriously. E-mail is also convenient because you can send a message at any time of day or night. which accrues long distance call charges for long documents sent to distant sites. You are not limited to simply brief messages. HOW CAN THE I NTE R N ET H E L P YO U? How much time would you save if you completed a large part of the busywork of business tasks while sitting at your desk? What if you did not have to travel to the office supply store to pick up stationery or supplies? What if you did not even have to sit at your desk holding the telephone receiver and waiting until a customer service representative became available to take your order? . This is one advantage over the fax machine. You don’t have to use letterhead or prepare an envelope. If your office computer has a scanner. graphics. The message waits until you and your recipient are free to access it. Using e-mail also helps you avoid the dreaded “telephone tag” game.24 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL THE AR E YO U G ET TI N G M O ST FROM E-MAIL? The benefits of e-mail are many. thus to maintain a complete record of your electronic correspondence. you can program your software to save all of your incoming and outgoing messages in an electronic file cabinet. E-mail is more economical than fax transmission.

get ready to go online! Several organizing tools make searching and communicating on the Internet more manageable. You can obtain the names and site addresses of others by simply typing in the words “search engine” in some provider programs. you can now get a listing of other distributors.com. Instead of maintaining your company’s association with one distributor who may not charge the lowest prices. Each of the premium provider services has its own form of search engine. or browser as it is sometimes also called. so that you can reduce costs and increase your convenience in ordering. and for AltaVista. will give you a list of other websites that will give you more information. including search engines and bookmarks. For Yahoo. researching. then copying the information? If the ability to do all of this and more while seated at your desk and using your computer appeals to you. for example. How much better organized could you be if you accessed government statistics via your computer rather than trudging to the library.altavista. type in the phrase “office supplies. How can search engines work for you? Let’s assume.” and the engine.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 25 Think of how you could plan and schedule your workday if you knew that you would not have to worry about being interrupted and asked to go to the bank to verify account records or transfer company money. A large number of companies of all types have websites and offer online ordering. several others can also be accessed by typing in their addresses or by going to their sites. Search engines help you locate sources of information and web-based services. Using search engines allows you to get the same comparative shopping information in . that you wish to compare the prices of office supplies from various companies. the address is http://www. A search engine allows you to become a more competitive shopper.com.yahoo. You could go to the search engine. In addition. type in http://www.

The next time that you wish to visit the site. After typing in the site address or finding one through a search engine. Not only can comparative shopping on the Internet save you time. and the computer will automatically take you there. This can make your life a little easier. which offer a wealth of information available online. Major shipping companies have now developed online tracking software that you can install on your personal computer free of charge. Bookmarks. the second is facilitated ordering. where it would have previously taken days to gather the same pricing information. Basically any good or service that you can think of can be found on the Internet. compliments of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Because these companies have lower overhead costs they can offer the consumer discounted prices. allow a computer user to save a place—in this case. The services offered on the Internet are indeed quite vast. Ordering Online. you can just bookmark it and the computer will save that website address. You can print out case studies and profiles of various countries. but it could also save your company money. like their physical counterparts. a favorite website. and the fourth is research access. all you have to do is click on the bookmark option on your screen. or locate and print out a copy of current legislation that may still . then select the name of the exact page.26 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL a matter of minutes. Comparative Shopping. Many organizations and government agencies have websites. which can save you time that would have been spent on the phone with customer service. but here are four key ways that it can directly help to organize any business and save you time. It provides you with a way of organizing your time because you can plan when and how long you will search. Tracking Shipments. The first is through comparative shopping. the third is online tracking. The Internet offers a way for you to check the status of your shipment efficiently. Research Access.

Analyze your filing system—you should have working. Finally. Analyze the types of problems you’ve had recently that resulted from being disorganized. Locate a search engine and simply type in the topic in which you are interested. When you reorganize your desk take everything off the top and out of the drawers. or your hectic schedule—methodically. it will save you both time and money. your chaotic files.G E T TI N G O R G A N I Z E D 27 be in Senate committee. since we all have our own trouble spots. First you need to find out how you are disorganized. Your goal is to create a clutter-free desk where everything has a place. consider how you use your time and then take control of the hours in your day. Consider each item and only replace those items that are essential to your day-to-day work. Once you gain an understanding of how the Internet can help you and your business. and archive files—and make sure that you are filing things in the appropriate place. You will find that you will have more time to plan and to schedule other activities. Then bookmark the sites to which you expect to make repeat visits. and file items in a consistent. and then concentrate your efforts on correcting the problem. Approach any organizing project—whether it is your messy desk. . use the same approach that you used to locate goods and services. provide useful and current data. and you will become more organized in the process. compliments of the Library of Congress. Only file what is useful and necessary. SUMMARY Getting organized at work will make you much more efficient and will greatly reduce your stress level. logical manner. such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census. To access research sites. secondary. Many government agencies.

28 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL When you create an itinerary that structures your time and tasks so that you maximize your efficiency. . Finally. e-mail. use technology to increase your efficiency. Limit your socializing to the people who are important to you. Faxes. and the Internet can all save time and make your work easier. and manage your telephone time so you don’t waste countless minutes playing phone tag and trapped in unnecessarily long phone calls. Writing for business is addressed in the next chapter. Writing and communicating are two important skills that every professional needs to conquer. you will find that you are able to meet your deadlines and use your time at work effectively. When you are working in an organized and efficient manner you will find you have more time to concentrate on developing other skills instead of struggling to keep up with tasks and keep track of your work.

writing at work is audience specific: What you say and how you say it depends entirely upon to whom you are saying it.C HAPTE R 2 WRITING FOR WORK GETTING STARTED writing has several characteristics and standard practices that make it different from other kinds of writing. Workplace writing is also distinguished from other types of writing by its focus on purpose. your reason for writing must be made clear. you need to be very clear about your audience. why you’re writing to them and what it is you want to convey. as quickly and as clearly as possible. More than any other kind of writing. In anything you write for work. Workplace or business . You must let your readers know. and made clear from the very beginning. This means that before you begin to write.

your tone should be gentle and polite.or tone. A superior writing a request to a subordinate. didn’t know the client. After all. ADVERTISING ASSISTANT . so the cover letter I wrote was brief and very impersonal. would still be polite but be more straightforward or demanding. When I showed my draft of the letter to my boss. for example. but not overly polite or flattering. on the other hand.30 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL K N OW YO U R AU D I E N C E It is essential to keep your reader foremost in your mind at all times. she explained to me that my company had a long-term and friendly business relationship with this client. I. I have learned to write letters with the recipient’s relationship to my company in mind. —SARAH.Are you: • • • • • • • A superior writing to a subordinate? A subordinate writing to a superior? A coworker writing to an equal? A customer/client writing to a company? A company writing to a customer/client? A company writing to a potential customer/client? A customer/client writing to a company? If you’re a subordinate writing a request to a superior. and the client might consider the impersonal tone of the letter rude. My boss asked me to write a cover letter on her behalf to accompany a press kit being sent to a client. You need to know to whom you’re writing in order to choose the right kinds of words and to present the right attitude. writing is communication—and if the person receiving your communication doesn’t understand your message. personally. you’ve failed in your task.

First. welcoming. Requesting and inquiring. End on the assumption that you will continue working together or with a “looking forward” or “best wishes” type of statement. Following up and responding.W R ITI N G K N OW YO U R P U R P O S E FOR WORK 31 Before you begin to write. think about your purpose. Thanking. if applicable. meeting. and/or explain why you can’t provide it. begin by thanking the person for the letter. Then. Second. Always explain why you need it and by when. Provide the information or items the person requested. memo. Specifically. Finally. Remember that people are far more likely to give you what you want if you are gracious about it. The strategies for writing a communication that aims to inform or remind are really very simple. make the specific request (kindly). Often the purpose of your writing will fall into one of the four following categories: • • • • Informing and reminding. . thank your reader. indicate to your reader why this information is important. When you are writing to follow up on a meeting or conversation or to respond to a letter or phone call. if applicable. tell your readers what you’re going to tell them in a clear opening sentence. or whatever. Requests and inquiries follow the same general format as communications that inform and remind. Finally. Then. or congratulating. and be as detailed as possible so your reader knows exactly what you want. in requests and inquiries you should first indicate the general nature of your request. telephone call. provide the specific information you need to convey. remind the person of the highlights of your meeting or conversation.

most experienced writers don’t get it right the first time. Don’t expect to write and revise a perfect memo or proposal in ten minutes. you can get objective feedback about how well you’ve fulfilled your purpose. the more drafts he or she tends to write. because a little distance always helps. That is. Make sure you send your thanks. or congratulating the person for. A late message may be interpreted as a sign that you don’t really mean it. If you begin with a clear purpose. Read your writing aloud or show your work to someone else. welcoming the person to.32 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL For communications that thank. In other words. Keep your message brief. In fact. or congratulate.” The process of revision means just that: re-vision. you may come off sounding insincere. the earlier you begin your writing task. Reading your work aloud enables you to hear how your writing sounds and catch confusing ideas and errors. or congratulations promptly. Remember that timing is important. Use exact names. dates. welcome. be specific about what you’re thankful to the person for. In fact. you will be able to write succinctly and effectively. the more experience a writer has. to look at again. places. To evaluate your work be sure to get feedback. Experienced writers know that they should first get their ideas down—however roughly—and then worry about making it sound “perfect. welcome. If your message is too long. Knowing the purpose of your writing guides how and what you write. Even the best. EDITING AND REVISING Another key to successful business writing is editing and revising your work. revising means reviewing what you’ve written to make sure that it does what it’s supposed to do and it does it effectively. if you . By showing your work to others. the better. and so on.

Proofread any written work before you send it out. you will be able to think more clearly and creatively about what you’ve written. Here are a few general rules about presentation: 1. but twice—even three times. and this can make all the difference in how seriously your readers treat what you have to say. Readers will form an opinion of you and your company simply from the appearance of your document. Don’t crowd words onto the page. Here are some examples of ways to improve your accuracy: . Writing with spelling mistakes. grammatical errors. to get a letter out before the end of the day. However. 3. N E AT N E S S AND AC C U RACY Finally. or to respond quickly. And proofread it not just once. and balance the white space. if you can put what you’ve written aside for a while—even if it’s just for 15 minutes while you have a cup of coffee—when you come back. This may seem obvious. How you present what you say often matters as much as what you say. Think about the appearance of your document. or poor presentation will undermine your purpose and alienate your audience. but often neatness and accuracy get lost in the rush to meet a deadline.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 33 draft your communication and then sit down to revise it right away. your draft may be too fresh in your head for you to think clearly about revisions. you must remember that when writing for business neatness and accuracy count. Use a font and type size that is easy to read. Take the time to be accurate and to check your accuracy. 2.

I learned the hard way to always proof all correspondence before sending it out. and/or make recommendations based on your document. 2. For example. You could be putting your company and your job in jeopardy if your document includes false information. Give exact dates whenever possible. Check any figures in your document. Check to make sure you have the name of the person you are writing to spelled correctly. and double check your math. take action. Instead. I was in charge of setting up my boss’s appointments for an upcoming international book fair. if you are writing to request a raise. Only. Don’t guess the spelling of a person’s name. there was one problem. 4. give the specific date you were hired. —JOHN. An estimate might seem like you are stretching the truth. some of which were with very important contacts she had not yet met in person. The result was that on each and every fax. Your readers will draw conclusions. and the faxes were all sent with this incorrect name. 3. FOREIGN R IGHTS ASSISTANT .34 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL 1. as well as any people you refer to in your document. and I did not modify it to “ignore” my boss’s name. A specific date appears honest and professional. Get your facts straight. My fax template was set to “automatic replace” when spell checking.” so I made sure to spellcheck everything. her first and last name were replaced with a rather embarrassing pairing of words. don’t estimate the time you have worked at your company. I was eager to make the correspondence “perfect.

Mrs. reports. The re: line (often called the subject line) is a quick reference telling the reader what the letter is about.. and the state (IN instead of Indiana). Dr. They’re listed below in the order in which they should appear in a letter. Ms. make sure your full name and address are the first items on your letter. You may not use all of them every time... Write the full name. company and address of the reader. Write out the full name of the month (September. not Sept. 1. the titles Mr.. 4. and Ms. not St. Re: is an abbreviation for regarding.) except the abbreviations for Mr.. type the month. If your letter will not be sent on company letterhead. and the name of the state.. Writer’s address. 2. 3. not twelfth or 12th). title. usually remains. Don’t abbreviate except for Mr.. LETTERS Business letters can have up to eleven parts. This way your reader knows immediately who has sent them a letter.. Next. Mrs. and Dr. however. are often omitted in the writer’s address. Dr.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 35 TYPES OF DOCUMENTS Now that you have mastered the basic principles of writing for work. Inside address. and proposals. The four basic types are letters. Write out all the words in this address (write Street. Include your title and company name. Subject or Re: line. Date... memos. Don’t include the day of the week. The . Mrs... you are ready to apply them to specific types of business documents. day. or 9) and use the number for the day (12. and year. Ms. Note: In business letters.

Begin with the word “Dear” and be sure your salutation properly reflects the formality of your relationship to the reader. . use Mr. The salutation is the greeting or opening of the letter. ____ or use their first and last name (For example. 6./Ms. and again. with double spacing between paragraphs. Sincerely yours. and the reader’s last name. Salutation. use Sir/Madam. do not assume or guess./Ms. but it’s very helpful and it’s almost always used in correspondence regarding legal matters or past due accounts. It can range from an account number to several words describing the letter’s main subject. Sincerely. c. Dear Randy Jones:).36 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL re: line is not mandatory. Body. your close should reflect the formality of your relationship with your reader. Close. Regards. Yours. If you are not on a first-name basis with the reader. If you don’t know the reader’s name. Use Mr. 5. Follow the salutation with a colon (:). or use the person’s title (for example. The following list of closing words and phrases in order of formality. b.” There are several options for how to close your letter. Best. The body of the letter (your actual message) is usually single spaced. The re: line should be no more than a few words and is usually underlined./Mrs. Here are some guidelines for determining the proper salutation: a. Best regards or Best wishes. If you know the reader’s name but don’t know whether the reader is male or female. This is your “goodbye. Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Customer Service Representative). 7. Cordially. with the first being the most formal: Very truly yours. Yours truly.

Type “Enclosure” or “Enc.” is the most common close used in everyday business communications. Thus if you wrote the letter and your initials are JTE. you need to include the enclosure line. Only the first word of a close gets capitalized. or stored on the computer. Both conventions (the steno line and the file name or number) are used primarily to help track down documents and document errors. 9. type your full name and. Sometimes. but this is not always necessary. CC:/Distribution. Steno line/File number. Letters without signatures are generally not considered valid. just your first name will do. Signature. there is a file name or number to indicate how the document has been saved. If you’re enclosing documents with your letter. One or two lines beneath the signature. However. and be sure to put a comma after the close.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 37 8. the typist should write the initials of the letter sender in capitals followed by a slash (/) and then his or her own initials in lower case letters. You can list the documents that are enclosed. If someone else types your letter for you—or if you are typing a letter for someone else—this should be indicated on your letter. directly beneath that. if you are on a first-name basis with the reader. Sign your full name in the space between the two. it shows that you haven’t taken the time to sign yourself. Four lines beneath your close. 11. Enclosures. the steno line would look like this: JTE/df. 10. your title.” against the left-hand margin. filed. and a typist with the initials DF typed it for you. and if someone else signs for you. and you want your . “Sincerely. in combination with or in place of the steno line. If people other than the addressee are to receive copies of your letter.

For example.) . if you were to write to someone and wanted to send a copy of that letter to your boss. CC stands for carbon copy. You can also show their titles. then use a “CC” line. a leftover from the days before copy machines when duplicates were made with carbon copy sheets. or you can list them according to rank. (Note: CC can be printed in capital or lower case letters. you would double space down from the enclosure line and type the name of your boss: CC: Joanne Berg. If you want to send copies to several people.38 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL reader to know that these people are receiving copies. there are two choices for how to list those names: You can list those people in alphabetical order.

• SAM PLE B USI N ESS LETTE R • Mary Morrison The Ithaca Community Center 100 Elm Street Ithaca. 2000 Jim Keller Keller Productions 1200 Broadway New York. We would love to invite you as our guest to the screening of Ithaca As It Was. Again. Please send the photos by FedEx using our account number. of course. I have processed your final invoice. Archivist. thank you for this wonderful history of our town. and. Best regards. NY 14850 April 16. Mary Morrison Enc: FedEx shipping label CC: Carl Harrington. We are delighted with the video. which will be held on May 19. Please let me know if you would like to attend and we will make arrangements. so you can expect to receive payment in two to three weeks. pack them carefully since they are valuable originals. I would also like to arrange for the return of the material from the Historical Society Archives. and are looking forward to showing it at our annual Ithaca Celebration. NY 10036 Re: Ithaca As It Was Dear Jim: Thank you for all your hard work on Ithaca As It Was. Ithaca Historical Society .

The heading of a memo should include these five parts in this order: 1. within companies or organizations. A memo is the “letter” that is sent internally. If all recipients know each other’s names and positions. and all memos have the same parts. To. purposes. when. Include first and last names. As with ccs on letters. The main difference between memos and letters is that memos are less formal. then you can use just the first initial and last name of each recipient. and formats. Either order is acceptable. include titles if you’re not sure everyone on the list knows everyone else on the list. then you should include the name of the company that each recipient works for as well. Even if the subject is not formal. If you are writing an external memo. Like letters. the body then conveys the message. The heading shows who is writing to whom. You may also have the occasion to write an external memo— a memo to someone outside of your company. you’d send a memo instead of a letter. they can have a variety of subjects. When you have several recipients. you have two choices: list them alphabetically or by rank of position. if you and two other companies share a security service for your building and you had to communicate something regarding security. For example. . and titles (or departments) for more formal memos or memos to superiors. you have to decide how to list them. It might be a company that you regularly communicate with for reasons not having to do with your normal moneymaking business. List the recipients of the memo.40 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL MEMOS Memos are generally used for most internal workplace communications. and about what. Memos are divided into six parts that fall into two main sections: the heading and the body.

It should still be short enough to fit on one line. the re: line should be more specific. If the memo is from several people. with one important exception: In a memo. you don’t have to list dozens of names. and year just as you would in a letter. Subject or Re: line. Date. 4. Here are some examples: TO: TO: All Employees Production Managers Production Line Assistants 2. Specific re: lines help personnel instantly prioritize their internal mail. 3. Check with your company to see if there’s a routine way of separating the heading from the body. This part of a memo is just like the CC section of a letter.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 41 If your memo is going to a lot of people. The same rules apply for the order and format in which you list these names and/or titles. The body of a memo is usually separated from the heading by a solid or dotted line or by several spaces. The re: or subject line is much the same as the re: line in a letter. From. . 5. List the author(s) of the memo. but it should give readers a precise idea of the subject matter of the memo. Instead. you can name the group or groups that the recipients belong to (so long as everyone in that group is getting the memo). date. Distribution/CC. You should generally list the name(s) and/or title(s) of the author in the same way you’ve listed the name(s) and/or title(s) of the recipients. Some writers use asterisks (*) or other symbols. follow the same rule: List them alphabetically or by rank. List those readers who are not direct recipients of your message but who should have a copy for their information or reference. List the month.

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The body of a memo, like the body of a letter, is usually single spaced with double spacing between paragraphs. Writers use several strategies to make the body of a memo easier to read and understand. First, the body of a memo should include parts that serve as an introduction, body, and conclusion. Thus, memos usually: 1. Start by stating the general facts, problem or issue of discussion. What is the memo about? Begin with a clear topic sentence. 2. Then, state the facts or discuss the problem or issue. Provide support for the topic sentence. 3. Finally, discuss the significance of the facts, problem or issue and/or request an action from your readers. In other words, what does this add up to? What should the reader do? For longer memos, use headings to break the subject matter into logical sections. You can bold face, italicize, and/or underline these headings so it’s clear that they’re headings (but don’t do all three). Headings are most clear if they are on a line by themselves, but as long as they are boldfaced, italicized, or underlined, they can begin a paragraph. If your memo includes instructions or a number of items to be discussed, use lists. The items in your lists can be numbered, bulleted, or marked with letters of the alphabet. If your memo includes a lot of numbers and statistics, use a table or graph to convey that information. By putting information into a table or graph, you make it easier to read.

• M

E M ORAN DU M

To: All Employees From: Karen Marx Date: May 14, 2000 Re: Memorial Day Picnic! Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for the annual company picnic. The picnic will be held this year at Great Falls State Park on Saturday, May 25. There will be bus service to the park leaving from the building at 10 A.M. Please sign up if you plan to come by bus. The sign-up list is posted on the kitchen bulletin board. For all you drivers, the festivities will start at 11:00. I’ll send an e-mail later in the week with more information about planned activities and, of course, food and drinks. Looking forward to seeing you all on the softball field!

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R E P O RTS

At work, you may be called upon to give an account of something you’ve done, seen, heard, or learned. More often than not, you’ll have to put that report into writing. In any report, there are certain items you must cover: the who, what, when, where, why, and how. These are the basics in any report, and the more specific you can be, the better. For many types of reports it is important to be objective, to provide the facts so that people can then form their own opinions. When a report requires that you offer impressions and opinions, this report takes on the status of an analysis, review, or editorial. Some types of reports include a section for conclusions or recommendations. If you are writing this kind of report, you should offer conclusions or recommendations that you feel are logical based upon what you’ve seen, heard or learned. Clearly the recommendation of a report will be subjective, but in order for it to be valid, it must be based upon the objective material presented somewhere in the report. Here are some of the types of reports you may have to write: meeting reports (minutes), progress reports, periodic reports, trip reports, production reports, incident reports, accident reports, and work reports. Some of these reports are written on a regular basis (every day, week, month, or year). Some reports are made on preformatted forms and you will just have to fill in the blanks. For others, you’ll have to start from scratch. Either way, you should know the general format for reports and some specific report formats. Unlike letters or memos, most common workplace reports don’t have many parts. They usually begin with a simple title that indicates their subject, like “Work Report” or “Accident Report,” and then list the author and date of the report. Then, the body of reports usually follows a structure similar to the body of memos.

Opinions or impressions should be reserved for the conclusion or recommendations section. Then the body will be organized as follows: • Past: what has been accomplished? • Present: what work is in progress? • Future: future plans/goals and a time line for completion. using a clear topic sentence. An accident report might recommend changes to be made to prevent similar accidents in the future. The more detailed and specific you are in this support. First. The paragraphs in the body of the report support the main idea. A progress report. so to speak—consists of an introduction. the beginning of a report introduces the subject and purpose of the report. for example. If a report is to be filled out on a standard form. because the information provided at the top of the form tells readers everything that would be in such a topic sentence. . The body of a report. like the body of a memo. lists. Remember that the body of your report should not evaluate or assess the facts you report. or if the report is one that employees fill out frequently. Most reports follow a chronological order.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 45 Most of a report—the body. will begin by naming the time period covered in the report. and conclusion. Progress reports. Reports may also begin with a sentence that summarizes the information to be contained in the report. The conclusion should tell readers if there is any action to be taken or if there are any recommendations based upon what you’ve reported. there’s often no need for an introduction. in a progress report. Now let’s look at how this report structure works for a few specific types of reports. tables and graphs. your conclusion might present your goals for the next report period or discuss problems you’ve been having during this report period. body. can be made reader-friendly by the use of headings. the better. For example.

• Present: current issues. if applicable.46 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL Be specific about what you have accomplished and plan to accomplish. Offer specific. List any issues or concerns that you may have (things that may prevent you from achieving your goals. says. • Future: when and where the next meeting will be held. A trip report should be formatted as follows: • Past: what you did or saw. how you are using it in your work. a review should do the following: make a strong. • Present: how you feel about it. offer a brief explanation of why an issue is being reviewed. and offer strong evidence supporting the opening assertion. who attended.” What distinguishes a good review from a bad one is the “why”—how much and what kind of evidence is offered to support the writer’s assertions. Reviews. are marked by personal opinion. other trips. Another type of report is an employee review. • Future: how this can be used in your work. for example). etc. in short. “Here is what I think. place. and who would usually attend but was not there for this meeting. Meeting minutes include the time and date of the meeting. and here’s why. detailed support for your assertions in a review. or thing being reviewed. impression. clear assertion about the person. A review should contain both the good and the bad. In general. or reaction. Trip report. A report containing minutes for a meeting should be formatted as follows: • Past: unfinished business from last meeting. A review . A review. Meeting minutes. unlike other types of reports.

W R ITI N G FOR WORK 47 that is entirely one-sided (either completely positive or completely negative) might not be taken as seriously as one that shows some balance. or her reason for calling. agree to. in order to convince your reader you must know your audience and your purpose. it simply means you should show that you’re discriminating—that you’ve looked for the bad in the good or the good in the bad. sponsor. Like all types of business writing. As a manager. —J UAN. or support a project or idea. When making calls. the calls she made were resulting in fewer sales than the calls her coworkers were making. I suggested that she begin her calls more clearly and that she practice calls with coworkers to become more comfortable with customers. she would rarely. Because of these weak phone skills. I have to write performance evaluations for my employees. offering suggestions to an existing employee was easier and much more effective than hiring and training a new employee. Rather than citing only her low sales in the evaluation. TELEMARKETING MANAGER PROPOSALS A proposal is a formal attempt to convince someone to approve. In this situation. First determine . This doesn’t mean that you can’t write a good or bad review. and not only did her sales increase but her attitude improved dramatically. begin the call by stating her name. When you note areas of an employee’s performance that could use some improvement. the company. if ever. My suggestions worked. it is always good to include suggestions to resolve the problem. One employee had a particular problem with her phone manner.

or money—especially if you want them to spend money—they are probably going to have reservations or objections to what you want them to do. Another strategy for effective convincing is to request a specific action from your reader. your main goal is to convince. Why should they believe you? The answer. Once your audience and purpose are clear. now ask yourself how will the reader or the company benefit? So you’ve told your readers that they will get certain benefits from agreeing to do what you ask. You’re much more likely to convince people if you acknowledge and overcome their reservations and objections. Next. And if they are going to have to get approval from someone else. you are ready to write. energy. is to provide specific evidence for your claims. Clearly. of course. If what you want requires people to give up time. you’ve shown readers exactly how they will benefit. now. as you conclude. You know how you’ll benefit from what you want. But what exactly do you want to convince your readers to think or do? Again the more specific you can be the more convincing your proposal will be. brainstorm about your purpose. and they can range from the very complicated to the very simple.48 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL exactly whom are you trying to convince? The more specific you can be about your audience. There are many different kinds of proposals. You’ve asked for what you want. the next step is to clarify exactly how your readers will benefit from doing what you ask. the easier it is to show how what you want fills their desires or needs. whatever the kind. proposals fall into one of three categories: . Now that you know the basic strategies you can use to convince the reader of your proposal. Generally. the better you will be able to determine the wants and needs of your readers. that person might have reservations and objections as well. And the more you know what your readers want and need. tell readers exactly what you want them to do.

Title. and the receiver. If you’re writing your proposal in memo form. Proposals have several parts. use a general topic sentence to summarize the solution. • Personnel. and not all parts are applicable for every proposal. If your solution requires several steps or complicated procedures. List the steps to be taken in chronological order. then this information will be taken care of in the heading of your memo and you should not repeat it in the body. Readers need to know exactly what’s involved in a solution before they can approve it. Describe the solution you are proposing. In any case. a procedures section will be helpful for readers. all proposals. direct title and that it indicates the date.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 49 • Proposals to provide a good or service • Proposals to make a change or improvement • Proposals to approve a program or project Some proposals combine purposes. these parts may or may not be separated as individual sections. Problem statement. Then provide the specific details of the solution. Readers need to know exactly what’s involved in a solution before they can approve it. the author of the proposal. First. . 3. Describe the problem. explain who those people would be and why they’d be the best ones to accomplish those tasks. You can break the solution down into the following parts: • Procedures. If several people will be working on this solution. 1. Make sure your proposal has a simple. 2. follow this very basic organizational structure. complex or simple. Depending upon the length and complexity of the proposal. Be sure to provide sufficient background information so that readers fully understand the problem.

One of the most common flaws in workplace writing is the use of jargon. The key to avoiding using . Restate the problem and summarize your solution. and provide specific evidence for your claims. If special equipment or materials are required for your solution. a year? Offer your best guess. list that equipment or those materials.50 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL • Materials. How much will it cost to implement you solution? If there are large costs involved. Summary. Here are some rules to help you write clearly. Remember. you need to anticipate readers’ questions and objections. • Budget. • Timeline. you can’t achieve your purpose and you won’t reach your audience. a week. IMPROVING YOUR WRITING Now that you can tackle most of the types of writing that you will encounter at work you are ready to finesse your writing skills. How long will this solution take? Can it be done in a day. Jargon is technical or specialized language used by a limited audience. anticipate readers’ reservations and objections. W R I T I N G C L E A R LY You must write clearly. That means you need to: show how your solution will clearly benefit readers. it’s a good idea to provide a budget if you can offer accurate figures. If your reader can’t understand what you’ve written. when convincing. and one question they’re sure to ask is “How much will this cost?” 4. Avoid jargon. Remember that the overall goal of a proposal is to convince.

causes the confusion. This sentence should be revised to read: “The woman with a blue hat ate a sandwich. Will they understand you if you use technical language? If you’re an electrician and you’re writing to other electricians. and often clearer.” when “use” and “help” are just fine. be sure to define it.” Here. If you must use jargon and your audience is not technical or won’t be familiar with your specialized terms. But if you’re an electrician and you’re writing to someone in accounting. Avoid ambiguous language. but of course that’s not what the writer intended. you’ll confuse your reader if you use electrician jargon. for example.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 51 jargon inappropriately is to be sure that you write at the appropriate level for your readers. then be sure to define those terms for your readers. So of course ambiguous words and phrases interfere with clarity. but this sentence can also mean that the photographer shot the model with a gun. there’s usually no need to use words like “utilize” or “facilitate. but you don’t add any authority or value to what you write by using big words when short. look at the following sentence:“The woman ate the sandwich with a blue hat. Another type of ambiguity happens when a series of words is in the wrong place in a sentence. For example. If you use an abbreviation readers may not know.” Here’s another ambiguous sentence: “When reaching for the . the word order of the sentence. simple. not an individual word. This kind of ambiguity happens whenever a word has more than one possible meaning in the way it’s used in a sentence. sure. Ambiguous means having two or more possible meanings. Take a look at this sentence. clear words will do. This is also true of abbreviations. Writers often believe that big words impress readers. Avoid pretentious language.” This sentence can be read two ways: Photographers “shoot” pictures with a camera. For example. for example: “The photographer shot the model. Did the woman eat her sandwich with her hat? That’s what the sentence actually says.

Therefore. Notice how the active sentence gives readers an agent of action—a subject performing a verb. There are times when the passive voice makes sense—like when you don’t know the agent of action or when you want to emphasize the action. The active voice is more direct and makes a sentence sound more authoritative and powerful. the coffee spilled on the table. and in workplace writing. WRITING WITH ST YL E Clarity is essential. In the passive sentence. compare the following sentences: Passive: Active: The file was put in the wrong drawer. A missing word also needs to be added—the subject of the sentence—to fully eliminate the ambiguity: “The coffee spilled on the table when he reached for the phone. It’s also useful when you desire anonymity or objectivity. and get straight to your point. means that the coffee reached for the phone. you just know that somehow it got there. For example. use the right degree of formality. you don’t know who or what put the file in the wrong drawer. but clarity alone does not make for a good workplace writing style. Also important are these three rules for workplace writing: be concise. Readers are quickly annoyed by writers who take ten sen- . Using the active voice means making sure a sentence has a clear agent of action and a direct approach. the word order needs to be rearranged.” The sentence. Time is money.” Use the active voice when possible. you can’t afford to waste your reader’s time by taking too long to convey your message.52 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL phone. Florence put the file in the wrong drawer. as written. not the agent.

intimate).” That and which phrases can often be rephrased by turning the idea in the “that” or “which” phrase into an adjective. modified word or phrase. specific word for a weak. you must decide on a level of formality that ranges from very formal (proper. As the person you write to increases in rank. Whenever you write. Make sure you are not saying the same thing in two different ways. Wordiness can often be trimmed by using exact words and phrases. as discussed above.W R ITI N G FOR WORK 53 tences to say what could be expressed in four or five. you should fall somewhere near the middle of the scale. This means substituting a strong. relaxed. In most cases. the sentence “The room is red in color” is repetitious. Use exact words and phrases. distanced) to very informal (slangy. . For example. When you write for work. get right to the point. For example. Here are some ways to avoid wordiness: Cut any unnecessary words. do it at the end of your letter or memo (in no case should there be a personal message in a report or proposal) after you’ve taken care of business. (A modifier is a word that describes. You show more respect for your reader by getting straight to the point than by starting off with small talk. For example:“This is a manual that is very helpful” would be more simply phrased: “This is a very helpful manual. If you wish to get personal or add a friendly comment or two. but on the formal side. He burst into the room. stuffy.“Because of the fact that” can usually be replaced with “because. can also help to avoid this type of verbal clutter.) Notice how exactness cuts back on wordiness and makes for much more powerful sentences in the following example: He walked very forcefully into the room. Avoid unnecessary repetition. so should your level of formality.” Using the active voice. like red balloon or very juicy apple.

always write with your audience in mind and with a clearly stated purpose. use the right degree of formality. customers. Finally. if not more important. and are direct. The style of your writing will improve if you are concise. From letters to memos to reports and proposals. active language. as writing in today’s workplace. and you should always check your documents for neatness and accuracy. Each type of business document has a prescribed format that you should follow. To write clearly you should avoid jargon and pretentious language. Writing for business is an important part of how you communicate with your colleagues. Verbal communication is the subject of the next chapter and it is equally.54 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY Writing is an integral part of every professional’s work life. Remember that writing means revising. and write in unambiguous. . and coworkers. your business writing will be much more effective if you write clearly and with style.

salesperson. the average time you spend talking to other people jumps up to 80 percent. Research indicates that you spend a minimum of 50 percent of your time at work speaking with others. sales pitches. . If you’re a manager. customer service conversations. which are exchanged in meetings. Why? Because each day in businesses around the world thousands of hours are spent creating and delivering oral messages.C HAPTE R 3 COMMUNICATING AT WORK Being able to communicate effectively is a highly valued skill in the workplace. or customer service representative. and formal presentations. Many surveys indicate that executives rank good communication as a top priority for their employees. interviews.

Once you know these key pieces of information. you want your audience to understand and accept what you have to say. How many people will you be speaking to—1. and your audience’s points of view. what you are trying to accomplish. or are they the owners of your business? The more clear and specific you can be about who these listeners are. and concepts that can best reach them. 20. and you will be far more successful in your communication. what kind of special arrangements you will need to make for seating and sound. your purpose. In order to communicate effectively you must consider to whom you are speaking. and how you’re perceived. 1. and the type of audiovisual aids you will use. or 100? The number of people listening will determine how loud you need to talk. the more you can adapt your speech to fit their needs. while address- . language. you will speak with greater ease and more confidence. the easier it will be to design a message suited to their needs. The following list of questions will help you define your audience. you’ll be able to use the examples. Ultimately. 10. K N OW YO U R AU D I E N C E Who are the people who will be listening to you talk? Do you work with them? Are they potential or current customers? Are they supervisors. It will also affect the style and level of formality of your talk. Once you define your audience. the better your chances are for success.56 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL GETTING STARTED When communicating at work it is important to know three things: your audience. Speaking with one person will be more impromptu and will involve more give-and-take.

women. Do they speak a particular jargon or do they know complex technical information? You should tailor you language to suit your audience’s knowledge. some examples may elicit stronger reactions in certain audiences.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 57 2. Do you want a job? Do you want money for a product? Or is having a satisfied customer reward enough for your talk? Knowing the answers to these questions can make a major difference in creating a message that is both beneficial and interesting for your audience. How long will you be speaking to the group? The difference between a five-minute speech and a thirtyminute talk is about 3. Are they men. You may need to create a handout or other audiovisual aid explaining technical facts or information that is used only by your business. . 6. What does your audience know about your subject? You don’t want to bore them by telling them what they already know. prepared speech. you should never confuse them by assuming that their knowledge is greater than it actually is. 7. Although you want to be careful about generalizing. you can tailor your words to their expectations and incorporate valuable information into your talk. What do they have that you want? Be clear about what you want to achieve as a result of your talk. What does the audience expect from you? Once you know what they expect to have learned at the end of your talk. 4. but at the same time. ing a large group will require a more formal. 3. 5. or a mixture of both? The gender of your audience can influence what kind of examples you use.000 words.

Entertaining speeches are humorous. as a result of your talk. and entertaining speeches have three distinct purposes. or buy a product or service. As we all know from personal experience. While informative. or presentation that you give has a general and a specific purpose. In informative speeches you present your material without bias and with an objective of educating the audience. Each conversation. persuasive. talk. We’ve listened to reports or briefings and wondered what the point was. or behaviors of an audience. It is not the responsibility of your audience to sort through your presentation. and stories. Persuasive speeches in business are generally designed to get the audience to accept an opinion. you want people to make a change. and to entertain. opinions. one of your most important tasks is to define your reason for speaking. Your entertaining speech should keep the audience interested and amused. A persuasive speech’s primary intent is to change the views. It’s up to you to define clearly about what you’re speaking. An informative speech is an instructional talk that is designed to increase your audience’s knowledge about a particular subject. An entertaining speech results in enjoyment and lifted spirits. adopt a new strategy. such as an award gala or a banquet for key sales personnel. As a speaker. The bottom line in a persuasive speech is that. Generally. to persuade. trying to figure out the objective. illustrations. drawn-out speeches at work. entertaining speeches occur at social events.58 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL K N OW YO U R P U R P O S E Most of us have sat through long. you may have overlapping objectives in . Examples of informative speeches include a report on the sales made over the Internet in the last quarter or an introduction of a new employee. The three general purposes in communication are to inform. it can be extremely frustrating and boring when someone is speaking and you haven’t a clue where they’re headed. comprising jokes.

you will probably sell more of your product if you include humor in your persuasive speech. you’ll learn that one person’s interpretation of a speech may be entirely different from another’s. it doesn’t matter what your intentions are—your audience’s perception will determine whether or not you are successful. Researchers say this is because of differences in perception. There’s certainly nothing wrong with adding some information to your entertaining speech. Ultimately. people in business recognize the necessity of understanding and respecting other . you don’t spend all of your time entertaining. to put yourself in their shoes. As our global village becomes a reality. Here is an extremely valuable idea to remember: How your audience perceives your message is the key to any presentation. K N OW H OW YO U’R E P E R C E IVE D As you do more and more speaking for business. being conscious of the perceptions of your audience will assist you in creating a speech that will affect listeners in the way you want. Just make sure that if your goal is to persuade. realizing that not everyone views the world as we do. Understanding perception is especially important when communicating with people from cultures other than your own. at the cost of a sale. A good speaker will treat an audience with respect. it is important to be open and positive. Try to understand where members of your audience are coming from. And more likely than not. and what we learned from our guardians. Therefore. even if the views of the individuals in the audience do not match the speaker’s own beliefs.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 59 certain speeches. As speakers. that is. Our perceptions influence how we view the world. and educational experiences. friends. They are based on where and how we were brought up.

60 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL cultures. in Australia.” and the company’s strict moral code prohibited them from hiring an unwed. “I have to tell you.” Understanding a culture’s intent and use of language can help you understand how you will be perceived. We laugh about the incident now.” when the actual meaning was “no. . many American businesspeople have interpreted such statements as. but I almost lost a great opportunity because I wasn’t aware that colloquial phrases don’t always travel. I was treated to a hearty Australian dinner and said.” to mean.” As a result. —KELLY.” and “We’ll do whatever is possible.” “We’re not sure. I was shocked when my prospective boss asked me the next day what I had meant. “yes. pregnant woman. You should recognize that a person’s language not only provides a tool for relating to other people. but it is also the means by which realities and perceptions of the world are formed. “We’ll need to look into it further. I was invited out to eat with several of the top executives of the company. The Japanese are so polite that in business they have a distaste for the word “no. and told me they were very concerned. I’m stuffed. “I’m stuffed” means “I’m pregnant.” I couldn’t understand the uncomfortable silence. B ROADCASTING EXECUTIVE People from different cultures may vary in their degree of assertiveness. When I (an American) was interviewing for my current job at a major Christian broadcasting company in Australia. Knowing your audience’s perception is an important key to effective communication. I thought maybe they took what I had meant as a compliment about the great meal as a complaint. I found out.

One way to boost your con- . Your attitude and demeanor are also extremely important to others’ first impression. like most people. The most important clothing rule is to wear clean. People want to work with those in business who believe in their product or service. Because of this instant feeling that most people have when facing a strange business or person. In one recent study. Follow the explicit and implicit clothing codes wherever you work and dress appropriately. and listening carefully. your clothing does make a difference in how you’re perceived. you evaluate the person and decide to continue the interaction or to part. You should exhibit confidence. F I R ST I M P R E S S I O N S The success of many communications will depend on your ability to create a good first impression. you have experienced a powerful first impression. First and foremost. as well as themselves. neat clothes and jewelry that are appropriate for your work environment. people were asked to rate pictures of business personnel according to their credibility. Have you ever met a stranger and realized after only a few minutes that this was someone you’d like to get to know better? If you answered yes then. First impressions are formed very quickly and stay with us for a long time. It is said that within the first four minutes of meeting a stranger.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 61 COMMUNICATION SKILLS Your ability to communicate depends upon several skills: creating a good first impression. acting as filters through which we see everything else we learn about a person or place. paying attention to body language. using language effectively. you must be actively aware of the image that you and your business present. controlling your voice. The people who were dressed in a more professional manner were given the highest ratings.

there will be some specialized . and inconsiderate in using the English language. complete. It would be better to say. you narrow your audience’s interpretation and limit any confusion that could occur. L ANG UAG E As a speaker.” versus “Approximately one out of four people in this room will be able to afford the $110.“It’s going to take at least four months to complete this project. Be aware that you may need to explain technical language. and you’ll be pleased with the type of responses you get.000 necessary to purchase a home today. No matter what business you’re in.62 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL fidence is by acting self-assured. you must try to use the most accurate. Miscommunication in business can occur when people are imprecise.“It’s going to take a really long time to complete this project. if you state. For example. “Many people in this room will be able to afford the huge amount of money that an average house costs today.” your audience could infer that you mean two months or five years. and clear words so that your audience will decipher the message you send.” When you define your terms. Your behavior will have a positive effect on the way you feel and vice versa. Go into every situation with a positive attitude and an enthusiastic demeanor.” Specific language is more effective than relative terms. inaccurate. Note how precise language makes the second sentence more useful to the audience than the first.

Always use the full name unless you are sure your audience knows the meaning of the acronym. you were confused about where the speaker was headed? Some studies say that people “tune out” several times during a presentation.” “so. you can confuse and alienate them. always explain jargon as well as any other foreign. . Use concise and powerful language.” just say “Now. An example of tag question is: “It’s about time that we accepted the policy. . . when you focused back on the speech. clear and precise descriptions.” Hedges are a group of words that seem to circumvent an issue or an opinion. The same is true for acronyms (using the first initials of each word to stand for the full name) and abbreviations. Hesitations occur when a speaker is unsure of his or her position and pauses or interjects unrelated words. Eliminate words that you don’t need. . it is . rather than saying “At this point in time. Statements such as “I guess. disclaimers. don’t you agree?” Disclaimers are words preceding a second set of words that limit the meaning of the latter.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 63 language or jargon that only your trade or profession uses. Tag questions are asked after a statement is made. For instance. Some examples of powerful language include action verbs. what I was thinking was . Have you ever been in a business meeting or attended a speech and found that your mind started to wander? And then. .” Powerful language is persuasive and believable. resulting in a credible and positive image for the speaker. .” “sort of. or unfamiliar words. . relevant and vivid examples. For example.” or “I was wondering . If your audience is unfamiliar with the jargon you use. . and hesitations. complex.” or “in some ways” are examples of hedges. Therefore. hedges. As speakers. “I’m not really sure about this.” These speech habits undermine a speaker’s credibility and should be avoided in business communication. but . Nonpowerful language is most easily observable in four categories: tag questions. Some example of hesitations is “um.

If someone speaks in a monotonous tone over a long period of time. an audience may not take that speaker very seriously. gives your audience markers to follow as you proceed through your speech. Studies indicate that certain vocal qualities are most inclined to cause problems for an audience.” “consequently. his. Avoid the exclusive use of male pronouns (he. or sentences that bridge or attach two distinct ideas or thoughts. such as “as a result. and bridge the gap between one set of thoughts and another. VOICE What you say is clearly important. One of the techniques that we can use is to incorporate connectives into our speech. And when a person speaks rapidly. Also. instead of saying postman say mail carrier. for example. avoid the use of -man on the end of some compound words. Numbering your points. It can be a frustrating experience to strain to hear a speaker.64 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL our responsibility to keep our audience on target so that they will understand and retain as much of our material as possible. people decide that they’re not really interested in their material. For example. phrases. how you say it is equally important. Your voice can make a big difference in how well your message is received. Cause and effect connectives. Connectives are words. When a speaker uses a high-pitched voice. By standing . or him) if you are unsure of the gender of your subject. or being asked to repeat what you’ve said at a meeting. he or she may be perceived of as impatient or aggressive. Speaking loud enough so that an audience can hear you seems to be the most important factor in controlling your voice.” and “therefore” help your audience stay involved. Rather than always using male pronouns in sentences. In today’s business world it is essential to use nondiscriminatory language. remain neutral or use both male and female pronouns.

I worked for years as a high school coach. Ideally. Novice public speakers have a tendency to speak very quickly.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 65 erect and relaxing. you should be able to project to an audience of fewer than 200 people. But if you find that people are becoming bored or constantly requesting that you get to the point. and I have . I was offered a job as a textbook sales rep. so just remember to go slow enough to be heard. If you want to change a particularly squeaky. and decided that I was ready for a change. When you are talking about an exciting invention. you can pause for a few seconds to let the audience reflect on the significance of what you’ve said. and I was really excited about the opportunity. husky. If you’re addressing more than 200 people. Most audiences find a monotone or one-pitch voice particularly irritating. I knew the material and the market really well. Pauses can be the punctuation marks of speech. aim for a middle pitch for most of your talking and work to vary the tone of your voice. or gentle voice. If you’re discussing a private situation. you should utilize pauses in your verbal delivery. As a former teacher. you can begin by using a tape recorder. You also need to speak a bit slower if you’re addressing a large crowd as opposed to a few people. Tape yourself using higher and lower voices. If you’ve delivered a particularly important point or quotation. You know you’re speaking too fast if you’re gasping for breath or running your words together. increase the volume of your voice. Besides varying the speed of your delivery. then you may want to speed up your delivery. Find a voice that you like and then emulate the sound repeatedly until it becomes natural. and on varying the loudness of your voice. Concentrate on being loud enough so that everyone can hear you. or the high and low tones. you should vary the pitch to create inflection in your voice. The third aspect of your voice is your pitch. use a microphone. you can speak softer for effect.

you need additional help changing your speaking voice. I practiced speaking in a softer voice. I was disappointed when my sales didn’t match my expectations. Good eye contact means connecting with the person or people you are speaking to in the most natural manner possible. you need to look at as many members of your audience as you can. your selfassured posture sets the tone for your audience. Researchers have found that 65 percent of the emotional meaning of a message comes from the nonverbal delivery. If your posture is too stiff. It’s important not to favor a few special peo- . If you’re slouched. Good posture is an important component of effective nonverbal communication for several reasons. good posture improves the quality of your voice. and found that my sales improved and I developed a much better rapport with my customers. customers think you care about them.66 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL a good manner with people. find a professional communication consultant or speech therapist for assistance. B O DY L A N G U A G E Nonverbal communication or body language is important in business. which I developed on the playing field. And finally. TEXTBOOK SALES R EPRESENTATIVE If. Eye contact is a key element of facial expression. a relaxed yet erect posture can boost a speaker’s confidence. they may be inattentive. When speaking to a group. then your listeners may feel uncomfortable. Second. Speakers look and feel more confident when they stand up straight. If you are slouched over your audience might think that you have no confidence. When you smile. after several attempts. First. might be intimidating to the teachers and librarians with whom I was meeting. —FRANK. I asked an experienced rep what she thought and she told me that my loud and assertive voice.

and that is using too many gestures. instead of thinking about your overuse of arm. . but. Studies have found that smiling creates a favorable impression. two. If you’re discussing the three main reasons to support your proposal. Of course. or play with your hair. and that smiling can actually make you feel better. It’s also very important to avoid distracting mannerisms. Another crucial part of facial expression has to do with the emotions we convey. that CEOs smile more than other workers. Your audience will be distracted by gestures that are forced and will remember your waving arms instead of the points you are trying to make. Never twist a paper clip. your movements have to look absolutely natural. hand. Gestures are most effective when they are so natural that an audience will look at your presentation in totality. Body movements and gestures are other important means of communicating nonverbally. In fact. chew on a pencil.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 67 ple in the audience. for most occasions. the more natural you appear. remember that there is something a lot worse than not using any gestures. First. Second. Most people have a personal distance of approximately one arm’s length before they feel uneasy. Each of us has our own territory and we begin to feel a little nervous if someone gets in our space. but rather to vary your eye contact with each section of your audience. Third. the more likely you’ll be to connect with your audience. then you could use one. Be aware whenever you interact with someone that you shouldn’t cross personal space boundaries. optimism pays off and is contagious. Respect others’ space. Use gestures to subtly emphasize the points you are making. and then three fingers to emphasize your point. There are basically three important points to remember when using gestures. or body movements. both your movement and gestures need to coincide with what you saying. smiling is not appropriate if you’re discussing the downward trend in sales or the multiple layoffs at your factory.

68 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL L I STE N I N G Many problems occur in business because employees aren’t attending to the task of listening. There are several types of sensory external “noise” that hinder listening. Or it could be that the speaker’s habit of playing with his paper clip is interfering with your listening. Perhaps the lights are too bright or the chairs too hard. Listening. listeners’ minds may wander. And. Whatever the reasons. This difference means that because most people’s minds work faster than speakers can talk. “I’ve heard that before. these individuals may think. you don’t listen to what someone is saying.” They become close-minded and are thus shut off from any different or new ideas. while most people speak. most people would agree that active is better than passive. in the world of business. When your thoughts are concerned with being angry. however. Maybe there is too much traffic outside or people are yelling in the hall. and energy. skill. or stressed. there are times when most . The final reason that people don’t listen is because most people’s minds can process approximately 500 words per minute. Another reason that people don’t listen is because there is too much external noise around them. bored. It is best to listen with an open mind.” or “I’m sure I know everything that’s going to be said. is an extremely active activity that requires patience. Many people don’t listen because they’re too busy with their intrapersonal communication (what they’re telling themselves). When an idea or opposing view is expressed. on average. A third reason that people don’t listen is because they’re preoccupied with their own view of what is being said. Sometimes you are so preoccupied with how you feel or how you are coming across that you aren’t aware of what someone is trying to communicate. at a rate of 120 to 150 words per minute. It is interesting that most people think of listening as a passive activity and talking as an active one.” “There’s no point in listening to this.

When you listen to someone. when you’re being paid to work. Give a speaker a chance to develop an argument and substantiate major points.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 69 people don’t listen. but do get into the habit of providing feedback to the speaker. One of the most important things that you can do to improve the quality of your listening is to have a specific objective or purpose for listening. until the other person has completed talking. face the speaker and develop eye contact. however. know that your objective is to solve a problem and empathize with that person. And when you are receiving computer instruction. When you nod your head or provide verbal responses. listening is an important skill that you need to master. During your annual evaluation session with your supervisor. Most people have a tendency to make snap judgments on the basis of an initial impression. It’s best to use neutral statements such as “I understand what you’re saying” until the speaker has completed his or her complete explanation. but it’s in the best interest of you and your business not to label or stereotype someone after a few minutes. but. Eliminate any external barriers to listening such as a distracting radio. you are shutting yourself off from effective listening and learning. listen so that you will be able to perform a specific computer task. When you go into a situation thinking that you will not learn anything or that you have all the answers. Don’t interrupt people when they’re trying to talk. you are reminding your speaker and yourself that you are listening. That’s fine when it’s your leisure time. . When you are listening to a customer’s complaint. Listen to the total message before you draw your conclusions. Or you can paraphrase something that has been said to make sure that you fully understand the idea. or a humming computer terminal. Withhold your judgments. a blinding light. Avoid jumping to conclusions about the speaker and what’s being said. listen for your strengths and weaknesses. and what your boss wants you to do. Listen with an open mind.

if you are attending a panel discussion on the annual report. You need to “listen” to your audience and be aware of their nonverbal cues to hear how your speech is being received. butterflies in the stomach.70 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL Be prepared to listen. MAKING A SPEECH You are already well on your way to being an excellent public speaker. or. but there are some specific techniques that will help you with the difficult task of public speaking. trembling hands. Most people experience stage fright with symptoms of sweaty palms. Or. The skills we’ve discussed so far pertain to all types of communication. and body language effectively. Because you cannot be expected to remember everything. your voice. make sure that you are familiar with both this and last year’s marketing objectives and strategies. It is also helpful to keep a small notebook or laptop with you at all times to record important times. dates. If you’re going to listen to a speech on this year’s marketing successes. You know to define your purpose and your audience and to be aware of how you will be perceived. Even the listening skills you just read about can help when you are making a speech. make sure that you have read the whole written document. a dry mouth. OVE RCOM I NG N E RVOUSN ESS Few people can speak before an audience without feeling some discomfort. the old standby. a written document will be helpful to jog your memory. You know how to use language. Remember communication is always a two-way process that involves speaking and listening. Even celebrities— . and other business information.

People want you to succeed. All of us communicate to ourselves. Positive reinforcement will do a great deal to improve your self-confidence. the audience does . The most important thing to do to alleviate nervousness is to use positive thinking and focus on success. Then. Expect that your audience will be attentive to your speech and interested in what you have to say. or be motivated by your talk. Replace “can’t” with “can” and “won’t” with “will. and politicians—routinely state in interviews that they have had to overcome nervousness. exhale completely through your mouth. The best way to become comfortable speaking to others is to become aware of what you say to yourself.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 71 talk show hosts. Try positive thinking and watch your self-confidence increase. singers. audiences are not going to be as critical of you as you are of yourself. Repeat this deep breath a few times. 3. 1. be touched. They want to learn something. but it will happen. 2. Taking several deep breaths can have a calming effect. replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. and you will feel notably relaxed. and your speaking skills blossom.” You won’t acquire total self-confidence overnight. Stop putting yourself down out loud or inside your head. Try inhaling through your nose and holding your breath for a count of seven. Using the following five steps. One single act of confidence breeds a feeling of self-assurance that in turn breeds more and more acts of confidence. and most people who are successful have learned to channel their fear into enthusiasm for speaking. In most speaking situations. you can turn a negative emotional response into a positive experience. As a result. The bottom line is that everyone is touched to some degree by stage fright. your nervousness diminish.

Be yourself instead of trying to act in way that you feel you should. Maximize your own personal style by relating to others naturally. The final point is crucial: Spend time rehearsing your talk. and assist your audience in understanding your information.72 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL not even know that the speaker is nervous. and then use short sentences in your introduction. Go slowly in order to get your bearings and never include statements such as. you can briefly glance down at your main points and still concentrate on relating to your audience. Take charge of your speaking situation. relish the opportunity to improve and increase your self-confidence.” or “I hate being in front of you today. Audiences want to listen to someone who is in control. Use an outline of the main points of your speech. when you are speaking. “I really wish I wasn’t giving this speech. 4. concentrate on whether your listeners understand your message. Practice delivering your outlined speech in front of a mirror or to a friend or relative. so incorporate a confident demeanor into your delivery. Then. Pause before you begin your speech. 5. People are generally their own worst critics. so lighten up—you’ll probably be delighted to see and hear that you’re a much better speaker than you thought you would be. You can evaluate your own speech by videotaping or audiotaping your presentation. 6. Focus on your subject matter and your audience. If you write out your speech word-for-word you will be tempted to simply read from your text instead of engaging your audience.” Recognize your responsibility of speaking in front of a group. Instead of spending your time wondering how you’re coming across. Try writing short sentences or phrases of the most important items in your talk. .

you must create an engaging and instructional introduction. I couldn’t eat because my stomach was so upset. Instead of seeing the audience as my opponents. CONTENT MANAGER O R GAN I Z I N G YO U R S P E E C H How you deliver your speech is very important. Luckily my boss recognized that I was struggling and he suggested that I take a public speaking course. but I wasn’t able to convey my enthusiasm because I was such a wreck. I learned to relax and focus on my enthusiasm for my work when addressing an audience. you need to . I wouldn’t sleep at all the night before. If you organize your speech into a beginning.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 73 I really enjoyed my job as a content developer for my company’s website. middle. and tense. and end. you will help your audience understand and remember what you are saying. A successful speech is one that is well organized. I would get up before the audience feeling tired. but what you say is what really matters. Even the most confident and entertaining speaker will not succeed in communicating if his or her speech is hard to follow. First. Now I really enjoy the chance to promote the website to a room full of people! —JANE. but I had to make presentations at company meetings and for our investors. When creating an introduction you need to include two elements. I was really considering resigning because public speaking was such an awful experience for me. One recent study indicates that people have a tendency to remember best what they heard first or last in a speech. The introduction sets the tone for the rest of the speech. Second. weak. you must include something that entices and interests your audience to continue listening. I love our website. I learned to see them as my allies. Consequently.

expertise. an expert in a particular area. There are four tried-and-true techniques that speechwriters use again and again to secure the attention of an audience. or someone who has firsthand experience with a situation. You can select a quotation from someone famous. A quotation is a particularly effective way to inspire your audience and give some supplementary information on the content of your speech.74 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL embody your specific purpose. For example. The quotation you use should be meaningful to your speech and to your audience and the person whom you quote should have the authority. You just want your audience to begin thinking about and become interested in the topic. These methods include using a rhetorical question. People love to hear personal . statistic. you might introduce your speech about waste management by stating that American households cumulatively dispose of ten tons of garbage every minute. Another technique to use in an introduction is the statistic. You should frame the statistics as dramatically as possible to grab your audience’s attention. or story. Statistics are numerical data stated in a comprehensible manner for your audience. quotation. When you begin your speech with “How many people in this room know what they need to be financially prepared for retirement?” you don’t want everyone to yell out their answer or for someone to take a quick personal survey of audience members. or experience to make the statement credible. telling your audience what the speech is about. Then you can proceed with your speech about becoming financially independent by retirement. For example. A rhetorical question is asked to motivate your audience to think about a particular topic. if you are making a speech about the upcoming company retreat that will be held at a golf resort you might begin with the famous Mark Twain quote that the game of golf is “a good walk spoiled.” Another effective way to engage your audience at the beginning of your speech is to tell a story.

A personal testimony or a narrative about someone else can be a dramatic and engaging opening to your speech. The first part. the solution or satisfaction stage. The most effective way to organize your information would be according to time. The second component. emphasizes the necessity to change the way things are. or problem-and-solution. the better your audience will understand . and entertaining speeches. time. has the resolution. No matter what organizational structure you use. the problem or need section. if your speech is introducing the expensive equipment your department has purchased for the pediatric ward. For example. For example. the important thing is that you are presenting your material as completely as possible in a coherent and clear fashion. You can also organize your speech chronologically. you could organize your speech into toy categories such as computer games. you might begin your speech with a story about a child whose life was saved thanks to this piece of equipment. An attractive aspect of the topical organization is that you can change the order of the main points depending upon the audience. you divide the main points into some common classification system. turn your attention to the middle or body of your speech. when presenting your company’s new toys for the holiday season. A particularly effective organizational pattern to use in persuasive speaking is problem-and-solution. persuasive. Once you’ve introduced your topic to your audience. The more organized your main points are. action figures. The three most common and effective ways to organize your main points are according to topic. When you organize the body of your speech into topical units. The chronological pattern is ideal for handling historical matters. in which you will develop the main points given in your introduction. The topical organization is suitable for informative. Let’s say that you have been asked to discuss the history of your small business’s use of computers. and dolls.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 75 accounts or stories.

even in a confidently delivered. Quite simply. is a highly valued commodity. using a quotation is most appropriate. listen to the number of times a name. Repetition of a message is one clear way to get an audience to remember what you’ve said. the challenge. or a business tycoon would probably carry quite a bit of credibility with most business audiences. There are three simple and extremely popular ways to close your speech. If you want to end your speech on a somewhat personal tone. Using the literal words of an expert. There are . but rather the place to revisit the specific purpose or objective of your speech in a memorable fashion. One of the most effective ways to conclude your persuasive talk is by challenging your audience to make some changes. The next time you hear a commercial on television or the radio. is not enough. or a two. you might close a speech to your company’s sales force by challenging them to exceed their sales goals for the year.or three-word concept is repeated. an executive of the company or association you represent. well-organized speech. Merely stating your opinion. In business you are called upon many times to motivate a person or a group of people to change the way they act. For example. you must support what you say. phone number. Your conclusion summarizes what you’ve been saying in the body of your speech and leaves your audience with something dramatic and easily remembered. These techniques are the use of repetition. feel. as well as in business. Remember that organization in speaking. The ending is not the place to introduce any new concepts or facts. people remember something that they hear a few times rather than something they hear just once. S U P P O RTI N G YO U R O P I N I O N In order for your speech to be truly effective.76 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL and remember what is said. or believe. and the quotation.

or someone who has firsthand experience is an excellent way to add weight to what you believe to be true. Figurative analogies are particularly effective when explaining a very complex concept or operation. Comparisons can be either literal or figurative. Business speakers rely primarily on the literal comparison. If you can incorporate statistics into your supporting materials. In fact. succinct numerical comparisons. there is great value in creating clear. To communicate . Statistics are a natural way to support your argument. a respected periodical. research has demonstrated that audiences assign more credibility to factual examples. statistical information provides the substance of most oral and written business reports. quotations. in a speech about year-end performance you might compare earnings per share for the current year to the previous year.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 77 four effective types of evidence that can be used in supporting your opinions: examples. An example is a story about a person or place that personalizes the point you are making. Working from a familiar concept. COMMUNICATING IN A MEETING Communicating in a group employs all the principles of good communication skills that you have learned. the workings of a microprocessor) and the known (the way a brain functions). Any fact that can be quantified is particularly attractive in business. and comparisons. you’ll be one step ahead of the game. or analogies. Another effective technique for reinforcing your opinions is to use a quotation. While you can use hypothetical examples. For example. Many popular speakers use anecdotes to engage an audience and maintain their interest. A quotation from an expert. In business. make a comparison between the unknown (for example. Figurative comparisons. audiences will more easily grasp the new idea. statistics.

lighting. People can see each other better. If you’re responsible for refreshments. so take a count of attendees and plan appropriately. so at the very least. The best thing to do is to distribute an agenda and any pertinent information before the actual meeting. during. This gives your participants some time to prepare for the meeting. Some businesses establish weekly meetings and neglect to inform participants what the purposes of the meetings are. and refreshments. First. Many employees attend meetings and wonder why they’re there. LEADING A M EETING Being the leader of a meeting is no easy task. their input will be more insightful and beneficial. Create an environment that encourages communication by reducing external distractions. and after the meeting. And innumerable meetings end without a summary of what future responsibilities for meeting participants will be. depending on your role. Too many chairs limits interaction. If you encourage your participants to prepare for the meeting. and it’s a democratic arrangement for seating. If you’re looking for maximum interaction among participants. This means that you should consider the seating. The following list of responsibilities will help you to assume an effective leadership role when conducting business meetings. These problems are all failures in communication. It involves work before. external noise.78 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL successfully in a meeting you must also be skilled at either leading or participating. Make sure that you have the correct number of chairs. A combination of nerves and talking can contribute to a dry mouth. state the purpose of the meeting. . Many managers do not know how to run an effective meeting. find out what is usually served and order those items. a circular table works best.

etc. Conflict resolution involves listening carefully to what participants are saying. review the assignment of tasks. It is also the leader’s responsibility to bring participants who digress back to the topic under consideration. introduce new participants. make sure that the room is clean and the temperature is appropriate. notepads.” or put it on an issues chart that will be delegated or assigned for resolution outside of the meeting. and providing background information that some participants may not have.) that are necessary. Throughout the meeting. a leader should praise each individual’s efforts and avoid personal criticism. keep the discussion going by asking questions. don’t neglect your duty to supply them. And if there are any other items (paper. being rational. and taking command of any disruptions. a leader should ensure that minutes are prepared and distributed as soon as possible. During a meeting. state the purpose. Before the meeting. and that participants are completing their agreed upon tasks. and refer to the agenda. and genuinely be appreciative of the time and energy expended by each member. a leader should summarize the group’s major decisions or plans. adhere to a preconceived time line so that you’ll complete the meeting on time.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 79 make sure that water is available. make a procedural suggestion to table the discussion. When the meeting begins (and it must begin on time). . As you move through each item on the agenda. paraphrasing unclear comments. At the end of a meeting. A leader must be able to handle any conflicts and be ready to step in and resolve any misunderstandings that may develop. pens. After the meeting. If a topic comes up that gets your discussion off track. take the conversation “off-line.

curious. Once I was asked to attend a meeting with the regional sales reps as a representative of my department. ask for more information. Be flexible and stay alert.80 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL IN A P A R T I C I P AT I N G M EETING A lot of people think that when they attend a meeting. Read and think about handouts and prepare any necessary written materials. You can always add additional evidence later. I attend a lot of meetings in my line of work. instead of just attending the meeting. It’s always a good idea to be brief. Can you imagine if everyone attended meetings with that same philosophy? Not much would get accomplished. you need to be prepared. Make your point in four or five sentences. Do your homework. that is. I occasionally asked a question recapping what someone had said. new ideas. and shows the other people that I’m interested in what’s being said. Practice the listening techniques discussed earlier in the chapter. their only responsibility is to fill a seat. but I took notes so I wouldn’t just be sitting there like a lump in a chair. Meetings are full of interruptions. such as across from or next to the leader. one where you can be seen and heard. Sitting in a key position. Then support your point with one documented reason. . Always sit in a strategic spot at the meeting. Avoid lengthy speeches. “If I understand what you’re saying . Don’t be caught daydreaming when you should be actively involved in the meeting. the sales reps remembered me and I’ve built some great . analytical. You’ll find that simplicity pays off.” Because I participated. . Know the purpose of the meeting. organized. As a participant. will increase your participation. and spontaneous requests. I’ve discovered that taking notes in a meeting really helps me keep up with the discussion. I wasn’t really being asked to participate. and cooperative. If the leader of the meeting doesn’t tell you.

For example. facilitate the rest of the group’s comprehension. If there is a misunderstanding among members of the group that only you understand. Let me briefly explain our department’s three-point plan that includes John’s ideas. Comments such as. speak slowly and clearly.“John’s point does have some obvious merit. You may have an unrelated yet fascinating point to make. but avoid the temptation to discuss it. nonjudgmental manner.” Agree or disagree with other members’ remarks in a rational. It is extremely important that participants at your meeting believe that you care about the business at hand. however. it’s important that we make this change immediately. I do. “I agree with Heather’s statement. you might say. be attentive. We should increase our telephone budget. Use evidence to support your points. Most employees at a business meeting want to get back to their other work and they can get irritated when someone spends time on an aside. People will be persuaded if you back up your “I think” statements with facts. “I believe Mark is referring to last week’s complaint from Spitzer Industries that our deliveries are always two days late. and quotations so incorporate them into your reasoning. When I call to ask how a particular product is doing in their region I always get a quick call back and a thoughtful answer. disagree with his overall plan. statistics. Always assist your leader. And based on the 20 percent increase of telephone calls we’ve made over the past two months. watch your posture (don’t slouch). DIRECT MAIL DIRECTOR Focus your comments on the topic at hand.” Or to disagree you might say. and display interest and enthusiasm.C O M M U N I C ATI N G AT WORK 81 relationships that have been very helpful. . —ROZ.” As with any oral communication.

. it involves speaking and listening. Speaking in a meeting also requires preparation. make sure you know the agenda of the meeting and come to the meeting prepared to join in the discussion. It is also important to support your ideas. Successful communication relies on effective use of language. and end. This means planning an organized speech with a beginning. When you are preparing a presentation.82 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY Communicating at work is probably one of the most important parts of any professional career. you may need to do some research about your topic or you might want to use some statistics to introduce your speech or to support your points. and how you come across. If you are a participant. When speaking before a group use strategies like positive thinking and relaxation techniques to overcome your nervousness. be sure you have a clear agenda and stick to it. what you are trying to accomplish. If you are a leader. Being prepared is an important step in becoming a confident public speaker. Improving your communication skills is a sure way to advance your career and make work a more satisfying experience. In all forms of verbal communication it is essential to keep in mind who you are talking to. and body language. middle. voice. The next chapter will teach you the strategies for business research that will help you find the information you need easily and efficiently. And remember that communication is a two way process.

C HAPTE R 4 RESEARCHING AT WORK the process of gathering information that can be used to answer a question or solve a problem relating to your business or company. Business research is . but the goal is always to come up with information that your business can use to make decisions or solve problems. and in what areas it should be looking to improve. or they don’t understand the basic concept of supply and demand. There are different methods of conducting research. is selling twice as many mittens as gloves. In order for a business to grow and expand. for instance. it has to have an idea of what it’s doing right. In either case. some basic research and proper management of the results could help. but continues to manufacture as many gloves as it does mittens. If a company that makes gloves and mittens. something is wrong. Either company officials are unaware of how the product is selling.

which are used to determine different things. in turn. Some other objectives that are common to all business research include: • To provide answers to specific questions. you will be able to figure out the best way to find the information you need. and for many other reasons. Basically. While all business research may share certain common objectives. • To provide enough information so that people within the business will be able to draw accurate and conclusive results from the information gathered. The information. The most common types of business research are those used for the following reasons: . or who does it. Once you know the goal of your research. The primary goal of any type of business research is to gather information. GETTING STARTED D ETE R M I N E YO U R O BJ E CTIVE S The first step in any research project is to determine your objectives. can be used to make intelligent decisions.84 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL Businesses employ research in all sorts of situations: to determine if a product will be favorably received. • To enable decision-makers to make intelligent. Regardless of how it’s done. there are different types of business research. timely choices based on the information collected during research. it’s the most direct route to gathering information. business research is the means of finding the answers to questions that affect a business. to find out to whom a product should be marketed. to determine what their competition is doing.

If you could learn only one thing from your research. The primary objective is the big question. 1. simply make a list of everything you’d like to learn from the research you’ll be doing. your initial list of objectives might look something like this. Just be sure you have a clear idea of the purpose of the research before you start writing down objectives. Secondary objectives also can be identified before research begins. business research can be used to figure out why things are going right. and at least one— usually more than one—secondary objective. however. you’ll have a primary objective. they are discovered by accident as the research unfolds.RESEARCHING AT WORK 85 • To determine who is using your company’s products or services. Remember. that would be it. Often. Normally. To identify your research goals. List everything you can think of that you’d like to learn from your research project. • To determine who might be persuaded to use your company’s products or services. • To assess the chances for success of a new product or service. or increased. In what shops are our cards sold? 3. • To assess the feasibility of expanding a business or service. • To locate and/or monitor competition within the market. • To determine why the popularity of your company’s product or service has decreased. If the purpose of your research is to find out who’s buying your greeting cards. The secondary objectives are other things you’ll discover as a result of the research. Who buys our greeting cards? 2. not just why things are going wrong. Where are those shops? .

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4. Who shops in those stores? 5. Are the customer bases similar for all the stores in which our cards are sold? 6. What is the average age of the customer who shops where our cards are sold? 7. What is the average income of those customers? 8. Are our cards sold anywhere other than the stores identified? 9. Who would be the customers at those places, if they exist? Once you’ve come up with some objectives, put them into the order that you think they should be researched. Not all of the questions on your list will be worthy of an out-and-out research effort. It’s likely that some can be easily answered, perhaps simply by contacting the owners of some of the shops that sell your cards. Be sure you identify the primary objective, and list the secondary objectives in order of relevance and importance.

CHOOSING

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Now that you have determined your research objectives, you need to choose the right research method. First, there are two basic categories of research: primary and secondary. Primary research is when you start at the ground level to design and carry out a research project and gather original data in order to answer the questions your company is facing. Secondary research is the process of gathering information that’s already available. It’s considered research because the information can be difficult to locate, and may have to be verified, sorted, and organized. In many ways, secondary research can be just as difficult, as primary research, and in some cases even more difficult.

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A mistake that many new researchers make is not taking full advantage of work that’s already been done. In their haste and eagerness to get involved with a business research project, they overlook all kinds of readily available information, and spend time and resources doing the same work over again. But be sure that the information you use is up-to-date and accurate. Always use the most current and reliable sources you can find. Once you start digging into information that’s already been collected, you might discover there’s no need for primary research. If that’s the case, fine. You will have completed your task with less effort than you had anticipated. As long as you found out what you set out to learn, and conducted your project in an orderly and conscientious manner, it doesn’t matter that you used only secondary research. If you learn, however, that there’s not enough—or not any— information available concerning your research topic, then you’ll have to get down to some primary research. If that’s the case, there are two different methods that can be used to conduct primary research. They are: the quantitative method and the qualitative method. The quantitative method of research uses things like surveys or questionnaires to gather information that can be compiled and presented in numbers or percentages. This method is very structured, and the results are easier to interpret than those generated with the qualitative method of research. Qualitative research is based on techniques such as focus groups and one-on-one surveys and is used to gather descriptive information. This sort of research allows those conducting it to go into greater depth and gather more information than a survey or questionnaire could. This is one of the strengths of qualitative research. A criticism of qualitative research, on the other hand, is that it’s more subjective than quantitative, so the results can vary depending on who conducts the research and how the results are tabulated.

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Some of the most common research methods include use of the library or Internet, interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Each of these methods is discussed in detail later in the chapter, but before you begin your research project you will need to choose the right method to meet your objectives. The optimum method will vary from project to project, and depends on various factors. You shouldn’t assume that because your company used a telephone survey five years ago to collect information from its customers, that a telephone survey is the best way to proceed today. You have to take into account things such as the amount of time you have available to complete your research, how much money you can spend on your study, the amount of help and other resources you’ll have available, the type of information you’re seeking, and what information you might already have. Obviously, time is an important factor in any project, including research projects. Some methods (mail surveys, for instance), take more time than others. They simply can’t be completed quickly (unlike telephone surveys, for example). Research costs money, and some methods are more expensive than others. Telephone surveys can be relatively inexpensive, unless you have to hire people to do the calling. Focus groups can get expensive if you have to rent facilities in which to conduct them, hire a moderator and other personnel to help with them, and pay the participants. You’ll always have some control over the cost of your research, but it’s important to consider all the possible expenses before deciding which method to use. If you’ve been assigned to do a business research project all by yourself, think carefully about the method you choose. Try to get a realistic idea of the amount of work each method will entail, and consider how much help you’ll have before choosing one. Also look at what other resources you might have, such as access to lists and other sources of information. Think about what you are trying to

consider yourself lucky. . for your research. you should get busy and set up a schedule. SET A T I M E TA B L E Now that you are ready to get started. If you’ve been given a specific amount of time to complete a research project. because there’s no way to know exactly how long it will take to complete each step. This will accomplish several things: • It ensures that everyone involved has the same expectations concerning the project. then you’ll have to work within those parameters. You can make yourself a comfortable working schedule and conduct your research on your own terms. Having your boss recognize the project and how you plan to proceed with it gives you the green light to go ahead and get started. A timetable is nothing more than an estimate of how long each part of your research will take. • It makes the research project official.RESEARCHING AT WORK 89 learn. and gives you a starting point and time to begin. Make sure you and the person for whom you are conducting the research have the same expectations concerning the research. • It may affect decisions you’ve made about how you’re going to proceed with the project. If your boss’s deadline is sooner than you thought you may need to reevaluate your choice of research method. If you’ve been given some breathing room on your project. Is the question that prompted your research best answered with numbers or with detailed description? The final step in choosing your method of research is to confirm your decision with others. or timetable. Leave yourself a little margin for error.

90 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL That will take careful planning. take a walk down the hall and see what’s available. There are many research methods. it will give you an idea of what you need to accomplish and when. it’s to your advantage not to drag out the project. you’ll find a wealth of information. or whether you can take as long as you want to. and usually some very knowledgeable librarians to help you locate what you need. you should make some sort of timetable chart. PLACES TO FIND INFORMATION Now that you are really ready to dig into your project. If you’re heading for the public library. The reference section of a library typically contains all sorts of directories. L I B RARY If your company has a library. you need to find the information you are looking for. make sure you know how to make your time at the library the most productive. but there are five tried and true places to find information that can answer most research needs. just waiting to be examined and used. hopefully. There. there is no exact science to setting a timetable. and will limit your flexibility somewhat. on schedule. but. Your first stop at the public library should be the reference department. But. To keep things organized and on track. giving you information on everything from church- . Remember. regardless of whether you have a set amount of time to complete the research. You could have a wealth of information only a floor or two away. Completing such a chart and having it in front of you will keep you organized and.

to who’s who among Fortune 500 companies. Lists all companies in the U. and temples across the country. and stock information. the number of employees. and the Nasdaq Stock Market. sales. Provides information on the nation’s largest companies. and more. principal products. job experience. estimated sales. • Who’s Who in Commerce and Industry. Provides extensive financial profiles of more than 4. manufacturers and companies. members of the board of directors. • Standard & Poor Stock Reports. Here are just some examples of directories you might find useful: • The Thomas Register of Manufacturers. key personnel. of businesses within a particular geographic region.RESEARCHING AT WORK 91 es.600 companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Gives personal information about people running companies. including age. • The National Directory of Women-Owned Firms. and their products and trade names. the American Stock Exchange. Gives updated lists of owners.S.S. • The U. • The Dun & Bradstreet Regional Directory. they contain all kinds of valuable information. address. synagogues.S. and phone number. family information. Industry and Trade Outlook. . and more. number of employees. what college they attended. and it’s well worth your time to get to know about them. the year founded. that are owned and operated by women. Gives an up-to-date economic forecast for a particular business or industry. While these directories can be a bit daunting. • The Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory. Lists most U. including company name.

chamber of commerce directories. you’ll use the card catalog. and many have computers available to the public. It probably will tell you if the book is currently available. try your public library. It might even give you the names of other libraries that have the book. Aside from its convenience. the library also has books—many of which can be extremely valuable to your business research project. the name of an author. universities. be certain not to overlook the other useful resources there: telephone directories. Libraries are connecting to the web at a rapid rate. It can be ideal for business research. or the library’s computerized card catalog. or a subject area. Exactly how do you find out what you need to know on the Internet? How is it possible to sort through the vast amount of . and individuals. To find the books that might be helpful. the Internet is a worldwide system of computer networks that link together all sorts of businesses. the Internet probably offers the best variety of data. and where in the library it’s located. If you type in “conducting business research. Most libraries have computerized card catalogs that are user-friendly and provide clear instructions. and city directories. You can even visit a “library” on the Internet. The Internet allows us to access information from countless sources. If you don’t have Internet access at home or in your office. in case yours doesn’t. Of course. Simply put. you’ll get a list of any books the library has that apply to that topic.” for instance. You simply enter the name of a particular book.92 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL While you’ll probably be intrigued with all the directories and guides contained in the reference department. government agencies. since you never have to leave your desk to access it. THE INTERNET The Internet is becoming an increasingly important source of information.

personal finance. very thorough.com. which allows you to type in some keywords to get a list of sites on the Internet that might apply to your search. Once you’re on-line you can access other search engines.excite. When you “click” on any of the channels. news. Some of the major search sites. These channels can include topics such as: travel.altavista. but very accurate. and where they can be accessed on the Internet. recommended for finding specific information. It can be accessed at www. Alta Vista: recommended for precise and complete searches.hotbot. If you prefer. lifestyles. It can be accessed at www. Excite: recommended for searches on broad.com.com. Infoseek: not as large as some other sites.infoseek. general topics. families. It can be accessed at www. such as Yahoo!. sports. Like the search engines provided by some of the Internet access providers.com. Alta Vista. Lycos: recommended for advanced searches.com. It can be accessed at www. are listed below. research.yahoo. you can use a search mechanism. . and kids. computing. and Lycos. international. interests.RESEARCHING AT WORK 93 information available.com. It can be accessed at www. local.lycos. It can be accessed at www. Hotbot: the search site of Wired magazine. shopping. these sites help you to narrow your search. health. and to find the pieces you want? Some of the large Internet service providers include web channels that sort the Internet into categories. Yahoo!: recommended for researching broad. you’ll see a submenu of what’s available for you to browse. entertainment. general topics.

which contains all the references you’ll ever need in one location. Materials accessed through the service can be printed. One thing to remember when researching on the Internet is to be careful about your sources. A user simply types in some keywords or a question and the Electric Library searches its database of 150 full-text newspapers. on-line editions of newspapers. video and sound clips. Be sure you use reliable sources and try to confirm information whenever possible. sites dedicated to financial news.elibrary.com. and so on.com.loc.gov. Other library sites include the Library of Congress website. but it isn’t all up-to-date or accurate. hundreds of full-text magazines. two international newswires. Find the Electric Library at www. However. .000 classic books. and major works of literature and art. there is a subscription fee for the Electric Library. which contains a great assortment of photos. Find it at http://www. and documents about nearly everything imaginable. see the resource section at the end of this book for some guides to conducting business research on the Internet that will give you many more useful research sites. A great place to access information about nearly any topic is The Research Zone’s Electric Library.94 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL If you can’t get to the library there are several library sites online that can be very useful. or copied and saved into a word processing document. Also. Some examples of other types of sites that you will find on the Internet include company websites. and the Electric Library is a quick and reliable means of information. thousands of photographs. There is a lot of information available on the Net. It also contains hundreds of maps. Another is Library Spot. and 2. The information is updated daily through satellite transmissions. Find it at http://www/libraryspot.

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Of course, published sources might not be specific enough to answer your particular research objectives. Sometimes people in your business or in the field you are researching will be your most direct sources of information. An interview is one research method used to gather information from people. If you need to conduct an interview for your business research project, following these steps can help you achieve the best results: 1. Explain exactly what it is you’re hoping to find out, and why you need the information. Be sure to be very courteous. Remember, you’re asking for someone’s valuable time and knowledge. 2. Be prepared to share some information about yourself and your research project. An interviewee will want to know where you’re calling from and how you will be using the information you are asking them to provide. 3. Know exactly what it is you’re trying to find out, and be ready with follow-up questions. For instance, if you’re trying to find out about companies that offer the same product as your company, be sure you have an accurate description of your product and decide if you want to know about competitors in your state, across the country, or worldwide. Don’t waste someone’s time by being unprepared. 4. Have a backup plan in case your interviewee declines to offer the exact information you are seeking. If you have some backup questions prepared, you may still be able to get something useful out of the interview. 5. Know when to quit. As important as it is to be persistent when you’re trying to get information, it’s equally important to know when to stop trying. If you’ve been

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respectful and courteous, your source is more likely to reconsider and give you the information you are looking for than if you have been overly pushy. Before you get too caught up in locating far-flung people who may be able to help with your business research project, stop and take a look around your own office. Help might be much closer than you thought. Are there people who have been with the company for a number of years? Maybe even since the company started? Is there an administrative person who knows everything about the place, right down to the birthdays, names of kids, and favorite foods of most of the employees? These kinds of people are vital to any company, and they can serve as valuable sources of help and information for your business research project. Be sure that you don’t overlook them. Consider everyone within the company, from the boss to the maintenance staff, as potential sources of help, but pay special attention to: those who came to your company from competing companies, those who have been with the company for a long time, others who have had the job you currently have, anyone who seems particularly knowledgeable about the topic you’re researching, anyone who appears particularly helpful and cooperative, and your company’s historian (either an official or unofficial position).

S U RVEYS

Another way to gather information from people is through surveys. Mail and telephone surveys are traditional and widely used tools in business research. The size and scope of the surveys can vary tremendously from project to project, but certain principles and rules apply across the board. A survey, regardless

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of how it’s conducted, is a type of quantitative research that measures results in the form of numbers or percentages. No matter what type of survey you’ll be doing, there are several things to consider. You must to determine the following: Who should be included in the survey? How large should the survey be? How would your survey best be conducted? What’s the best type of questionnaire for your survey? When considering who to include in your survey, keep the following things in mind: • Participants should be selected according to the type of information you’re looking for. • People who use your product or service will be able to give you firsthand information concerning the quality or effectiveness of the product. • Potential customers are different from actual customers, and will have different kinds of information. • Who you include in your survey could depend on factors such as where potential participants live, their age, their marital status, their political affiliation, their income, and so forth.
I was asked to research the market for a new anti-wrinkle cream that my small, natural cosmetics company was developing. I decided that a phone survey of potential customers was the best method considering my resources and time-frame. I selected numbers at random from the local area phone book. (I was trying to control costs by limiting myself to local calls.) Unfortunately, our office is located in a college town and our population is disproportionately young. My results indicated that an anti-wrinkle

000. 2. If you’re conducting the research project by yourself. for it may discourage participants from responding at all. however. However. 3. If you do qualify. It’s normally possible to ask more questions in a mail survey than in a telephone survey. Also. Circumstances such as time. if your boss has allocated only $2. you’ll . you’ll need to have your surveys printed. PRODUCT MANAGER Be sure to get a group that’s large enough to give you a representative sampling. provide postage-paid return envelopes. you’ll most likely have to settle for a smaller group of respondents than if you have a team of people helping you. Choosing a methodology for your survey is very important. Remember that if you decide to go with a mail survey. and something on which you’ll need to spend considerable time. Mail surveys are generally more expensive to conduct than telephone surveys. and they may take longer to institute. should also be considered when choosing your survey method. getting too lengthy is risky. and perhaps arrange for follow-up mailings to participants.000 for the project. or conducted my survey in an urban area. Advantages and disadvantages of a mail survey include the following: 1. You might be able to save on mailing costs by qualifying for a bulk mailing. —ZOË. budget.98 THE COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL cream would not be in great demand. If I had added some demographic questions to exclude respondents under a certain age. I might have had very different results. you’ll need to have a more limited survey than if your budget was $10. and the amount of help you have. There are advantages and disadvantages to both mail and telephone surveys.

mail surveys can take at least ten weeks to see results. The advantages and disadvantages of a telephone survey include the following: 1. if a customer were happy with the service he received on his car. 2. or even if they’ll respond. by mail. Getting responses to a mail survey can be a slow and frustrating process. Even under the best circumstances. there still is the time necessary for the survey to reach the participant. which adds expense and takes additional time and manpower. Even if participants respond promptly to your mail survey. or they answer only certain questions. You have no control of when your survey participants will respond. or hire someone to do it for you. and can give you insights into the attitudes of participants. 4. 6. Mail surveys often are not as accurate as telephone surveys. 3. Participants sometimes do not follow the instructions included with a mail survey. Conducting surveys by phone can be very time-consuming. and to get back to you. Telephone surveys can be very effective. but they often are difficult to conduct. such as printing questionnaires. you’ll need to send follow-up mailings. Telephone surveys provide immediate responses. If you don’t get responses back by a specified date. Telephone surveys can be implemented more quickly than mail surveys because you avoid the tasks associated with mail surveys. For instance. 5. especially for small companies that try to do them in-house. but was unhappy with another . and may take longer than planned if there are a limited number of people making calls.RESEARCHING AT WORK 99 have to either sort the mail yourself to meet the postal service’s regulations.

and to find out what people like or dislike. Because a focus group is based on conversations with people.100 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL matter at the car dealership. There is a proliferation these days of telephone surveys and solicitations. he’d be able to relate that information more easily by telephone than by trying to write it on a printed questionnaire with little room for additional comment. and may refuse to cooperate. Sending an e-mail questionnaire can give you the fast response time of a telephone survey combined with the more detailed responses you might expect from a mail survey. Many people consider telephone surveys to be intrusive. and can be a great way to get detailed information about an idea or product. FOCUS GROUPS Focus groups are another method of gathering information from people. and some people refuse even to consider a call that they think might be suspect. Focus groups are frequently used in business research. 4. Researchers are taught to know which questions are applicable in various situations and should be able to obtain all answers to all the necessary questions. E-mail surveys can also be quite cost effective. instead of . or how they feel about something. It’s easier to control the quality of a telephone survey than a mail survey. 5. It is intended to produce in-depth conversation. Using a focus group—a small group of people brought together to offer opinions and insight about a particular topic—is a qualitative method of research. There is another important trend in survey taking that has been widely adopted in the business world: the e-mail survey.

You’ll need at least a month to prepare for a focus group. you could conduct a dozen focus groups to gather information from people with many different perspectives. you may be expected to be the moderator. Once you decide whom your focus groups should involve. If that’s the case. you should . they entail a great deal of planning and preparation. however. In order to determine which candidates are appropriate. and usually can be contacted through large marketing firms. the results are subjective. and your focus groups must be representative of your customer base if you hope to get a reliable range of opinions. If your focus group research is relatively simple.Your first step in planning a focus group is to figure out how many focus groups you’ll have. If you’re leading the business research. If you have enough time and your budget permits. it’s time to appoint a moderator and prepare a discussion guide for that person. and who should be included in each group. you’re not limited to one or two groups. Professional moderators can be hired in some areas. It is very important to keep the discussion on track and moving ahead so that the entire agenda can be covered in the appointed amount of time. While focus groups seem relatively straightforward and easy. formulate a brief questionnaire that sets the criteria for participation. try to find someone to do it who is friendly but businesslike. someone from within the company probably can handle it. In order to get the most out of a focus group. If you won’t be moderating. it’s important to remember that different people have different perspectives.RESEARCHING AT WORK 101 numbers or facts acquired through a survey or other means. When selecting candidates. When using focus groups as part of your business research. you’ve got to figure out how you’ll screen potential candidates to see if they qualify to participate. don’t panic. The survey allows you to screen subscribers during a brief phone call. Once you’ve selected the focus group members.

it’s time to think about the actual business of conducting a focus group. and how the group will operate. Thank the participants for coming. Unlike more typical marketing focus groups. Assure everyone that their names will not be used in any way. Don’t assume that the participants know the purpose or procedure of a focus group. and you’ll need to explain what your role. • Explaining the focus group process. Now that you’ve taken care of the details. Conversation must be directed and steered to keep it on track. and directions. My friend (working for the trendsetter) had rounded up acquaintances to meet in a hotel boardroom for a morning of questions. the discussion. • Making everyone feel comfortable. place. You need to be sure that everyone participates. date. you should send out confirmation notices to participants. or at least audiotape. we weren’t told the . Everyone should be introduced. Be sure to include the time. Last year I participated in a focus group called a “brain trust” led by a self-described trend-setter. You should explain what you hope to accomplish by having the focus group. and that the conversation isn’t dominated by one or two people. It may seem that a focus group is simply a time for participants to sit down and talk. as moderator. and that they should feel free to say whatever they want to. freebie muffins. Be sure to tell participants that the conversation is being recorded so that you’ll have accurate records for your analysis. and coffee. but that isn’t the case. As the date of the focus group approaches. Let’s look at some of the things a moderator is responsible for during a focus group discussion. and take a few minutes to chat about things like the weather and other general topics.102 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL make arrangements to videotape. will be.

It is the job of the moderator to get everyone involved in the discussion. there probably will be people within the group that are much more talkative than others. This can be difficult. A focus group. but is revealing important and .RESEARCHING AT WORK 103 identity of the client or product. and requires your close attention. We were also asked to select what kind of consumers we were from a list of “consumer personalities. • Keeping the discussion flexible. relies on input from all its members. —ABRAHAM. Provide feedback to their comments to encourage their participation. try to draw them out. The whole thing was confusing because we never knew the real objective of our group. If you have people like this in your focus group. We broke into small groups and answered open-ended questions about the future of education. communities. If the conversation starts to wander off your scheduled topic. • Making sure the questions are understandable. not just a couple. • Getting everyone involved. and to be sure everyone gets a chance to state his or her opinions. Be careful to not get too rigid about staying on schedule. Ask one of them to start the discussion on a certain question. Just as some people are inclined to talk a bit more than you’d like them to. even food. Ask if everyone understands each question before you start to get input from participants.” I didn’t really like the idea of being reduced to a consumer profile and I think almost everyone in the group had a cynical outlook about “selling” trend predictions and thought it was humorous that we could be qualified as trend-setters ourselves. there may be others who don’t say much or anything. technology. WRITER • Keeping the conversation on course. Your discussion guide is just that—a guide. however. Just like in any situation.

don’t be too quick to stop the new discussion. let participants continue to talk about it. This seems like an obvious task for a moderator. • Take the tapes and store them in a safe place. Don’t agree or disagree with any comments from any of the group members. or anything else related to the group discussion. • Write each member of the focus group a short note. Under no circumstances should you express your own opinion about one of the questions. • Avoiding bias. When the designated time for the focus group discussion has ended. by all means. the moderator must end the conversation. thanking him or her for participating. so you have to be able to determine when enough is enough. Be sure to thank participants for their help. you probably don’t realize how easily you can bias the participants. Of course. the danger is that you won’t be able to cover all the predetermined topics if you allow the discussion to wander too much. there are a few things you should do. • Make notes about anything that occurred during the group that you feel is especially significant. if you’ve never been involved before with a focus group. . After participants have been paid and have left the site of the focus group. and tell them how much you appreciate their sharing the comments and opinions.104 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL applicable information about another topic. and steer the conversation back to the original question. but. Don’t discourage a natural flow of conversation just to remain on schedule. If the conversation moves to another topic on the discussion guide that you had planned to cover later anyway.

your timetable. and set a timetable. . surveys. A well-conducted research project that is presented effectively either in a written report or spoken presentation is a surefire way to impress your colleagues and superiors. the Internet. and you should consider your objective. To get your project started. and your budget when designing your research project. Before you begin. first determine your objectives and choose the right method. interviews. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.RESEARCHING AT WORK 105 SUMMARY Successfully completing a business research project can be an interesting and rewarding experience. and focus groups. confirm your decisions and make sure you are on the right track. Some of the key places to find information are the library.

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how you relate to your boss. how you handle friendships and romantic relationships at work. . there are special considerations in the workplace that are important to understand if you want to succeed. While getting along at work is guided by many of the same considerations as getting along with other people in any setting. and how you behave as a leader can all have a tremendous impact on your career. how you work in a team. is mostly about treating others with kindness and graciousness. ETIQUETTE Etiquette. which involves social conventions and behavior. How you present yourself.C HAPTE R 5 GETTING ALONG AT WORK The ability to work well with others is essential to any successful career.

Protocol is a special branch of etiquette that is practiced in virtually every office. . doesn’t have to be expensive if you wear it under a good jacket. A few good pieces will make everything you already own look better. khakis and a shirt. the “power suit” has been replaced with a sweater set and a skirt or pants. It helps you fit in and speeds your acceptance by your coworkers. management included. For men. A shirt or a knit jersey. for example. When building a work wardrobe. If you follow accepted guidelines for behavior in the workplace. investing in good quality shoes. don’t worry. Many companies conform to the business casual style of office wear. If you groan at the thought of not being able to dress like yourself. Dressing for work once meant dressing in a uniform of gray and navy. every aspect of work will go more smoothly. You and the people you work with will feel like part of a community—which an office is. for example. Protocol is the usually unwritten set of guidelines that dictate appropriate behavior. try to choose quality over quantity. Sadly. or wearing an expensive. For women.108 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Understanding etiquette will give you the kind of polish that will make you highly promotable. after all. but this is no longer true. yet plain watch will dress-up your overall appearance. W H AT TO WEAR Dressing well—and appropriately—for work is important. the reverse is true as well: inappropriate dress will hold you back. replacing your backpack with a more professional bag. The same is true for accessories: for example. Knowing your way around an office socially will advance your career by making you more successful and promotable. It definitely can help you get promoted.

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without a tie, are now acceptable work attire. You can still have your own style, but you’ll fare better if you dress to impress the people who make the decisions. Not dressing professionally can be a costly mistake. For example, a manager who wears a t-shirt and jeans when even his subordinates save their jeans for the weekend will undermine his authority and send a message that he does not take the workplace seriously. The price of dressing inappropriately may be that you don’t get the promotion you covet or the raise you deserve. Even worse, you’re often the last to know what is holding you back. Most bosses who will readily point out problems related to your work will be reluctant to tell you that your style of dress is inappropriate for the workplace. Companies that still conform to traditional business attire often permit the wearing of casual clothes on Fridays. However, these offices may have a host of unwritten rules about what’s acceptable. Casual Friday does not necessarily mean that you can wear to work what you wear around your house or on the weekend. In some offices, casual Fridays are just as competitive as any other workday. For this reason, it is a good idea to wear regular office dress the first few weeks on a new job so you can get an idea of what your office considers “casual.”
When casual Fridays were first introduced at my company, I was so happy. I thought, finally, one day of the week I won’t have to wear stockings, a jacket, and heels. One Friday my boss was going to be out of the office and I was planning on reorganizing the files. I decided I was going to be really comfortable. I wore my old jeans, running shoes (that I had done plenty of running in), and my college sweatshirt. Then I got a call from the CEO of the company. He usually worked out of our corporate headquarters in another state and was visiting our offices that day. He knew my boss was away so he decided to use his office to make some calls. I’ll never forget the look he gave me when he saw how I

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was dressed. He made a comment like, “When the cat’s away . . .” as I tried to explain that I was doing some clean-up. I realized that “casual” doesn’t mean dress like you’re cleaning out your garage. —MARCIE, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

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We spend a lot of time at work, so it is no surprise that many coworkers form personal relationships—both friendships and romances. Being aware of etiquette in these situations can prevent you from turning this positive into a negative. Wherever people work as colleagues, inevitably some friendships develop. Outside work, you can be as tight as you like with whomever you choose, but at work, it’s good protocol to exercise some restraint. Just because you and your friend work together does not mean that it’s okay to socialize freely at work. You must also be careful of your other colleague’s feelings. Here are some guidelines to help you keep an office friendship from becoming a problem at work: • Plan social activities on your own time. In other words, do your social planning outside the office. • Avoid exclusivity. Don’t share jokes or accord special privileges from which others are excluded. • Vary your lunch partners. Occasionally go with someone else, and sometimes invite others to join both of you. In the case of male–female friendships it helps to be extra sensitive. Don’t be overly discreet. This tactic can work against you by making it look like you have something to hide. Announce that you’re having drinks together, and ask your

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coworkers to join you. Be up-front. If one or both of you are married, make a point of letting others know that you have met one another’s spouses socially. If your friendship becomes the subject of gossip, state your case and be done with it. Some people want to believe the worst, and they’ll choose to believe you are having an affair when you aren’t. Don’t feel obliged to protest the rumors if they persist.

When you are having a problem with a coworker, address the problem with them directly and before it permanently affects your work relationship. For example, maybe you feel your coworker is not pulling her weight and her long coffee breaks are becoming increasingly irritating. Instead of stewing about it and watching the clock while she flips through her magazine, try talking to her about the problem. You might find that she is more than eager to work but simply didn’t know what she should be doing. Even if she doesn’t appreciate having her break reined in, you will at least have aired your grievance and have grounds to go to your supervisor if the problem is not resolved.

Of course sometimes the rumors are right, and there is a romance behind an office friendship. Office romances happen, and when they do, they occasionally cross some uncomfortable lines. Any office affair will be easier on both participants and bystanders if everyone understands what is expected. There are both written and unwritten rules about office affairs. It is very important to know the written rules. Some companies have explicit rules against coworkers dating. Although the unwritten rules vary from company to company, a few guidelines will help you handle this situation with poise:

The more normal you act. you will be less noticed and less a subject of gossip if you do this. If a meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 A. but some things are better left unsaid. that’s not your problem. Often they don’t turn into grand affairs. Everyone will be watching. for example. • Consider requesting a transfer.M. • Don’t make a big deal about the affair. almost like strangers. do not have an affair with anyone who would create a conflict of interest. • Be discreet. It is not uncommon for people to have little flings. Even tiny privileges you think won’t be noticed by others will be. and they don’t want to see flirtatious looks. If you do become involved with someone you supervise. . Even if it does become a grand passion. and your beloved has overslept. This one small gesture can do a lot to protect your privacy. hear jokes shared only by the two of you. the more accepted the relationship will be. resist the temptation to announce it to the whole office. • Grant each other no special privileges. one of you should either arrange a transfer out of the department or look for a job at another company. so the fewer people who know about them. and notice that you’ve stolen a few moments behind closed doors. • Treat each other like strangers at work. and the affair appears to be long-term. someone you supervise. for one worker to get special treatment from the boss. the better. particularly at first. so don’t risk it. It’s not fair to anyone. including your coworkers. Start the meeting on time. In other words. or vice versa. Well. People will know you are an item.112 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL • Avoid involvement with inappropriate people. • Arrive at and leave work separately. it’s true.

because the lines of authority are not clearly drawn in every company. This is perhaps the most important hint of all. • Let your boss take the lead. Jones or Jim. respect your boss’s wishes. If you’re on the phone and your boss comes into your office. And your relationship with your boss will affect every aspect of your work life. . A few basic guidelines will help you do this: • Call your boss what he or she prefers. cut your chat short. Whether it’s Mr. Bosses usually are busy people. Everyone has to figure out how to get along with the boss— sometimes with several bosses. • Be friendly. • Put your boss first in small things. end the call. A good beginning is to understand and respect the boss’s power. Knowing how to make your boss—or bosses—happy is what gets you noticed and promoted. This doesn’t mean you can’t show initiative. Following the rules of etiquette can go along way to making this relationship rewarding and productive for both you and your boss. Limit your exchanges to polite conversation and work-related topics until you know your boss well enough to know whether he or she has any interest in having more personal conversations.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 113 WORKING WITH YOUR BOSS The most important office relationships are the professional ones. • Don’t waste your boss’s time. just that your boss generally gets to go first. If you’re chatting with a coworker—even if you’re talking about work—and you see that your boss wants to talk to you. but don’t overdo it. so don’t take up their time unless you have a legitimate business question that no one else can answer. Let your boss say what’s on his or her mind before you say what’s on yours.

In many offices. where you simply show that you are a good worker and take your job seriously. to say nothing of raises and more responsibility. Furthermore. so when you’re new on a job. whether you’re the kind of employee he or she wants to keep on the team and possibly take up through the ranks. For your first few months in a new job. therefore. whether you’re a team player. Smart bosses know better than to get chummy with new employees before they have proven their worth. To earn this kind of respect. remember that it won’t come immediately. The first is the nitty-gritty everyday level. whether you’re willing to stay late when necessary. You might feel that it shouldn’t matter that you arrive 10 minutes late if you do your job well. They hold something in reserve because they know they may have to fire that person. this shows genuine eagerness and interest and is a surefire way to impress the . but promptness really matters. assume that your boss doesn’t trust you.114 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL You’ll not only want to respect the boss but also make sure he or she respects you. Respect takes time to build. Apart from the edge this may give you in doing your work. if the boss comes in early. You need to earn a boss’s respect on two levels. it’s not a bad idea to do the same—if you’re ambitious. Bosses like to walk in and see all their employees looking ready to put in a full day’s work. Your boss will be watching your work habits to see whether you arrive at work on time. • Arrive on time. The second is a higher level that will make you look like someone who should be given added responsibilities and promotions. you will encounter an invisible barrier that holds you back until your prove yourself—or until you’re off probation. and how well you do your work—in short. This is the key to getting interesting and important work assignments. • Try arriving at work early.

Take the initiative. Don’t refuse tasks because they are unfamiliar or unappealing to you. Accepting an assignment you can’t complete won’t impress anyone.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 115 • • • • • boss. Complete assignments on time and with minimal fuss. In a similar vein. When something comes around that you really want to do. and you’ll impress your boss in a big way. This last point requires a little more discussion. Do assignments to the best of your ability. But do be wary of promising to do something you are incapable of completing due to either time or skill restraints. your boss will notice and find a way to reward you. Try to take on all the work you can accomplish. the boss may be empathetic but also begin to worry how much this situation is going to affect your ability to do your job. Leave your personal problems at home. This is how you show that you are a go-getter. arrange to sit down with your boss for a few minutes to pitch yourself as the person for the assignment. He or she may blame mistakes on your late night habits. An employer is primarily interested in whether you are a good worker. If you show a willingness to do these things. Act eager—even when you’re not. the boss may start to wonder whether you are too tired to get the job done. If you wouldn’t necessarily be considered for this assignment. if you go out dancing every night after work and let everyone in the office know it. even if this is not the case. Coming in even 10 or 15 minutes early will make a good impression. volunteer to do it or to work with whoever is doing it. In all jobs. without making a big show of it. Leaving your personal life at home will prevent it becoming a problem at your workplace. If you are preoccupied with a personal problem. people have to do tasks they don’t particularly want or like to do. .

One of a boss’s least pleasant tasks is to give criticism. and one of an employee’s least pleasant tasks is to accept it. Your boss is not interested in why you think it can’t—or shouldn’t. In such situations. When a boss offers criticism. it reflects doubly poorly on your boss if he or she doesn’t straighten things out with you. it’s better to be told about it so you have a chance to remedy the situation. Keep in mind that if you are not doing something right. Unfortunately. Never laugh or joke when the boss tells you that you haven’t done something correctly or as well as you might.116 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Sometimes a personal problem becomes so overwhelming that you cannot keep it out of the workplace. you may want to meet with your boss to discuss the difficulty. try not to discuss personal problems until you have arrived at some solution and can offer some assurance that your difficulties are under control and will not affect your ability to do your job. that you are simply goofing off. but sometimes it’s a wiser move to let him or her know in a more subtle way. Therefore. too many bosses lack this skill. To make criticism to work for you. Your job is to take criticism—in whatever form—constructively. If at all possible. rather than to continue doing it wrong. he or she wants a situation to improve. . it’s usually better to let your boss know rather than to let him or her notice your distraction and possibly make the wrong assumption—that is. not understanding why you’re not getting any praise. A good boss knows how to offer criticism so you feel no sting. • Never dismiss it or offer excuses. it can help you do your job better. remember these points: • Always take it seriously. It is simply not possible that you will always do your job so perfectly that no occasion will ever arise when you must be reprimanded by your boss. To put criticism in its most positive light. it reflects poorly on your boss. If a problem is serious enough. If you aren’t doing something right.

said she was having some problems with my work. I blew it out of proportion and allowed it to sour my work experience instead of using it to improve my performance. even when it’s mild. The best bosses are either extremely tactful about issuing criticism in public or offer it only in private. I was shocked. My boss asked me to have breakfast with her to talk about how I was doing. Because I took her constructive criticism as an attack. When I left the position. So. Criticism does you little good if you don’t know specifically what you’re doing wrong.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 117 • Ask for examples. SOCIAL WORKER The worst criticism is criticism that is offered publicly. I took the criticism very personally. —J EFF. such as phone messages not being passed along quickly enough or worse not at all. but I often felt overwhelmed and underappreciated. my boss told me that I had done some excellent work and that she was even considering me for promotion. Always ask for concrete examples when someone criticizes your work. when she. This response shows remarkable initiative. and you will impress your boss with your maturity and willingness to take criticism constructively. There is one situation where your boss is . and I did not mask my indignation. busy office when I first graduated from college. Describe a situation and ask your boss whether this is to what he or she is referring. I assumed that she was pleased with my performance. I was working as an assistant for a small. By not taking the criticism maturely and working with my boss to find a good solution. very uncomfortably. I worked very hard. it feels like humiliation. • Offer your own examples if you can. • Ask how you can improve. Your boss will appreciate your even-handedness. I damaged our work relationship.

and are more focused on building teamwork and collaboration among groups of employees. Knowing how to work well within a team can be great asset in the modern business environment. As a general rule of thumb. • Keep your cool.118 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL entitled to criticize you publicly: when your mistake makes him or her look bad. the better you and your boss will feel. in today’s business world. If you have a good cry later. offer your boss an explanation later in private if he or she is interested. if possible. and leave it at that. hierarchical relationship between bosses and their employees. even if it wins you a few immediate allies among others in the room. Getting emotional won’t go over well. don’t do it in front of anyone. many companies are placing less emphasis on the one-on-one. However. Apologize. these tips might make it a little bit easier to handle: • Stay polite. TEAMWORK The one-on-one relationship of boss and employee can be complicated and knowing business etiquette will help you make the most of your situation. the faster you get through a bout of public criticism. and that’s it. Briefly respond if a response is called for. Even when it’s deserved. Don’t snap back at your boss or in any way make him or her look bad. and explain how you’ll correct the problem. . Or. public criticism still stings at least twice as much as private criticism. • Say as little as possible. Sputtering excuses or offering a long-winded explanation of what you’ll do to fix the situation only makes matters worse. Even so. Your quivering chin won’t win you any lasting sympathy from the boss.

Synthesizers summarize the current ideas and then draw conclusions based on a little of this idea and a little of that idea. By knowing about team member roles you can have a positive impact on your team. and is good at starting the problem-solving process if the problem being addressed is task-oriented and can be overcome by doing something. you can curb the troublemakers and encourage the builders. • The synthesizer waits until many ideas are being discussed and then organizes the ideas into a coherent. reserving judgment for a committee or for someone else. while reinforcing unity by focusing on the team’s mission. missing pieces of information. • The investigator always seeks the facts. . yet they are the first to jump in and start doing. like the pawn in the game of chess. • The initiator proposes new ideas to accomplish tasks. Task champions take on task-oriented. once the initiator breaks the ice. team building roles. is always willing to pave the way so tasks can be accomplished.G E T TI N G A L O N G TEAM ROLES AT WORK 119 Understanding the different roles that team members play can help you maneuver to your best advantage in a team environment. unified solution. There are many different types of task champions. will remain objective or neutral throughout the questioning. will ask questions of everyone in order to uncover hidden clues. The following list describes each type. • The pawn. and like a good investigator. Knowing what roles can be healthy for a team and what roles can be destructive will help you find roles that you are comfortable in and that help build the team. Members in the role of pawn don’t have to be the most skilled in the task at hand. They get the job done.

• The peacemaker reconciles conflict and builds areas of agreement between members who are not seeing eye-toeye. Social champions take on social or emotional team building roles. Facilitators will draw out ideas from members who may not offer their suggestions on their own. • The “norm”inator confronts members who act outside of the team’s accepted norms.120 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL • The producer puts the requisite energy and effort into accomplishing the tasks at hand. producers go to work to get the job done. They get everyone talking. • The supporter encourages ideas by making members feel good about participating. When tasks involve everyone pitching in to get the job done. Supporters often praise ideas and build commitment to the team through positive reinforcement. or “Norm Police. Norminators. Peacemakers will take heated discussions and reword or reformulate the argument to draw parallels and make connections so the parties work together towards a solution instead of against each other.” attack and destroy undesirable behavior by pointing it out in front of the group and threatening to take action to punish the members who display such behavior. The following list describes the various types of social champions. • The compromiser agrees with others and even shifts his/her own opinion to agree with the consensus in order . Every team member should be able to slide into the role of producer at one point or another. • The facilitator convinces other members to join the discussion. They help task champions get the job done by strengthening the unity of the team through supportive and reinforcing behavior.

A group that has too many compromisers operates with very little tension but makes sub-optimal decisions due to a general lack of differences of opinion. However. The following list describes several task inhibitor roles. The counselor will address issues that affect the dynamics of the group. Not all team member roles are positive. • The counselor monitors the collective behavior of the team’s members and makes recommendations to help keep the social atmosphere positive. • The digresser always takes the conversation somewhere . • The free rider doesn’t do any work and is never prepared. Often free riders can keep their position on a team because they defend the odd ideas and win a few supporters along the way. whether or not they affect the task at hand. Dominators rarely seek other opinions or invite others to participate and they monopolize discussion even when other members try to contribute. commitment. and motivation. • The detractor criticizes every plan or idea. team-subverting roles. Task inhibitors exhibit task-oriented. Detractors find fault with everything.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 121 to maintain unity within the group. while others subtly stir up discontent. • The naysayer stops progress right in its tracks by subtly or overtly shooting down the team’s ideas. • The dominator takes over the lead in a discussion regardless of whether he is qualified to lead. keeping a keen focus on such elements as cohesiveness. a few compromisers in a team can make for smoother discussions and can serve to ease tension. cooperation. They can act against their teammates in many ways: some openly exhibit behavior that stifles unity and teamwork.

122 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL else. the digresser will almost always take the focus of the group away from the task at hand. not so much on other’s ideas. or an inability to connect one idea to another. a lack of focus. will put labels on other members. Social malcontents take on social or emotional team-subverting roles. • The labeler has to put a label on everybody. Or maybe your team supporter is also a bit of a schmoozer. As you know. They are part of the team to be in the social environment and often couldn’t care less about the tasks that need to be accomplished. Instigators have to start fights. • The instigator is always on the attack. even if they are not involved in the fight. Their behavior hinders group cohesion because they undermine the team building activities and the focus on positive attitudes by attacking members’ ideas and making the attacks personal. but on them personally. Maybe your team initiator is also a facilitator. As a team member you should encourage your colleagues to adopt the positive team roles so that your team can be its most effective. Of course. Social malcontents can take on several roles. Whether caused by a short attention span. in order to avoid real communication or having to deal with their own emotions. even if the label doesn’t apply. one person on a team may take on several of these roles. once labels and stereotypes are used. . the communication process can be altered and the dynamics of the team certainly suffer. • The schmoozer loves to make members feel comfortable just for the sake of being their temporary friend. Some members.

G E T TI N G A L O N G C O M M U N I C AT I N G E F F E C T I V E LY IN AT WORK 123 TEAMS In order for teams to be effective and cohesive units. and attitudes. Since feedback can be emotionally charged. not just to point out areas of concern or problems. Feedback is essential to effective teamwork. Creating a team atmosphere where communication is open and free-flowing requires both trust and respect. Communications among team members will almost always include emotionally charged language based on personal feelings and not objective viewpoints. working together towards a common goal. Successful teams encourage feedback and their members share emotions in a professional and constructive manner. It is the tool that lets members communicate to each other about performance. Feedback should be used for positive reinforcement. Once they are aware of the difference. teams need to actively manage feedback and keep it constructive. Another important and often emotionally charged aspect of team communication is feedback. Team members should be aware of the difference between objective viewpoints and subjective feelings. expressing emotions can be an effective team-building tool. and constructive feedback should be encouraged and accepted by all members. and mean what they say. Members should feel free to say what they mean. the resulting openness in communications can foster creativity and lead a team to high performance and unity. open communication has to be valued by every member. When levels of trust and respect for each other are high. Team members should be aware of the important role feedback can play in the growth of the team. Positive feedback will . While most business communications should limit the inclusion of emotions and personal feelings. it is almost impossible to limit such factors in a team environment. behaviors.

5. 1. Aggressive communicators don’t care about the feelings or rights of others. emotions. 2. needs. assertive behavior implies that you respect the same rights of others to assert their point of view and express their opinions and emotions. Also describe the benefits that the team will enjoy if the behavior is changed. objective details. Accept that your own behavior may need adjusting. clearly describe the behavior that you would like to see. they just want to get their point across and will do so at any cost. and desires and their right to seek change in other’s behavior if it is deemed destructive. 3. Express your feelings in a friendly and professional manner.124 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL not only give energy and higher self-esteem to those who receive it. The following steps will help you to develop your skills as an assertive communicator. Always invite feedback from your team members. Give facts and use concrete examples when asserting your point of view. opinions. Their comments and criticism are confined to behaviors and attitudes and are not made as attacks on the individual. Assertive communicators respect the rights of others to express their feelings. it will also serve to legitimize the negative feedback. Not to be confused with aggressive behavior. and desires as you own. When expressing a situation relate your feelings about that situation by clearly announcing opinions. needs. 4. opinions. Your team members have a right to give their feedback to correct information and include their feelings. needs. When seeking change in others’ behavior. Describe situations with specific. Assertive communication is another important tool in team communication. and desires. When your own behavior has not been effective or has .

And you are demonstrating respect for others. inappropriate emotions. miscommunication. but the question is whether or not they resolve it in a positive manner. You are encouraging openness by being open yourself. or poor leadership. . competing personal needs. they result in conflict. One of the factors that makes a team productive and provides for a rich experience for its members is the diversity of its membership. All these elements add up to an effective team that communicates with ease and maximizes the potential of all the team members. This diversity means that there are different personalities and differing points of view on a team. Teams that use effective communication techniques and are prepared to deal with conflict in a professional and friendly manner will use conflict to strengthen their unity. Other factors that cause members to argue and can lead to conflict include: stress. accept responsibility and attempt to make the necessary changes. responsibilities. Successful teams know that resolving conflict is the key to their success. or procedures. Whenever you have a group of diverse people all trying to communicate with one another you will certainly have a few differences in opinion or clashing views. uncertainty about the future of the job or the team. These differences often result in an argument. external anger or unmet needs being projected onto the team. R E S O LV I N G T E A M C O N F L I C T Most teams will experience conflict. By following these steps to assertive communication you are adhering to the fundamentals of communicating effectively in a team. unclear objectives.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 125 drawn criticism. You are fostering trust by being clear and direct. and when arguments escalate.

Prevention is the best cure in this case. then the core issues need to be defined and resolved. Identify the core issues. 1. Agree on a solution. Explore compromise and reconciliation. When it becomes apparent that conflict has set in. The best way to prepare a team for handling conflict in a positive manner is to train the members in constructive feedback practices and assertive communication techniques. Seek agreement from both parties and the rest of the team for a solution that allows both . Acknowledge that conflict exists and make it a team issue. because conflict can help a team grow by strengthening the communication skills of their members and helping build team unity. Facilitate an understanding between the parties. 5. but without the emotional attachment. not conflict itself. it is very important to take action right away. 2. Moderate the discussion.126 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Teams need to avoid escalating conflict. 4. 3. They may not agree with each other. Separate the emotional issues from the core issues. The team should work together to resolve the conflict. Team members should translate what the members involved in the conflict are saying so that those members can hear what they are saying. The following guidelines will help you resolve conflict within your team in a professional and constructive manner. teams should instead prepare for handling it in a positive way. but the team should be able to get them to accept and understand each other’s views. Instead of trying to avoid conflict. because if a team is prepared to deal with differing opinions and arguments by using constructive feedback and/or assertive communication techniques then the chances are relatively high that conflict will not escalate. Once the emotional issues are identified and dealt with.

And when all these factors are in place. ask questions. . making sure that the team’s goals have been the top priority. don’t interrupt other speakers. Cooperate with the team’s recommendations for reconciliation. and hold off on rebutting until you have heard the whole argument of the other side. Maintain eye contact and keep a positive posture. Give the speaker your full attention and respect. The other person has a legitimate point of view. Pay attention to nonverbal cues from the other party involved in the conflict and your teammates. as well your own. particularly as it compares to what they want. but the issue is a team issue and the team should be in charge of the resolution process. Be empathetic. paraphrase. c. When team members are encouraged to adopt positive roles and when a team communicates effectively.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 127 parties to feel as if they have reconciled their differences. working as part of a team can be one of the great rewards of working in the modern business environment. Relax and focus on being calm and rational. Control your emotions during the discussion. b. conflict resolution can be a team building experience. a. d. Use active listening skills. While the above steps are for the team. the following tips are for the individual members involved in the conflict. and reflect the implications. so if you can think of what the other person is trying to accomplish you will be better at approaching what you want. The conflict may be between you and another individual. Defer to the group. Use verbal affirmations.

if you are the boss your employees will do the job you tell them to . Trust. “You may want to do it this way” or “Have you thought about this approach?” • Take subordinates into your confidence when you can. Rather than issuing commands. Being tactful is important in any leadership situation. • Criticize in private. However. This doesn’t mean that you have to share your every thought or confidential company information with them. Offering criticism behind closed doors is a good way to maintain the person’s dignity and avoid provoking their resentment.128 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP Many of the principles you’ve learned about working successfully with your boss or within a team also apply to being an effective leader. and good communication will help you lead the people beneath you or your colleagues with strength and grace. Nothing is more galling than a manager who tells others what to do while failing to pull his or her own weight. The best managers use a light hand. • Soften your language. respect. There are many ways to be tactful to someone who works for you: • Use praise to motivate. you will find you have crossed a big hurdle in getting them to work hard for you. If others see that you work as hard as they do. It will almost always get the best results. Tact is a necessary ingredient for any manager. Your goal is to tell people enough about company goals to motivate them. People respond to honest compliments. Their goal is to get the work done as efficiently as possible. suggest. • Set a good example.

They inherently seek to empower others to help them reach personal and team goals. • Original. • Visionary. either appointed or due to your initiative. TEAM LEADERSHIP Team leaders need to guide their teams to the point where the members can work cohesively together to accomplish shared goals. If on the other hand you are a team leader. They integrate and interpret large amounts of information and facilitate problem-solving and decisionmaking activities. Since most workplace teams are set up for a purpose. • Confident. • Motivated by leadership. as anyone who has ever had a tactless boss can attest. They can look ahead and envision what the team should be like and do the right things along the way to get it there. In order for people to be effective team leaders. and work with a high level of integrity. • Intelligent. . They share information on a professional and personal level. tactful leadership skills are especially important. They use their creativity and flexibility to adapt to many different situations and to fulfill multiple requirements. They know that they don’t know everything and they trust their ability to get the best out of others. They need to achieve. they should possess certain traits. • Open. trustworthy. They are honest. They should be: • Driven. and their initiative is strong.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 129 do—sometimes grudgingly. it is the leader’s ultimate responsibility to make sure that the team’s purpose is realized. their energy level is always high.

coaching members through exercises and facilitating discussions and decision-making and problem-solving tasks instead of leading them. the leader serves as a consultant or an advisor. Once a team advances through the different stages of development and becomes a cohesive unit that can realize its goals without the active help of its leader. so I worked hard on my presentation. As either a consultant or advisor. In the early stages of team development a team leader will take active leadership roles.130 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Team leaders take on many roles within their teams. I wanted to make a good impression. the ultimate job of a team leader is to help the team along the path towards cohesion and production. As the team moves through the early stages of development. During a team’s development. Teams get more productive as their members work with each other and become a unit. the team leader will take passive leadership roles. but offers very little in terms of proactive advice or direction. A team leader should work very hard in the early stages of team development to make sure that the team’s members all participate in establishing the goals of the team. I was invited to present my ideas about the direction of the organization I was hired to lead at a meeting of the board of directors. The leader will also serve the norminator role. In the first month at a new job. the team leader is present for any help the team may seek. the leader will work with individual members to make sure they are comfortable and confident in their own roles and that their roles serve the goals of the team. acting as the watchdog to protect team norms. directing members through exercises for the first time and demonstrating positive roles by leading discussions and problem-solving and decision-making tasks. I made sure my . As the team advances into more mature stages of development.

I’ve since learned that I can’t possibly have all the answers and that the vitality of any organization comes from the synergy of ideas and viewpoints—and I now know to let that happen. It is the team leader’s responsibility to implement effective team problem-solving techniques. Team leaders need to use effective group problem-solving techniques. After the meeting I asked one of my new colleagues what she thought of my presentation. .G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 131 comments were comprehensive and I had all the bases covered. DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC R ELATIONS Team leaders use a soft approach in order to ensure social growth and team cohesion. and I thought my presentation went really well. The group had come in as a team. themselves. They are the role models. Teams can be very successful solving problems and evaluating opportunities if all members are given the chance to participate and the proper techniques are used to ensure quality decisions. They must. as well as teach them to their group. —H ERBERT. it is up to the team leader to take charge and make sure the team goes through the proper channels to resolve conflict in a constructive and lasting manner. demonstrate these behaviors. or suggestions. But when I asked for questions. She told me that everyone thought it was great. and in my enthusiasm to impress them I didn’t allow them to work as a team. the silence was stunning. When team leaders communicate. Team leaders need to communicate well. but I had done such a thorough job that it was clear I didn’t need anybody’s contribution. On the day of the meeting I was full of enthusiasm. who must not only solve problems on their own but must also help team members solve individual problems and group problems. and members frequently imitate their behavior. comments. they always use active listening skills and make effective use of constructive feedback. Since all teams go through periods marked by conflict. Solving problems using critical thinking skills is important for team leaders.

and earning your boss’s respect is essential to a good employee/boss relationship. praise. and encouraging the positive roles. Being mindful of etiquette can make a big difference in how you succeed at work. both friendships and romances. At the very nature of collaboration and teamwork lies trust. the team leader who hides or guards information will not motivate his team. Teamwork is an increasingly significant aspect of the modern workplace. As a role model. SUMMARY Getting along at work involves following the principles of etiquette.132 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Without trust a team will never reach a state of cohesion. a company is really a team of employees with a shared goal. Team leaders have to share information. Sharing and building trust go hand in hand in creating an atmosphere where communication is open and team experiences are rich. The most important aspect of getting along at work is how you handle your professional relationships. such as wearing appropriate attire and keeping office relationships. as well as between the members. Understanding the roles that team members play. discreet. A team leader has to build trust between herself and the members. After all. Respecting your boss’s authority is an important way to earn his or her respect. Being a team leader is excellent management training. All the leadership roles and skills discussed above can be readily applied to managing employees. power. can make teamwork exciting and rewarding. . Setting up open communication channels and using continuous objective feedback can help a team leader foster trust within the team. and responsibilities in order to facilitate the growth of the team.

rather than dictate. cooperation. Understanding how the team leader’s role changes as a team develops can help you lead your team to success. and tact will make you a leader who earns respect and gets work accomplished. Understanding how to effectively motivate your employees with positive feedback. because you can only encourage. Being a team leader can require even more diplomacy than being a boss.G E T TI N G A L O N G AT WORK 133 Good leadership skills are also vital to getting along at work. good communication. .

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you’ll need to know how to make the move. Finding creative solutions to everyday problems and knowing how to implement them is a skill that gets you noticed. There are two important skills that will help you move ahead: problem solving and networking. Once you’ve put yourself in a position to move ahead. you communicate effectively. Making connections with the influential people in your workplace and in your field will put you in touch with opportunities that will help you advance. You have the . Now you’re ready to take your career to the next level. either within your company or outside.C HAPTE R 6 GETTING AHEAD AT WORK skills you need to excel at your job. and you understand how to work well with others to your advantage. you can research your way out of any problem. You’re organized.

All too often we fail to solve our problems because we come up with a solution for the wrong problem. The key to accurately stating the existing problem is twofold: first. It’s another thing altogether to be able to identify exactly what the problem is. make sure your problem statement is a statement of fact. our postage meter ran out of money. to somehow avoid disaster and make things right again. A problem is an undesirable situation that is difficult to change. I was horrified when I found out it would take about five days to get more credit to the machine. desired goal can be reached. I was almost ready to declare my . The solution is the mechanism employed to change the current situation to the desired situation. not opinion. How do you get from problem to solution? First you have to define the problem and set goals. and. I had hired a temp to stuff. In order to become an effective problem solver you must first understand what a problem is. Problems are best expressed in a twopart problem statement that describes the current situation and asks how a specific. make sure your problem statement is manageable. address. Their ability to handle difficult situations. and put postage on the envelopes. seal. bringing my mailing to a halt. makes them extremely valuable in the workplace. After only an hour. I spent about an hour talking with customer service explaining my dilemma and asking if there was any way to rush our payment. by which time it would be too late for my advertising campaign to be of any value.136 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL PROBLEM SOLVING Effective problem solvers go places. I was responsible for sending out a mass advertising mailing. second. DEFINING THE PROBLEM AND SETTI NG GOALS It’s one thing to know that there’s a problem.

and you have been assigned to group B. —MARY. you have an opinion and you need to rethink your problem statement. MARKETING MANAGER Essentially. the current sit- . you run the risk of derailing your entire problem solving process. I quickly contacted some direct mail suppliers and had my mailing out the door the next day. Opinions are debatable. the difference between fact and opinion is the difference between believing and knowing. In the second example. simple and straightforward. Current situation: Sam is lazy. Current situation: I need to be on a different team. Desired situation: How can I get out of this group? Problem statement #1. Ask yourself. can this statement be debated? If you can answer yes. When your problem statements are not factual. Desired situation: How can I avoid working with him? 3. look at the following problem statements: 1.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 137 advertising campaign a disaster when I realized I was looking for a solution to the wrong problem. Current situation: I’ve been placed on a project team with Sam. Why? Partly because its description of the current situation is fact. Your boss created work teams. and so has Sam. Now. Desired situation: How can I minimize my interactions with Sam without jeopardizing the project or my job? 2. Imagine that you have difficulties with one of your coworkers. Sam. is the most effective of the three. I didn’t need money on our meter so much as I needed to get my envelopes in the mail. The revenue generated by the mailing easily offset the extra cost of paying the direct mail house. not what we know. Opinions may be based on facts. facts usually are not. of course. but they are still what we think.

A problem statement that suggests a solution has several negative effects. they must also be focused. Whether you’re working on a problem statement or outlining career or personal goals. focused problem that you can do something about. Its lack of objectivity will lead to a misdirected goal and therefore a solution to the wrong problem. For effective problem solving. it also suggests a solution. 4. Once you’ve clearly identified the problem. Your problem statement. you are ready to find your solution. First. you need to know exactly what you want to change the current situation to. too. The third problem statement is ineffective because it. enables you to focus your problem-solving energies on generating a solution that will get you exactly where you want to go when you want to get there. then. there are four guidelines for effective goal setting that you should follow: 1. Focusing the problem statement makes it manageable.138 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL uation is clearly expressing an opinion. and created a two-part problem statement. It not only expresses an opinion. lacks objectivity. Make sure your goals are realistic. should address a specific. then. Effective problem solvers know that problem statements must not only be facts. . It’s not enough to know that you want to change the current situation. 2. Second. established your goals. A clearly articulated goal is essential to reaching an effective solution. Make sure your goals are specific. 3. Make sure your goals are measurable. and not a particularly constructive one at that. A clearly defined goal. suggesting a solution in your problem statement will severely limit your ability to brainstorm for effective solutions. Make sure your goals are ambitious. Now that you have defined the problem. your goal will be misdirected. you need to articulate the desired situation.

and seeking the answers to these questions will help you develop an effective solution. Note that the overarching question here is the first one: • Why are the products taking so long to be delivered? • What products are being complained about? (Is it all products. Here is a list of questions for the problem above.G E T TI N G A H E A D A N A LY Z I N G THE AT WORK 139 PROBLEM A problem will seem more manageable if you break it down into parts. where. Ask a series of who. First determine the scope of the problem by asking questions based on your problem statement. or just a certain few?) • When did we start receiving complaints? • How long after a customer places an order is it shipped? • Where do orders go when they come in? • How much is charged for shipping and handling? • What exactly happens to an order once it is placed? What are the steps in the order-fulfillment process? • How are products shipped? • Who handles the orders once they are placed? • Who handles the shipping? . what. Desired situation: To have products in customers’ hands in three weeks or less. when. PRO BLEM ANALYSIS Current situation: Customers are complaining that their products take more than six weeks to be delivered. and why questions based on the current situation. You will clearly understand the scope of the problem.

3. Eliminate any questions that are irrelevant. Before you begin brainstorming a solution. and because certain questions must be answered before others can be addressed. As you do your research. 2. take these important steps before you begin your research: 1. There could be a series of cause and effect relationships that led to the current situation. Just as a detective needs to find the facts regarding the crime in order to solve it. then. Consider levels of causation. keep the following strategies in mind: 1. As you find answers to your questions. Keep accurate records. . be sure to accurately record those answers. Because some questions are clearly more important than others. Make sure each question is clearly related to the matter at hand 2. lumping the questions together like this makes it easier to find the answers you’ll need to develop an effective solution.140 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL To maximize your time as you prepare to solve your problem. Prioritize the questions by determining the order in which they need to be answered. Cluster questions around related issues. Or there could be two or more factors working together to cause your problem. it’s essential to rank the questions in the order in which they need to be answered. problem solvers need to find the facts behind the current situation in order to change it. Because answers to related questions can often be found in the same place. it’s crucial that you do your homework and find the answers to all those questions you ask when breaking the problem into its parts. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that there’s only one cause to your problem.

it’s time to summarize the problem so that you can begin working on your solution. Don’t shy away from a problem because you are afraid to fail. prepares you to expect good things. problems are opportunities to learn and to develop your skills. You can maintain a positive attitude if you follow these steps: 1. To summarize. 4. Take one step at a time. which opens up your outlook. frees your creative energies. and then list the key facts that you discovered in your research.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 141 3. The most diligent problem solvers—those who keep asking questions—develop the most effective solutions. and igniting your creativity. rekindling your curiosity. Embrace challenges. Be patient. Don’t suppress your gut feelings. . What is a problem solving disposition? It means having the right attitude. Remember. simply restate the current situation and the desired solution. Face reality. and leads you to success.S O LV I N G D I S P O S I T I O N The most important tool for brainstorming a solution to your problem is a problem solving disposition. you’ll be surprised how often they’re right. The right attitude for problem solving is a positive attitude. D E V E L O P I N G Y O U R P R O B L E M . 2. Once you’ve answered your questions and gathered all the relevant facts. being open to different perspectives. Acknowledge the problem and acknowledge your power to change it. Trust your intuition. 3. Keep asking questions.

We’re often afraid to share our ideas because we’re afraid that we’ll be ridiculed or misunderstood. The good news is that you can develop your creativity. it will atrophy. You can’t be curious about something you haven’t noticed. Looking at a situation from other points of view not only expands your understanding of the problem. make new connections. We might all be able to solve a simple problem. creative people reach out beyond the “normal” modes of thinking to see the problem or situation in a new way. you develop a much clearer understanding of the scope of the problem and are much more likely to come up with a solution that is not only effective. and see things in an exciting and innovative . If it’s not exercised regularly. and you actively imagine the situation from those different points of view. Creativity is like a muscle. We all have the capacity to be extremely creative. instead of accepting the standard notions of boundaries and limits. ready to run with a new idea. Paying attention to the world around you will lead you to ask questions. A habit of looking carefully will enable you to see things others don’t and asking questions is the first step to finding answers. That’s why an active sense of curiosity and an ability to see things from various points of view are so important to creativity. Instead of simply taking the standard approach to problems. The ability to see situations from various points of view is essential for effective problem solving. When you understand that problems affect different people in different ways. but a creative person will be able to develop a solution that is unique (and uniquely effective) because he or she has the ability to “see” things differently. but many of us bury our creative energies under layers of fear. it also increases your ability to empathize with others. but considerate and fair.142 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL You can rekindle your curiosity by tuning into your surroundings. They do for creativity what daily stretching does for the body: they keep you limber.

be the perfect solution. There’s only one rule in brainstorming: anything goes. So don’t censor. no matter how ridiculous they may seem. If one idea leads to another. Listing. Simply. 3. Here are four effective brainstorming techniques: 1. Out-of-the-box thinking. You never know where your connections might lead. don’t criticize. 4. Drawing connections. A map is a visual way of getting your ideas on paper. and put your ideas in circles that connect to the desired solution. This strategy helps you to cluster your ideas. Brainstorming—unrestrained idea production—is the place to begin. your aim is to come up with as many ideas as possible in a short period of time. All ideas count. Another important step to building your creativity muscle is to let go of your fear. This is an important aspect of mapping. Don’t hold back and you’ll be surprised how creative you can be! FINDING A SOLUTION Now you’re in a problem-solving frame of mind. When you brainstorm. in fact. draw another circle that’s connected to the first idea. 2. Mapping. don’t worry if something seems outlandish or absurd. Paradigms are the major beliefs that shape our . this means creating a list of your ideas. It’s an idea. it’s time to find a solution to your problem. Also known as a paradigm shift. To create a map: put the desired solution a circle in the middle of the page. be curious and open to new ideas. and it may lead to another idea that may not be so ridiculous after all—it might.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 143 way. So open your eyes. and then let yourself be creative. Think of as many connections between your ideas as you can.

Change one of the three key elements of the problem (even if it makes the situation absurd): the current situation. more effective solution. It is important to avoid some common errors in reasoning when you evaluate your solutions. beware of appeals to your emotions. or the facts of the situation. flattery. Some other errors in reasoning are slippery slope. peer pressure. false dilemma. the desired situation. First. The slippery slope fal- . quickest—and see which solution has the best overall ranking. easiest to implement. Emotional appeals can cloud your judgment. Creating a paradigm shift helps you break open that frame and think about your problem is a less limited way. circular reasoning. This is an error in reasoning. Creating a table is good way to visualize various criteria. 2. cheapest. or pity can lead you to choose one solution over another. Simply rank the solutions in order of best to worst. E V A L U AT I N G Y O U R S O L U T I O N So you’ve brainstormed a number of possible solutions.144 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL perceptions. For example. 1. It will help you think about your problem in a new way. most far-reaching. List the pros and cons of each solution and determine which one has the most pros and the least cons. scare tactics (warnings that are not based on logic or reason). Rank the solutions according to different criteria—for example. Consider the pros and cons. like a frame though which you see the world. and non sequitur. How do you find the right one? Here are two effective strategies.

Determine how long each task will take and how much it will cost. Determine the order in which those tasks must be completed. Develop back-up plans—especially for those tasks that depend on outside factors. Here are some methods to help you present your solution so that you get the support you need. a non sequitur draws a faulty conclusion through a leap in logic by assuming that Y will happen just because X is the case. or approval—for your solution. money. then Y will follow—when X isn’t likely to lead to Y. Determine who will handle each task. you are ready to implement your solution. Unless you are your own boss. 3. IM PLEM ENTING AND P R E S E NTI N G YO U R S O LUTI O N Now that you have found the best solution and checked to make sure your reasoning is sound. such as a delivery or approval from another person. 2. 4. A false dilemma poses only two choices when there are really many choices in between. Set specific start and end dates for each task.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 145 lacy assumes that if X happens. Finally. 5. you will usually have to get support—either in terms of time. people. There are six steps to creating an effective action plan: 1. 6. When you have created your action plan you are ready to present your solution. Circular reasoning occurs when a statement and the support for that statement say the same thing. Create an action plan. Break the solution down into tasks to be accomplished. Check your solution for these common errors in logic before you proceed. .

NETWORKING Networking is another important means of getting ahead at work. Present your solution. Think of it as a web.146 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL 1. 4. what their perspective might be. Summarize the scope of the problem and the key facts. Carefully considering your audience’s concerns will show that you have really thought carefully about the problem. Take your audience through your problem-solving process. As you can see. and if you are able to tackle problems creatively and effectively you will be a valued employee who is ready for promotion. Clearly define the problem. and what type of solutions they might be expecting. Employees who are able to solve problems demonstrate these critical skills as well as provide a vital function. Think about what your audience knows about the subject. with strands . 5. Consider your audience. Problems arise every day in the business world. W H AT I S N E T W O R K I N G ? In its basic form. 2. Anticipate objections. Describe your solution and explain the evaluation and decision-making process. problem solving is a thoughtful and creative process that requires planning and good communication skills. 3. a network is the people that you know and the people that they know. what misconceptions they might have. Then describe your implementation plan.

These connections criss-cross and form an interwoven. interdependent structure. • Lets you help others. Networking is being able to locate a person within this web who can help you in a particular situation. It also does the following: • Gives you access to people you want to know. lack of self-confidence.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 147 connecting people who know each other. Did you ever wish you could meet somebody but didn’t know how to do it? When your network is in place. from auto racing to Chinese history. Networking will make your career more successful and your life easier. Some people have to overcome shyness. you should be able to find somebody who knows somebody who knows the person you want to meet. Networking gives you access to people who know about all kinds of things. Keeping up with your network during times of transition is critical. As you get involved with networking. . and are curious about other people’s interests—without even thinking about it. • Keeps you in touch when you’re out of the mainstream. with the understanding that that person may someday call on you for help. They keep up contacts. and disinterest in people they don’t know in order to work on their network. you’ll quickly learn that it’s a two-way street. strike up conversations with new people easily. because these people provide support and encouragement. You’ll also learn that the benefits of helping someone can be as great as receiving help. Some people are natural networkers. • Allows you to pursue your interests and develop new ones. In either case having a strong network offers great benefits.

Your network is something that you build all the time. Always be open to the possibility that someone you know or meet might be a useful connection. you can easily and fairly inexpensively have some printed.148 HOW THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL TO B U I L D YO U R N ET WO R K Before you panic about building a network from scratch. But don’t rule people out. You’ll be surprised by how many people you know. Some common tools are an address book. friends of your family. or that you might be of use to that person. Of course some people on your list will be more useful than others. especially when you are ready to advance your career. a paper Rolodex. or an address file on your computer. Some truly indispensable tools for networking—that you can’t buy but that you have within you—sincerity. former coworkers. and relatives. an electronic organizer. Be sure to keep your list of contacts in a place that is easy to access and update. Begin building your network by listing all the people in your core network and then all the people in your extended network. If you work in computer programming. . and a good dose of persistence. it’s important to realize that parts of your network are already in place. But sometimes you will make use of your network more actively. you might discover that your rock climbing instructor’s husband owns a small computer-consulting firm. When you are actively building your network it is important to be organized and prepared. and people you know from your neighborhood and businesses. Your expanded network includes people that you know casually such as friends of friends. If you don’t have one through your current job. Your core network includes your immediate family. a strong handshake. people you know from activities. your rock-climbing instructor might not be as useful to you as if you worked in sporting goods. a ready smile. A business card is a must for networking. close friends.

• Dress neatly. • Be direct when you ask for help.” A network is a two-way street. First. Not only will you make a good impression but also you will show the person that you take them and the time they are giving you seriously. • Meeting in person is better than talking over the phone. The sooner you are able to find someone with whom you have a good rapport who is willing to serve as your advisor the better. Their reason for not helping probably has nothing to do with you. and offer your help whenever you can be of assistance. Remember most people are happy to give advice and share their knowledge. and don’t write that person off for future networking.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 149 There’s no substitute for a good mentor when it comes to getting ahead. don’t confuse the word “use” with “exploit. which in turn is better than e-mailing. Think about what the people in your network can do for you. . don’t take it personally. • Be yourself. You can’t expect to make contact once and have the person remember you. • If someone refuses to help. A mentor is someone who takes an interest in your career and who is in a position to help you avoid the pitfalls and take advantage of opportunities. • Prepare carefully when you approach someone for his or her help. Building a network also means maintaining it. Try to meet faceto-face whenever you can. not an opportunity to take advantage of a relationship. When you want to ask someone in your network for help keep the following hints in mind: • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I just keep in touch with people and good things generally happen. Be positive and upbeat when you interact with your contacts. I found the whole process really difficult. Filofax. ACCOUNT MANAGER Maintaining a good network is not only helpful when looking for a new job. but also helps the people in your network. then one name leads to another. of course. and one that I wanted to quickly put behind me. Or. As my career has progressed I’ve realized that networking should be something you do all the time. When people know that you keep a database of contacts—a Rolodex.150 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL It’s up to you to stay in touch with a renewed connection. sending an acquaintance an article that will be of special interest to him or her. . —CHRIS. Using your network at work not only makes you look good. I don’t wait until I need to contact someone for a lead. perhaps you’ve been recruited to help plan the company holiday party and your network just happens to include your college roommate who runs a wonderful catering business. not just when you’re specifically looking for career information. it also makes you a more desirable employee. or PDA—they start asking you for information or giving you information. always thank people for the time or advice they have offered. and so on. And. Look for interesting ways to keep in touch with people: for example. I thought networking meant calling up people I didn’t know and asking them for job leads and career advice. A thriving up-to-date network is the kind of thing that snowballs. Always let a contact know if a tip or a reference they gave you resulted in a job. If you have a strong network you may be able to recommend a candidate for an open position in your company. When I graduated from college.

M OVI NG U P WITHIN Y O U R C O M PA N Y Of course. take a minute or two to . Sometimes. First. Rehearse what you’re going to say. Learn as much as you can about the duties of the job you asking for so you can accurately explain why you are a strong candidate.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 151 MOVING UP Of course. Employees rarely ask for promotions for the simple reason that most bosses like to choose whom to promote and when. In this case. you may want to ask for a promotion. however. Never ask for a promotion without doing your homework first. • Show off your accomplishments. Even if your boss knows all this. We’ll discuss looking for opportunities outside your company later. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for a promotion. Make yourself the best employee you can be and you will most likely be rewarded for your hard work. Here are some hints on how to go about presenting yourself for advancement: • Make your case. Review what skills you’ve learned and tasks you’ve accomplished in your current job that have prepared you for the promotion. Prepare your promotion pitch as carefully as you would any important presentation. let’s talk about getting yourself promoted. and get one. Begin by describing what you have accomplished in your current position. the most obvious use of a network is when you are searching for a new job. a position will open up that you are not offered—even though you might think you are perfect for the job. the best way to get yourself promoted is to follow the steps we’ve covered so far.

let her know that you respect her judgment and that you hope she will consider you for advancement in the future. Don’t be presumptuous. Perhaps someone you’ve been working with is also ready for a promotion. one of the purposes of a resume is to show that you can organize your thoughts and present . you don’t want to appear to be questioning your boss’s judgment. It is well written and organized logically. It describes your talents and work skills in the very best possible light to prospective employers. Leave the door open for future negotiations. LO O K I N G FOR A NEW JOB If you’ve explored the opportunities for advancement in your company and have decided that it is time for you to move on. you will be faced with the difficult task of looking for a job while you are still working. If your boss says that she doesn’t think this position is right for you. Similarly.152 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL • • • • review the facts. A resume is a sales tool. In fact. The first step in any job search is to write a new resume. It will set the stage for your request. A good resume. so that the information is easy to read. don’t criticize the other candidates. you may only remind the boss that you’re not the most obvious candidate. and demonstrate that you know what the new job entails. Don’t claim that you’re the best person for the job. You may also want to ask her what will help you become more promotable. above all else. Or perhaps there’s someone in your network who would be perfect to fill your shoes. does not waste the reader’s time. Explain how you will be able to meet the requirements of the new position. Have someone in mind who can take over your old job. Justify your ability to do the job.

. say so here. The heading of your resume should list information about how to reach you. and if you use one. for example. On the other hand. Your resume also has to be easy to read and look good on the page. you may well find yourself fielding offers for jobs similar to the one you have or only slightly better. State what you’ve done in very positive terms. if you have a skill that is particularly desirable. Begin with the most recent school you attended and progress backward. where the company was located. You may also use the job objective to set your sights high— to skip a job level. and play down—or omit—those that you don’t. If you don’t aim a little higher than your present position. List your previous employment in concrete terms. for this you can—and perhaps should—use a little creativity.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 153 them clearly in writing. but don’t exaggerate or embellish your accomplishments or responsibilities. and include telephone and/or fax numbers and an e-mail address that are not at work. The job objective sets the tone for the kind of job you want. it is never wise to appear too grandiose in your job objective. prospective employers will want to know who employed you. Try to be as careful and accurate in describing your education as you were in listing your past work experiences. No mode of communication is secure at work. Emphasize responsibilities and skills that you enjoy. For each job held. what your job title was. but you should make yourself look as good as you possibly can when you describe how you did your past jobs. Also describe your areas of responsibility at each job. The job objective is in some ways the most important part of your resume. and how long you worked there. Spend considerable time working on it. Similarly. if you can reasonably expect to do this in your next job. you run the risk of having your job-hunting efforts revealed prematurely. Give your home address. You should never lie about what you have done.

You should never state salary requirements on a resume or. most resumes still contain a line about this anyway. your course of study. Even though it is a given that you will furnish references any time you are asked to do so. List the branch of the armed forces. for that matter. .154 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Generally. At minimum. list the name of the school. and the degree or certificate you were awarded (if applicable). and the fact that you got an honorable discharge—if you did. you need not list any education prior to college. any special training you received. do this in your cover letter. during a job interview. If you have military experience. and it is too important and possibly too flexible to be put into writing like this.” Never list the names of your references on your resume. For each entry. enclose a brief note to say hello and remind the person who you are and that your resume is enclosed. this should be listed separately. and even if that person has requested that you send it. You may also decide to add one or more additional sections to your resume. it is usually better not to mention this on your resume. or high school if a high school diploma is your highest degree. such as “Reference available upon request. You should always send out a resume accompanied by a cover letter. and then to discuss it. If you got another kind of discharge. It also is a good place to emphasize one aspect of your job goals. Salary is something to negotiate. Night school and any professional courses or seminars should be listed here as well. include a cover letter. Try to discuss this topic in person. for example. However. the year you graduated. A cover letter introduces you in a more personal manner than the resume. Even if you know the person to whom you are sending your resume. if you feel you must address salary requirements in order to get a response to an ad. in a cover letter—even though some job advertisements request this information. the dates of service. if it comes up. or say why you are especially interested in the job. show what you know about the company.

. References are people who can vouch for your abilities. you’ll need to do a little homework. Whenever possible call and find out the name of the person who is hiring for the position and address your letter to that person. When you do get a job. you will need to line up some references. for whatever reason. such as your minister or rabbi. and devotion as a worker. First. call or write that person to ask whether you may. Sometimes you will have a bad reference. Rather than writing to “Dear Human Resources Manager:” call the Human Resources Department and ask to whom you should address your letter. less-than-perfect references must be handled with special care: • Avoid listing a reference who will not speak well of you. take a minute to drop notes to your references. point prospective employers toward people who will speak of you in positive terms.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 155 To write a good cover letter. a former employer who. and refuse to give a positive reference. Before you use someone as a reference. it is especially nice to touch base with that person again each time you give out his or her name. Whatever the reason. Use the cover letter to show your enthusiasm for the job and the company. Often they are past supervisors or mentors. used in business. Instead. Then. As soon as you officially begin to job hunt. you can describe the prospective employer and offer suggestions about what to say that would help you get the job. because it is more effective when it is directed to a specific individual. try to get the name of someone to whom you can address your resume and cover letter. talents. Rarely are personal references. Among other things. For example. an employer may be angry simply because you left them. is not going to say very nice or helpful things about you. thanking them for their help and letting them know where you have relocated.

Once you have started a job search. what the reference said specifically. you certainly do not want to dwell on a negative reference. It’s okay to make a quick local . and then explain your side of the story briefly. Do not criticize your former employer.156 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL • Remind the interviewer not to contact your present boss. Company-supplied e-mail is not confidential. • Don’t use your work e-mail address. say you need to be discreet because your employer does not know that you are looking for a new job. Do not let your job-hunting efforts distract you in any way from your responsibilities at your present job. • If someone you expected to give you a good reference for some reason does not and your prospective employer questions you about the reference. Similarly. and objectively. but it certainly is less stressful from a financial point of view. do not use company time or supplies to job-hunt. It is always difficult to find the time to look for one job when you’re gainfully employed at another. Keep your response as short as you can. and it’s not your private line. even though you may feel betrayed. calmly. If your present boss is the one who would give a bad reference. you must be careful to follow several rules: • Send your resume out on personal letterhead—never the company’s. It is entirely inappropriate to use a company letterhead to job hunt. you will need to figure out how you will balance it while working at your current job. People who ordinarily might have interviewed you for a job will not appreciate your lack of respect for your current employer. and this tactic will work against you. • Make calls short and local. Offer to give the interviewer another reference who can vouch for your good qualities. in a neutral way. More specifically. ask.

job searching at your current position is a common predicament. he or she will understand that any real conversation has to be put off until a more appropriate time. Even though it can be awkward. say you’ll call back later. though. but no toll. conducting a job search while working can be accomplished tactfully and successfully.or long-distance calls should show up on the boss’s bill because you are job hunting. Keep your job-hunting efforts low-key. take a personal day and say as little as possible about what you are doing. or come to work a little late so you can make the call from home. If you can manage it. Occasionally. It is okay to admit that you can’t talk and then establish a time after work hours when you can. Keep your reasons for time off to yourself. If you must take time off from work to go to an interview. After the employer has made the initial contact. . and he or she deserves to hear it from you. Take a coffee break and go use your cell phone or a public phone.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 157 • • • • call. tell no one you have a new job until you have had a chance to tell the boss. Here are some hints on doing this: Make phone calls related to your job search from outside the office. you will have to. It is especially tricky to deal with telephone calls about job leads when you are at work. If a prospective employer calls you at work. You boss is entitled to hear the news first. As long as you do not neglect your current job and handle your search discreetly.

Finally. When you have come up with a number of solutions evaluate them to determine which one is the best answer to your problem. asking questions. and researching for work. You can ask for a promotion within your company or you can begin a job search. working with your boss. In order to become a problem solver you must first define the problem by creating a two-part problem statement. Building a network is an ongoing process that requires being open to new people. writing. teamwork. Working on your problem solving skills will make you stand out as a person who is creative and resourceful. These skills will help you stand out as a valued employee. present your solution by taking your audience through your problem-solving process. When you are ready to work on the solution to your problem. and keeping organized records of contact information. professionally. An active network can be rewarding both personally and professionally. This means having a positive attitude. Develop your skills such as staying organized. that is. and sparking your creativity by being open to new ideas and perspectives. freely generate ideas without censoring yourself. being observant. Check your solution to make sure you haven’t made an error in your reasoning. You can ask for a . and who you can help. maintaining ties with the people you have met. Finally. A network is the group of people that you know and the people that they know who can help you.158 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY The first step in getting ahead is first to do the best job you can in your current position. when you are ready to move on from your current position you have two options. Networking is another important skill that will help you get ahead. communicating. and leadership. it is time to brainstorm. and unafraid of making mistakes. Next you should adopt a problem-solving disposition.

. Looking for a job while you have a job can be awkward but you can handle it successfully if you proceed with tact and discretion. After all.G E T TI N G A H E A D AT WORK 159 promotion and get one if you prepare and present a strong case to your supervisor. every employee wants to advance. and your employer will probably respect your decision to move on if he or she cannot offer you increased responsibility.

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or conducting business research will help you to approach any situation with confidence and give you the best results. The information you’ve covered has given you solutions to almost any situation you might encounter in your workplace. The first step in getting organized is to analyze where your time goes and to set specific goals for . The procedures you’ve learned for getting organized. but we hope you have also acquired tools that will help you in any situation that you might encounter. You’ve learned that first you must define what you are trying to accomplish and then set goals. writing a letter. • Getting organized.C O N C LUS I O N PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER We’ve covered a lot of ground. You’ve learned some ways of working that are applicable to almost every avenue of work. so let’s recap what we’ve learned. You’ve not only mastered some basic skills that are essential for every professional.

You have also learned how to make the most of those meetings—both as a leader and a participant. Good communicators have mastered several important skills: They know how to create a good first impression. the advice in Chapter 3 has prepared you to conquer your nervousness and make a well-organized. and body language effectively. Every type of workplace document has a particular format. Then you should organize your files so that you have a streamlined information system. and they know how to listen. You also need to know that writing well requires editing and revising. the next step is to create an itinerary so that you maximize that time. . and to use technology effectively. and probably most important. communicating at work starts with knowing your audience and knowing your purpose—whom you’re talking to and what you are trying to say. you also need to consider the perceptions of your audience. they know how to use language. • Writing for work. When speaking. Finally. When you write for work you must know your audience and your purpose. Finally. Your desk should be organized so that everything has its place and the desk stores only what you need in your day-to-day work. work on improving the clarity and style of writing. effective speech. and don’t forget that neatness counts. their voice. you need to organize your time. The topics covered in Chapter 2 will help you write with confidence and style. You’ve already looked at how you use time at work. Writing is an essential part of any professional career. Finally. Follow the format and the conventions for each type of document. to limit your socializing. Like writing. The first place to start is with your desk. Other ways to manage your time are to follow the ten telephone tips. • Communicating at work.162 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL getting your work under control.

There are many places to find information: the library. you probably still have a boss. you have the research skills to find what you need to know. Finding a solution to your problem involves brainstorming and evaluating your solution for flaws in your reasoning. Problem solving involves first getting in a problem solving frame of mind—igniting your curiosity and boosting your creativity. Then.P UT TI N G I T A L L T O G E TH E R 163 • Research. • Getting ahead. Knowing proper etiquette—such as what to wear and how to handle office relationships—is essential. Even though you might be working in a collaborative office. surveys. then select your research method. Following this book’s tips for earning your boss’s respect will make your job easier and more rewarding. Finally. If you have studied Chapter 4. As you’ve learned. problem solving and networking are two important skills that will help you get ahead. One likely reason that you’ve been reading The Complete Professional is to advance your career. the Internet. As you’ve . First you need to determine the purpose of your research. like many other skills we’ve covered. you need to define the problem and set a goal. and through interviews. you’ll probably have to work on some team projects and what you’ve learned about team dynamics will make this a much more productive experience. Work has become more collaborative and less hierarchical. Business research ranges from finding the best place to order lunch for a meeting to finding out how your company’s corporate catering service can attract new clients. and focus groups. Networking is the ongoing process of identifying and building connections and relationships. This is one of the most important skills in today’s workplace. and finally establish a timetable. • Getting along at work. so working well with others is more important than ever.

it’s a two-way street that’s as much about helping others as it is about getting help. Before you forge ahead. define your career goals. The resource section of this book will point you to some excellent books and websites that will help you discover the job that’s right for you. What aspects of your job do you like and what don’t you like? Think about your interests. When you have identified your likes and dislikes. you can start looking for ways to match your career with what really interests you. but you’ve also learned some general tools and ways to approach any problem that will be invaluable to you. . First. both at work and outside. take some time to analyze your current job. Do you want to buy a house. you’ve not only learned specific skills.164 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL learned. The point is that you need to think about where you want to be and what you want to be doing in order to get your career moving in the right direction. and if so when and where? How do you want to balance your family life with work? At what age do you plan to retire? The answers to these questions can help you think such issues as about how aggressively you want to pursue your career goals and how important salary is to you. These tips will help you capitalize on what you’ve learned and take your career to the next level. As we’ve said. These are the skills that will get you noticed when you apply what you’ve learned about how to negotiate a promotion or look for a job while you’re working. Of course these are just some general thoughts about defining your career goals. When you think about your career you can apply these skills to move your career in the right direction. You also need to think about where you want your career to take you. In five years. where would you like to be? Do you want to be running your own business? Do you want to be the head of your department? You should also think about your longterm personal goals.

. The skills that you’ve learned in The Complete Professional will help you maximize your potential. We hope that reading and studying this book has prepared you to be a complete professional with all the skills you need to achieve your career goals and to make your work a satisfying and successful experience. and confidence is a quality that marks every successful professional. When you approach your job with the confidence that you can do it well.P UT TI N G I T A L L T O G E TH E R 165 We all have the ability to find a job that we find satisfying and challenging and to be our best in that job. you will find that confidence breeds success. determination. and good attitude any problem that he or she faces in the workplace can be solved. The complete professional knows that with careful planning. Knowing that you have these skills will give you confidence. you will find that you are eager to do the job as well as you can. When you are in a job that matches your interests and that is helping you meet your life goals. The complete professional knows how to negotiate the challenges of today’s workplace and is prepared to maximize his or her potential.

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1997). 1998). by Spencer Johnson (Berkley. by Roger Dawson (Prentice Hall. by James M. Practical Solutions for Everyday Work Problems. by Elizabeth Chesla (Learning Express. by Erik Chesla (Learning Express. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Higgins (New Management. 1994). 2000). 101 Ways to Have a Great Day at Work. by Stephan R. The 13 Secrets of Power Performance. 1990).RESOURCES GENERAL 101 Creative Problem Solving Techniques: The Handbook of New Ideas for Business. 1993). The One Minute Manager. by Stephanie Goddard Davidson (Sourcebooks. 2000). Successful Teamwork. Covey (Fireside. .

1997). 2000). Improve Your Writing for Work. 2nd edition. 1999). . by Maryann V. Solutions for a Saner Workplace. Piotrwoski (HarperCollins. by Elizabeth Chesla (Learning Express. ORGANIZATION Getting Organized at Work.168 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL Value-Added Employee: 31 Skills to Make Yourself Irresistible to Any Company. 1998). 1996). Effective Business Writing: A Guide for Those Who Write on the Job. Bartell (University of Michigan. by Jan Venolia (Ten Speed. Sova (Learning Express. 1992). by Karen H. by Edward J. 1995). Fax. Cripe (Gulf Publishing. by Don Aslett (Storey Books. Basics of Business Writing (Worksmart Series). Better Letters: A Handbook of Business and Personal Correspondence. 1994). 1995). WRITING The 100 Most Difficult Business Letters You’ll Ever Have to Write. or E-mail. by Dawn B. American Business English. Keeping Work Simple. by Marty Stuckey (AMACOM. by Bernard Heller (HarperBusiness.

1999). 1998). 1998). RESEARCH 10 Minute Guide to Business Research on the Net. 1999). by Judith A. by Caryl Rae (Impact. 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work. by Curt Robbins (DDC. Get Your Message Across: The Professional Communication Skills Everyone Needs. by Thomas Pack (Que Corporation. by Susan Shelly (Learning Express. Office Etiquette & Protocol. Effective Business Speaking. by Bob Nelson (Workman. Advanced Internet Research One-Day Course.RESOURCES 169 COMMUNICATION 50 One-Minute Tips to Better Communication: A Wealth of Business Communication Ideas (Fifty-Minute Series Book). 1997). 1999). by Jo Condrill (Goalminds. Bozek (Crisp. by Peggy Post (Harper Resource 1999). by Phillip E. 1998). 1998). Search Smart and Get Ahead. 101 Secrets of Highly Effective Speakers: Controlling Fear. by Jacqui Ewart (Allen & Unwin. 1997). 1997). by Grace Fox (Learning Express. McManus (Learning Express. . 101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly. The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success. 2000). Commanding Attention. ETIQUETTE AND LEADERSHIP 101 Biggest Mistakes Managers Make and How to Avoid Them by Mary Albright (Prentice Hall.

Rye (Career Press. Franklin Planner Software. This is a great way to stay organized at work. Networking for Novices. 1999). 101 Ways to Promote Yourself: Tricks of the Trade for Taking Charge of Your Own Success. your duties. Fox (1998). 2000). V. . Great Resume.99) Calendar Creator allows you to customize a calendar to fit your needs. 1998). SOFTWARE Calendar Creator 7. Rich (Learning Express. by Nathan G. by Susan Shelly (Learning Express. by Franklin Covey ($75. by Jason R. 2000). This program allows you to create effective charts and graphs that are custom-made for your work.99) This software is a great companion to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 2000). The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success. 1001 Ways to Get Promoted. and your contacts in the most effective way. Great Business Graphs Charts Made E-Z. by David E. by Nicholas Lore (Fireside.170 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL GETTING AHEAD 50 Ways to Get Promoted. by Raleigh Pinskey (Avon. Eyre (Learning Express. How to Become CEO: The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization. It allows you to manage your time. 1999). by Vivian.0 Standard. Great Interview. by Jeffrey J. ($29.99) Make any presentation better with this software. 1998). Jensen (PSI Research. E-Z Software ($14.

Starfish Software ($41. or you can track contact information.99) This software offers an entire library of sample business correspondence. Tips and tools allow you to improve your writing.99) Sidekick ’99 is great for keeping your correspondence organized. Sidekick ’99.99) This is a tutorial that allows you to practice using Office 2000 with easy-to-follow instruction and narration. . Streetwise Software ($25. You can even use your contact file to print mailing labels. You can use the calendar.0. Individual Software ($40.RESOURCES 171 Office Letters 2000 1. Professor Teaches Office 2000 Plus.

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listening. 108-110 20-22 162 66-67 123-125 61-62 56-57 68-70 70-77 77-81 58-59 125-127 . setting a timetable. working with your boss. bookmarks. libraries. making speeches. choosing your wardrobe. websites. purpose of. surveys. 90-104 89-90 96-100 C B body language. and meetings. choosing the right method. communication. interviews. brainstorming techniques. business research. writing. business letters. body language. focus groups. resolving team conflicts. sample business letter. writing for 33-34 139-141 29-32 resources for. boss. socializing with co-workers. first impressions. effective communication in teams. building your network. co-workers. determining your objectives.INDEX A accuracy. knowing your audience. internet. 66-67 26 113-118 143-144 148-150 35-38 39 163 86-89 84-86 100-104 92-94 95-96 90-92 clothing. analyzing the problem audience.

141-142 digresser. 94 Library Spot. using precise language. D defining the problems. and resumes. 4-6. interviews. Internet. 136-138 desk space. eye contact. 145-146 problem solving. . 136-146 5-6 116-118 goal statements. language. 68-70 139-141 G getting ahead. 144-145 finding a solution. bookmarks. editing and revising. websites. 108-110 H honesty. 120 L 122 23 labeler. 62-64 128-132 9-12 leadership qualities. 47-50 reports. itinerary. analyzing the problem. web sites. 44-47 types of. initiator. setting goals. Library of Congress. understanding perception. 35-50 dominator. 143-144 implementing and presenting your solution. investigator. 39 101-104 90-92 121 libraries. 32-33 job searches. professional moderators.174 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL brainstorming techniques. choosing your wardrobe. 121 dress codes. files. 153 I improving your writing. 50 151-157 56-57 F facilitator. and working relationships. 141-142 evaluating your solution. goals. fax machines. and business research. assessing the file system in place. work communication. criticism. 121 developing your problem-solving disposition. J 24 jargon. 6-9 detractor. compromiser. focus groups. 35-38 100-104 letters. 78-79 13 leading a meeting. 107-112 K 66 knowing your audience. sample business letter. web sites. vocal qualities. 143-144 developing your problem-solving disposition. free rider. instigator. flextime. 40-43 proposals. counselor. etiquette. 136-138 63 59-60 62-64 64-66 120 121 154-155 tag questions. 35-38 memos. cover letters. services offered. 121 documents letters. 50-53 119 122 24-27 26 92-94 26 25 95-96 119 14-17 E e-mail. 94 163 listening.

14-17 desk space. 146-151 nonverbal communication. surveys. time. research. making speeches. determining your objectives. 110-112 organization. memos. search engines. 120 professional moderators. working with your boss. 120 speeches organization of. problem solving. resolving team conflicts. 145-146 setting goals. personal digital assistant (PDA). writing. 1. 151-157 proposals. choosing the right method. focus groups. internet. 47-50 N naysayer. libraries. 120 R rating you work efficiency. defining the problems. 12-22 sample business letter. 9-12 goal statements. 161-162 creating an itinerary. 22-27 S telephone and time management. 2-4 setting your goals. 70-73 networking. 143-144 stress. 66-67 “norm”inator. 141-142 telephone surveys. developing your problem-solving methodology for. 20-22 and technology. 121 neatness. 163 job searches. 148-150 networking. evaluating your solution. see promotions 77-81 78-79 80-81 40-43 101-104 implementing and presenting your solution. 151-157. resumes. 136-146 supporting your opinion. 17-20 salary requirements. P pawn. analyzing the problem. 6-9 files. surveys. resources for. 136-138 producer. 154 39 122 25 20-22 73-76 70-73 76-77 1 120 96-100 98 99 119 . 158. 136-138 supporter.INDEX 175 M meetings communication and. disposition. 139-141 brainstorming techniques. 33-34 nervousness. leading a meeting. reports. 2-4 154-156 107 113-118 44-47 163 86-89 84-86 100-104 92-94 95-96 90-92 90-104 89-90 96-100 125-127 153-156 32-33 O office relationships. relationships. 143-144 synthesizer. interviews. 119 socializing with co-workers. moving up. schmoozer. 151-157 looking for a new job. 5-6 rating you work efficiency. setting a timetable. 163 building your network. participating in. peacemaker. revising your writing. 4-6 socializing with co-workers. references. 101-104 promotions. 17 overcoming nervousness. moderators. 144-145 finding a solution.

team roles. 24 working with your boss. 128-132 office relationships. 17-20 improving your writing. 89-90 sample business letter. making speeches. listening. resolving team conflicts. in teams. using precise language. team leadership. 125-127 resolving team conflicts. tag questions. 25 26 93-94 94 94 66-67 61-62 56-57 68-70 70-77 77-81 58-59 63 59-60 62-64 . V types of documents. 22-27 editing and revising. 129-132 team leadership. knowing your audience. 12-22 memos. bookmarks. time knowing your audience. first impressions. work communication body language. 17-20 reports. 129-132 choosing your wardrobe. team roles. telephone surveys. 119-122 effective communication teamwork. 23 Internet.176 THE COM PLETE PROFESSIONAL 64-66 163 116-118 108-110 123-125 107-112 128-132 110-112 125-127 129-132 119-122 118-127 113-118 162 52 32-33 50-53 50 29-32 35-38 40-43 33-34 47-50 44-47 39 52-53 35-50 vocal qualities. purpose of. 64-66 W websites. active voice. 24-27 writing. style of. technology. 123-125 leadership qualities. T tag questions. fax machines. vocal qualities. organization. 20-22 neatness and accuracy. technology teamwork. Library Spot. 99 jargon. creating an itinerary. team leadership. e-mail. Library of Congress. timetables. and criticism. telephone and time management. management. understanding perception. 119-122 team roles. 63 working relationships. and business research. socializing with co-workers. 14-17 letters. effective communication etiquette. leadership qualities. research. and meetings. telephone and time proposals. 118-127 in teams.

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