How to Praise Good Performance

You should remember that, as a supervisor, you’ll always get what you reward. if you ignore good behaviour, you may lose it and perhaps a good employee as well. While this may appear to be common sense, it is far from common practice.

We like to be recognized for doing good work.  We crave praise, but do not always like to give praise. One of your jobs as manager is to make sure you give out praise as often as possible. In the workplace it really holds true because it is a place where they spend on average 40 hours a week. People want to be happy and secure in a place where they spend so much of their time.

It only takes a few seconds to say, “Thank you,” and “great job,” but you get plenty of return.  It’s easy and effective. Timely praise can work wonders.

Here are some guidelines on giving praise:

Make it immediate – Your recognition will be most effective if it comes as soon as possible after the desired activity or achievement has occurred. Saving your praise for a later date will weaken its impact.

Be sincere – Your praise must be genuine and balanced. It will lose impact if it becomes regular and predictable. Don’t exaggerate and say things you don’t really mean.

Be specific – Avoid generalities like “great job”. Wait for a specific action to praise and then say something like, “You
did an excellent job of expediting that order today”

Praise good performance – Praising good performance is an effective way to inspire people to improve in weak areas. Don’t praise ordinary performance.

If you praise your workgroup for doing routine jobs, in a routine way, you’re not motivating them to do better —
and it will makc the praise you give them for excellent work seem less significant.

Give it meaning – Avoid simply recognizing employee achievements in passing. Rather, try to spend sorne time
with them so that they know their efforts to the workgroup and to the organization are recognized.

The supervisor must remember that employees thrive on recognition. They want to know if they are improving and
performing in their jobs. Delivering simple, direct praise for a task well done is the easiest way to show that recognition.

Supervisors who fail to realize this are depriving themselves and their employees of one of the most powerful forms of inspiration to shape desired behaviour and performance.

How to Give an Impromptu Speech

Has this happened to you? You’re attending a meeting. You’re not expecting to say anything, just sit and listen. During a presentation, your boss is asked a question about the department’s plans for the coming year. He turns to you and says, “Ian, you’ve been working on our major project for the past year. Maybe you could say a few words about how this project got started, where it stands and where it is going.”

If something like this happens to you, you don’t need to panic. If you know how to organize your thoughts, and you know your job, you’re most of the way to giving an effective impromptu presentation.

You can effectively respond by taking the following steps:

Stop and think:

Take a moment to organize your thoughts. Any topic can be split up into components. Choose a common pattern of organization. Break your topic into a pattern such as:

  • chronological sequence (e.g., past, present and future),
  • topical (try and keep to three areas, e.g., production, advertising and marketing);
  • the pro’s and con’s of an issue (useful in persuasive situations).

In the example above, a chronological sequence fits.

Start to speak:

1) Give a few introductory remarks.

Before you launch into your topic, give yourself time to get collected. Make some general introductory comments, such as, “I’m pleased to be here today to provide some information. I don’t have a formal presentation but would be happy to describe the project we’ve been working on.”

2) Develop a clear preview sentence of your main points. (Tell them what you are going to tell them.)

Tell your audience what your key points are. From the example above, you could simply say, “I would like to tell you about how we started this project, where we are today and our time-line for completing the project”, which is a chronological sequence.

3) Deliver the body of the presentation. (Tell them)

Talk through each point from your preview sentence. Having set an organizational pattern and knowing where you are going takes some of the stress out of the situation.

4) Review the main points. (Tell them what you told them)

Reinforce the main ideas you’ve touched upon by briefly restating them. Something like, “I’ve tried in these past few minutes to give you an overview of how this project started, where it is now and where we think it will go.”

5) Conclude the presentation.

Don’t leave your presentation hanging. Conclude with a strong, positive statement. From the above example, “I hope to attend next month’s meeting to report a satisfactory conclusion to our project. I would be happy to take any questions at this time.”

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7 Tips for Effective Email

There is something about e-mail that fosters poor communication habits. Users see it as a form of instant communication and therefore, doesn’t require the same care and attention that a letter might.

For many organizations, e-mail has become the preferred means of communication, both formal and informal. Here are some tips to make your e-mail as effective and efficient as possible:

  1. Use short paragraphs. E-mail is generally read from a computer screen. Keep your paragraphs short –50 words or less– to ensure maximum readability.
  2. Get personal. Use second person terms. Words such as “you”, “your”, and “yours” let the recipient know you’re thinking of them specifically.
  3. Don’t send spam. This includes forwarding every bad joke and poem your second cousin sends you. People don’t like receiving junk paper mail at home and they don’t like the electronic version either. If you’re building a new relationship with a customer, don’t bury them in your sales spam.
  4. Check spelling and grammar. You should invest as much effort in checking the content of e-mail as you do any other written communication. A sloppy e-mail message will communicate negatively about your professionalism.
  5. Include a signature section. Most e-mail software will automate this process for you. Your signature should include your name, job title, contact information, and company name.
  6. Respond efficiently. Develop at set of personal rules for processing your email in a productive way. Read:  @ 43 Folders
  7. Ignore the above tips. If you exchange a large number of messages with a particular co-worker, create a set of rules to optimize the way you each process e-mail. You can develop short cuts and templates that bypass some of the above tips and steps because you have worked out you own protocols.
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10 Tips for Taking Effective Phone Messages

In today’s computer-orientated business world, the telephone is still an important tool for connecting with your customers. There are few things more annoying than being handed a half crumpled piece of paper with semi-legible scrawl on it and being told that it’s a message from someone. You should not have to spend precious time trying to dicipher a message, or trying to track down the writer to clarify something.

Time is money. Here are some tips on how to take a proper, accurate telephone message.

  1. Write it down on a piece of paper, preferably a phone-message pad. Don’t scribble it at the back of an envelope or a bill. Don’t write one message at the edge of another one.
  2. Make sure there is lots of space on the message pad. If you try and jam too many messages on the same sheet, chances are you will not be able to decipher the message later.
  3. Make sure you have a working pen and a back up. If the pen stops working in the middle of the call, you shouldn’t be putting the caller on hold to go searching for a replacement.
  4. To avoid confusion, include important details, such as: the caller’s name, company and telephone number, with area code. A message with the name of the caller and the company name, will help you understand it better. Needless to say, a telephone number comes in handy when you need get back to the caller.
  5. The date and time of the call is essential. This will help you recall the conversation. The date and time will be important if need to support a process for certification or legal reasons.
  6. When writing the information, make sure to ask for correct spellings. This is particularly important in ensuring you have the correct name of the caller or company.
  7. Note whether the message is urgent. This way, the message recipient will know how quickly to respond.
  8. Before you hang up, read the message details back to the caller, to make certain that they are correct.
  9. Initial the bottom of the message. This way, if clarification is required, you can be contacted directly.
  10. Once you’ve taken the message, make sure to put it some place it is sure to be found by the recipient. Have a common location for the pick up of message or place it in a location where it will be seen.
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