Create 4 basic folders (Labels) in your email.
- Action (To act on fast - set task appointment and reminders)
- Deferred (Things that can wait)
- Read Review (Items of interest that are not important to act on)
- References (Information you can't just Google when you need it)
Delete the garbage (Archive/Delete as needed)
- select 'All mail' and use the search feature to find oldest emails
- grab all the old emails and archive or delete
- use search filters for past Newsletters no longer wanted and delete those too
- unsubscribe to unwanted news-feeds and letters as you go
Create tasks for actionable emails
- for date specific items, create a task in your gmail calendar with reminders
- place a star on email needing action
- file actionable email under the 'Action', 'Deferred' or 'Read Review' labels
- consider using Evernote for task lists (Free to use and it can sync anywhere)
- take time to set up good task lists
- learn the 'GTD - Getting Things Done' method of productivity for the most effective task list management
File away your resource emails
- these can all get lumped into the 'References' label
- search old email and file as needed
- only keep what you can't find easily on Google whenever you want
- if you have newsletters or email that need to be read but not urgently, place them under the 'Read Review' label
Create filters & practice quick communication
- create filters as needed for future news and resources
- review old labels and consider new filters for Read Review and Deferred tasks too
- keep your email engagement down to 2 minutes each as much as possible
- if you can answer or file away an email in less than 2 minutes, do it immediately
I have been in customer service related fields for over 20 years and most of that experience is at the front lines. I also have been a customer and knowing both sides of the story I have much empathy for customers and employees alike.
I understand that the customer is not always right, sometimes they are down right nasty and horribly out of line yet in the end I feel that as an agent of an organization it is necessary to step outside and look at things objectively, never letting personal feeling get in the way of providing great service, even too the nasty one's.
There are three key things that can ad up to great service no matter how good the customer or how sour. I am sharing this information as it has served me well in my work and I hope that anyone in customer service or at the front lines gets something out of it too.
First. Have a good attitude:
Greet everyone equally, with a smile. Let them know in words as well as non-verbal ways that you appreciate them and care about their needs. I should hope that this is true of most people that are in the service industry, because if that's not how you feel and you really don't care, then I would suggest perhaps another line of work. Seriously, if only for your own good as it is important to do what makes you happy and enjoying your work is very important since we give more time to that than anything else we get to do our whole lives.
Second. Communicate well:
Listen, I mean really listen to what the customer is saying. Don't jump in with your own conclusions, that will only take you two steps back every time. Part of listening is asking questions and asking the right questions. Clarify what the customer is saying so that you and he know that you understand what the real issues are.
Third. Take action:
Be the eagle that people talk about. It will go a long way in helping you enjoy your work more too, as people will be praising your efforts. Be mindful of your superiors, if any, and explain any limitations with your customer so they understand that you really are doing the best you can. Not following through on what you say you will do looks bad on you as well as the company so only make promises you know you can keep.
Personally when I witness and receive good customer service I notice it, I appreciate it, and I am then very likely to tell them or write to the company about it so that it can be recognized. I enjoy telling others when I am impressed by them, it usually helps foster a better relationship and the service just gets better after that. So don't be shy to tell others that serve you that you appreciate the hard work and attention, and when you're the one giving the great service just watch those compliments come your way too!
The Four Agreements:
There are a few more points, or shall I say agreements I wish to share with you that can help you on your way. These agreements can be applied to every area of your life. They come from a book I have read called "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" written by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is on my best reading list and I recommend it to anyone.
Here are the four agreements I like to follow and I hope you can apply them in your life with excellent results too.
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Openly giving opinions about people and things about which you know nothing is gossip.
Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true.
Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego, and your own dream.
Your opinion can be black magic, in the form of gossip or you can make it white magic.
Don't create poison and spread it to others just so you can feel right about your point of view.
Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing other people do or say is because of you, it is about them and their belief system.
Everyone's opinion is their own, your point of view is no one's truth but your own.
If others lie to you, it's okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.
It is ok, because they also lie to themselves.
Don't Make Assumptions
We see and hear what we want to hear based on our belief system; we don't perceive things the way they are.
The biggest assumption that we make is that we assume that others think the way we think, and feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge.
We believe we are right; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.
To keep yourself from making assumptions, ask questions.
Always Do Your Best
In your everyday moods your best can change from one moment to the next.
Just do your best - no more and no less than your best. When you always do your best, you take action.
If you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself and feel guilt or blame.
Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward.
Action is about living fully. You can get even more than you would have imagined for yourself without expecting a reward. If we like what we do, if we always do our best, then we are really enjoying life.
As you can see, great service and personal freedom are directly affected by attitude. Our local Toastmasters District # 21 as a little slogan and I feel it pretty much sums it all up.
"Attitude equals Altitude!"
It's the only way to get high,
on life and your work!
By: Sandy Chernoff, owner: Soft Skills for Success
Today’s competitive world has made everyone more concerned about how to find work, and how to excel in the field he/she has chosen. We all have our strengths and weaknesses; it is vital that we mould and develop those strengths, and overcome those weaknesses.
Why Soft Skills Make the Difference
Employers often have to choose from 10 or more viable candidates for any one position.
How will they select the best one from a group of individuals who all possess similar educational qualifications and work experience?
Usually that will boil down to the one with the best soft skills:
Most successful businesses rely on relationship building and that develops with good communication, excellent customer service and quality products. Collaborative teamwork cannot exist without cooperation, support, clear communication, trust and respect....all of those are based on good relationships.
Soft Skills Improve Job & Organizational Performance
Those possessing good soft skills will improve their performance at work. This will not only catch the attention of the boss, but will help to increase the happiness factor of those they contact. This in turn will enhance the creativity, productivity and ultimately, the bottom line of the company. The more members of the team with excellent soft skills the more all of the aforementioned will be true. Employers realize that in order to achieve company goals, they require employees with effective soft skills.
Soft Skills Bring Personal Growth and Success
Soft skills are empowering. No matter what career path one chooses, the better one’s soft skills the more impressive will be their accomplishments. These attributes are beneficial in all aspects of a person’s life: at work, at home, at play.
To learn more about Sandy Chernoff and Soft Skills for Success
Thank you for sharing this valuable information on Soft Skills with us.
To help reduce stress if you have more than you can handle, try reducing your backlog of "stuff" that has built up over time.
I know that it can be easy in today's busy world to build up a backlog of stuff that you want to do, yet our realities are that sometimes we just can't get to everything.
To help you weed out some things that may be growing out of control and overtaking your desk here are 7 items you can start with and the tips on how to weed them out.
1. Messages and Business cards from recent meetings
*Try recording the name and phone number in your planner on the day you intend to call the contact back.
*If you need to update your contact database or Rolodex, create a file named "Contacts to Update" and schedule in some time each week or month to review this file.
*Or, delegate this task to someone else.
2. Notes from Meetings and Staff Memo's
*Right after the meeting grab your planner and schedule any follow up tasks assigned to you.
*Write a quick note as to what the task is in the planner, if there are points and notes that are needed for the task keep those in another place assigned for projects you have on the go or upcoming.
*Toss the extra or unneeded notes, use you planner as the reminder you'll need.
3. A pile of business cards from conference two years ago
*Keep only the cards for people you remember or plan to associate with now or by the next conference.
*File the cards into your association contacts file to have available when the time comes.
*If available use scanning software to make quick work of saving the cards electronically or delegate the task of entering the contacts to your database to someone else.
4. Conference Brochures you may or may not attend
*Record a tentative appointment into your planner. If using an electronic planner, schedule a reminder a week or two before so you can then re-evaluate your need to go or register if required.
*Put the brochure aside into your "Bring Forward" file or a file for "Association Events" or something similar, so that when the day comes you will be able to find it again.
5. Coupons and promotions
*If you really plan to use them keep them handy in your wallet or planner. It is more likely to be used there than if it is just sitting on your desk.
*If there is a deadline and you really want to take advantage of the deal then make an appointment to go and do so.
6. Magazine subscriptions renewal cards
*Ask yourself; are you really interested in renewing or signing up for the magazine? If yes, fill it out and send it in.
*If not; Toss it! Don't worry; the offer will come again.
7. Overstuffed files from projects recently done
*If its on your desk because you want to go through and weed it out before filing away to your archive, then go ahead and file it. Grab your planner and schedule time in to weed these files each month.
*Try releasing that desire to be a perfectionist on this one, it's not going to help you get to the task any quicker when the file is blocking you from getting other things done. Ultimately this just slows the process down even more.
Now, when it comes to tossing the things you don't need as you go along your way through these piles, here are the top 5questions to ask yourself if you are thinking about keeping something:
1. Am I obligated to keep it for tax reasons?
2. Do I need it to fulfill a core activity or role in my job?
3. Would my work suffer if I didn't have it?
4. Is the information up to date and could I get it elsewhere if I need it again?
5. Do I refer often to this information?
If you find yourself overwhelmed with the feeling that you just have to much and too much to do, try these tips for taking control of the paper piles and your tasks.
This morning as I was putting my newsletter together I had time to enlist the help of my loving partner. On my request he carefully read over some of the material I wrote, helping me with a few corrections I needed to make.
In turn, I helped to tidy up some of his recent paperwork. This nice exchange of ‘Proofreading’ for ‘Bookkeeping’ helps us a lot, not only to get things done, it also allows us more time to chat and be together.
The thought I want to leave you with now is...
We all have things we are good at, and tasks that we enjoy. As well, there are things we don’t know how to do, or just plain don’t like doing.
Sometimes we have no choice but to do these things, as they are needed, yet other times we may be able to make a tradeoff with a friend, family member or co-worker.
Talk to those around you and see if you can engage in a mutually beneficial arrangement to make both of your lives easier.
I always thought I was pretty confident, yet now when I look back, I realize I wasn't nearly as confident as I could have been and I wasted a lot of time as a result. As a result of joining Toastmasters I gained more confidence and it allowed me to pursue my own business and get more involved in my industry's association also. Both of these experiences have proved to be valuable enterprises for me.
The business I started thinking about has expanded a great deal due to Toastmasters and now includes Speaking and Workshop opportunities. Without Toastmasters becoming a Speaker and performing workshops wasn't even a thought of mine yet now I see the great potential I have to move my business into more area's and broaden my market. It is very exciting!
If you feel that perhaps you could benefit from a little more confidence to go after your personal dreams and turn them into reality, then I urge you to consider checking out a Toastmaster club near you.
Speaking skills is just part of the package with Toastmasters.
The skills you learn at Toastmasters even include things that will help you in your work, such as how to hold short effective meetings. Part of being well organized in business is having effective meetings so learning how to facilitate a meeting is something I think many companies need to do to stay competitive.
Many companies and organizations already recognize the benefits of the Toastmaster Membership as they have their own clubs or pay for their employees membership. The skills employees bring back to the company can turn a good company into an outstanding company.
Here I would like to review several of the benefits a Toastmasters Membership offers:
Confidence is something that can benefit you in many ways. From giving you the courage to start your own business, getting a promotion at work, being able to ask for things you want and to just generally feeling good about yourself.
Don't underestimate what a little confidence can bring you.
As Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right."
Learn more at Toastmasters International