Friday, 1 October 2010

Newsletter Issue 190, October 2010

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 190, October 2010
Hi guys,
It might be time to think about how to Chair Effective Meetings. Read on, good meeting people :-)
According to Trendwatching, Dutch finger-on-the-market-pulse gurus, Serving is the New Selling. Check it out.
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Chairing Effective Meetings

In Newsletter 171 we talked about how to hold effective meetings, but we haven't yet talked about the duties of the Chair.
As the meeting Chair, your duties are to strategise, plan, organise, lead and control. Does that ring a dark distant bell of remembrance from Management 101? I hope so :-)
  • Strategising - ensure your meeting will get the team several steps closer to achieving their short-, medium- and long-term goals. You should have a strategic item that you discuss each month - such as Values | Mission | Vision | Strategic Plan | Business Plan | Budget etc
  • Planning - think carefully about what needs to be discussed, in order to meet those goals. Set time limits per item, prioritise the discussion items, ensure the team has the required materials and schedule pre-meeting work which needs to be done.
  • Organising - create the agenda based on your planning, ensure everyone gets the materials (including a repeat of the previous minutes) they need prior to the meeting, and know what tasks they need to complete before they come. Send - or delegate sending - reminders for the actions from the last meeting that were due at this meeting. Have a note-taker organised before the meeting.
  • Leading - lead by setting the tone - be there early, greet attendees as they arrive. Host them, have a chat until time for the meeting to start. Perhaps have a 10 minute social time at the beginning to let everyone catch up initially. Check once the meeting starts that everyone is prepared. Postpone discussion on those items which are not appropriately prepared. Follow the agenda. Involve everyone, but give verbose people a time limit. Keep discussion relevant. Park ideas ‘for next time’ if not Keep sense of urgency. Be firm but fair.
  • Controlling - Recap points & decisions. Ensure everyone is aware of what actions they have agreed to, and when they will deliver them by. Ensure incomplete items are carried forward for the next meeting. Set the time for the next meeting. Reward attendees by ending positively. Ensure the note-taker sends out the minutes to you within 24 hours of the meeting, check them (and correct if necessary) and forward on to everyone else. Ensure the actions | responsibilities | due dates in the minutes are clear so everyone understands their tasks.
If you have your finger on the pulse as Chair, your meetings will run well. Because you are clear about what you want to achieve, the team will have time to focus on the important things, and not get bogged down in detail.

Serving is the New Selling

According to Trendwatching, it has "never been more important to turn your brand into a service". Their impression of consumers is that we are tired, don't have enough time to make good decisions, and really want some TLC. Trendwatching call it "Brand Butlers"
Well, that does sound like many of us after a long week at the salt-mines, doesn't it! Trendwatching feel that the time is right, now that web technology makes it possible to offer tailored and relevant services to consumers anywhere in the world, in any time zone - 24 hours a day, to offer a really FANTASTIC service to your clients.
The aspects of buyer behaviour that add up to the "Brand Butler" trend is that consumers feel they don't have enough time, control or independence, and they want more convenience. Customers also want the businesses they chose to deal with to truly care about them, and to show that care in every transaction.
For businesses, this means you need to change the focus behind many of your customer interactions into a service-oriented one. As Trendwatching put it, "from 'broadcasting' to assisting". It is a big shift, but, if done well, can reap huge rewards.

Another Use for Word's Ruler

I think we are all familiar with MS Word’s ruler tool, which measure the page width and length, and 'tags' items on the active page. You see your tabs, text box boundaries and so forth.
Well, in Word 2007 there is another ruler view which gives you a bit more information, including the measurement between your page edge and the margin, and the distance between a clicked on tab and the left and right margins.
To see this view:
  1. Using the left mouse button, click a margin or tab on the ruler, but don’t release the mouse button.
  2. While holding down the left mouse button, press the right mouse button.
Thanks to TechRepublic for this tip (at

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • ROI, Return on Investment. Measures how effectively and organisation uses capital to generate profitability. The higher the ROI, the more financially profitable. Calculated by adding share equity and long-term debt (investment), then dividing the financial year's income by the investment total. ROI.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Function keys. This time it is F8:
  • Access "Turn on Extend mode (EXT appears in the lower-right corner of the window); pressing F8 repeatedly extends the selection to the word, the field, the record (in Datasheet view only), and all records" F8
  • Access "Turn on Move mode; then press the RIGHT ARROW or LEFT ARROW key to move selected column(s) to the right or left" Ctrl & Shift & F8
  • Access "Undo the previous extension" Shift & F8
  • Excel "Add another range of cells to the selection; or use the arrow keys to move to the start of the range you want to add, and then press F8 and the arrow keys to select the next range" Shift & F8
  • Excel "Display the Macro dialog box" Alt & F8 Excel "Increase the size of selected area" Shift & F8
  • Excel "Resize the active window or use the arrow keys to size the window" Ctrl & F8
  • Excel "Turn Extend mode on, which allows you to select as much of a worksheet or workbook as you want; press ESC to cancel" F8
  • Frontpage "Display, edit, or run macros " Alt & F8
  • PowerPoint "Carry out Size command (presentation Control menu or Presentation icon menu, menu bar)" Ctrl & F8 Publisher "All text in a text frame, the entire story in connected text frames, or all text in a table cell" F8
  • Windows "In extended selection list box, move without changing the selection. You can then press CTRL+SPACEBAR or SHIFT+SPACEBAR to select additional items. The list box returns to normal operation when you press SHIFT+F8 a second time or switch to another SHIFT+F8 " Shift & F8
  • Windows "Start up in Safe Mode" F8
  • Windows Media Player "Mute the volume" F8
  • Word "Activate Extend mode, EXT appears in the lower right corner of the window; pressing F8 repeatedly extends the selection to the word, the line, the document; press ESC to cancel" F8
  • Word "Decrease the size of selected text or reduce the selection size within a table" Shift & F8
  • Word "Display the Macro dialog box" Alt & F8 Word "Extend a block of text within a column, selection (or block) within a Table" Ctrl & Shift & F8, Then Arrow Keys; Press Esc To Cancel Selection Mode
  • Word "Extend selection of text in block increments" Ctrl & Shift & F8
  • Word "Resize the active window" Ctrl & F8
  • Word "Select text up to a specific location in a document" F8 & Arrow Keys; Press Esc To Cancel Selection Mode
  • Word "Select the nearest character to the left or to the right" F8, then Left Arrow or Right Arrow

Hot Linx
Those of you with an interest in social policy, economics and the cyclic nature of the world should take a look at the following controversial video item from Fox News. Go to Food for thought.
If you are interested in Office 10, check out this review on what has changed - and what hasn't - at
For the new, the crazy, the weird and the downright peculiar, go no further than the Skirmisher's blog. I have no idea how this guy finds the time to research the plethora of things he turns up. Check him out at
For the Terry Pratchett fans out there who haven't heard of his short story "Theatre of Cruelty", it is downloadable/viewable from LSpace at NB, you can also download it in Orangutan

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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