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By Jolie Miller | Monday, April 02, 2012

How to envision, quantify, and achieve your goals

What would you do if you knew you’d be a success? Perhaps ask for a promotion? Brush up on your Photoshop skills? Start a business? Find balance between life and work?

In Achieving Your Goals, one of our March 2012 Business-segment releases, author Dave Crenshaw offers smart ways to envision and develop a quantifiable goal, turn your goal into actions, and share your commitment publicly to establish accountability. One tool Dave offers is a process called dividing to conquer, which focuses on tackling a big problem one small step at a time. Using the dividing to conquer technique, most projects can be broken down into two planning phases:

1. Set a vision for yourself and then determine how you’ll measure its success. For example, if my goal is to become an advanced Excel user, I may measure my success in minutes, knowing I’ve realized my vision when I’m able to cut report interpretation time from 20 to 10 minutes.

2. Break that measure of success into six-, three-, and one-month goals. For example, in six months, I’ll aim to be halfway there—having cut my Excel processing time from 20 to 15 minutes. Breaking it down further, at the one month mark, I’ll aim to have completed Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts, and in three months, I’ll aim to have completed several advanced Excel courses.

What are you going to achieve this year? Please let us know in the comments section.

Interested in more? • The full Achieving Your Goalscourse on lynda.comAll business courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Insights from a Business CoachTime Management FundamentalsCreating an Effective ResumeInvaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities

By Jolie Miller | Friday, March 16, 2012

Migrating to the cloud: What are your thoughts?

Evernote is one example of a popular cloud tool being used by businesses.

Evernote is one example of a popular cloud tool being used by businesses.

In 2012 lynda.com will be investing more time exploring the way both individuals and businesses are migrating to the cloud. Office 365, Gmail, Google Docs, Evernote, and Salesforce are only a few popular cloud tools finding permanent homes in businesses worldwide.

We’d love to know what matters to you as you consider integrating or migrating to cloud tools. What questions do you have about cloud computing? Which tools are you interested in? What do you and your business need to know?

Please leave us a comment to let us know what’s important to you and your business and which technologies hold the most promise for your daily workflow.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Interested in more?All business courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Up and Running with Office 365Gmail Essential TrainingGoogle Docs Essential TrainingGmail for Power Users

By Jolie Miller | Thursday, February 09, 2012

Developing your business savvy to become an invaluable team member

Have you ever wished you knew the keys to excelling at your job, understanding your market, or connecting meaningfully with your customers? In our second course in the Invaluable series, Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy, Dave Crenshaw teaches you how to become a student of your company, your market, and your customers.

Business savvy is surely something we all intend to develop as we go about our daily jobs. But in the bustle of heavy workloads and demanding responsibilities, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the things that define long term excellence, customer connections, and a clear picture of the market.

For example, how would you answer the following questions?

  1. What does my company want from me?
  2. Where is my company headed, and how do I fit with its direction?
  3. What’s happening in my field, and how does that affect me?
  4. What’s my competition up to?
  5. Who is my customer, and how can I serve that customer?

When I took some time to ponder these questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of insights I gleaned in a short amount of time. Whether you’re beginning a new career or hoping to grow in your current role, you’ll find that Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy is full of practical tips to help you explore questions like these.

The quest to become an invaluable professional is one that’s full of self-discovery, tough questions, and big rewards. Please let us know how you’re enjoying your journey in the comments section.

By Jolie Miller | Friday, February 03, 2012

PowerPoint tips and tricks for business presentations

If your year is shaping up to include a lot of business presentations, PowerPoint Tips and Tricks for Business Presentations offers practical insider advice that will help you build painless presentations that convey your message in a way that is clear, meaningful, and engaging.

Author David Diskin starts the course with five quick tips you can use to make your PowerPoint presentations more effective, and continues throughout to offer his insights on ways to compose powerful, cohesive messages that resonate throughout your presentation. David also discusses how to apply successful slide design practices, ways to incorporate gestures, and suggestions for managing question-and-answer sessions. He closes the course with  a look at presentation skills, delivery tactics, and bonus tips to make your presentations run even more smoothly.

One of David’s favorite PowerPoint presentation tips is to add white space to your slides in order to make text more easily distinguishable and memorable.

For a sneak peek at this course, check out Sharing data with charts from chapter three (Successful Slide Design).

With David’s help and the right tips and tricks to guide you, you may be surprised by how fun a business presentation can be.

Interested in more? • The full PowerPoint Tips and Tricks for Business Presentations course• All business courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:PowerPoint 2010 Essential TrainingPowerPoint 2010: Audio and Video in DepthKeynote ’09 Essential TrainingDuarte Design, Presentation Design Studio

By Jolie Miller | Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Time Management with Outlook 2007 and 2010

Time management may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you open your inbox, but our two new courses, Outlook 2010: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks and Outlook 2007: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks, suggest that email productivity is well within your grasp.

These courses are designed to help you create appointments and meetings with ease, use flagging and categories to corral all your inbox email, manage tasks and to-dos, and use Outlook Task List options.

Outlook 2007 users will appreciate author Gini Courter’s quick tip on how to create a task from an email (from chapter two of Outlook 2007: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks):

And if you’re using Outlook 2010, check out this handy method of viewing the task list and to-do list (from chapter three of Outlook 2010: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks) :

If your inbox gets a steady stream of email every day, you’ll also appreciate these courses’ solid tips for capturing work in Outlook. Another suggestion from Gini Courter is to sort the items that require your action by priority and the amount of time each will take. This sorting then determines whether you set up a task or a calendar appointment and how you take next steps. For more on this, lynda.com members should check out the Capturing work in Outlook movie in the introduction chapter of both Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007 time management courses.

My new productivity motto: Enjoy your email, and make your calendar and tasks work for you in the new year!

Interested in more? • The full Outlook 2007: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks • The full Outlook 2010: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks• All business courses on lynda.com • All courses from Gini Courter on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Outlook 2010 Power ShortcutsOutlook 2010: Effective Email ManagementOutlook 2007: Effective Email ManagementTime Management FundamentalsLinkedIn Essential Training

By Jolie Miller | Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Becoming an invaluable asset: new five-part professional development series

We’re excited to kick off a five-part professional development series this week designed to help you cultivate the traits of an invaluable professional. With the help of author and business coach Dave Crenshaw, we built the series around five tangible goals: developing your abilities, becoming a student of your profession, focusing on the activities that bring high value to your company, improving your professional networking, and positioning yourself as a leading expert. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a new hire, this series is designed to help you unearth your full potential to contribute, innovate, and add value to your organization—right away and in the future.

The first segment of Dave Crenshaw’s Invaluable series, Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities, focuses on putting together a personal action plan that allows you to harness your natural talents, match your job responsibilities to those talents, and assess your performance. With an overarching focus on self-improvement, Dave shows how to develop yourself so that you can provide genuine and ongoing value to your organization.

Why not make 2012 the year you become the asset your organization can’t live without? Leave us a comment and let us know your aspirations for the coming year.

For more on Dave Crenshaw’s Invaluable series, watch out for these four upcoming installments:

February: Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy March: Invaluable: Making Yourself Irreplaceable April: Invaluable: Building Professional ConnectionsMay: Invaluable: Becoming a Leading Authority

Interested in more? • The full Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities course on lynda.com • All business courses on lynda.com • All courses from Dave Crenshaw on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Creating an Effective RésuméEffective MeetingsTime Management FundamentalsLinkedIn Essential Training

By Jolie Miller | Sunday, January 01, 2012

Planning for 2012: Creating an effective résumé

Happy 2012! Now is a great time to startcreating an effective résumé, and author Mariann Siegert has all the tips you’ll need to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and use those to plan goals for the new year.

To help you start the new year off right, Mariann has shared some fantastic tips for updating both your résumé and online profile (LinkedIn, for example)—whether you’re in the market for a new job or not.

Updating Key Information

  1. Any changes to your personal information?
    1. Delete physical addresses (these are no longer used as a way of communication while job searching and may lead to identity theft). Remove your work phone number if applicable (unless you work for yourself).
    2. Remove any fax numbers—this is an antiquated means of contact.
    3. Check your contact email address and cell number to be sure they are current and accurate. Make sure you include the best way of contacting you.
  2. Have you attended any classes, workshops, or professional training courses? For example, have you completed any lynda.com courses?
  3. Have you won any awards or received any certifications?
  4. During the last year, how did you:
    1. Save or make the company money?
    2. Improve efficiency?
  5. What new software applications or programs did you use?
  6. Have you worked on any new projects?
  7. Did you receive a promotion or other special recognition?

Adding PAR Statements

Replace any clichés you find with powerful PAR statements (Problem Action Result). PAR statements take advantage of using numbers, dollar figures, and percentages to tell a business story—in this case your story. It’s a proven fact that using numbers, dollar figures, or percentages to illustrate the impact you have made in your career will have a greater impact on your audience or résumé reader by proving what you have accomplished in the past and what you can bring to the table in the future.

It’s easy to write a PAR statement. Here’s how it works:

Problem: What problem have you solved this year?

Action:  What action did you take to resolve the problem?

Result:  What was the result of your action?

Then quantify your statements with percentages, money saved, or time saved (whenever possible). Here’s an example of a PAR statement:

“Designed new Flash web site based on competitive market evaluations and client needs, resulting in a 70% increase in web site traffic and 55% profit margin for the client.”

Mariann’s tips reminded me how many wonderful developments the past year has brought and all the important work I have ahead of me. For more tips on updating your professional profiles in 2012, be sure to check out Mariann’s course, “Creating an Effective Résumé” and Richard Colback’s course “LinkedIn Essential Training.” Here’s to a fantastic and fruitful year!

Interested in more? • All business courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Creating an Effective RésuméLinkedIn Essential TrainingPitching Projects and Products to ExecutivesTime Management Fundamentals

By Jolie Miller | Monday, December 19, 2011

Creating powerful presentations: A learning path

I recently had the pleasure of presenting all the content we hope to publish for you in 2012 to our content and production teams here at lynda.com. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk in broad strokes about our teams’ collective vision for the future. If you’ve ever given a high stakes presentation in front of a large group, you know that while giving presentations is a great opportunity, they can also be quite daunting to prepare and deliver.

At the outset of my planning I found myself scrambling to remember the presentation skills I learned long ago. (Oh yes, I briefly longed for my college Public Speaking 101 notes and those mortifying VHS tapes of class speeches on global issues.) After sitting for a little while with presentation anxiety, I decided to turn to the same library that would be the subject of my presentation.

Browsing the lynda.com Online Training Library® as a member on a mission, I quickly found that our courses empowered me to compile and deliver a compelling and visually interesting presentation for my peers. It was exciting to find help waiting for me—and comforting to learn from the very authors I have the pleasure of working with each day.

In case you’re curious (or madly preparing for your own end-of-year or look-ahead presentations), here is my presentation learning-path that helped prepare and inspire me.

1. Duarte Design, Presentation Designer: Wanting to start with a good dose of inspiration, I turned to our Creative Inspirations documentary on Duarte Design. The opportunity to see how the pros create compelling presentations armed me with just enough confidence to think that maybe I could pull this off. It was here that I realized the lynda.com Online Training Library® could empower my presentation.

2. Effective Presentations (2006): After thinking about big picture, I needed some specifics, which is precisely what I found in Effective Presentations (2006). This course is one I’ll define as a classic. Built in 2006, it still has the power to inspire today. Chapter two on Mission, Goals and Story is the one that helped me organize my ideas more clearly.

3. Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training: With my ideas taking shape, I needed to dive into some data to learn more about lynda.com viewing statistics, including, how often courses are watched, what courses are watched, and what members would like to see published in the future. This required me to brush up on my Excel for Mac 2011 skills, which helped me easily navigate lots of data with speed and efficiency.

4. Keynote ’09 Essential Training: With growing confidence backed up by numbers and solid data, I was ready to start putting my story for 2012′s business content into Keynote. Enter Keynote ’09 Essential Training, which helped this long-time PowerPoint user convert easily to the new interface and features. Pretty soon, I was tooling around with master slides, backgrounds, fonts, and styles.

5. Graphics Secrets for Business Professionals: I decided to keep my visuals big to maximize their impact, and I knew I wanted to keep the bullet points and text to a minimum. Needing a little help with my visual planning, I turned to the fourth chapter of Graphics Secrets for Business Professionals, How Do I Create Better Presentations? That chapter seemed like it was written just for me!

6. Time Management Fundamentals: As the week went by and I got busier with this presentation, I noticed that I could easily lose track of minutes or hours if I didn’t keep my time in check. So I decided on another quick visit to Time Management Fundamentals. Dave Crenshaw reminded me that switch tasking wasn’t worth my time and that I needed to focus in on my most valuable activities, including that presentation.

7. Effective Meetings: As I started to wrap up my presentation and prepare to deliver it, I wanted to check in with Dave Crenshaw again on Effective Meetings. What would I need to know in order to get the most out of our all-day planning session? I wasn’t disappointed. The principles of successful meetings helped me determine a note-taking strategy and the best way to absorb exciting new information from my colleagues.

8. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives: Finally, the night before my presentation, I wanted another dose of inspiration and confidence to get me ready for the next morning. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives helped me develop that confidence and focus-in on conveying my story with powerful intention.

As Effective Presentations (2006) reminded me, an estimated 30 million presentations make their way in front of an audience every day, so I was in good company as I prepared to sell my ideas up, down, and sideways. I was also, it turns out, in good company when I turned to the lynda.com Online Training Library® for the tools and inspiration necessary to communicate more effectively and make a memorable impression.

I hope you’re well on your way to developing lynda.com learning paths that work for your needs and your schedule. Please share your inspiration below; we love to hear from you!

Interested in more? • All business courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Duarte Design, Presentation DesignerEffective Presentations (2006)Keynote ’09 Essential TrainingPitching Projects and Products to Executives

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