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By Jolie Miller | Tuesday, July 14, 2015

6 Steps to Better One-on-One Meetings

better one on one meetings

My team volunteered me to write this article because they like our one-on-one meetings.

If there’s a secret to my one-on-ones, it’s that I run them on instinct, not agenda. It’s about the people, not about the process, and that has never steered me wrong in meetings or elsewhere as a manager. I want to hear or see the smile on the other end. In fact, if I’m reading body language that indicates there’s a problem, I’ll start a 1:1 meeting by saying, “You don’t look happy. What’s wrong?”

A 1:1 is an opportunity to recharge your employees so they can go back out and do their work with renewed energy, commitment, and excitement. It’s their time—not yours. You can tell you’re being effective if you hear things like, “I feel so much better now that I’ve talked to you” or “That helps” or “I wasn’t sure about it, but now that I’ve talked it through, I get it.”

All too often, though, 1:1s follow humdrum, tactical lists of tasks or become all about progress reports. That’s not good for anyone and can be handled by project-management tracking, dashboards in your company’s systems, and casual drop-by chit chat. The 1:1 is too important a time to focus on how xyz is going.

Here are the elements I keep in mind for my one-on-one meetings.

By Jolie Miller | Sunday, June 21, 2015

The 4 Business Skills Recruiters Are Looking for—and Not Finding

the skills recruiters want

Want to position yourself to be hired? Learn the skills that companies desperately want—but can’t seem to find.

After surveying 1,320 job recruiters at 600+ companies, the 2015 Bloomberg Recruiter Report shed insight into the most desired skills by industry and by scarcity.

Here are the skills everyone is seeking—and the in-depth, watch-anytime courses to help you learn them.

By Nancy Muir Boysen | Friday, May 22, 2015

Four Simple Ways to Improve Your Technical Writing

improve your technical writing

People in technical fields are often asked to write about technology—and the task can be daunting. After all, you’re not likely to have trained as a writer, learning the fine points or grammar or crafting an elegant sentence, because your focus has been to learn the ins and outs of a technical profession.

The good news is that you can make your technical writing easier for anyone to understand—whether or not your readers have a technical background—by mastering a few simple tips:

  • be concise
  • avoid jargon
  • use the active voice
  • be specific

By Jolie Miller | Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Instructional Design at lynda.com: How We Do What We Do

instructional design

One of the most common questions we get here at lynda.com is: How do you do what you do?

While there’s a certain amount of magic that happens on our campus (it’s impressive, I’ll be honest), a lot of our process boils down to simple instructional design principles for teaching adult learners.

Whether you’re teaching a friend how to knit, creating online instruction, or just want to be able to better communicate—these strategies don’t disappoint.

Here are my 10 favorite tips:

By Jeff Toister | Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Customer Service Tips: Offer the Worst-Case Scenario

Follow these customer service tips for happy customers

Employees have an opportunity to influence customer expectations with each interaction.

Many instinctively paint an overly rosy picture of the best-case scenario. They quote the fastest lead times, promise responsive service, or offer to sway their boss on a special request. It makes customers feel good in the moment—but they’re later disappointed when their high hopes go unfulfilled.

It seems counter-intuitive, but a better strategy is to give customers the worst-case scenario. It may wind up delighting them. Follow these customer service tips and see for yourself:

By Jethro Jones | Friday, October 24, 2014

Teachers: Prep Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Make parent-teacher conferences easier

It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing, the air is cooling—and that means parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner.

Regardless of what format your school uses, parent-teacher conferences can be difficult when you have a student who’s struggling in one way or another; they’re hard for both the parent and the teacher.

Here are some tips to make sure conferences go smoothly for both parties.

By Jess Stratton | Monday, May 05, 2014

Write an Email That Gets Results

Write an email that gets results

Last week on Monday Productivity Pointers, I showed you how to write an email that gets read. Now that you’ve got your readers’ attention, let’s talk more about the content of that email. In particular, this week we’ll examine strategies for writing an email asking someone to do something—or giving someone an action item.

An action item could be a physical task, or a request to provide information. Whatever it is, you’re not just informing them about it in your email. Asking for something that needs to get done takes a special type of communication.

By Chelsea Adams | Sunday, April 13, 2014

3 business writing tips for non-writers

3 business writing tips for non-writers

How many emails have you written to colleagues, clients, or customers this week? If the answer is one or more, you should consider business writing as part of your job—even if the word “writer” is not in your title.

Business writing is any written communication to teammates, stakeholders, and other people you work with. The good news: You don’t have to be a creative writing major to be an excellent business writer; in fact, you don’t even have to be creative. All you need is the desire to communicate in a way that leaves your reader feeling informed and prepared to take action.

To help you get there, here are three of my favorite tips from the Business Writing Fundamentals course on lynda.com. For simplicity, I’m focusing on email here, but these tips can also be applied to handwritten notes, memos, printed letters, and more.

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