By Jethro Jones | Friday, October 24, 2014
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
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
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.
By Jess Stratton | Monday, March 31, 2014
I’ve slipped a few nontechnical topics into Monday Productivity Pointers over the past year and they’ve proven to be popular, so this week I’m doing it again.
In today’s video, I’ll show you how to write a claim letter to a company for a faulty product or a bad experience. When you don’t get results from a claim letter, often the problem is that you never actually asked for a claim in the first place.
By Jeff Toister | Thursday, March 27, 2014
Customer service professionals are expected to have a positive and friendly attitude at all times—but maintaining such an attitude isn’t always easy. Upset customers, challenging problems, or even fatigue can make it hard to keep smiling.
Attitude anchors are techniques you can use to help position your customer service attitude in a positive place, or even to repair a bad attitude when you’re feeling down. There are two kinds of attitude anchors: maintenance anchors and repair anchors.
By Todd Dewett | Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Communication at work is a lot like trust: Both take time to build but can be lost in a moment.
In this week’s first tip, I’ll tell you several phrases you should avoid saying at work. Here’s one: “That’s not my job.” Even when it’s true, it’s never helpful. It draws lines, sounds combative, and otherwise turns people off. So one part of effective communication is choosing the right things to say, while another is avoiding troubling or unproductive phrases.
By Todd Dewett | Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Trust is the heart and soul of leadership. I’ve been told more than once that to understand leadership, you need to understand decision making and strategy, and that’s true—but these skills are wasted if you don’t first understand trust.
In my first tip this week, I’ll show you how trust moves a team from mere compliance to real commitment. When people trust you, they
• feel comfortable taking risks on your behalf, and being vulnerable to you;
• believe in the quality of your ideas; and
• will spend time helping others get on board with your decisions.
By Todd Dewett | Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Listening and candor. They’re two of the most valuable tools of effective communication, but they’re often overlooked. Listening is the focus of my first Management Tip this week. We often spend too much time asserting our views and responding to others, and too little time listening to—and genuinely hearing—what they have to say. This is ineffective communication, and people can easily sense when managers are more concerned with their own points of view than understanding the team’s position, which undermines their trust in your leadership.
Here’s a rule of thumb: In a conversation with your team, you should listen as much as you talk. If you don’t, they will eventually stop sharing their thoughts with you.
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