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Business Performance Pty Ltd Logo eNews

August 2010

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We extend to you a warm welcome to this month's Business Performance newsletter. Our focus this month is on communication. The quality of our working and private lives centers on how well we relate to other people. Our effectiveness in business and as life partners and parents is gauged to a large extent by how we communicate. The articles we present to you this month provide practical tips in three vital aspects of our communication. Firstly, we look at our ability to network on-line. With the rise and rise of Web 2.0, increasingly our social networks are populated by people we relate to wholly or partly in the virtual world. How can you raise your effectiveness within this new paradigm?

Our second article highlights the importance of the way we give and receive feedback at work. Building a feedback culture based on openness, clarity and respect can drive individual and business performance to new levels. This article shares many practical tips and strategies for building worthwhile and productive working relationships.

Thirdly, email is the bane of many of our existences. On the other hand, we can't do without it. Communicating via email is distinctly different from speaking with a person face-to-face. How can we deal with the lack of instant feedback in our email communications? Read this article to find strategies that you can apply in your daily routine.

Once you have absorbed these tips and strategies, check out our other workplace communication articles. We also encourage you to ask questions and contribute your experiences on our Business Performance blog. Enjoy!

TwitterAre you keeping up with the latest news and product updates? Follow us on Twitter and become a Business Performance fanFacebook on Facebook. As an added bonus, you'll be getting our daily online management and training tips.

Using Social Media Effectively - Top 10 Tips

by Leslie Allan

Contributing to social networking web sites such as LinkedIn and PartnerUp can bring significant value to your business or organization. Posting on sites like these holds two great benefits. Firstly, it connects you with like minded people. Fellow contributors give you insights and new ways of looking at your world. And, as an added bonus, they may turn out to buy your product or want to form a business partnership with you.

Secondly, your posts give valuable back links to your web site. These are valuable as the major search engines count relevant back links as a vote of confidence in your web site. It is partly through these votes of confidence that the search engines raise your position in search engine queries.

The question is, "How can you improve the effectiveness of your postings?" You spend appreciable amounts of time and energy contributing to on-line discussions and you want to make the most of each posting. Right? Well, here are my tips on how to get the most from your on-line contributions so that you can reap the two key benefits I outlined in my introductory paragraph.

  1. Make a meaningful contribution with each post. Do not post spam or useless comments, such as "Great post". Add value to the discussion, pointing people to additional resources or sharing your experiences. Always, and I mean always, remain respectful of other people's contributions. Remember, you are on public display. Remain professional at all times. Nothing will put people off you and your business faster than you engaging in a flame war with someone you disagree with. State your disagreement plainly and without emotional undertones.
  2. Post regularly as a way of developing relationships and increasing your exposure. As you become better known to the other contributors, they will more likely visit your web site. New business partnerships are sometimes forged after initial contact on a social media site.
  3. For web sites that allow you to post a profile, submit as full a profile as possible. Avoid posting highly personal information, such as your birthday and private address, as identity thieves scour social media sites for personalities to steal. Include a professional looking photograph in your profile, as this shows that you are a real person.
  4. Include relevant hyperlinks in your profile, such as links to your web site, blog, your other social networking profiles and publications you have authored. Doing so increases your back link count for the search engines and gives other contributors an easy way to find out more about you.
  5. Include a well crafted signature line at the end of each post. Include your name, your title and your organization's name, where appropriate. Hyperlink prominent words in your signature line, such as your organization's name, tag line or book title.

Read all ten tips

If you need help with your on-line marketing and social media presence, contact us at Business Performance Pty Ltd. Wherever you are in the world, we can assist you in driving your business forward with practical advice and web business coaching.

Managing Change in the Workplace guide and workbookIf you or your managers are struggling with bringing about change in your organization, then check out our Managing Change in the Workplace. This acclaimed resource will guide you through every step of the change process with a wealth of worksheets, checklists and tools. Supplementing our hands on approach is our unique change process model that makes sense out of the seeming chaos. Download our popular Managing Change in the Workplace guide and workbook today!

"To date, Managing Change in the Workplace is the best resource I have found anywhere to help me do my work. I am more confident when I approach assignments now than I had ever been before. I would recommend the guide to anyone involved in change management without any reservations."

Cindy Emmanuel McLean, Change Management Consultant

Two-Way Feedback

by Jennifer McCoy

Did you know?

  • Businesses in the United States waste $105 billion each year dealing with poorly performing employees. (Sweden $1.3b, Australia $4.1b, Hong Kong $5.0b, Netherlands $7.1b, India $10.8b, UK $24.5b)(1)
  • United States managers spend 14% of their time redoing or correcting the mistakes of others – approximately one hour every day. (Sweden 8%, Australia 14%, Hong Kong 24%, Netherlands 15%, India 20%, UK 11%)(1)

Could feedback improve this situation? What is Two-Way feedback all about anyway? Could feedback really help to improve working relationships and productivity? This article draws on some of the research that highlights what's really happening in our workplaces, offers some strategies that have worked for other businesses and leaves you to draw you own conclusions. Feedback just might be worth trying.

What is feedback?

Giving feedback simply means telling people how they're going at work. Two-Way feedback means also taking feedback – being prepared to listen to what others tell you, without being defensive if it's not good news; listening for ways to improve your own performance and/or the business.

Many people equate feedback with delivering bad news, criticism of poor performance. But feedback also can, and should, be good news.

Feedback – the good news

Positive feedback, when you tell people they've done well, should be easy, e.g.:

  • Thanking people for a job well done.
  • Commending them for taking the initiative and solving a problem for you.
  • Discussing with individuals where they're going and what their career opportunities might be, even if it's not in your business or workplace.
  • Discussing progress with teams.
  • Celebrating the wins when everyone's pulled together and things have gone well.

This is the kind of feedback that everyone likes; the kind that motivates people to perform well consistently. The reality seems to be that it isn't often done.

Did you know?

  • A study released by Human Synergistics, an international organizational development firm, reported that "90% of employees work in a negative culture of blame, indecision and conformity", based on a study of 900 major organizations and more than 130,000 employees.(2)
  • A 12-month study by S. McCarthy of 1300 senior executives has found that managers focus on what is bad about their employees rather than on what is good - "I only hear from my boss when I stuff up". As a result they create a passive defensive culture where employees avoid responsibility and pass blame.(3)

Feedback – the bad news

Of course we also have to deliver the 'bad news' but when we have to give this kind of feedback we often end up criticizing and distressing the person or people concerned, however well-intentioned we are. Why does it happen?

A common reason is that we put up with things for too long because we don't know what to say or how to say it.

And we remember what happened last time when the recipient of our 'bad news' either cried, sulked, got defensive or started avoiding you. All of which caused us enormous stress.

When we realize the job can no longer be put off, we're so stressed that we react defensively, unnecessarily aggressive and hurtful. A recipe for staff discord and non-productive business.

Building a feedback culture

Building a workplace culture, where everyone is comfortable about receiving feedback about their performance, significantly reduces stress levels in manager-staff relationships.

Read the full article

2 Way FeedbackDo you want to find out more about building a feedback culture in your organization? Get Jennifer's practical guide, 2 Way Feedback, today. This compact e-book is packed with strategies for building trust and creating a high performance culture in your workplace. Used successfully by business owners, team leaders and managers, use it at all levels of your organization. Find out more and download the book from our 2 Way Feedback web page.

"It's short, accessible, full of the 'good-oil' -wise and practical suggestions about feedback and within a solutions focused framework. Great for supervisors and managers and busy people."

Ross Gillespie (Director), CoachCorp Pty Ltd

Solving Email Communication Blues

by Leslie Allan

Email is a wonderful tool. Don't get me wrong. Our business just could not get by without it. It's quick, it's flexible with how you want to format the message and with what you want to attach, and it's accessible.

What bugs me is the lack of instant feedback. When you speak with someone face to face, you can see immediately if they are getting your message. If they are looking the other way or falling asleep as you speak, you know straight away that you aren't getting through. And then you can take steps to help your message find its target. You can give the person a nudge or offer to speak with them later when they may be more receptive.

You can also gauge how they are feeling about your message. If they are laughing, then that says one thing. If they suddenly start looking distressed, that says another thing. You can then adjust your message to get the outcome you want.

But what if you send your important email and you don't hear anything back for three days? Did they get your message? Did they get so enraged by it that they immediately hit the delete button? You just don't know. What can you do about this lack of feedback?

Read the full article

Find out more about communicating effectively by visiting our workplace communication portal.

Training Management Template PackAre you running training programs and tired of creating training administration forms? Our popular Training Management Template Pack has just about every form or template you will ever need. The template pack contains professional looking and customizable forms for every phase of your training design and delivery. Administering training has never been easier. Visit our Training Management Template Pack web page for a full description of each template and to download the pack today.

"The Training Management Template Pack had just what I was looking for! From the Employee Performance Diagnostic Tool to the Training Needs Analysis Spreadsheet, this group of invaluable documents allows me to gather, diagnose and organize a plan quickly and efficiently. Thanks Business Performance."

Tanya Ladd, Corporate Trainer

Visit our web site at www.businessperform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.


In This Issue
Using Social Media Effectively

Two-Way Feedback

Solving Email Communication Blues
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