Its that time of year again and your organization is getting ready for its next big conference, and it feels slightly overwhelming. You may even feel in your heart everything that could go wrong. Perhaps, its time to take the guessing out of planning and begin to take care of what you can control when planning your next conference.Streamline First step always is to streamline your tasks; make sure to create a plan before you begin the event coordination. It is imperative to make sure you know the direction you are going before you start. Make a list prioritizing from beginning to end; from finding the right speakers to developing the right promotional plan that meets your organizations vision. Know your Target Audience Second, evaluate your organization and the people you are trying to reach for your conference. Prepare the right topics with the right speakers, to ensure you are connecting with the right audience. A communications plan is essential for everyone involved so you can put the focus of the conference back to the direction of its people.Promote Early Third, get the word out early, and give people something to talk an about, if you start late than dont expect large numbers. The more hype you build through word of mouth the better direction you have to bring in large numbers.Booking the Right Conference Center Fourth, the right conference center is imperative in ensuring your events success, and everything from the layout of the room to the location of the bathroom should be checked before entering into a contractual agreement. It is vital that you meet the needs of the organization and the people attending, if they are uncomfortable throughout the day than it creates a negative impact on your conferences perspective and outcome.Location Fourth, if you are bringing in out of Towners then location is key for everyone, make sure its in happening spot, at the right time of year. Ensuring this will meet the needs of everyone involved and draw more attraction the big day.Plan B Fifth, be prepared for the inevitable as you sometimes never know what will happen. A speaker may drop out last minute or perhaps there maybe a mix up with the catering. Its not a problem if you have back up speakers in mind, and remember not everything is in your control.Relax and Enjoy Yourself Getting ready for the conference can be a huge stressful task but if you do it right; it can be a lot of fun. Remember, to enjoy yourself, while planning, and promoting the more excited the coordinator is the more apt people will come. Do it with a smile on your face to let everyone know this will be the best event, yet!Get a head start, get organized, and get ready to host the best conference in your area. If you can follow these six simple steps than you are ready for instant success. Event coordination can sometimes be overwhelming but if you plan early it will be an instant success
In my last article, we covered four basics: 1. take advantage of any free trial periods, 2. watch out for long contracts, 3. get references, and 4. dont be too concerned with high prices. For this article, we will assume that you have diligently followed the 4 steps in the first article and are ready for the next evolution how to your answering service running smoothly. We will explore a few industry tips & tricks on how to keep your service professional and reliable.First & foremost, dont ask too much of your call center. This is not meant as dont expect your answering service to do their job, but instead, keep their responsibilities short & sweet. As with any individual, the more tasks they are required to do, the more room arises for error. The main point here is Shortness Equals Success. What do I mean by that? First, keep your answer phrase short (i.e. how the operators pick up your line). Second, keep the information they gather from the caller at a minimum. Third, make sure your contact information is not a labyrinth of pager numbers, e-mail addresses, home phone numbers, and cell phone numbers (i.e. call Jim at home, if he is not there, e-mail him, if he does not respond page him and call his cell phone, etc.). Try to make sure your employees keep their cell phones with them at all times as this seems the best way to keep steady contact with the call center.Second, place regular test calls to your call center. Consider your answering service your employee. As with any employee, if left un-supervised, they will start to evolve into a less than model representative of your business. Make sure every 10 or so days you place a test call to your answering service to see how they are managing your calls. Dont always call at the same time of day, instead try to stagger the times when you call as sometimes the afternoon staff is more efficient then the evening staff or vice versa. If you experience any problems, notify your call center liaison immediately and place another test call shortly thereafter to ensure the problem was rectified.Third, make sure you have a healthy relationship with your call center. Treat them as you would treat your own employee. Be friendly and courteous and you will be treated the same. Imagine your own business and your own clients. Are there clients that are never satisfied no matter what you do? Would you rather lose their business than spend 10% of your day managing their complaints? Rather then the the more I yell, the more efficient they will be premise, try to base your relationship on the nicer I am, the nicer they will be premise.Fourth, perfection is not immediate. Based on the conjecture that your answering service is your employee, they are probably not going to get it right the first time you forward your phones. As with any employee, they need time to grow and learn about your business and their duties relative to your needs as a business owner. Have patience, be helpful, keep it simple, and they should flourish.
I've been through a couple of checklists in the past few days, and it's reaffirmed my faith in their effectiveness as a communication tool.Now, there are at least a couple of ways we can look at checklists: in the strategic and tactical senses. You'll probably recognize the tactical advantages of using checklists: a clear and logical, as well as economical, way to write.But, let's look at checklists from the strategic perspective today, and explore them as a tool for achieving our objectives.Specifically, that means we'll think of using them to reinforce or change the perceptions of others. For example, if you write out information about something that has to be done, a checklist sends a couple of messages. First, that you're a well-organized person, and that your message is quite rational.The creation of a checklist, in itself, should send a message that you've given more than cursory attention to the message. It implies that you've thought about the process you're asking others to follow. It also implies that you've taken extra time to compose your message; you've added value by adding additional structure.The recipient of your message, then, should have the sense that you take the message seriously, because you've taken extra trouble to develop it in an orderly way. And, that kind of perception, in turn should make the recipient more willing to follow your instructions.Having said all that, we should step back and ask ourselves where we can use checklists effectively. As I've written this article, I've asked myself if it shouldn't be in a checklist format. But, apparently not; at least I can't see how it work well.That's because checklists work best for very linear kinds of information delivery. The instructions for starting a computer or piece of equipment, for example. In these cases, there's no room for nuance or fine distinctions. A switch turns on, or it turns off; we don't discuss the way the switch looks or sounds. So, think of checklists as tools for developing lists or describing sequential actions.This context also leads to another strategic use for checklists, which is to ensure nothing is forgotten and nothing extra goes into the instructions. Make a checklist of the steps involved in a process and you have a tool for seeing that it stays on track.You can also use checklists for inclusion and exclusion. For example, when I travel, I print a packing checklist to make sure I pack the things I need, and perhaps just as important, don't pack items I don't need.In this case, the checklist also acts a memory jogging tool. Having started on the packing list, some non-list items may be recalled. For example, if I make a note to include a magazine to read on the plane, then I might also remember to stop delivery of the newspapers while I'm away. That's then something new to add to the next iteration of the checklist.
Managing time in a high-paced world is never easy, but when we have the right tools, it certainly is obtainable. If stress is getting you down, you are not alone. Many people today are suffering stress because of the fast pace. Although stress is an obviously problem, it does not have to be. We can manage our stress levels by focusing on time management. We can enjoy a busy schedule while finding time to relax. Stressors are leading causes to stress and include changes in an environment, family, business, et cetera. Dealing with everyday struggles, can cause stress if we are buying a new home, preparing for marriage, or changing careers. Some of us have to deal with multiple stressors at the same time, and it makes our life more difficult to handle. Multitasking between the struggles is never easy, so relaxing seems to be outdated.Many of us are overwhelmed by the constant changes in technology, which includes computers, phones, fax, E-mails, cell phones, and other devices. How can we ever get ahead of the game if someone is always changing the plans? Stress is the leading cause of heart attacks, high-blood pressure, stomach tension, tightened muscles, and other health related pains and aches. Our hormones when pushed beyond the limits often respond in a negative light. Managing time is essential for dealing with stress. If you work, attend classes, and go home to a family every night, you understand that time is vital to maintain. Work is part of an everyday life, and most of us get up early in the morning and head out the door. Some of us skip breakfast, exercise and other healthful tasks, not realizing that this is part of managing time. If you are taking care of your body, your body will take care of you. Life does not have to be hard; rather it can be a trial and error in soothing lights. Time management starts with a plan. If you have plans you know that goals often following the plan. Once we set a plan in motion, we must act on it accordingly and sufficiently to make the plan work and reduce our stress level. After we have a plan in motion focusing on our goals, we must find an organizing scheme that works best for our person. Some of us make lists, which are very helpful for putting a plan in motion. Lists are common tasks that we are required to obtain. Getting the most important tasks completed first is part of a "time management" plan that works most effectively. Once we move the bigger tasks out of the way, we find more time after the little tasks are finished. Changes are going to happen, and the world is constantly moving, so managing our time is the solution for reducing stress and obtaining goals. Managing time and stress in a fast-paced world is never easy, but the right tools sure can make the load lighter.
You might be able to attract people with high value skills through a well-presented ad. However, to keep them with you, your organization must have put in place workforce management policies that make these people want to continue with the organization.The policies must fit in with the organization and the place where it is located. If the policies are incompatible with the existing organization and place, they are likely to remain just book policies that will not be implemented in their true spirit.We look at some standard "workforce management" policies that can create an environment that make people want to remain with you.Organizational Culture: We mentioned how the organizational environment affects the policies that can be implemented in their true spirit in an organization. You could consider creating an environment that would facilitate the development of your workforce into a cohesive team of achievers. Basically, what you try to do is to create an organizational culture where people tend to help each other rather than blame or hinder each other.Induction Training: Help new employees to quickly become a productive member of your team through an effective induction process. Introduce them to other team members and help them absorb your organizational culture, and to become familiar with the ways of working in your organization.Clear Goals and Roles: Develop job descriptions that indicate clearly what team role each employee should seek to play, and what goals the person should seek to achieve.Goals Aligned to Higher Level Goals: Carefully align employee goals with the team goals, which are aligned with successively higher level goals culminating in overall company goals. That way, the employee would find it easy to contribute in a meaningful manner, and be rewarded accordingly.Work Environment: Arrange workstations, facilities and tools that help employees perform without undue stress. Uncomfortable workstations, high noise levels, having to find needed tools yourself, and so on are stressful and make employees look for better places to work in.Credible Performance Measurement and Reward Structure: One of the best motivating factors is being recognized and rewarded for good performance. The performance must be measured in a way that the employee can understand clearly. Good performance, which can also be measured in terms of contribution to team effectiveness, should be rewarded consistently and without discrimination.Skills and Career Development Options: Each employee should be able to develop his or her skill, and a career development path should be open for his or her progress in the organization. A certification program can add to the attractiveness.An Effective Mentoring Program: A mentoring program that helps each employee achieve personal and company objectives should supplement the above. The mentor would try to help the employee meet company expectations in a way that also meets personal expectations. ConclusionCarefully developed workforce management policies that would fit in with the organization and the place where it is located could pay high dividends. Your organization would then find it easier to attract the right kind of people, with the right skill set that you need. More importantly, you would find it possible to retain these skilled employees in your organization.We looked at standard workforce management policies that can help you develop a highly motivated workforce in your organization.