Randy Dean's Timely Tips

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Timely Tips August 2008: A Great Tip for Using E-mail to Make Phone Calls More Productive and Effective

Using E-mail to Make Your Phone Calls Go Better? A Great "No-Brainer" Tip from a Timely Tips Reader and Teleseminar Participant

Thanks to Duane Johnson of Comstock Johnson Architects out in California for this great tip. Duane shared this little gem while participating in my last Taming E-mail teleseminar program (we hope to announce another new teleseminar program soon!)

Here's the tip: whenever you have a planned phone call -- be that with a client, customer, co-worker, etc. -- consider sending a short e-mail prior to the call with 2-4 talking points for the call. In essence, Duane is recommending creating and sending a brief "meeting agenda" in advance of planned phone discussions -- I absolutely LOVE this tip!

It certainly seems to me that staff and team meetings are not the only places where people tend to get off agenda, talk too long, and not accomplish the goals of the meeting -- poorly planned and/or executed phone calls can cause the same loss in productivity, focus, and action too! By sending a little note to your other caller(s) in advance of the call with just a few talking points -- and then having that note printed or on your computer screen while engaging in the call -- you greatly increase the likelihood that your planned phone conversations will be more concise, more productive, and more valuable for all parties involved.

I would recommend also pointing out any additional information that would be handy to have for the call in advance of the call (documents, spreadsheets, data, contact information, etc.). That way, when the call takes place, you don't have to be put "on hold" while one of the parties finds that little piece of important information on their desk, computer, credenza or file cabinet.

Once again, a little proactive planning and a quick little e-mail can save you and your "peeps" some valuable time and enhance productivity. Thanks Duane for a great suggestion -- this is one I'll certainly be using moving forward.

Speaking of Phone Calls, Here's a Sneaky Little Service To Consider
In many of my programs, I mention that the very best time to make phone calls is when you can catch the other person's voicemail, because those real conversations can often slow you down. Well, it looks like a company has finally taken this tip and monetized it -- there is a new company called SlyDial (http://www.slydial.com) that offers you the opportunity to call directly to any mobile line's voice mail box rather than ringing the person's live mobile line. Thus, you can directly leave a message rather than risk catching them live. The web site mentions several situations where this little service could be handy -- and they even have a "free" option for their service (where you have to listen to a little advertisement prior to leaving a message for your other caller).

I actually haven't used this yet, so if any of you do, please send me a note back and let me know how the service worked for you. Don't you just love the things people think up these days? (By the way -- don't all of you start "slydialing" me!)

Having Trouble Getting To Sleep at Night?
If you have attended any of my live speaking and/or training programs, you probably already know that I'm a big-time "night person". Most every night I stay up too late, and most every morning, that dratted alarm clock (or, in my case, 20-month old little girl!) goes off too early! (How did I end up in a house filled with "morning" women?)

Seriously, having trouble getting to sleep at night is probably one of the biggest productivity killers that can afflict a person. If you, like me, have this problem, you often waste lots of time snacking, watching worthless TV, surfing the web, reading "dribble", and doing other low value activities while you are simply waiting to get tired so you can get to sleep. Then, the next morning, you are slow to get your productivity up, since you are fatigued by not getting enough sleep. And it often becomes a continuous negative loop. I believe the formal condition is called "chronic nighttime insomnia", and it can seriously impact your productivity, your mood, your relationships, your health, and your overall happiness if not properly addressed.

A new friend of mine, Mike Brescia, founder of Think Right Now!, has actually just released a new audio program called Think Right Now! Tranquil Sleep Now! Ever since my days at the Fetzer Institute more than 15 years ago, I've been fascinated in the power of the mind both in the creation and cure of chronic conditions. This audio program actually uses leading-edge psychology and technology to help address "chronic nighttime insomnia", and does it with no drugs, pills, or powders. Simply pop turn off the lights and TV, pop in the CD, and listen to the guided relaxation exercises accompanied by soothing music. For me, I've actually been able to fall asleep in about 5 minutes (it can sometimes take me an hour!), and I'm getting to sleep more than an hour earlier than my typical bedtime. (And I'd be doing even better if those darn Olympics weren't on every night!)

Learn more about the audio program here (which includes some great free bonuses), and let me know how it works for you if you try it out. I'll also let you know about more of these Think Right Now! programs as I get a chance to personally sample them. Happy Snoring!

Until Next Time ...
I hope you've got some great plans to take advantage of these last few days of summer and the upcoming Labor Day holiday! Next month, look for me in Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Chicago, Dearborn MI, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Columbus OH. Let me know if you'll be in any of those locations, and perhaps we can catch up. And watch for more news on the new book deal, the Taming E-mail audio program, and everything else going on, in next month's Timely Tips.

Until next time,

Stay Timely!


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