Archive for February, 2011

Valentine’s Day was yesterday. You know that. Whether or not there is that special someone in your personal life, in my business life there are numerous special and key clients, strategic alliances, peers and CMIT colleagues.

This month’s lead article will speak to the importance of developing and maintaining relationships in all arenas of one’s business life which will undoubtedly flow over into your personal life. ENJOY!

Last weekend I attended a Rotary District Leadership session since I am a new member on the District Membership Committee. It is funny how everything comes together in our world in that processes and strategies that are implemented in the volunteer world of Rotary directly correlate to the business world. Membership (for any organization) is all about retention and acquisition. For my CMIT Denver business, my most valuable activity (MVA) is focusing on client retention and client acquisition. At my kids’ school, it is the same scenario. In one’s personal life, isn’t it all about quality relationships with family and friends? 

There is an undeniable crossover that occurs.  The personal relationships developed over time have brought referrrals to our business. The business relationships within and outside of CMIT have brought me valued personal friendships. Clients that I have today in the cable television industry are directly attributed to my almost 10 years in the cable tv corporate world and the solid relationships and reputation built.

Bridges have never been burned; they have only been strengthened.

Positive communication and actions make for positive relationships, in most cases anyway. With many books about the “law of attraction” and “give to get”, I always derive the message (it’s often emphasized) that each relationship needs to be managed. The positive personal and business relationships must be nurtured and monitored on an ongoing basis.

Conversely, there are some relationships (and yes, even clients – admit it) that can suck the energy out of you and should be reviewed to determine  if the relationship should be severed (for the benefit of your personal or business health) or relegated to a lower status.

How will I relate this relationships “talk” to technology? Well, to stay on top of all those people and businesses to stay in touch with, I would recommend that you have the following:

  1. a contact relationship management (CRM) program whether it’s Outlook Exchange, Microsoft CRM or a line of business program that includes the contact management functionality.
  2. a process for staying in front of your clients, prospects and alliances (this can be a one page document or part of your CRM system). Personally, I have a whole diagram (in Microsoft Visio) that details the different ways I stay in front of everyone and it is incorporated into my 2011 marketing plan.
  3. an emphasis and mission to take great care of the relationships at all levels, even if you are not involved in every single area/department that takes care of the relationship. For my firm, part of that great care corresponds to our CMIT Marathon technology wellness program.

So as not to elongate this article, I will stop after Recommendation #3. Do you take similar actions to massage your relationships? I am always open to learning how other successful business owners fulfill this necessary mission.

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Over the past 6 years that I have been penning my e-newsletter articles, I have taken advantage of (i.e. leveraged) my relationships from individuals in my field to large, multinational corporations in order to share insights with you and to benefit our clients. Once again I am borrowing an article from KJ McCorry at Officiency Enterprises (up in Boulder) on insights for enhanced productivity with technology. My article on sending or copying documents to the Kindle piggybacks with this article. Lastly, I finally have a netbook (mini laptop) that is helping me tremendously when on the road (no more 8 pound laptop to lug around). Hooray for my neck and shoulders!

Below is KJ’s article:

There are some great technology gadgets on the market that not only improve efficiency but will also reduce paper consumption.

They key thing is to pick the right tool for the right need. Often we can get too many tech gadgets that we never use. But given the right tool, it can automate tasks and activities to reduce time and hopefully improve efficiency.

e-book readers

Do you want time to read but just can’t seem to find it in your office?

An e-book device is a device specifically designed for reading material. It can hold a large amount of reading material and minimize weight, especially if you like reading more than one book at a time.

They are very useful when you have a lot of white papers, reports and other PDF type documents to read and just don’t get time in your office. It allows you to get away from your computer to a more conducive reading environment to concentrate and absorb the information.

The e-readers have easy search capabilities especially when looking for that one phrase, quote or topic. They also have the ability to take electronic notes or highlight text. The Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader are good, basic e-readers and do well in bright sunlight. The Apple iPad can also be an e-reader with a lot more computer features and functionality.

Digital pens

Tired of all those scattered meeting notes and tablets?

Another upcoming product on the market is the digital pen, which records electronically the movement of the pen on paper. It then can be connected to a computer and transferred into software that will display the notes or convert it to text.

This keeps an electronic running archive of all meeting notes, and you can discard the paper tablets.

Mini laptops

Ever need quick Internet access but don’t want to lug your large laptop around?

These mini 10-inch laptops are economical, small and compact to travel with especially when you only need Internet access. They are also quite handy in meetings to take notes when a full laptop might feel too large and cumbersome.

Using a smaller laptop doesn’t take away from the conversation or become a distraction. Acer and Asus brands are rated very well and usually cost less than $350. For some individuals, they are using the iPad as a similar portable smaller computer.

Digital audio recorder

Are you a slow typist, and does it take too long to type up notes or e-mails?

Consider using a digital recorder and record information verbally. You will also need an audio-to-voice recognition software such as, Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance. This will reduce time spent typing especially if you are a finger typer. Olympus has some of the leading brands on audio recorders however check your handheld devise or iPad that might already have a recorder function on it or can be downloaded as a third party application.

K.J. McCorry is the owner of Officiency Enterprises, consulting services that help offices become more productive, efficient, and sustainable with resources and time. She is the author of “Organize Your Work Day In No Time,” released by Que Publishing. She can be reached at www.officiencyenterprises.com.

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My CMIT colleague, Jeremy, reminded me last month that I can use my Kindle for more than just reading the downloaded books that I have purchased from Amazon.com. What perfect timing for this light bulb reminder because I signed up last week to attend a 3 day seminar here in Denver and I have required reading. I thought to myself “It sure would be nice to have the flexibility to read these two books on something other than my computer or not be forced to read the books on my laptop  while sitting in bed.”

Eureka! I downloaded the books in pdf and after reading the online instructions for my 1st generation Kindle, I converted those pdfs to “.txt” files, plugged in my little USB cable and copied those documents from my desktop to my Kindle! Yes, it is a bit pitiful to get so excited about something so simple. However, I prefer simplicity and flexibility!

Here are alternate instructions (thanks Jeremy) from mine that are more detailed:
1. E-mail PDF files as attachments to [kindleusername]@free.kindle.com and put ‘convert’ in the subject line.

  • Your @free.kindle.com address will only deliver documents when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. If you use [kindleusername]@kindle.com the document will be delivered over 3G for a small fee (if you have a 3G connected Kindle)
  • The convert subject line converts the PDF file to kindle format. Send the PDF without ‘convert’ and it will display on your kindle in original PDF format (might be difficult to read depending on original file)
  • You need to send from an email address on Your Kindle Approved E-Mail List which you manage on http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

2. If you use Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010, use the Send E-mail as PDF Attachment function.

  • Use convert as the subject and send to [kindleusername]@free.kindle.com address.
  • Sending Word documents to Kindle with convert does not work as well as sending it as a PDF file

3. Send web pages to your kindle using Instapaper  

  • Setup an Instapaper account 
  • Go to the Instapaper Kindle page and review instructions to add another special email address to Your Kindle Approved E-mail List http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle
  • If you use Internet Explorer, add the Read Later bookmarklet to your favorites
  • Email links or long formatted newsletters to your (code)@instapaper.com address (you will see once you setup your account).
  • Once a day you will get files delivered to your Kindle. 

Add your [kindleusername]@free.kindle.com and (code)@instapaper.com addresses to your email address book to make this easier to utilize.

Let me hear of your insights for leveraging technology with your Kindle or other e-reader device.

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Windows 7As each week goes by, more and more businesses and individuals at those businesses are using Windows 7. There are new and helpful aspects to Windows 7 that XP Pro did not have.  And, with Windows 7, there is an “XP Mode” that can be used when experiencing driver or application incompatibility. So, this is the best of both worlds.

In an effort to educate our readers and get them excited about making the most of Windows 7 (and other core Microsoft business solutions), I thought it would be good to give you a glimpse of some of the neat things that you can do to make you more productive and give your company a better ROI on the Windows software. And when you see Tip #2, there could be nostalgia about getting “pinned.”

Print more easily, find files faster, and send email right from your desktop.

1. Print from Windows Explorer

If you need to print a document, let’s say a Microsoft Word document, there’s no need to launch Word first. Browse your hard drive for the file that you want to print, right-click its icon, and then click Print. This will automatically send the document to your printer without launching Word.

2. Pin Programs to the Start Menu

Want to add your favorite programs to the Start menu? From the Start menu, click All Programs. Locate a favorite program, right-click the program’s icon, and then click Pin to Start menu. That’s it.

You can also pin an application by dragging and dropping its icon from All Programs to the Start menu. The program is now “pinned” to your Start menu. To remove it, right-click the program icon on the Start menu and then click Unpin from Start menu or click Remove from this list.

3. Use Small Icons on your Start Menu

After you install a few dozen applications, your Start menu can become very crowded. One way to reduce the clutter is to use small icons.

  1. To switch to small icons, click the Start button, right-click in the Start menu, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Start Menu tab, and then click Customize.Windows 7  users: Scroll to the bottom of the list, clear the Use large icons check box, and then click OK twice.

4. Search a Folder

When I’ve misplaced a file, I almost always know which folder it’s in, but it’s usually lost in a maze of documents or buried in a subfolder. I just can’t remember which subfolder. This is a great way to search a folder quickly. [Debi’s comment – productivity tool!]

Windows 7  users: Locate the folder where you think the file is located. Use the Search box at the top of the open window to search the contents for the selected folder. Type part or all of the name of the file or folder, or type a word or phrase that is in the file. The results list will be updated as you type.

5. Send an Email Attachment from Anywhere on the Desktop

Here’s a really handy tip.

  1. Locate a file anywhere on your hard drive that you want to email, right-click the file’s icon, click Send To, and then click Mail Recipient. A new mail message will open with the file attached and ready to send. But what’s really speedy about this tip is that your mail program doesn’t open. This action creates only a single new mail message.
  2. To send your attachment, type the recipient’s email address in the To text field, add any accompanying message, and then click the Send icon. The subject and attachment fields are already set.

[Source: Microsoft at home & at work: January 2011 edition]

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