Building Brand Through Follow-up Actions

June 10, 2010

Everyday we make so many commitments talking near water cooler, during networking event, in a meetings or over the phone.  Some of our commitments are urgent and important and we follow-up properly.  There are other few commitments that we know are not so important for us or our job since we made those casually by saying that, ” I will get back to you on this” ….. and then we drop the ball. 

While searching my twitter handle using online tool called topsy.com, I found out that Tim Sanders had selected my retweet and asked to have him contacted (How a retweet can enrich your library) to give out a book.  This was a contest he ran during September 2009, and I found out about results in May 2010.  I follow Tim on Twitter and had retweeted him.

Anyhow, I sent him a note in May 2010 referencing the contest and asking if I can still get the book although I was very late to contact?  Guess what, I got an email from Tim enquiring about my mailing address so that he can ship me the book.  I provided it and almost forgot about it.

Few days ago, I got another email from Tim checking if I have received the book or not?  I actually have not.  But the point is taking the time to follow-up.  This follow-up raised Tim’s stock in my mind even higher.

Going the extra mile (by a person who might be super busy and owes nothing in return) reflects that person practices what he preaches. He is true to his brand.

Here are 4 points to remind us on closing the loop on our commitments we make casually – 

  1. Always make a note of your commitments: I keep a small notebook handy and make a note against a hand drawn box that can be checked (kind of to-do list).
  2. Prioritize and record follow-up action: I evaluate what can wait and what should be attended right away based on my schedule.
  3. Take the action or delegate it: Do it and check the box on notebook by recording observations.
  4. Check that commitment is fulfilled: This is what I will be implementing.  I will follow-up after I fulfill the commitment. If you delegated the task, verify that person delivered the results.

If you have made a commitment and its low in priority or you have found out that you can no longer fulfill it, just inform the person expecting from you and close the loop.  Remember to follow-up and close the loop.  Do not leave anything with loose ends. I guess this is one of the key ingredient to build brands.


How To Make PowerPoint Presentations Powerful.. Part 2

May 22, 2010

Part II – Cause Of Boring PowerPoint Presentations

(This post is also published on pmhut.com as a complete article)

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. – Dorothy Nevill

  1. Knowledge: One does not know the subject inside-out. All talk is superficial.
  2. Passion: Presenter is not passionate about the topic. If presenter himself is not interested in the presentation, how others can be.
  3. Planning: Not enough planning done about presentation. Person may know a lot about the subject and also very passionate; but fails to plan or weave an interesting story for intended audience.
  4. Expectations: Misalignment between Audience’s understanding level and key message to be delivered. Not conveying what people will get out of the presentation in advance.
  5. Overkill: Giving too much information in one slide or single presentation.
  6. Too Fancy: Stunning images & background, fancy fonts, various special distract audience. Know your audience and know your field.
  7. Preparation: Not enough rehearsal, presentation not flowing smoothly gives indication as person is not prepared.

 Now we know the causes of boring PowerPoint presentation, in next post we will review –

Part III – How To Prepare? Putting Slides Together &  How To Improve Your Presentation


Know what to emphasize

May 23, 2008

PM Tips – 1

What points we emphasize make a big difference in our communications. 

How do we do that? We got to know the expectation of the audience and what we want to convey.  Over emphasizing something or emphasizing meager issues may dilute the effect of conversation. We develop this skill with experience, paying attention to the audience and listening how others do it.

Certainly there are key things that you want to emphasize.  Make sure what you want to emphasize is really relevant and audience has some clue about what you are talking.

Notice how you emphasize? Do you find yourself keep repeating what you want to communicate in different phrases or you cleverly divert every topic discussed and then associate to what you have in mind? 

Observe if you are getting your point across.  Use some relevant example to explain your point.  Do not give frustrated look. You may have to do more work to refine your point.

Thank you for reading. Any suggestions or feedback?


How to Have Project Kick-off Meeting

January 13, 2008

Kick-off meeting is the first meeting of the project where you give all the team members good news that project is ‘go ahead’ from the sponsors and also set the tone of your project – is it going to be a success or a failure.  Many hours and days have gone into preparation before you have kick-off meeting. You have worked very hard and now have project charter and project plan is in your hands.Primarily kick-off meeting has following goals-

  1. energize the project team
  2. communicate project goals and expectations
  3. introduce team members and stake-holders
  4. highlight opportunities plus challenges and reiterate importance of project for organization
  5. provide information of processes, methodology, project plan, key milestones, etc.
  6. handout team’s contact phone numbers and email addresses
  7. present communication plan
  8. give time to attendees to ask questions and express views

I would do following extra things to make sure kick-off meeting sets positive tone –

  1. print the hand-out material a day before, also check for meeting room projector etc.
  2. have some project related posters and famous positive quotes posted on the wall
  3. invite one or two senior managment  people to talk about project’s importance
  4. have kick-off meeting around 9 AM (start of the day is better)
  5. block enough time for this meeting (time for refreshments, presentations, questions and answers)
  6. set date of kick-off  meeting and notify all members at-least a week ago
  7. offer light refreshments at the beginning of the kick-off meeting
  8. do not sit and just talk, look and feel energetic
  9. have your project plan and other documents (that you plan to hand out) reviewed well in advance by subject matter experts for accuracy
  10. make sure meeting conveys the message and people walk out with motivation

Are there other key things? I will be interested to hear.  Hope this helps and good luck with your kick-off meeting. 


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