Have you ever wished you knew the keys to excelling at your job, understanding your market, or connecting meaningfully with your customers? In our second course in the Invaluable series, Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy, Dave Crenshaw teaches you how to become a student of your company, your market, and your customers.
Business savvy is surely something we all intend to develop as we go about our daily jobs. But in the bustle of heavy workloads and demanding responsibilities, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the things that define long term excellence, customer connections, and a clear picture of the market.
For example, how would you answer the following questions?
What does my company want from me?
Where is my company headed, and how do I fit with its direction?
What’s happening in my field, and how does that affect me?
What’s my competition up to?
Who is my customer, and how can I serve that customer?
When I took some time to ponder these questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of insights I gleaned in a short amount of time. Whether you’re beginning a new career or hoping to grow in your current role, you’ll find that Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy is full of practical tips to help you explore questions like these.
The quest to become an invaluable professional is one that’s full of self-discovery, tough questions, and big rewards. Please let us know how you’re enjoying your journey in the comments section.
If your year is shaping up to include a lot of business presentations, PowerPoint Tips and Tricks for Business Presentations offers practical insider advice that will help you build painless presentations that convey your message in a way that is clear, meaningful, and engaging.
Author David Diskin starts the course with five quick tips you can use to make your PowerPoint presentations more effective, and continues throughout to offer his insights on ways to compose powerful, cohesive messages that resonate throughout your presentation. David also discusses how to apply successful slide design practices, ways to incorporate gestures, and suggestions for managing question-and-answer sessions. He closes the course with a look at presentation skills, delivery tactics, and bonus tips to make your presentations run even more smoothly.
One of David’s favorite PowerPoint presentation tips is to add white space to your slides in order to make text more easily distinguishable and memorable.
These courses are designed to help you create appointments and meetings with ease, use flagging and categories to corral all your inbox email, manage tasks and to-dos, and use Outlook Task List options.
If your inbox gets a steady stream of email every day, you’ll also appreciate these courses’ solid tips for capturing work in Outlook. Another suggestion from Gini Courter is to sort the items that require your action by priority and the amount of time each will take. This sorting then determines whether you set up a task or a calendar appointment and how you take next steps. For more on this, lynda.com members should check out the Capturing work in Outlook movie in the introduction chapter of both Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007 time management courses.
My new productivity motto: Enjoy your email, and make your calendar and tasks work for you in the new year!
We’re excited to kick off a five-part professional development series this week designed to help you cultivate the traits of an invaluable professional. With the help of author and business coach Dave Crenshaw, we built the series around five tangible goals: developing your abilities, becoming a student of your profession, focusing on the activities that bring high value to your company, improving your professional networking, and positioning yourself as a leading expert. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a new hire, this series is designed to help you unearth your full potential to contribute, innovate, and add value to your organization—right away and in the future.
The first segment of Dave Crenshaw’s Invaluable series, Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities, focuses on putting together a personal action plan that allows you to harness your natural talents, match your job responsibilities to those talents, and assess your performance. With an overarching focus on self-improvement, Dave shows how to develop yourself so that you can provide genuine and ongoing value to your organization.
Why not make 2012 the year you become the asset your organization can’t live without? Leave us a comment and let us know your aspirations for the coming year.
For more on Dave Crenshaw’s Invaluable series, watch out for these four upcoming installments:
February: Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy
March: Invaluable: Making Yourself Irreplaceable April: Invaluable: Building Professional Connections May: Invaluable: Becoming a Leading Authority
Happy 2012! Now is a great time to startcreating an effective résumé, and author Mariann Siegert has all the tips you’ll need to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and use those to plan goals for the new year.
To help you start the new year off right, Mariann has shared some fantastic tips for updating both your résumé and online profile (LinkedIn, for example)—whether you’re in the market for a new job or not.
Updating Key Information
Any changes to your personal information?
Delete physical addresses (these are no longer used as a way of communication while job searching and may lead to identity theft). Remove your work phone number if applicable (unless you work for yourself).
Remove any fax numbers—this is an antiquated means of contact.
Check your contact email address and cell number to be sure they are current and accurate. Make sure you include the best way of contacting you.
Have you attended any classes, workshops, or professional training courses? For example, have you completed any lynda.com courses?
Have you won any awards or received any certifications?
During the last year, how did you:
Save or make the company money?
What new software applications or programs did you use?
Have you worked on any new projects?
Did you receive a promotion or other special recognition?
Adding PAR Statements
Replace any clichés you find with powerful PAR statements (Problem Action Result). PAR statements take advantage of using numbers, dollar figures, and percentages to tell a business story—in this case your story. It’s a proven fact that using numbers, dollar figures, or percentages to illustrate the impact you have made in your career will have a greater impact on your audience or résumé reader by proving what you have accomplished in the past and what you can bring to the table in the future.
It’s easy to write a PAR statement. Here’s how it works:
Problem: What problem have you solved this year?
Action: What action did you take to resolve the problem?
Result: What was the result of your action?
Then quantify your statements with percentages, money saved, or time saved (whenever possible). Here’s an example of a PAR statement:
“Designed new Flash web site based on competitive market evaluations and client needs, resulting in a 70% increase in web site traffic and 55% profit margin for the client.”
Mariann’s tips reminded me how many wonderful developments the past year has brought and all the important work I have ahead of me. For more tips on updating your professional profiles in 2012, be sure to check out Mariann’s course, “Creating an Effective Résumé” and Richard Colback’s course “LinkedIn Essential Training.” Here’s to a fantastic and fruitful year!
Interested in more?
• All business courses on lynda.com
I recently had the pleasure of presenting all the content we hope to publish for you in 2012 to our content and production teams here at lynda.com. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk in broad strokes about our teams’ collective vision for the future. If you’ve ever given a high stakes presentation in front of a large group, you know that while giving presentations is a great opportunity, they can also be quite daunting to prepare and deliver.
At the outset of my planning I found myself scrambling to remember the presentation skills I learned long ago. (Oh yes, I briefly longed for my college Public Speaking 101 notes and those mortifying VHS tapes of class speeches on global issues.) After sitting for a little while with presentation anxiety, I decided to turn to the same library that would be the subject of my presentation.
Browsing the lynda.com Online Training Library® as a member on a mission, I quickly found that our courses empowered me to compile and deliver a compelling and visually interesting presentation for my peers. It was exciting to find help waiting for me—and comforting to learn from the very authors I have the pleasure of working with each day.
In case you’re curious (or madly preparing for your own end-of-year or look-ahead presentations), here is my presentation learning-path that helped prepare and inspire me.
1. Duarte Design, Presentation Designer: Wanting to start with a good dose of inspiration, I turned to our Creative Inspirations documentary on Duarte Design. The opportunity to see how the pros create compelling presentations armed me with just enough confidence to think that maybe I could pull this off. It was here that I realized the lynda.com Online Training Library® could empower my presentation.
2. Effective Presentations (2006): After thinking about big picture, I needed some specifics, which is precisely what I found in Effective Presentations (2006). This course is one I’ll define as a classic. Built in 2006, it still has the power to inspire today. Chapter two on Mission, Goals and Story is the one that helped me organize my ideas more clearly.
3. Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training: With my ideas taking shape, I needed to dive into some data to learn more about lynda.com viewing statistics, including, how often courses are watched, what courses are watched, and what members would like to see published in the future. This required me to brush up on my Excel for Mac 2011 skills, which helped me easily navigate lots of data with speed and efficiency.
4. Keynote ’09 Essential Training: With growing confidence backed up by numbers and solid data, I was ready to start putting my story for 2012′s business content into Keynote. Enter Keynote ’09 Essential Training, which helped this long-time PowerPoint user convert easily to the new interface and features. Pretty soon, I was tooling around with master slides, backgrounds, fonts, and styles.
6. Time Management Fundamentals: As the week went by and I got busier with this presentation, I noticed that I could easily lose track of minutes or hours if I didn’t keep my time in check. So I decided on another quick visit to Time Management Fundamentals. Dave Crenshaw reminded me that switch tasking wasn’t worth my time and that I needed to focus in on my most valuable activities, including that presentation.
7. Effective Meetings: As I started to wrap up my presentation and prepare to deliver it, I wanted to check in with Dave Crenshaw again on Effective Meetings. What would I need to know in order to get the most out of our all-day planning session? I wasn’t disappointed. The principles of successful meetings helped me determine a note-taking strategy and the best way to absorb exciting new information from my colleagues.
8. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives: Finally, the night before my presentation, I wanted another dose of inspiration and confidence to get me ready for the next morning. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives helped me develop that confidence and focus-in on conveying my story with powerful intention.
As Effective Presentations (2006) reminded me, an estimated 30 million presentations make their way in front of an audience every day, so I was in good company as I prepared to sell my ideas up, down, and sideways. I was also, it turns out, in good company when I turned to the lynda.com Online Training Library® for the tools and inspiration necessary to communicate more effectively and make a memorable impression.
I hope you’re well on your way to developing lynda.com learning paths that work for your needs and your schedule. Please share your inspiration below; we love to hear from you!
Interested in more?
• All business courses on lynda.com
My first few years in publishing were spent writing and editing. On the page, it looked like my job was about making words work, and yet, it was so much more than that. Each new endeavor I spearheaded was truly a project, and it required me to switch between those analytical and creative hats every day. Soon, I came to realize that my colleagues were the backbone of the project team, and the timelines and schedules I made and kept were an integral part of the project plan.
This writer somehow ended up in business—and was loving every minute of it. As a fascinated yet unintentional project manager, I wanted to embrace this role with the same attention I put into checking for comma splices and building instruction. What were the secrets to solid project management, and how could I put them to work?
In Project Management Fundamentals, author Bonnie Biafore answers these questions and more, sharing tried and true project management tips that she’s developed through years of real world experience. Whether you’re in charge of an IT installation, a web development project, or managing an event for employees, you’ll discover the value in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing a project.
While project management may sound relevant only for those who build bridges, manufacture medical devices, or install major software systems, the reality is that you probably have project management opportunities in your career if you’ve ever worked to create a specific outcome, service, or product (deliverable) within a finite time frame using time, tools, and people (resources). Largely, this includes a range of career types including, but not limited to, information technology, creative disciplines, and business.
One of Bonnie’s best tips for new and aspiring project managers is to learn the power of asking open-ended questions. Whether you’re asking project stakeholders (the people the project will affect) to explain their needs, communicating specs to technical teams, or simply corralling the efforts of a large team, open-ended questions like “What would you do in the future to prevent this problem?” and “What’s working well here?” can get the dialogue going and take discussions to new places.
Project Management Fundamentals is suited for all skill levels, including those new to the concept of project management and those hoping to figure out how some of their past projects could have gone more smoothly. With solid project management skills, you’ll be better poised to improve your company’s bottom line by delivering your projects on time and within budget. Plus, I think you’ll learn to enjoy the process—embracing project management is a surprisingly creative process that carries the great reward of better business outcomes and happier customers.
In a May 2010 report, the U.S. Census Bureau disclosed that there are 1.8 million people age 15 and older who can’t see printed words, and 1 million who are unable to hear a conversation.
With discussions about Section 508 compliance heating up and questions about accessibility trickling down, we have an unprecedented need to use today’s technology tools to create truly accessible content. Perhaps you need to know how to create accessible documents or movies for your students, or maybe you do business with an entity that requires accessibility compliance.
We’re planning a course to help you create accessible PDF documents using Adobe Acrobat. We’d like to hear what topics interest you most as you approach accessibility with your PDF documents. Please rate the importance of each topic on our 1-5 scale, with 1 being most important and 5 being least important.
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Your feedback will help us shape this upcoming course. Thank you!