Recruit, Inspire & Retain

January 2005

Ideas for "Marketing" and Providing "Customer Service" to Current and Potential Employees

TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.
Great Training for Great Employees

http://www.trainingsys.com
800-469-3560 FAX 815-469-0886
 E-mail:
tsi@trainingsys.com

THIS ISSUE

   
Prepare for 2005 — re-read 2004 Recruit, Inspire & Retain headlines @ www.trainingsys.com (Past Issues)
   
bullet 200 Questions Job Candidates May Ask Your Company
bullet Time: Plan to Make the Most of It
bullet Cool Calls
bullet Joy at Work
bullet Written Training That’s Impossible to Learn From – It’s the Writing!
bullet Making Teleconferencing Useful
bullet Things to Do This Month/Conferences to Attend/Ways to Volunteer & Give/Enter Contests & Get Recognition
(Call 800-469-3560 or E-mail for ways to celebrate the listed special days of the month!)

Rate Your Ability to Achieve Your 2005 Strategic Plan

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❏ we never have before
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TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. show you how you can really make those goals/action steps a reality!

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COOL RECRUITING TIPS

200 Questions Job Candidates May Ask You

We’re always so busy preparing to ask the questions we may not have prepared to answer the ones the applicants will ask. Don’t want to look stupid? Prepare with these:

Why do you enjoy working for this company?

What attracted you to this organization?

Describe the work environment here.

Describe the philosophy of the company or organization

What do you consider to be the organization’s strengths and weaknesses?

Tell me more about my day-to-day responsibilities.

How soon are you looking to fill this position?

How do my skills compare with those of the other candidates you have interviewed?

I have really enjoyed meeting with you and your team, and I am very interested in the opportunity. I feel my skills and experience would be a good match for this position. What is the next step in your interview process?

Before I leave, is there anything else you need to know concerning my ability to do this job?

In your opinion, what is the most important contribution that this company expects from its employees?

What is the structured career path at the company?

What are my prospects for advancement? If I do a good job, what is a logical next step?

Assuming I was hired and performed well for a period of time, what additional opportunities might this job lead to?

Do the most successful people in the company tend to come from one area of the company, such as sales or engineering, or do they rise from a cross section of functional areas?

I know that for the position for which I am interviewing, the company decided to recruit from outside the organization. How do you decide between recruiting from within and going outside?

How does this position relate to the bottom line?

What advice would you give to someone in my position?

What major problems are we facing right now in this department or position?

Give me a formal, written description of the position. I’m interested in reviewing in detail the major activities involved and what results are expected.

Does this job usually lead to other positions in the company? Which ones?

Tell me a little bit about the people with whom I’ll be working most closely.

As I understand the position, the title as ________, the duties are _______, and the department is called ________. I would report directly to __________. Is that right?

Tell me about the company’s commitment to equal opportunity and diversity.

Who are the company’s stars, and how was their status determined?

How are executives addressed by their subordinates?

What can you tell me about the prevailing management style?

If you hired me, what would be my first assignment?

What’s the company’s mission statement?

Explain the company’s organizational structure.

What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department or division fit in?

What specific skills from the person you hire would make your life easier?

Will we be expanding or bringing on new products or new services that I should be aware of?

What are some of the problems that keep you up at night?

What are some of the skills and abilities you see as necessary for someone to succeed in this job?

What would be a surprising but positive thing the new person could do in first 90 days?

What challenges might I encounter if I take on this position?

How does upper management perceive this part of the organization?

What are your major concerns that need to be immediately addressed in this job?

What do you see as the most important opportunities for improvement in the area I hope to join?

What are the attributes of the job that you’d like to see improved?

What are the organization’s three most important goals?

What is your company’s policy on attending seminars, workshops, and other training opportunities?

How do you see this position impacting the achievement of those goals?

What is the budget my department operates with?

What committees and task forces will I be expected to participate in?

What have you liked most about working here?

How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?

Are there any weaknesses in the department that you are particularly looking to improve?

What are the department’s goals, and how do they align with the company’s mission?

What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared with the competition? (name one or two companies)

How does the reporting structure work here? What are the preferred means of communication?

What goals or objectives need to be achieved in the next six months?

Describe an ideal of the typical day and workload and the special demands the job has.

This a new position. What are the forces that suggested the need for this position?

What areas of the job would you like to see improvement in with regard to the person who was most recently performing these duties?

From all I can see, I’d really like to work here, and I believe I can add considerable value to the company. What’s the next step in the selection process?

How does this position contribute to the company’s goals, productivity, or profits?

What is currently the most pressing business issue or problem for the company or department?

Describe for me the actions of a person who previously achieved success in this position.

Describe for me the action of a person who previously performed poorly in this position.

Describe your own management style.

What are the most important traits you look for in a subordinate?

How do you like your subordinates to communicate with you?

What personal qualities or characteristics do you most value?

Describe to me your typical management style and the type of employee who works well with you.

Corporate culture is very important, but it’s usually hard to define until one violates it. What is one thing an employee might do here that would be perceived as a violation of the company’s culture?

How would you characterize the organization? What are its principal values? What are its greatest challenges?

Describe the experience of working here.

If I were to be employed here, what one piece of wisdom would you want me to incorporate into my work life?

What are a couple of misconceptions people have about the company?

Work-life balance is an issue of retention as well as productivity. Can you talk about your own view of how to navigate the tensions between getting work done and encouraging healthy lives outside the office?

How does the company support and promote personal and professional growth?

What types of people seem to excel here?

Every company contends with office politics. It’s a fact of life because politics is about people working together. Give me some exams of how politics plays out in this company.

What have I yet to learn about this company and opportunity that I still need to know?

I’m delighted to know that teamwork is highly regarded. But evaluating performance of teams can be difficult. How does the company evaluate team performance? For example, does it employ 360-degree feedback programs?

What are the organization’s primary financial objectives and performance measures?

What operating guidelines or metrics are used to monitor the planning process and the results?

To what extent are those objectives uniform across all product lines?

How does the company balance short-term performance versus long-term success?

What kinds of formal strategic planning systems, if any, are in place?

Describe the nature of the planning process and how decisions concerning the budgeting process are made.

Identify the key corporate participants in the planning process?

How often and in what form does the company report its results internally to its employees?

In the recent past, how has the company acknowledged and rewarded outstanding performance?

What are the repercussions of having a significant variance to the operating plan?

Are budgeting decisions typically made at corporate headquarters, or are the decisions made in a more decentralized fashion?

I’m glad to hear that I will be part of a team. Let me ask about reward structures for teams. Does the company have a formal team-based compensation process?

Is the company more of an early adapter of technology, a first mover, or is it content to first let other companies work the bugs out and then implement a more mature version of the technology?

How does the company contribute to thought leadership in its market?

How advanced is the company’s commitment to knowledge management?

I was pleased to hear you describe the company’s branding strategy. How does branding fit into the overall marketing mix?

How does this position contribute to the company’s goals, productivity, or profits?

According to (name source), your principal competitor, Brand X, is the best-selling product in the space. What does Brand X do better than your product?

Business Week magazine ranks the company second (or whatever) in its industry. Does this position represent a change from where it was a few years ago?

How accessible is the CEO (name him or her) to people at my level of the organization?

Does the CEO (name him or her) publish his or her email address?

I understand that the CEO is really approachable. What are the ground rules for approaching him or her?

Staff development is mentioned in your annual report as a measure on which executives are evaluated. What kinds of training experiences might I expect?

Is the department a profit center?

Tell me about the people who will look to me for supervision.

Would I encounter any coworker or staff person who’s proved to be a problem in the past?

What happened to the person who previously held this job?

The incumbent was dismissed? How could the problems have been avoided?

The incumbent was promoted? I’m delighted to hear it. Would it be possible for me to talk to him or her?

What is the company customer-service philosophy?

Tell me about a time when the team/company went out of its way to provide knock-your-socks-off service.

The best companies rely on rich customer data to fuel personalized content and services. How is the company doing in personalizing its offerings?

Customers are expecting companies to protect their data. Does the company have a privacy policy for its Web initiatives, and how does the company balance the momentum for ever-increasing personalization with rising concerns for privacy?

How empowered are employees? How much of the company’s money can your people (including the ones with single-digit pay grades) spend on their own recognizance to satisfy a customer or address a work-process issue?

How often would I come into direct contact with real, living, breathing, paying customers?

What are the success factors that will tell you if the decision to bring me on board was the right one?

To make our working relationship successful -- something we both want -- we’ll need to be sure we have good chemistry together. How might we determine this, and then what action would you see us engage in to build that relationship?

If you and I were developing some sort of philosophical difference, how would you want to go about resolving it?

For more questions (probing, from top performers, or defensive),
read www.workforce.com, 200 Questions Job Candidates May Ask Your Company.

   
  
**TOOL BOX**
   
  Interviewing Techniques for Managers, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  own Carolyn B. Thompson
   
  Get the Best: How to Recruit the People You Want, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  own Cathy Fyock
   
Both available at http://store.fastcommerce.com/trainingsys. (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions) Or e-mail books@trainingsys.com
   

Tools: : Recruit Inspire Train Retain

 
Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at http://www.trainingsys.com.

YOU LOVE OUR POSTERS, YOU’LL LOVE THESE...

“You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo de Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”

As we reflect on our 2004 accomplishments, we’ll see some hooray’s and some disappointments. Since we have the same number of hours as Helen Keller, et al, we obviously need to plan how we’ll use those hours. How we choose our priorities for 2005 will influence the results we see a year from now.

So what are your priorities for 2005. Share them with other Recruit, Inspire & Retain readers to inspire them to set priorities. Email rir@trainingsys.com to share.

************************************

From the December issue – Here’s the winner of our Worst Job Contest:
“As property manager of a small shopping center, my friend’s job includes checking the buildings daily for any graffiti or vandalism. One morning he noticed something scribbled in large letters across one wall and went to take a look, suspecting the typical spray paint. When he got closer, he realized that someone had invented a creative new way to mark territory. This individual had picked up a piece of dog poop and used it to scrawl across the side of the building!

All graffiti is supposed to be reported to the police, so my friend met the local officer and they inspected the damage together. As the policeman was politely trying not to laugh, my friend asked, ‘Have you ever seen this graffiti name before? And, more importantly, does the artist normally use this medium to express himself?’ When the officer finished taking his report, my friend got busy with some soap and water to clean the wall.

So if you think your job is bad, just remember — you could be scrubbing dog poop graffiti off the side of a stucco wall.”

Submitted by Linda Cicino, HR Manager, Pella Architectural Products, Inc.

How about dream jobs? USA Weekend listed:
Sr. Assistant Brewmaster @ Annheuser-Busch
Exec. Editor @ Lucky Magazine
Sr. Footwear Designer @ Timberland
Sr. Systems Test Engineer @ Activision

**TOOL BOX**
   
PowerPoint screen show that features 40 humorous posters that are pre-set to work on “auto-pilot”. Makes a great “WELCOME” message or enhancement to your session break. Runs about 5 minutes, and is set to automatically recycle. You can add in your own slides. (a great place to slip in your objectives!) Get your PowerPoint screen show here!
   
BUY PACKS of inspirational posters. (Do a Product Search for POSTERS, then look for Training Room Posters (30/pack).)
   

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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COOL CALLS

 
* Church Executive published “How to Recruit the Right Employee Effectively”, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the January issue. It’s on page 34 in the paper magazine, and at http://www.churchexecutive.com/2005/01/Human_Resources.asp online.
* Vicki Gillespie, TRMA, participated in a how-to coach employees training session many years ago. When we saw her in December, she commented on how often she thinks about what she learned and how fun it was.

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IDEAS TO INSPIRE

Joy at Work

Dennis W. Bakke’s passion is to make work exciting, rewarding, stimulating, and enjoyable. Joy at Work, his new book, tells us how he put his beliefs into practice at AES Corporation, a worldwide energy company with 40,000 employees and $8.6 billion in revenue by 2002.

A Miserable Workplace
Today’s management structures and attitudes toward workers are rooted in the Industrial Revolution. As capitalists created factories and hired laborers, they defined two classes of people: management and labor. Workers moved from independence and generally high self-esteem in the agrarian model to dependence and low self-regard in the factory model. In the contemporary business world, managers can get education, take responsibility, oversee budgets, and make decisions. But workers are considered lazy and irresponsible; capable only of work for hourly wages; in need of constant training and supervision; and not to be trusted to make sound decisions.

In today’s economic formula (labor + material + capital = production), people (labor) are treated as a quantity like financial and fuel resources, to buy and sell, depreciate, and, when used up, dump. Business leaders are far more concerned with the tasks these interchangeable, expendable “human resources” can perform than with who they are as humans.

Current approaches to leadership are often hierarchical and paternalistic, with decision making, compensation, and control all centralized. But decentralizing makes more sense, since lower-ranking people are most often closer to the problems and better positioned to come up with solutions, especially if they seek advice from a broad range of colleagues. Yet making such changes ignites resistance. Executives are loath to delegate much of their power and control to others in the organization and to share their knowledge and expertise with all who work in the organization.

In the AES experience, staff technicians were more engaged and reacted more quickly to problems when no bosses were looking over their shoulders. Delegating responsibility for managing plants and field offices to those who work in the field wouldn’t reduce corporate liability or change a company’s chances of being sued, but it would make a huge difference to the people away from headquarters. They would feel they played an important role in their company and know that the company trusted their judgment.

We need to design organizations that encourage people to look beyond job security. Most executives have no idea how to create such an environment because they may never have experienced a joyful workplace themselves. But the love of work and accomplishment, the passion to serve, and the readiness to honor individual traits, gifts, and failings still exist in the human spirit. These qualities transcend industrialism and must be welcomed where we spend most of our waking hours—the workplace.

From Misery to Joy – Dynamics of a Joyous Workplace
“What made AES unique was that we acted on our ideas,” Bakke writes. Some became policy, others were scrapped after one try, but gradually AES became a different kind of organization.

▲ For example, they improved management and increased workplace joy by cutting the layers of supervision between the CEO and entry-level people. They disbanded “service” departments and central staff groups, integrating the specialists into local plant and office work teams, and into task forces that operated company-wide. In some cases, the company retained three layers from top to bottom and, in rare cases, four. Everyone, from entry-level worker to CEO, became an “AES business person,” with equal rights and opportunities, responsible for performing his or her functions in the context of balancing the interests of all stakeholders. Decentralized and integrated, the environment supported trust, freedom, and individual action.

There is great resistance to this form of management, however, as it requires leaders to delegate most of their decision-making power and to trust the judgment of lower-ranking members of the organization. While leaders are trained to make decisions, Bakke believes that every decision made at headquarters takes away responsibility from people elsewhere in the organization and reduces their ability to feel they are making an effective contribution.

In the AES experience, the typical restructured organization can accomplish twice as much with half the number of people. Bakke favors 300 to 600 as the “right” number of people to staff any one facility, divided into roughly 15 to 20 teams of 15 to 20 people each. Above 500 or 600 at a facility, people have difficulty identifying with the organization, its values, and mission. The team size limit is pragmatic: Most of us have difficulty maintaining strong relationships with more than 20 people.

▲ Workplace freedom must be balanced by accountability and feedback on performance. This starts at the top. They based executive compensation half on how the individual advanced the organization’s values and principles and half on his or her technical performance.

Worker performance reviews were also unconventional. At AES, the subordinate did an extensive self-review, with the leader assuming a coaching role.

Worker compensation was also the subject of experimentation. Bakke realized that arbitrary pay structures maintain two classes of people, management and labor, in their places. Regardless of where AES did business in the world or under what political system, the same gulf existed between the two groups, often aggravated by the elitism of management and the militancy of unions. Bakke found this system morally unsupportable and inconsistent with AES shared values. So, he took a novel approach: Put everyone on salary.

Such a step had never been attempted on this scale before. U.S. labor laws prohibit forcing such a change, to protect hourly workers from management exploitation. It took Bakke three years of lobbying to persuade AES plant leaders that they could experiment and create a voluntary program. People could choose to take salary (calculated based upon hourly pay and average annual overtime), then opt back into the hourly pay and overtime system at any time, no questions asked. As part of the package, everyone salaried was eligible for bonuses and stock options, based on individual, plant, and corporate performance. Each plant also kept a record of hours worked, for government accounting and for individuals who decided to opt back into the hourly system. When AES started the compensation policy change in 1993, only 10 percent of people worldwide were paid a salary. By the time Bakke left in 2002, more than 90 percent of 40,000 people in 31 countries were paid salaries, just like the company’s leaders.

▲ His studies at Harvard Business School helped Bakke learn why people dread work. Bakke and Sant sought to change that, taking their lead from business theorist Peter Drucker. Among his ideas: Stress self-discipline and individual responsibility in the workplace; make the same person responsible for both planning and execution; and use supervisors to assist subordinates.

Pushing decision making down to the lowest possible level creates risks that big mistakes will be made, but Bakke believes that freedom in the workplace is worth it. Decentralized organizations make no more mistakes than traditional centralized ones, and they perform just as well or better over the long term, because they tend to be much more rewarding workplaces.

If academic research and anecdotal evidence about the AES-style management approach are so positive and convincing, why aren’t more companies doing it? Bakke sees these obstacles:

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board members and senior executives still control information, make decisions, marginalize lower-level employees, and certify all government-required documents;

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managers and bosses distrust subordinates and keep the decision making for themselves;

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leaders’ motives center on financial success, or objectives unrelated to creating a fun workplace, so the organization’s purpose is shallow or selfish, and employees see no worthwhile higher purpose in what they do;

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management and labor are adversaries, and employees are treated like children;

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mistakes in a decentralized structure are often attributed to the system rather than to human error or outside forces, prompting management’s return to a top-down style.

Bakke suggests that we quit searching for the secret to always winning, to profits and stock prices that rise quarter over quarter. Let’s accept that losing is part of life and that we can make mistakes and fall on our faces. Out of these experiences come new learning, growth, hope, and life. He advocates for an unselfish and benevolent concern that allows people to give up power and control, to treat each person with respect and dignity, to serve others, and to inspire people to work with greater purpose.

Excerpted w/permission from Joy @ Work by Dennis Bakke

  
 **TOOL BOX**
     
Joy @ Work, by Dennis Bakke. Pre-order (due March ‘05 by e-mailing books@trainingsys.com
     

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TRAIN SO THEY’LL LEARN


Written Training That’s Impossible to Learn From – It’s the Writing!

Do you have anything like this in your training?:

Prevention of physical discomfort to the hands, wrists, and arms
To prevent physical discomfort to the hands, wrists, and arms, even while using a portable PC under suboptimum field conditions, the following work practices must always be observed.

Always avoid performing repetitive tasks with your hands for long periods of time, either by taking periodic breaks or by periodically engaging in other activities.
Always avoid working in uncomfortable positions that result in discomfort or stress to either the hands, wrists, or arms.

Make your written (whether paper or electronic) training easy to understand by reverting back to your high school grammar. Most of us have fallen away from what we know because:
we write like we talk,
we think formal grammar is harder to understand, OR
we use less than perfect grammar because of the style needed for the topic.
(Hint – only is an acceptable time to knowingly use poor grammar.)

See if you can figure out what “grammar pit” the writer has fallen into in each example.
Example A:
The Manager should always set a good behavioral example, and should refrain from even seemingly harmless practical jokes.

Example B:
You must first round off the sharp corners of the square bolt, and must then carefully start the bolt into the round hole.

Example C:
A Powerpoint presentation requires conciseness of expression but, it also demands careful precision in word choice.

The Grammar Rule:
Place a comma before the conjunction introducing the second independent clause in a compound sentence.

Definition: A compound sentence has two independent clauses.

Definition: An clause has both a subject and a verb.

Definition: An independent clause is a clause that is a complete thought and could make good sense standing alone.

Pitfalls to Avoid:
Pitfall #1: Mistaking a sentence with only a compound verb (also called the "compound predicate)" for an actual compound sentence.

In the first example, the second string of words, starting with the conjunction “and,” does not have a separate subject for the verb “should refrain.” Either you must leave out the comma or you must put a subject in the second clause.

Correct: (Subjects underlined; verbs in italics)
The Manager should always set a good behavioral example, and s/he should refrain from even seemingly harmless practical jokes. (“Always” is an adverb, not part of the verb.)

Correct:
The Manager should always set a good behavioral example and should refrain from even seemingly harmless practical jokes.

It is the same pitfall in Example B. There is no subject for the verb “must start.”

Correct:
You must first round off the sharp corners of the square bolt, and you then must carefully start the bolt into the round hole. (“first” and “then” are adverbs)

Correct:
You must first round off the sharp corners of the square bolt and then must carefully start the bolt into the round hole.

Pitfall #2: Putting the comma in the wrong place in a compound sentence.

Example C actually is a compound sentence, but the comma is in the wrong place. The comma must go before the conjunction “but.”

Correct:
A Powerpoint presentation requires conciseness of expression, but it also demands careful precision in word choice. (“Also” is an adverb.)

Bending the Rule:
If each independent clause is very short, you may be able to get by without a comma. BUT if you use a comma, be sure it is a compound sentence.

Often Acceptable:
I came home and I went to bed.

Thanks to Judy Grove, Pro Write (editing, proofreading, & writing services), www.prowrite1@aol.com 

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

 
**TOOL BOX**
    
Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynn Truss
   
Common Errors in English Usage, by Paul Brains & Franklin Beedle
   
Slang Flashcards, by www.knockknock.biz
   
Woe Is I, by Patricia T. O’Conner
   

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RETAIN THE BEST

Making Teleconferencing Useful

How does teleconferencing relate to retaining staff? We use teleconferencing for sales meetings, project management training, staff meetings, you name it. All contribute to your ability to retain staff. It’s a low, up-front, cost way for multiple people to interact verbally. I’ve been in teleconferences with 3 people and with 1000 people. Why “low, up-front, cost”? If you aren’t using the medium appropriately, it’ll be hard for people to learn, participate, etc. – all contribute to your ability to retain staff — making the back end costly.

Follow these tips for planning & conducting useful teleconferences:

Attention & Engagement

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Use guest speakers or multiple speakers to avoid "boredom" with one voice/presenter

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If appropriate, use games and interactive activities. See "Just Three Words"

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Track who is talking so you can call on those who have not had a chance/chosen to speak up.

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Use people's names to get their attention.

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If the group gets off the agenda, refocus but take note of the side issue for later attention.

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Break up long stretches of one speaker

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When appropriate, go "around to circle" for inclusive participation

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Listen for folks who may be more comfortable talking (avoid dominance) or very quiet.

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Consider "break out sessions" where pairs get off of the main call, call each other, interact and call back on to the phone bridge.

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For decision-making processes, restate or repeat key issues as they are honed down to a decision point.

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If your participants can be online at the same time they are on the phone, consider web-based collaboration tools to create shared electronic notes, flip charts, etc. Sometimes allowing "side chats" or "chat breakouts" can increase participant engagement.

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Generally, the larger the group, the more directive your facilitation needs to be to keep a small number of people from dominating the call.

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During the call, stop and ask for feedback.

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If you don't want to ask each person to respond to a general query ("do you understand the new procedure?"), ask questions such that silence means assent. There is a drawback to this technique in that sometimes silences does not truly mean assent and understanding can be lost.

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Share leadership duties to help less engaged people become more involved in the call. Ask individuals to "lead" sections of the agenda.

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Assign people different roles - note taker, timekeeper, "keeper" of unanswered questions, etc.

 

Interactive Techniques

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Brainstorming - ask participants to note down other's contributions to a brainstorm. After the brainstorming period is done, ask people to comment on the words people chose to express their ideas. Help the group look for convergence and divergence around the creative process.

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Horrors and Exceptional Situations - For skills training. People often are happy to share horror stories around a skill or issue that can help groups discern what NOT to do. But often they miss the examples of what works. Ask groups to break out (see telephone break out tips) and identify 2-3 HORROR and EXCEPTIONAL SUCCESS stories. Reconvene and note the behaviors that lead to both the positive and negative outcomes. Review and debrief at conclusions. Include what was learned in the call notes.

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Telephone Break Out Techniques - Pair up participants in advance and share a phone list. During the call, assign a pairs task, have the pairs get off the main call and work for 10 minutes and return to the main number at a stated time to report out/debrief the activity.

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"Just Three Words" - Phone comments can drag on, especially for large groups. This game originated as an online text technique but works well to surface a sense of the group and get fast feedback. The technique is to do a round of comments from everyone on the call with the constraint that they can only use three words in their response. For example, at the end of the call you might say "what three words describe your experience of today's call?" The notes from these exercises can then be later reviewed and observed for similarities, differences and patterns.

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"The Clock" - "The clock" can be used on conference calls to help people get and keep a sense of place and participation in a disembodied conf call. It can be used with structured online chats as well. Ask every one to draw a circle on a piece of paper and mark the hours like a clock. Then, each person is assigned a spot on the "clock" as they join the group. So the first person is 1 o'clock, the second 2, etc. If there are more than twelve, start adding 1:30, 2:30 etc. Use this initially to create a speaking sequence for intros, and then use it to ensure everyone speaks. Participants can make notations by names and use it as a visual tool to match names/voices/input. If you are doing multiple rounds of "speaking" vary the "starting position" on the clock.

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Location Maps - For widely distributed groups that meet regularly; create a map with pictures of the participants near their location on the map. Distribute to the group or publish on a web page.

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"Side" Conversations - If someone wants to comment directly to a previous speaker, they can use that person's name to focus their attention. "Sarah, I am not sure I agree with that approach…." Closure

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Take minutes and use for follow up. Distribute as soon as possible after the meeting and highlight follow up steps and responsibilities.

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Recap meeting or next steps as appropriate

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Offer opportunity for final/closing comments

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End the call promptly, particularly with phone bridges with timed access

 

Evaluation/Feedback

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Use some form of feedback or evaluation tool to help improve subsequent calls. A simple "after action review" (what did we intend to do, what did we do, what would we do differently) can be done at the conclusion of a call, or could be done with forms or email post-call.

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"Just Three Words" - ask each person for three words that describe their experience on the call.

Adapted from Full Circle Associates.

**TOOL BOX**
   
Audio Teleconferencing: The Complete Handbook, by Edwin Margulies
   
Teleconferencing Handbook, order by e-mailing books@trainingsys.com
   

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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WWW.TRAININGSYS.COM Get FREE access to great recruiting, inspiring, training & retaining tips, ideas & resources where you can:

  • Download articles for your newsletter!!

  • Use free online assessments!

  • Purchase books, tapes & fun incentives to help you & your employees be the best!

  • Get new tips each month on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining great employees!

  • Click on links to great managing and training websites!

  • Purchase our famous inspirational quote posters!

  • Get answers to your employee recruiting, inspiring, retaining, & training questions from our experts!

Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at http://www.trainingsys.com.

THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH/CONFERENCES TO ATTEND/
WAYS TO VOLUNTEER & GIVE

JANUARY
Hot Tea Month
Reach Your Potential Month
Soup Month
January 10-16 – Pizza Week
January 23-28 – Activity Professionals’ Week
January 12 – Make Your Dreams Come True Day & Mark Your Mark Day
January 14 – Dress Up Your Pet Day & Assembly Line Workers’ Day
January 17 – Martin Luther King Day & Ben Franklin Day
January 23 – Pie Day
January 26 – Backwards Day
January 27 – Chocolate Cake Day
January 28 – Fun at Work Day & International Make Your Point Day
January 29 – Puzzle Day & Bubblegum Sculpture Day

February 4-5, 2005
Laurie Beth Jones’ THE PATH: Creating Your Mission For Work and Life, Phoenix, AZ, http://www.path4U.com 

February 13-15, 2005
ASAE Great Ideas Conference, The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Phoenix, AZ, http://www.asaenet.org 

February 28-March 2, 2005
Training 2005 Conference & Expo, New Orleans, LA, http://www.trainingconference.com

March 6-10, 2005
HDI Annual Conference & Expo, The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas, NV, http://www.thinkhdi.com/hdi2005 

March 14-16, 2005
SHRM 22 Annual Employment Law & Legislative Conference, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C., http://www.shrm.org

April 5-6, 2005
Technology, Colleges & Community (TCC) Worldwide Online Conference, http://tcc.kcc.hawaii.edu

April 8-10, 2005
20th International Humor Conference, Saratoga Springs Convention Center, NY, http://www.humorproject.com

April 11-13, 2005
28th Annual Conference & Exposition of the SHRM Global Forum, Chicago, IL, http://www.shrm.org 

June 9-12, 2005
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, San Diego, CA, http://www.shrm.org

VOLUNTEERING & GIVING

Associations Unite in Tsunami Relief Effort
ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership will match all employee donations up to $25,000 to the charity of their choice from the list on http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov to help the tsunami victims.

Be a Pen-Pal to a Soldier
Got to the Manhattanville web site, http://www.mville.edu, sign up to correspond with a soldier, and receive a red wristband stamped with MY SOLDIER (like the Lance Armstrong “LIVE STRONG” bands).

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WWW.TRAININGSYS.COM
Get FREE access to great recruiting, inspiring, training & retaining tips, ideas & resources where you can:
* Download articles for your newsletter!
* Use free online assessments!
* Purchase books, tapes & fun incentives to help you & your employees be the best! http://store.fastcommerce.com/trainingsys/ 
* Get new tips each month on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining great employees!
*Have a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Send e-mail to TSI@trainingsys.com and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at http://www.trainingsys.com 
* Click on links to great managing and training websites!
* Purchase our famous inspirational quote posters!
* Get answers to your employee recruiting, inspiring, retaining, & training questions from our experts!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Copyright 2004 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.

**FORWARD RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN TO OTHERS

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**ARTICLE REPRINTS FOR RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN
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**YOU HAVE UNIQUE, VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE FOR OTHERS
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**We’ll be back next month with more great tips, ideas, success stories, and information to help you recruit, inspire, train, & retain great employees!

RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN contains links to websites operated by organizations other than TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  These links are for your convenience and we assume
no responsibility for the content or operations of those sites.

RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN is a free e-zine of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC., published 12 times/year. Editor: Carolyn B. Thompson, Data Entry: Patti Lowczyk (Lowczyk Secretarial), HTML: Debbie Daw (www.HelpQuest.com). Visit us at http://www.trainingsys.com soon!

 
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