Archive for the ‘Professionalism’ Category

NAPO Conference

March 26, 2012

I returned yesterday from the annual NAPO Conference which was held this year in Baltimore. The weather was spectacular and the city beckoned but I will admit I did not see much of it. I attended every session I could so, naturally, that meant I was inside the convention center. Every NAPO confence I have attended has been great but I think that the more of them I attend the more I learn. You see, every year I go I meet more and more professional organizers. This means so much to me because now I can put more faces to names on twitter and facebook. Yes, I know the profile pictures are on on these sites but when I meet these organizers  in person I learn something about them and that makes a real connection for me. Amazingly, we all speak the same ‘organizing’ language. Aside from some personal catching up we talk about and share tips and tricks for scheduling, the kind of planners we use – digital or paper – and how to use them more effectively, challenges prioritizing and challenges with clients. Of course, when we talk about clients we talk in broad terms and do not share any identifying information!

Some of the classes I took gave me terrific insight as to why (and how to help) some of my clients who may be challenged by procrastination. I also took a workshop to give me some better coaching techniques – words or phrases to use to coach a client past stuck. I would love to help them arrive at a solution of their own creation – that they may be willing – even eager to use. Another workshop taught me how to help a client better organize their closet – what to keep and why.

As you might imagine, my brain is still on overload. I’m still processing what I’ve learned and am thinking about how I will incorporate some of these organizing strategies into my business to better assist my clients.

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Digital Manners

February 28, 2012

Do you think that manners should not play a role in our digital communications? I disagree. For me manners are important. I know that it’s a challenge to be polite and follow rules of decorum in text messaging but I also know that it’s not necessary to be rude when you are being brief. The same thing holds true when writing e-mails. Here though, I believe some rules and manners can be applied.

For example, if a student is writing an e-mail to a teacher (or a professor) standard letter writing protocol can be followed. What do I mean? Well, I think a proper salutation should be used (Dear Mr., Ms , Professor, or Dr.followed by the last name). Often I think that because they are using an instant form of communication  people assume they can be familiar or friendly with someone they either don’t know or don’t know well. Also when writing an e-mail to someone unfamiliar put a good but brief statement of intent in the subject line.Then, following the salutaion,state why you are writing, a little about the topic, and the outcome you are hoping for then close with Regards and your signature followed by your full name and contact information.

This lets the person you’re writing know that you are professional, respectful and you are someone with whom they may consider doing business.

Consider the alternative. When a person receives a message that begins with “Hey” and that person doesn’t know the author of the message the outcome might not be what the author is hoping for.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to be polite and follow a few simple protocols. You can always relax those protocols and be more familiar in your e-mails if need be. It is very difficult to go from familiar to formal – that essentially is backpedaling.

I’m interested to know if you are always familiar in your e-mail writing or if you are sometimes formal.

My Journey

September 15, 2011

The journey I am going to tell you about is my experience in the Level III program to earn the designation CPO-CD with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. You see, for the past year and a half I have been reading books, writing papers and studying to enhance my understanding of chronic disorganization. This knowldege serves to improve my ability to provide great organizational assistance to my clients challenged by chronic disorganization. Today my journey ended with a final exam. It was an oral exam. The people administering the exam were wonderful – friendly and encouraging. However; I am not at my best in situations like this. I’ll find out later if I passed the exam.

As I left the conference room and had a chance to think about it I realized that, no matter what the result, the past 18 months have provided me with an invaluable experience. The homework combined with work, family, and my volunteer activities taught me even better time management and prioritizing skills. The vast amount of learning which took place during the sessions with my program coach is priceless.

Many people  have written that often it is not as much about the result as the journey and what you learn during the process. Whether or not I receive that passing grade this journey is one I am so thankful to have taken.

Professionalism

April 16, 2011

Last night my husband, Nick, and I went to the Atlanta Opera. Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart was playing and we are opera fans. In case you didn’t know, there were alerts for storms in the area – and the skies were definately threatening. We met up with some friends, had dinner, and went to our seats at the appointed time. Then the power went out. So, here we are in this huge performing arts center with no lights. Now, let me tell you the place was packed full of people ready to listen to beautful music. In fact, the orchestra was in place and was tuning up for the start of the performance. We, the audience, went completely still and quiet when the lights went out. The emergency lighting came on pretty quickly and the generator kicked in also. Then (and this is the point of my  blog today) after about 25 minutes of wondering what was happening next, would the electricity be restored would we see the show we came to see or would be all be sent home someone in charge of the opera came out on stage. He told us that even though the opera house had only generator power on at the moment people were working to retore the electricity. He also said the singers were in costume and ready, the sets were ready and we would see the show we came to see – just without the dramatic lighting. In otherwords the show would go on. We were thrilled! So, without delay the lights were dimmed, the conductor came out and the show moved forward. We (Nick and I) were very impressed. Under difficult circumstances the opera company put on a wonderful performance – I believe that is professionalism at its best. The saying that goes something like ‘when life hands you lemons make lemonade’ comes to mind. In my business, I never know what situation I might encounter when I go to someone’s house to give them a complimentary consultation. Sometimes it is an easy assessment to do and sometimes not so easy. I have a ‘can do’ attitude and ,clearly, last night the opera company had a ‘can do’ attitude also. They made the most of a less than optimal situation and the show was fantastic.