Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts

Friday, February 9, 2024

Reporting

If you attend general meetings of different organizations, and if you hold any portfolio position, then you may need to provide a written report of activity for the area you oversee.

Reporting about the activity of the area of management under your portfolio ensures that there is accountability, and the opportunity to ask for assistance, or additional resources for the daily oversight of the area/programs/activities.

Ensure the correct reporting period is clearly shown on the report, along with who is reporting, and position, and what the report is about.

Gather any information from your team, collected information and data, and clients that you know need to be included for reporting. 


Example 1: a sports club coach may include the number of players across each age group, the number of games played in the reporting period, and any incidents, equipment required, or upcoming training events that require funding.

Example 2: a manager of a Not-For-Profit retail area may include the number of employees or volunteers, how much stock was put through the retail for the reporting period, any incidents/sick leave/staff rotation issues, what maintenance is required in the retail section and how much profit/loss with a breakdown of income and expenses.

Read through your report for typing errors, and to ensure it is concise and clear when reading.

You may also like to include a summary of recommendations/issues to be addressed at the end of your report – this helps the minute secretary and the other portfolio managers when they are looking for your recommendations.

Don’t forget to submit your report by the required date and to the correct person/s.

One last tip! Ensure you have a copy (either printed/digital) with you for the meeting so that you can easily refer to recommendations/notes/points that others in the meeting ask you.


Friday, November 17, 2023

Roundtable: How to improve organisational productivity and staff inclusion (Communication)

How can your organization improve productivity and staff inclusion?

In the daily hands-on work of ensuring your business or organization is operational and viable, we may overlook staff inclusion. 

So, how can you ensure an efficient, stable workforce within your organization?

1.  Communication 
2.  Appreciation 
3.  Listening
4.  Being open to ideas from staff
5.  Acknowledgement of work undertaken 

Communication 

Coming from a background of not-for-profit and administration, I cannot express enough the value of communication. 

So often, managers/directors issue directives, only considering their own objectives.  Why should your staff, team, or volunteers listen to you?  If they are not listening, then you need to ask yourself, why?

Communication is a two-way conversation.  Directives are a one-way command giving no opportunity to discuss. 

If your team, whether they are employees or volunteers do not trust you to listen to them or value their input, they will not bring their best to the projects or to the people who engage in the daily course of business.  This will end up affecting the business or organization either by a decrease in income, or less engagement with customers or visitors.

When staff believe they will be heard and conversation is welcomed and valued, they can provide insights into the organization, as they are the on-the-ground, often the first point of contact for potential clients/customers. 

In the next few articles, we'll explore more points listed above.


Friday, August 18, 2023

Value your Team

Many people make a team.  How you or management treat can determine whether the team is cohesive, excited, encouraging, and forward-thinking, or, in dissension, disheartening, reactionary, and critical.

So, how can you value your staff and/or volunteers? One simple step is simply saying 'Thank you'! But do not just say the words, follow up with action. You may choose to hold a monthly or bi-monthly morning tea, encouraging your team to engage with one another and build their working relationships and discuss the challenges and successes within their areas of volunteering or work.

Communication 

I cannot emphasize enough how important communication is to value your team, whether paid or volunteer.  Regular, open communication is vital to building an effective team that is cohesive, excited, and working well together.

Equip Your Team

Your team is unable to effectively engage in their roles if they are not equipped with resources and training.  In many industries, "toolbox talks" are held where opportunities to bring up concerns, training requirements, and provide professional development are concentrated on.

If there are courses, and/or professional development opportunities available, ensure your team is aware of them and how they can participate. 

Ensure when fresh staff or volunteers join your team, they are introduced to the whole team and welcomed.  

Reward Your Team

Be available to encourage and reward your team.  Something as simple as a morning tea or doing a team-building activity together.  Saying thank you, giving certificates, or an acknowledgment of outstanding contributions. 

Communication, equipping, and rewarding your team will encourage longevity, respect, cohesiveness, and unity. 

How can you value your team today?



Friday, August 11, 2023

How To

 As a 'seasoned adult', I've had many years of experience in areas of not-for-profit, as well as paid employment.

Having trained several incoming staff through a variety of various positions, I noted it can be difficult to pass on all information that the incoming staff member may require.

Trivial things such as where floral arrangements/wreaths are purchased, or what to remember at various times of the year may not be recorded in the job guidelines but are intrinsically part of the role.

That's where a "How To" document might be helpful.  In this document (which I refer to as a 'living document), you note small incidentals, timelines, and practical notes that can assist the incoming staff member as they learn about what is required, especially after you are no longer working in that area. Looking back, I now realize that such a document in my early years of working in both paid and N-F-P work, would have been invaluable.

This document can be continually changed and updated by those referring to it so that as functions, timelines, and things change in your role, there is an up-to-date place of reference. It is an intentional document and one you are continually updating.

Such a document might seem to be a waste of your time, however, once you are not in that role, it can assist the new person, especially if they cannot contact you. Such a document, alongside the PD and PG, can stimulate conversation and help with communication in the working environment.


One way you might like to begin your "How To" document is by going through your Position Description (PD)/Guidelines (PG) and making notes on the small points that are not listed in these documents.

In some roles, knowing the manager's coffee preference can help set a more positive start to the working day!

Small incidental points, which seem trivial, can help create a positive working environment, or cause dysfunction as people become frustrated because the previous staff member "knew", but the new member of the team does not.

How can you create a "How To" document today and into the future, for when you train someone in your role?


Friday, July 28, 2023

What to do post-meeting

So, you’ve just come out of the weekly/monthly/quarterly general meeting of your organization or not-for-profit. What is next?

Herein lies one big issue. Everyone in that meeting will either be required to undertake actions from the meeting, or you have just compiled a list of notes that are filed away, never to become exposed again.

During the meeting, actions should be assigned to people within the meeting. How can you assist, as the minute taker?

  • As soon as possible post-meeting (within 24 hours), arrange concise notes, which clearly show WHO is responsible for an action. Ensure that any relevant points about each resolution are included
  • In your notes, include the date, time, and location of the meeting, attendees (include apologies), topics discussed, and all decisions made. Ensure people understand clearly who is allocated to action which resolutions and action items.
  • The minutes (or summary) should include the topic/s discussed, the resolution, a timeline, if necessary, what actions are to be undertaken, and who is assigned to complete.
  • Ensure you have your draft minutes/summary typed up and approved within the timelines given to you so that distribution to key personnel is timely.
  • If appropriate, provide a follow-up email/memo to each assigned person with a summary of the areas they have been assigned.  You may like to provide this in between meetings, as a way of improving communication, but also to encourage them. Often, good managers, will have completed the assigned tasks, or have them in progress, and a follow-up message can be edifying as they read and can say, yes, this is completed and ready for the next meeting.
  • When preparing the next meeting agenda, you may choose to include a list from the previous meeting to check through what has been completed from the last meeting.

If there is anything I have learned over 30 years of writing minutes, it is communication is key to ensuring all actions/resolutions are followed up promptly.

What actions can you undertake to improve the timeliness of information reaching assigned personnel in your workplace?



Friday, July 7, 2023

Preparing Your Report

Currently, I'm preparing progress reports for upcoming meetings. As this year progresses, I have been considering how to achieve a concise, straightforward way to ensure that each report delivered covers relevant information. If you are reporting to different organizations and in different portfolios, then ensuring you are communicating clearly and concisely will help make better use of your time.

There are numerous ways to draft your report. You may choose to use paragraphs, bullet points, or sub-headings.  Some organizations may have a proforma template that each person or departmental manager uses.

From writing many progress reports over the years here are a few tips I have learned that might be helpful to consider:

  • address report to the appropriate manager or board.
  • be concise.
  • be current (don't write on events or projects that are out-of-date, unless the historical value adds to the report).
  • ensure you address the areas over which you manage.
  • if part of your report, ensure any problems or challenges are noted and what you have done to address the issue, or what assistance you are seeking.
  • include any future planning for your area of management.  This may also include advising staff leave, travel plans, and project deadlines.
  • choose an easy-to-read font in a suitable size.
  • do not use slang or cliches.
  • do not include favorite quotes, etc.  Usually, reports are business based, even in not-for-profit, so keep your report looking clean and professional.




Friday, June 23, 2023

Recording Minutes of a Meeting

Some people may ask why recording notes (minutes) of a meeting are important. The recording of decisions made provides a written record that can be referred to in the future, provide approval for actions to be implemented, and is kept as a historical reference.

The ability of the person to take minutes should be recognized. The ability to write or type notes while being immersed in the discussion, requires the minute taker to be prepared, well-organized, and multitasking.

Accurately recording all decisions made, ensures a documented reference for the group or organization of actions to be undertaken and completed.

The person taking minutes should record in a way that is not biased and provides enough information to show why the decision was made yet be concise. The ability to listen well and type/write quickly is essential.  If the meeting is over several days, or there are numerous items to be discussed and resolved, having a second person take notes is helpful. The notes can then be collated into one document post-meeting.

Writing/typing more information than you will include in the final set of minutes helps the minute taker to ensure they have captured all essential information.  It is much easier to reduce what is noted in minutes than to try and remember what is missing.

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Some suggestions that may be helpful to those assigned to take down minutes:

  • Ensure distractions (mobile phone, apps, etc) are turned off or silenced.
  • Save your work regularly if typing. I cannot stress the importance of this! If you have typed hours' worth of information but have forgotten to save the file and lose all you have worked on, it is frustrating and embarrassing.
  • Be prepared - have all essential tools on hand and ready.
  • Listen carefully.
  • If unsure about the wording of a proposed resolution or minute to be noted, ask. Refer to the Chairperson for clarification.  Ensure you have accurately recorded both the person moving motion and the person seconding the motion.
  • Take more notes than you will require.  It's easier to delete than remember.
  • Have final draft completed as soon as practical post-meeting and send to Chairperson/assigned person for approval.
These suggestions are simply learned from many years of experience in undertaking such roles.

An accomplished minute-taker ensures that important decisions are accurately recorded. I encourage you to not be overwhelmed when minute-taking.  It is a valuable skill to learn and accomplish.


Monday, May 8, 2023

How do we communicate effectively?

How important is communication? The dictionary defines communication as “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior”, “a verbal or written message”, and “a technique for expressing ideas effectively”.

Communication is an essential skill, not only in your personal and community relationships but also in your workplace.  Do you stop and truly listen to those around you?  If you remain quiet and listen to what your colleagues and work friends talk about, it may surprise you that communication, or lack of it, is often referred to.

How can communication in the workplace improve?  If you are an employer, director, manager, supervisor, or team leader, make time in your diary to ensure you meet with your staff/team.  Don’t talk down to them, ask them questions about how they view the company/business/organization, ask them how they view communication between the different areas of the business.  You may choose to do this individually, in small teams, or as a whole group.  Note, however, that some people will not engage if they feel threatened.  If people in your organization are not engaging in the conversation, it may take some time to build a relationship where they feel they can speak without fear of losing their job.

We do not know what all our team members are going through outside of the workplace, sometimes managers and supervisors are unaware of what’s happening in the workplace. You need to be listening, aware, and taking note of your team and how they interact with you and each other.

How do we communicate effectively?


The skill of communication doesn’t just apply to the workplace.
  It applies to all areas of our life – family, friends, marriage, relationships, social interactions.  The ability to communicate well, not just hear noise, but listen with intention, and engage in meaningful conversation assists you in understanding your partner, children, and colleagues much better.

How do we communicate effectively?  Listen – don’t just hear what you want to hear, don’t just hear the ‘noise’ people make; really listen to what is being said. Lead by example – if you want to improve communication, then show how; read about how to improve and practice by action. Learn – accept criticism and correction.