Archive for the ‘Career Development’ Category

Writing Reports and Proposals

It is essential to understand how to write reports and proposals that get read. We write reports in a range of formats and a variety of purposes. Whether you need to report on a product analysis, inventory, feasibility studies, or something else, report writing is a skill you will use again and again.

Having a method to prepare these documents will help you be as efficient as possible with the task. This course will build on a solid base of writing skills to present information in formal, informal, and proposal styles.

Prerequisites: You must complete Velsoft’s Business Writing That Works course before taking this workshop.

Workshop objectives include:

  • Prepare reports and proposals that inform, persuade, and provide information.
  • Review your work so that it is clear, concise, complete, and correct.
  • Apply these skills in real work applications.

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

The Stages of Report Writing
This session will introduce the four stages of report writing: investigating, planning, writing, and revising.

The First Stage – Investigating
The first step is to gather the information for your report. In this session will give participants some guidelines to ensure that what they gather is accurate.

The Second Stage – Planning
Next, participants will learn how to plan a report based on information gathered during the first stage.

The Third Stage – Writing
This session will give participants some ways to ensure that their writing is clear, concise, complete, and correct.

The Fourth Stage – Revising
In this session, participants will learn about the importance of revision, including spelling and grammar checks.

Using Headings
This session will provide a brief introduction to organizing a report.

Charts and Graphs
Next, participants will learn the right way to add charts and graphs to their report.

The Proposal
During this session, participants will learn how writing a proposal is different from writing a report. Participants will also review the ten steps to successful proposal writing.

Persuasion
This session will look at finishing touches for a report, including steps in the persuasion process, how to design your message, and how to deal with tough questions.

Practical Application
To summarize all that they have learned, participants will peer edit each others’ work.

Giving Credit
This final session will focus on documentation methods and styles.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the workshop, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Working Smarter: Using Technology to Your Advantage

This two-day course will help you teach participants how to:

  • Make their workplace a technology-friendly place
  • Make the most of computers, telephones, instant messaging, e-mail, contact management applications, and scheduling software
  • Communicate better with the IT department
  • Make the best software and training choices
  • Set an IT budget
  • Set expectations and responsibilities for security and privacy
  • Keep their employees safe and healthy
  • Develop and implement a system usage policy
  • Implement policies for dealing with company property
  • Decide whether or not employees should telecommute
  • Make telecommuting work
  • Deal with workplace rage
  • Address technological issues

Introduction and Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Making Your Company a Technology-Friendly Place
To begin the day, we will discuss some ways to encourage staff to use technology. Participants will also try to find some creative solutions to a case study problem.

Conquering Computers
Computers are one of the most popular technological tools, and they can be the most difficult one to manage. We will give participants some ways to make the most of the PC.

Communicating with the IT Department
This session will give participants some tips on how to communicate effectively with Information Technology staff.

Choosing Software Wisely
Purchasing software is usually a big decision. We will discuss a three-step process to help you make that decision. Then, participants will use the process in a case study.

Technical Training
This session will cover some types of training and some tips.

Setting an IT Budget
Some managers are responsible for deciding how much their department can and will spend on technology. We will discuss a few basic steps that will help participants create an IT budget.

Security and Privacy
Participants will work in small and large groups to discuss common issues surrounding computer privacy and security at work.

Uncontrolled vs. Controlled Networks
This session will provide a brief, non-technical overview of how networks work, including how companies can manage Internet access.

Ergonomics
As more workers use computers, Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) have increased, and so have employers’ expenses. This session will discuss and demonstrate some easy ways that participants can reduce their risk of an RSI.

System Usage Policies
Every organization, no matter how small, should have a policy in place detailing how their technological resources should be used. We will examine the key components of a system usage policy and we will look at a sample policy.

Taking Care of Company Property
During this session, we will discuss some basic rules of technological etiquette. Participants will then practice these skills during a role play.

Time-Saving Tools
This session will look at some ways to use e-mail programs, contact management programs, and scheduling software to make the most of your time.

Telephone Etiquette
Even if your business doesn’t use computers, laptops, or PDAs, almost everyone has a telephone. This session will cover some basic telephone etiquette tips.

Instant Messaging
Instant messaging (also known as IM) has become increasingly popular in recent years. We will look at some IM etiquette and decode some common acronyms.

Telecommuting
High-speed Internet and technical tools makes it possible for many people to work from home. During this session, we’ll discuss what telecommuting is, how to decide if telecommuting is right for a particular employee, and how to prepare a worker to telecommute. Participants will then complete a case study.

Workplace Rage
Many people find technology very frustrating. This session discusses the cost of workplace rage, how to manage it, and how to prevent it.

It’s Not Working!
So far, this workshop has focused on how supervisors can make their workplace technology-friendly and how they can use technology to make life easier for everyone. However, your plan will run into snags. We’ll look at some basic ways that you can address issues. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss common scenarios and possible solutions.

A Policies and Procedures Checklist
To wrap up the workshop, we’ll look at some policies and procedures that you may want to have in place to manage technology efficiently.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Time Management: Get Organized for Peak Performance

Time is money, the saying goes, and lots of it gets lost in disorganization and disruption. We also deal with a constant barrage of technology, people, and tasks that can contribute to that disorganization. Many people find that they flit from one task to another, trying to get everything done.

In this one-day workshop, you will learn how to make the most of your time by getting a grip on your workflow and office space, using your planner effectively, and delegating some of your work to other people.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • Better organize yourself and your workspace for peak efficiency.
  • Understand the importance of, and the most useful techniques for, setting and achieving goals.
  • Identify the right things to be doing and develop plans for doing them.
  • Learn what to delegate and how to delegate well.
  • Take control of things that can derail your workplace productivity.

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

The Power of a Change
To begin, participants will use their pre-assignment to identify areas where they want to change their time management approach. They will also have an opportunity to write out a bucket list, which will help them identify long-term goals.

Changing Our Perspective
Next, participants will explore four priorities that we find to be most neglected: connecting with people, paperwork, reading, and exercise. Then, participants will apply their knowledge to a case study.

Setting Goals
During this session, participants will learn how to set goals with SPIRIT to help them manage their time better.

Planning Tips and Tricks
This session will explore different planning tools and their uses.

Setting up a Routine
To wrap up the morning, participants will discuss how routines can help them manage their time.

Doing it Right
Sometimes we need to approach things with a bit of attitude in order to get things done, and do them well. We’re recommending to be a bit playful with this, and to be BOLD.

Putting an End to Procrastination
This session will give participants some ways to tackle those tasks that they have been putting off.

Getting Organized
This session will give participants a plan to organize their work area.

Organizing Your Files
During this session, participants will explore ways to manage paper and electronic files, including e-mail.

Managing Your Workload
To wrap up the day, participants will help Mary Marvelous manage her workload. Then, they will complete a 168-hour plan to see where their time is being used up.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

The Minute-Taker’s Workshop

No matter who you are or what you do, whether at work or in the community, you are likely involved in meetings. Meetings are costly, whether they are held in a company boardroom or at the local coffee shop. To ensure that meetings are productive and worth the expense involved, three ingredients are necessary: an assurance of closure, a strong chair or leader, and accurate minutes. It has been said that if accurate minutes have not been recorded, then the meeting may just as well not have taken place.

If people can’t remember or agree on what actually occurred at a meeting, how can the group effectively accomplish its objectives? After this one-day workshop you will understand your role as a minute-taker and the best techniques for producing minutes that include all the essential information needed.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • Recognize the importance of minute-taking.
  • Develop key minute-taking skills, including listening skills, critical thinking, and organization.
  • Be able to resolve many of the complaints that affect minute-takers.
  • Be able to write minutes that are suitable for formal meetings, semiformal meetings, and action minutes.
  • Be an efficient minute-taker in any type of meeting.
  • Be able to prepare and maintain a minute book.

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

The Role of a Minute Taker
To begin, participants will discuss the role of a minute taker. They will also explore common problems and solutions in small groups.

The Skills of a Minute Taker
Next, participants will learn about the three key skills that a minute-taker must have: an ability to listen, critical thinking skills, and good organization techniques.

Meeting Agreements
This session will discuss meeting agreements and give participants three templates to take away and customize.

Minutes Styles
During this session, participants will look at samples of three types of minutes: formal, informal, and action.

What Do I Record?
Next, participants will learn what to record during a meeting.

Techniques for Preparing Minutes
This session will give participants the tools for creating minutes, including organization methods, techniques for writing drafts, and proofreading tips.

Taking Minutes in an Interactive Meeting
During this session, participants will learn how their role as a minute-taker will be different in an interactive meeting.

The Minute Book
To wrap up the day, participants will learn how to build and maintain a minute book.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Public Speaking: Speaking Under Pressure

This workshop has been designed for those in positions where they must speak in front of audiences that are hostile or demanding. This material is also suitable for those who are relatively new speakers who want some encouragement to speak up in meetings or who want some training before they begin making presentations on behalf of the organization.

Speaking under pressure, or thinking on your feet, means being able to quickly organize your thoughts and ideas, and then being able to convey them meaningfully to your audience to modify their attitudes or behavior. It applies to formal speeches as well as everyday business situations.

It requires presence of mind, goal orientation, adaptation, and judgment. It also requires differentiating between oral and written communications.

This course is aimed at improving your skills and learning some new techniques which will give you the persuasive edge when you are making a presentation, fielding difficult questions, or presenting complex information.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • Apply quick and easy preparation methods that will work whether you have one minute or one week to prepare.
  • Prepare for questions, even before you know what those questions will be.
  • Overcome nervousness that you may have when speaking in front of a group, particularly if the group is not sympathetic to what you have to say.
  • Use presentation techniques that establish your credibility and get people on your side.

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Getting Started
To begin, we will explore what Speaking Under Pressure is. Participants will also learn an easy way to structure any presentation.

Planning
This session will offer participants seven easy ways to better prepare for a presentation – even if you don’t know the time, date, or topic.

Force Field Analysis
Next, participants will learn about a structured method of looking at two opposing forces acting on a situation.

Understanding Your Audience
During this session, we will explore a three-phase needs approach and the idea of common ground. Participants will also practice creating an audience profile.

Controlling Your Jitters
This session will focus on how to make the most of stage fright.

Making Your Listener Hear You
During this session, participants will explore what turns listeners on and off in a large group discussion.

Key Themes
To wrap up the first day, participants will learn what a key theme is, how to create one, and how to distill it into a key sentence. Participants will also be given a small homework assignment.

Key Sentences
To begin the second day, we’ll wrap up our discussion on key themes. Participants will share their homework assignment.

Structuring Ideas
This session will explore the idea of using three key points for a presentation. We will also share some tips for sending a memorable message.

Organization Methods
Next, participants will learn some different ways to organize the information in the body of their message.

Our Body Language
During this session, participants will take a close look at positive and negative body messages.

If You Could Be…
To prepare for the major presentation later on in the workshop, participants will be asked to give a short presentation on this question: “If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?”

Beginnings and Endings
This session will give participants some ways to create strong beginnings and endings.

Expanding a Basic Plan
So far, this workshop has focused on small presentations. This session will give participants some tips on fleshing out those small presentations should they be required to present something longer than just a few minutes.

Presentations
To conclude the workshop, participants will prepare and present a short five minute speech. Participants will also evaluate each other.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Skills for the Administrative Assistant

Work is not the only thing that matters in life, but most of us want to take pride in what we do. While we don’t have to like the people we work with, or report to, at the very least we should be able to interact positively with them. The biggest influence on our job satisfaction is our relationship with others.

Our work should not be a burden to us and our offices shouldn’t be battlefields. We are human beings working with other human beings. This two-day workshop is about working to the best of your abilities, and encouraging the best in those who work with you, or for you.

This workshop will help participants:

  • Understand the importance of professional presence on the job.
  • Learn how to self-manage to become more effective and efficient.
  • Improve your communications skills, including listening, questioning, and being more assertive.
  • Increase your effectiveness in recognizing and managing conflict, and dealing with difficult people.

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Personal Best, Professional Best
To begin, participants will discuss what affects a first impression, and how they can improve their first impression.

Putting Others at Ease
One part of making a good impression is to become so comfortable with who you are that you can forget about you and concentrate on the other person. During this session, participants will explore ways to do this.

Distorted Thinking
Participants will explore types of distorted thinking through a case study and large group discussion.

The Steps to Feeling Good
This session will give participants a three-step process to turn negative thinking and emotions around.

Understanding Assertiveness
Assertiveness is a word we tend to use without really understanding what it means. This session will get participants thinking about what assertiveness is, and what their style is.

Improving Your Assertiveness Skills
Next, participants will explore how they can become more assertive in difficult situations.

Communication Skills
In this session, participants will discuss different forms of communication and common barriers to understanding.

Asking and Listening
During this session, participants will learn about two key elements to verbal communication: asking questions and listening.

Non-Verbal Messages
Next, participants will learn about various types of non-verbal communication and their possible interpretations.

Writing Skills
This session will look at how to improve written communication, including using the four C’s, punctuating properly, editing, and proofreading.

Getting Ahead
Two main components of getting ahead in the workplace are identifying what you want, and helping others to get what they want. This session will look at both of those concepts.

Self Management
This session will give participants some tools to help them improve themselves, including establishing rituals, time management, organization, and planning.

Setting Goals
Next, participants will set some goals using the SPIRIT format.

Working as a Team
Administrative assistants are often a key part of a workplace team. This session will explore some of the benefits and challenges of working as a team.

Working with Difficult People
This session will give participants two tools to deal with difficult people: blending and redirecting.

Learning to Say No
Next, participants will learn about some formulas for saying no. They will then have an opportunity to practice these formulas in a role play and case study.

Dealing with Stress
To conclude the workshop, participants will learn some easy relaxation techniques.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the course, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key points learned.

Research Skills

In this age of information overload, it can be hard to know where to find good information that you can trust. If you’re doing research for an important project, report, or proposal, how do you find information that you can count on?

This one-day workshop will teach you how to research any topic using a number of different tools. We will start with basic techniques, such as reading, memory recall, note-taking, and planning. We will also talk about creating different kinds of outlines for different stages of your project, and how to move from the outline to actual writing, editing, and polishing. Most importantly, we will talk about how to use all kinds of sources, including a library’s Dewey Decimal System, journals, and the Internet.

After you complete this course, you’ll be ready to find reliable information on any topic, and turn that information into a compelling, accurate piece of writing.

This workshop will help you teach participants how to:

  • Identify the benefits to proper research and documentation
  • Read for maximum information retention and recall
  • Take effective notes
  • Plan a research strategy
  • Identify and use various types of research sources
  • Create preliminary and final outlines
  • Use style guides and be able to identify the most common styles
  • Document and attribute their work to ensure they don’t plagiarize

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Why Are Research Skills Important?
In this day and age, it may seem silly to talk about research skills. However, there are some real benefits to honing your ability to find good, reliable information.

Basic Skills
This session will explore three fundamental skills needed to perform good research: reading, note-taking, and memory recall.

Planning Your Research Strategy
Now that you have some basic skills, it’s time to start putting it into action. This session will explore a research model and how to get ready to hit the books.

Where to Look and What to Look For
When you’re researching, think beyond search engines and libraries. This session will cover the differences between primary and secondary sources and how to analyze a source’s credibility.

Finding Information the Old-Fashioned Way
Next, participants will learn how to use reference sources, journals, trade publications, and their network as research sources.

Researching with the Internet
At first glance, the Internet seems like a wonderful research tool. However, not all websites are credible. This session will give participants some tools for assessing the credibility of any site. We will also provide a list of some sites that are currently authentic and reliable. Social publication sites like Wikipedia will also be covered.

Getting Ready to Write
This session will give participants a way to organize all their information before they write. Outlines will also be covered.

Putting Pen to Paper
The final session of this workshop will cover writing basics, revision tips, source documentation, proper attribution, plagiarism, documentation styles, and bibliographies.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Public Speaking – Presentation Survival School

A great presenter has two notable qualities: appropriate skills and personal confidence. Confidence comes from knowing what you want to say and being comfortable with your communication skills. In this two-day workshop, participants will master the skills that will make them a better speaker and presenter.

This workshop will help you teach participants how to:

  • Establish rapport with your audience
  • Learn techniques to reduce nervousness and fear
  • Understand your strengths as a presenter and how to appeal to different types of people
  • Recognize how visual aids can create impact and attention
  • Develop techniques to create a professional presence
  • Learn some different ways to prepare and organize information
  • Prepare, practice, and deliver a short presentation

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Communication
To begin, participants will explore key communication skills, including how to start and end a conversation.

Stop! Check Your Mouth!
Next, participants will learn about characteristics that can make or break the audience’s impression of a speaker, including volume, clichés, slang, diction, jargon, and tact (or lack thereof).

What’s Your Type? How About Mine?
During this session, participants will explore their personality type and what it means for them as a speaker.

Positive Self-Talk
In this session, participants will learn how to build their self-confidence – a key skill for any public speaker.

Trust
This session will explore the idea of rapport and how it can help build relationships.

Maximizing the Most of Meetings
Meetings are a central part of communication and cooperation within any organization. This session will give participants some ways to successfully prepare for and present at any meeting.

Body Language
During this session, participants will learn some ways to make sure their body language is sending the right message.

Sticky Situations
This session will give participants some tools to deal with uncomfortable situations.

I Can Just Send an E-mail, Right?
Next, participants will explore the value of oral presentations.

Overcoming Nervousness
To conclude the first day, we will look at some suggestions for handling nervousness.

The Five S’s
To begin the second day, participants will learn about the five S’s of a good presentation: significance, scenario, solutions, sequelae, and suggestions.

Start Writing!
This session will focus on the nuts and bolts of creating your presentation.

Audience Profile
Next, participants will look the value of audience profiles.

Your Speaking Voice
This session will look at the eight key parts of a presenter’s message.

Add Punch to Your Presentation
There are many types of visual aids. We will provide an overview of, and tips for, the most common visuals during this session.

Your Presentation
To wrap things up, participants will prepare and present a short presentation. Participants will evaluate each other and provide constructive feedback.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the workshop, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Personal Brand: Maximizing Personal Impact

Abigail Van Buren, the writer of Dear Abby, once said, “There are two kinds of people: those who come into a room with the attitude, ‘Here I am!’ and those who have the attitude, ‘There you are!’”

This course is a two-day exploration about the type of impact we want to have in life and work. Participants will consider and define the influence that they can have on their life and work. They will also learn skills for success and how to create those circumstances.

Specific learning objectives for participants include:

  • Speak in terms of the impact and influence that they want to have in life and work
  • Understand their personal style in terms of their personal brand
  • Develop skill in areas like focus, concentration, and communication to support their brand
  • Build credibility and trust by living their brand
  • Take ownership of their image, both online and in person

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Importance of a Personal Brand
First, we will define what a brand is and what its elements are. We will also explore how to define the wow factor and what success means.

Your Brand Approach To Others
Next, participants will complete an assessment to help them define their brand style.

Looking at the Outside
First impressions can have a big impact on a brand. In this session, participants will learn how to dress for success, show proper etiquette, and monitor their voice.

Looking at the Inside
This session will help participants develop skill at concentrating, getting work done, and building their confidence.

Setting Goals
If participants really don’t know what they want, it’s hard to represent their brand and have the desired impact. In this session, participants will use the SPIRIT framework to set some brand-related goals. Techniques for developing flexibility and resiliency will also be discussed.

Networking for Success
This session will give participants some ways to use networking to build their brand.

Communication Strategies
Good communication skills are another important part of personal impact. This session will explore speaker and listener biases, active listening skills, and difficult communication situations.

Building Your Credibility
Credibility can make or break a brand. This session will give participants five ways to develop trusting relationships.

Brand You
In this session, participants will learn about the different elements of a personal brand. They will also start designing and outlining their brand standards.

Living Your Brand
Next, participants will discover ways to demonstrate their brand.

Managing Your Social Media Presence
In this session, participants will learn how to find out what people are saying about them online and why it matters.

Having Influence
This session will share persuasion, negotiation, and negation techniques to help participants have real impact.

Dealing with Challenging People
In order to have a real impact, we must be able to work with all types of people. This session will give participants a framework to get to the heart of any problem. They will also learn some strategies for handling common types of difficult people.

Presentations and Meetings
In this session, participants will learn how to make the most of public speaking and meetings.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the course, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

NLP Tools for Real Life

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP for short) is all about bringing your unconscious thoughts to the surface, so that you can have real choice over how you interact with and respond to the world.

Once you have a grasp on NLP’s basic principles, you might be interested in learning about some tools that can help you do more with NLP. This one-day workshop will give you some hands-on experience with important NLP techniques, including anchoring, establishing congruency, developing rapport, creating outcomes, interpreting and presenting information efficiently, and even some self-hypnosis techniques.

To get the most out of this workshop, participants should first complete An Introduction to Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Developing Rapport
Traditionally, rapport has been defined as a sense of mutual understanding, respect, and friendliness. NLP takes rapport one step further by defining it as the unconscious relationship between two people. This session will give participants some techniques for establishing and deepening rapport.

Getting in Tune with Yourself
Being congruent or self-aligned means walking the walk and talking the talk. This session will help participants identify what inner alignment means for them and how to achieve that state.

Creating Comprehensive Outcomes
A lot of traditional management literature focuses on goal setting. NLP frames goals a little differently, phrasing them as outcomes. This session will give participants a framework for creating outcomes and an opportunity to set some outcomes for themselves.

Creating a Desired State with Anchoring
Anchoring can help you summon up a state of mind at will. This session will teach participants how to create a basic anchor, as well as how to chain and collapse anchors.

Chunking Information
Psychologist George Miller proposed that we can hold 7±2 pieces of information in our short term memory. In this session, participants will learn how to use this formula to present and interpret information more effectively.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.