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Taming Your Business Tools

Today's business communication tools are critical to success, but they can also be your worst nightmare.

Today's business communication tools are critical to success, but they can also be your worst nightmare. Following are some useful time-saving techniques for handling your phone, pager, fax and e-mail that are tried and tested by individuals as well as large businesses.

1. Create pager codes. Use number codes for common messages from family, friends or associates. For example: A birth date may mean "come pick me up." Other combinations can convey: "I'm home," "call before you come home," "emergency--call now" or "I'm on my way." That way, you can look at your pager and instantly determine if you need to call back or take immediate action based on the code.

2. Keep projects on target. Incorporate phone calls into your action plans and set deadlines for checkups at crucial stages during every important project. Regular contact with all those involved will help in assessing needed changes, averting problems and keeping the project on track.

3. Keep one main phone directory. You probably you have several places to keep phone numbers, which is fine if you resolve to keep only one master directory in which you record all changes and notes. This helps when updating your phone list because you only need to look to one source for the corrections.

4. Use a phone agenda. Before making outgoing calls, decide what the goal of the call is. Write a miniagenda that will organize your thoughts and keep you from forgetting any key points. Also keep any information you may need for quick reference, such as the file on that person/subject, handy.

5. Eat a live toad first thing in the morning! (And nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day). In other words, make the call you dread most first so it doesn't hang over your head all day.

6. Group faxes. You can still send single faxes, but if you have to get word out to a group of people (all the newspapers for a press release, for instance), it becomes a simple, one-button task.

7. Check for mail during off-hours. Trying to log on to the Internet during a busy day can be difficult. Make a habit of checking mail at low peak times (night, early morning). Not only will it be quicker, but it will also save money because you're using cheaper rates.

For more tips on taming your business communication tools, contact Dorothee Watson at s'organized Professional Business Operations, 98-128 Kaahumanu St., C3-450, Pearl City, HI 96782 103147, or e-mail 320@compuserve.com. For each copy of her Teletips booklet, send $5 and a self-addressed stamped envelope.(s'organized Professional Business Operations)

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