One of the concepts of Time Management is the use of checklists to save time in planning an event, meeting etc. This month’s newsletter contains a number of work-related checklists that cover subjects as diverse as negotiating, planning an appraisal, conducting a brainstorming session, organising a conference and finally checklists for constructing business letters.
Negotiation Skills Checklists
The following are questions which will help your preparation and guide you through a tricky negotiation.
- What information will I need from the other person?
- What questions will obtain that information?
- What questions will I be asked?
- What are they really trying to find out?
- How will I respond?
- What is the authority level of the other party?
- What is the assessment criteria for the acceptance of my proposal?
- What is the other person’s idea about their best/worst/likely outcome?
- What is my best/worst/likely outcome?
- How does the other person usually make decisions?
- What are the factors in my favour?
- What factors could work against me?
- Do I have the authority to make decisions?
- What time factors come into play?
- What background information do I need about the other person/company?
- What additional value items can I add to the agreement which may influence the decision?
- What items could I trade against demands?
- If discounts are offered, what % of profit does each % of discount represent?
- What long term benefits can I bring to the relationship?
- What will be my opening?
- What will I say after they have agreed to my terms?
- How will I confirm the agreement?
The following is a checklist of procedures and items that you may find invaluable when planning your next appraisal.
- Define need for appraisal
- Set date for appraisal
- Agree timing for appraisal
- Prepare room for relaxed and interruption-free discussion
- Have a copy of last year’s completed appraisal form
- Review last period’s performance criteria against achieved
- Performance criteria (this year’s objectives)
- Plan relevant development opportunities for the appraisee
- Ensure you have thought through the interview structure and agenda
- Water, tissues, coffee, tea (some of these for unexpected contingencies)
- Prepare questions you will use for reviewing performance (essential for argumentative or unresponsive appraisees)
- Job description (up-to-date)
- Data of appraisee’s results against target
- List the factors affecting appraisee’s performance
- Paper, pens, calculator
- Duplicates of appraisal form
Checklist for Conference Planning
Minus Two Days
- Prepare name badges
- Make up meeting supplies package
- Schedule final rehearsals for internal speakers
- Review plans with hotel/conference centre or department heads
- Check on arrival of shipped materials
- Check on delivery of AV equipment
- Place all materials and equipment in secured storage
- Order flowers, wine, fruit as gifts for outside speakers or VIPs
- Check press and media attendees for PR
- Turn over final list of all attendees to hotel/conference centre
- Meet with key people to confirm final arrangements
Minus Two Hours
- Check room setup
- Check ventilation and temperature
- Check mikes and PA system
- Check AV equipment
- Check registration desk setup
- Arrange handout material for use
- Brief support staff
- Confirm that signs are in place
Checklist for Brainstorming Session
If you are unsure how to set up a brainstorming session, here is a simple description of the stages involved:
- Define your purpose.
- Choose a few participants, between five and eight people.
- Change the environment, find a comfortable place.
- Design an informal atmosphere.
- Choose a chairperson to keep the meeting on track.
- The chairperson states the problem
- The group joins in restating the problem, listing statements in the form of ‘How to … ?’
- the group selects a basic restatement and the chairperson writes down ‘In how many ways can we … ?’
- The chairperson explains and displays the brainstorming rules
- think wild
- suspend judgement
- The group do a warm-up session on a neutral problem – ‘Other uses for a ….?’
- The group brainstorm
- go for quantity
- offer solutions freely, without evaluating.
- record the ideas
- aim for 100 ideas in 20 minutes
- display ideas in full view, eg on flip-charts
- number each idea
- include 30-second silences to aid cross-fertilization
- Nominate the areas worth considering.
- Improve on promising suggestions
- Set up a time to select and evaluate the best ideas.
Writing letters requesting action or responding to complaints.
Requesting action or information.
- Keep the letter short and to the point
- Explain why you need the action or information
- Point out to the reader the benefits of complying with your request
- Explain clearly what you want them to do and by when
- Highlight any implication which may not be obvious
- Make it easy for the other person to do what you want; for example, include addressed and stamped envelopes, even possibly a give-away pen
- Offer help and suggest who to contact if necessary
Responding to a complaint
- Acknowledge the complaint and summarise the problem
- Apologise early, even if it’s not directly your fault
- Don’t become involved in blaming the reader or anyone else
- Get into problem solving mode, and focus on what you can do to rectify matters
- Only promise what you can deliver – they’ve already had one disappointment
- Offer further help and who to contact
- End the letter on a positive, up-beat note