Training Course Management Checklists

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.

  1. What information will I need from the other person?
  2. What questions will obtain that information?
  3. What questions will I be asked?
  4. What are they really trying to find out?
  5. How will I respond?
  6. What is the authority level of the other party?
  7. What is the assessment criteria for the acceptance of my proposal?
  8. What is the other person’s idea about their best/worst/likely outcome?
  9. What is my best/worst/likely outcome?
  10. How does the other person usually make decisions?
  11. What are the factors in my favour?
  12. What factors could work against me?
  13. Do I have the authority to make decisions?
  14. What time factors come into play?
  15. What background information do I need about the other person/company?
  16. What additional value items can I add to the agreement which may influence the decision?
  17. What items could I trade against demands?
  18. If discounts are offered, what % of profit does each % of discount represent?
  19. What long term benefits can I bring to the relationship?
  20. What will be my opening?
  21. What will I say after they have agreed to my terms?
  22. How will I confirm the agreement?

Appraisals Checklist

The following is a checklist of procedures and items that you may find invaluable when planning your next appraisal.

  1. Define need for appraisal
  2. Set date for appraisal
  3. Agree timing for appraisal
  4. Prepare room for relaxed and interruption-free discussion
  5. Have a copy of last year’s completed appraisal form
  6. Review last period’s performance criteria against achieved
  7. Performance criteria (this year’s objectives)
  8. Plan relevant development opportunities for the appraisee
  9. Ensure you have thought through the interview structure and agenda
  10. Water, tissues, coffee, tea (some of these for unexpected contingencies)
  11. Prepare questions you will use for reviewing performance (essential for argumentative or unresponsive appraisees)
  12. Job description (up-to-date)
  13. Data of appraisee’s results against target
  14. List the factors affecting appraisee’s performance
  15. Paper, pens, calculator
  16. 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:

Before brainstorming

  • 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.

During brainstorming

  1. The chairperson states the problem
  2. The group joins in restating the problem, listing statements in the form of ‘How to … ?’
  3. the group selects a basic restatement and the chairperson writes down ‘In how many ways can we … ?’
  4. The chairperson explains and displays the brainstorming rules
    • think wild
    • cross-fertilise
    • suspend judgement
    • no-criticism
  5. The group do a warm-up session on a neutral problem – ‘Other uses for a ….?’
  6. 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

After brainstorming:

  1. Nominate the areas worth considering.
  2. Improve on promising suggestions
  3. Set up a time to select and evaluate the best ideas.

Letter-Writing Checklist

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