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The Gov Gurus - Gov't Career Advice That Works » Communication Tips http://thegovgurus.com government career advice that works Mon, 10 Aug 2009 22:19:14 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.6.5 en Quick Tip: Communicating With the Silent Type http://thegovgurus.com/?p=219 http://thegovgurus.com/?p=219#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2009 19:43:31 +0000 admin http://thegovgurus.com/?p=219
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    QUICK TIP: COMMUNICATING WITH THE SILENT TYPE

    An agency contact person is identified on the vacancy announcement of each federal job. Contact the agency contact person for your target job if you have any questions about:

    · How your application has faired thus far in the selection process. Yes, the agency contact person can and will tell you whether your application has been rejected or is still being considered, whether you may be called for an interview, and what numerical score your application earned.

    · The status of the selection process for your target job.

    · Procedures for applying for your target job.

    · The responsibilities and benefits of your target job.

    Don’t be shy: it is the contact person’s job to answer questions from applicants like you.

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    Design Literacy http://thegovgurus.com/?p=84 http://thegovgurus.com/?p=84#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2008 19:01:11 +0000 admin http://thegovgurus.com/?p=84 I just got back from two days at the Management of Change Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. There were a number of speakers there but the standout was Daniel Pink , a well-known business author whose recent book is A Whole New Mind.

    The theme of the book is the rise of right-brain thinking in the U.S. economy. He argues that routine tasks that follow defined steps (left-brain thinking) will only continue to be automated and outsourced (he used the example of websites that can do a no-contest divorce for 1/10the price). However, work that utilizes right-brain thinking will grow in the U.S. as there will be a need to in skills to synthesize information, be creative, and utilize great design.

    Personally, I’ve been trying to imrpove my design literacy at work and in my experience with GovLoop. Good design can be subtle and takes time and money. But I am trying to move away from the government-filled world of bad powerpoint presentations, confusing PR materials, and unclear websites. Daniel Pink suggest keeping a design notebook where you keep track of great design you see in daily life. One of my current inspiration is the fine work at Presentation Zen.

    What is your experience with design in the government sector? How important do you think it is?

    P.S. Any ideas on improving the GovLoop design?

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    Public Speaking http://thegovgurus.com/?p=81 http://thegovgurus.com/?p=81#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2008 18:58:49 +0000 admin http://thegovgurus.com/?p=81
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    Are you already nervous? Don’t worry – this is a post about public speaking, you don’t have to talk. Public speaking is one of those skills you just have to practice until you get better.

    The little known trick to public speaking is 90% of speakers are really bad. You can worry yourself sick about how to be as good as Colin Powell but your concern really should be just to be decent.

    Here are my five tips on public speaking:
    1) Talk slow. Everybody says it but its true. Take your time. Use pauses.
    2) Keep it simple. Nobody wants a complex argument. Tell them what you are going to say, say it, and tell them what you told them.
    3) Keep it short. Nobody likes the speaker that goes over the allotted time. Trust me – you’re probably not that interesting.
    4) Umm…like…omg. Public speakers often use umm, uhh, or like to connect thoughts. Don’t do it. Go ahead and use a pause. Trust me…you’ll sound smarter
    5) Don’t be a stiff. Try to move around a little. Maybe move your hands. Vary your tone of voice. Don’t go all crazy on me but keep me a little entertained.

    That’s it. My top 5 tips for public speaking. Follow my top 5 and you’ll be better than most. And practice makes perfect. Volunteer to talk at a big meeting, speak at a conference, talk at career fairs, whatever it takes.

    Any seasoned speakers out there? Maybe you can comment and give some more tips. Or join us in the forums…

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    Dealing with Email http://thegovgurus.com/?p=55 http://thegovgurus.com/?p=55#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2008 03:46:17 +0000 admin http://thegovgurus.com/?p=55
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    Ahhh… The life of the 2008 government worker. Full of hours on Outlook (except you poor Lotus lovers) reading, writing, and loving email. And then there is managing email on the Blackberry.

    If you don’t watch yourself, you can end up spending all day on email. As such, you need a system to manage emails. Generally, I get most of my advice from two sources – Getting Things Done and Lifehacker.

    Here are some of my favorites on managing your email:

    1) Manage the inbox - the first step of managing email is getting it out of your inbox. My philosophy is to try to keep my inbox to one screen (although I rarely seem to win this battle).

    2) Use Folders – I try to keep a folder for each project I have at work. Whether it is related to the Intranet or a large six month project, I have a place where I can place that email. This makes it easier to find emails when I need them.

    3) Turn it off – A little known secret is that you can turn off email. The secret is not opening Outlook or opening your Blackberry. Try it for a few hours.

    4) Turn off the reminder – Ok…you aren’t really going to turn off your email. But you can manage it better so you aren’t checking email every five seconds. One great idea is to turn off your reminder (and noise) you get when you get a new email. Try to schedule your email for the last five minutes of every hour. Whatever you do, it is better to manage email instead of just reacting to it.

    5) Spell-check – if you don’t have this one on automatically, it is a problem.

    6) Have a signature – While it can be annoying to see the formal signature of your friend colleague when he asks you about lunch plans, the signature definitely comes in handy. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to coordinate a meeting and all I have is emails from a person with no contact information. Keep a signature so I know how to call you.

    7) Push for New Tools - Ask for organizational wikis and any new technologies that will drive down email traffic. Haven’t you seen my friend Chris Rasmussen now-legendary diagram?

    What are your tricks with managing email?

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