Tag Archives: organization

Trello: Our Latest Obsession…

Trello Dev BoardHere at Infinitely Big, we make it a point to stay organized. When we work on client projects, we create lists, this way we can check items off as complete – an important task considering many creative hands work together to create an amazing end product.

So how do we keep up with it all? One thing we use is an online collaboration tool called Trello.

With Trello, you can organize just about anything with boards, which are made up of multiple lists. The lists contain cards, which you can use to collaborate with other users via comments and assignments. You can organize items using color coding, and even enable a feature that sets up your board more like a calendar for an added visual punch. The best part? It’s free!

How do you stay organized? Let us know of any interesting tools in the comments.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Consistency Wins…

One of the great things about chain restaurants like T.G.I. Friday’s, The Olive Garden, or Burger King – and it’s not their food – is consistency. You can walk into a T.G.I. Friday’s in New York City or Omaha, Neb., and you know what you are going to get. There is no deviation – the look is the same, the food is the same, and the prices are relatively the same. You never have to worry about getting sick or what the bathroom will look like. Again, I am not saying the food is fabulous or the places are immaculate – the point is, you know what you are going to get. And often, that in itself is comforting.

Think about your business for a minute. Do your corporate communications show consistency? Do you use the same logo on your letterhead, in an email newsletter, and in a print ad? Do your salespeople all communicate in the same manner? How about your customer service reps? Do they have a similar personality to one another? Do they provide similar results call after call?

Consistency and confidence in the areas mentioned above will keep your customers around for a long time to come. Just the way you are more comfortable with the golden arches than the local burger joint in a new city, your customers are comfortable with what’s familiar and consistent. They know what to expect and that is priceless.

It sounds easy, but consistency can be very challenging. But, if you can be consistent in the way you operate, you will keep your competitors at bay.

Tagged , , ,

Be Equipped with This Equipment…

Y166108959ou never want to be unprepared when presenting. This time, I am not referring to not knowing the contents of your presentation or not knowing your audience. These are the essential items you should have with you when traveling to do a presentation.

  1. A backup of your presentation. So many presenters will say they don’t need a copy because it’s on their laptop and they checked it before they left the office. Or, it’s on a CD that happened to get crushed in transit. Always have at least two versions – one on the laptop, one on a flash drive or on an online storage site, such as Dropbox.
  2. An extra power cord. This one actually happened to me. I went to plug in my laptop and the cord was not supplying power for some reason. “It happens…” I was told by the manufacturer. After time, the power cord can become ineffective. So, as I watched the battery drain, I rushed to get through my presentation. Now there is always an extra in my bag.
  3. A long VGA cable. At least 12 feet in length, if not longer. This way, you can set up your laptop where you want it rather than being restricted by the 3-foot cord the conference center provides for you. Whether you want the laptop up on a table in front or on a podium, etc., this cord will come in handy.
  4. A wireless mouse / remote. This will help with slide transitions and ease of walking through the presentation. You won’t have to keep walking back and forth to the laptop (especially if you don’t have your longer VGA cord).
  5. A USB-powered speaker. If you have audio in your presentation, this is essential. Imagine a room of 50 people trying to hear audio from your laptop’s tiny sound system… it’s not going to happen. With a small but powerful USB speaker, you can plug it right into the side of your laptop, you don’t have to worry about a power source, and the audience will be able to hear what you have prepared.

This is a good starting point so you don’t get caught unprepared. I am sure everyone has their own list (or at least they should). Leave me a comment and let me know what you always have in your travel bag.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Excel and PowerPoint Don’t Mix…

SpreadsheetVery often presentations will include financials or other figures. And, of course, the presenter believes that the best way to present this data is by cramming as much as he can into a gigantic Excel spreadsheet and then copying and pasting that 6,250-cell spreadsheet onto one small PowerPoint slide. Impressive, right? Think again, presenter… this has zero impact. And, it will even distract from your presentation because people will lose focus as they won’t be able to see what you are referring to and follow along.

Spreadsheets are used for analyzing, not for communicating. They are fantastic for quickly figuring out totals or averages or for doing hundreds or even thousands of calculations instantly on rows and rows of data. They are not, however, great for presenting. Simply put, they contain way too much information. My advice is to simplify: do you really need to present all of the data? Or just the results?

By focusing on the results in some sort of summary fashion like a table, the audience can see the numbers big and clear. You can explain how you arrived at each number if you see fit. You can walk them through it step by step but you don’t need to show the entire process. Use colors, percentages, underlining, boldface, and other effects to highlight key figures or show comparisons or differences within the results. With a summary table you have a powerful, focused image that you can now play around with and be creative.

In the end, the audience will remain more focused and in tune with your presentation and you will be able to get your point across more succinctly and effectively.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Will Murally Change the Way We Collaborate?

My inspiration comes from everywhere, but my memory suffers from an annoying inability to contain it all. I leave Post-It notes with random words and phrases all over the place. Then I discovered the Sticky Notes program on my PC (who doesn’t love a to-do list?) and fell in love with the fact that there’s no real sticky involved, so small squares of paper with valuable information no longer go missing as easily as they used to. Then came Pinterest, which quickly went from cool to obsession. My pinboards are littered with recipes, crafts, clothing, and accessories, to the point where I had to create new pinboards just to keep track of the really good stuff.

But what about work stuff? I like to keep work and non-work separate, so what can I do with all the inspiration I find on the Internet and in real life?

Lucky for me – and maybe you – there’s a new tool called Murally, which one writer calls a “cross between Prezi and Pinterest.” The site lets you collaborate with others using virtual boards on which you can put items like pictures, notes, and videos.

With a layout similar to that of Prezi, users can drag and drop things like stickers, pictures, backgrounds, and more. Items are easily moved and edited, and boards can be shared with others. You can even turn your canvas into a presentation.

The “Google Docs for visual people” is currently available on the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, and it’s sure to change how creative people share ideas and inspiration.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Getting Organized…

Let’s face it: We all waste time. We all have clutter. And we are all guilty of the occasional procrastinating. Unfortunately, it can catch up with us if we’re not careful. Here are a few tips for managing your time and getting back on track.

  • Don’t obsess or spin your wheels. If you can’t make a decision or complete a project or task in a reasonable amount of time, leave it, move on to something else, and come back to it.
  • Use your company’s flex time option to take advantage of your best times of day and / or have time in the office when noise and activity levels are less.
  • Have a list of all upcoming deadlines in a conspicuous location where you’re forced to look at them every time you enter your office or return to your desk. It’s almost a subliminal reminder system.
  • Leave the office early if you want to work at home in the evening. Have a relaxing dinner, and then settle in to work. Productivity increases after a few hours away from the task.
  • Clean out your e-mail inbox and outbox a couple of times a week. Not only are you getting rid of extraneous junk, you’re also being reminded of pending items you need to handle.
  • Use your Outlook calendar as your nagging secretary. With an important upcoming deadline or meeting, schedule a reminder a week before, three days before, the day before, and the day of the deadline – whatever it takes for you. There’s no way you will forget with such a nagging assistant!
Tagged , , , , ,