Working with Others

          PHONE CALLS are effective. People are comfortable using phones. Cell phones make people more accessible. A phone conversation is almost like a face to face meeting. But calls can be an annoyance when you are busy with something else or gardening. Use the FNPS Chapter Representatives link to find phone numbers.

          CONFERENCE CALLS with small groups (3-5) are effective, the next best thing to traveling to be together. Take a look at GoToMeeting & AnyMeeting. For large groups the conference call can be awkward; following the tips about MUTING and participating at the bottom of the page make large group calls much more pleasant. Find contact info to make conference call invitations if you don't know everyone email address.

          VIDEO CONFERENCES, have the advantage of non-verbal feedback during the call. This may not sound important, but it solves one of the problems with audio-only calls. Problem is, most people seem to initially be shy about being on video, so it has never caught except for formal meeting sessions where it is expected. Both GoToMeeting and AnyMeeting allow vieo conferencing, or the host (and participants) can share their Desktop to show others what they are talking about.

          EMAIL and group email works well between some people. They have the advantage that you can send or look at them when you want to, not immediately or by appointment ... or when you are in the garden. Too many, too long, too much spam is a problem. Use the FNPS Chapter Representatives link to find email addresses.

A few tips regarding mass or GROUP EMAIL:

a) use it sparingly otherwise it becomes spam to the hapless recipients,

b) if you are addressing a small group, like your workgroup, it's OK to put multiple addresses in the To: or Cc: field because you want to show everyone who this email was addressed to,

c) for large groups, always put multiple addresses in the Bcc: field (Blind cc means no one can see these addresses). This respects address privacy and avoids the (yikes) "Reply To All Disaster!"

d) the "Reply To All Disaster!" occurs if you send a large email list without making it Blind (Bcc:). Many recipients will use the Reply To All when perhaps they intend to Reply To the original sender. This starts a web of dozens of emails with everybody trying to answer everyone about details most of the group has no interest in. Avoid it by using Bcc: to send and Reply only to the one or two people who want or need to know.

          TEXTING and group texting is tiny email on the fly. Some people use it copiouly, others never us it. If all your workgroup members like Texting, send goup texts. Just be mindful that for some people texts are an annoyance, and they may not want to particiapte.

          The FNPS FORUM, is the only two-way communication set up and routinely used at FNPS. It also is a place to post attachments for download or to conduct votes and polls. After phone calls and email, it is third best way to express yourselv and participate. You can introduce a new topic on any subject, so it makes a more democratic platform for participation. If more people used it, it would be much more valuable. It does have an underused feature that might make it more useful. You can set any topic to Notify you (by email) if someone posts to a Topic. That way, you don't have to keep looking at the Forum to see if anyone posted anything new.

          FACEBOOK solves the problem with a sidebar of friends and Like that says, "I'm listening and enjoying". Entries can be pretty mundane or too personal if you like separation between work, personal, and FNPS. An FNPS workgroup might make good use of a dedicated Facebook page for working together. Yes, FNPS has a fine public Facebook page,, but what about a page dedicated by a workgroup to accomplish a task?

          ALTERNATIVES. Recently Facebook has developed a new Facebook for Business feature that is exactly for that purpose. But whatever "forum" FNPS uses needs to be the center of FNPS communication to be effective. Experimenting with Facebook for Business and other software would work well for a workgroup, but others at FNPS will not be aware of where to meet, view, or comment on the workgroup's efforts.

         THE BEST WAYS TO COMMUNICATE (when you can't meet together) are unique to your work group. Take a few minutes to learn the preferences of each member. If they are willing to try something new, great, try it. But find comfortable and enjoyable ways to "talk" together. Maybe three members like conference calls and two others are happy with emails. So be it. The point is to find a way to accomplish the task between live meetings. Taking care of details between live meetings frees our time during live meetings. Live meetings then have content, accomplishment, and time to discuss the important stuff.

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