Tactical Tip: Internet Passwords

A while back I had been getting nervous about all the websites where I had to enter passwords. What I was nervous about was the fact that I was using the same password on almost all of them. This always bothered me but I never did anything about it.

 
Then one day when I was talking to a friend who is a security guru at RIT, I realized how easy it would be for someone to hack into a sensitive account and totally break the bank. For instance, I might give my password to a small time business who then has access to that password in their database. How easy would it be for someone on staff there to snag that password and try it out on my eBay, Paypal, or Amazon accounts. For that matter, any online store that has my credit card information saved would be fair game!
 
Thankfully, I decided to learn my lesson the EASY way, instead of the HARD way. I instituted a new system for passwords that is working well for me and doesn’t require me to memorize more than one password. I recommend you try it out too. 
 
Note: it will sound somewhat complicated at first. However, I guarantee that once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll remember it AND be safe.
 
Tactical Tip: Internet Passwords
 
Here’s what you do:
The following suggestion will be applicable to probably 95% of the passwords that you use. Most secure passwords require at least 8 characters and must also include letters, numbers, upper case, lower case, and a special character.
  • Define a Core Password:Define a password that you can easily memorize that is six characters long and includes at least one number and one special character like a question mark, hyphen, or period.  Now, for every website you go to these six characters will be six of 8 characters in the password. Just memorize them and the next step and you’ll be all set. Example: You might pick r7.ite as your core password.
  • Define a Special Rule:Next, create a rule that only you know that incorporates the site name into your password. For example, you may choose to use the first two letters of the site name or site web address – or the first and third letters, etc. and add them to the beginning, middle, or end of your predefined password. Example: Let’s say you choose to use the first two characters of a website and you will place it at the beginning of your core password. So you’re Google password (www.google.com) might look like this: gor7.ite
  • Capitalize a Character in the Special Rule:Finally, capitalize one letter in your special rule. This will add additional security to your overall password. Example: Now I will choose to capitalize the second letter in the website I am visiting. Here is what it would look like: gOr7.ite.
  • More Examples: Here are a few more examples using this rule: (1) www.amazon.com = aMr7.ite. (2) www.paypal.com = pAr7.ite. (3) www.twitter.com = tWr7.ite.
Password Resets:
Now, every once in a while you’ll run across a website that requires you to change your password every 6 – 12 months. For example, your financial institution may require this. One goal of this Tactical Tip is that you don’t have to rely on your memory anymore. So you’ll need an additional rule that you can use in these unique cases. Unfortunately, you will need to find a way to remind yourself that this particular website password will be different than the rest. I recommend you put the year of the reset into the password. Example: Let’s say it’s the year 2012 and the website is www.hsbc.com. Your password might be hSr7.ite12.
 
The Three Time Reset Rule:
Any website worth going to will give you the option of recovering your password if you’ve forgotten it. I strongly recommend you click the button to reset or recover your password after your SECOND failed attempt. Many websites will lock you out and require a phone call after three failed attempts.
 
The Behind the Times Website:
Finally, some websites just won’t stick to the standards. They ask for some odd rule that doesn’t fit the national standards. The other day I ran across a website that wouldn’t allow a special character in the password. After a few choice words, I decided to go back to my ‘old’ password that I used for all my other websites before I instituted this much more secure method. It’s not foolproof, but it sometimes works.

Image compliments of Salvatore Vuono at freedigitalphotos.net

 

Tactical Tip: The Embedded Hyperlink

Have you ever received an email with a link that could probably be published as an eBook? Besides taking up valuable space in the email and looking ugly, half the time the link doesn’t work! You know exactly what I’m talking about. Here’s an example just to be sure:

Hey Jim. Check out this great article about “How to Coach Your Boss” – http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-coach-your-boss.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+michaelhyatt+%28Michael+Hyatt%29 ~ Wayne

Frustrating. Let me help you help others with a few simple tips to clean this mess up. This email could look like this instead:

 Hey Jim. Check out this great article: How to Coach Your Boss!  ~ Wayne

Tactical Tip: The Embedded Hyperlink

Most people don’t want or need to see that hyperlink. Probably the biggest exception to that rule is if you are trying to tell someone the actual name of a website. For example:

“Hey Jim. Check out this great blog for pastors and church leaders I found at www.transformingleader.com!” 

Even in that example I embedded the actual web address so that people don’t see the http:// at the beginning. This simple task will take you approximately 10-20 extra seconds, but it will be well worth your while.

  • Your readers will be less distracted or frustrated.
  • You will be able to represent yourself and your church with a greater degree of professionalism.
  • You will feel personal satisfaction in upping the excellence of your communications.
So take a few moments right now to figure this out and send yourself (and me) a test email!
 
How It’s Done:
We all use different kinds of email software and programs, so HOW to do this will vary slightly depending on your email carrier and software. That said, these steps should lead you down the right path. If you get stuck – just Google: “How do I embed a link in email using X?” with X representing your email carrier.
  • Copy Web Link
    Your first step is to copy your web link. In your web browser, go to the exact page you wish to send people to and highlight/copy the entire address in the web address field. Note: you will also find that some websites will offer to copy the appropriate address for you. For instance, youtube.com offers a ‘Share’ button that will then give you the best link to a video clip.
  • Switch to Your Email Client
    Now that the web link is copied to your computer clipboard, go to your email page or program (like gmail.com or Outlook).
  • Write Your Email or Document
    Now write your email (or document) the way you want it to appear. Don’t worry about including the embedded link yet. Just write it the way you want to say it. You may consider helping the reader know that you’ve embedded the link, depending on how the email is written. If you’re referring to a website using the web address, like www.transformingleader.org then you’re fine. Sometimes, you’ll want to give instruction to your reader though. For instance: “Learn about creating an email signature right here.” Of course, sometimes it’s just obvious: “I recommend you read this email tip: Tactical Tip:Say ‘Thanks’ in Your Email.” 
  • Highlight Your Text
    Now highlight the text where you want the link to appear. Don’t forget this step!
  • Embed Your Link
    Now it’s time to embed your link. You need to teach yourself this short step depending on your email client. There are two popular ways that links can be embedded that I’ll outline right here.
  1. Right Click. One popular method is to right click on the highlighted text and select a menu option that says something like “hyperlink” or “link”. This will bring up a dialog box where you can paste your copied hyperlink.
  2. The ‘Link’ Tool. Many web clients, like gmail.com, offer a button or menu item that should be clicked after you’ve highlighted the text. This should bring up a dialog box where you can paste your copied hyperlink. Note: sometimes the dialog box will be in two parts. One part should include the actual hyperlink text and the other part should include the actual text you highlighted or want people to see.
  • Format Your Link
    To add an extra layer of excellence to your communication, format your link appropriately. If the link is the main focus of your document, then you may want to bold it. You may also want to check the other colors in your document and make sure the hyperlink colors don’t clash or disappear. Finally, whenever possible, underline the text (I’m breaking my own rule on this blog. There’s something wrong with the template I’m using that won’t reveal underlined hyperlinks.)
  • Test Your Link
    This is an important step we so often fail to do. After your link has successfully been embedded into your text, double-check to ensure it actually works and goes to the appropriate page. 
 

Image compliments of ‘ideago’ on freedigitalphotos.net

Tactical Tip: Say ‘Thanks’ in Your Email

Everyone knows that email is grossly inadequate in communicating emotion, motives, and attitude. The ‘stories people tell themselves about you’, the content of your email and how good a communicator you are will all shape the overall ‘tone’ that the reader picks up – whether it’s true or not.

For example, consider the following email:

“The office will be closed and locked all day on Monday. However, I will be in my office. If you need to get hold of me, do not knock on the doors or call the office. Shoot me a text or ring the doorbell instead.”

There’s not a whole lot wrong with that email. It presents the information that the writer wants to communicate and states clearly what not to do and what to do if someone wants in the building. However, it’s kind of abrupt and assumes the reader isn’t reading between the lines. There is one very small thing you can commit to do in the majority of your emails starting today that will help soften your digital tone of voice.

Tactical Tip: Say ‘Thanks’ at the end of your email.

That’s it. It’s so simple, yet we often just end our emails with no closing line, like the example above. Consider that same email with that one extra word added:

“The office will be closed and locked all day on Monday. However, I will be in my office. If you need to get hold of me, do not knock on the doors or call the office. Shoot me a text or ring the doorbell instead. Thanks!”

Image compliments of scibak on istockphoto.com

Tactical Tip: Moving to Eye Level

I have a friend who is very tall. Tall like I stare at his chest when I talk to him. I know he isn’t necessarily smarter, healthier, or generally better than me. He’s just bigger than me. I have to be honest. It’s intimidating. I have to fight through several internal dialogues before I can have a face to face conversation with him and not be distracted. Several weeks ago we decided to meet for breakfast. As soon as he sat down I discovered something – I didn’t have to fight through my intimidation. Sure, he was still taller in the restaurant booth, but not as much as when I’m standing next to him. The simple act of him moving to my level bridged the gap and cleared the air for conversation. It was awesome.

It also highlights a very simple tactical move you can make every single day when meeting with people in small groups and 1 on 1. I believe it can make an appreciable difference in coaching, mentoring, counselling, and leadership conversations with others. It’s something that will take you approximately four (4) seconds to accomplish. It’s so simple and so obvious that many people never think to do it.

Tactical Tip: Move to Eye Level

That’s it. Simply do whatever you can to get on or near the same level as the person(s) you are talking to. (Note: I’m not talking about speaking to large crowds.) Moving to eye level will help to remove psychological barriers that neither of you probably even know exist. It unconsciously communicates equality and acceptance. On the other hand, NOT moving to eye level may create emotional barriers that can cause either you, or the person(s) you are meeting with to feel mildly uncomfortable.

  • When You Are Above Eye Level
    When you remain above eye level with people you may be unintentionally and unconsciously communicating that you are above or better than them in some way. At the very least, you may be increasing the potential for them to be intimidated, especially if you have an intimidating personality or are in some form of authority over them.

NOTE: Just to clear things up. Whether you are in authority over them or not, you are certainly not better than them – at least in God’s eyes. If you ‘like’ the feeling of looking down on people then I suggest you do some self-evaluation. That could be a sign of an unhealthy insecurity or pride on your part.

 

  • When You Are Below Eye Level
    When you remain below eye level you risk doing the exact opposite. It’s possible that you are unintentionally communicating that you are lower than or not as good as they are. Additionally, you may also be communicating that same thing to yourself. Personally, I don’t think you are communicating humility so much as insecurity – even if you don’ t mean or want to.

    NOTE: Again, just to clear the air, it’s not healthy to convince yourself or others that everyone else is better than you. That’s simply not true. God didn’t pick you ‘last’ for the game as if He didn’t have any other options. You have a holy calling just like the next guy/gal and it’s OK for you to live and act as someone of value in God’s sight. After all, He died for you so that you can live in complete freedom and authority.

 

How To Do It.
If you don’t normally move to eye level when talking to others, then it might feel awkward for a while until you develop the habit. For me, I often move to eye level unconsciously, without even realizing it.

Let me give you some practical examples of how to move to eye level.

  • Meet Sitting Down.
    If you know your conversation will be more than a few minutes and you are considerably taller or shorter than those you are meeting with, consider asking them to sit down with you. It doesn’t matter where. You can sit down at a conference room table, on the seats in your sanctuary or the front steps of the church.
  • Adjust Your Chair.
    Most of us have an office chair that adjusts up and down. If you don’t, then I recommend you invest in one if you are in the habit of meeting with others in your office. Adjust your seat immediately after they sit down to the most appropriate eye level. If they are taller than you, move your seat up; if shorter, then move your seat down. Don’t make a big deal out of it and don’t spend more than four seconds making the adjustment.
  • Remove Furniture That Forces Awkward Eye Contact
    Years ago I had a couch in my office. Everyone who sat in it would sink far down into the couch. Even after moving my chair to the lowest setting I would still find myself peering down at my visitors. I eventually got rid of it and have never regretted it. If you have a couch or chair in your office that is extra plush, then consider replacing it with something else or sit in a similar seat in the office that will place you near their same eye level.
  • Small Group Settings.
    If you are leading a small group discussion or meeting and plan to sit together at a table or in a circle, try to adjust your chair to the average height in the room. For example, I lead a team meeting every Tuesday at Elim Gospel Church. I sit at the head of our conference room table. One of my first acts while everyone is getting settled and before the meeting begins is to adjust my seat to a comfortable eye level with most people in the room.
  • The Wheelchair Bound
    The rules don’t change when someone is bound to a wheelchair. In fact, it may be even more important to find simple ways to meet them at eye level. They spend the majority of their time looking up at people and will very much appreciate the extra effort to meet them at their level. It will communicate volumes to them.
  • Talking to Children.
    I am a firm believer that the best way to greet a parent is to first greet his/her child. The best way to do this is to simply kneel down to their level while you are greeting them. Of course, it’s important that you maintain a safe distance from young children or kids that don’t know you so you don’t freak them out. However, children will almost always light right up when they see you stoop down to their level to talk with them. I’ve never met a parent who didn’t appreciate it either (unless you totally ignore them after you greet the child.)
Disclaimer: Please understand that I am not suggesting that you become legalistic about this tactical tip. I’m simply trying to empower you to care for, honor, and show respect for others in one very simple way whenever you can. I am also not trying to burden you by causing you to become self-conscious about eye levels when you meet with others. Just remember this tip and adjust to eye level if and when it’s most appropriate.
 

Tactical Tip: Saying Thank You Systematically

Children know how to say the words ‘thank you’. Believe it or not, they even know when they are supposed to say them. But most parents know that expressing gratitude is not at the top of their list of things to do. Mom puts yet another meal on the table and rather than a ‘thank you’, the classic “eat your vegetables” battle ensues. Dad allows the kids to stay up late to watch a great movie and rather than a ‘thank you’, everyone just mosey’s on to bed when it’s over. Mom cleans up a messy bedroom and the child acts like he doesn’t even notice (he probably didn’t). That’s not to say that kids won’t say ‘thanks’ from time to time. No. Every once in a while it explodes from them like a burst of fresh sea air on a late afternoon day!

We all know the importance and value of gratefulness. In fact, the Bible is full of verses exhorting us to thank God Himself in all things. Paul declares in 2 Timothy 3 that ungratefulness represents a quality of ‘terrible times in the last days’. Unfortunately, and like our children, expressing gratitude is often not at the top of our list of things to do!

So in today’s Tactical Tip I am going to suggest a simple SYSTEM that will give gratitude a more prominent place in your regular routine. This system shouldn’t represent everything you do to thank your leaders and volunteers, but it’s probably more than you’re doing right now!

The Thank You System
To begin, you will need to collect a few resources. I suggest you add these to your shopping list right away or ask your spouse, secretary, or a volunteer to pick them up for you this week. Here’s what you will need: 

  • Four $40 gift cards.
  • A small notebook. 
  • Thirty stamped ‘Thank You’ cards.
Now you are ready to begin. Follow these steps to setup your ‘Thank You System’. This should take you no more than 15 minutes to complete.
  • Place one gift card into four separate ‘Thank You’ cards and wrap a rubber band around them. Place a sticky note on the wrapped bundle that says “Gift Cards”.
  • Write at the top of the first page of the small notebook the words, “Thank You Log”.
  • Place the stack of ‘Thank You’ cards, the bundle of ‘Thank You’ cards including the gift cards, and the small notebook in a convenient location near, in or on the desk in your office.
  • Create a recurring reminder using your reminder system (if you don’t have a reminder system, then check out: Tactical Tip: Reminder Calendar) to send you a reminder every OTHER Monday morning at 9am or pick the day/time of your choice. I recommend a reminder no less than once every 14 days. Your reminder should say: “Write a Thank You card TODAY!”
  • Create another recurring reminder using your reminder system to send you a reminder once every 3 months to send a Thank You card with enclosed gift card. Your reminder should say: “Write and send a Thank You card with Gift Card TODAY!”
  • Create one last recurring reminder using your reminder system to send you a reminder once every YEAR beginning 11 months from now. Your reminder should say: “Evaluate and Setup your ‘Reminder Thank You’ system for this upcoming year.”
You’re all finished! Your ‘Thank You’ Reminder System is now in place. Here is how the system will serve you:
  • When you receive your ‘Thank You’ reminder, STOP whatever you are doing or schedule a slot THAT DAY to follow up on this important task.
  • Stop and think of which leader or volunteer you want to encourage that week. Pull out your ‘Thank You Log’ and look down the list of names written there. Make sure you don’t pick someone you’ve already sent a card to, unless you specifically want to. Ensure you aren’t just thinking of the ‘obvious’ people all of the time.
  • Once you’ve decided on a person, write their name in the ‘Thank You Log’.
  • Write a heartfelt and meaningful ‘Thank You’, address and mail.
Follow those same steps when you receive the quarterly ‘Thank You’ reminder including the gift card. When you receive the annual reminder, evaluate and revise your system as needed, shop for the next year’s ‘Thank You’ cards and gift cards and set them aside for when you run out of your current supplies. I suggest you use a different ‘Thank You’ card each year.
 
If you decide to adopt this system or one like it, do me a favor – send me a ‘thank you’ via email at transformingleader@elimfellowship.org. I would love to know that this Tactical Tip has served you and your church! “Thanks!”

Tactical Tip: Reminder Calendar

Last Friday I received a text from my wife informing me that the inspection was overdue on our minivan. We decided a long time ago that things like vehicle inspections are my responsibility in the home. Oops. So I called the garage and got an appointment for Monday morning. I got a little chuckle from the auto mechanic as I left the garage. Evidently he sees a lot of ‘overdue’ stickers there!

So I did what I should have done long ago, I added a reminder into my “Reminder Calendar”. I don’t think I’ll forget again.

The Reminder Calendar is perhaps one of the coolest reminder systems I have ever stumbled across – and it’s super easy to setup and use. Even better, it’s free! This is not to be confused with the Appointment Calendar! I keep them totally separate because I don’t want to store all kinds of ‘reminder’ appointments on the calendar I look at every day for real appointments, like meetings and such. In fact, I never actually look at my Reminder Calendar!

Let me define what I mean be a reminder calendar. Basically, it’s a calendar that is specifically designed to send you very timely emails or text messages.I use my Reminder Calendar to remind me to get up extra early in the morning for a breakfast appointment, change the oil in the car, take the garbage out, check the church website to make sure it’s relevant and up to date, and to remember when a task I assigned someone, or myself, is due. Here are a couple other examples to stimulate your thinking:

  • I asked someone if they would draft a proposal for me regarding our online streaming service. My goal was to be able to hear back from him no later than two weeks from that date. So I set myself up a reminder in my Reminder Calendar to shoot me an email in two weeks letting me know that I should have the proposal by now.
  • I wanted to find something out from a friend and discovered that he would be on vacation until August 13. So I set myself a reminder in my Reminder Calendar to give him a call around August 15.
  • My boss is on vacation and I will be leaving for a few days the day after he returns. I don’t want to forget to ask him an important budget related question before I leave. I created a reminder email for about 9am that morning.
  • My boss asked me to give him a call at 2pm while he was travelling on a certain day. I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t be at my desk and I didn’t want to forget to call him. I created a reminder that was setup to text me at 1:55pm so I would remember to make the call no matter where I was at.
  • I want to remember to begin planning for the Christmas Eve program no later than June of every year. I created a reminder appointment that will email me on June 1st to get the ball rolling.


HERE’S HOW TO SETUP YOUR REMINDER CALENDAR:

  • Log into your Google Account.
    Log in to your Google account or create a Google Account for free. It’s important that you associate the account with the email address that you want to receive emails from.
  • Go to your Google Calendar.
    Once you’ve logged in, select “Calendar” from the top menu of options. This will take you to your calendar, specifically associated with that email address.
  • Create a NEW Calendar & label it as your Reminder Calendar.
    This option will allow you to keep your primary Google calendar as your appointment calendar. To create a new calendar, click the very small “Add” link in the “My Calendars” section to the left of your screen.
  • Enable Mobile Notifications
    Once you have created the calendar, click the “Settings” link right next to the “Add” link to take you to your Calendar Settings Screen. Next, click on the “Mobile Setup” tab. Follow the instructions on that screen to associate your cell phone with your Google Calendar. This will give you the option to receive text reminders from your calendar.
  • Set the Default Reminder Setting in Your ‘Reminder Calendar’
    You are almost finished. Now you should tell your reminder calendar what you want the default reminder mode to be every time you create a reminder appointment. I have mine set to email reminder. This way, all I have to do is create a reminder appointment and it will automatically email me for every appointment. I can still manually go in and disable the reminder or set it up to text me if I want to instead. To do this, click on the little drop-down arrow next to your Reminder Calendar and select “Calendar Settings”. Find the Notifications tab and click the “Add a reminder” link.
  • Start Creating Your Reminder Appointments!
    You are all ready to go! Now just create ‘appointments’ at the designated day and time that you want to receive your reminder. You can even create recurring reminders for every week, month, or year. To create your reminder simply highlight the appropriate day/time, type in the appointment and press ‘enter’. You just created a reminder appointment set to your default reminder method. To change the reminder method, add additional information, or set the reminder as recurring, double-click the appointment to open it in a new window for updating.

Notes for Newbies:
If you are new to Google Calendars then you may want to note a few of these details as well:
  • Make sure you have the right calendar selected.
    Since you have more than one calendar in your Google Account, you need to make sure you create your reminder appointment in the appropriate calendar. On the left of your screen, make sure that ONLY your Reminder Calendar is selected. You may also designate which calendar you want the reminder to be posted to in the appointment details.
  • Consider which reminder method you really want.
    There are three reminder options. Email, Text, and Popup. You probably won’t want to utilize popup unless you will always have your calendar open on your computer. You WILL want to make sure you designate which method you prefer for your reminders. You may also select BOTH if you want.
  • You can also use this same reminder system for your Appointment Calendar in Google. 
    OK. So you tend to be late for or forget meetings. Simply set a reminder for each of your appointments to send you a text 10 minutes before you’re supposed to prepare to arrive at the meeting.
  • Don’t give up.
    If you find yourself getting stuck, don’t get frustrated and give up. Like anything new, it may seem complicated at first, until you get the hang of it. Eventually, you’ll figure out how to make the system work and serve you the best.

Tactical Tip: Email Signature

You would be very frustrated if someone left you a voice-mail and failed to tell you who they were or how to get hold of them. Example: “Hi pastor! This is Joe. I was wondering if you could give me a call about what we were talking about last Sunday. I have some ideas on that. Thanks! Bye.” OK. So I talked to someone named Joe about something last Sunday and he wants me to call him back. Hmm. I don’t remember that. Now what?

The email signature is the digital version of the voice-mail signature. It’s your chance to let the world know exactly who you are and how they can get hold of you. It’s your business card.

I am often amazed how few pastors and leaders leave a meaningful, relevant signature at the bottom of every email they send. Especially when it usually takes 5 minutes or less to set up! In the past month alone I have received emails from 3 pastors I totally respect and love working with, but who don’t have a helpful email signature. With two of them I had to do a Google search to find their website (and it took a while to find one of them) when a link at the bottom of the email would have sufficed.

So today’s Tactical Tip is simply this . . . create a simple email signature at the bottom of all of your emails.

Suggestions on a very basic email signature:
The internet is full of suggestions on what a signature should look like. Ultimately, you want to give people the information they will need to contact you. Beyond that, you can personalize it all you want – but within reason.

  • Some people suggest starting with two dashes, like this >>   – –
  • Start with your first and last name (and title if appropriate).
  • Include your position if there are multiple people on-staff.
  • Include your church or organization name.
  • Include your church website. Some people suggest you actually type out the web address as well as create the link (in case someone isn’t able to click on the link, but wants to copy/paste or type the address in themselves.)
  • Include your phone number(s) of choice. This can be your personal cell number, home number, or office number. Whichever number you are most comfortable with the whole world knowing.
  • Optional: you may also opt to include the church or organization’s address. If it’s on your website this may not be necessary. It’s up to you.
  • Finally, you may want to include an inspirational, funny, or thought provoking quote.
  • NOTE: Many experts suggest that you keep your email signature to about five lines. Anything beyond that and it may look like you’re really lonely or just trying to write a book. Check out this site to view four common mistakes on email signatures.

Example Signature:
I rarely change my signature, but review it at least a couple of times a year. Here is my signature as of today’s date:

Pastor Wayne Hedlund, Executive Pastor
Elim Gospel Church
1679 Dalton Road
Lima, NY 14485
(585) 624-5560

Check out my blog at www.tranformingleader.org.

How to Setup Your Signature:
Now, I can’t exactly give you instructions since everyone has different email carriers. I have included links below to some helpful articles for the more popular email carriers. For the rest of you, I suspect the following will get you where you want to go: Open www.google.com and type the name of your email provider and the words “email signature”.

 
Page 2 of 212