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Volunteer Today is looking for one or more authors to write about technical issues, computer or otherwise, in the volunteer management world. If you are interested in contributing or know someone who is, please contact our managing editor Nancy Macduff at: editor@volunteertoday.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

This month's articles are provided by Nancy Macduff, the Managing Editor of Volunteer Today.

~ March 2006 ~ Topics

Distorted Images in Your Documents? Word Can Fix It.
Alphabet to Reduce Stress
Share the News About Effective Email

Distorted Images in Your Documents? Word Can Fix It.

It is a flyer, handout, paper newsletter, or electronic one and you cannot fit the image in without distorting the picture. Yipes, those people look goofy!

There is a solution if WORD is your word processing program. Follow these steps.

1. Go to the View Menu. Select Toolbars and to the right a list of choices will appear. Select pictures. A menu box pops-up.
2. Now click on the image or picture in your document. This will activate the menu box that popped-up.
3. The Crop button looks like a star or big thick X. Mine has a green arrow through it. Click on it.
4. When you go to the image or picture you will see a new small icon that you can put in the corners, top or bottom, or sides. Drag it to adjust the picture and crop it to fit your space or eliminate unwanted parts of the image.

The picture on the top was deliberately distorted. The one on the bottom was cropped, using the method described, to fit a smaller space and eliminate unnecessary parts of the picture.

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Alphabet to Reduce Stress

Hunched over the computer? Stressed about writing the grant? Working hard to finish a report? World tumbling in around you? You need a fast stress reliever that does not involve shoes or workout clothes. Try the Nose Alphabet Exercise.

The exercise will reduce neck tension and stretch muscles in your neck and shoulders.

Sit straight in your chair, tilt your head slightly forward, and relax your shoulders. Then move your nose in slow (fluid) movements to trace the alphabet in the air. Hit "Z" and you will be surprised at how relaxed you will feel.

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Share the News About Effective Email

Seems as if some folks forget the rules about effective email. Here is a reminder. Good to share with volunteers in a news brief, electronic or otherwise, and with paid staff. Adults can always use a refresher.

1. Write a meaningful subject line – this is not the place to be "cute." Stick to the main topic. Makes it easy to find messages later on.
2. Keep the message concise and readable – Avoid jargon and big words. Clear writing is the aim for email. Think of the reader as you compose.
3. Try to avoid attachments – There are many people who will not open any email attachment, due to viruses. General emails should not contain picture of cute cats, no matter how much you are dying to share them.
4. Identify the reader by name. Personalize this flat form of communication by using the person's name in a salutation at the beginning of the email.
5. Identify yourself clearly – Be sure there is contact information at the end of your email, in case someone wants to phone. And sign the email. Don't just stop abruptly.
6. Adhere to the 24-hour rule – "Flaming" is to be avoided at all costs. If you are agitated about something, write the email and put it in the "Draft" box for a minimum of 24 hours.
7. Proofread. Review emails for typos! Makes life easier for the reader.
8. Imagine the email on 60 Minutes. Imagine the email you write on the front page of your hometown's largest newspaper. If that makes you uncomfortable, rewrite it.
9. Respond Promptly – Do not let email languish for days. Even if the response is "I'll get back to you."
10. Show Respect and Restraint.

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