A Short History of Shared Services…and What’s Next.

Shared Services in government is nothing new. The idea began in the 1980s with the consolidation of payroll and some other administrative functions. In the '90s the focus was on creating entities that could provide common business functions across government and, in that effort, become a cost center.

The 2000s saw the rise of the term 'Line of Business' that looked at common business functions across government to identify opportunities to transform, streamline and share. The Obama Administration looked specifically to IT as a shared service, releasing the Federal IT Shared Services Strategy that provided federal agency chief information officers and key stakeholders guidance. This guidance focused on the implementation of shared IT services as a key principle of their efforts to eliminate waste and duplication, with the intention to reinvest in innovative mission systems.

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Top tips on Getting Your Audience to Ask Questions

Originally posted on Evvnt Industry News by Adam Parry.

We've all been there: the speaker is nearing the end of their presentation, heading towards the fifteen minutes they've set aside for 'questions and discussion'. Then, as the slide with 'Any questions?' appears on the screen, you could hear a pin drop. Tumbleweed rolls by and everyone stares at their feet. So why isn't your audience eager to stick their hands in the air and get involved? In reality there will be a number of reasons, so we've outlined a few tips on how you can avoid the post-presentation silence and have your audience desperate to ask questions...

Know your audience

You'd hope that every presenter would have an understanding of the types of people that will be in the audience and what they will be interested in, yet we often sit through sessions that aren't quite what we expected. When you're invited to speak at an event make sure you ask the organisers what type of people will be there, what their reasons are for attending and their pain points. If you know who you are speaking to, you can get the content right resulting in a much more engaged audience. If you're addressing something that they can actually relate to, they're much more likely to fire a question your way.

Break the ice

First impressions are everything. If you can get the audience on your side right from the off, then things will be a lot easier further down the line. I recently caught the opening session at EMEC 2014 in Istanbul, where Dave Sharpe energised the audience by asking people to take out the most peculiar thing they carried in their bags and showed it to the rest of the audience. It was a simple request, but really lightened the mood and had the audience laughing. From that point on people were engaged and switched on.

Keep them engaged

If you can get away with it, don't simply introduce yourself and talk at the faces in the crowd for an hour. If you can drop in activities and votes throughout your talk then the likelihood is the audience will feel more energised to participate in the discussion by asking questions.

Make sure everyone can ask questions

You might be happy to stand up in front of a room full of strangers and talk, but not everyone feels the same. According to the National Institute of Mental Health an amazing 74% of people are afraid of public speaking, so you need to get round this somehow. Try using an audience interaction tool to give everyone an equal chance at asking a question or adding their two-penneth without having to speak out loud.

Of course, there are hundreds of ways to engage with your audience (and many books have been written on this very topic!) but following the few simple tips above will go a long way to ensuring some level of audience-based discussion will take place.

Why not tell us what you think about this story and leave a comment below!

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GEOINT 2013*: Operationalizing Intelligence for Global Missions

TheGEOINTSymposium--the nation's largest intelligence event of the year--will take place April 14-17, 2014, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla. The annualGEOINTSymposium, hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), attracts thousands of attendees from government, military, industry, and academia worldwide.

This year, the GEOINT Symposium promises another agenda packed with high-profile keynote speakers, insightful panel discussions, engaging training offerings, and a world-class exhibit hall. In addition to the more than 250 exhibiting organizations offering 100,000 square feet of technologies, services and solutions, GEOINT 2013* will provide 30 hours of training and education sessions, four panel sessions on key community topics, and 11 keynote speakers including directors of intelligence agencies and combatant commanders.

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5 Ways to Get Your Conference Approved

Originally published byGoran Gligorovicon Government Executive

Budget cuts and tighter regulations in the wake of high-profile cases of excessive conference spending have combined to put the squeeze on federal off-site gatherings this year.

However, the U.S. Chief Financial Officers Council shared guidance recently indicating that government travel is, by no means, forbidden. "As each agency reviews its travel and conference-related activities, it is critical for each agency to continue to recognize the important role that mission-related travel and conferences can often play in government operations," the council said in aMay 28 Controller Alert.

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GSA ups per diem rates for 2014, ends conference allowance

Originally published by Jack Moore on Federal News Radio

After a two-year freeze, per diems for work-related federal travelare going up slightly, according to the General Services Administration.

The standard rate for lodging will increase from $77 to $83, while the standard rate for meals and incidental expenses will remain unchanged. The changes take effect at the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

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