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Archive for the category “meetings”

12 ways of how to avoid death by meeting


12 ways of how to avoid death by meeting 

Meetings. Sometimes I think I the conference room is my office. How often do you feel that way, or have you been in more meetings than the workweek has hours?

Seriously, many meetings just keep on running on and on with little to nothing show for at the end of it in terms of getting tangible results. When folks get an even fuzzier picture at the end of the meeting than what they went in with, you will have some very unhappy campers to deal with sooner or later.

It does not need to be this way. Preparation is the key word in making a difference. Have you ever painted anything like a room or piece of furniture? If so, you may appreciate when I say that +75% of the total work going into this is the prep work leading up to it. The actual painting job takes a fraction of time. This is no different with meeting prep work. Properly executed this can save you many a nerves and of course time, money and frustration. Please also see the meeting planner free for you to use in the download area.

  1. Sit on a mental rock and ponder why you need to have a meeting in the first place. If you can avoid it, do not have it. Have personal conversations instead and make good use of your capability walking the four corners of your business.
  2. Clarify what kind of a communication you want to have. Is it a communication for interpretation? Communication for clarity? Communication for action? Communication for exploration?
  3. Identify the goal of the meeting. What is the desired outcome?
  4. Define location, attendees, time scheduled to start and stop. Make sure to book your rooms well in advance and all the props that you need.
  5. Who should attend? Err on the minimalistic side. More than five people at a time make for really slow meetings. Pay attention who of your people are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Make sure everyone is being considered.
  6. When you start the meeting make sure to start on time and end on time. Neat trick starting on time is to make the last person to arrive at the meeting the scribe. You will have some hilarious antics going on when you do this, but it has proven extremely effective.
  7. Define the roles of facilitator, scribe, and time keeper. Time keeper, no time to tread lightly on this; make certain that the time limits are kept.
  8. Plan out the topics that will be discussed. Upon starting the meetings give every team member a chance adding topics, or of course eliminating any.
  9. Sometimes it may be necessary having side bar meetings leading up the meeting that you are planning. When the topic is too vague, scope creep set in, or there are too many people in the main meeting, prevent major headaches this way.
  10. Scribe: Keep copious notes. For the technical savvy folks amongst you, use a version of the Meeting Planner on the Download page in your MS One Note folder and share it with the team members.
  11. At the end of the meeting go over the captured action items. Make absolutely, positively certain to doing this. Identify the responsible person to deliver results and by when.
  12. End on time. If you have a pattern of going over all the time, have a few meetings standing up. Trust me it helps keeping a fast pace and not to start rambling through the meeting agenda. If you must go over one hour time then plan on a 90 max meeting time before walking around, and get a bit of fresh air.

Nothing is worse than having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. If need be, speak with you supervisor and take a break at no more than 90 minutes max meeting time.

Ralf

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6 ways firing negative people from your life


6 ways firing negative people from your life 

There are a lot of negative people who take time and energy away from us. This can range from people who like to gossip, complain, to outright nasty people that complain way too much. Then there are the problem monitors who love pointing out flaws and problems without ever offering a solution. Problem is that they seek you out and you can seemingly not escape them. You endure the conversation, but it drags you down with it and getting back to what you wanted to do takes some time. Time that you do not have. Energy and nerves that you do not have to waste.

There are a few negativity busters that you can use to stay positive and on task.

  1. Being positive. Fire away with your winning smiles. Nothing works better at shushing negative people away like having a great attitude and showing it. Negativity begets negativity, but positivity beats it by a mile.
  2. Humor. A good laugh will send negative folks scurrying to their deep and dark caves. Not taking yourself and others so seriously helps staying positive and also works as nasty people antidote.
  3. Effectiveness. If any conversation is really important than this can be scheduled for another time when it is more convenient for both of you. Saying something like this can be highly effective: “Listen, this sounds like it is really important to you and I unfortunately have another meeting (phone call, etc) to go to. Should I schedule a meeting to discuss this further with you?” In most cases the other person will stop talking and not need to speak with you about this any further.
  4. Walk away. Yes, it is that simple. This has nothing to do with you being rude. Was the other person not rude first by raping your ears with things that do not add value, or worse, were offensive or outright nasty?
  5. Associate with and befriend nice people. Duh, you say? Seek out nice people who add energy, creativity, and fun to your life. Hang out with them as much as you can. You become the average of the 10 people you spend the most time with. The added benefit is that nasty people cannot stand this much fun and harmony and thus will stay far away from you.
  6. Candor. When folks stop by often and you never say a word to them about how this is not ok with you, well, that is YOUR own fault. At times other people can just not read your silent clues. Unvoiced expectations cannot be filled. In most instances all it takes is your candid feedback and the “stalking” can stop right after providing your sincerely meant thoughts on the matter.

Negativity is not sustainable as it has its origin in hatred, envy, and a lack of emotional intelligence (self-awareness). It tries to exclude people and thrive on people’s differences. The antidote is love, laughter, optimism, etc as it founded in inclusion. Isn’t it better leading a well-balanced life where you are part of something bigger, self-sustaining and thus something positive? Start with reflecting upon your own view and then make a difference as soon as you can. Stay happy my friends.

Ralf

4 touch points for more successful meetings


4 touch points for more successful meetings 

Which is more important: Consensus or consent? This is a question that should beg itself to anyone who attends one of many business meetings. Most often, people attempt to reach consensus. A lot of time is spent striving for the all but impossible consensus. Problem with that is that it is a close relative to compromise. I give a little, and you give a little, and voila we have reached a compromise and thus can reach consensus on an issue. The counterproductive result is neither party gets what they really wanted. Perhaps worse, the issue is so watered down that the initial intent is totally missed and the whole team loses.

Why spend the time and energy convincing the others that everyone needs to approve and also needs to like the final result?

  1. It is much better to make your point and see if it can get the majority supporting it. That is best done by the meeting facilitator who lists all the solutions to the issues at hand.
  2. This is followed by putting this list up on e.g. a whiteboard and letting everybody vote for their top three solutions. This way you will shrink down and perhaps consolidate your long list.
  3. Now instead of focusing on getting everybody to give a little to take a little, drive home the point being able to consent to an idea / concept.
  4. Consent is different as it only requires for everyone to be committed to moving ahead with whatever the team finally decides to do.

The fine but important line between consent and consensus is worth hours and oodles of frayed nerves none of which any leader-manager ought to jeopardize in regular business meetings. Don’t settle, but seek consent and commitment to the agreed upon goals. Get involved and make sure your designated meeting facilitator is on board with the concept.

Ralf

2 ways of dealing with conversations – brevity is your friend


2 ways of dealing with conversations – brevity is your friend 

People who talk a lot will not give you an order or good service no matter if you are a customer or a sales representative. You are not getting good service or an order when you are speaking with people who talk like waterfalls. Sure it may feel great being around these folks. They make you feel good and the time seems to just fly by. Next thing you know is that you are out of time and under the bottom line there is a whole lot of nothing.

Set yourself a time limit of tolerating the otherwise enjoyable conversation. If you have to get a minimum of progress achieved then stick to getting that done. When should you make an exception? Exceptions are made for folks whom you have met on the account of synchronicity – that is meeting them seemingly coincidently but strangely enough somehow on purpose. One never knows what those conversations lead to. All other conversations you might as well keep as short as you can.

Ralf

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