“When Leaders know how to lead great Meetings, there’s less time wasted and less frustration. We have more energy to do the work that matters, realize our full potential & do great things“. from Peter/CXO, Wiz4.biz & 5 Star Startup Services
Meeting Topics: Plan & Delegate, Agenda, Timing, Out & Standing, Live, Action Items, Post Mtg, Try b4u Buy. Alternatives Topics: IMs, Aggregators, Whiteboard, Wiki’s, Email, Apps, To-Do tools,
from SmBizTrends & GotaMinute 11/19 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
Cut dull Meetings, cause there’s nothing worse. Every day, there are around 25 million meetings in the USA alone. In order to facilitate those meetings, managers tend to waste – up an estimated 1/3 – 35% of their time in meetings.
Is it worth it? Those lofty time commitments would be totally worth it, if all of these meetings were generating great ideas. But an estimated 67% of meetings are generally worthless – wasting more than $37 billion a year in lost productivity.
Cut it out !!! It makes sense to try and cut down on pointless meetings. And if you’re a small business owner without a New Year’s resolution to improve the way things are run at your company, removing dull meetings from your work week might be the perfect way to bolster morale & motivation. Here are 12 ways to eliminate or expedite all of your necessary meetings:
#1 Plan & Delegate
Another way to ensure things get done quickly at each meeting is giving each attendee a job to perform at that meeting. Before the meeting ask the attendees to do Research on the relevant issues, have another take Notes, another to keep Time and one to bring snacks. By giving each person their own duty to perform, the meeting should run much more smoothly and attendees will be more focused.
#2 Have an Agenda
One of the biggest timewasters in any meeting is a lack of purpose. In order to keep things moving at the right pace, make sure you’ve got a detailed agenda to guide you thru your meeting as quickly as humanly possible. Send it out ahead of time, so everyone can prepare. Only invite people that absolutely need to be there.
#3 Good Timing
It usually only takes one long-winded Speaker and a few stupid questions to transform a short meeting into a horrible marathon. One of the best ways to keep people on task during a meeting is to use a Stop Watch and set it for a few minutes time for each speaker. At the beginning of the meeting – announce when you want it to end and stick to that deadline. Not only will it encourage speakers to explain things more concisely, but others will appreciate being able to know when they’ll be able to get back to work.
#4 Divide & Conquer
If you really can’t escape long meetings, it will make life a lot easier and more pleasant if you’re able to split it up into short pieces. At the start of your meeting, let colleagues know you’re going to tackle it in a few bite-sized chunks. Use each chunk to address one group of issues, and break after each issue is addressed in order to check in with other teams, get some fresh air & re-group. (ie, have 1 meeting in the morning & another in afternoon + multi daze – if you need them)
#5 Reduce or eliminate PowerPoint
Even today, PowerPoint is still pretty much synonymous with business. We use PowerPoint to graphically show everything . And while it may be incredibly useful, you can’t deny it’s a little bit tired. There’s nothing worse than shuffling into a conference room and watching a manager load up a long Slide presentation – so if you want to keep your colleagues awake, keep the lights on & verbally engage. It will keep everybody awake & ideas flowing.
#6 Take it Outside
If you’re checking in with a small team, one of the best ways to engage personalities and get people talking is by taking the meeting outside. Not only will a bit of fresh air and sunshine wake up colleagues and get the blood flowing, but it will also stimulate Creative thinking. A change in environment will almost always generate a change in the way workers think & collaborate.
#7 Trick with Treats
Lunch meetings get a bad reputation for being boring, too-long affairs. But getting people around a table can actually be one of the best ways to encourage them to speak openly with one another. Food tends to bring people together, and always gets people talking – and so if your meetings tend to be filled with awkward silences, try enticing workers with a bit of snacks (health) to get them to open up.
#8 Another Out-Standing Meeting
One way to cut down meeting times is to get everybody on their feet and there’ll be less time for long talkers. Most speakers will get to the point and make it short & sweet. Without chairs at your meetings, speakers are generally more inclined to speak up only with things that are important, and save time-wasting topics for another time.
#9 Go Live
Are you wasting loads of time traveling between offices to meet with teams? Stop running from place to place and start using tools like Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime. That way, workers can get the gist of what you’re after and what they’ve got to do without even leaving their location.
# 10 End your meeting with Action Items
End your meeting with the following questions: What are the next steps? Who is responsible for them? What is the timeframe? If you can at the time, assign Action Items on the Issues raised
#11 Post Meeting
After the meeting, send out a summary of your Meeting Minutes with the specific Action Items you discussed at the end of the meeting + any you need to add. Set a deadline for the response and follow up to assure it’s accomplished.
#12 Try it, before you Buy it.
No two companies are alike. What works for your meetings might not work for other companies, and so you’re going to need to do a bit of “trial & error” to find out what sort of meetings work best for your organization. Just remember to be patient and focused in discovering the best ways to make your meetings faster & more productive.
Comments: Do you know any other ways to Save Time at meetings?
For more Info, click on Meetings.
Enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
12 Alternatives to unnecessary Meetings
from PiktoCharts & LinkedIN 11/19 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
Topics: IMs, Tele-Conferencing, Project Mgt Tools, Suggestion Aggregators, “virtual” Whiteboard, Wiki’s, Email Lists, Apps, To-Do tools, MindMaps,
Office workers spend an average of 4 of 40 hours per week in meetings (is that all?), and half of them say that time is wasted. We’ve all figured out that some meetings are un-necessary or last way too long. Here are 12 alternatives to having a traditional Meeting.
#1 Instant Messaging
IM is likely to be viewed more as a time-waster for pre & teenagers, a lot can get done via IM. It allows you and your partners to maintain a long-term virtual “presence” as you work, posting questions, updates, & ideas as they strike you or as you come across problems in your work. Since IM programs maintain a full record of the chat session, there’s no danger of missing anything or losing it – just scroll up. There are a couple of rules to follow for productive IM’ing.
- Cut the Chatter. To keep things focused, each person should speak only a) when they have something important to add, or b) in response to a question.
- Forget the Frills. Today’s IM software comes with voice & video capabilities, avatars, face-morphing functions, multi-colored fonts, and more. Leave those for your teens. You’re working, not playing IM.
If more personal contact and real-time sharing is needed, try a tele-conferencing system like Adobe’s Acrobat.com or GoToMeeting. Most services allow screen sharing, collaborative white boring (no, boarding), & other substitutes for same-room presence – without the commute to the meeting (even if it’s only a few steps away) The incessant interruptions for coffee & bathroom breaks, the face-to-face socializing, or the forced absence from your desktop while you wait for that crucial Email is distracting. Since most also create a transcript, you don’t need someone taking minutes, either.
#3. Utilize Project Management tools
Create a project, task, story, or share an issue in a collaboration tool such as Asana, Trello, Basecamp, or TeamWeek. Whether it’s by moving a card from someone’s project list, or by assigning action items, sub-tasks or using checklists, contributions can be sorted and then summarized. Be creative and enable these tools to meet your needs, even if it’s not the way that most folks have used it.
#4. Utilize Suggestion Aggregators
Strategy & Action Items are common meeting topics, but definitely among the type of ideas that employees often feel reluctant to share with a large group. That, and when meetings run long, the chances of bringing up new suggestions shrink. Take advantage of Suggestion Aggregators such as SpeakUp & Candor to allow your team to submit ideas & share issures – as they come up – rather than waiting until the next meeting.
#5. Create a “virtual” Whiteboard
White-boarding joins visual storytelling with systemic processes, and it doesn’t have to be done in the same room. Thanks to technology, virtual Whiteboards make asynchronous ideas come together. (ie, A Web Whiteboard, Miro, & Deekit). In addition to drawing boxes & arrows, reviewers and collaborators can add notes, share ideas & issues.
#6 Wicked Wiki’s
They provide a collaborative environment that is ideal for the development of working documents & statements, as well as material that will need to be referred to again & again. For one-off projects, an online Wiki like WetPaint or PBWiki are ideal: free, easy to set up, & easy to use. For more mission-critical material – especially when you plan to use it repeatedly & where security is a major concern – your organization can fairly easily set up an internal Wiki on your intranet, using advanced software like MediaWiki, the software that runs Wikipedia.
Wikis are self-organizing and easy to create & edit + they keep track of changes made along with a record of who is responsible for each edit. Where real-time inter-action isn’t a necessity, building a Wiki over a long period of time can be far more productive than a chain of meetings, But make sure to assign responsibilities and allow time for wicked (er, Wiki) work.
#7 Email Lists
Another solution where real-time interaction is not a factor is the old-fashioned Email list. Somewhat out of fashion these days, Email lists can still be quite productive ways to get things done as a group – and both Yahoo & Google offer services that are free and easy to set up.
Moderator should probably be used– not to approve messages, but to remind people when they’re going off track. Good etiquette is essential in this environment; something about the medium encourages flame wars. But with a few precautions, Email lists can still be quite effective tools, allowing for thoughtful, considered exchanges & automatically maintaining a searchable archive of past discussions.
#8 Collaboration Apps
Finally, effective use of Apps can replace the need for most meetings. Systems like Wrike & Basecamp allow notes to be exchanged, tasks to be assigned, & files to be shared. They also offer a number of ways for users to interact: SMS, Email, online, RSS, or using a third-party application through Basecamp’s API. Using online services like Google Docs alongside Google Talk or another IM – you can share documents, add to & edit each others work, + create a repository of materials at the same time.
#9. Use “To-Do” tools
“We’ve got a big Project coming up, so we need to know who can help with what.” Ever heard that request at the start of a meeting? Now that’s definitely the type of meeting that should be avoided at all costs and the kind that inspires the most social loafing. Avoid the awkward silences & the off-topic challenges. Simply lay out all of the needed logistics online, and direct team members to claim the appropriate number of sub-tasks. This is another type of collaboration that you can create in the project tools you already have or try out Wunderlist or Workflowy to customize and share to-do lists.
#10. Use MindMaps
Assist your team in coming up with ideas or letting thoughts flow freely without watching the clock by equipping them with Mind Mapping strategies. Then you can use Mind Mapping tools to allow other team members to play off those ideas. Try MindMeister, GroupMap, or XMind to test this concept online.
#11. Borrow from Holacracy
Completely changing your style of management is no small ordeal. But considering the valid points of many forms of leadership can allow you to arrive at the hierarchy & organization style that best fits your company. When employees have clearly-defined roles, they know when they can execute a decision and when they need input. Companies that fully deploy Holacracy often utilize Glass Frog, a web application that organizes roles & circles. You can borrow from these concepts & incorporate them into your own team Wiki, or manipulate other project tools to complete similar functions.
#12. Use Design Mockup tools
Whose time is better served by submitting one piece of input and getting back to work? Whose input is absolutely crucial to every step of this process? These are the perfect questions to ask when you’ve got Design Decisions to make. “Review mockups” seems like a great agenda item for a meeting, but it’s not a great way to succinctly gather input & move on. Identify the final decision maker, and allow that person to consider the input after the team has shared. Assign a period of time that allows the team to devote their highest concentration to this task. InVision, Zeplin, & Flatsies all offer great ways to share Design Plans with reviewers and help the creators work together to make the project happen.
Virtual Meeting Room: set the description for this, invite the appropriate collaborators, & advise them to turn off notifications for this conversation. Treat it like a moderated message board where conversation starters are submitted, then all opinions are gathered at the end of the challenge.
Now Let’s Adjourn
I am not trying to claim that all meetings can be replaced through online services or desktop applications. Sometimes an in-person meeting is the best & most efficient way to get things done. But don’t let meetings become the default mode of inter-action. All too often, meetings represent a failure of communication, not the advancement of it – when the [s..t] is about to hit the fan. More effective planning and use of resources can often prevent the need for meetings, and let everyone involved spend more of their time doing work rather than just talking about it.
Conclusion: The first rule of effective use of Communication Tools is “notification” management. Once you get that down, creating and enforcing the topics for the rooms, groups, and channels that organize communication is super important. For instance, in Slack, you might have a Sales channel with a channel description that explains to the whole company, what type of messages are expected there. Whether you’re using Slack, HipChat, or Yammer, you can add a place for specific challenges and projects to be discussed.
Comments: What other tools or processes do you use to collaborate without actually meeting up?
Enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz 11/19
For more Info, click on Apps for Business.