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5 Tips To Run A Great Meeting

Leadership StylesYou’ve probably read an article in the last year or so that detailed the dark side of meetings – lost time, lowered productivity, wasted effort – the list goes on. And although there’s been much chatter, meetings are still happening in offices and on phones around the globe.  

But if meetings are such a waste of time and effort, why would any smart leader continue to hold them? They probably wouldn’t. The fact is – meetings can be a great use of time and effort when they’re well-run. To make sure your meetings are productive and effective, don’t forget to do these five things.  

1.    Provide Purpose & Agenda

For a meeting to be productive, you must have a purpose – why are you meeting? What is the desired outcome? With your purpose clearly defined, set an agenda that will enable you to produce that outcome. When your attendees understand the purpose of your meeting and how you’ll achieve the goal, it’s much easier to keep everyone focused on the task at hand. 

2.    Define Action Items & Project Owners

Every great meeting produces action items and each attendee should walk away with a clear idea of what they need to do next and when. If someone won’t be walking away with an action item, carefully consider if they need to be in the meeting or not. If they must, you’re probably expecting them to do something – even if it’s just to weigh in with ideas or consider what was discussed for their use. Whatever they are, define your expectations clearly for everyone involved.  

3.    Set an End Time & Keep It

If you don’t set an end time for your meeting, you run the risk of hosting a social hour, complaint tank, or otherwise off-track discussion session. Having an end time (and keeping it) will enable you to keep everyone on-topic. Bonus: it has also been suggested that time constraints have a positive impact on creativity.  

4.    Create the Right Environment

The best meetings create an environment where attendees are free to challenge each other and input creative, blue-sky ideas that won’t be immediately dismissed. Be sure all of your attendees understand that you want them to challenge and get creative so the best results can be produced. Also make it clear that meetings are to discuss and come up with solutions, not dwell on problems.  

5.    Make it Short or Take Breaks

If your meeting runs over a half hour, give attendees regular breaks. Every half hour is best, but if you can’t swing a break that often, provide at least one an hour – even if it’s just a few minutes. This will allow attendees to use the bathroom, stretch, grab a drink or snack, or answer that urgent email. Providing breaks will not only make attendees happier, but it will cut down on distractions during important discussions.  

Bottom Line 

Now that you know the five essentials of a great meeting, continuously fine tune your structure by testing out what works and what doesn’t. Before you know it, you’ll be running highly productive and effective meetings every time. Now get out there and banish the notion that meetings are a waste of time by making them great!
To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour
To your success,
Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.
If you would like learn more about how you can get help learning how to make your meetings more effective, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.
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What If It Cost You $1 To Send / Receive An Email?

A client shared this with me and I I found it filled with wisdom and insights.

On a routine day at work, my colleague Brian stopped by to say hello and talk about a few day-to-day items on his list. As we were wrapping up our discussion, I rudely checked my email. As he started to walk out, he paused and asked me a thought-provoking question: “What if you had to pay $1 for every email?”

I immediately stopped what I was doing and started to ponder the question. What if I really had to pay $1 for every single email that I sent or read? I thought, “Would newsletters end? Would Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts become even more popular?” As I continued to think about it, I remembered two really embarrassing email moments.  I’ll share them with you only to make a point.  No judging.

Back in 2010, I was having a conversation with someone in accounts receivable about an invoice that we had to send to a company. We corresponded back and forth through email regarding a situation for at least 6 solid days. Unfortunately, at the end of those emails and six days later, we still hadn’t come to a solution. Have you ever found yourself trapped in this type of email conversation?

The next day, my boss politely called me to schedule a time that the three of us could meet in person, in order for him to help facilitate a discussion. Before we met, he printed a copy of our email string, stapled together the papers, and then used it as our handout. Truth be told, it actually looked more like a book. (The email string was 20 pages long.)

After the meeting, my boss privately and respectfully asked me a pointed question. “Would you do anything differently next time?” I painfully admitted, “Definitely. I would have had a 15-minute phone conversation first, which would’ve saved me the efforts of 6 days of email, as well as the time we took for this in-person meeting.” He smiled, and I smiled,  and we left it at that.

Today, I ask myself, “What if I had to pay for $1 for each email that I sent or received?” If I would’ve been asked this question back then, I would’ve saved $20. Additionally, our email string wouldn’t have went past a simple “Hello, can you send me some days and times that work for you to schedule a phone call about this issue? Thank you!”

My second email fiasco was in 2014. I was frantically going back and forth between emails, colleagues dropping by, text messages, customer conversations, and voicemails. The end of the day was rapidly approaching and I had yet to complete that one very important task that I needed to accomplish. Have you ever found yourself in that same agonizing predicament?

My must-do task was to send my managers and my team leads an updated list of each of their own respective departments’ secure human resources information. The updated list included compensation. Instead of a sending each manager and team lead their own separate document, I regrettably sent the entire document to all 10 of them. Unfortunately each manager and team lead could see everyone else’s compensation. When I realized what had just happened, I put my head down and felt like a complete idiot.

I started to think about what I would do differently the next time. Clearly, I needed a change to prevent something like that from happening again. I realized that because of the importance and the urgency of my task at hand, I definitely should have just shut my door. My door would be closed the next time.

Today, I would ask myself, “What if I had to pay $1 for every email that I sent or received?” In this situation, 10 recipients at one time would’ve been $10. If that was the case, I probably wouldn’t have hit send so quickly. Instead, I would’ve carefully performed each step to send 10 different emails to my 10 unique managers and teams leads.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying email is bad. Could you imagine what life would be like if we had to send all communication by hand with the self-licking stamps? In fact, I strongly believe that the advantages of email outweighs the downside. The greatest benefits of email are increased efficiency (speed of delivery, no business hours) and reduced cost (no print costs, less meetings)… so I’m a fan.

On the other hand, email creates busy work (checking constantly), a chance for a lack of clarity (written poorly), and unintentional perceived emotions.

Again I ask… What if we had to pay $1 for every email that we sent or received? Would we minimize some of our self-inflicted email wounds? Would we send and receive less SPAM? Would we stop bcc’ing people to rat them out? Would organizational work-flow change for the better? Would productivity increase? Would we have less busy-work? Would we  “take a minute” before hitting send? Would we actually collaborate in person or over the phone with real live people? Would we once again start talking about email as being a positive thing (like we did when it first became popular in the late 90s)?

ACTION: Ok. So maybe we’ll never have to pay $1 for every email. But what if you simply asked yourself that question before you sent every email? Grab a post-it note and a pen. Write the following question on the post-it: “What if I had to pay $1 for every email that I send?” Stick the question on your computer monitor. For the next 21 days, make it a habit to think before you press “send.”

If you would like learn more about how you can look at your business in new and innovative ways, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.
To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.