Posts Tagged 'meetings'

New Insight Article: How to Reduce Meeting Footprint in Your Organization

Posted on May 14th, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

  Meeting load is a problem in many enterprises, and a good way to improve productivity in them is to have less of people’s time spent on meetings, freeing them to do other work. At first this seems to mean holding fewer meetings, but of course that is an oversimplification: meetings are a vital part of doing business. What you really need is to optimize what I like to call the footprint of the meetings you hold. My recent insight article, titled How to Reduce Meeting Footprint in Your Organization, analyzes the many ways this can be effected. Enjoy!

Who Will Teach Oratory to our Employees?

Posted on January 23rd, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An under-appreciated skill There is an art, or a skill, called Oratory, or Public Speaking, and in my current career it’s part of the required tool set: without the ability to speak well in a public setting I couldn’t make a living delivering interesting lectures, something I take great pleasure in doing. However, the art of eloquent speaking goes far beyond formal lecture delivery: it is what people do all the time in a business setting, whenever they present a PowerPoint presentation or just speak to assembled colleagues or managers in order to impart information and influence a decision. And.. Read more

Default Settings for Scheduling a Productive Meeting

Posted on November 8th, 2013 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

In a perfect world… In a perfect world, your calendar application would have a slider control in the meeting scheduling interface captioned “Productivity”. The slider would have calibrations next to it, ranging from “Total waste of everyone’s time” to “Superbly productive meeting”.  Anyone scheduling a meeting could select whether they wanted the meeting to be effective, and how much so. Then again, in a perfect world, would anyone select a setting other than “Superbly productive” for their meetings? So  we could eliminate the slider, and just have the default setting be  the productive one. Right? … and in our world.. Read more

Crafting Effective PowerPoint Presentations: Food for Thought

Posted on December 10th, 2012 · Posted in Individual Solutions

In a previous post I promised you to write about how to craft great PowerPoint presentations. I was planning to give you a list of “do this, do that” tips, but I found myself thinking about some underlying factors that make a slide presentation effective (or not). This turned out much more interesting than just a list of tips, so I’ll share my conclusions with you as food for thought. The conclusions pretty much agree with the way I write presentations for my lectures; I will give you some pointers at the end. Do you really need a “Great PowerPoint.. Read more

How to Write Terrible PowerPoint Presentations

Posted on November 8th, 2012 · Posted in Individual Solutions

Microsoft’s PowerPoint can be a blessing or a curse.  Either way, it is an inseparable part of our business environment (though you do occasionally run into a presenter with the skill and self-assurance to avoid PowerPoint presentations altogether). The trick is to make your PowerPoint presentations into effective tools that you wield to achieve your goals, rather than the converse. I’ve been using PowerPoint for almost two decades, and have seen it used endlessly by others. I still use it today in my public speaking role, where it’s imperative that it do good. And it never ceases to amaze me.. Read more

Why Business Travel Freezes are Bad for Your Business

Posted on October 15th, 2012 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

A familiar knee-jerk reaction We’ve all been there. The economy goes into the down side of one of its never-ending spasmodic cycles and the word comes down: Freeze all business travel! The urge to batten the hatches when times get rough is understandable and necessary; that’s how responsibly-managed companies survive the hard times. It’s just that a sweeping ban on business travel makes no sense at all in the context of survival, because such travel has an important role in securing the future of the very company you’re trying to help. It never ceases to amaze me how the significance.. Read more

No computers allowed!

Posted on February 24th, 2012 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

I’ve reported before on the policy of leaving Blackberries outside meeting rooms… and now I’ve heard of a policy that tops that. An attendee approached me after my lecture on Email Overload solutions today and told me that in the advertising agency where she works it is forbidden to bring notebook computers into meetings. She used to find this objectionable, but having heard me explain the damage of checking email to the effectiveness of meetings, she could now understand why it was a good idea after all. Being in advertising, where their meetings were about hammering out creative ideas, they.. Read more

How to politely respond to a cellphone in a meeting?

Posted on November 9th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Now that we live in a reality where we’re interrupted by a cellphone call a few times every hour, it is inevitable that people ring us even while we’re in an important business meeting. The question becomes, then, how do we react to the ring while remaining polite? This was not a problem back in that ancient era – say, 25 years ago – when business people had something called an office, which had a door, and a secretary that could be asked not to transfer calls. But today we meet in coffee shops as often as in walled rooms,.. Read more

A blast from the past: weekly status updates

Posted on July 22nd, 2010 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Periodic status reports are one area where you would do well to look for information overload improvement opportunities. In many organizations the network hums with daily reports, weekly reports, and monthly reports, often with large amounts of redundancy. Just take a critical look around you, or in the mirror… But something reminded me the other day of an extreme example of such redundancy, going back to 1982. I had just joined Intel and relocated to Silicon Valley for some on-the-job training, and among the many wonders of the American Way I was introduced to a wonderful method of sharing status.. Read more

At last – a meeting cost calculator!

Posted on May 24th, 2010 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Meetings consume precious time like a SUV guzzles gas. I remember that Andy Grove, Intel’s legendary co-founder, once wrote that you need half a dozen approvals to buy a $5000 copier but can call a meeting of 20 managers – whose time costs far more – without anyone raising an eyebrow. The fact is, the time cost of meetings is enormous and usually overlooked. Now, time spent on a well led, interactive, lively meeting is very well spent; but all too often meetings are long, boring and useless, especially when everyone is doing email… and when they drag on, or.. Read more