meetings

How to Handle Agendas in a Meeting (Part 1 of 2)

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I prepare an agenda?
  • How do I use an agenda in a meeting?
  • How do I present an agenda in a meeting?

This cast walks through how to prepare and deliver an agenda for a large meeting or training.

Agenda preparation is a lost art. We think of agendas as the skeleton of a good meeting. Sadly, too many meetings suffer from a lack of the structure that agendas provide. Meetings without agendas are usually terribly inefficient. Because they are [somewhat ;-)] time-bound, that inefficiency means ineffectiveness. And ineffectiveness is anathema to Manager Tools managers.

In this cast, we tell you what to do once you've prepared your agenda. (There's a separate cast for the details and rules around preparation).

Be a management artist: use agendas.


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Effective Teleconferencing - Part 2 of 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I make a conference call effective?
  • What should I do on a conference call?
  • Can I be on mute on a conference call?

This week, we conclude our conversation on effective teleconferencing.


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Effective Teleconferencing - Part 1 of 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I make a conference call effective?
  • What should I do on a conference call?
  • Can I be on mute on a conference call?

This casts lays out our recommendations for an Effective Teleconference Meeting, or Conference Call.

We've been asked many times for this cast, and had intended to deliver it much earlier, but it kept getting pushed back. Teleconferences, or meetings conducted as conference calls, are much more widely used today than 20 years ago. Cost used to be an issue, but with costs moot, those very same savings have caused organizational dispersion that drive the teleconference's ubiquity.

We are appalled at much of the guidance we hear. For instance: using mute while you have the speaker on. This is tantamount to encouraging Blackberry use in a face to face meeting, and laptops fully deployed and in email send/receive mode. What a waste! Somehow, because the COST of the call is free, we've lost sight of the VALUE of our time.

Get ready for a distinctly unique set of recommendations.


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How to Take Notes

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What's the best way to take notes?
  • What is the Cornell method?
  • How do I use my notes?

This cast describes an effective way to take notes.

If you go to meetings all the time... no, wait. BECAUSE you go to meetings all the time, you need an effective way to take notes. There are certainly a LOT of different ways to do so, but if you ask a hundred or so executives, some common themes emerge about what works and why. For most of us, we write too much, and get too little value, for all the wrong reasons.

We figure, at 10 meetings a week - and we KNOW you go to more than that, it ends up being 5,000 meetings every decade... so maybe 25,000 meetings CONSERVATIVELY in your professional career.

In other words, whether you realize it or not, you need to be good at taking and using your notes.


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How to Run Your Staff Meeting (Part 2 of 2)

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Should I have a weekly team meeting?
  • What should my agenda be for my team meetings?
  • How do I get my team to contribute in team meetings?

Today, mark and I finish up our series on running your staff meeting. If you haven't listened to last week's show, you may want to do so.


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How to Run Your Staff Meeting (Part 1 of 2)

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Should I have a weekly team meeting?
  • What should my agenda be for my team meetings?
  • How do I get my team to contribute in team meetings?

We've alluded to it, we've talked about it, but we've never until now shared our recommendation for one of the few mandatory meetings we recommend: The Effective Manager's Weekly Staff Meeting. We believe that a "Weekly Staff" and weekly one on ones are the core of running a team of directs. It's one thing to meet with everyone individually, but Effective Managers know that there is a need for a socializing structure for the team as a unit.

And if you've ever HATED that "round robin" at the end of meetings, where no one really knows what to say, and everyone just wants the meeting to be over, we'll tell you how to avoid THAT too.


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Running Large Meetings - The Greeting

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I greet everyone in a 50+ person meeting?
  • How do I make a big meeting successful?
  • How do I start big meetings?

Running large meetings can sometimes seem like an arcane art. Fortunately, there are a number of simple practices that vastly improve your ability to present and communicate effectively. Over the course of the next several months, we will have a lot more to say about running large meetings and presentations, but today, we cover the first of these techniques - the Greeting.


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Brainstorming - Part 2 of 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I organize a brainstorming session?
  • What are the rules of a brainstorming session?
  • Why is peanut butter important?

In today's fast and flat world, ideas are becoming critical competitive advantages. Managers - and many others - need to be good at getting the most and best ideas from themselves and their teams.

And, if you ask a hundred managers what are some of the tools they might use to generate ideas, the ONLY tool that would get 100 votes is brainstorming. The funny thing is, we've been in lots of meetings where folks said that what they were doing was brainstorming, but it wasn't. It was solution development, which is a completely different thing.


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Brainstorming - Part 1 of 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I organize a brainstorming session?
  • What are the rules of a brainstorming session?
  • Why is peanut butter important?

In today's fast and flat world, ideas are becoming critical competitive advantages. Managers - and many others - need to be good at getting the most and best ideas from themselves and their teams.

And, if you ask a hundred managers what are some of the tools they might use to generate ideas, the ONLY tool that would get 100 votes is brainstorming. The funny thing is, we've been in lots of meetings where folks said that what they were doing was brainstorming, but it wasn't. It was solution development, which is a completely different thing.

Since many managers don't know how to lead a brainstorming session, this cast tells you how.


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Videoconference Update

A member kindly forwarded to us his corporate guidance regarding videoconferences. As I read it, it occurred to me that our focus in the cast was pretty narrow, and I may have assumed a couple of things that might be additional points for you to consider.

It reminded us to speak naturally. Maybe we implied that, but we weren't as clear as we could have been. You don't talk louder on a videoconference. That's important.

"State your name and location before speaking." I've seen it done both ways - with and without this.