Tricia Harris

Lucid Meetings Evangelist, based in Maryland
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Recent Posts

10 No-Nonsense Tips from "No More Boring Meetings"

January 14, 2017 at 6:35 PM by Tricia Harris in book review, meeting design

After more than 25 years of facilitating meetings and training groups, Beatrice Briggs, founder and director of the International Institute for Facilitation and Change, believes she's seen almost every group facilitation situation imaginable.

Yet, she continues to receive emails from colleagues that surprise her.

Numerous facilitators around the world teach managers and teams about the benefits of better meetings, yet few leaders actually understand why it's so important.

Heads of industry continue to focus on cash flow, operations, and reducing waste while ignoring the time, energy and money squandered in unproductive meetings.

Inspired by the many stories she's heard over the years, "No More Boring Meetings" aims to encourage teams and managers to reap the great benefits offered from their time meeting together.

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Topics: book review, meeting design

Strategic Planning Meeting Essentials Pack

June 1, 2016 at 4:05 PM by Tricia Harris in remote work, meeting design

Creating a strategic plan for your business is a critical task for the leadership of every company.

If you don’t decide where you’re headed, you will lead aimlessly. People will follow your direction, but they won’t have context, insight into to your actions, or an understanding of how they can best contribute.

Any planning requires time and focused attention, yet with a few simple rules, building a strategic plan can be accomplished with less effort than most people think.

Best of all, once you create the plan, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Everyone in your organization can move in the same direction toward a common set of goals.

Mapping Your Strategic Plan

Building a strategic plan is like creating a map. It has directions for how an organization will accomplish any given strategy. The plan (map) explains where a company is going and the methods (roads) people will take to get there.

When your team decides to come together and build the plan, be sure to include all relevant stakeholders in the process. Without them, you’ll have less commitment to the final outcome.

Why Plan?

Many leaders understand the value of planning, but neglect to go through with it for a myriad of reasons. Time constraints, knowledge of the process, or perceived high cost can all be obstacles to executing.

Here are 5 great reasons to get your team together to create a strategic plan as soon as possible:

  1. You get to set priorities
    Provide clarity by letting your team know the most important initiatives for the organization.
  2. You get buy-in on company direction
    If everyone contributes to the process, they'll be more supportive of the outcomes.
  3. Your team will have alignment
    When your team has a mutual understanding of and agreement on the company's goals, they'll work together more effectively.
  4. You can simplify what you'll work on
    Once you limit yourself to a set of specific goals, you can be liberated to work on just those goals.
  5. As a leader, you can communicate your vision
    Once you document your company's vision, not only can you clear your head of thinking about it, but everyone around you (employees, vendors, leadership) can contribute to achieving the vision sooner.

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Topics: remote work, meeting design

7 Insights about Conversation, Relationship, and Being Remarkable

May 31, 2016 at 10:58 AM by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

We recently co-hosted a Q&A webinar with Paul Axtell, and didn’t know exactly what to expect.

He gave such a great presentation – useful tidbits about meetings, great conversations, and life in general - that we decided we owed it to our audience to share.

Watch the recording, or read below for excerpts and the transcript from the webinar.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

Case Study: Return Leverage uses Lucid Meetings to help clients free up to 30% of their workday

May 9, 2016 at 4:47 PM by Tricia Harris in case studies

Return Consulting has worked for many years with clients from startups to the Fortune 50. Over that time, they’ve found that the most uniform shortcoming across all organizations is the weak commitments made in poorly run meetings, working toward ill-defined project objectives.

Toby Lucich, Return’s Founder and CEO, saw an opportunity to solve this problem for his clients, and was inspired to create Return Leverage - a service that enables leaders and project specialists to redefine their workload by delegating the day-to-day details of project management, meeting facilitation and task organization.

Using Lucid, Toby and his expert team drive these often overlooked essential habits within client organizations in a very effective way.

We spoke with Toby Lucich for this case study, and here’s what he had to say.

The Problem - And Inspiration for a New Service

Many of the clients Return worked with suffered from poorly run meetings, but this hasn’t been due to a lack of knowledge, or inadequate training.

Instead, Return found that clients wanted to rush through meetings, trying to keep their scarce employee resources focused on the most critical work at hand - the specific tasks that make the ’highest and best use’ of their available expertise.

"The problem is that when organizations try to shortcut their meetings, they lose the fundamental cadence that confirms commitments and drives accountability,” Lucich shared. “This ‘hurry up offense’ left no one doing the basic blocking and tackling work anymore – such as conducting effective meetings, monitoring commitments and deliverables, and keeping track of all the little details.”

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Topics: case studies

The Remote Team Meeting Essentials Pack

April 12, 2016 at 2:56 PM by Tricia Harris in remote work

On the TV show The Profit, Marcus Lemonis teaches that “people, process and product” are the three keys to a successful business. As Chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, he leads close to 6,000 employees in over 100 cities across the US. I’ll take that as a credible source.

There are numerous processes out there to run a business, manage people, and develop products, yet almost all of them are geared toward in-person communication.

What happens when your team is distributed, and rarely sees each other in person?

Remote work is a reality in companies everywhere - whether employees are on a different floor, co-located in offices across multiple cities, or in a remote home office location working solo.

We've published a wealth of information on remote work over the years. We sifted through it all and pulled out the five pieces we felt every remote team can and should have in their process toolkit - the foundations - and wrapped them up into a neat little package.

Introducing The Remote Team Meeting Essentials Pack. Here's what you'll find inside.

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Topics: remote work

Intel Alumni Board Leverages Lucid to Focus on Strategic Initiatives and Maintain Continuity

February 2, 2016 at 3:04 PM by Tricia Harris in case studies

The Intel Alumni Network Board is a twelve person, nonprofit Board of Directors serving approximately 5000 former Intel employees.

The Intel Alumni Network’s mission is to create a thriving community that encourages personal and professional growth through networking and thought leadership.

The Board of Directors meets regularly to decide on the strategic direction of the network, and executing on their initiatives requires attention to detail as well as documentation of progress and decisions.

Challenges Facing Boards of Directors

One challenge that all Boards of Directors face is maintaining continuity between meetings. Because the meetings are held monthly or quarterly, remembering what was discussed from one to the next can prove difficult.

In addition, board members are usually employed at different companies, and sometimes they want to use the meeting tools they already have. If there is no centralization of information, important decisions can get lost in the shuffle.

"Since we don’t have to switch around between different sharing tools and conference lines from meeting to meeting or from one agenda item to the next, each director always knows how to get online for our meetings and we don’t have delays while we wait for people to get onto the right tool." Pat Scatena, Corporate Secretary

Another challenge for boards is keeping focused. Since Board members manage their own committees and are responsible for strategic objectives outside of the Board, they sometimes want to tackle the details of other projects - like running an event or gathering input on a website design - instead of sticking to the topics on the agenda.

Directors sometimes need to coordinate their own committee meetings in addition to the main board meetings. If they aren’t able to easily set up and run them successfully, they might resort to using multiple tools and losing valuable information.

How Lucid Supports Boards

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Topics: case studies

We Meet 5x More Than 40 Years Ago, and We Get Better Results [Infographic]

January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM by Tricia Harris in meeting design

Meetings in the modern workplace are about as common as visits to the coffee machine, and we all want them to be as effective as possible.

Our recent research shows that over the last 40 years, the number of meetings we're having per day has increased by 5 times - from 11 million to 55 million. Yes, every day!

Sure we're meeting more, but the best part is that we're getting better at it. The most quoted statistics say that up to 50% of meetings are a waste of time, but we've found reseach that suggests 84% of survey respondents rated face-to-face meetings as very effective or somewhat effective.

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Topics: meeting design

A Step By Step Strategy to Crush Your Next Sales Call

December 15, 2015 at 7:30 PM by Tricia Harris in tips & techniques

Most people think online sales meetings only last for an hour or so. They join at the beginning, and an hour later it’s over.

However, these are usually the people that attend meetings, not the ones who plan them.

Great salespeople know that much more is involved in making meetings successful: they are actually a series of carefully orchestrated events over the course of a sale.

At any given time you are scheduling, planning, meeting, getting agreement on the next meeting, or following up - then repeating over and over until a sale is closed.

First Get the Meeting on Their Schedule

Find a meeting time that works for everyone. If a decision maker (of any kind) cannot attend, try not to have the meeting. If there is an influencer that wants to meet without a decision maker, you’ll need to consider that you will likely have to meet again. This person may not convey information correctly to their colleague, and/or they may not have even told them about your product or service yet.

Your time is just as valuable as your prospect’s. If you must meet without the proper people, make sure to get their email addresses. Be candid with the rest of the team that you will be following up with notes and action items to everyone, including those who could not attend.

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Topics: tips & techniques

Cloud Four: Conquering the Mobile Web, One Project at a Time

December 1, 2015 at 4:46 PM by Tricia Harris in case studies

Cloud Four is a small web design and development company based in Portland, Oregon. Passionate about the mobile web, the team’s expertise lies in building websites and apps that work seamlessly across any device.

As Senior Project Manager, Megan Notarte is responsible for making sure that technical requirements are communicated clearly between her team and their clients. Since Cloud Four often engages in highly complex technical projects, this can present a challenge.

Megan and the rest of the team use Lucid Meetings to collaborate on notes during client meetings, coordinate action items to keep everyone focused on their share of the workload, and share notes once the meetings end.

"Prior to using Lucid Meetings, we had no solid conference call and screen sharing solution. We had hobbled together various tools (free conference calling and various screen sharing services), but it was far from seamless. We also had no good way of collaborating on an agenda or sharing meeting notes and action items."

The Devil is in the Details

Project managers in any industry must be highly detail oriented and able to keep an entire team focused in order to lead everyone to a successful project completion.

Scope and requirements can change at any time, so it is imperative that the project leader record decisions as accurately as possible along the way.

In order to be successful, Megan relies on the following Lucid Meetings' features to flawlessly take her projects from idea to final launch:

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Topics: case studies

Lunette: Moving Marketing Projects Forward with a Global Team and Customer Base

November 3, 2015 at 6:55 PM by Tricia Harris in case studies

Lunette is a small but fast growing global company, headquartered in the rural community of Juupajoki, Finland.

For Marketing & Social Media Manager Cathy Chapman, keeping up with all of the marketing activities is a daily challenge. As she moves from project to project, she needs to keep her team organized by managing tasks, decisions, and timelines to keep work on track. 

Cathy and her team use the Lucid Meetings’ agenda to contribute ideas for upcoming meetings, action items to keep everyone on task, and the meeting scheduler to initiate a meeting with potential clients in a professional way.

Challenges small global companies all face

Working via the web, small companies have access to a global audience and can easily hire team members all over the world - yet managing to keep everyone in sync at all times can be tricky. With the right tools and processes, small teams can overcome just about any remote work task.

1) Moving work forward

Cathy’s team is based in multiple locations - from the main headquarters in Finland to team members in Utah, Montana, and Tennessee. She and her teammates don’t see each other every day, so one of their biggest struggles was getting everyone up to speed before a weekly meeting.

Cathy Chapman, Marketing & Social Media Manager

In order to not forget what they wanted to discuss in each meeting, they started using Lucid's collaborative agenda editor to jot down ideas as they thought of them throughout the week. Now, the team comes to meetings prepared because they’ve been able to contribute directly to the conversation ahead of time.

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Topics: case studies