How to Facilitate a Meeting with Confidence

Jun 16, 2014 by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation (2 minute read)

Have you been entrusted with managing a new project or coordinating a weekly meeting? How do you take the lead to ensure you get the respect you deserve?

You may not have been trained in the disciplines of leadership or facilitation - but there are a few reliable strategies that when used effectively will demonstrate you’re in charge.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

3 Reasons to Rethink Private Meeting Notes

May 13, 2014 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation (4 minute read)

I started experimenting with profanity at age 10, and my mother told me "Whenever you use one of those words, I want you to picture that thing you just said physically dropping out of your mouth onto your shoes."

This effectively unpleasant image kept my language squeaky clean for about 2 years, and has helped me keep in mind this basic rule: If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

Agenda writing for high-performance teams: Lessons learned from Mission Impossible and the A-Team

May 3, 2014 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation (4 minute read)

There are lots of articles out there on how to put together an agenda, many of which focus on proper agenda etiquette, including formatting, logistics, and the judicious use of inspirational quotes.

If you're running formal board meetings or regular committee meetings, then it makes sense to spend some time learning about the Standard Order of Business from Robert's Rules and developing a good set of templates. 

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

How to take notes in meetings

Apr 22, 2014 by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques (3 minute read)

Have you ever been asked to take meeting notes? We've all been there, and usually no one is thrilled about it.

However, taking meeting notes is a critical step in moving work forward, and everyone should know how to do it well.

Not clear why you should even take a note? Then by all means start by reading our previous post - we've got 5 good reasons for ya.

What notes should I take?

The skill of how to take notes in meetings sounds easy, but it actually takes practice. Team members may talk quickly, and you want to make sure to capture the important points:

  • Meeting minutes should be comprised of important facts. Basic example: "Ted is flying to Denver on Tuesday.” The sentence captures who, what, when, and where.
  • Issues and decisions are also important to record. For example, “we need to ensure the hotel has a working internet connection for the meeting” (issue to be resolved) or “Sally will accompany Fred to the conference” (decision made by the team).
  • Make sure to capture any action plans that result from the issues raised or decisions made. Example: "Sarah will book the flights and hotel, and Sally will purchase conference tickets.
  • Lastly, record any questions raised and their answers, as well as ideas provided by the team. Once you get into the habit of reviewing notes from previous meetings, this will become valuable.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

Book Review: Meet Like You Mean It

Apr 14, 2014 by John Keith in leadership & facilitation, book review (1 minute read)

I bought this book because I've been following Wayne Turmel's work on collaboration and virtual meetings for several years.

I was looking for a single reference that provided specific, actionable guidance for leading better VIRTUAL MEETINGS.

This book not only achieves that goal, but exceeded my expectations by going beyond technology and focusing on how to prepare and run great meetings - whether virtual, in-person, or some combination of both.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, book review

Plan to communicate, and have a communication plan

Apr 4, 2014 by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, project management (2 minute read)

Do you tend to manage projects loosely, or do you develop detailed project plans with pages of fancy Gantt charts? Either way, there's one strategy you should always consider: a plan to communicate.

Communication is simply defined as an exchange of information, yet this can mean different things to different people. For instance, all of the following could be considered project communication:

  • A series of status report meetings
  • A website where customers go to access information
  • Emails between members of the team
  • Instant messaging
  • A detailed project communication plan

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, project management

Infographic: 7 keys to successful client meetings online

Mar 25, 2014 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques (2 minute read)

Project managers with training and experience know that there's more to running a project than simply writing down some dates and hounding people for status updates.

Scrum masters and Agile coaches who have worked with more than one kind of team also know there's a big difference between getting that certificate and actually knowing how to do the job well.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

Defining Collaborative Meetings

Feb 18, 2014 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation (2 minute read)

We develop software designed to improve collaborative meetings, and the people we reach out to are those who often hold collaborative meetings.

When we talk about collaborative meetings, it sometimes sounds like we're just flipping our verbs and adjectives about.

So let's take a moment and get clear on what we mean when we say collaborative meetings, and why the definition matters.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

6 Ways to Make Sure People Are Listening in Your Virtual Meetings

Feb 3, 2014 by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, remote work (2 minute read)

Did you know the average manager spends 30% of their time in meetings? And, research shows that 46% of meetings result in no action.

But what if you could save time and get more done? What if you and your coworkers could actually say, "that was a great meeting?"

When you have an in-person meeting, you can tell when people are engaged. However, when you have virtual meetings with a team it's more difficult - and keeping people's attention is critical.

Yet, I'll bet most of the people attending your meetings are not paying attention. This is one of the reasons (out of many) that projects aren’t getting finished, meetings go long, and you have to have more of them to accomplish your goals.

Bottom line: When you get people to pay attention, you get more done - faster!

But how, you say? Below are a few easy rules to make it happen:

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, remote work

5 Reasons to Take Notes in Meetings

Jan 8, 2014 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques (3 minute read)

Salary.com conducts a semi-regular survey to discover how employees waste time at work. While social media definitely has an impact, the reported champion time-waster was too many meetings. Again. Responding to surveys didn't even make the list.

If you want to have meetings that work rather than waste time, you are probably already working to set a clear goal, prepare an agenda, and only invite people who need to be there. But these steps alone won't cut it, and can backfire if you don't also capture and send out notes.

You have a clear goal but no one documented the decision, or the next steps? Get ready to have that conversation all over again in yet another meeting. Someone couldn't make the meeting and there are no notes? Yet another need to schedule more meetings.

Related: How to take notes in meetings

If you have a working meeting, someone needs to take notes. Here are 5 reasons why.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques