The Real-Time Agenda Technique

Mar 22, 2018 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (15 minute read)

I was enjoying lunch at a technology conference with a group of CTOs from high-powered companies when the conversation turned from blockchain to meetings.

It’s funny how that always happens.

First, we heard about the awful meetings held at a large manufacturing company. Then, it was the CTO for an NFL team's turn.

“My team meetings are terrible!” he exclaimed. “My problem is my co-manager. If it were up to me, we’d have an agenda for every meeting and a report afterwards. I’m an orderly type of guy. Like, you should see my sock drawer. It’s amazing! But my partner thinks that’s all too formal and stuffy, so whenever I bring an agenda he just ignores it. Then of course the meetings always go long, we never get through what we wanted to talk about, and we just end up having more meetings to hash it out again. I guess I should put my foot down and start forcing him to use an agenda.”

He sighed.

There are easily five things you could pick out of that statement as problems worth addressing, but the big one is the conflicting beliefs between the managers. One wants to “follow rules," the other sees rules as needless constraints.

“Have you heard of a real-time agenda? Or Lean Coffee?” I asked. He hadn’t, so I explained the concept.

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Topics: tips & techniques

How to Use Meeting Skills From the Workplace to Improve Conversations With Your Kids

Mar 2, 2018 by Paul Axtell in tips & techniques (7 minute read)

We said this in our last post and we'll say it again:

You get what you tolerate.

When you tolerate subpar behavior from your family members, your colleagues or your significant other, that's what you'll get. 

Meetings, in their truest form, are conversations - and conversations are a constant in our lives. Whether we're at work, with family, or socializing - they allow people to connect and understand each other better. 

What if you could improve conversations with your kids - and even have them buy in to the idea? 

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Topics: tips & techniques

Using Ground Rules to Improve Engagement and Run Excellent Team Meetings

Feb 4, 2018 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (10 minute read)

You get what you tolerate.

I’ve heard this adage many times when complaining about my dog’s behavior, and occasionally regarding my children too. The person sharing that wisdom is telling me that my dog’s and my children’s poor behavior persists because I allow it to; because I’m creating the conditions where that kind of thing can occur not just once, but repeatedly.

Recently we hosted a webinar on how to increase engagement during team meetings, and we asked people who registered about the number one meeting engagement problem they hoped we could help solve.

Several registrants asked about how to deal with the person who won’t stop talking, making it hard for anyone else to get a word in. Several others asked about how to get people to show up on time, or even to show up at all.

I shared some specific techniques for helping with these situations in the webinar, but as more and more of these replies kept coming in, I couldn’t help but hear that adage echo in the back of my head.

You get what you tolerate.

While I believe that’s true to a degree, I never found it particularly useful!

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Topics: tips & techniques

Use These 5 Meeting Types to Improve Your Communication with Freelancers

Nov 14, 2017 by Jock Purtle in tips & techniques, remote work (4 minute read)

As your business grows, you have two routes you can take when it comes to staffing: you can hire employees or you can work with freelancers.

Many businesses are realizing the benefits of hiring remote employees and freelancers, rather than hiring in-house employees.

However, managing a team of freelancers can have its own challenges. Communication and clear direction are key to ensuring the team understand their roles, responsibilities, goals and how to escalate problems.

You also need to ensure your in-house team understand the project and how they will work with the freelancers you hire.

Regular, structured meetings and open lines of communication help ensure everything stays on track. Through each stage of the project lifecycle, diarize key meetings and ensure resulting actions and queries are followed up on.

Freelancers often work remotely in different countries with different time zones and cultures. Online meeting solutions as well as cloud based project management tools mean there’s no excuses for not communicating effectively wherever you are.

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Topics: tips & techniques, remote work

How Remote Meetings Can be More Productive For Developers and Designers

Oct 23, 2017 by Rishabh Saxena in remote work, tips & techniques (4 minute read)

As more and more teams are collaborating remotely, having effective meetings between various stakeholders is key to successful projects. Developers and designers are two core stakeholders in this process.

Collaboration between them and the issues surrounding how designers share designs with developers are much talked about and clearly a question that has not been answered in whole.

Today, developer and design teams are spread across time zones to build products for a global audience. In such scenarios, communication is the key.

The people, processes, and tools all contribute to the communication process. Having transparent workflows that make it simple for everyone across the team setup to work with one another creates better communication channels.

When it comes to meetings for developers and designers, issues of scope, feasibility, bugs, navigation, and aesthetics are some of the main talking points. Left unmoderated and unchecked, they can stagnate projects to no end.

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Topics: remote work, tips & techniques

A New Kind of Icebreaker: Create Meeting Notes Together

Jan 26, 2017 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (7 minute read)

Angela Monson, RDH, PhD
Department Chair of Dental Hygiene
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Angela, one of our newest customers, called in with a problem.

She’d started using Lucid to organize and run her meetings, and had her team log in too. She felt more organized, and was happy with the automated records she got afterwards, but she wasn’t getting the kind of engagement from the rest of the group she’d hoped for.

“Before Lucid, only one person reluctantly took notes, which did not engage the rest of the team.  I knew the Lucid notes would be more inclusive and accurate with the whole team participating. 

However I also knew the team would not want to participate right away.

I encouraged other people to take notes, but no one did. For those first meetings, it was still me doing all of the typing.”

Angela Monson

It was a problem. While she now had a way to make sure her meetings came with clearly documented results, they weren’t necessarily more enjoyable to attend when everyone else just watched her type.

She needed to get the rest of the group involved.

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Topics: tips & techniques

5 Proven Techniques for Better Brainstorming

Aug 1, 2016 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (9 minute read)

Meetings bring a group together to quickly discover answers and ideas that no one person can find by themselves.

Whether we’re working to negotiate the details of a new project, finding a way to tackle a challenging problem, or seeking to define our strategic vision, the pattern is the same; someone poses a question, and the group starts brainstorming answers.

Effective brainstorming is essential to nearly every type of business meeting.

Not everyone enjoys traditional brainstorming

Unfortunately, not all questions are created equally.

Sometimes the questions asked in a meeting don’t invite meaningful answers. Asking “Everyone good with that?” after dictating a decision isn’t an effective way to surface real concerns or get real commitments.

Some questions are too vague, making it unclear what kind of answer to give. Questions like “Do you have any feedback?” result in either polite non-replies (e.g., “Nope, I’m good.”) or long-winded side discussions that don’t necessarily get to the answers the group needs.

Getting great ideas from a group during a meeting can be hard, and for many participants, traditional brainstorming can feel like a painful waste of time.  

First, despite the popularity of brainstorming sessions, we have some evidence that meetings aren’t always the best place to birth new ideas. Ideal or not, however, sometimes a meeting is the only real opportunity we have to explore ideas as a group, so we’d better make it work.

Second, our brains all work differently.

Not everyone does their best thinking on-demand.

Not every group welcomes new ideas, creating a social imperative to keep any answers within a comfortable range of safe topics.

Some people don’t seem to understand the difference between a group meeting and a personal consultation, taking it upon themselves to dominate the meeting by answering all the questions first, loudly, and in great detail.

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Topics: tips & techniques

7 Insights about Conversation, Relationship, and Being Remarkable

May 31, 2016 by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques (17 minute read)

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

The Anatomy of Meeting Notes That People Will Use

May 12, 2016 by Elise Keith in release announcement, tips & techniques (8 minute read)

(Tip: Be sure not to miss the downloadable business meeting notes template at the end of the story)

Return Leverage, one of Lucid’s Enterprise clients, found our downloadable meeting notes to be less helpful than they’d hoped. Toby Lucich from Return Leverage asked if we could improve the exports to help make it easier for busy professionals to read the meeting notes. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn from his experience and improve the exports.

Since we made these changes in collaboration with Return Leverage, we asked Toby if he’d be willing to share more about why this format works, and how his company uses it to drive meeting results with clients. Happily, he agreed.


Toby Explains Why Formatting Can’t Suck

Toby Lucich, Return Leverage Founder and CEO

As an entrepreneur and management consultant, I’ve now worked with hundreds of business leaders in organizations big and small, for-profit and non-profit, both founder-led and professionally managed. I’ve worked with organizational leaders at all levels that have been charismatic, visionary, thought-provoking, strategic, detail-oriented; some have also been distracted, impatient, disengaged, incompetent, or simply apathetic. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.

The common challenges I’ve seen all leaders face are the overly-packed calendar, shifting expectations, soft commitments, impending deadlines, and never enough time to get it all done.

Regardless of the client or their culture, our first obligation is fundamentally about effective communication. We believe that every single client deserves our best effort to capture and communicate the most critical ideas and actions that will efficiently and effectively turn ideas into actions, and actions into successful business results.

How this information is presented is a critical first step.

A clean, easy-to-read format is a powerful first impression in shifting the value from meeting notes toward meeting agreements or records for your stakeholders. You never know which meeting is going to change the course of the company.

We’ve recently collaborated with Lucid to redesign the exported report. Here's some of the design thinking that went into the new format.

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Topics: release announcement, tips & techniques

7 Meeting Checkpoints That Ensure Alignment

Jan 12, 2016 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (5 minute read)

Standing meetings, quick huddles, speedy meetings – everywhere we look, the productivity experts are challenging us to run faster, shorter meetings.

But sometimes when you get running really fast, it’s easy to lose people along the way. When a group rushes through updates and decisions, anyone who comes to the meeting distracted, unfamiliar with the topic, or who maybe just needs a bit more time to process new information is going to miss something.

Leave No One Behind

When we go too fast for the whole group to participate, our desire to be efficient and end on time can sabotage the meeting’s purpose. Every meeting is a kind of journey, taking a group from what they knew and felt before the meeting, to a place with new answers, decisions and shared commitments to keep. If you get to the end of the journey without all your people onboard, you’ve literally wasted everyone’s time, and will have to go back and bring all those people forward again in yet another meeting.

As you work to run faster and more efficient meetings, use these 7 checkpoints to make sure everyone arrives at the same destination together.

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Topics: tips & techniques