Running effective meetings: a guide for humans

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Running effective meetings: a guide for humans

Do you know the difference between an effective meeting and an efficient meeting?  So many articles are written about structuring your meeting in a particular way to make them the most efficient.  Let's face it - we all have too many meetings and a little efficiency would be good right?  I have been in "efficient" meetings and it felt a bit militaristic and not very human-friendly.  We spent more time worrying about structure than we did about the actual topic of the meeting. 

Sarah Goff-Dupont does a great job in this article transforming an efficient meeting into an effective meeting.  She has several great suggestions for keeping a meeting "human" and accomplishing the goals and objectives of the meeting.  

Effective meetings keep attendees engaged

"It’s ok to start the meeting by setting the expectation that everyone is 100% focused on what’s going on in the room. Let the group know that if someone has work that is so pressing they’d be tempted to multi-task, they have permission to go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. They’ll produce better work, and you’ll have more engaged participants. Win-win"

This is a huge pet peeve of mine:  people on their cell phone or laptop doing other work (or Facebook) while in the meeting.  I once had a direct report who spent the entire meeting tweeting to his friends.  I would have to send him a text message in the middle of the meeting to tell him to put his phone down!  Why bother coming. 

 

Running effective meetings: a guide for humans - Atlassian Blog

Subscribe now Running effective meetings isn't simply a matter of doing the obvious things like sharing the agenda and starting on time. While those things are important, they're just table stakes. The real key to effective meetings is organizing and running them with a human touch - not like some corporate management automaton.

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Eight Simple Recommendations for  Good Acoustical Etiquette in an Open Plan Office

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Eight Simple Recommendations for Good Acoustical Etiquette in an Open Plan Office

Eight Simple Recommendations for Good Acoustical Etiquette in an Open Plan Office

Thomas R. Horrall, FASA


The number one facility-related complaint expressed by people working in the open plan office environment is inadequate acoustical privacy from neighbors.  The increasing trend of lower cubicle wall heights directly contributes to the transfer of more unwanted sound from one cubicle to surrounding ones.  The single most effective acoustical tool for reducing the annoyance of this sound transfer is adequate background sound, usually generated by an effective sound masking system.  However, even the best sound masking system may not be able to fully reduce acoustical annoyance by itself.  If implemented, the following recommendations will go a long way toward further enhancing acoustical privacy.

1. Never use a speakerphone.  Not only is speakerphone sound an annoyance in itself, but people usually speak louder when using a speakerphone, causing further annoyance to their neighbors.  The office noise transmitted to the external party by a speakerphone is also an annoyance to them, and may even degrade their ability to hear the conversation.  Pick up the telephone handset or use a headset.

2. Develop a softer telephone voice.  Many telephones have an adjustment called “sidetone” which can help with this.  Sidetone is the amount of the telephone user’s own voice that he hears in his receiver.  If it is set too low, the user usually speaks louder than necessary, annoying his neighbor.  Many telephone vendors don’t take the time to adjust the sidetone properly during installation, and they may have to be called to make the adjustment.  There are also “stoplight” type monitor devices available that remind the user to keep his voice down.  

3. Adjust telephone ring loudness.  If your phone has an adjustable ring loudness setting, make sure it is only as loud as necessary.

4. Set cell phones and pagers to minimum ring volume, or better still, vibrate mode.  If vibrate mode is not feasible, make sure the ringtone setting is subtle and that the phone is as close to the user’s work position as feasible so that it is audible at a low volume setting.  Don’t leave the cell phone when going to lunch – take it with you so that ringtones don’t annoy neighbors  when there is no one to pick up the phone.

5. Take cell phones to a break room or other private space if a call is likely to be protracted.  Also consider letting voicemail take a message and return the call from a landline. One of the worst breaches of office etiquette is those people who make long, loud personal calls at their cubicle desks instead of stepping outside (or into a more private area).

6. Listen to any music over headphones, not loudspeakers.  Music listening in the office is increasingly acceptable, but remember that one person’s music is another’s noise.  If it is frequently necessary to hear colleagues entering your office while listening to music, use “open air” type headphones, or even a single earbud, rather than one in each ear.  Don’t hum or sing along to the music.

7. Use Instant Messaging.  IM is also becoming commonplace in the office.  Do you really need to go have a verbal conversation with a colleague or would a brief IM do just as well, or maybe even better.

8. Don’t make unnecessary noise in the office.  Gum-cracking, coffee-slurping, ice-chomping, pen-tapping and, most offensive of all, full-bellied belching potentially annoy all of your neighbors.  A cubicle is a public area, and those working inside should act as they would in any other public area.


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How to fire a horrible Client

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How to fire a horrible Client

Do you know the difference between a terrible client and a challenging client? 

Take a look at this article and get some advise on how to get rid of those terrible clients (we all have them!).

How to Fire a Horrible Client - SMALL BIZ AHEAD

When you first started your small business, you were probably overjoyed when you landed your first customer. You were grateful for the work, and their belief in you validated the reason you became your own boss. Then you got your first bad client - you know, the one that makes you cringe when they call.

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The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

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The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

A full moon.  A perfectly calm blue-sky and the sun about to rise.  I had been planning on my first fishing trip of the season for two weeks and was really looking forward to it.  I had new gear and a new tech toy to find all the fish in the lake charged up and ready to go.  I got out on the lake about 4:50 am and paddled through the calm still waters out to the center of the cove like I always do to get my gear setup and ready to fish. While I was getting set up, I heard splashes all around me as the lake was alive with turtles, fish, ducks, and geese.  Picture perfect.  I put on my new lure and did a trial cast with my new spinning reel and all systems were a go.  But then my phone chirped.  Then again.  Then again.  I was forced to dig it out and see what was up.  My assistant who was going to open for me this morning had a difficult night and was ill.  She couldn’t open up the office for me this morning. 

I sat back in my kayak and a flurry of thoughts ran through my head.  First was panic that I wouldn’t have enough time to get home, shower and to the office to open in time.  Then I remembered it was only 5:00 am.  Then I quickly tried to figure out what other plans I had in place to cover for me in cases like this but in the end, none were going to work.  Then a not so funny memory popped into my head of a young individual asking how great it was to own my own business.  With the thought so prevalent in my head at that moment – owning your own business means everything falls on you if all else fails.  Regardless of your plans - there is nobody else to handle the situation but you.  So I packed up my gear and paddled back to shore.  Popped the kayak on top of the car and headed home to get ready for the day. 

As if someone was watching my life, I got an email this morning about “How to Keep Your Small Biz Running Without You in 5 Steps”.  A bit of clairvoyance on their part to send that to me this morning – so I thought I would share it with you. 

There are good points in the article but I struggle with having all of the details ironed out as they suggest.  My day as an operator of a coworking space consists of scheduling meeting rooms on the fly with my customers, giving tours as folks just pop in and are interested in the space, and dealing with a variety of “situations” as the many personalities of a coworking space collide each day.  That’s pretty hard to write down in a contingency plan!  But please take a look at the article as there are good thought and ideas outlined. 

 

How to Keep Your Small Biz Running Without You in 5 Steps - SMALL BIZ AHEAD

If you're a hands-on small business owner, it's crucial to plan for a day when a crisis - a sudden illness, family emergency, or travel disaster - keeps you away from the office. Smart business owners get business insurance to help protect against common risks like natural disasters and theft, but then some fail to ...

 

 

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Being profitable means you are paying yourself

If you run a small business and are covering your bills and employees expenses every month - you feel as though your doing OK.  But if you are not paying yourself a reasonable salary, you're not profitable and you're not doing ok. 

If you pay yourself first and then cover your bills, this forces you to figure out a way to make it work.  There is no false sense of comfort when you do this and if you can't make it work, you probably need a "Plan B".  Even if you are only paying yourself a small percentage of your revenue each month, you're still getting paid.  Increase that percentage every month - again forcing yourself to grow your business.   But pay yourself first - then deal with bills.

This article below offers a good perspective on this topic.  Take a look.

How To Figure Out How Much to Pay Yourself

You are in college and it is the summer. You decide to paint houses to make a little pocket money. A neighbor of yours is interested. You look at his house and then figure out the cost of the paint will be $500. Would you charge him $500 to paint the house?

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When Working From Home Doesn’t Work

This is a great article on the power and value of working together.  I see this happening in our space here.  Members bouncing ideas and thoughts off other members.  You can't replace the experience and value of human interaction with technology.  As much of a technology geek that I am, I have to agree there is nothing technically available to replace a door jam conversation.  (for the younger generation - the mere expression "Door Jam" comes from a time when we all worked in the same building and many problems were solved hanging out in someone's doorway)

"The power of presence has no simple explanation. It might be a manifestation of the “mere-exposure effect”: We tend to gravitate toward what’s familiar; we like people whose faces we see, even just in passing. Or maybe it’s the specific geometry of such encounters. The cost of getting someone’s attention at the coffee machine is low—you know they’re available because they’re getting coffee—and if mid-conversation, you see that the other person has no idea what you’re talking about, you automatically adjust."

 

When Working From Home Doesn't Work

The reaction was generally unsparing. The announcement was depicted, variously, as the desperate move of a company whose revenues had fallen 20 quarters in a row; a veiled method of shedding workers; or an attempt to imitate companies, like Apple and Google, that never embraced remote work in the first place.

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Bring on the corporate world! Are you ready?

I have seen this trend in our coworking space.  It makes perfect sense that corporations would utilize the infrastructure created by coworking spaces.  It's inexpensive, flexible, and a smaller commitment than traditional leases.  

 

Corporate Coworking and Preparing Your Flexible Workspace - essensys

In light of the significant changes we've seen in the flexible workspace market we thought it appropriate to take a look at Corporate Coworking. From its origins to the driving forces behind the move to a coworking environment, keep reading to understand why you need to factor in corporates to your shared workspace or Coworking business plan.

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