Tag Archives: Meetings

conversation

5 Ways To Improve Your Conversations

Most of us have a range of different conversations throughout an average working day. These can look like anything from department meetings and phonecalls with clients; to grabbing a coffee with a colleague or catching up with a friend. These conversations can be very important, as a positive conversation can have very successful outcomes. However in a world where the face to face conversation seems to have been slowly replaced by online interactions, in the words of Jim Brown, ‘technology is creating a society with relationships a mile wide but an inch deep’.

conversation

Conversation is the key to building deeper relationships, so try our 5 tips to help you achieve more fruitful conversations:

Focus

Give conversations your full attention in that moment, as allowing ourselves to be distracted when someone is speaking to us is the ultimate no-no. However good you think you are at multi-tasking, you will never be able to give your full focus to someone if you are simultaneously looking at your phone or computer screen.

Make time

Meaningful conversations don’t have to be reserved only for the times when you have hours to spare. Even when you only have a few minutes to spare you can still make the time count by giving the conversation. Ken Blanchard famously suggested that managers should spend just 60 seconds setting goals, giving praise or coaching individual team members in the One Minute Manager.

Consider your phrasing

The key to encouraging people to open up is to avoid simply asking ‘How are you?’ in a way that allows them to answer ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ Try using different phrasing and altering the emphasis of certain words, as this can help to encourage a more thoughtful response which then opens the door to a deeper conversation.

Listening

Forget advice about using eye contact, open body language and nodding to show you are listening, and don’t stress about showing you have heard them by repeating their words back to them. Focusing on these techniques could distract you from actually hearing what is being said. If you are genuinely listening with sincerity and curiosity then the speaker will know that they have your full attention.

Use open questions

If you want to keep the conversation going then try to always ask ‘why?’ rather than ‘what?’ or ‘how?’.  Open questions often lead to the best answers and encourage people to open up.

 

office

Dos and Don’ts for effective one to ones for your team

office
Feedback is crucial for teams to be able to thrive. However many of us will find ourselves avoiding taking the time to commit to regular check-in sessions with team members, even though as managers we know the benefits this would bring.

The best leaders have one-to-ones with their team members every week, whether over lunch, whilst taking a walk or even travelling to a meeting. One-on-ones don’t need to be formal but they should be clear to those involved, so that you can make productive use of your time.

However regularly you communicate with your team members, taking the time to sit down together and go a bit deeper with a dedicated one on one is worth doing.  Whether it is once a month, quarterly or even just 6 monthly, it can be a really valuable thing to do. To make the most of your one to ones, follow our dos and don’ts.

Do:

Show your interest in the career goals of your team member, beyond their current role.

Provide a welcoming space for any complaints or issues.

Be receptive to feedback about yourself too; a one to one is an opportunity to hold one another to account.

Create an action list to follow up on after the meeting.

Don’t:

Postpone one to ones or deprioritise them. This sends a negative message to your staff.

Clock-watch- allow as much time as is required depth of conversation.

Hold one-to-ones back to back in the same room on the same day- dedicate the proper time to get the most out of each session.

Spend the whole meeting talking- while feedback is helpful, you also need to listen.

 

meetings

Does Your Team Away Day Follow These Important Rules?

meetingsMany team members will roll their eyes at the thought of a Team Away Day if they have found previous events to be boring and uninspired, or unstructured and ineffective. A well planned event can change this attitude as if you follow the rules below, you will find your team comes away feeling refreshed, inspired and motivated to work together more successfully.

Check your Away Day plans include these essential ingredients:

Get the right timing

Set a date well in advance, avoiding any obvious no-go times such as school holidays, to ensure that everyone can attend. It can be helpful to schedule your Team Day with the wider business landscape in mind- is there a period of time every year when your company is naturally less busy? The ‘fresh start’ feeling of the New Year in January, or even the new financial year can be a good time to catch team members when they are in a more flexible mindset.

Have a clear purpose

Make sure that the key aims are at the front of your mind when scoping out a team event, and share these with your team too. Having a clear vision for the day does not take too long to decide on, but it can help transform the whole event by keeping everyone on the same page and preventing the day from going off track.

Make an appropriate plan

Choose the right activities for the day- spending hours in a conference room listening to various talks is not always the best way to get the message across. Try some of our team building activities to break up a day of meetings and discussions, or as a total replacement of these things. Tackling a set of tasks together is a great way to improve teamwork, unite your team and create a truly enjoyable day.

Empower attendees

Attendance at team events shouldn’t be optional, as this suggests that it is not important to the business. Consider employing a facilitator for the day to help lead the day and encourage discussion whilst allowing the company leader to be a part of the activities.

Select a good location

If you always opt for the same location for conferences and meetings, look for somewhere new to create a blank slate. Choosing a unique location will inspire team members and make the day particularly memorable.

deathbymeeting

Less Time Spent In Meetings, More Action

A lot of time can be wasted in meetings at work because they are unproductive and often arranged without an agenda. But meetings should in fact be the opposite.

meetings

A good meeting will help improve communication, produce good decision-making, generate useful ideas and motivate teams. Unfortunately though, too many meetings lack any kind of purpose, energy or structure. This makes them a waste of time and can, in some cases, demotivate people.

Patrick Lencioni suggests a fresh approach to business meetings in his book, ‘Death by Meetings’, by adapting the structure, purpose and location to prevent discussions from going off track and failing to reach a conclusion.

Here are some pointers from the book that will help make your meetings more productive:

Instigate Brief Daily Updates
This reduces overuse of email, eliminates misunderstandings and false assumptions and ensures team members are well aware of what one another are up to.

  • No agenda
  • No minutes
  • 5 minute duration
  • Same time
  • Same place
  • Every day
  • Standing in circle
  • Meet even if several are absent
  • Include coffee

Introduce Weekly Tactical Meetings

  • Start with 60 second ‘my week’ update from each attendee
  • Agree priorities from those updates to create an agenda
  • Agenda items must be topical, relevant and tactical
  • 6 agenda items max
  • 60 minute duration

Introduce Monthly Strategic Meetings

  • 2 or 3 topics only
  • Strategic not tactical
  • Embrace debate and courteous conflict
  • Research topics in advance
  • Reach decisions

And consider Quarterly Off-site meetings

  • Deep review of strategic direction
  • Team development
  • Competitor analysis

Lencioni argues that this approach to meetings will create energising discussions that build momentum and help to drive your organisation toward reaching your company’s goals.

If you would like help with making your team meeting more productive, contact our team at Team Building London today to hear how we can help.

Conference Meeting Room

8 Rules To Make Meetings Great

Meetings can easily fall into the trap of being unproductive and a waste of time, but there are ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to your meetings.

Conference Meeting Room

Make Meetings Great

We first saw these meeting ground rules in a conference room of a Japanese car company, and have been using and recommending them ever since.

The next time you decide to hold a meeting, try and enforce these meeting rules and see what difference it makes:

1.   Make sure you start and finish on time Continue reading

Here are reasons why your meeting fail

4 Reasons Why Most Meetings Fail

Meetings can be extremely productive, but on the other hand there are a number of reasons why a meeting might achieve little or nothing at all. Meetings like this aren’t uncommon, but what makes a meeting “fail”?

Here are reasons why your meeting fail

Here are reasons why your meeting fail

Here are 4 reasons why your meetings might be failing to reach their potential:

Loss of Focus

It is commonplace that sub meetings will happen within meetings and this can disrupt the whole purpose of why you are there in the first place. Try to stay on course and avoid losing direction as members may lose interest and will become despondent. Continue reading

Do You Spend Most Of Your Day At A Desk?

There are a number of us that sit at the office, sit during our daily commute and sit down again later in the day when we rest at home – this can add up to around 14 hours every day.

Sitting at work all day can cause weight gain.

Sitting at work all day can cause weight gain.

Recent research shows that a day spent sitting down at your desk can undo the benefits from cycling to work and even going to the gym.

In fact, there have been a number of studies conducted to monitor inactivity and what part this plays in the rise of obesity and diabetes.

London is one of the biggest problem areas of people sitting down, especially during their journeys on the tube and then when at work. Continue reading