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  • feedwordpress 16:00:27 on 2018/09/27 Permalink
    Tags: meetings, , ,   

    Make Your Meetings More Engaging 

    Whether you have been coordinating meetings for decades or days there are some simple tips to follow to make any meeting more productive and the attendees feel welcomed. There are times when meetings seem to plan themselves especially when the majority of the week is spent attending or planning several meetings! People may quickly migrate to an open room and start discussing random topics, etc. or an agenda is created, the room is reserved, but the topics are not clear. The planning doesn’t stop once an invite is sent out, does it?

    So how can you make your meetings more engaging?

    • Create a clear agenda
      • Note who needs to attend and why (their role, involvement, etc.)
      • Define a timeframe
      • Clarify the main topic and any subtopic points
      • Categorize or assign topics to attendees if appropriate
      • If necessary, provide background data before the meeting in a bullet point format
      • Develop a few questions that need to be answered (to stay on topic)
      • Request special equipment/room setup if required

     

    • Room setup
      • Reserve the room/location if necessary
      • Make sure room is set up appropriately for the specific meeting (if another meeting was there prior, can that format work for your meeting)
      • Provide a few notepads and pens in case they are needed
      • Test the equipment, monitors, lighting, temperature, etc.
      • Provide a pitcher of ice water and cups for guests

     

    • The Extras
      • If a meal is required ask about food restrictions, etc. (and provide mints or gum)
      • Provide trash/recycling bins and cleanup options
      • If guests are coming from out of town or outside the organization ensure they have directions, clear instructions on where to check in, who to ask for, etc.
      • Inform security or receptionist of incoming guests if necessary
      • Create a building map, contact sheet, etc. for invited guests
      • Make copies or provide data via a shared drive, jump drive, email, etc.
      • Take detailed minutes if appropriate
      • Keep the meeting focused on the topic during the allotted time and schedule additional meetings as needed

    I realize some of these may seem time consuming or simple, but it’s the little extras that can make a meeting more productive and the attendees more comfortable and ready to focus. With a clear agenda and appropriate setup, a meeting can be spent on the main topic, not on distractions or rearranging a room.

    What process do you always use to ensure a meeting is engaging?

     

    dana_buchanan

    Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager

    The post Make Your Meetings More Engaging appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:15:57 on 2018/07/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , meetings, ,   

    Getting the Most Out of Your Next Performance Evaluation 

    performance_evaluation

    Scheduling a performance evaluation meeting and setting measurable goals can be stressful or even seem unproductive to some. The meeting is typically a way to evaluate the past year’s project management, acknowledge achievements, receive valuable feedback for performance improvement and create new goals for continued productivity. A performance evaluation is more than a method to measure outcomes for a company though, it’s also an opportunity to discuss professional and personal development opportunities that help each employee grow.

    I’ve spoken with several assistants that have voiced frustration at the standard process. I have personally experienced stress in the past too! Sometimes it is more difficult for administrative support staff to set measurable goals. There are ways to decrease the stress levels and frustration though! The process should actually be an exciting time to discuss progress and development goals that will help you maintain or create the position you want to excel in!

    Getting the Most Out of Your Next Performance Evaluation

    There are several tips for getting the most out of your next performance evaluation & reducing stress. Below are a few:

    • Throughout the year track each project and goal progress, additional duties added and positive feedback from others. Keeping track all year will help you easily prepare a list of projects you are most proud of completing and/or assisted with. Include as much information as possible; date range, project specific tasks, coworkers involved and try to include how that project tied into the company’s mission. Keep the file on your desktop or easily accessible.
    • Define and review your job description and connect completed goals & projects to one or more duties you are responsible for. If it’s a new project then a performance evaluation meeting is a great opportunity to point out the new responsibilities you have taken on.
    • When creating future goals ensure they not only support the company’s mission and department specific goals but also your own personal & professional goals & growth.
    • Setup brief progress meetings six months, three months and one month before your evaluation deadline to ask or confirm anticipated departmental or company growth, your progress, adjusting goals if needed and your manager’s specific goals so you are in tune with his or her vision while focusing on your own goals.
    • Accept constructive suggestions for improved productivity. Be prepared to ask questions & request justification if negative feedback is given.
    • Communicate with your manager to ensure you both understand the expectations of your position and confidently discuss the future vision for you and your position.
    • During the meeting, your manager should discuss expectations, ask your input on your performance, ask what resources you need to be as productive and comfortable as possible, ask if you have any concerns, discuss any professional development opportunities you are interested in and ask what areas you most want to improve in. If applicable and your manager does not ask these or similar questions you should be comfortable enough to bring them up during your meeting.

    Getting the most out of your next performance evaluation includes setting achievable and meaningful goals. These goals not only support work performance, but they also provide an opportunity for you to change what you don’t like about your position or ensure you maintain the workflow that you do enjoy. I like looking at this yearly evaluation as a way to reignite my passion for the work I do and the position I choose through the new goals I set.

    When setting goals, I suggest keeping in mind a method such as S.M.A.R.T.E.R (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate, Readjust). Making a spreadsheet with the method’s keywords as tab headers will help prepare you for your next evaluation and help you stay focused throughout the year.

    I have set several different goals over the years that I have evolved from and coworkers have shared some of their goals with me. Below are a few examples of general and job-specific goals:

    • Set a professional development goal whether it’s attending a conference, completing an online course or program, reading a certain book or two, scheduling time each week or month for webinars, computer program training, time management courses, etc. Learning is always a win-win for an employee & manager and progress is easily tracked.
    • Update phone extension list to ensure callers are directed to the appropriate person. This may require you to do some research and meet with other departments.
    • Develop department specific orientation process even if HR has a main practice ensure all new employees are familiar with your unique department and the manager’s procedures, vision, and expectations. This can be done via a checklist with feedback from your manager and coworkers.
    • Serve as department liaison and attend or participate in company-wide committee meetings to stay up to date on new policies and announcements and report back to manager and department.
    • Explore ways to reduce supply costs by 5% to 10%. Track all supply orders, communicate with the department to determine necessary items and compare monthly costs of previous year then report progress to manager.
    • Create email templates for responses to most frequently asked questions to save time.
    • Discuss the importance of a calendar time block for your manager to focus on emails, presentations, budget, etc. without interruption then create the blocks by a certain deadline.
    • Create a project checklist and ask all team members to use the form when asking for project assistance. The form may include date received, date needed, specific instructions, project number if applicable, links or shared files to additional information needed, etc. This is a more productive use of time-management, can be left when you are away from your desk and easily measured.
    • Create or reevaluate daily routine to be more productive. For example, spend the first-hour checking and responding to common or quick reply emails, go through the mail, process invoices, etc. At the end of the day write out a to-do list and prioritize tasks for the next day.
    • If applicable for your company and position, another goal could be to set up an auto-response to incoming emails from outside the company with answers to most frequently asked questions, common contact information, etc. Especially for weekends or after hours since some emails are basic questions and could be answered by an auto response.

    I hope you look forward to your next performance evaluation and get the most out of it! Please share your performance evaluation and goal setting tips in the comments section.

     

     

    dana_buchananDana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager

    The post Getting the Most Out of Your Next Performance Evaluation appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 08:00:58 on 2018/07/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , meetings,   

    How to Make Your Management Meetings More Productive  

    For anyone who works within an organization, meetings are a fact of life. And there are few things in corporate life worse than badly run meetings—the ones that don’t start on time and don’t stay on track but circle around and around in endless discussion with no direction, leaving everyone to wonder who’s in charge.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. A meeting that’s structured and run well can be an effective and even productive use of everyone’s time. As a leadership and executive coach, I’ve helped hundreds of chief executives learn how to run effective meetings.

    Based on that experience, here are the strategies that work best:

    Provide an agenda in advance. An effective meeting needs prep work, and that  means putting together an agenda. An agenda is a great tool for making sure your meetings stay on track and on time. It can help you set expectations up front, organize the subjects you want to cover into a workable structure, and avoid wasted time.

    Send the agenda and any important background material 24 hours in advance. Once you’ve prepared your agenda, send it to participants for input. There may be something important that another participant wants to talk about, or something you’ve forgotten to add—or there may be some points you’ve listed that are already resolved. By sending the agenda and other meeting materials in advance, you give people a chance to prepare and make the most of their time.

    Highlight important agenda items. Make a list of the highest-priority items, the ones that are the most important or urgent. Get through those before you tackle the lower-priority items so if something takes longer than planned you don’t have to let the meeting run late.

    Determine whether each agenda item requires a decision or is open only for discussion. Then include both lists as part of the agenda. If possible, assign and enforce time limits for all speakers on each agenda item.

    Prepare yourself. For every meeting on your calendar, schedule a 15-minute block of prep time. Use that time to think of ways you can add value to the meeting. Good preparation will allow you to lend your expertise to the meeting.

    Start on time. If you don’t start your meetings on time, chances are you won’t end on time. Then the next meeting starts late. Before you know it, the entire day is off schedule. This strict time rule needs to happen at every level of the organization, starting from the very top.

    Gather the right people. Give some thought to the list of people who should be there because of their expertise, their great ideas, or their need to know. At the same time, don’t waste the time of people who don’t have a reason to be there.

    Stay away from rabbit holes. Every meeting has a tendency to stray off topic. If the subject begins to wander, quickly move back to the agenda. Don’t be afraid to intervene and bring the conversation back to the topic.

    Have a parking lot. When a meeting goes off topic but the discussion is a good one to talk about, park the idea with a commitment to revisit it at a later meeting. Then make sure you really do revisit it.

    End on time.  If you’re good about setting an agenda with clear outcomes, you will know when a meeting needs to end. People have short attention spans. By keeping meetings short and timely, you have a better chance of holding their attention. Time is a precious resource, and no one wants their time wasted. Streamline meetings as much as possible.

    Summarize each agenda item when you’ve finished discussing it. At the close of the meeting, summarize the next steps that the group has decided to take. This will ensure that everyone is clear on the tasks that have been assigned to them and the actions they need to take next.

    Capture decisions and discuss next steps. You may have had a wildly productive meeting, but if the decisions weren’t captured, it could be as if it never happened. End every meeting with clear agreements and make notes on final decisions. Make sure you capture any immediate actions and assign them to the appropriate people. Send out your meeting notes promptly to everyone who attended to provide people with something to refer back to.

    When you know how to lead great meetings, your team will have less wasted time, less frustration, and more time and energy for everyone to do the work that matters most.

    Lead From Within: Meetings are good if they are productive, if they waste your time, get rid of them, because actions speak louder than words.


     

    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
    The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post How to Make Your Management Meetings More Productive  appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:00:32 on 2018/06/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , , meetings, , ,   

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  • feedwordpress 17:30:15 on 2018/06/06 Permalink
    Tags: , meetings, ,   

    5 Powerful Communication Strategies for Administrative Assistants 

    training_for_administrative_assistants

    Do have a healthy curiosity that you use in your day-to-day communications?

    I was inspired today to share with you 5 powerful communication strategies for administrative assistants that I often teach in my World Class Assistant™ Certification and Designation Program. However, I want to assure you that if you are not in the administrative profession, you will still greatly benefit from today’s topic. So continue reading.

    In order to excel in today’s workplace, you will need to be a good investigator.

    Why?

    Because so often in the fast-paced world we work in, people do not communicate well or perhaps better said, completely. What seems clear to them is incomplete to us.

    1. Ask Questions

    Learn to ask questions; specifically, the right question. The right question clarifies. It encourages details. The right question grants you the information necessary to perform the task for the purpose of completion with excellence.

    2. Ask The Next Question!

    The next question elaborates. It encourages additional helpful information. It is not badgering in tone; it does not interrupt the speaker (or it may be seen as argumentative). Asking the next question is a technique to gain additional details.

    3. Be Proactive

    There is no way around this one. If you want to sit in your chair and wait to handle “transaction-based” tasks that come all the way to your desk, you won’t be a good investigator!

    Ask, seek, compare, analyze, resource, hunt, gather, glean, and energize your work tasks by building your investigative skills to gain increasing knowledge so that you can make better decisions and become that “go to” person in your organization who will proactively get the information people need and want in an efficient manner.

    4. Be Resourceful

    Glean the Internet for reputable sources of information. Read the Wall Street Journal after your manager is done with it. Scour the publications and journals for pertinent information. Learn what your manager likes to follow, and become her eyes and ears on the subject.

    5. Use Caution In Relaying Potent Information

    Resist the temptation to share what you have heard or know if it will harm someone or break confidentiality. Remember never to harm the trust your executive or manager extends to you. Think carefully about the timing, venue, and reason you are sharing pertinent information with another.

    (content derived from the World Class Assistant™ Program) 

     

    training_program_for_administrative_assistants

     

     

    The post 5 Powerful Communication Strategies for Administrative Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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