How to Get More Done During Your Next Meeting 88

How to Get More Done During Your Next Meeting - letsreachsuccess.com

This is a guest post by Eugene, a Program Manager at Quill. While he is not working, he enjoys traveling, taking photographs and using Instagram.

Meetings are a necessary part of any company. From smaller businesses that need to plan out staffing needs to multinational corporations that coordinate a yearly employee meeting, gatherings happen.

The size, duration, and topic may change, but what doesn’t seem to change, though, is that many people believe meetings to be a waste of time—and money.

Current estimates place the cost of unnecessary meetings at $37 billion—yes billion—a year.

And the cost can be written in more than dollars: Employees often see meetings as time they could better spend doing other things (like working). Nearly half of all employees in just one survey said that meetings were the biggest waste of their time.

So if there are 11 million meetings every day and plenty of employees find themselves doing other things in meetings—checking their phones, nodding off—then what is a business to do?

Fortunately, there are some steps that can transform time-wasting meetings into productive work zones that people look forward to, not dread.

1. Every meeting needs a definition.

What’s happening at the meeting? Are you making decisions, sharing information, or just gathering ideas? In addition, be wary of inviting people just to invite them.

Smaller meetings with fewer people can accomplish much more than can big meetings with too many voices.

2. Set some ground rules and have an agenda.

It may seem unnecessary, but beginning all meetings with the same sets of rules—who can talk, when they can talk, what you can talk about—can keep you from losing control over a meeting.

You can also avoid meetings on certain days of the week, like Monday, in order to increase productivity.

3. Always follow up.

As much as you do a lot of prep work, such as sending reminders and having an agenda, you must also do some follow-up after a meeting. That involves taking notes of what was decided and what the next steps are, as well as sharing those results so that everyone is on the same page.

Meeting post-mortems should also include levels of responsibility—who is doing what, who they report to, when things are due.

4. Analyze and optimize.

You must also be respectful of the time you allot for meetings. If you run over, that can have a snowball effect for everyone, making them late for other meetings or eating into their time that needs to be dedicated to finishing tasks.

You can also have some meeting soul-searching time, where you look at meetings that went well and those that didn’t to try to figure out what you can capitalize on or what you should change for the next time.

Luckily you can use meetings to your advantage, to build stronger teams that work better, that accomplish necessary goals, that are creative and productive.

But to do so you need to spend time thinking about, planning for, and following up on meetings, as well as thinking about them strategically.

This graphic, with clearly stated to-dos and ideas, helps guide you through meetings that everyone looks forward to and don’t avoid.

Time and Money: When meetings don’t meet expectations

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What about your company? How can meetings be more effective?

See also:

Expert Tips to Make Meetings Faster and More Focused
7 Habits of Highly Effective Meetings
22 Brilliant Tips on Working Smarter, Not Harder

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 11

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.