Category Archives: meetings

Internet Meetings or Send a Memo?

I recently ran across a post on called 7 Ways to Kill Your Meetings and Unleash Productivity. While a few of the 7 ways were things we talked about before there were a couple of new ones I thought were worth sharing. One method I felt was intriguing was to use the internet for your meeting. You don’t have to leave your desk which has its advantages. There is a software called Campfire that is designed exactly for this, reasonably priced, and you can try it for 30 days free. A word of caution – those meetings that need to be face to face where all forms of communication need to be employed, including body language, would not work well with this method.

memo illustation for small business productivity blogNow here is something from the past – if the purpose of the meeting is to inform, for instance new policies or procedures, why not just send a memo? The more modern version may be writing a post for the company blog or newsletter. If you are looking to get a little more creative why not make a video? Wouldn’t that be more fun than a meeting?

Are you still stuck in the 8 to 5 world? This article for Asia One Business News cites another survey, this one conducted by Regus, suggesting flexible working practices let workers feel more energized and motivated. Such practices also helped firms retain talent by improving workers’ morale and health. The report even states 66% of the companies linked increasing revenues directly to the flexible work practices. This survey of over 16,000 senior business managers from around the world confirms the business case for flexible work practices revealing that global businesses see increased productivity and greater revenue generation and directly link that to flexible work practices. Perhaps it is time to see if your company can be more flexible.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at


Motivating Employees with a Thank You Card

I recently came across an article on called ‘7 Unusual Ways to Motivate Your Employees‘. The one I saw the most value in was from Stanley McChrystal, the retired four-star U.S. Army general. Stanley served as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and was once ‘boss’ to more than 150,000 service members. In a keynote speech at the 2011 Inc 500|5000 Conference  the general said he sent out more than 2,000 thank-you notes to his troops each year. “I used to get thank-you notes for my thank-you notes,” he said in his keynote speech . “I’d find them framed in [the troops’ bunk] areas.”

You don’t have to be in charge of a large number of people to apply this tip. I used make a point of sending out thank you cards every year at Christmas. I would sit down and hand write a thank you note to every one of our employees. In the note I would write how much I appreciated their contribution to the business and what qualities I admired in each of them. It always came from the heart and I could tell how much the notes were appreciated as I too got thank you’s for the thank you’s. Showing people how much you value them is a great way to keep them motivated and productive.

Now here is a tip from another former U.S. Army member, former captain Gary E. McCullough. In a 2009 interview with The New York Times Gary says “When people ask me for time, they generally don’t need the time that they ask for. So my assistant asks people, ‘How much time do you need?’ If they say an hour, we cut it in half. If they say 30 minutes, we cut it to 15, because it forces people to be clearer and more concise.”

That makes sense to me. If I have only 15 minutes to make my point I am going to really think about what is important and focus on that. Gary seems to be using Parkinson’s law (See blog post ‘Do your tasks take too long?) specifically to focus others so they are productive with his time. Could you apply that method to the meetings people request with you? You could take that one step further and apply it to the meetings you request to have with someone else. I bet that would create a lasting impression!

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at

Meetings; Good, Bad, or Just a waste of time?

I spent most of last week at a conference followed by a couple of days of meetings. There wasn’t much time left to write a blog post or do other things that I needed to. Don’t get me wrong the conference was excellent and the meetings were good but they aren’t always that way. I am sure we have all participated in meetings we wish we didn’t have to.

There are lots of really good tips for how to hold a productive meeting. Check out Christopher M. Knight’s web site for a pretty comprehensive list.  Christopher suggests the meeting needs a purpose. How many of us have attended meetings that seem to be just for the sake of having a meeting? I would take this a step further and ask the question can the purpose be successfully achieved without a meeting and then act accordingly.

But what if you are not in control of that? If your organization seems to be having endless meetings without purpose then perhaps you need to follow Elaine Pofeldt’s advice and empower employees to skip the meetings. I imagine there will be some push back to that but that may open the door to some discussion that allows for better meetings.

Elaine also suggests if you must hold a meeting sticking to the allotted time is important. Part of that is scheduling the meetings appropriately in the first place. Another suggestion is to have ‘hard’ starts and stops. If the meetings you go to have a tendency to run on perhaps leaving at the scheduled stop time will encourage future ‘hard’ stops.

I once had a friend share with me how she made her meetings more productive. Their meetings were typically three hours long but a full hour was spent going over things they had already done. My friend changed things slightly by sending the old business reports out early, using an agenda by consent, and then only if there were questions would the old business be dealt with again. To everyone’s benefit their meetings were reduced to two hours.  

One of my favorite ways to hold required meetings with a large group is standing up. This ensures the meetings will be short and to the point as people will only stand for so long before they become restless and let you know from their body language it’s time to go.  

If you have 5 minutes check out Nicole Steinbok’s video on the 22 minute meeting. Not only is it quite entertaining she shares some good tips for holding focused meetings in 22 minutes.

If you have tips for making meetings more productive I would love to hear from you. Together we can all get better at what we do.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at