Get the most out of your Business Meetings

From a Conference Venue’s perspective we certainly understand that for a successful meeting to run smoothly you need to have the right venue, the required equipment, refreshments and food that will sustain your energy throughout the meeting.  But once the doors are closed and the group seated, how do you get the most from the meeting?

Stay on Track

Have clear goals for the meeting, and make sure everyone knows what needs to be achieved and are committed to the success of the meeting. Prior to the meeting give notice of the objectives and the expected results, allowing attendees to prepare in advance. For example If you are looking to improve the quality of your service providers don’t waste time raising the topic at the meeting to be nodded at and kicked around, make sure that some solid contacts and references are brought to the meeting so immediate action can be taken.

Invite all the key people

Though it may be comforting to have people in front of you that will nod, laugh at your humour and agree to all the points of the meeting, once the pens and pads are filed away in the delegates office drawers, did anything actually get achieved? Having the right people attend will make all the difference.
If you are meeting with many department heads and need to deal with issues specific with each department, don’t drag the rest of them along just so they can wait their turn. Rather break the meeting up into 15 minute slots and deal with each separately, if there needs to be some cooperation or cohesion between departments then have the right people present for that specific aspect.

Restrain monopolisers

It is great to have your participants engaged and contributing to the meeting especially if they are all decision makers. However, nothing kills the momentum and effectiveness of a meeting faster than a meeting hijacker. Be tactful and move the meeting on smartly, and you will avoid having to come back again to accomplish the original objectives of the initial meeting.

Time is your friend

Nothing kills creative thought faster than dragging out a meeting and cramming as much as possible into it. Break the sessions up into 60 minute slots, with short breaks for refreshments. Taking a break from hammering at an issue will allow the information to be digested and may foster some innovative solutions.

Limit mobile distractions

If people are allowed to bring their phones or tablets into a meeting (other than for presentation purposes) then there is a strong possibility that they will be sneaking a peek at their messages and getting distracted.

Action steps and Follow through

Put the main points of the meeting in writing, the decisions reached and the responsibilities assigned. Don’t wait for time to pass, make sure this is in their inboxes the following day of the meeting.  Follow up on the memo to keep people on track.

Take advantage of our CONFERENCE SPECIAL from 24 April – 2 May 2015 – R650 Dinner, Bed and Breakfast, per person sharing, per night.

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3 Sins of a deadly meeting

Meetings are very important in any business, but not always as effective as they should be. At Intundla Conference Venue we make it our business to ensure that your meeting is successful. We provide the perfect location set in a tranquil bush setting, so fewer distractions. Our Conference Venue is only 30 minutes from Pretoria which makes travelling here a breeze, and our friendly staff is at hand to guarantee you get the most from your time spent at Intundla.

We’ve taken a look at some of the reasons why meetings fail

1. Wrong Time

You might think that the best day for a meeting is Monday or Friday. Those days already seem like they’re the less productive, so why not have your meetings scheduled then? Though Mondays and Fridays are the least productive days of the week that should be a reason NOT to have your meetings on those days. If you take your meetings seriously, you plan them when you’re most likely to have a lively productive bunch of people attend them. The other reason not to have your meetings on either of these days is because you’re more likely to have attendance issues. You need 100% attendance for your meeting’s success and you need people to be fully engaged. Plan your meetings for Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Best time of the day is afternoon or mid-morning, but not too late and not too soon after lunch hour. People tend to watch the clock if the meeting is scheduled too late in the afternoon, and are prone to be a bit more sluggish if it’s shortly after lunch.

Related article: Using Workshops to Achieve your Company Objectives

2. Too long

We’ve all had to sit through a meeting that just went on and on without accomplishing anything. Start tracking the cost of your meetings, and hold people accountable. This will create a sense of importance and will help you achieve twice as much in half the time. Meetings that run too long are probably guilty of one or more of the following:

  • No clear objectives or agenda
  • One/two people dominate the meeting
  • Time wasted on low-priority matters
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Attendees are unprepared
  • No accountability
  • No plan of action

3. Attendees don’t take the Meeting Seriously

If this is the case your meeting is doomed before you’ve even started. People will arrive late, unprepared, not be engaged and sit doodling. Firstly it is a mind-set. If people are viewing the meeting as non-work they won’t take it seriously either. By orchestrating effective and productive meetings with clear goals and call-to-actions, and by holding people accountable, you can create a culture where meetings are viewed just as important as any other part of their job. In fact why not take it a step further and have a workshop on effective meetings.

Related article: How to run effective Meetings and Conferences

Most importantly, practice makes perfect. Meetings are like any other part of business or life. You will only improve if you commit to getting better. Monitor what works and what doesn’t and hold people accountable.

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Using Workshops to Achieve your Company Objectives

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Andre Gide

Change is inevitable. For most companies the question isn’t whether or not there will be change, but whether or not the employees will buy into the new vision of the company. There is often resistance to change even when the new vision is clearly the best path for the future and the company. This can lead to low staff morale, poor customer service and missing the opportunity of achieving greatness as a team. To get your team to buy into your vision you need to build their trust, communicate your vision clearly, get their input, define their roles and make them feel like they are an integral part of the company’s success.

How to Engage your Employees in your Vision

The Power of Empathy
You have a clear vision now all you need to do is get your team on board. First you need to understand the Power of Empathy.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – John C. Maxwell

Change brings with it a lot of anxiety, along with many concerns and doubts about how it will affect them. If people feel you are listening to their concerns they will be more willing to trust you and to align with your vision.

Set up meetings where concerns can be voiced and involve all members in coming up with possible solutions.

Workshops can also be a very effective method in educating employees on how to adapt to change. It can lift morale and make people feel like the company is investing in them as part of the transition process. This will raise their self-confidence and ease their concerns.

Create Excitement
To build on those positive feelings make sure you keep up the communication. In communicating an inspiring vision to employees, the secret lies in the details. Provide your team with a detailed outline of how the company intends to achieve this goal.

Another strategy is to hold voluntary workshops on innovation and creativity. The more you can get your team involved in brainstorming the path to success, the more you will be able to get them connected both at the head and the heart.

Keep employees engaged through frequent performance reviews, set achievable short-term goals and keep them informed of the progress on a regular basis.

Share your vision frequently through staff meetings, outings, newsletters, emails, text messages, even using social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Establish New Procedures
With workshops you can involve your employees in translating the company’s new vision into everyday procedures. This will ensure they maintain a sense of control and will boost their commitment.

Make sure you follow through with report backs from team leaders as well as the employees that are at the coal face. Encourage constructive debate. Be adaptable, you can’t expect your team to buy into change if you’re not willing to be flexible on how best to achieve those goals.

Keep an open ear and mind, setting up new processes take time and need constant monitoring and adjustment.

Reward Engagement and Success
Explain the rewards of achieving the company goals. This doesn’t have to be limited to salary increases or stock options. Communicate the opportunities that will open up once the company objectives are achieved.

Measure and Reward. Set small bite-sized targets and make sure to celebrate them along the way. Provide incentives. Recognize success.

Expect the best of people. People thrive when trusted and relied upon.

Intundla Conference Centre offers the perfect setting for Workshops and Meetings. The Conference Venue has 7 meeting rooms that can be arranged to suit your conference size and requirements. Our Conference Co-ordinating Team are dedicated to helping you get the maximum value from your Workshops and your experience at Intundla.

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How to run effective Meetings and Conferences

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

         Benjamin Franklin

Most meetings lack in the arena of inspiration, they are habitually boring and unproductive. Some conventions get the folks involved all excited but have no follow through. Your meetings don’t have to be this way. Here are some ways for making your conferences count.

1. Begin with a Purpose
Decide first what it is that you want to achieve. If you don’t begin with the end in mind your meeting will fail to have the desired structure and you won’t achieve much. Too many meetings are held for the sake of meeting instead of being outcome based. Make every assembly matter – or don’t meet at all.

2. Micro-Meetings are Time Savers
Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice-president of search products uses micro meetings very effectively. When setting aside your normal meeting time cut it into smaller segments of 5 – 10 minutes each. Instead of including everyone in the meeting unnecessarily rather have a small meeting with the key people on a particular subject or project.  Using micro meetings also means employees don’t have to wait for a week or so before being able to meet on a pressing matter.

3. The Importance of Agendas
This follows on from having a purpose before the meeting. Make sure all the relevant persons have the agenda beforehand. Even though agendas should be flexible they do ensure that individuals think about what they want to achieve in the meeting and help people to stay focused.

4. Stick to the Clock
Cover only what needs to be covered and stick to the relevant topics and discussion points on the agenda. Own your meeting, take charge and keep your meeting moving forward. When you find someone pontificates, the best way to deal with it is to acknowledge the person’s experience with the subject but to suggest raising the issue at a later stage. Discourage politics, use data. Get the constructive input you need from everyone present. Avoid favouritism in the decision making process but make use of facts and data instead. Use timers in your meetings to impose structure.

5. Have an Action plan for moving Forward
It is vital that everyone leaves knowing the next step and when the next meeting will take place. Assign individuals to keep track of the progress of things decided during the meeting. Keep everyone involved updated on the development of the various projects. Deliberate action and delegation ensures follow through, without this the meeting was a waste of time.

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