Business Meeting Etiquette Top Ten

Business Meeting EtiquetteAdherence to proper business meeting etiquette establishes respect among meeting participants, helps the meeting begin and end on time, and fosters an atmosphere of cooperation.

In my opinion – a lack of etiquette and poor planning are two of the main reasons why many business meetings fail.

Teach your employees the business meeting etiquette top ten rules to ensure that your meetings are effective.

Business Meeting Etiquette Top Ten

1.) Arrival

Arrive to the location of the business meeting at least 15 minutes early – ever heard of “Lombardi Time”? This allows you to find a seat and get situated before the meeting starts.

2.) Agenda

The chairperson of the meeting should distribute a meeting agenda to each participant at least one day/week in advance (situational). Participants should call the chairperson to express any concerns about the agenda at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

The chairperson and concerned participant will then have time to determine if changes need to be made. The agenda should also mention the meeting’s start and ending times.

3.) Be Prepared

Each participant should come to the meeting with all of the materials and data they will need and an understanding of the meeting topic.

4.) Breaks

Meetings should have a break every two hours. Breaks should be 20 minutes long, and meal breaks should be 30-45 minutes long.

5.) Attire

The chairperson should indicate what kind of attire is required for the meeting, either business casual or business formal, and participants should follow that rule.

A representative listing of the attire would be helpful as participants may have differing views on what business casual and business formal is. For example, when listing the meeting as business formal, you can indicate that a button-down shirt and khaki pants are sufficient.

6.) Speaking

Keep the meeting organized by only speaking when you have the floor. Proper business meeting etiquette says that you should only ask questions during the designated question period, and raise your hand to be recognized by the chairperson as having the floor. Do not interrupt someone while they are speaking or asking a question.

7.) Meeting Types

Each part of the Meeting should be described in the Agenda. Is a portion of the Meeting dedicated to “Info Share”? Is there a portion that you reserve for “Creative Discussion” or “Creative Decision Making” It is helpful if all participants understand the meaning of these.

8.) Listen

You may find that many of the questions you have about a topic are answered by the content of the meeting. Listen attentively to the meeting and take notes.

9.) Cell Phones and Laptops

Turn off your cell phone prior to the start of the meeting. If you are expecting an urgent call, then set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself from the meeting if the call comes in.

Unless laptop computers have been approved for the meeting, turn yours off and lower the screen so that you do not obstruct anyone’s view.

10.) Guests

Do not bring unannounced guests to a meeting. If you have someone you would like to bring, then proper business meeting etiquette says you should contact the chairperson for permission to bring your guest.

Train your team in these no-nonesense basics in business meeting etiquette for efficient and productive meetings.

Schedule a free coaching consultation with Wayne

Time Management Techniques for Small Business Owners

Time management techniques for small businessWhen I visit small business owners—mostly service businesses—it’s evident early on why some owners are successful and others struggle.

It’s all about implementing time management techniques.

As an owner, you know just getting through the day many times seems like an insurmountable challenge (my business coaching will help you with that).

But you can’t take your eyes off future critical dates: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting and planning periods.

Take Your Control Back with Structured Time Management Techniques

Define a Daily Schedule

No matter what business you’re in, you need to have a defined daily schedule and adhere to it … as best you can. I know. It’s not easy. I’ve been there: You feel like you’re “running around like a chicken with its head cut off”.

Unlike a football quarterback who may let the game come to him, you have to take control of your time and ward off those pesky distractions that can keep you from moving forward and that sack you of energy. This may be one of the hardest time management techniques, but you can do it; you just have to discipline yourself.

Follow a Daily Routine

A routine is not a rut; it’s a groove to guide you and to act as a safety barrier if you feel like your careening off course.

One of my mentors, at the end of each day, plotted his tomorrow. He made regularly scheduled time for production (job-site management, production management), marketing and sales, as well as administrative responsibilities.

On the lighter side he said, “If you’re going to lie awake at night fretting about tomorrow at least your thoughts will be organized.”

You’ll find that each day of the week becomes scheduled and systematized. You’ll be more efficient in how you allocate your time and more productive as a leader. And as an owner, develop a “day in the life of” to train your staff to follow their own routines:

For example, 8 am – 11 am is operations, 11 am – 2 pm is flex time and 2 pm – 5 pm is marketing.

Time management techniques allow you to look ahead, set aside specific times each week—say Wednesday afternoon and Sunday evening—to manage the administration of the business and to make changes to job status reports——as data changes.

Dedicate one day a week—Thursday is a great time—for no meetings. Tackle those tasks that need your full attention without getting yourself tied up in non-essential meetings that are a “time suck.”

Prioritize a To Do List or Schedule

By all means, prioritize your tasks, e.g., A (most important), B and C (of lesser importance).

Too often I see people busy taking care of “C” items and avoiding the overwhelming “A” items. DON’T. You’ll find that sticking to a schedule and tackling the tougher problems first will give you greater satisfaction and propel you through the rest of the day.

Put Time Management Techniques on your To Do List

A WORD TO THE WISE: Use a calendar either online or the ol’ school paper variety to post your meetings and responsibilities. I can tell you from experience, discipline yourself to keep a “to-do list” and to keep to it.

Put time management techniques into place and make them a habit. You’ll sleep better at night.

Problem Solving Strategies for Small Business

Problem solving strategies for small business

Problem Solving Strategies for Small Business Teams

Coming up with problem solving strategies for creative solutions to the challenges small businesses face isn’t always easy. But it sometimes makes all the difference between a successful initiative and a disaster.

So how do you create an environment where your employees are able to be creative in the way they approach their individual responsibilities?

Friday Brainstorm Sessions

In one of my weekly coaching sessions, someone suggested this idea. Like many teams, when Friday afternoon rolls around we’re winding down and ready for the weekend.

It was suggested we initiate what he called a “Brainstorm” to give us a break from the day-to-day grind and encourage some creative thinking in a fun and energizing environment.

It has charged up Friday afternoon with fresh energy and almost immediately started producing positive results, week after week.

I think the reason Friday brainstorms have been so successful is that it taps into three keys to develop creative problem solving.

I’m the first to admit there’s probably nothing new here. What is refreshing is an organization willing to invest a few hours in this type of exercise on a weekly basis.

Creative Problem Solving Steps

1.) Unless you’re willing to devote some time, nothing happens:

Every Friday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., everyone on the team devotes time to the Brainstorm. They typically start off with a challenge or objective they’d like to tackle as a team.

There are no real rules, there is no mandate to approach the challenge a certain way, but time is allocated to some individual brain-work, investigating and formulating a suggested course of action or creative approach.

They don’t divide up into teams. The goal is to get as many different points of view as they can. So, they work alone for the first bit of time.

They are all marketers (your business may not be), so they’re usually addressing marketing issues, but this same approach would work for IT, sales teams, development teams, or any group that has challenges and are looking for creative solutions.

Take the time to step away from the daily grind and brainstorm. Sometimes all it takes is a little permission to stop working and think for a few minutes to come up with some great ideas.

2.) People need a safe environment to be creative:

The “no blocking” approach to what happens during the Brainstorm gives people permission to explore what might otherwise be considered a “stupid” idea (which sometimes turns out to be the best ideas).

I like to say if you have a stupid idea – you are at the right place.

All ideas are on the table and discussed. From 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, everyone on the team has the opportunity to present their idea or approach.

Sometimes it’s a PowerPoint; sometimes it might be a storyboard; it might even be a virtual whiteboard discussion. The point is to give everyone the opportunity to present their ideas and encourage discussion.

Brainstorm ideas regularly become part of how they approach work during the week and have, at least in my experience, proven to be very valuable as they approach the individual projects that fill their time.

3.) If you don’t capture and implement some of the ideas, you’re missing out on most of the value:
One of the things about Brainstorming that has been exciting for everyone on the team has been to see ideas discussed on Friday afternoon implemented in their activities over the following weeks.

What’s more, make it a point to capture the storyboards or PowerPoint presentations so you can refer back to them, creating an environment of learning and sharing that flows into the work you do every week.

An Environment for Problem Solving Strategies to Succeed

Many business leaders talk about the need to develop an environment where people can step up and perform at a higher level. Facilitate an environment where it’s actually happening.

What’s more, create an environment where we all realize that there are “problems to solve”. You should regularly explore different and unique approaches to marketing challenges, operations challenges, recruiting challenges, training challenges, etc.

What are you doing to help your employees creatively solve problems?

How to Motivate Employees and Retain Them

How to Motivate Employees

How to motivate employees and retain themIt is imperative for any business organization to understand how to motivate employees and retain their top producers. An engaged and happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Businesses cannot achieve desired goals without experienced and qualified staff.

Therefore, organizations need to motivate their employees to obtain the best possible results for a long period of time.

There are several techniques that a small business owner should consider in regard to motivation and retention.

Monetary Compensation

What is your company strategy in regard to compensation? Although money isn’t everything, it is generally a key motivator in regard to employment.

Businesses need to keep in mind what other employers are paying for similar positions. If employees are properly compensated for their work, they will feel as though they are a valued member of the team.

Also consider incentives such as bonuses and perks.

Organizational Culture

Your leadership team must be engaged in order to have staff buy-in. Values, policies, practices, and behaviors all make up the culture of your company.

Building an engaging company culture is not something that happens overnight. You must work at it. Employees are looking for follow-through and commitment from the leadership team. Culture is possibly the most important way to motivate employees.

Constant Feedback

In order to retain top performers, a business needs to provide constant feedback. The days of quarterly or even annual reviews being the sole form of feedback are long gone.

Employees want to receive constant, proximal, specific, and clearly defined input from their supervisors. Usage of positive feedback about accomplishment is essential to motivate employees. Additionally, an organization must praise the employee promptly to reflect the positive gesture.

Clear Communication

Is your company mission statement clearly understood by all of your employees? You are leading a team and you need to ensure all members of your team know what direction to head.

What is your business working to accomplish? What are the short and long term goals of your organization?

Your mission statement should be posted in a very visible place for all employees to see. Consider adding your mission statement to the “about us” section of your website. Read it out loud before every meeting – so people become familiar with it.

Employee Involvement

Every business looking to retain its employees should improve organizational communication. Top management needs to learn the art of involving employees in the decision-making process.

I have written in another post about having a weekly “Brainstorming” session – every Friday between 3:00 – 4:00 pm with all executives.

Though management will most likely make the final and ultimate decisions, seeking advice from staff members can infuse a sense of employee ownership in the process.

Staff members should be encouraged to actively participate in the decision making process by providing suggestions and feedback.

Learning & Development Opportunities

The goal of talent development is to maintain a competitive advantage for your business. Employees want to know that there are growth opportunities within the organization.

Mentorship programs help to facilitate development activities through allowing newer employees to shadow more tenured staff. If an employee feels that there is a long-term plan for them within your organization that will afford them opportunities that align with their professional goals, they will be more apt to stay with your organization for the long-term.

Getting Rid Of Bad Employees

Why would you hang on to employees that have negative attitudes and low performance? Have you ever heard the saying, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel?”

If your employees see that you’re letting their co-worker getaway with poor performance, the rest of the team will resent that. Why should everyone else have to pull the weight of the poor performer?

Additionally, employees with bad attitudes can poison your entire staff. Cut your losses!

Learning how to motivate employees on a consistent basis is an essential key to success.