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Beating the Meeting Monster

Beating the Meeting Monster
    From Guoman Hotels in London on flickr

    Do you spend too much time in meetings?  If so, you are in good company.  One of the  most common complaints of office workers is that their productivity is hampered by too many unproductive meetings.  Ineffective meetings lead to frustration.  They waste the time of the participants and they undermine the effectiveness of the whole organization.

    Here are some ways to tackle this problem.

    1.  Fewer attendees.

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    The meeting should be restricted to those whose presence is essential to review the issue and to make the decisions.  People who want to be ‘kept in the picture’ should receive a summary email from the meeting chair.  If you are invited to a meeting which you know is not really relevant for you or will be poorly run then offer your apologies and ask for a summary.  You will rarely regret missing such a meeting.

    2.  Create a Focus and Agenda.

    The purpose of the meeting and any required information or preparatory work should be made clear to all delegates well in advance.  In addition to the start time there should be a planned finish time.  The chair of the meeting should keep to the agenda and quickly curtail diversions and irrelevancies.  If you are invited to a meeting with no agenda then politely reply asking for clarification on the timings and purpose of the meeting.

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    3.  Training.

    Anyone who chairs a meeting should have had some basic training on running meetings.  This would include keeping to time, keeping focussed, reaching decisions, agreeing actions and handling conflicts.  Does your HR department offer such a training course?  If so go on the course and encourage others to do the same.

    4.  Use a Discipline.

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    There are various formal methods for managing meetings.  I like de Bono’s Six Hats.  They can help you to focus on the key activities of productive discussion and speedy decision making.  This method is particularly good for contentious issues because it takes the conflict out of the meeting and forces everyone to consider all the points of view.   Why not try this approach at the next meeting you chair?

    5.  Ask for Feedback.

    Every meeting should be quickly appraised.  At the end of the meeting the chair asks, ‘How could we have run this meeting better?’  People can respond directly or anonymously.  Either way you will have constructive suggestions for how to make meetings shorter and better.

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    6.  No Meetings in the Mornings.

    Author Josh Kaufman recommends that you should allow meetings only in afternoons thus allowing you to block out mornings for essential work that only you can do.  He claims that this significantly improves productivity and I am inclined to believe him.

    People spend a great deal of time in meetings yet rarely consider how to run them better.  Try these ideas and get the meetings monster under control in your business.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    20 Unusual Uses for Coca-Cola That You’ve Never Considered

    20 Unusual Uses for Coca-Cola That You’ve Never Considered

    Coca-Cola is an adored product the world over. While keeping yourself in good health means moderating how often you enjoy this drink, Coca-Cola lovers will be happy to hear that there are plenty of uses for the soda pop that don’t involve ingesting it. Impressively, Coca-Cola can be used to help you clean, get rid of rust, and even help maintain your garden. Whether you are looking for a way to finally get rid of those pesky stains, or just want to find new ways to love this drink, these 20 jaw-dropping and unusual uses for Coca-Cola will blow you away.

    Kill pests in your garden

    Coca-Cola is also an effective pest control method for your garden. To rid yourself of plant munching slugs and snails, pour a small bowl of Coca-Cola and place it near your garden or flowerbeds. The smell will attract these crawling bugs and the drink’s acidity will kill them.

    Defrost your windshield

    Incredibly, Coca-Cola can also defrost your windscreen in the wintertime. Simply pour Coke liberally across your windshield and wait about a minute. The ice should turn to slush for easy removal.

    Clean your pans

    Coca-Cola is also useful in the kitchen, especially on burnt pans. For any pan with burnt on messes, pour a can of Coke into the pan and simmer. The mess should easily wipe away. You can also soak kettles and other kitchen items in Coca-Cola to remove scale and build up.

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    Clean bugs from your windshield

    Another way Coca-Cola can aid in your car care is by removing bugs and gunk from your windshield. Soak a cloth in coke, then rub across your windshield. Just be careful not to get any on your paint job.

    Remove rust from your car

    Coca-Cola is also useful when removing rust. The simplest method is to dip crumpled tinfoil in Coca-Cola, then give the item a scrub and you should be rust free.

    Loosen rusty bolts

    Similarly, use Coca-Cola to loosen up a rusty bolt. Simply unscrew the bolt half a turn and pour on Coca-Cola. Let it sit, then give the metal a wipe. The bolt and screws will be one hundred percent in no time.

    Remove stains from your fabric

    Surprisingly, Coca-Cola is incredibly helpful when removing stains from clothing and fabric. Coke will easily remove grease stains, as well as blood spots. Remember that Coca-Cola itself is brown, so stains on light fabrics might be better removed another way.

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    Remove oil spots

    Another way to use Coca-Cola is to remove oil stains from cement. Whether it’s your garage or your driveway, soak the stain in Coca-Cola for a few hours then hose off.

    Relieve jellyfish stings

    Should you be unwilling to neutralize a jellyfish sting the traditional way (with urine) pouring Coca-Cola on the sting will also do the job.

    Clean your car engine

    Coca-Cola is also an effective ways to clean your car engine. Believe it or not, Coke distributors have reportedly been a fan of this technique for ages. 

    Use it in cooking

    Coca-Cola is also a fantastic addition to many recipes. Using Coca-Cola to cook pot roast or steaks in will easily tenderize the meat for you. Mixing Coke with ketchup or barbecue sauce also makes for a delightfully sweet glaze.

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    Clean your old coins

    Another way to use Coke to clean is to soak tarnished coins in the soda. About ten minutes should be enough to get rid of the muck.

    Clean your tiles

    Incredibly, Coca-Cola can also be applied to tiles to effectively clean grout. Let Coke sit on the tiles that need cleaning for a few minutes, then wipe away.

    Supercharge your compost

    Coke is also an impressive way to speed up your compost. The sugar in Coca-Cola feeds micro organisms, plus the acidity will help your compost break down faster.

    Remove gum from your hair

    Coca-Cola can also help you avoid a major hair disaster. If you have gum stuck in your hair, dip the gum into a small bowl of Coke and let it sit for a few minutes. The Coca-Cola breaks down the gum, allowing you to wipe it off.

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    Fade unwanted hair dye

    Similarly, if you made a mistake with your hair dye, Coca-Cola comes to the rescue. It’s probably best to get in the shower first, then pour Diet Coke over your hair. Let the soda sit for a few minutes, then wash your hair like normal. This method is effective in removing temporary hair dyes, but will likely only fade professionally applied dyes.

    Clean marker stains

    Coca-Cola is also an easy way to remove marker stains from carpet. Apply a small amount of Coke, scrub the spot, then clean with soapy water. Again, remember that Coca-Cola is brown, so removing stains on white or light-colored carpets might be better achieved with another method.

    Clean your toilet

    Coca-Cola can also help you clean elsewhere in the house. To easily clean a toilet, pour Coca-Cola all around the bowl and let it sit. There’s no need to scrub, simply flush and your toilet should be sparkling clean.

    Feed your plants

    Coca-Cola is also a surprising way to add a little extra life to some flowering plants. Particularly with azaleas and gardenias, adding a small amount of Coca-Cola to the soil can deliver nutrients your plant may be low on.

    Get rid of bugs at a picnic

    The last of our unusual uses for Coca-Cola is to safeguard your picnic or outdoor lunch from pests and wasps. Simply pour a small cup of Coca-Cola and set it out about a half hour before you start to eat. By placing the cup away from your site, bugs will be drawn to the soda and not your lunch.

    Featured photo credit: Omer Wazir via flickr.com

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