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10 Things You Can Do to Make Meetings Effective

10 Things You Can Do to Make Meetings Effective

Effective meetings are one of the ways of discussing and solving problems not just in a company but in any organization. Be it the boss or the employees, anyone can contribute and speak. Although meetings are tools necessary for productivity, some meetings just do not work out and people are just wasting their time on ineffective meetings.

There are simplified methods and techniques on running an efficient and effective meeting. Here are the 10 best ways of making meetings effective:

1. Define a clear purpose for the meeting.

A meeting will only be effective if its purpose and goals are met, whether its resolving a dispute between employees or discussing a company crisis, a clear purpose must be planned before sending out the invites to the involved people.

2. Invite the necessary people only.

Having the necessary people is another step towards an effective meeting. Does the purpose of the meeting have something to do with the network security of the company? Then invite the head of the IT department. Does the purpose of the meeting have something to do with the future of the company? Then invite your boss and the employees involved.

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Consider only the necessary people for a meeting and then send out the invites to those people. That way, you will not waste other people’s time and productivity.

3.  Create a final schedule and stick with it.

Create a memorandum for the meeting along with the important details such as topics to be discussed, venue, start and end time, and the people involved, then send the memorandum to the necessary people via email or place it on their desk. Do not wait for people who are running late, but start the meeting on time.

People will be more comfortable with a meeting if the agenda is laid in front of them. This will also lessen trivial matters such as an introduction.

4. Do not allow the use of smartphones or tablets during meetings.

It is hard to compete for the attention of people especially when they are using their phones or tablets. To ensure that they will be focusing on the agenda, ban the use of smartphones and tablets, so that each participant’s focus is only on the meeting.

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5. Assign a moderator for the meeting.

Even though you are the one who plans the meeting, this does not mean that you are also the moderator. Consider if are the most suitable person to moderate and if you think that someone else could do it better, then don’t hesitate to assign him or her to be the moderator for the meeting.

The moderator should also act as a timekeeper and watch the correct flow of the meeting, making sure the agenda is on track. Chances are, the meeting will be more successful this way.

6. Have fewer but better meetings.

Rather than calling a meeting every time there are problems or disputes in the company, find other ways to resolve those problems. Sending an email or talking to the responsible people are just some of the ways thorugh which you can opt out a meeting. You must ensure the quality of your meetings. If you call in as few meetings as possible, the participants will gladly go to them.

7. Separate eating time from meeting time.

Thirty minutes to an hour before the meeting time, declare an eating time. By this people will not eat during the meeting. During the meal, everyone eats and makes small talk. During meeting time, everyone focuses on the agenda at hand and brainstorms together. This way, you can follow your plan, dedicate your attention to fulfilling the purpose of the meeting and manage your time wisely.

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8. Spend the last 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting reviewing the decisions and actions of the participants and the overview of what was discussed.

A clear understanding between the participants and the purpose of the meeting must be met before the end of the meeting, ensuring that everyone had their queries satisfied and their contributions included.

The moderator should clear up any disagreements between participants before the end of the meeting and they must come up with concise solutions to their problems. It is important that everyone absorbs what was discussed in the meeting.

9. Send a follow-up note to every participant.

Every participant has his or her own problems outside of the meeting. To ensure that they will remember what was discussed in the meeting, send a follow-up note via email or leave it on their desk.

10. Send out an evaluation sheet to every participant.

We must admit that not everyone loves the idea of meetings and for those outliers, we must find ways to ensure that they will be comfortable whenever they are included in a meeting. Some of them won’t say what the problems are if asked directly, so an evaluation sheet is a handy tool to get feedback from those types of people.

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Check the feedback of the participants, incorporate requests of the participants into the next meeting, and change any process that causes discomfort to the participants. We must ensure the safety and productivity of the participants during meetings.

Now go ahead and incorporate these tips into your daily meeting routine and let the productivity flow. Remember, an effective meeting is a process everyone must abide to!

Featured photo credit: Meeting by John Benson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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