Don’t Read If You Enjoy Waiting In Line!

this-can-take

Everything has it’s time. We have productive and unproductive hours. I accept that now. I am also slowly managing to accept when I don’t accomplish what I had planned. But I am having quite a hard time accepting when I feel like my time is wasted by the hands of others.

I mean, who likes that?

We don’t like waiting in line forever when we just want to pay for a few items. We don’t like traffic jams because we want to get home. We also don’t like to be surveyed on the phone, because we want to continue doing what we did before we accidentally picked up the phone.

And I don’t appreciate sitting through meetings when half of the agenda remains untouched because we lost track of time. Have you ever been too late to work although you accidentally woke up 15 minutes too early? Same effect. If everyone thinks, they have plenty of time they will take more than they should. (more…)

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Quick Tip No 18: Think Twice Before You Call in a Big Meeting

meeting-rulesObviously, when you are working with larger teams you’ll have to have big meetings. Right? Err…Why? No question, you and everyone else in the team needs to know what is going on. You need to know where in the process/project you are and whether there are problems to solve or course corrections to be made. However, I think there are better, less time consuming ways than meetings, to keep everyone in the loop.

I am a fan of small meetings with one or at maximum two other people involved. So, before you call in a big meeting think about the reason(s) for doing so.

Troubleshooting
You realized something is wrong in your process/project. Meetings in such situations can easily turn into finger pointing and useless discussions about the reasons and will rarely result in a productive exchange of solutions. Write instead a brief email describing the situation and ask for brief one-on-one meetings. This way you get equal input from everyone and very likely the most amount of solutions. (more…)

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Networking Tip No3: How to Get Meetings Scheduled Quickly

Hello-my-name-is200Despite all the possibilities modern communication has given us meeting in person or in real life (IRL) is still usually the best method to get something done. But even a meeting over Skype or Google Hangout keeps the ball better moving than lengthy multi-layered email conversations. Nothing beets a one-on-one session, but I admit, three are cases when there is no way around bigger meetings. But how to schedule one or the other quickly without wasting time on email ping-pong?

For one-on-one meetings I find the best method is to simply suggest one time, e.g. “next Monday between 9 and 11 AM” and then ask for an alternative if the suggested time doesn’t work. I try to keep larger time slots during the week flexible for possibilities like these. So I can simply ask for another time, “I am also open Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, but can work with other times if needed as well. I appreciate your cooperation to get this done next week.

Think about it, when given only one option recipients of your email only have to think about whether they have time at that date or not. If yes they are done. If not, they can check whether the other times match with their schedule. And if that doesn’t work, you already made a point that you want to get it done next week. So they will try to find a solution.

If you send a totally open email, you may easily get a response along these lines: “My next week is pretty booked. How about we get in touch the week after?” An answer like this means you essentially lost two weeks.

The more people are involved the more difficult it is of course to agree on a time. I would still use essentially the same technique but also include a Doodle Poll to avoid back and forth emails. Important is here to follow up with your first email soon, reminding everyone about the poll.

In general when you have a request, try to be specific about the modalities, because then it is more likely about the how and no longer the if of your request.