meetings http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12032/all en-US 6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_budgeting_000047207918.jpg" alt="Couple having regular budget meetings to save their marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your spouse just spent $700 on a new laptop, without checking in with you first. Or maybe you're the culprit, racking up $250 of new credit card purchases last month that weren't in your household budget.</p> <p>Whoever is at fault, such unexpected financial missteps are a leading source of tension in any relationship. But there is a way to eliminate these unwanted financial surprises: regular budget meetings between you and your partner.</p> <p>Holding a weekly or monthly budget meeting doesn't sound like the best way to spend an evening. But such meetings are important. Regular budget meetings can help couples stay on track when it comes to paying off debt, building savings, and stowing away dollars for retirement.</p> <p>&quot;I find that couples who get along the best financially speaking are those who communicate openly and freely when it comes to their finances,&quot; said Kevin Murphy, senior financial services consultant with McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union in East Windsor, New Jersey. &quot;Couples should discuss their goals and set a plan together.&quot;</p> <p>Married couples argue about a host of subjects. But <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">financial matters</a> often top the list, which is why a regular budget meeting can make your marriage a happier one. These money meetings increase the odds that you and your partner will be working toward the same financial goals, and that one or both of you won't be overspending on a regular basis.</p> <p>The best news? These budget meetings don't have to be unpleasant. Here are some tips on holding successful budget meetings.</p> <h2>1. Set a Regular Time</h2> <p>Agree to hold your household budget meetings at a regular time, whether it's every Thursday night, every two weeks, or once a month. If you don't schedule your budget meetings as you would any other appointment, life will get in the way. If you're like most couples, you'll sit down to a Netflix movie and blow off the money meeting. Try to aim for meeting once a week or, at the least, once a month.</p> <h2>2. Give Them a Time Limit</h2> <p>Your partner might imagine a budget meeting lasting into the wee hours of the evening as you both pore over every credit card purchase and ATM withdrawal. No one wants to talk money for hours. Instead, put a set time limit on your regular budget meetings, perhaps limiting the meeting to a maximum of one hour. If you meet frequently enough, 60 minutes should be more than enough time to go over your household finances.</p> <h2>3. No Blame Game</h2> <p>Some people are better at sticking to a budget. That's a fact. Partners who make those extra purchases every month might shy away from budget meetings because they don't want to be lectured for an entire hour on their recent financial missteps. Refrain from using budget meetings to blame each other for financial setbacks. Instead, use the time to craft a budget that works for everyone. If your partner is regularly blowing the budget, ask what you both can do to resolve the problem.</p> <h2>4. Make It Realistic</h2> <p>Maybe your partner overspends each month because your household budget is too tight, and doesn't leave any room for fun or unnecessary purchases. Use your regular meetings to tweak your budget so that it works for your household. A household budget is always a work-in-progress. It's okay, and even advisable, to make regular changes to it. If your household budget isn't working, use your meetings to adjust it so that it does.</p> <h2>5. Come Prepared</h2> <p>You'll need actual numbers to hold a successful budget meeting. So print out credit card statements, bank statements, and other important documents. Bring bills that need to be paid in the next several days, too. Armed with this information, you and your partner can make the best financial decisions for the weeks ahead.</p> <h2>6. Eliminate the Distractions</h2> <p>It's not easy holding a budget meeting when your kids are asking for snacks or your dog is whining for a walk. Finish the household chores before your budget meeting. You want a quiet block of time so you can focus. If your meeting is interrupted by too many distractions, you'll be tempted to cut it short before you address your family's most important financial matters.</p> <p><em>Do you and your partner hold regular budget meetings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-a-divorce-improve-your-finances">Could a Divorce Improve Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk">5 Questions Couples Should Ask in the Money Talk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking">10 Relationship Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-navigate-3-common-money-arguments-with-your-significant-other">How to Navigate 3 Common Money Arguments With Your Significant Other</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-time-tested-ways-to-make-a-relationship-work">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Personal Development marriage meetings money relationships spouse Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:00:33 +0000 Dan Rafter 1526967 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Times at Work You're Just Wasting Effort http://www.wisebread.com/10-times-at-work-youre-just-wasting-effort <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-times-at-work-youre-just-wasting-effort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-working-late-Dollarphotoclub_44503005.jpg" alt="businessman working late" title="businessman working late" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans work hard. Very hard. About 1,800 hours a year, no guarantee of vacation time hard. And some of that, unfortunately, is just spinning the wheels. Here are 10 times when we're simply wasting effort at work.</p> <h2>1. Working Very Late or Coming in Super Early</h2> <p>When I first started working in the advertising industry, several of the old guards told me &quot;Be the first one in, and the last one to leave.&quot; There's something to be said for that, especially in the days when you are young and hungry and looking for that first promotion. But those guys also added an addendum later on, and I never forgot it &mdash; &quot;Just make sure people notice the effort.&quot; If you're getting in at 6:00 a.m., and the next person doesn't arrive until 8:30 a.m., how much of that two and a half hours was necessary? If you stay two hours past the last person, who will know? If you have to do it to get some work done, fair enough. If you do it all the time to show your loyalty and work ethic, it's wasted effort.</p> <h2>2. Having Drawn Out E-mail/Text Conversations</h2> <p>It's astonishing that so many people in workplaces across America can go a whole day without actually physically talking to someone. It's all about e-mail, instant messaging, texting, and social media. The problem with all of those is that tone and mannerisms are lost. It can take many e-mail conversations to get across something that a simple five-minute phone call or face-to-face meeting could have cleared up. If the first few e-mails are not getting things done, pick up the phone or walk a few minutes to that person's office.</p> <h2>3. Setting Specific Meeting Durations</h2> <p>We have 15, 30, 45, and 60-minute meetings. Usually, it's the latter. There's some chitchat, a little passing of time until everyone gathers, and then there is that &quot;Hey, we still have 10 minutes, how's your dog doing?&quot; time. This is wasting time and effort for all involved. Get the meeting started, quickly, and get to the point. Rule out jokes and nonsense, and if the 30-minute meeting is over in 11 minutes and 32 seconds, end it and get on with your day. Remember, there are no one-hour meetings. There are at least two people in attendance, and every person in the company loses an hour. Make that time count.</p> <h2>4. Having Meetings Without Key People</h2> <p>Everyone in your company, be it a massive multinational corporation or a local business, knows who the right people are. They're the decision makers, the knowledgeable workers, or the people with the latest intelligence. If you are organizing a meeting without including these people, you are going to have to have another meeting. Yes, it's not always possible to include them, but if that means you're going to spend 45 minutes talking in circles, you should reconsider. Make these meetings smaller, or bring other action items to them. There is little point in spending an hour in a meeting only to have a puppet tell you they'll get back to you.</p> <h2>5. Working With Unclear Directives</h2> <p>When you begin a project, know exactly what it is that you are being asked to do. If you are in any doubt at all, you are about to begin hours, or days, of wasted effort. Unclear directives and fuzzy strategies lead to meetings that have people scratching their heads and asking for additional work. If the person asking for the work does not specifically know what they want, try and send them back to the drawing board to get more information. It isn't always easy, especially if that person is the boss, but if you point out that you will be wasting time and money without those facts, you should be fine.</p> <h2>6. Overwriting</h2> <p>There is a quote that many of you know. &quot;I have already made this paper too long, for which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it shorter.&quot; That came from Benjamin Franklin in 1750, to the Royal Society of London. Basically, he apologized for the length of the letter, and if he had time, he'd have made it shorter. This is lost on many today. Some feel that quantity is better than quality. After all, who looks like they have spent more time on a report: someone who hands in a 10-page document, or a three-page document? But people have little time to read those 10 pages. It's wasted effort to keep bloviating about a subject for page after page. People won't read it. Cut it down.</p> <h2>7. Hiding the Truth From the Masses</h2> <p>Whether you are a small automotive chain in Colorado, or a massive company spanning the world, people will gossip. You do not want to add fuel to that fire by taking a lot of time and effort hiding things. The truth will eventually come out, and that wasted effort will result in a lot of gossiping and ill feeling. Be honest &mdash; it will save you in the long run.</p> <h2>8. Networking With the Powerless</h2> <p>We all know that a certain amount of our job revolves around dealing with other people. Whether they're in the same company or a different one, we have to find time to grease the wheels and make connections. However, be careful how much time you spend with people who really cannot do anything for you or your company. It may seem ruthless, but wining and dining the wrong people can be a complete waste of time and lead to some awkward silences. These people may tell you they have power, but it's easy to probe and find this out. Look at a company org chart, find out who has the bosses ear. You'll soon know the truth.</p> <h2>9. Working When You're Sick or Tired</h2> <p>It seems as though Americans don't like taking sick days when they're actually sick. Coming in to the office when you are a physical wreck may make you look like a glowing employee, but it's a waste of time and effort. You are not at your best. You are not thinking clearly. You are probably infecting other people. And, most likely, you'll be off the next day. The extra effort of driving in, trying to do your job, and driving home will take it out of you. And the work you did will most likely have to be redone. Don't waste that effort on being a golden employee.</p> <h2>10. Taking the Initiative Without Doing Your Research</h2> <p>Eager beavers are great employees&hellip; unless they dive into projects without first learning about a few basic facts. Recently, I heard of someone who spent five months developing a new app in his spare time, only to discover the company was scrapping the entire project. That guy would have saved a lot of time and heartache if he had simply done a little digging to see if the project had legs. So, do yourself a favor. By all means, take the initiative. But do not spend all that time without first knowing if that will be effort that could be rewarded, or wasted.</p> <p><em>What causes you to waste time and effort at work? Share your frustration in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-times-at-work-youre-just-wasting-effort">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-id-love-to-change-about-meetings">7 Things I&#039;d Love to Change About Meetings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-reduce-workplace-stress">10 Frugal Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss">7 Signs You&#039;re Working for an Impossible Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income meetings networking time sink time wasters work workday Mon, 02 Feb 2015 10:00:13 +0000 Paul Michael 1284261 at http://www.wisebread.com Business Lunch Etiquette 101 http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/business-lunch-etiquette-101 <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/business-lunch-etiquette-101" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/business-lunch-etiquette-101</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/business-lunch-etiquette-101" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012261576Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sharing food has long been a way of building alliances in every culture. In modern society, business lunches can be very important to your success. You might invite a customer for lunch to seal a deal for a big order. Or a competitor might invite you out to discuss buying your company.</p> <p>How you eat and how you act during lunch will make a huge impression on people. Table manners are not just stuffy, old fashioned rules your grandmother insisted on. They exist because they make social situations more comfortable for everyone. Even if you run a fast-growing dot com, or have built a business and reputation by rejecting social norms, you still need to understand that a business lunch is a meeting, <i>not</i> a meal.</p> <p>Here are 11 tips to help you make a good impression at your next business lunch and keep you from embarrassment.</p> <p><strong>1. Dress Appropriately</strong></p> <p>Wearing a business suit when everyone is dressed casually can be as uncomfortable as showing up in jeans and t-shirt when everyone else is dressed up.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the host, offer your guests a subtle tip about appropriate attire. &ldquo;The restaurant is real casual, and I&rsquo;m coming from home, so feel free to wear something comfortable.&rdquo; But that&rsquo;s not permission to wear torn jeans, smelly sneakers, and a dirty t-shirt. Remember, this is a meeting, not a party with the gang.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the guest and didn&rsquo;t receive a hint from your host, <i>ask</i>. Demonstrating that you&rsquo;re comfortable enough with your host, and self-assured enough, to handle a little detail like this communicates that you&rsquo;re a take-charge kind of person. &ldquo;I usually work in khakis and a golf shirt, will that be appropriate?&rdquo; for example, can solve the problem.</p> <p><strong>2. Arrive Early</strong></p> <p>Whether you invite someone to lunch or they invite you, plan to be standing inside the entrance about five minutes before the scheduled time. Take into account that you may not know where you&rsquo;re going and parking may be a problem.</p> <p>Whether host or guest, if you&rsquo;re going to be late for any reason call as soon as you realize you will be delayed, so the other people won&rsquo;t worry that they had the wrong day or time, or the wrong place.</p> <p><strong>3. Go Now</strong></p> <p>If you have to go to the bathroom, and to be sure you don&rsquo;t have to go later, do it now.</p> <p>Your own comfort isn&rsquo;t the only advantage. I once overheard, standing in a stall, a discussion of how the people I was meeting with were planning to handle our upcoming negotiation.</p> <p><strong>4. Make a Good First Impression</strong></p> <p>When you first meet, firmly (but not painfully) shake hands and <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-body-language-mistakes-to-avoid" target="_blank">look people in the eye</a>. A limp handshake and a mumbled greeting with downcast eyes gives the impression you&rsquo;re either inept or uncomfortable, neither of which will help you.</p> <p>Some people scoff at such details, but humans, like other animals, look for subtile signs that tell us about the people we meet.</p> <p><strong>5. Sit Down Together</strong></p> <p>Make small talk about the place, the weather, sports, or something you know the people you are with are interested in&mdash;but not the business at hand.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the host, invite people to sit down and do so yourself. If you&rsquo;re the guest, wait until your host sits or invites you to do so. Keep in mind that sitting side-by-side makes talking difficult, so try to sit across from whoever you want to interact with most.</p> <p><strong>6. Put Your Phone Away</strong></p> <p>Texting or making calls is insulting to the people you&rsquo;re with. You may think it makes you look like a big shot that has to deal with all kinds of important issues, but it only makes you look inept and incapable of managing your life or business for the short time you&rsquo;re at lunch.</p> <p><strong>7. Order Something Easy to Eat</strong></p> <p>A big splotch of spaghetti sauce on your lapel isn&rsquo;t easy to overlook, and it&rsquo;s embarrassing both for you and others. If you&rsquo;re wrestling with King Crab legs or trying to keep a club sandwich together you&rsquo;ll have trouble paying attention to the business at hand.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a guest, don&rsquo;t order the most expensive thing on the menu, even if your host does. I once took all my employees to lunch, and one of them ordered lobster while everyone else had a sandwich. That one act left a lasting (and accurate, it turned out) impression about that person&rsquo;s attitude and personality.</p> <p><strong>8. Don't Start Eating Until Everyone is Served</strong></p> <p>A business lunch (or dinner) isn&rsquo;t a competition for food. When you sit down, feel free to sip your water, but don&rsquo;t grab a roll or condiment and start wolfing it down.</p> <p>Assuming everyone&rsquo;s meal arrives at the same time, wait until the host starts to eat. If that&rsquo;s you, take a bite or two so others know it&rsquo;s okay to start eating, even if you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/12-fatal-sales-mistakes-to-avoid" target="_blank">ready to launch into your pitch</a>.</p> <p>If the meals don&rsquo;t all come at the same time, wait until the host is served or invites you to begin.</p> <p><strong>8. Elbows Off the Table</strong></p> <p>While you&rsquo;re eating, sit up straight, and don&rsquo;t lean on the table. You&rsquo;re trying to look like a businessperson. Don&rsquo;t shovel in your food with your elbows on the table like a six year old. Again, the purpose of your lunch meeting is to <i>meet</i> not <i>eat</i>.</p> <p><strong>9. Cut Your Food</strong></p> <p>Stabbing a steak and gnawing off bites around the edges might impress someone who lives in a cave, but not modern people. I watched a smart, educated person do this recently, and saw everyone&rsquo;s impression instantly change with that one simple mistake.</p> <p>Cutting your food and taking small bites helps keep you from putting something in your mouth you don&rsquo;t want to swallow. If you nevertheless have a piece of gristle or something else you don&rsquo;t want to eat in your mouth, take it out the same way it went in (utensil or fingers) and put it on the edge of your plate (<i>not</i> in your napkin).</p> <p><strong>10. Don't Chew with Your Mouth Open</strong></p> <p>Kids think it&rsquo;s funny, because it&rsquo;s gross to show off a mouthful of chewed food. If you chew with your mouth open you&rsquo;re grossing people out over and over. Grown-ups (which includes most business people) aren&rsquo;t amused by it.</p> <p><strong>11. Don't Talk with Your Mouth Full</strong></p> <p>See #10, plus it makes you hard to understand.</p> <p>A lunch is a business social event and your job is to handle it with grace. Mom was right about a lot of things and behaving properly at lunch is one of them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/business-lunch-etiquette-101">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-people-with-good-table-manners-never-do">13 Things People With Good Table Manners Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reclaiming-etiquette-dining-basics-for-young-professionals">Reclaiming Etiquette: Dining Basics for New Professionals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier">5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-lessons-in-manners-from-around-the-world">12 Lessons in Manners From Around the World</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business etiquette business lunch etiquette meetings small business table manners Sun, 23 Oct 2011 18:15:57 +0000 Tom Harnish 756222 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Ditch the Informational Meeting http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-ditch-the-informational-meeting <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-ditch-the-informational-meeting" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-ditch-the-informational-meeting</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-ditch-the-informational-meeting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017306404Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In <a target="_blank" href="http://modernmeetingstandard.com/the-book/">Read This Before Our Next Meeting</a> from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thedominoproject.com/">The Domino Project</a>, author Al Pittampalli recommends ending what he calls the informational meeting in favor of the &ldquo;Modern Meeting.&rdquo;</p> <p>In the meeting and organizational culture that he envisions, &ldquo;bold decisions happen often and quickly, and those decisions are converted into movement that leads our organization forward&mdash;fearlessly.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pittampalli argues that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-use-projects-to-develop-your-employees-1">traditional meetings</a> are counterproductive for a couple of reasons:</p> <ol> <li>Too many of the wrong kind of meetings mean that we don&rsquo;t have enough time for &ldquo;our real work, the work we do that actually propels our organizations forward.&rdquo;</li> <li>Ineffective meetings make us think that we are accomplishing something though they tend to perpetuate the process of dodging conflict, avoiding hard decisions, and diffusing accountability to the point of inaction.</li> </ol> <p>A major step in transforming the culture is ditching the informational meeting in which employees and team members give status updates and report on their group&rsquo;s activities. The alternative is simple: send information via email (or similar form of written message). Save meetings for discussions in which conflict is resolved and collaboration happens, driving firm decisions and commitments.</p> <p>For several months, I have been running monthly sessions for a planning team and have largely dispensed with the informational meeting. This approach is downright hard and time-consuming for the person in charge (e.g., company owner, senior executive, or team leader). But as far as moving forward, it totally works.</p> <p>The process of moving from informational meetings to modern meetings requires tackling many challenges.</p> <p><b>1. Getting everyone to read written communications </b></p> <p>Pittampalli: &ldquo;we&rsquo;ll cancel the informational meetings, but you must commit to reading the memos.&rdquo;</p> <p>To limit time in my group&rsquo;s face-to-face meetings, I decided to provide information via email (similar to the guidance offered in the book, which had not been published when I started my sessions). This approach was welcomed but not understood by everyone. Early on, I conceded to the non-readers (those who had clearly <i>not</i> read the emails, based on their comments and questions) and devoted an entire session to elaborating and explaining content previously covered in written form. I was taken aback when one of these folks complained that the meeting was nonproductive and asked if such information could be sent via email. Our exchange was a turning point for me.</p> <p>My response to this complaint was, basically, &ldquo;we&rsquo;ll cancel the informational meetings, <i>but you must commit to reading the memos</i>.&rdquo;</p> <p><b>2. Responding to offline inquiries promptly</b></p> <p>Pittampalli: &ldquo;Encourage people who have questions and concerns to schedule one-on-one conversations with the leader or others who can actually do something about the situation.&rdquo;</p> <p>Address problems, concerns, etc. <i>outside </i>of the meeting time. Encourage inquiries. Respond quickly and thoroughly to questions. Also, note any points of confusion to improve the clarity of your written communications.</p> <p><b>3. Crafting written messages that cover pertinent information and move the project forward</b></p> <p>Pittampalli:<b> </b>&ldquo;The Modern Meeting requires that you don&rsquo;t dribble your thoughts in an endless series of instant messages and e-mails. No, you have to share your thoughts in coherent, cogent documents.&rdquo;<b> </b></p> <p>Writing meaningful messages takes a great deal of effort and, therefore, time. Set aside a large portion of certain days to focus on the project or assignment, plot the path, determine next steps, and write a memo that informs and instructs. To keep myself focused and make sure my communications are comprehensive but not overwhelming, I send just one or two emails each month to the entire group.</p> <p><b>4. Welcoming conflict and encouraging collaboration</b></p> <p>Pittampalli: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s work having a Modern Meeting to engage in collaborative problem solving. Getting smart people in a room to figure out how to support a plan or launch a product makes sense.&rdquo;</p> <p>Many people are not experienced in working together, much less dealing with conflict, expressing concerns in a non-threatening way, truly understanding another&rsquo;s perspective, and searching for solutions that benefit multiple groups. Instead, they feign false harmony so that the meeting will end more quickly. Unless they are challenged otherwise, they continue in counterproductive behaviors.</p> <p>Create an environment in which people feel free to discuss<b> </b>sensitive, even controversial, topics. Let people know that the purpose of engaging in conflict is not to declare winners. The goals of conflict and collaboration are to define all aspects of problems, identify opportunities and synergies among these opportunities, formulate feasible solutions, and make firm commitments.</p> <p><b>5. Clarifying and communicating the purpose of each meeting</b></p> <p>Pittampalli: &ldquo;After all, how can you thoughtfully debate a decision, or intelligently coordinate its resulting action, upon having heard it for the first time?...In our purposeless traditional meeting, your impromptu comments once sounded intelligent; in the Modern Meeting, they&rsquo;ll sound unsubstantial.&rdquo;<b> </b></p> <p>Many people have spent years honing the ability to speak confidently and glibly without actually committing to anything. They simply report on plans and general activity rather than explaining results and talking about changes that can improve outcomes. But they can&rsquo;t do that anymore.</p> <p>By writing memos clearly and planning meetings carefully, you pinpoint what is needed to move to the next step. At your meetings, explain what should happen during the session. Place key items of discussion on the table, let meaningful conversations begin, and provide leadership in making decisions that will result in well-defined outcomes.</p> <p><b>6. Following up on decisions</b></p> <p>Pittampalli: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the meeting leader&rsquo;s responsibility to follow up and hold participants accountable for their commitments.&rdquo;</p> <p>Outside of your meetings, follow up with participants. Offer guidance and resources while reminding them of their responsibilities. Keep a relentless focus on achieving the goals of your organization.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-ditch-the-informational-meeting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organized-people-have-these-5-things-in-their-homes-do-you">Organized People Have These 5 Things in Their Homes — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/look-where-you-want-to-go">Look where you want to go</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1">Basic Tips for Investing in a Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business meeting informational meeting meetings modern meeting planning small business Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:57:19 +0000 Julie Rains 696860 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Great Money-Saving Meeting Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-great-money-saving-meeting-ideas <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-great-money-saving-meeting-ideas" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-great-money-saving-meeting-ideas</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-great-money-saving-meeting-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011496101Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the first places business owners look to cut costs is in their budget for meetings, conferences, and events. It&rsquo;s obviously less painful than laying people off.</p> <p>But sometimes, it&rsquo;s important to find a way to get some &ldquo;face time&rdquo; with key clients, far flung members of your team, or leading players in your industry. Even if you talk by phone a lot, you may feel like you&rsquo;re not as connected as you need to be. Here are five increasingly popular approaches to consider if your meeting budget is tight.</p> <p><strong>1. Video Calling</strong></p> <p>If you work with a virtual team or remote partner on some of your projects, consider holding <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/secrets-to-the-best-online-meetings-1">an occasional meeting</a> on Skype or Oovoo. To use Skype, for instance, you and the other participants simply need to set up a free account and log in via computers that have HD quality webcams (or who have an inexpensive plug-in webcam). You can also do video calls from smart phones and, in the case of Skype, an iPad. A number of small business owners have told me recently that they have begun serving clients in other cities or countries by offering their advice, coaching or training via video calls. If you&rsquo;re eager to break into a growing market like India, now&rsquo;s your chance.</p> <p><strong>2. &ldquo;Hybrid&rdquo; Meetings</strong></p> <p>Some companies are limiting attendance at their annual meeting to key players but including other employees who want to join them through videoconferencing. Or, in lieu of one big splashy annual company meeting, they will save on travel costs by holding several smaller regional meetings and bringing everyone together at one point in the day on a live webcast with an interesting keynote speaker. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an increasing trend,&rdquo; says Brad Goodsell, president of Executive Travel Directors, a Chicago-based company that provides professional travel directors to meeting planning organizations.</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s a phenomenon that&rsquo;s likely to continue<b>. </b>Unisfair, a provider of virtual events, found <a target="_blank" href="http://www.unisfair.com/survey">in a recent survey</a> of 550 U.S. marketers outside its customer base that 60 percent plan to increase spending on virtual events this year, while 42 percent will cut spending at live conferences and trade shows. And 87 percent of respondents believe that hybrid events will make up at least half of all events in the next five years.</p> <p>Bear in mind that those who attend an event via videoconference probably won&rsquo;t get the same networking benefits as the live participants who are there sharing cocktails or golfing together. &ldquo;As much as the cost savings are there, the fun factor is not,&rdquo; says Goodsell. Then again, you won&rsquo;t have to worry as much about how you&rsquo;ll pay the bill.</p> <p><strong>3. Look at Less Expensive Destinations</strong></p> <p>Smaller cities often have wonderful hotels and attractions at much lower prices than cities like New York and Los Angeles. &ldquo;Start with less obvious convention cities,&rdquo; advises Mandi Kobaisic, vice president, global accounts at Hospitality Performance Network Global, a strategic meetings management company that helps clients find meeting sites and suppliers. &ldquo;Be open to destinations you might not have considered before.&rdquo; Among the &ldquo;value cities&rdquo; she recommends right now: Denver, CO; Jacksonville, FL; New Orleans, LA; and San Antonio, TX.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve narrowed down your choices to a few cities,<b> </b>Cvent&rsquo;s free <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cvent.com/en/destination-guide/event-planning.shtml">U.S. Cities Comparison chart</a> cab help you to make ballpark comparisons between them on room rates, daily food costs, taxi fare and other typical event-related expenses.</p> <p><strong>4. Try a New Hotel or One That&rsquo;s Just Been Renovated</strong></p> <p>New and recently re-done properties frequently offer &ldquo;get-acquainted&rdquo; deals.<b> </b>For instance, in Chicago, the Ambassdor East Hotel is being redesigned by entrepreneur Ian Schrager into a new hotel called Public Chicago. &ldquo;They are offering a lot of meeting packages,&rdquo; says Kobaisic, whose company keeps tabs on planned hotel openings, so it can advise meeting planners. &ldquo;They want people to see it.&rdquo; If you are planning a meeting without the help of a professional planner, set up Google alerts for &ldquo;new hotel&rdquo; in some of your target cities for ideas on properties to try.</p> <p><strong>5. Opt for a Local Attraction</strong></p> <p>Consider hosting an event for employees at a popular draw in your target city, such as the New York Aquarium or Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. It may be more cost effective than opting for a traditional conference setting &ndash; and will certainly be a morale booster.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-great-money-saving-meeting-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center meetings small business Sat, 27 Aug 2011 20:58:20 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 667156 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips for Remembering Names http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-for-remembering-names" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handshake.jpg" alt="Two men shaking hands" title="Two men shaking hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband has always said that I am great at remembering many details about the people we meet. One of the most important and basic things you should remember about someone new is his or her name. Here are some of my personal tips for remembering names; hopefully they will help you avoid an awkward &quot;I know you from somewhere&quot; moment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/remember-where-you-parked-your-car-and-more-35-practical-uses-of-a-digital-camera">Remember Where You Parked Your Car and More: 35 Practical Uses of a Digital Camera</a>)</p> <h2>Look for Distinguishing Features</h2> <p>When I meet someone, I always look for something unique in the way they look or act. The trick is to pick some feature that starts with the same letter as their name. For example, if someone has a very distinct mole and his name is Michael, then you can associate &quot;mole&quot; and &quot;Michael&quot; mentally. I have also memorized some people's names based on their left-handedness, the way they walked, or their accents. Try to find a feature that isn't easily changed.</p> <h2>Associate a Name With an Occupation</h2> <p>Usually people tell you what they do for a living. I find that it's often easier to remember occupations than names because there is always a story to that occupation. All you have to do is to weave a person's name into your mental image of that person's occupation. For example, if a person tells you that he or she is a nurse, imagine that you are at a hospital and that person has a nametag on with that name on it. You should be able store that image into your head and bring it up more easily later than just recalling a random name.</p> <h2>Repeat and Reintroduce</h2> <p>When you just meet someone new, try to say their name a few times while talking to them. Repetition always aids your memory, so introduce that person to some of your friends. You can also ask people to spell their names if you don't have nametags. If someone has an unusual name, it is especially helpful to get the pronunciation correct by repeating the name a few more times.</p> <h2>Associate Real Words With Names</h2> <p>Many names aren't real dictionary words, and that makes them harder to remember. If you see a person's name and associate it with a real word, somehow it is much easier to remember. For example, when I hear a name like Jaden, I think of the word &quot;jade,&quot; and I associate the color green with that person. When I hear &quot;Gladys,&quot; I think of gladiolas and associate that flower with the person's face.</p> <h2>Use Social Media</h2> <p>If you happen to like people you just met, you could friend them on Facebook or Twitter, where they will have pictures of themselves and links to their personal sites. At blogger meet-ups I have asked people for their Twitter handles and permission to friend them on Facebook or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">LinkedIn</a>. When you have faces and names show up on your social media feed, then it is much easier to remember who they are when you see them in person. For the most part, I do prefer adding people who I have met in real life to my Facebook, and I find it to be a great tool to keep people's images and names fresh in my mind.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for remembering names of new people in your life? What do you do when you can't remember someone's name in a social situation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training General Tips Personal Development brain hacks communication skills meetings memories Fri, 10 Jun 2011 10:36:06 +0000 Xin Lu 570814 at http://www.wisebread.com Simple Ways to Save on Catering Costs http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/simple-ways-to-save-on-catering-costs <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/simple-ways-to-save-on-catering-costs-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/simple-ways-to-save-on-ca...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/simple-ways-to-save-on-catering-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002433774XSmall.jpg" alt="catering" title="catering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A catered meal I once had at a charity cycling event, served by pleasant and helpful staff, made a big impression on me. My entry fee to the event entitled me to a buffet lunch presented by this caterer in addition to the usual pre-ride breakfast and snacks along the route. The meal, which included choices for meat and vegetarian entrées, was elegant and satisfying.</p> <p>What intrigued me the most, though, was the caterer's back story. The organization had started as a buffet restaurant staffed primarily by volunteers as an experience-based training center, and then evolved into a catering firm to lessen the day-to-day demands on volunteer hours. All proceeds from the caterer fund charitable activities. So when a friend was planning an office luncheon, I recommended this catering service. The prices were extremely reasonable, the food was fresh and imaginatively prepared, and the service was excellent.</p> <p>These experiences illustrate that there are some simple ways to save on catering if you have the time to do some research. &nbsp;Start by exploring these sources of catered meals:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Non-profit caterers</strong>, which may offer complete catering services as a training ground for aspiring chefs and foodservice professionals.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Culinary programs</strong> at area colleges and universities, which may offer full-service catering as well as delivery of complete meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Many schools focus on restaurant-style service only, but some offer catering as part of the training curriculum.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Meals-to-go companies, </strong>which sell fresh and frozen prepared entrees, side dishes, and desserts, and sometimes offer box lunches and traditional catering services as well. These companies may be national chains or run independently. The quality is generally very good to excellent, though creativity in menu design may be limited. Consider serving these prepared meals as a cost-effective alternative to full-service catering with individual servings. You can plan a full menu by supplementing entrees and side dishes with fresh bread and desserts from a local bakery.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Specialty grocers and grocery chains </strong>also sell prepared items, similar to meals-to-go companies. Very often they have excellent luncheon items such as chicken salad and potato salad in addition to standard catering items (e.g., deli trays). Cull out the best and most creatively prepared foods (southwestern chicken salad is a favorite of mine, for example). Call ahead to make arrangements so that the staff can prepare a large batch for your event.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Restaurants</strong> often sell menu items in large quantities. Save money by buying these larger portions and then controlling portion size when you serve meals to guests. Many restaurants also have catering businesses that are worth investigation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Bagel shops and sandwich shops </strong>often provide catering for breakfasts and lunches or offer deals that work well for business breakfasts or casual lunches.</li> </ol> <p>Your research should involve product sampling, one of my favorite parts of investigating potential caterers. Try some meals-to-go or food from the grocery's deli when you have a hectic work schedule, ask for the caterer's name at the next luncheon you attend, and dine at a variety of restaurants. At the same time, notice service standards so that you can make sure that lower-cost sources don't skimp on service levels. And don't skip the obvious step: Check prices to verify that your business will save money by using one of these approaches compared to traditional alternatives.</p> <p>It's also important to think about all aspects of an event when you are planning a catered meal. If you are throwing a holiday party for a handful of employees, then you may be able to buy various menu items and set up a casual, self-service line in the office kitchen. If you are hosting a dinner with key decision-makers from a major client, then you may opt for a full-service caterer in an offsite space. Either way, estimate both the dollars and hours required to achieve expectations without ruining your budget.</p> <p>Food accounts for just a slice of the total cost of an event. Other cost components include venue rental, set-up, and decoration; food presentation; food and beverage service; and clean up after the event. You may need to handle these details yourself, make assignments to your employees (who may or may not have expertise in hospitality), or hire outside help.</p> <p>Ways to save money in these areas include:</p> <ul> <li>Use your own facility, reserve common areas in your office building or neighborhood, or rent space in a public park or community center.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bring your own serving platters, table linens, dinnerware, etc.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask an employee to plan and execute décor within a set budget as part of a project.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plate meals and prepare beverages prior to arrival of guests (allowing you to control portion sizes and avoiding the need for servers).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clean items in the facility or take items home for clean-up.</li> </ul> <p>And finally, remember that there are times when you need to focus on putting the finishing touches on a client presentation rather than polishing catered-meal presentation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/simple-ways-to-save-on-catering-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center affordable food catering meetings small business Fri, 12 Nov 2010 16:35:47 +0000 Julie Rains 268607 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things I'd Love to Change About Meetings http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-id-love-to-change-about-meetings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-id-love-to-change-about-meetings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3528754669_fd0bab67a2.jpg" alt="Having a meeting" title="Having a meeting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that meetings are expensive. Time is precious, and having many people in a room is quite costly by any measurement. The cost of an interrupted workflow is even worse, especially for a small business!</p> <p>You might be especially productive early in the morning, from the moment you start working. I might require an hour or so of build-up time before I'm ready to get cranking. But when a meeting starts, our preferences and differences are cast aside. Meetings strip us of the core tenet of the creative process: autonomy.</p> <p>We can't rid the world of meetings. After all, the benefits of meeting does sometime outweigh the costs. But we can meet more wisely. Here are a few tips I observed in productive teams.</p> <h3>1. Beware of &quot;Posting Meetings&quot;</h3> <p>If you leave a meeting without action steps, then question the value of the meeting (especially if it is recurring). A meeting to &ldquo;share updates&rdquo; should actually be a voice-mail or an e-mail.</p> <h3>2. Abolish Monday Meetings</h3> <p>Gathering people for no other reason than &quot;it&rsquo;s Monday!&quot; makes little-to-no sense, especially when trying to filter through the bloated post-weekend inbox. Automatic meetings end up becoming &ldquo;posting&rdquo; meetings.</p> <h3>3. Finish With A Review of Actions Captured</h3> <p>At the end of every meeting, go around and review the action steps each person has captured. The exercise takes less than 30 seconds per person, and it almost always reveals a few action steps that were missed. The exercise also breeds a sense of accountability. If you state YOUR action steps in front of YOUR colleagues, then YOU are likely to follow through.</p> <h3>4. Make All Meetings &quot;Standing&quot; Meetings</h3> <p>One best practice I observed in the field was &ldquo;standing meetings&rdquo; &mdash; meetings in which people gather and remain standing. The tendency to sit back and reiterate points &mdash; commentate rather than content-make &mdash; dwindles as people get weak in the knees. Standing meetings become more actionable. Courtney Holt, the former head of Digital Media at MTV and now the Head of MySpace Music, insists on the value of standing meetings in his team, &quot;I try to make every meeting &mdash; especially those that are called last minute &mdash; a standing meeting...ideally each meeting finishes as quickly as it can.&quot;</p> <p>Most impromptu meetings that are called to quickly catch up on a project or discuss a problem can happen in 10 minutes or less.</p> <h3>5. State The Purpose Of Every Meeting At The Start</h3> <p>Behance's Chief of Operations, Brittany Ancell, suggests starting every meeting with a simple question, &quot;Why are we here, and what are we supposed to accomplish?&quot; As she explains, &quot;Laying out the objective and setting the meeting&rsquo;s tone is one of the leader&rsquo;s key responsibilities.&quot;</p> <h3>6. Bring Back Transit Time!</h3> <p>Building in 10-15 minutes of travel time between meetings can significantly reduce stress. In an article for <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/silverman/2009/08/the-50minute-meeting.html">Harvard Business Review</a>, entrepreneur and business writing teacher David Silverman makes the point that, in grade school, when the bell would ring, we knew we had 15 minutes to get to the next class. &quot;Why is it?&quot; he asks &quot;that when we graduate, they take away our bells, replace them with an irritating &quot;doink&quot; sound signaling &quot;5 minutes until your next meeting&quot; and assume we can now teleport to the location of same?</p> <p>What could cause such madness? In two words: Microsoft Outlook.&quot; It seems that the default principles of corporate scheduling have stripped us of the precious transit time that keeps peace of mind between meetings. To bring it back, Silverman suggests that, when scheduling an hour-long meeting, put it in the calendar for 50-minutes.</p> <h3>7. If You Must Meet, Meet on Tuesday at 3pm</h3> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/5385900/tuesday-at-3pm-is-the-most-agreeable-meeting-time">LifeHacker</a> reported a retrospective study from the online meeting scheduling service &quot;When is Good&quot; where, after reviewing over 100,000 responses to 34,000 events on their platform, they realized that Tuesday at 3pm was the most &quot;available&quot; spot for a meeting. Such a finding suggests that there may be certain times (and days) during the week that, despite varied workflows, work best for your team. Hey, it's not scientific, but it's worth keeping in mind!</p> <p>Admired leaders recognize the need to measure the value of meetings. Among the most productive leaders and teams I observed throughout the research for my new book, I found that the vast majority of teams shared a healthy hesitation to call meetings. Consider the above tips as ammunition against wasting precious resources in your small business.</p> <p><a href="http://the99percent.com/book"><img class="aligncenter" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/make-ideas-happen-small.png" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><i>This guest post is by <span class="il">Scott</span> <span class="il">Belsky</span>, Founder of <a href="http://www.behance.com/">Behance</a> and author of <a href="http://the99percent.com/book">MAKING IDEAS HAPPEN</a>, a new book that chronicles the methods of exceptionally productive people and teams.</i></p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/scott-belsky">Scott Belsky</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-id-love-to-change-about-meetings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-it">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity meetings time management Thu, 15 Apr 2010 14:00:02 +0000 Scott Belsky 18173 at http://www.wisebread.com