MeetingSense Tips & Tricks

This Week’s Tip (August 30, 2017): Sorting Your Meetings Properly Will Help You Access the Information You’re Looking to Find Quickly!

Your MeetingSense Pro Meetings list is a quick and easy way to easily access upcoming or past meeting information in a couple clicks

Around the MeetingSense offices, we always say that Meetings aren’t just a snapshot in time, they’re an evolution of your information and communication. Thus, easily finding that important information when you need it most can be critical to doing your job well.

If your boss burst in to your office right now and asked about a meeting you had 3 weeks ago, along with the:

  • Agenda that was used
  • Meeting Notes
  • Action Items… and their current status
  • Any decisions that were made
  • All the files associated with the meeting
  • Who attended and who didn’t
  • Etc…

You’d probably be hard pressed to find all of that information easily or quickly in one place (or at all). Searching through sent emails, network folders, or even paging through a yellow pad to pull together all of the information from weeks ago is usually almost an impossibility.

To quickly and easily find all of you meeting information in MeetingSense Pro, follow these simple steps:

  1. Login to your MeetingSense Pro account: https://mymeetingsense.com/login
  2. Go to the Meetings page: https://mymeetingsense.com/meeting
  3. Use the Meetings List navigation elements to find your meeting
    1. Search – Simply type in a term and a relevant list of meetings will be returned in a list
    2. All Meetings Vs. My Meetings Filter – Filter your meetings list by all MeetingSense meetings in your dashboard or only the meetings you’ve scheduled or taken notes for
    3. Timeframe – Choose the timeframe you’d like to see
      1. Today
      2. Day
      3. Week
      4. Month
  4. Timeframe Navigation – Click the arrows to navigate backward and forward within the timeframe you’ve chosen, or click on the value itself (eg., Aug – if month was chosen) to bring up a calendar view to navigate
  5. List Sort – Your filtered list by:
    1. Start Date
    2. Organizer
    3. Subject
    4. Project
    5. Team
  6. List Ascend/Decent – Toggle to sort your list ascending or descending

MeetingSense Pro makes it easy for you to find any of your past Meetings, and then gain access to all of the critical information captured and managed for that meeting since it was conducted. All in a few seconds and a couple clicks.

Watch a quick and dirty screencast of the entire process here:  https://www.screencast.com/t/ljwrxS0qVi

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This Week’s Meeting Tip (February, 15 2017): Create MeetingSense Pro “Teams” to Keep Everyone and Everything Organized

Arranging people and meeting information under specific Teams will help you better manage your meeting world

In your MeetingSense Pro dashboard, Teams are simply a way to group or organize people and meeting information/objects together. Just as they exist in your corporate environment, your MeetingSense Teams help you maintain the same pathways of information and communication you use now.

Example Teams can include things like:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Support
  • Program Management
  • R & D or Development
  • Executive Team

Once your MeetingSense Pro Admin has created your Teams in the Dashboard – he’ll add the correct users, you can then start adding the meeting information specific to that Team(s). This allows you to ‘segment’ or separate users and content just like they are today. Of course, you can also always allow Team ‘guests’ to view only the information you want them to see.

Learn more about Teams, in the MeetingSense Pro User Guide: http://www.meetingsense.com/userguide/#cat-5

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This Week’s Meeting Tip (February, 08 2017): Your Conferencing Information Can Save You Up To 10 Minutes Per Meeting!

Simply including the right conferencing information with your meeting invites can dramatically improve how your meetings start

How many meetings do you have that start late because one or more of your participants struggle to find and use the meeting’s conferencing information. Now, this might be ‘user error’, but it ends up being everyone’s problem.

Conferencing information and it’s improper use often ends up being the culprit that pushes meetings to start 5-10 minutes late. Everyone is trying to open the invite to get the information, did you format it correctly, are the numbers all correct?

Here are a few easy tips for ensuring that all your conferencing meetings start well:

  • Always include conferencing information with every (applicable) meeting invite
  • Ensure the formats and numbers are correct and easy to use
  • Include all aspects of the conference call for those on the web and call
  • Ensure that people know it’s going to be a conference call so they come prepared

That’s it. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference, and trying these few easy tips can have a big impact on your meeting starts. Ensuring that the conferencing information for every meeting is easy to consume and utilize by your participants and you will instantly improve your meetings from start to finish.

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This Week’s Tip (February, 01 2017): Capture Every Critical Piece of Information in Your Meetings

Ensuring that all of your meeting information is captured, distributed, and utilized is a core component to making your meetings more successful.

Meetings tend to be a frenetic flurry of action. People providing their perspective, others presenting information, documents being shared, sub-discussions and arguments taking place, and everyone trying to accomplish the goal of the meeting while doing their best to stick to the agenda (hopefully).

In this environment information is being shared by multiple sources, usually quickly and without the ability to hit the pause button. Capturing all of this information can be difficult… but it’s not impossible.

The focus of any meeting note taker should be to:

  • Pick out the important tidbits of information being shared and add them to the notes
  • Jot down roll-call
  • Record any important decisions made
  • Assign all appropriate action items
  • And ensure that all shared files and documentation are available to the participants after the meeting when they’re needed

The best way to do all of these tasks is to ensure that you have a single, easy method for capturing all of this information as it’s shared. Even if you don’t use software to do this now, you can improve your meeting execution, and by doing so positively impact your overall meeting culture. Try these simple strategies for making notes capture more effective in your next meeting:

  1. Focus on capturing only the critical nuggets of meeting information, discard anything that’s not completely germane to a hard note/decision/action item
  2. Create and utilize a shorthand for capturing the core of points that can be enhanced or elaborated on after the meeting
  3. Capture all information in a single place/format that can  be easily distributed
  4. Clean up your meeting minutes before sending – After the meeting, clean up notes, add details, enhance decisions, and ensure all information is easy to understand
  5. Ensure the meeting’s goal is captured and delivered in the notes (if possible)
  6. Distribute the notes in as consumable a format as possible so that all information can be seen and used by all meeting participants (i.e., use commonly used formats)
  7. Make meeting minutes as actionable as possible. Provide all of the information needed for participants to USE your minutes
  8. Ask for feedback on your meeting minutes and constantly make incremental improvements

The meeting environment can be a difficult one to master, but by using some simple strategies to take better notes and then ensure their consumption and use, you’ll see dramatic improvement not only in your  meetings, but in your overall meeting culture.

If you don’t currently use a Meeting automation and management solution, check out MeetingSense Pro to see if it can work in your meetings.

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This Week’s Tip (January, 25 2017): It’s Easy to Add Users to Your MeetingSense Organization

Adding more users to your MeetingSense Organization is simple, even up to 100 at a time!

Meetings and Collaboration are all about sharing information together with the necessary group of people. Adding your colleagues, whether from within your company or from outside, is quick and easy from your MeetingSense Dashboard.

You can add users from two place in your Dashboard, the Admin page and the left-side Organization pane. Simple click the plus button on the Admin page, or the Invite Users button on the pane to open the invite new users dialog.

From here, you can either add each user individually, or use our bulk upload csv file (get it here: http://www.meetingsense.com/upload/) to up load up to 100 users at a time.

Of course with either method, you can always assign the proper rolls and permissions (publisher or not) and make sure everything is correct before you click the Send button to distribute all of your Organization invites from the system.

For a refresher on MeetingSense Pro Roles, visit: http://www.meetingsense.com/document/roles/

Adding users to your MeetingSense Organization will allow you to harness the true power of your meetings and collaboration. Thanks for joining us again!

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This Week’s Tip (January, 18 2017): Conduct MeetingSense ‘QuickMeetings’ for Non-Scheduled Spontaneous Meetings

Here’s How to Open/Start a Spontaneous MeetingSense ‘QuickMeeting’ from your Outlook Toolbar

Don’t have a meeting scheduled on your Outlook calendar but need to easily capture all of a spontaneous meeting’s information? Use your MeetingSense toolbars in Outlook

(or go to your online dashboard’s meeting page) and click the “QuickMeeting” option to open a ‘blank’ MeetingSense WebCapture meeting. Simply fill in all the meeting’s information and click open or start to begin your Quick MeetingSense meeting.

From here, you can just take notes, assign Action Items, jot down Decisions, or add files like a normal MeetingSense meeting. This way, all of the critical information you exchange in ad hoc meetings won’t be lost to the ether forever.

Try out a MeetingSense QuickMeeting today!

 

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This Week’s Tip (January 11, 2017): Creating a Simple Meeting Cost Calculator

As mentioned in last week’s tip, creating a simple meeting ‘cost clock’ or ‘cost calculator’ can greatly help you value your meeting time. Knowing the actual amount (or close to it) that you are costing your company each hour or minute can help you focus your meeting efforts. It can therefore, help you decide whether a meeting is indeed worth everyone’s time/cost or not.

Here are the basic questions you’ll need answers for to start:

  • Number of people set to attend (count the number of meeting invite accepts, not the total invite sent number)
  • How long is the meeting?
  • What is a ballparked average salary number for each level of attendee (manager, exec, individual contributor, etc…)

Once you’ve collated this information you can do the simple math using a format that you feel comfortable with.

As a sample, I’ve used the numbers below (salaries from the calculator linked above) and a spreadsheet to reach the desired result.

Here’s how my example turned out:

  • People attending: 5
  • The meeting will last: 1 Hour
  • Salary Calculations:
    • 1 X Executive: $223,543 X 1 (I used a CTO from Dallas Texas)
    • 2 X Managers: $110,250 X 2 (Channel Sales Managers in Dallas)
    • 2 X Individual Contributor: $93,247 (Marketing Managers in Dallas)

So, my quick spreadsheet example resulted in the following:

Just one meeting for a single hour, costs your company over $300 in this example! And that simple calculation doesn’t take into consideration any major additional costs like; all of the meeting follow up,  work you could be doing, any meeting running over, supplies used, opportunity cost of other work you could be doing, or just simple disruption of your workday.

Maybe $300/hour doesn’t sound like much for a company to spend, but when you start extrapolating that number out to longer meetings with more employees, a few times a week, and then across an entire year, the numbers get scary big very quickly.

The bottom line is, your time is very expensive and you should always seek to apply it as effectively as possible. Creating a simple meeting cost clock calculator to derive your ‘per meeting base cost’ can greatly help you focus that time to be as efficient and effective as possible with every meeting. It can also lead you to make better decisions about whether to have a meeting or not. Good luck (and have fun) making your own meeting cost calculator!

In the coming weeks we will be publishing a complex, full-company meeting cost calculator. Stay tuned for that!

Ps. Here’s a link to the simple example spreadsheet I used for this example as a base for creating your own: MeetingSense_Meeting_Calculator_Template

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This Week’s Tip (January, 4 2017): Do We Really Need This Meeting?

Our focused goal for 2017 is to help you make all your meetings the best they can possibly be! Join us here weekly for great tips and tricks to put you on that path.

In the first few days of any new year, we tend to look back and take stock. We want to see where we can make things better, be happier, make life easier, and become more successful. There’s no quicker way to improve on last year than to make your work life better. Here’s one great strategy to help in that endeavor…

Asking yourself one important question before each meeting you schedule or are asked to attend can greatly improve your team’s meeting culture.

“Do we really need to have this meeting?”

It’s that easy… but that powerful. Of course, you can ask yourself supporting follow-ups to solidify your choice. Questions like:

  • Can we achieve the desired goal or outcome with a quick group email?
  • How about a short visit to the would-be meeting stakeholders?
  • What is the goal of this meeting and does it really need a meeting (or meeting series) with all these participants?
  • Are the right people available and do we possess all of the information necessary to ensure that a meeting goal is definitely achieved?

While there are certainly bigger meeting issues that can be addressed, establishing whether a meeting is needed in the first place is a great exercise to help you focus on creating success from the very beginning. That and cutting out unnecessary meetings will:

  • Free you up to focus on getting important tasks done
  • Do the same for every participant that was going to attend your meeting
  • Empower your truly necessary meetings to be that much more focused and successful
  • Establish you as someone who respects and properly utilizes meetings (critical)
  • Did I mention that you’ll get a ton more work done!

That’s it! Try this simple strategy above to cut down on wasteful meetings to get much more work done and to dramatically improve the meetings you do have.

Next week, we’ll discuss creating a simple meeting cost clock (ballparked) to determine if you should have the meeting on a cost basis.

We’ll be posting tips throughout the year to help you make the meetings you decide you absolutely need more efficient, productive, and successful. Have a great first week of 2017!

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Last Week’s Tip (December, 14 2016): Start Meetings On-Time to Kickstart Your Productivity!

CBS News reports that corporate employees waste an average of 31 hours every month, or 48 work days a year, in poorly run meetings.

Starting your meetings on-time might seem like a small thing, but doing so can give your entire meeting lifecycle the boost it needs! Changing your culture to make this new behavior a focus will not only stop the annoyance of late starts, interruptions, and behind schedule agendas, but will set the tone for creating successful meeting outcomes every time.

Creating this culture of on-time meeting starts isn’t hard, you just need to establish some clear-cut rules that are always enforced. Achieve this and you’ll find your meeting attendees will be more likely to stay on track, meetings will end on time, and everyone will become more productive. This one change can have a profound impact on your team’s entire meeting culture.


Here Are Some Easy Suggestions for Starting Meetings On-Time:

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  1. Always ensure your meeting invites include a clear goal and concise agenda
  2. Provide any web or audio conference details in the body of your invites to eliminate searching
  3. Include any documents that are going to be shared/presented in the meeting
  4. Verbally reward those who show up on-time
  5. Constantly keep an eye on the clock – Start on time and stay on time
  6. Start every meeting on-time; set the example

Making these small but powerful changes to your meeting culture can have a ripple effect for your entire team. Not only will you become a meeting pro yourself, but your meeting attendees will also want to follow your lead and conduct well-run meetings themselves.

Try these six easy ideas in your meetings over the next couple weeks and see just how much of a productive impact these habits will have on your entire culture!

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Last Week’s Tip (December 7, 2016): Making Your Outlook Meeting Invites Work for You!

Microsoft Outlook does a great job of keeping businesses in meetings, but turning your meeting invites into a productivity engine isn’t as hard as you might think!

There are a few simple additions you can make to your invites to really boost their effectiveness and in-turn, dramatically increase the successful outcomes of your meetings.

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Make Your Meeting Invites Great Again:

  1. Add a meeting goal – ensure everyone is working towards a clearly stated end result
  2. Always include a detailed agenda – Get participants into the meeting knowing exactly what will be covered, and keep them on-track throughout the meeting
  3. List your conferencing information –  Make your conferencing information readily available so that there’s never the lost 5-10 minutes trying to get everyone onto the call or into the web conference

That’s it! Add those three little elements to every meeting invite and you will start every meeting much more effectively. You’ll also see your overall meeting productivity skyrocket.