Timing tips for effective meeting managers

June 15th, 2020 @

time management

Successful managers develop a knack for knowing the right time for making key decisions, brainstorming and conducting meetings, among many other aspects of meeting management.

When to make a key decision

Psychology professor Timothy Monk, Ph.S, D.Sc., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, asserts that in the late morning, as your body temperature rises, along with your alertness, your brain is prime to be at its peak in processing information. Likewise, your problem-solving capabilities are enhanced at that time.

As your body temperature continues to rise, your mind is able to stay more alert. In any case, experiment with making key decisions in the late morning. Then, days and weeks later look back, and determine how well you appear to be doing.

When to make a tough decision

This “when to” is answered by offering the opposite: Don’t make a tough decision when you are hungry for food. Researchers say that when you have a difficult decision to make, put off that decision until after you’ve eaten…a great excuse to go to lunch!

Based on a study from the Columbia University Business School, good nutrition supplies the energy you need to stay refreshed and maintain clear thinking. After you’ve had a good breakfast or a decent lunch, you’re likely to be more consistent in your decision-making.

When to brainstorm for new ideas

Because you’re mentally sharp first thing in the morning, it seems like that would be an ideal time to brainstorm. However, a combined study from Albion College and Michigan State University suggests otherwise. If you want to attain fresh perspectives and creative solutions, brainstorming later in the day is likely to yield better results.

The researchers from the two colleges asked students to tackle and resolve six problems, at various hours over the course of a day. Among self-described “morning persons,” surprisingly, the most creative solutions occurred at 6 p.m. In other words, when the students were mentally tired.

The reverse was true among students who regarded themselves as “night owls.” When it came to brainstorming, they generated their most creative ideas in the morning. The takeaway from these findings: For whatever reason, when we are mentally fatigued, we’re better at creative thinking. How can this be? It seems counterintuitive, but the researchers discovered that since creative thinking requires participants to approach problems from different angles, when rested and clearheaded, participants will gravitate to the most logical solutions. Conversely, a fatigued or distracted brain generates more innovative ideas.

The takeaway: When you are rested and clearheaded, focus on tasks that require your deep concentration. When you are mentally fatigued, focus on innovative solutions to challenges you face.

When to start a scheduled internal team meeting

Begin as scheduled, regardless of who is still missing. Independent of your meeting’s length, it is necessary for you, as a meeting arranger or meeting host, to start meetings on time. This demonstrates to the stragglers that they are late and others arrived as scheduled. Organized managers start meetings on time!

Business meeting specialist Robert Levasseur suggests that at the start of any meeting, “Participants reach a common understanding of what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it.” Hence, everyone needs to be present at the start.

When to read the fine print

Unbeknownst to many—except probably eye doctors—vision fluctuates throughout the day and can be somewhat blurry in the early morning. For most people, vision sharpens after a few hours.

Thomas Friberg, chief of retina services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, contends that your vision is most likely to be at its sharpest in the early afternoon. So, when you’ve got a stack of financial reports to wade through, you’re probably better off tackling them at 1 or 2 p.m., as opposed to 9 or 10 p.m.

When to absorb instructions and new information

When you have to absorb new information, give yourself a good chance of doing so: When it’s quiet, you can relax and can devote your attention to the matter at hand.

The following advice goes against what many might advise, but I believe a favorable time for quiet study and reflection is either before or after hours. I’ve witnessed hundreds of work environments, many incorporating cubicle culture, that are too noisy or chaotic to be conducive to learning something new.

RELATED STORY: Productivity tips for the new year

At conferences and conventions where I speak on work-life balance, harmony and integration, I have been approached by countless career professionals who tell me that they need to find refuge to concentrate. Sound familiar?

Rather than seeking to ingest new information during the workday, especially on a topic or area where you might be a newbie, or where you might otherwise be deficient, designate one night a week, perhaps at home, and spend an hour or two in deep concentration. Or, arise super early and concentrate while it’s quiet.

You might need to bone up on software or technology being used at work. You might need to become familiar with a new process. There might be new procedures for something you’ve been doing for years, but you have to handle it now in a different way.

If you have a partner, schedule your study time in advance. If you have young kids, obviously, after they are asleep gives you your safest chance. If you live alone, the hours are up to you. No particular day of the week is better than another but it’s wise to avoid Friday after work.

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Mental health during tumultuous times

June 1st, 2020 @

 

mental health

In times of tumult, it’s easy to get caught up on nearly every major issue making the news. This is an ill-advised practice.

It doesn’t matter on what side of the political spectrum you fall: These days, it’s easy to open a newspaper, surf the web, flip on the TV or tap your smartphone to find news items from around the world that are not to your liking. If this happens to you once a day, consider yourself lucky. For most people, it happens multiple times a day.

All we can do is all we can do. Become the master of your own domain and that will be fine. Open up your intellectual kimono to every issue that comes your way, and you’ll soon feel frustrated and defeated.

Perspective matters

Considering the volume of news and information, that is relevant to us, the chance of ever “staying on top of it” is nil. So, what can each of us do? Can we proceed effectively in our career and in our lives knowing that blizzard of information becomes newly available in the bat of an eyelash? Yes. Understand that everyone is the same boat and the ability to keep up is not some individual or personal failing. Virtually every fully functioning adult faces the same dilemma, continually.

Recognize that we don’t need to pay heed to every little detail that comes down the pike. Viable shortcuts exist. Some come in the way of abstracts and synopses. Some are provided to us by objective editors and writers who have studied an issue and who offer their sustained observations and opinions.

Equanimity matters

Here are four ways to maintain some semblance of equanimity throughout the course of the day, week, month, year and your career, despite the news.

  1. Pick a handful of causes or issues that you choose to follow and/or support. You can’t be on top of everything and can’t give your heart out in all directions. Narrow the field to what really matters to you and then give yourself permission to dive deeply into those issues.
  2. Don’t waste any time sparring online with others or trying to convince anybody else of your viewpoint when it’s clear that they’ve already dug in their heels. It’s fine for people to arrive at consensus, but it’s a mutual process. If one party is too heavily invested in achieving a particular outcome, when the other is not, pretty much nothing is going to happen.
  3. Give yourself a recurring rest from current events. That in turn helps to alleviate some of your stress and anxiety. You’ve likely got decades to go in this life. You don’t want to dissipate too much more of your time on issues upon which you can do nothing. Pick your spots, stay true to your interests, and recognize that it will be all right. You can take time away from the information maelstrom. There is no cosmic scoreboard detailing whether or not you’ve kept pace hour by hour or day by day. You deserve a break today. Give yourself some time without tuning in.
  4. Recognize that breaking news, as well as fads and what is currently trending, has a way of going by the wayside quickly. Rather than get caught up in the minutia of popular culture, focus on long-term trends.
  • Where is humanity heading?
  • What will the health be of the typical adult 10 years from now?
  • What major milestones are likely to be accomplished within the next decade?

By focusing on the long-term, rather than just fads or current events, you give yourself the opportunity to consider the affairs of humanity from a better vantage point.

The time in your life

From a practical standpoint, by focusing on the long-term you also free up the amount of time you have on a given day. Who among us has unlimited amounts of time to be pulled into this story, and that feature and this argument, and so on, ad infinitum?

Our lives are finite whereas the issues to which we could be exposed know no end. It’s time to pay homage to a mere handful of issues that resonate with you and to have the mental and emotional strength to leave the rest.

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Give interruptions the brush off

May 12th, 2020 @

This might come as a shock to you, but most of the interruptions you experience in the course of the day are self-induced. How so? Either you invited them and actually encouraged them to happen, or you failed to safeguard your spaces and places so that interruptions became likely.

Invited it to happen?

Anytime you proceed throughout the course of the work day, after work, and on weekends, with your cell phone nearby and the ringer ‘on,’ you are inviting an interruption. It might be one that you desire, such as to know who’s calling you. Still, you are the one who is in control of that immediate environment.

With perhaps 9 out of 10 calls that you receive, it’s not important to field them in real time. If you casually look at your phone, see who has called, and return when you choose to, chances are everything will be fine. The exception occurs when you’re waiting for a specific call and that’s a different case altogether. At such times, by all means, turn up the volume on your ringer.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

For most of the rest of the calls you receive throughout the day or week, you don’t need to have your ringer on. ‘Vibrate’ works for some people, but even that can be disruptive. I suggest you put your phone on ‘mute’ so that no sound is made. If you can’t do this during the workday, at least do it after hours, on weekends, or when your time is completely your own. You’ll appreciate the quiet and the uninterrupted stretches of time that you now have to get things done, or to simply relax.

Failing to safeguard your places and spaces

The second variety of interruptions are those that you’ve helped to have happened. This occurs when you do not take precautions when at work, or at home. The classic way to safeguard your space at work is to simply close your office door. If you work at a cubicle, post a sign that says under deadline or can’t be disturbed.

At home or when out and about, safeguard your space by muting your phone, as discussed above. Also, turn away from the main traffic arteries. If you are on a path that everyone takes, then obviously, the interruptions that you incur will be greater than if you were along some less traveled path.

At work, many places offer quiet, uninterrupted stretches – an empty conference room, a rooftop terrace, or a table in the back of the corporate cafeteria, far from all the other tables. When the weather permits, a park bench could work to your advantage. Even sitting in your car, depending on your task, could work well. In other words, you often have options to keep noise and intrusions from invading your space.

RELATED STORY: 5 considerations for online events in 2020

The fast-forward future

As the world turns, particularly during the work day, the volume of interruptions you’re likely to encounter will increase. Knowing that this is likely part of your future, what steps will you take today to minimize the noise to which you are subjected, to safeguard your spaces, and to work where others are not likely to intrude upon you?

The quality of your life and career is defined, in part, by how you limit interruptions. No one is coming to help you with this task; you handle and resolve the issue. You have the capability, fortunately, to take charge and give interruptions to brush off.

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What do meeting planners truly want?

February 18th, 2020 @

When retaining speakers to present at their conference or convention, meeting planners must tread very carefully. Picking the wrong speaker for an event can have disastrous consequences. If it’s a day-long event and five speakers are scheduled to present, if even one of them says something inappropriate, it can dominate the event in ways that no one would prefer to have happened. Worse, the off-remark might call into question your judgment.

It behooves speakers to rely upon veterans, those who have presented to dozens, if not hundreds of groups. Speakers who know the ropes and know what it takes to deliver with impact, are highly professional at all times. They go on their way to ensure that the meeting planner feels comfortable and confident that their presentation will be well-received.

Beyond the above, here are four factors that add up to success for both the meeting planner and the speaker:

Having a timely topic

The reason that a particular speaker is brought in at a certain time is because of the speaker’s wisdom, knowledge, and information that will benefit the group.

Even if a speaker is a humorist, or someone who is simply hired to entertain the audience, that speaker is still bringing with them knowledge and information, in the form of how they’re going to deliver, how they will pace themselves, understanding of the audience, and so forth.

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Offering a dynamic presentation

No one, meeting planners most of all, wants to have a speaker who delivers an off-the-shelf presentation, something the speaker said to the last group, and the group before that, etc. Sure, a speaker will draw upon an established body of material but it has to be, at the least, tailored to the group.

What challenges do audience members face? What has happened recently? What will be of concern after this meeting is over? The dynamic speaker takes into account such factors and delivers accordingly.

Interacting with the audience

Increasingly, meeting planners seek presenters who have an affinity for the audience. They’re not afraid of give-and-take. They might even step down from the stage and wander a bit throughout the hall. They encourage participation. They ask questions, pose dilemmas, and elicit responses.

Not all presentations, for all purposes, lend themselves to interaction with the audience. For those that do, however, interaction can be a notable, even memorable factor for audience members, who have sat in front of one staid delivery after another.

RELATED STORY: The 33 skills meeting and event planners need to succeed

Being succinct

All meetings have an agenda, whether tight or loose, written down, or verbally offered. At some point, a meeting must end, just as an individual presentation must end. Speakers who stay on time, even if their time has been chopped, and end at the original designated ending time, do everyone a favor: Get the meeting back on course!

The seasoned speaker, on the fly, knows how to convert what was scheduled to be a 45-minute presentation into what now has to be a 32-minute presentation, and has the ability to do so without the audience knowing the difference. This speaker doesn’t complain or wince, and he or she stands up and delivers and ends on the button, having done the job.

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10 signs that you’re a workaholic

January 6th, 2020 @

working overtime

Far in advance of the jam-packed days before a forthcoming convention, conference or meeting, and long afterwards, do you work unusually long hours? Workaholism is not pretty. It gets in the way of other things you could be doing in your life, mainly having free time, enjoying your leisure, being with others and renewing yourself so that when you return back to work you can be at your best.

A clear mission

As with many afflictions and addictions, there is even a society founded to help those who believe that they have fallen into workaholism. The group is called Workaholics Anonymous. Founded by a schoolteacher and a corporate financial planner from New York in 1983. its aim was to help others, “Who suffer from the disease of workaholism to stop working compulsively.”

RELATED STORY: 8 signs that your work-life balance is looking good

The two soon became three as the first meeting included the spouse of the financial planner. This spouse had started Workanon, a recovery program for those in a relationship with a workaholic.

The primary purpose then, and to this day, of Workaholics Anonymous is for each member to stop working compulsively and, “To carry the message of recovery to workaholics who still suffer.”

How to know if you’re in the grips

Here are 10 questions that will help you determine whether or not you have slipped into workaholism.

1. Do you continually underestimate how long a task will take and then find yourself rushing to complete it?

2. Are you fearful that if you don’t work diligently you will lose your job or be regarded as a failure?

chicken overworked3. Do you become flustered when people ask you to stop doing what you’re working on so that you can focus on something else?

4. Do you constantly think about your work even while you’re doing other things such as speaking with others, driving about town or even dozing off?

5. Do you consistently put in more hours on the job per week than is asked of you?

6. Do you do everything with high energy and in a competitive mode, even during leisure?

7. Do you become irritated with other people who have other priorities besides their work?

8. Do you consistently take work home from the office, to deal with on weekends, on vacation or as you’re about to retire to bed?

9. When you boil it all down, is work that single activity that you actually like to do best, and that you talk about the most?

10. Have your long work hours impaired your relationships with your family or with others, and have family and friends essentially given up on you?

RELATED STORY: Recognizing workplace psychopaths

Crossed over the line?

You don’t have to answer “yes” to all 10 of those questions to know that perhaps you’ve crossed the line into workaholism. A solid four or five yeses is as good an indicator as any.

If you’re ready to take the vital first stop to tone down your workaholism, starting today, get out of the office on time, engage in an enjoyable leisure activity this evening, go to bed with a clear conscience, arise in the morning and have time before work to be a person: to meditate, reflect, stretch or do whatever suits you—other than work.

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When to ask for a raise

November 4th, 2019 @

money ball

Ask for a raise when few other people in your work environment are doing so. That begs the question, when is everyone else likely to ask for one? Traditionally, this would occur around the time of performance reviews, be they annual, biannual, quarterly or monthly.

Nell Wulfhart, at DecideAndMoveForward.com, is a decision coach who helps people make personally important choices and move on with their lives. She offers some highly worthwhile advice on proceeding with your quest for more pay. In particular, ask for a raise following your brilliant performance, when you’ve racked up several successes in a row. When you know you’re on a roll, others are likely to know it as well, especially your boss.

Sleuthing for dollars

In many organizations, departments or divisions, and even among teams, salaries are not known among one another. When you’re able to glean salary information from some of your peers and you can make a reasonable assessment as to your value to the organization, based on the information you collected, that would be a good time to proceed as well.

If you gather industry information about what others in your position are earning, that data might be useful to bring with you during your discussion and request, especially when your compensation is less than the earnings range for your position, or when you have recently assumed more responsibility. Also, when you haven’t been granted a raise more than 12 months, that can work to your favor in your current discussion.

Note: We are all influenced by a well-assembled competitive analysis. However, avoid data overkill. If possible, shrink your competitive salary analysis to a single page. (Data on sites such as indeed.com and glassdoor.com can help you assemble this competitive analysis.)

RELATED STORY: The meeting professional and overtime laws

profit more moneyDuring the day, when to seek a raise

A favorable time of day to ask for a raise is midmorning. Too early in the morning, and you’ll likely catch your boss, when he or she is concerned with a myriad of other things. Too close to lunch, and your boss might be preoccupied with stepping out of the office or with what happens after lunch.

Mornings, your boss is more likely to have a higher level of self-control and what researchers call “moral awareness.” A study jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Utah and Harvard University concluded that a “morning morality effect” results in your boss being more likely to approve of your request.

Assuming you deserve the raise that you’re seeking, your boss is more likely in the morning to carefully consider the merits of your request then at other times during the day. As the day wears on, your boss is more apt to become both mentally fatigued and less willing to be fair, according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, author of The Undefeated Mind: on the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.

Directly after lunch is a possibility, especially if your boss appears to be in a good mood. When people have eaten recently, and are satiated, they’re more prone to a valid suggestion. If your boss seems to be in good spirits and agrees to meet with you on short notice, the stage is probably set in your favor.

The advancing afternoon is not as desirable as midmorning. Too much has built up during the day, perhaps for both you and your boss. Plus, why wait around for half a workday or more before asking a question that is bound to provoke a little anxiety?

Mondays and Fridays aren’t favorable times to seek a raise. On Monday, everyone has returned from the weekend and, perhaps, not as settled and collected as they might be on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday, people are focused on finishing up the week’s work, leaving and starting their weekend. So, all signs point to midmorning, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, about 9:45 to 11 a.m., as logically ideal times to seek a raise.

When not to ask for a raise

When your organization or company recently had big setback, lost a major account or is facing a merger, it is not an opportune time to ask for a raise, even if you absolutely merit one and your boss knows it.

Wait a few weeks, or a month or two, then discuss that you have intentionally waited, and feel that now is the time for your efforts and results to be rewarded accordingly.

RELATED STORY: Where do you rank on the salary scale?

Don’t ask and you won’t receive

It’s not advisable to ask for a raise based on your financial needs, such as seeking to buy a new house, welcoming a new baby, caring for your sick mother and so on. Those issues have nothing to do with a company’s or organization’s sound reason for increasing your compensation.

Avoid asking on the first day of the month and the last day of the month, or any other time when fiscal budgeting begins or ends.

P.S. When you don’t deserve the raise you’re seeking, no time is the right time to make the request. Worse, asking for a raise when your performance does not merit one could hamper your ability to be effective during a future attempt.

The post When to ask for a raise appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

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 A career coach can accelerate your progress

September 30th, 2019 @

career coaching

Of the possible strategies you can pursue in advancing your career, most will not outshine the effectiveness and pure efficiency of working with a coach.

I was fortunate early in my career to recognize the need to retain a career coach and the many benefits that accrue. In a nutshell, a career coach can help:

  • Diagnose and sort out your situation and opportunities.
  • Offer new strategies for coping with office politics and competition from other firms.
  • Show you vital stress management skills.
  • Discover or capitalize on new opportunities.

A good coach provides new tools to improve communication and helps chart your goals and career path. Your career coach can also be your positive personal, behind-the-scenes confidant, consultant and resource.

RELATED STORY: Switching gears: Making a change mid-career

Can you benefit from a career coach?

If you lack self-confidence or feel as if your career progress is idling then it’s likely you need a career coach. Are faced with any of the following?
1. Major changes within your organization especially if they have a direct impact on you.
2. Acquisitions or mergers.
3. Expansion into new markets.
4. Diversification into new products or services.
5. Increased competition to your firm from other firms trying to take over your market share.
6. Increased management or supervisory responsibility.
7. Increased leadership opportunities.
8. A recent or soon-to-be-available promotion.
9. A new boss or leadership shake-up above you.
10. Changes in your role or assignments within your company.
11. Blockades of your progress by internal feuds or informal political processes.
12. In-company competition and power plays, corporate intrigue, jockeying for position or turf protection.
13. Increased media exposure or public speaking requirements.
14. Increased production or sales quotas.
15. A new project you must lead or participate in developing.

For several years I worked with a career coach—we met only once quarterly for two hours, but I would depart supercharged.

RELATED STORY: Long-term career options for meeting planners

An employment contract

Your coach might be able to guide you on the topic of employment contracts. The notion of generating an employment contract has been around for decades, yet most meeting professionals to this day do not know what an employment contract is, how to draw one up or how to ensure that they only work with a contract in force.

Among other things, my coach advised me on the importance of establishing a contract. When I first heard this, I was amazed.

“You mean that I am to march into my boss’s office and suggest that we develop a contract that defines both the company’s and my responsibilities over the next twelve months?” Yes. Exactly!

In all professions, the most valuable people work with a contract. This is true in Fortune 500 companies; Major League Baseball; the highest levels of government; philanthropic organizations; and civic, social and charitable organizations. The top talent works with employment contracts.

Among other things, having an employment contract is a great confidence booster. Essentially, it defines your working conditions for the length of a specified term. It establishes your compensation rate and it secures your employment.

As a kicker, the contract enhances your confidence while you’re writing it, and it gives you practice in acting assertively, both when you first introduce the subject with your prospective or current employer and when you actually conduct the session to consummate the contract negotiation.

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Resilience matters to meeting professionals

August 12th, 2019 @

Abe Lincoln

Upon unexpected termination at work, some people fall into a “justice trap.” They think that somehow a cosmic sense of justice will prevail. Consider the 12 million people who starved in the Ukraine in the 1930s, however, at the hands of Josef Stalin. Is that cosmic justice?

Justice, like fairness, is an ideal. In the endeavors of humankind, fairness is certainly worth seeking, but, like justice, it is largely illusory.

Disruption happens

Events of varying magnitudes can disrupt one’s sense of homeostasis. Disruption and reintegration occur often, even simultaneously. Yet for each of us, increases in our resilience can occur in mere moments or over the course of several years, depending on what we experience and how we process it.

Perhaps the quintessential example of the resilient individual is none other than the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was defeated in his bid for Congress on many occasions. Even as late as 1858, two years before he won the presidential election, Lincoln lost his bid to become a senator from Illinois.

1831 – Failed in business

1832 – Defeated for legislature

1833 – Again failed in business

1834 – Elected to legislature

1835 – Sweetheart died

1836 – Had a nervous breakdown

1838 – Defeated for speaker

1840 – Defeated for elector

1843 – Defeated for Congress

1846 – Elected for Congress

1848 – Defeated for Congress

1854 – Defeated for Senate

1856 – Defeated for Vice-President

1858 – Defeated for Senate

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Following everything written above, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States.

A benchmark for the ages

Anyone studying Lincoln’s life could draw the conclusion that until 1860, when he was 49, he was largely a failure. Did he let election defeat after election defeat subdue his willingness to serve? Apparently, not at all. The resilience he exhibited during his decades-long quest to be elected to public office was eventually rewarded when he was elected U.S. president.

Once in office, Lincoln’s resilience became the benchmark of his tenure, during perhaps the most harrowing time in our nation’s history. The Civil War, in which a divided America slaughtered itself by the tens of thousands, is unprecedented in our history. All other mass casualties from wars or attacks came at the hands of external enemies to the U.S. Only Lincoln, amidst all other presidents, governed during a time in which Americans fought Americans; in some cases, literally brother against brother.

failure

Fail forward

So, you had a meeting that didn’t turn out so well? Undoubtedly, Lincoln had one harrowing experience after another, as he lost the runs for U.S. Congress and for the Senate repeatedly. Somehow, as he processed his experiences, he managed to “fail forward,” drawing upon the reflections and lessons that he gained. Indeed, many successful people in history experienced career setbacks before ultimately achieving their greatest triumphs.

Drawing upon his inner strength, Lincoln’s lessons from childhood, his marvelous, self-initiated version of home-schooling, the philosophy and resilience he had developed over the years and his legal education, he was able to maintain a perspective of equanimity over a four-year period that would have broken other men.

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Albert Einstein, for example, worked as a lowly clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he developed his Theory of Relativity. Thomas Edison made 8,000+ unsuccessful attempts to find the proper filament for his lightbulb. Babe Ruth struck out more times than anyone on his way to hitting more home runs than anyone.

So, face your obstacles head on, and realize that you are more resourceful than you currently presume.

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Productivity tips to start the year in high gear

January 7th, 2019 @

I’ve given many presentations on various aspects of achieving work-life balance, being more productive and getting more done. Sometimes, audience members send me summaries of what they heard, and their summaries are often excellent.

Here are 10 tips on productivity, which I’ve discussed at length over the years, which a single individual sent to me, as brief phrases, in bullet form. The list is so good, that I knew I needed to expand each tip and convert them into this article.

1) Review and prepare your to-do list the night before. When you take this step, you’re better prepared and focused to start the next day. To use the expression, “you hit the skids running” that next morning.

2) Start with the hardest task. When you tackle the hardest task first, before moving to progressively easier tasks, you do yourself a great favor. You get the big one out of the way and everything else seems mild by comparison.

3) Periodically review your to-do list or whatever project roster you maintain. A periodic review enables you to more effectively plan your day and week. Also, mixing easy tasks among hard tasks can help you sail through the day with more energy and focus.

RELATED STORY: 8 signs your work-life balance is looking good

4) Take strategic breaks throughout the day, even if they’re only 60 seconds in length. Ten one-minute breaks strategically taken will enable you to be more productive than if you work the whole day through without such breaks.

5) Anytime you’re going to have a meeting, establish an agenda. An agenda keeps you on track. It lets all parties know the sequence of topics to be addressed. And an agenda helps in ending the meeting on time.

6) Each time you find yourself vacillating during the day, recall that you are happier when you’re productive, as opposed to not. That alone could help you to start on the next task at hand, or to proceed with the one that’s currently bogging you down.

7) Continually separate the important from the urgent. Urgent tasks are those that scream at us, but in the grand scope of things are not that vital. Important tasks add value to you, some end-user, your team, your boss and/or your organization.

8) If it helps, use a timer set to about 20 minutes to keep you productive all day. At the end of 20 minutes feel free to check email or handle personal tasks, and then return to work, re-setting the timer to 20 minutes.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

9) Anticipate obstacles, because they will occur, often multiple times daily. No one endlessly sails through eight or nine hours unscathed, especially you.

10) Prepare for your daily departure from the workplace, long before doing so. Decide what you want to complete before leaving. Once you leave, do so with a clean mind. When you reach your next destination, be it home or someplace else, be there! Have a life for the rest of the day.

The post Productivity tips to start the year in high gear appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Importance of a sense of humor

November 26th, 2018 @

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You know how vital it is to retain professional speakers for your meetings who can keep audiences awake and alert, through their elocution skills and their humor. Within the speaking profession itself, an age-old question-and-answer axiom remains popular to this day: “Q: Is humor important? A: Only if you want to get paid.”

Why is it that having some laughs throughout the day is not one of your ongoing, mini-objectives? It’s one thing to have a great career, increase your net worth, live in a big house, drive a nice car and enjoy the benefits of being a successful meeting professional; it’s quite another if your life is relatively humorless.

Is that all there is?

Based on some studies, 44-year-olds, on average, laugh less often each day than children under age 7 and adults over age 65. That’s kind of sad when you think about it. Imagine going years, if not decades, in your professional career maintaining a relatively humorless posture compared to those much younger or significantly older? Like the Peggy Lee song lamented, “Is that all there is?” Is the career and life that you’re currently leading all there is?

If it’s been awhile since you have let out a good belly laugh, or you’d simply like to smile more often throughout the day, here are some ideas that will get you back on the road to mirth.

RELATED STORY: How to pick the right speaker for your group

1) Buy a joke book.

What kind of joke book you want to buy is up to you. The Dilbert series by Scott Adams is quite funny if you’re into office humor. The Far Side series by Gary Larson hasn’t been in vogue for almost two decades, but my goodness is it funny even to this day. A variety of other joke books and joke genres are readily available. In fact, you don’t even have to buy a book, you can go online and find comic strips, lists of jokes by topic, by geography, and so on. Your ability to quickly find reading material that will make you laugh has never been easier.

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2) Watch funny movies.

On DVD, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or however you acquire them, you can find funny movies and funny shows that can make a difference in your life. Teen flicks are particularly funny when done well. Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That are bound to bring a smile to your face. Screwball comedies might be your cup of tea. Some comedies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s have stood the test of time and are still funny. In addition, there are a number of channels where you can watch comedians in high gear, including Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and HBO.

3) Associate with humorous people.

If you already have close friends to exchange jokes and witticisms with, it’s to your great advantage. Now, consider your professional colleagues, people in your social circles, those you knew way back when, including college and even high school—what percentage of them are humorous? Is it one in five? Is it none in five? Is it time, perhaps, to seek out new friends who have a lighter, cheerier and more mirthful approach to life?

4) Look for everyday humor.

We all encounter humorous situations at work, at home and in life, but to what degree do we take note of them? Sometimes, we muster a half, inner smile and then in the next second, proceed past it so that the encounter has no bearing on us. If you begin to note the humorous situations all around you, soon enough, they begin to take on greater importance. You actively seek them. Before you know it, your quest for a humor-filled life becomes a significant part of your day.

If you undertake the activities above, not too far in the future, you’ll find that you’ve added a measure of humor back into your life that helps to offer some semblance of balance. After all, as a meeting professional you will face trying days and intense challenges. It’s that fine balance that makes it all so much nicer.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

The post Importance of a sense of humor appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News