Give interruptions the brush off

Posted 1 week, 6 days ago @

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.

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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.

The post Give interruptions the brush off appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

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.

RELATED STORY: 6 event planning mistakes that will destroy your budget

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.

The post What do meeting planners truly want? appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

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.

The post 10 signs that you’re a workaholic appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

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, 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 and 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.

Category : Blog and Industry News

 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.

The post  A career coach can accelerate your progress appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

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

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

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.


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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Category : Blog and Industry News

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 @

dog balloons

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.

charlie chaplin

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

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Creating an interruption-proof space

November 12th, 2018 @

please do not disturb

In computer science, an interruption is a signal to a computing device that halts the execution of a program in progress so that some other action can proceed. In electrical engineering, an interruption comes in the form of a circuit that conveys a signal that stops the execution of a running program.

In everyday life, an interruption is a break in the action and is derived from the Latin words inter, which is to go between, and ruptus, which is to break off. Hence, an interruption can be described as something that comes between entities and separates them, such as you and the task you’re attempting to complete! Curiously, ruptus is related to the word rupture, which in biology is defined as a tearing apart of tissue; in politics, a breach of the peace; or in everyday affairs, a state of being broken apart.

Interruptions impede productivity

For meeting professionals seeking to be highly productive, interruptions represent a “breaking apart” of their ability to stay focused and strive for completion of the task at hand. In many work environments today—the traditional office as well as in mobile settings—each one of us is prone to too many interruptions to approach our potential level of productivity. Why? We are subjected to more potential interruptions than any previous workforce since homo erectus emerged from caves.

superheroUnprecedented challenges call for unprecedented solutions. It is not enough to turn your cell phone ringer or vibrator off. It is insufficient to believe that merely closing your office door will safeguard you from intruders. It is folly to believe that tomorrow is somehow going to be better than today if we don’t take a certain number of measures that guarantee we can work for 30, 60, or 90 minutes undisturbed when we need to.

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

Many years ago, I met with the CEO of the Planning Research Corporation in his office on the top floor of a building on K Street in Washington, D.C. From this vantage point, he was able to look out of large picture windows in three directions, including to the west for dozens of miles into Virginia. His office, the foyer leading into it, the receptionist’s area prior to that, the hallway leading to that and the entire floor were notably quieter than any of the floors under it. Like so many other top executives, he knew the importance of being able to marinade in his own thoughts.

The quiet to reflect

Those reaching the top rungs of organizations and who aspire to high achievement, instinctively understand the importance of safeguarding their environment. They understand the value of being able to reflect upon the challenges before them, to utilize the full measure of their cerebral capabilities and craft a plan or devise a solution to meet that challenge.

In our own lives and careers, sometimes we don’t have the choice of working on a quiet floor with barriers surrounding our work space that ensure the quiet we need to concentrate on the challenges before us. We do, however, have options regardless of our working environment that can increase the probability we will have vital stretches throughout the day and the week, where we are free of disturbances and can safely predict that interruptions will not take us off course.

Most meeting professional, sometime throughout the week, have the opportunity to take command of their immediate environment through a variety of procedures that are well known but unfortunately not put into practice as often as one might wish.

RELATED STORY: Overlooked smart tools for productivity

Interruption-proof your environment

In my book Breathing Space, I offer some suggestions for safeguarding your working environment and minimizing interruptions.

  • Surround yourself with everything you need to fully engage in the change process, which also might involve assembling resources, people and space, as well as ensuring that you have a quiet environment free of distractions.
  • Give yourself the hours or days you need to read, study and absorb what is occurring, and to make decisions about how you’ll apply new ways of doing things and new technology to your career and firm.
  • Go “cold turkey,” although this is not recommended for most people. Suspend whatever else you’re doing and engage in whatever it takes to incorporate a new way of doing things. This is enhanced by ensuring that you’ll have no disturbances, bringing in outside experts and assembling any other resources you need to succeed.

As the AllState commercial used to say, “Life comes at you fast.” In the future, today will seem like an era of peace and tranquility. Life will come at us ever-faster as our technology and mobile devices connect us with more and more people, and information sources around the world. We have to establish effective habits and procedures to buttress ourselves against what we know is coming: more information, more communication, more to sift through, more to learn and more to respond to.

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

Our work week and our lives are finite. We can only cram in so much information in a given period of time. The ability to understand and absorb what we need to, and keep at bay all the extraneous information that competes for our attention is a skill which must be developed, honed and refined now. It won’t get any easier later.

The sooner we recognize that our interruption-based society is here to stay, at least for now, the sooner we can embrace and securely put into place those measures that will ensure that we can be at our best for today and for the long run.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

High achievement at any age

October 15th, 2018 @

whats next

Suppose you thought of departing your current organization to start your own company. Or, you want to develop some news skills, but it will take considerable time and effort to do. In case you’ve already passed a certain age and are thinking, “I have this big dream, but I’m too old,” take heart. Even if you’re in your thirties, forties or fifties, mile-high achievement could still be in store for you—even if you’re past 60, 70 or 80.

Across the board, meeting professionals are living longer than their counterparts of just one generation ago. In particular, you are likely to live longer than you think you will. There’s no telling what you’re capable of two, three or four decades hence. The legendary Grandma Moses became famous as a painter in her seventies and eighties and was still creating notable works of art past age 100.

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When Ronald Reagan was re-elected as U.S. president in 1984, he was already 73 years old, and he left office when he was 77. Someday, an octogenarian—someone in his/her 80s—will be president of the United States.

In Reagan’s career, he spent 25 years in the motion picture and entertainment business before entering politics. Challengers frequently belabored his show biz background, yet, because of his longevity, his political career was often longer and more distinguished that that of his challengers. He had simply lived more years, and hence, had done more things.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, now 85, is a beacon of senior service to America, and hailed as a hero in many sectors of society. We could all cite many others.

For my second career…

Perhaps you’ll remain within the meeting industry or end up in some new venture that is largely unrelated. In Age Wave, Dr.Ken Dychtwald explains how it’s likely that you’ll have several careers within a lifetime—for you this could be in and out of talent development—with some careers totally unrelated to each other. After all, if you graduate college at age 22, you can work for 15 or 18 years in one industry, not even hit your forties, work 25 years in another industry, and even get your pension, and still work another 12 to 15 in another profession and only be in your 70s.

As average lifespans extend beyond 80 and 90, and the health and well-being of the typical career professional continues on at an advanced age, it’s not unrealistic to assume that you might achieve some spectacular goal in some arena of your life that is not even a consideration at this moment.

RELATED STORY: PYM Professional Development Guide

The seeds have been planted

Many people believe that the seeds of what you might be doing 20 or 40 years from now are already in formation, if only at the cellular level! When I took the course “Technologies for Creating,” designed by Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, I encountered one of the most powerful affirmations of my life to this point. Imagine, Fritz encourages, that everything that you’ve ever done is preparation for what’s coming next…

training coachingAll the successes, all the failures, all the things that went well, all the things that went up in flames and all of your experiences and learning might well be applied, or at least drawn upon, for the highest good, for what is coming in your life.

With that perspective, you’ve incurred no down time. Whatever roles you’ve taken on in your organization, whatever projects you’ve handled, all if it adds up to no wasted efforts. Your career up until now and your life has been a laboratory of sorts, helping you to prepare for some grand good the likes of which might still not be clear to you.

As the philosophers say, the pattern of the universe (or, more specifically for your purposes, the pattern of your career and life) is right there, visible in everything you do. You have only to recognize how to work with your strengths and limitations, aptitudes and blind spots so as to transcend yourself.

You can boldly go where you’ve never gone before and eventually set and reach goals that in an earlier time might have seemed beyond your essence, yet on some level, were within you all along.

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Exploration 101

If you’ve been swayed a bit by some of the points in this article, here are suggestions for things you can do in anticipation of a longer life and a more diverse career path.

  1. Undertake some exploratory reading via books, magazines and online articles about the path, and field of endeavor that, for whatever reason, has lingered in the back of your mind. You’re merely exploring, so there is no right or wrong direction. What you learn is all grist, or not, for a future mill.
  2. Talk to people in alternative fields to gain first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be a bee keeper, bank loan officer, forest ranger or what have you. There’s nothing like hearing from those in the know.
  3. Take a sabbatical if your current employment position allows for it, and actually spend time in the potential future job/trade/endeavor. You might decide that you don’t like it or that it’s worth keeping in mind for the future.
  4. Talk to your spouse or partner about your potential aspirations. Who knows, maybe you’ll garner strong support!

The post High achievement at any age appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News