Managing Meeting Madness

Meetings. We can’t avoid them. They soak up most of our day, yet too often they’re not effective.

Some of us spend our day managing meeting madness; attending one unproductive meeting after the other.

But it doesn’t need to be this way.

By learning to prepare, pre-position and plan your meetings the productivity of yourself and your attendees can be significantly increased.

Unproductive meetings result when the participants are either:

  • Ignorant: don’t know why they’re there
  • Arrogant: don’t care why they‘re there
  • Alienated: don’t “show” (they might be there in body only)

For any meeting to be successful and productive, the participants need to be:

  • Informed: know why they’re there
  • Included: play a role in the meeting and outcomes
  • Inspired: own the meeting outcomes and outputs

So how can this be achieved?

Here are some starters:

  1. The 80/20 rule – ensuring all preparation is done in advance allows the meeting to focus on decision making and outcomes
  2. Connect with the participants beforehand explaining why they’ll be there and what’s expected of them before, during and after. Chunking information helps
  3. Ensure your meeting focuses on high priority discussion or it will be filled with low priority discussion
  4. Alternate the chair – allows you to focus on other meeting aspects and become an observer
  5. Cross-pollinate from other teams – invite others to your meetings and hear their observations and what works. Have your participants attend other meetings and report back. Success is built on success.
  6. Use WINs reports – Work in Progress, Issues, Next Week’s priorities. Helps keep a record and ensures team consistency.
  7. Embrace Emotional Intelligence – learn it and role model being self aware, self-managed, socially-aware and relationship-focused

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that your meetings are productive and effective. Who knows, they might even become a place where creativity, innovation and fun flourish.

Now that’s an interesting idea!

Presenting For Success – Back by popular demand

Posted by Simon 04 September 2011
Filed under Individuals, News & Events, Organisations, Personal Empowerment, Professional Impact.

The Presenting For Success Workshop is on again.

This time its being held on Wednesday 28th September.

Contact us for full details.




Presenting For Success

Posted by Simon 08 August 2011
Filed under Individuals, News & Events, Organisations, Personal Empowerment, Professional Impact.

“The key to impactful presentations is not just knowing your material and your audience, it is knowing yourself.”

As part of Victoria’s Small Business Festival, we have been invited by the Brunswick Business Incubator to conduct a workshop aimed at developing presentation skills. The workshop will be held on the morning of Wednesday 31st August and will be followed by a light lunch.

The workshop is designed for everyone needing to make presentations to clients, colleagues and stakeholders.   Participants will learn how to design and deliver presentations that have real impact.

The cost is subsidised by Brunswick Business Incubator and all enquiries and registrations are to go via them. Please refer the attached flyer for full details.

The Business of Fasting: Transforming Health, Vitality and Prosperity For You and Your Business

We are pleased to announce a free seminar upon to the public that will allow us share our experiences on undergoing an extended water fast.

Fasting is often seen as the most effective way to cleanse and regenerate our body.

The principles of fasting are also acknowledged as one of the most optimum ways to maintain overall health, vitality and wellbeing. Fasting can, and does, enable us to enjoy a sense of prosperity in terms of our health.

But fasting can give us many more benefits, not only in terms of our health, but also in terms of our understanding about what is truly important to us in all aspects of our life.

In this engaging and intriguing session we will share:

  • Learnings on a literal and personal level: physically in terms of the body; mentally, in terms of the mind; and emotionally, in terms of vitality, energy and self-awareness
  • Learnings on a metaphorical and organisational level in the context of managing their consultancy, serving organisations and engaging with clients
  • The vital elements required to build and maintain a business and what it takes to continually grow the business for longevity and survival

Our insights and observations will provide an understanding that:

  • The simple things you do actually brings the most profound results
  • It is important to know what you are doing and why you are doing it
  • Just as the body is based on functions (and has vital organs) so too are organisations

Whilst not advocating or encouraging participants to take on an extended water fast, we will, by simply sharing our observations and imparting our knowledge, will seek to encourage participants to begin thinking about making small, but necessary, incremental changes to their lives.

An important part of our client engagements is to seek to empower people by inspiring them to question what is the kind of health and vitality they want to achieve for themselves, their business and their professional relationships.

You will come away from this session with valuable knowledge that has the potential to improve your personal health and wellbeing and to clarify your organisation’s focus and mission.

We’d love to see you there so please find full details here.

We thank our friends at Austbrokers Countrywide for sponsoring this seminar.

If you can’t make this session but feel that there are key messages for you or your business to learn, then please contact us to arrange a time for us to speak at your organisation.

Presenting for Success – Grounding Yourself to Become a Star Presenter

Posted by Simon 01 May 2011
Filed under Individuals, Personal Empowerment, Professional Impact.

Grounding Yourself to Become a Star Presenter

It is often said: Prior preparation prevents pathetically poor performance.

It could equally be said that: Prior preparation prevents pathetically poor presentations.

For many of us, making presentations is a regular part of our professional life. Some of us present to colleagues and fellow employees. Some of us present to clients and potential customers. Others make presentations as a key function of their job. (And of course there are the times when we’re called upon to make a speech as part of another’s life transition e.g. a friend’s wedding or a relative’s funeral.)

To highlight the significance of prior preparation, here’s a little quiz:

  1. What do most business audiences want to do during a presentation?
  2. What do most business presenters want to do during a presentation?
  3. What do most audiences forget 24 hours after a presentation?
  4. What is the time taken to put an audience to sleep when the presenter reads from the slides?


  1. Get out of the room
  2. Sit down in the audience
  3. What was presented, the title of the presentation or the presenter’s name
  4. 30 seconds

Effective communication relies on balance and harmony between what we say, how we say it and how we deliver it.

By becoming more aware of what we are seeking to achieve in our presentations, we can focus our attention on correct preparation and thereby achieve greater success. Grounding yourself as you prepare and plan your presentation allows you to lay the right foundations upon which to launch your presentation.

You might be asking, “So, what’s your point?”

My point is: “your starting point is whatever the point of your presentation is!”

This is more than merely starting with the end in mind. It is about asking yourself “What am I seeking from this presentation?”

And it’s surprising just how often the point of a presentation isn’t clarified at the outset when the presentation was being prepared, let alone whilst it was being delivered. Many an audience has come away from a presentation asking themselves (or each other): “What was that all about?” or more realistically, in today’s vernacular, simply “WTF?”

The key thing to remember is that whilst you should be able to clearly articulate to anyone “The point of my presentation is…” ultimately the point of your presentation is YOU.

The reason for this is quite simple. Whilst your audience (whether one person or a group of thousands) has their reasons for being there, it is ultimately you who is seeking an outcome from delivering the presentation.

In other words, you have an objective that you are seeking to achieve. Broadly speaking, in a business context, this objective will be one of the following:

  • An order
  • Funding
  • Approval
  • Support
  • Recommendation
  • Referrals

So ask yourself,

  1. What is it that I am seeking from my audience?
  2. How are my presentations currently fulfilling that need?
  3. How are my presentations currently hindering that need?

Once you have identified these you have the foundations to begin to prepare a presentation that will have the desired impact for both yourself and your audience. But you have to fully understand just who the audience is.

We will discuss other elements of Presenting for Success in upcoming posts. The next will focus on Knowing the Audience.

In the interim, feel free to contact us to learn more about our Presenting For Success program.

Story Work: Letting Stories Do the Work For You

Throughout history societies, communities and groups have relied on stories as a way of bonding, sharing traditions, expressing beliefs and customs and to simply learn. Much of our culture can be found expressed in our stories. And, just as our stories come from culture, they can also change our culture.

In the societies, communities and groups in which we’re a part of today, stories can take on a whole new level of richness and purpose. This is particularly evident in the stories that arise in our organisations, our businesses and our institutions of learning.

Basically stories can serve to:

  • Establish, reinforce and guide strategic direction
  • Allow us to make better decisions
  • Influence outcomes
  • Be a beacon for the future

So stories, when used in these ways, become far more than just storytelling. They become story work and they can do so many things for us as we seek to mobilise, engage and inspire the people with whom we come in contact.

Stories make it possible for a group of people to make sense of something that is fluid and changing.

Stories also allow information from an organisation (whether its a business institution or a learning institution) to guide and influence the learning within that organisation.

Furthermore, the simple art of sharing stories supports team building and strengthens common understanding in the participants.

How to make a start? Simply tell a story. Quite often you will get a story in return.

So embrace the power of stories and become enfolded in the work they can do for you.