In one of our last blog posts we briefly discussed when to use PowerPoint presentations. This was only the tip of the iceberg. Here we would like to go into depth on how to make PowerPoint work for you and your presentation. PowerPoint is a great tool of sharing information when used effectively and appropriately.
The Don’ts of PowerPoint Presentations
- Don’t let your PowerPoint be your whole presentation. In other words, PowerPoint is a tool to improve your presentation but should not be the whole presentation. Some presenters literally hide behind a podium and simply click through the slides. As a presenter, you should engage your audience; talk to them rather than read to them.
- Don’t use PowerPoint as your textbook. This means you should know you material thoroughly before the presentation and your PowerPoint presentation should only serve as cues.
- Avoid putting together wordy presentations. Your audience should be paying attention to what you are saying and not trying to read through your presentation.
The Do’s of PowerPoint Presentations
- Begin your presentation with an outline, your agenda for the presentation. This tells your audience what they can expect to gain from your presentation.
- You should use your slides to enhance the information that you are sharing with your audience. Consider using graphs or pie charts where appropriate or any other graphics that will help to bring your message across.
- Use a large enough font for all to see and consider using contrasting colors to make it easier for your audience to read the information on your slides.
- Rehearse your presentation several times to get a good idea on when to transition slides and also to keep track of the length of your presentation. There are some fun slide transitions you can use to give your presentation some visual interest. However, the slide transition should not distract or take away from the information that you are sharing with your audience.
- Finally don’t take yourself too seriously â€“ have fun!
We just discovered this outstanding series of communication tips in meetings by Dianna Booher, a specialist of communication. In this first part, she demonstrates some common problems in meetings like being interrupted and how to disagree gently. The series is definitely worth reading:
Forget a long introduction when youâ€™re offering informal comments. Start at the point of new information or the new idea. Then pause and take your cue from others. If they want elaboration, add it. If they have questions, answer them. If they nod agreement, youâ€™ve made your point.
Stop wasting time can be so easy sometimes:
- Get to the point immediately
- Develop ad-hoc ideas and communicate them
- Discuss possible issues and challenges
- and finally: specify tasks and delegate them
AgreeDo provides support in all these phases of ad-hoc collaboration with features like collaborative meeting minutes writing, task delegation and tracking and easy sharing features to all participants.
Today we’d like to share some tips on personal goals and satisfaction in meetings Â with you.
In this blog post by Andrew Hennigan, who is a consultant, speaker and writer on professional communication, he gives three essential tips what to do when you meetings wonâ€™t go in the way you want it. The tips are associated and build up a nice strategy for meetings with results.
It also makes your work less tiresome and stressful because you won’t spend hours in meetings that are wasting your time and you will feel more in control.
Wasting time in meetings is a major issue for many people. One solution is collaborative agenda writing for achieving an early conjoint focus on tasks and issues, which results in more efficient meetings and follow-ups. AgreeDo supports collaborative agendas as well as many other features, all centered around a workflow experience before, during and after meetings.
Today weâ€™d like to share an awesome article aboutÂ remote teams and how to collaborate efficiently written by Isaac Gube on SixRevisions.com.
The article is built on a case study to demonstrate common problems with remote teamwork. Isaac provides solutions to problems like how to stay in sync, remote task management, remote brainstorming and tasks delegation:
We set a solid meeting agenda, and stuck to it to make sure that the time we spend in meetings is short and efficient. Itâ€™s hard to get Jacob sitting in on a meeting, heâ€™d rather be doing stuff, rather than talking about them â€“ and as such, a clear meeting agenda is present that we both add to throughout the week to make sure that weâ€™re not meeting simply for the sake of meeting.
By the way: AgreeDo is a great tool to create clear meeting agendas collaboratively, to improve overall collaboration, meeting efficiency and productivity by combining web 2.0 technology with intuitive handling and ubiquitous availability – for free!
The purpose of most meetings is to share information, give instructions or tack progress of specific projects and tasks. At the end of the day, meetings really are but exchanging information. The manner in which this information is exchanged is pertinent to the success of any meeting. As you plan your meeting, it is important to think of the best method and medium of sharing your information. Here are a few suggestions to guide you.
PowerPoint presentations are best used in a situation when you need to share information with a large audience, especially if you also have virtual participants. You should keep the presentation short and to the point; avoid long paragraphs and complicated sentences â€“ consider using bullet points to breakdown your information. If you are comparing statistics, consider using a bar graph or pie chart to illustrate differences, gains or losses. After your meeting, you can share the meeting presentation as part of your meeting minutes so that your participants can have the presentation to refer to if needed.
Remember, the meeting room should be set up in such a way that all participants have a clear view of the projector. You will also need to have a clear phone line if you have virtual participants dialing into the meeting. When speaking project your voice loud enough for all to hear. If you are soft spoken you should use a microphone.
Image by courtesy of Microsoft
Handouts are best used for small intimate meetings. In some cases you can consider using a flipchart or white board in addition to the handouts. If you’re sharing information through handouts, only include pertinent information; key points should be sufficient. This leaves more room for discussion as opposed to your participants spending most of the meeting reading through a long and cumbersome handout. After all, your handout should not be a book! In the interest of being green, keep handouts short and concise so that you’re not wasting paper.
All things considered, regardless of which method you choose, your manner of sharing information should be tailored to your audience and appropriate for the type of information you desire to share.
Have you ever attended or been in charge of a meeting where the meeting went way over the allocated time and somehow there seemed to be no way of getting back on track? The majority of business meetings usually either ran off topic or ran over time and avoiding this is not as simple as it seems. Here are a few suggestions to help you to keep your meetings on time and on topic.
Managing Your Time
Image by courtesy of Microsoft
The best way to keep your meeting on tack time-wise is to have a thorough but concise agenda. The topics on your agenda should be truly relevant for the entire team and not one or two people. If you have questions for one person that may impact your meeting, ask these questions before your meeting. Sometimes you may notice that one topic takes much more time than expected. Allow a little leeway on your agenda for this type of situation, but you will have to make a judgment call on how much extra time you will spend. Consider moving on, if an issue simply cannot be solved or concluded in that meeting and perhaps you can add it to the agenda of your next team meeting.
Another great way to manage your time is to make sure you have all the necessary information â€“ handouts, presentations, backup data etc, well in advance of your meeting. This way, you will not waste time searching for information while running your meeting.
Of course the best way to keep your meeting on time is to start the meeting on time! Avoid wasting time with idle chatter at the beginning of your meeting.
Staying on Topic
Staying on topic during a meeting can be a tough task. What usually happens is that one person raises a question that is slightly off topic and before you know it, you are spending time discussing issues that have nothing to do with your meeting! This is not to say that all off topic questions are not important, they are just not important within the context of your meeting. The best way to address this is to have a parking lot for these questions when you are tracking your meeting minutes. You can inform your participants that these questions will be answered at a later time. After your meeting, you can review the items on your parking lot and determine the best way to deal with them.
Your agenda should be your guide to stay on topic and on time. Refer to it constantly during your meeting to make sure you are staying on track.
Image by courtesy of Microsoft
Company meetings are excellent opportunity for cultivating new ideas and nurturing creative thinking. Contrary to popular belief, meetings are not just about checking off task lists and assigning new work. Meetings are also a great time to tap into the creative potential of your team members. You will be surprised at the collective creative ability of your team if you only knew how to harness and maximize that potential!
Getting the creativity flowing in meetings is easier said than done. The majority of people are used to task-oriented meetings as opposed to creative think tanks. Changing this way of thinking is paramount in creating a shift in the expectation of how meetings are conducted.
Follow these steps to make your meeting task-oriented and also creative.
- Restructure the order of your agenda â€“ change your agenda around; shift the usual order of things to show your team members that it is OK to challenge the status quo. This will allow them to think differently. And thinking differently is the precursor to creativity.
- Give everyone a chance to speak â€“ the more your team members feel that their voices are important, the more likely they are to share ideas on improving processes. You can simply ask each team member to give their opinion on certain topics. This is also a great way to keep your team engaged. Sometimes it may not be feasible, time considered, to do this in every meeting. In this situation, you can select different team members to speak in every meeting which eventually gives everyone a chance to share their thoughts.
- Lead by example â€“ begin to share your creative ideas with your team. Present struggling areas of your business or department as opportunities for creative problem solving. You will be surprised by how many great solutions your team provides.
- Stay in the know â€“ keep up with the latest trends in your industry and present them at team meetings. To get everyone involved, set aside time on your agenda for trends and hot topics. Each meeting, one person or two can present a new trend or something exciting in your field. Take time to review the trends and the impact to your way of doing business. Also, consider other resources that can help your team in the creative process.
On December 30, 2011, our last blog post for last year, we talked about Getting Ready for 2012Â and the importance of setting goals for the New Year. As important as it is to set goals, it is just as important to keep track of your company or department goals. Even more importantly, are they being executed or just staying on paper? Now that we have completed the first month of 2012, it is the perfect time to re-visit your goals and convene with your team to see what is working and what is not.
Preparing for your Meetings
Your first step in preparing for the meeting should be examining your goals and determining your success or completion rate for January. Make sure you calculations are accurate, and send them out with your agenda, so that your team will have the opportunity to review the information before hand. They might catch errors or have information that might change your calculations. You should also collect all information and metrics relating to your goals for reference should any questions arise in your meeting.
Conducting your Meetings
The objective of this meeting is to review your progress with your team and to get feedback on what needs to change. It is important that your acknowledge successes and give recognition to the appropriate people for their contributions. On other hand you should also address areas of concern and create an action plan of how to get back on track. The action plan should be created with your team’s input; this is the best way to get their buy-in.
Accountability is Key
Above all else, it is imperative to keep track of who is accountable for what. Make sure that you thorough minutes are recorded during your meeting minutes and send out to team so they too have a record of the progress and a clear picture of where everything stands. Our web application makes sharing minutes hassle free! Reassign resources and talents where needed, if this will change the outcome of the rate of completion or progress on certain goals. Every goal/task should have an “owner”. Assigning tasks to specific person or group of people allows you to have a source of contact for that task. You can privately periodically touch base with them individually to find out their progress.
The final thing you should know is that goal tracking meetings are better conducted early in the year. This gives your ample time to make adjustments where they are needed. You have all the tools you need, schedule your meeting soon!
Have you ever held or attended a meeting where it seems no one can agree on anything? When one person suggests an idea or plan of action, there is another person with a counter argument. Making group decisions in a meeting can be tough, especially when a lot of egos are involved. So how do you handle such a situation? Funny that you ask because we have a solution!
No Person Left Behind
The important thing about team decisions is that every team member should feel involved in the decision making process right from the beginning. Prior to your meeting, make sure that all the participants are up to speed on your project. When you send out the agenda, solicit their input beforehand. Our web application allows for multiple collaborators on one document without the back to back emails. This will definitely make your job much easier.
A Little Hand Holding
Consider approaching specific participants, if you are aware of conflicting opinions on certain aspects of the project. Allow them to express their opinions to you. This way you can have better handle on what to expect when disagreements arise. You may also consider gathering as much information as you can on the area of concern so that you will be ready to answer question or refer to your information arsenal as needed. If you can, consider having backup; invite experts on the subject of concern to the meeting so that they can assist in addressing concerns and answering questions.
Getting Over Gridlocks
The best way to avoid gridlocks in team decisions is to have a plan on how decisions will be made as a group. Will the majority rule and will all final decisions be unanimous? This is something your team should discuss and agree on as rule of practice and can be applied in all decisions that affect the team. The book Why Teams Donâ€™t Work by Harvey RobbinsÂ andÂ Michael Finley is a great source on handling this issue. The authors offer seven decision making techniques for teams.
Follow these steps and you will find that team decisions in meetings should not feel like pulling teeth!
Have you ever attended a boring meeting? Do you remember anything that was discussed in that meeting? Chances are, you donâ€™t remember anything from that meeting and you probably didnâ€™t provide any meaningful contributions. Boring meetings are not helpful to anyone, they are a waste of time and they are counterproductive. Here is what you can do to make your meetings, fun, innovative and informative.
Provide Visual Appeal
Start with a concise but informative agenda. Your agenda is your road map to tell your meeting participants what your meeting is about and what you hope to accomplish. Your agenda should only include information that is pertinent to the meeting. Our web application gives you the ability to create such an agenda and also gives you the ability for multiple collaborations in the process.
Bring appropriate slideshows, charts and anything else that will help to convey your message. Be sure that the screen for the presentation is large enough for everyone to see. The information on your slide show must be appropriately sized and organized so as not to overwhelm the audience. Include videos where possible, this switches things up. However, if you are using videos in your presentation, the size of your screen must be a good size and make sure the volume is loud enough for all to hear.
Make it Fun
Engage your audience. Ask them questions, role play when giving examples and give them time to give their opinions or to ask questions. You do not want your meeting to be a one person show. Otherwise, it turns into a lecture. During your meeting, call on people who are subject matter experts in certain areas for their input â€“ they might be able to bring a different perspective to your material.
Comfort is Key
The size of your meeting room should be adequate enough to accommodate all the participants and giving them enough room to take notes. The room should not be too hot or too cold. Close the door to eliminate distractions.
Meetings should be an exciting opportunity to share ideas and information. Now you know just how to make it so!