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Business

Running A Successful Business Event

Running a business isn’t easy and the work involved goes far beyond the day to day operations doesn’t it? With time you can master the running of your business but one area many people will always struggle is corporate business events. That’s why event staffing companies and event staffing services are so very popular.

Trying to set-up, manage and run a business event isn’t easy and while you might know your business better than anyone else that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to run a high-quality, informative event promoting it. Turning over the responsibility to an outside group might be difficult at first but it will make things much easier.

Plus, it’s not like you won’t have any input either. After all, event staffing companies are set-up to help make your dream business event a reality. They’ll take care of the hard work, so you can stay focused on actually running your business and enjoying the event.

While there are a lot of event staffing services available by far one of the most important is security. Business events of any kind will need security and as strange as it may sound it’s something that is easy to forget! When planning a business event many people will focus on the catering, servers and even the promotional staff instead of the security.

However, security is just as important (and arguably more important) and hiring security staff for your next business event from an event staffing company is the best way to ensure your event goes off without a hitch.

Security guards will be able to keep the peace and ensure everyone attending the event is safe and secure. So, I’ve talked a bit about how event staffing companies can help when it comes to running a business event, let’s look at the main benefits in more detail.

How Can Event Staffing Companies Assist You?

There are a lot of benefits to using an event staffing company for your next business event and they shouldn’t be underestimated. Many times, people will simply think they can manage the job themselves and while you might be able to (in some cases) by utilising an event staffing company you’ll be able to better focus your efforts and lighten your workload.

To put it simply by using an event staffing company you can lighten your workload and put on a more high-quality business event. That’s the short version anyway let’s take a more detailed look, shall we?

Gives Your Staff Time To Enjoy The Event

If you don’t want to use a staffing agency to help set-up and run your next business event, then in lieu of them who are you going to use? Many businesses will turn to their own staff to help assist with the work involved and while they might be able to do this, it will be sure to add more pressure to their workload.

Plus, it will also mean they won’t really be able to enjoy the event themselves, depending on what the event is this might not mean much. Not all business events will require all your staff to be present after all, but if your event would benefit from the presence of your staff you don’t want them running the event you’ll want them to enjoy it instead.    

Increased Security Presence

I’ve already mentioned this benefit but it’s worth reiterating any business event will require professional security services and while again you might have your own security guards or team, security for a business event and security for your own offices are not the same thing.

With an event staffing company, you’ll be able to get an experienced security team to manage all the security aspects of your business event. This can be even more beneficial if you’re hosting your event in a venue you’re not overly familiar with.

Ensures A More Efficient Event

It goes without saying that any business wants any event they set-up to be a success, doesn’t it? By utilising the services of an event staffing company, you can do just that! Whatever services you use them for you’ll be able to get experienced professionals onboard that will help you ensure your next business event is a success.

Lightens Your Workload

Following on from my last point another great benefit of using event staffing services for your next business event is that it will lighten the work you will have to do. Sure, you’ll still play an important role in setting up the event but you won’t be managing everything yourself. This is great news for you because it means you can focus on the running of your business and your part of the event.

Now micro-managing is always going to be a temptation especially for people who are running their first business event, but by using experienced professionals to help run and manage your event you can enjoy a lighter workload. While also ensuring you have the time available to focus your efforts on your part of the event.

They Offer A Versatile Service 

Event staffing companies can do many things, and many will focus on one specific service, some might focus on event security, while others will assist with events management. And of course, caterers will ensure any food and drink is available for the event and there’s venue decorators and much more.

So, you might end up using a number of different event staffing services when you set-up your next business event. Because of the versatile services they offer they can assist you with all aspects of your next business event. From security to waitstaff, these events companies can help in many ways and will be of benefit to any business.

So, if you are planning or even in the process of setting up your next business event then why not consider hiring an event staffing company, so you can utilise the amazing services they offer! Event staffing companies can help in so many ways and any business will benefit from using their wide variety of services. 

Business

Legal Tips for Startups: All You Need To Know

This article will navigate some of the important legal issues a startup is likely to face and a brief guide into how to manage them. They will be broken down into five main areas:

The company

Register your company

You will decide who runs your business, how the business will operate, and registering that information with Companies House. This is legal procedure.

To register your company you will need to find; an available company name, you can check to see if your idea has already been taken and the regulations you must adhere to; decide on your registered company address, somewhere all correspondence will be delivered and collected; decide the type of company you will be, private limited, private unlimited or public limited; who will run the company, directors and board members; and the shares you will issue and at what value.

Shareholders agreements

This will protect each shareholder’s rights and prevent undue conflict. The document will outline the share issue, the company officers, requirements, rights and how dividends will be allocated. It will also outline the process for when a shareholder leaves the company.

Partnerships agreements

To avoid conflict and ensure the smooth running of your company a partnership agreement should be laid out to define detailed roles of each partner, capital contributors, rights and responsibilities and what will happen in the event of separation or of a single partner leaving the company. It will outline matters of profit, duties and management systems.

Share certificates

This defines which member of the company retains each allocation of shares or stocks in the company. A share certificate must be allocated within two months of the business creation or the introduction of new shares. It will cover share allocation, price, date of issue, a unique certificate number, the type of shares and also member and company details.

Board minutes

It is a legal requirement for companies to keep minutes of all board meetings. An accurate record of decisions and discussions are necessary as evidence in case of issue or member disagreement in future. They are set to record staff, accounting, documentation and important decision making agreements. They must include the time and date, directors present, other attendees, the chairman, the agenda, the matter in question and if the appropriate number of members were present to carry out any decisions raised.

Funding

Business plan

To outline your financial proposal in order to gain funds you will require a business plan. This will help create a real plan for gathering funds, repaying investments, outlining your objectives and strategies, all in order to make your company successful and profitable. It will set clear goals and how to make them achievable.

Loan agreements

If you need to borrow money or are to lend to others as part of your business service, an agreement or contract will be required to make sure your process is legal and compliant. The document is created to protect both the lender and borrower in case of future conflict, it will outline any obligations or restrictions, and also rules on early repayment, late or missed payments, and failure to complete the full payment.

Staff

Senior contracts

Contracts must be administered for every staff member; directors, partners and business owners are no exception. Every member must comply with the rules laid out pertaining to their position and because of higher levels of involvement and security for the company these documents will go into extended levels of detail than more general level contracts.

Director appointments

A letter of appointment is a clear way to outline the roles and expectations in a director’s role. It should cover duties, status, expected commitment, payments and expense allowances, legal and financial obligations and what would happen in the event of a termination.

Job specification and offer letter

Recruiting members for your company will require advertising or agency contribution. The specification is required to outline the purpose and role of the position, skillsets or qualifications required, remuneration, schedule, bonuses and how to reply. The offer letter will give the applicant the option of accepting the role, understanding the conditions and obligations, and that they will be entering into a legal contract if they choose to accept.

Employment contract

You will be providing legal cover outlining every aspect of the position for both employer and staff for the term of employment. This will outline all required terms in fairness, of the role and benefits to create a mutually rewarding relationship for all.

Your goods or services

Website privacy and T&Cs

Your website privacy or data protection policy is a legal document to protect you when trading on the Internet. It is used regarding the collection of data in all areas of your website’s management and presentation. Whether e-commerce, blogging, chatroom or straightforward marketing pages, data protection is key in today’s society and must be covered securely and in detail.

Services agreements

Your service agreement outlines the expectations, rules and obligations to both partners when engaging in a business contract. It will cover terms, rates, control, liability, confidentiality and of course, the service provided.  According to Jones Whyte Law, this legal document is to outline facts if dispute arises that leads to conflict through a court or legal system.

Sale of goods agreements

This document is a record and contract of sales pertaining to goods including all relevant information; price, date, deliveries, and return policy, in order to protect the buyer from insubstantial goods and as a proof of purchase if returned to the seller.

T&Cs

The terms and conditions of sales or services will be outlined thoroughly covering every aspect of what both the buyer and seller expect to be both fair and that are legal. This will be a detailed document to cover eventualities that rarely happen or are even unlikely in order to protect both parties in the event that the unforeseen may happen. These are the rules and the laws required for each and every sale, behaviour and business practice.

Intellectual property

Assignment

Intellectual property rights are the assets of many businesses; trademarks, patents, design rights and copyright where a physical entity isn’t always available. A legal document will be assigned to prove ownership and the control over any of the above and more, depending on the type of business service and product.

Confidentiality

If you are sharing sensitive information with your clients or customers as part of your businesses sales, growth or development then a confidentiality agreement will disclose private information regarding your business. You should never disclose any matter of importance and sensitivity until you have the agreement drawn up and signed outlining the repercussions of breaking trust.

And more…

Setting up a professional, efficient and successful company will require many more legal guides, documents and agreements than these. Finding a trustworthy and professional lawyer to provide your business with everything it needs is an important step. They will advise you at every step required and also in those you may have overlooked — it is imperative you protect yourself, and your team, legally, to ensure a smooth and efficient operation through both the good times and those more challenging ones.

Business Tech

10 Features Any Great And Affordable HR Software Platform Should Have

In this modern age, it is important that HR managers realise that software can be their friend and is not the enemy that’s hard to figure out as they see it. Although it is admirable, it is not actually recommended that you try to do everything on your own or by hand. For one thing, even if it saves you a little money, it will slow down your operations and prospects for growing your business. When you choose to use HR software for help, you open yourself up to many great benefits.

However, thanks to the wide array of different HR software solutions available at the moment, it can be hard choosing the one that is right for you. There are various features you should look for when choosing the affordable small business HR software. We highlight ten of the most important below.

Tax and Payroll

One of the main features you should look for when deciding on HR software is whether it can handle taxes and payroll. For example, determine if you are able to use it for full integration of your own company’s practices for filing taxes. As payroll is a key area of HR, any HR software you choose needs to have this aspect covered.

Managing Absences and Sick Leave

When you are trying to do it by hand with paper records, it can be very tricky keeping track of absences and sick leave. Most good quality HR software solutions will have some kind of system for managing absences built into them. It is also advantageous to the running of your business if you can find a piece of software that also has a system for managing attendance too. This makes it a lot easier to track your employees so that you know who is supposed to be at work and who is not supposed to be there.

Reminder Emails

Reminder emails is a great feature to have in HR software. This can be used in a variety of different ways, such as contacting your employees regarding any unexplained absences they may have on their record or any important company events that are taking place. Although it is not a particularly big feature, it can help to improve the efficiency of your business.

Support And Training

Does the HR software platforms you are interested in, provide training for all of the people who are going to be using it? Will various members of staff at different levels be able to log in easily to receive training, if necessary? These are important questions you need to ask when looking at HR software, as it is crucial that you find a software that everyone who needs to use it will be able to. You also need to assess the kind of support options that are provided to you. If anything goes wrong with the HR software, is there a support service established to help you out? If there is you know then that the software you are looking at is good value and will serve your company well.

Good Capabilities for Reporting

You should also look for HR software that has good capabilities for reporting. You should have the tools necessary to produce bespoke reports. Concentrate on finding out how detailed the reports that a system generates are and how quickly it takes to create them.

Tracking The Process Of Employees

Employee tracking is another handy thing to have built into HR solutions. You should be able to easily manage your employees’ progress, making sure their work is of a high standard at all times and just generally tracking how they are progressing in the company. This is especially helpful if you are looking to  expand and constantly improve on your company as you can use it to identify the employees who deserve to pushed forward and those who are perhaps needing additional training or motivation and are maybe restricting the company’s progress.

Creating Schedules

Any good HR software solution worth it’s money should have some kind of system for creating schedules.  This is indispensable when it comes to organising things such as shifts, rotas and meetings for your employees, among many other things. You can utilise it to increase the productivity of your team by using software rather than an offline, by-hand method. It also ensures that your business operations are well-organised. Having software that includes schedule creation and reminder emails means you can use both to send out emails to your staff with their upcoming shifts highlighted.

How Fast Is It?

When it comes to any kind of software, one thing we think you should always consider is just how fast it works. It may sound like common sense but it’s worth mentioning that if the software is slow, it may slow down your business. Ideally, you should look for a software that can run on virtually any PC, particularly the ones you use in your office or workplace and that it is quick and effective. On the

Has It Been Designed With The Future In Mind?

You also need to look at whether or not a piece of software has been designed with the future in mind. Will it be able to stay relevant and effective as trends and advancements progress? Or could it become irrelevant and outdated within a few years? If it does, you will have to find a different, better and advanced software. So, when looking, pay close attention to how often the software is updated or upgraded, as you are going to save a lot of money further down the line if you only have to install simple upgrades every so often or, even better, the software updates itself.

It is also recommended that you find a software that can be expanded to cope with any growth your company may experience. You want to know if your business grows, will your HR software be able to grow with it.

How Flexible Is It?

Last but not least, you need to find an HR software that is flexible. For example, will you be able to use the platform on a variety of different devices? Not everyone has the same phone, tablet or computer, even within the same firm – and if your HR software is only compatible with a one or two devices, it restricts the amount of people who can access it and use it. Which is not only impractical but inefficient.

 

 

Business Marketing

Marketing for Your Biz: How to Get the Word Out on a Budget

When you have a business, it is ever imperative that you have an effective marketing campaign. The trouble is that marketing will cost money…or will it? Traditional marketing has always cost a significant amount of money. Traditional forms of marketing a business usually involved:

  • TV spots
  • Print Ads
  • Billboards
  • Radio spots

These, as you can imagine, do not come cheap at all. It’s good then that there are now better ways to launch a marketing campaign. When it comes to the whole idea of letting your target market know that you exist, there are several non-expensive ways to go about it. Here are a few of them:

Car Wraps

Do you have a business vehicle? Does it drive around the town fairly often? If that’s the case then you’ve got your own mobile billboard on your hands. Car wraps are usually made of vinyl which acts like a big sticker for your car. You can have your business details displayed at the side of your car.

You need not cover the rest of your car so there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the cost of the car wrap. Just think of the returns. Wherever you go, even if the car is just parked, it is constantly advertising your business toward anyone that cares to read the information presented.

Online Ads

Online ads are some of the best and most cost-effective marketing tools you can tap into. If you have a blog or a website, you can host your own ads. If you have bloggers or other affiliate businesses, you can host your ads with them. It doesn’t take much to keep an ad online and it doesn’t cost much either.

Consumers prefer to find their information online now. So if you have online ads running, you widen the scope of your business’s reach.

Social Media Pages

It is free to sign up for social media accounts. All that is left is for you to utilize the public pages of your business. Be clear with all the information, engage with your fans and potential clients. Most consumers will send their queries through social media pages.

This is now the very first battlefield when it comes to building the client’s impression of you. If you answer incorrectly or act unprofessionally, you can expect your exchange to make the rounds online. People now like to share such information with each other which is why it is important for businesses to have well-trained social media managers.

Think About It

Your business needs clients in order to survive. In order for the clients to know you exist, you will need suitable marketing campaigns. We hope that our discussion today has pointed out the fact that marketing does not need to be expensive in order to be effective. All you need to know is who your market is, what they need, and adjust accordingly to those needs.

What budget marketing technique or campaign have you tried to utilize?

Marketing Tech

Starting Them Young: Why the Youth Is the Key to Effective Marketing

Any field of expertise or profession that wants to make it past this generation and into the next one must know they need to involve the youth. Today, let’s talk about why the youth is the key to effective marketing. In the history of advertising, it has always been established that if you wanted a parent to buy something, you target the kid.

This universal truth still rings true. Actually, it is truer now than ever before. We believe that the youth are wholly critical to effective marketing. This is because:

They Are the Consumers of the Future

A lot of marketing campaigns are launched targeting those in the age of late 20s to early 40s—that would make sense since this would be the age bracket of present earners. However, a lot of people do not realize that it is the early teens to early 20s that will determine which businesses and services will survive the future.

In the era of connectivity and social media, the youth reign supreme. A single post from someone they admire is enough to affect the stock of a company that was once perceived to be infallible. We’re talking about the slip that Snapchat’s stocks have taken since the hard to use update which continued when they erred and had an insensitive “would you rather” question about Rihanna.

No matter how strong your perceived market is when the youth decide that you are not worth keeping around, you can expect to fold up within the next few years.

They Introduce Elders to the Product

There has always been an existing disconnect between newer technologies and the elders. You know who connects those dots: the youth. They guide those older than them toward understanding the newer concepts that have been introduced.

We’re talking about the kids that had to teach their parents how to FaceTime. We’re referring to the kids that had to teach elders that Amazon pretty much has everything. It is the youth that will determine which facets of technology will be useful for their parents or distant elder relatives and make their recommendations accordingly.

They Perceive Things Differently

A lot of marketing executives fail to recognize the fact that the youth aren’t governed by practicality or the ‘best buy’. Every generation, like the one before it, have always been interested in what secures them better experiences and provide suitable boost in their status amongst peers.

It will be the marketing executives that understand that that will be able to effectively harness the latent strength of the youth.

Think About It

It is the youth that will be able to effectively connect the past and the future together in a seamless dot. When it comes to the survivability of your product or service, you need to ensure that the youth are well aware that you exist and they understand why your existence is valuable. The kids and the teens have always been one of the driving forces in the world of consumerism.

With that in mind, why do you think the youth is the key to effective marketing?

Business Tech

The Monster App: What Marketing People Need to Learn From China

China has always been rather secular when it came to their information, businesses, and even their technology. What is also called the “Great Firewall of China” has kept a rather stringent lock over what they do not want you to know. It is no secret that China guards its image very carefully. They want no news of anything negative or harmful to ever see the light of day.

Their policy has always been China first above all—this was very clear when it came to the service that it afforded its citizens. If the World Wide Web was a vast ocean, the internet sphere in China can be comparable to the mythical depths of the Loch Ness. It is deep and heavily separated from all other bodies of water. As they are separated from the rest of the world, China had to come up with their own forms of the apps that we all widely utilize.

If you think that made China and its development weaker, you’d be dead wrong. Their separation from everyone else birthed a monster of an app. If it was comparable to anything in popular culture, it would be the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings. Their monster of an app has everything that they need from chatting with one another, hailing a ride home, paying bills, and pretty much everything else. It’s a one-stop shop app that successfully crosses the boarders of most other apps that know.

Think of it this way, we need about twelve apps to get everything we want done. China only needs one app. So when it comes to marketing, what do marketing execs need to learn from China?

Cooperation is Necessary

In order to satisfy the needs of consumers, businesses need to be able to work together. Back in the day competition was very stiff and it was pretty much unheard of that two competing businesses would help each other out. In China, regardless of if the business that the consumer is looking for is your competition, you service them anyway. You do not in any way restrict the information that would benefit the consumer.

Whole Connectivity is the Future

China enjoys a no-frills and uncomplicated app because they understand that it is better for them to have everything all in one place. Western sensibilities can’t quite grasp that since it’s mostly capitalism first and foremost. Marketing execs need to learn that a complete package is better than selling off the parts bit by bit.

Think About It

While the other parts of the world doesn’t have such strict firewalls that restrict the app options, it certainly feels like we are all against each other with ads that try to get a leg up over the competition. Instead of thinking of the consumer, most marketing campaigns are geared toward making the business look all sparkly. It’s all form and very little substance.

With that in mind, what do you personally think that marketing people need to learn from China and their monster app?

Business Tech

The Untapped Market: Three Reasons Why the Online Sphere of Asia is About to Change

In the recent decade or so, you may have noticed that there has been more effort directing business ventures toward the Asian sphere of the world. This is no coincidence. More and more ventures are directed towards Asia because they are presently undergoing a wholly unique cultural revolution. Asia has always been rather traditional.

Regardless of what country you go to in Asia, you will often be met with a highly conservative culture that is very restrictive on what they deem to be appropriate behavior and conduct. The elders will always keep a sharp eye on what the youth is exposed to. Most things are often dictated by elders—from the sort of businesses which should be patronized to what sort of things the youth should learn.

At least, that’s how it used to be. Let’s take a look at three particular reasons why the online sphere of Asia is about to change:

Millennials

Today, it is the youth that is taking charge. While the cultural norms still play a big influence in their decision making, more and more of the newer generation of business owners, workers, and consumers are becoming more open regarding what they accept and reject. It is the generation of millennials that are primarily part of the workforce.

They are taking over for their elders and are armed with a whole new perspective on technology and their cultural roots. It is this generation that were able to shift well through the change of purely analog existence to a digital one. They are the ones that are better equipped to handle the changes of technology.

Technology

The last couple of decades saw a leap of technology unlike anything we’ve felt in the last thirty years or so. Asia was firmly rooted in old world tradition. Many were always skeptical of the advancements that were made by technology but there was no denying the convenience that it brought in. From medicine, communication, information, and even the processes in which businesses were conducted suddenly changed.

Asia realized that it was wholly possible to carry the past into the future.

Consumers

It is the very consumers in Asia—both elders and the youth—that are wholly pushing for the revolution. The elders themselves realized that they needed to embrace change in order to keep up with the generation that they had raised.

The consumer market of Asia is poised to embrace the advancements that the recent decades brought in AND intertwine their Asian sensibilities into it.

Think About It

The Asian sphere of the internet has been growing in leaps in bounds as the people that live there are embracing and adapting to what the west and what they themselves have to offer. From this point forward, we believe that any smart person that is looking to really launch their service or business should pay close attention to the market of consumers that Asia has.

From your own point of view, why do you think the online sphere of Asia is poised for a change?

Business Discussions

Looking to Nature: Why Geothermal Research Is Critical For Our Future

The world that we are on is resource that will eventually be completely consumed. If we plan on staying here and actually living, we need to be smarter about our choices and decisions.

The Need for Energy

We will always need energy. We need it to power the very things that keep our lives going as smoothly as possible. Our presently most used source of energy would be oil and nuclear power. While oil is a naturally occurring resource, it is a finite one. Meaning, it’s going to run out eventually. Nuclear power is unstable and can be extremely volatile—if there was anything we learned from the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

What we need is a truly naturally occurring and truly sustainable source of energy. Right now, a majority of those in the energy production district are very interested in trying to move on to the next big source of energy. There are existing naturally occurring sources of energy that we are already using such as solar, hydro, and even wind power. These are established ones because they require very little in terms of research and are usually considered to be ‘safe’ sources of energy. However, what experts believe we are ignoring is the very rock that we live on.

Geothermal Energy

This simply refers to the energy that comes from the heat of our planet. The core of our planet is a molten mass which is why we have Volcanoes and volcanic explosions. Geothermal energy is considered to be a wholly sustainable source of energy. The trouble with this is that it will usually require delving down into the surface of the earth to find pockets of sustainable and naturally occurring heat.

Since geothermal energy will be clear and sustaining, there are issues with corporations that are heavily invested in energy sources like coal, oil and nuclear power. Here is why we believe geothermal research is critical:

The present sources of energy are too expensive

While a lot of people are starting to turn to solar energy, not everyone can afford to have the panels installed. Energy and power is something that everyone needs to have access to in order to have human living standards.

The present sources of energy are going to run out

We’ve mentioned that oil and coal aren’t sustainable. This is something that we need to place emphasis on. We all need to find sources of energy that will be enough to satisfactorily sustain all of us and not just a few.

Think About It

It is only a matter of time before we deplete our natural resources in our quest to keep things going as they presently are. We need to find better and naturally sustaining sources of energy. If we want to leave a better world for the upcoming generations, we need to be smarter and start the foundation toward better sources of energy that benefits everyone.

With that in mind, why do you think geothermal research is critical for our future?

Uncategorized

How to improve your workplace communication skills

Would you consider yourself an exceptional communicator? A lot of us do, but very few actually get it right all the time.
In a 2017 case study involving 400 senior managers, company directors, CEOs and CTOs, 92% of respondents cited ‘excellent communication skills’ as being one of the top 3 traits they look for in high level job candidates.
If you’d like to make sure your communication skills are up to standard, take some directing from the following point:

Engage in active listening

Active listening might be considered a strange term, after all, what other kind of listening is there?
Well, quite a lot it turns out. If you’ve ever asked anyone for directions then completely forgotten them as soon as they’ve walked away, then you were ‘hearing’ rather than actively listening.
The first step to actively listening is to really tune in to what the person you’re talking to is communicating – try to take in the tone of their voice, their posture, the words they’re using and the context that the communication is occurring within.
A lot of active listening needs you to get out of your own head – that’s to say, decrease your internal dialogue and just focus on the person or people you’re talking to. When you do, your understanding and recollection of the interaction will be a lot more solid.

Adjust your language

Most language experts will tell you that there’s no such thing as an incorrect way to speak or communicate – just an incorrect setting for a chosen approach.
As an extreme example, imagine an astrophysicist discussing his latest theory about gravity waves to a group of 8 year olds. Now imagine him using the same language as he presents his theory to a room full of his academic peers. The language and approach is legitimate – but probably not suitable for both settings.
The same is true of your workplace, the way you talk to customers might be different to the way you talk with your friend at lunch. It might sound obvious – but being aware of the appropriate level of communication, including the words, tone and body language you use, is important to help you meet the other person’s expectations.

Confirm you’re listening

Have you ever spoken to someone on the phone and found yourself wondering if they’re listening to you – or even still there?
If so, you’re not alone – and it’s usually because the other person wasn’t giving you verbal prompts to let you know they were onboard. Whether you’re face to face or on the phone, these little pieces of communication are extremely helpful in relaying the fact that you’re listening and you understand.
Think about words like ‘uh huh’ and ‘mmm’ – now say them out loud while you nod your head, that’s an almost universal indication of understanding. Others include just nodding, leaning forward in your seat and maintaining eye contact while you listen. These are all extremely helpful when it comes to the other person feeling like they’re being heard.
You might also want to try recapping what a person says, especially when it’s an instruction:
“So, if I understand correctly you’d like me to send all of those documents over – and when that’s done, work on the next proposal?”
Repeating or recapping what’s been said is double-useful – as it lets the person know you’ve listened carefully – but also gives them chance to correct you if you’re not quite right.

Review written communication

While a lot of what we’re talking about here revolves around spoken communication, the workplace also involves a huge amount of electronic communication – so it’s important to get it right.
There’s a commonly cited theory that the actual words we use only make up around 7% of the message we’re trying to communicate – and while this is disputed by some professionals, the point stands to some degree.
It’s important to re-read all your written communication before it’s sent. Consider if your words and structure really reflect the message and the tone of what you’re trying to say.

Don’t use 100 words when 10 would do

While we’re on the subject of emails – it’s worth remembering that the internet has fundamentally changed the way we read, with skim reading of large chunks of text now the norm.
If you can effectively communicate what you’re trying to say in 10 words, stick to 10 words. Your response rate will be far better and you’ll find people actually act on what you’re asking.

Avoid distractions

When you’re talking or communicating in general, trying to rid yourself of distractions is an excellent way to make sure you’re 100% on the task in hand and not likely to misunderstand or come across wrong.
Mobile phones are an excellent example of a distraction that can adjust our attitude in a conversation:
Some people are more than capable for sending a message and having a conversation at the same time – but our perception tells us that if someone is doing something else while they talk to us, they’re not giving us their sole focus.
Where possible, avoid distractions if you’re communicating – you might be capable of doing two or three things at once – but you’re taking a risk that the other person isn’t going to see it that way.

Consider what the other person is hearing

There’s a vitally important context that extremely difficult to gauge – but makes a huge difference to your communication. It’s all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Now, communicating in the workplace doesn’t require you to be a psychotherapist – you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of everyone’s mind, but you can have some empathy and a little compassion for the person you’re talking to.
Again, an extreme example helps to illustrate the point:
“You’re a bit behind this week, I need you to try a bit harder on Monday”
Said to a care free individual who’s often late back from lunch, this statement might be appropriate – or even a little too gentle. On the other hand, said to someone who’s just lost a loved one, it would be seen as deeply inappropriate and would likely prove worse than ineffective.
There’s an appropriate communication approach for everyone – and many people will be similar – but it’s worth being cautious, it’s impossible to understand how everything is received – and sometimes there’s no substitute for knowing your fellow workers and what makes them tick.

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8 steps that help make meetings more positive and productive

Do you love meetings?
The answer, as numerous studies has found, is likely to be a resounding ‘no’ – but is there anything you can do about it?
There really is – and transforming stale meetings into positive and productive spaces is likely to win you the favour of everyone in the room. We’ll take you through 8 steps that will see you getting more done – in a better atmosphere.

Escape the office (or at least the chairs)

If your big meetings take place in your office you might want to think about escaping to somewhere else when it comes to meeting time.
It doesn’t have to be far, perhaps you could find a hotel foyer, a coffee shop, a library – or anywhere else that’s just a change of scenery. Studies show that breaking out of the ordinary space means people approach with a more open mind – and from a practical point of view, there aren’t going to be as many distractions as there would be back at base.
Now, if you’re planning on keeping your meetings short – you might not want to bundle out of the office en masse for what’s going to be a 20 minute get together, so if this is the case, mix things up by ditching the chairs and meet standing up.
When we’re stood up we’re more alert – and far less likely to ramble, owing to the lower level of comfort we experience being on our feet. You might get some funny looks suggesting it, but when people realise their meetings are quicker and more concise, every meeting will turn into a standing meeting…

Have an objective

If any of your attendees can’t explain why they’re there in less than 10 words then your meeting is likely to hit problems fairly early. You should either let them be elsewhere (see next tip) or you should have made the objective of the meeting more clear.
If a meeting is a general ‘what’s happening’ update that spans a host of subjects, you’re going to find yourself working against the human brain’s normal way of operating – which is in 20 minute chunks.
In fact, you might be lucky to get 20 minutes – studies show that figure is really the maximum time you can expect from a person engaged in a meeting with no real clear purpose.
Be clear about what you’re hoping to achieve from the meeting well before the it begins.

Be selective with attendees

How many meetings have you been part of where you didn’t open your mouth other than to suppress a yawn or two?
If you know what that feels like, then you owe it to everyone to make sure they’re only in the room if they need to be. That might mean managers feeding back to team members what’s happening – but that’s infinitely more preferable than having a room with 30 switched-off people in it.
Some large companies say that a maximum amount of attendees should be 8 – others say 10. Amazon even say that if 2 pizzas won’t cater for everyone, then there are too many people there!

Leave phones on your desks

Almost everyone (83% of people in fact) believe that using a mobile phone or tablet during a meeting is rude and unnecessary – and while some managers might disagree – it’s probably worth asking yourself what is the absolute worst that could happen if someone couldn’t contact you for 20 minutes or so.
Some of the biggest board rooms in the world operate this policy – including the White House! So if the President of the USA can step away from his phone and Twitter account for a few minutes, you probably can too.

Have an agenda – and be firm

Plotting an agenda is an important part of letting people know what the meeting is about – but also breaks the overall task down into smaller chunks.
For each agenda item, set a time limit – and be firm with what you decide on. When the clock is ticking it’s amazing how concise it encourages people to be.
Also, don’t be afraid to reference back to the original point, talking can quickly change to a different subject if you’re not strict – and while one person might want to change direction, the chances are the rest of the room isn’t interested.
If something comes up that’s not on the agenda – park it. It’s good practice to write it on a sticky note and stick it to the wall – our next tip will cover what to do with them when meeting time is done!

Leave time for ‘parked issues’

As you march, fully focused, through your meeting’s agenda, you’re going to find yourself with a few non-urgent issues parked – perhaps on a sticky note on the wall if you’ve followed our plan so far!
Now, the reason these are ‘parked’ is because there’s every chance you’re going to get to the end of the meeting and find that they aren’t issues anymore, either than subsequent information has covered them – or just that the moment has passed.
Leaving a few minutes at the end to either discuss them briefly – or arrange reconvening further down the line – means everyone’s voice is heard and any unforeseen issues are dealt with.

Have some silence

Science shows that we do our very best thinking when we’re quiet – yet when we’re in meetings we’re often talking reactively with no time to really think about what we’re saying.
Experiment with silence breaks – admittedly, you might need to add a few minutes to your overall meeting time – but as a result you’re likely to get an increased quality of feedback from the people in the room.

Assign tasks

An absolutely vital part of any meeting is understanding exactly who’s taking responsibility for each agenda item discussed.
Making sure there’s a name associated with each task leaves absolutely no room for any misunderstandings.
Effectively, your meeting agenda can look like a grid, with each row covering the following:

  • Agenda item
  • Time spent discussing
  • Objectives
  • Responsible person

Ask yourself – do you need any more information than that? The answer is likely to be no…

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Act like a 5-year-old – and eradicate business mistakes from your life

Give a 5-year-old a multiple-choice question about how you should run the invoicing software in your startup business and, chances are, the answer’s going to lead to failure. Lots of sweets and cartoons, but failure nonetheless.
What do you do to the 5-year-old? Spend the next couple of years of his or her life giving them a hard time about it? No, of course you don’t – because the kid was only working with their limited understanding and life experience.
So, what about you when you make a mistake? Are you honestly any different? Or are you just a person, facing a situation that you’re not 100% sure about – and doing your best based on your current level of knowledge and experience?
This human nature, it’s completely true. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO of a large global enterprise or a small local business such as willshapools.com , we can make mistakes, especially ones with financial or business repercussions, we do beat ourselves up about it – sometimes for a very long time.

Newsflash

You’ve probably heard this said before, but I want to stress how unquestionably true it is:
There’s no such thing as a mistake.
Whatever it was that you’ve done, it was based on your most sound judgement at the time. Even if you’ve told the CEO where he can stick his job – you’ve made your decision in the moment, it might not have been the best decision but you made it – now it’s time to live with your actions.
This even applies when you’ve found yourself working from with dubious intentions. Been caught out doing something you know you shouldn’t have been doing? Tried to pull a fast one knowing it was the wrong thing to do?
For whatever reason, you’ve made your decision and it’s resulted in a less than ideal situation.

How to live with it

People get confused about what it means to live with your actions. ‘Living with it’ doesn’t mean pretending it hasn’t happened – nor does it mean crying yourself to sleep thinking about it.
Living with it means looking at the situation objectively, understanding your behaviour and working out what you would do in the same situation again – based on the knowledge you now have. No time for regrets – but plenty of time for learning.
That 5-year-old who screwed up your invoicing process might be a billionaire entrepreneur one day – they just need to keep learning. You might be a billionaire entrepreneur one day – you just need to keep learning.

Consciously vs. unconsciously

 

I’m sorry to break this to you, but the 5-year-old’s got a big advantage over you when it comes to reaching that first billion – and the reason lies in the way that they learn.
They’re still absorbing the world mostly unconsciously – soaking up learning like a sponge thrown into a bath.
But you’re not, you think you know it all, you think you’ve got learning worked out.
Newsflash number 2 – if you knew it all you’d be counting your money on an island you owned. So, you need to snap out of this painful way of learning only when it hurts. Forget thinking you’re successful, forget thinking that you’ve got the skills to pay the bills – and start looking at everything with the eyes of a child – ready to soak up learning.

Awareness

 

We’re all really good at spotting when something’s going to go wrong for a person based on their current trajectory – yet we still hit the mountains sometimes. Time to get into a grandstand seat so you’ve got this same objective overview of your own life.
If you want to eradicate mistakes from your life you need to understand what they really are – they’re opportunities to consciously learn more about yourself and modify your behaviour so you’re better equipped for the future.
Here’s how to get that grandstand view.

Think about your goals and aspirations.

Unless you know where you want to go how can you stay on the right path daily? Holding goals in your mind at all times will give you a map reference point to check all potential action against.

Find the lay of the land

Don’t wait for another situation to occur before you work out the place that you’re operating from. Understand where you are in relation to your goals – and what habits and behaviours in your life are helping or hindering your journey.

What’s occurred

Think about previous situations you’d like to have dealt with differently – perhaps think about missed opportunities that could have taken you toward that goal a little quicker. What was it that took you down the current path instead of the ideal path?
Don’t attribute blame to anyone else. You can only control you. If it wasn’t controllable, it wasn’t avoidable.

Think more broadly

Lay this last bad decision out next to things you’ve considered to be mistakes going further back in time. Can you see any themes running through these situations? Remember, we’re talking about you, if you’re focusing on others think about what you could have done to change the way they’ve acted.

Pick out some lessons to learn


Put yourself in these situations again, metaphorically. What would you do differently based on what you now know? Can you see any areas in your life that it would benefit you to work on changing? Try to identify the core issues and what you can do about them.

Plot the future

Can you see things progressing until you find yourself in these kind of situations again? If you can, what can you do at this early stage to change the path you’re taking and point toward a more advantageous outcome?

Join the big league

Guess who else is in that grandstand with you when you kick the gates open and let yourself in for an objective view of how you work and act?
The answer is – every other successful entrepreneur, every self-made millionaire and billionaire in the world. Zuckerberg, Branson, Gates, Musk, every top athlete – and everyone who we’ll hold in the same esteem for 20 years to come. They’re all there, assessing and changing their behaviour based on previous experiences.
All of them agree, your biggest opportunities come from your biggest mistakes. Now, rub the concept of mistakes out of the world and you’re in exactly the same place as the 5-year-old – facing nothing but a world of learning and opportunity.

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Chasing a promotion? Here’s how to get it

Are you ready for the next stage of your life?

There are few things that will inspire so much change as a promotion at work – it could be the key to unlocking more money, new locations, different social circles – and much more.

That said, it’s not just as easy as asking. So if you’re going to find your career situation changing, you need to go about making it happen in the right way. We’ve talked to 8 successful managers and directors to find out how they go to where they are today – and what they look for from someone chasing a promotion…

“Be my friend, not my foe”

If you’re going to be asking your manager for a promotion, you’re going to want to make sure you’re on their right side.

Talking to our panel of managers found that many people see their manager as a foe; the person who polices their role, rather than leads it. While this could be an indication of a managerial style, you’re not going to have much luck approaching someone you’ve held in contempt until you need something from them.

Start to consider the business from their point of view and ask yourself what you can do to make their life easier – winning someone’s favour, even if it’s just with some small gestures, is often enough to put you in the required ‘good books’ – even if they can’t remember exactly why it is you’re there!

“Make yourself known to the business”

It might not be your manager who’s going to put you forward for a promotion – in fact, it might be that your manager values your position in their team so greatly they’d keep a lid on your progression for their own benefit.

If you want to make a bid for a role that’s outside your managers remit, you’re going to need to make yourself known to the business more widely – so ask yourself how that can be done. Perhaps a secondment across departments could come up? Or maybe just ‘bumping into’ other department’s team members at lunch time could open the door to conversations.

There’s no need to manipulate – simply being known is a great foot in the door.

“Understand that you’re going to have to look for it”

Many people don’t realise that promotions rarely – if ever – happen in due course, and if they do, they’re probably long overdue.

If you want to be promoted, you’re going to first need to understand what kind of role you’re hoping to step into. When you understand that and how it fits into the bigger business picture, the best thing you can do is let people know you’d like occupy that position when the time is right.

Don’t wait to be asked, discuss promotion at reviews and even informally – and you’re likely to put yourself at the front of the queue.

“Keep me in the loop at all times”

When you’re looking for a promotion it can be easy to get carried away – and while some ideas above your station are obviously going to be required if you hope to fill the role successfully, acting on them prematurely could be a recipe for disaster.

As such, keeping your manager in the picture about additional responsibilities and roles you’re taking on is vital – they still have the ultimate say over your role for now – and your performance still reflects on them, so don’t get carried away.

“Manage your personal brand”

You can be the smartest, hardest working and brightest prospect for a business – but if you think for one second that your manager, HR department and colleagues don’t keep an eye on your social media and general online presence – then you’re heading for a shock.

In 2018 your probably more prominent online than you are in your daily life – so make sure that your online persona is completely in line with the expectations of someone who’s looking at you as a promotion prospect. It might not be the case, but why take the risk that one distasteful or highly opinionated ‘like’ or ‘share’ might clash with the views of the business or the person interviewing you…

“If you can anticipate what I’m going to need, you’ve got a great head start”

If the position that you’re looking at is going to require that you use your initiative a little more than your current role demands, then it’s time to start flexing that initiative now.

Remember, don’t get carried away, you don’t want to be making business decisions over the top of your manager, but rather than holding off to check if they want some work doing – do it, and be prepared to write off your own time if you’ve made the wrong decision.

As you become more and more comfortable with your managers expectations, you’ll get a better idea of what they expect – and if you’re the person who’s already doing it when they arrive in the office, you’re leaving a great impression.

“Realise that if you want it, you’re going to have to evidence why you deserve it”

The tough reality is that you’re probably not the only person who’s going to be looking for a promotion when the opportunity arises – so if you want it, you’re going to have to let the right people know why you deserve it.

That doesn’t just mean standing out at work – but developing yourself personally to fit the ideal candidate expectations that the role will demand. If there’s a trait, qualification or skill that’s needed for the role – start chasing it now, outside of work if you have to – and when the time comes, you can put yourself forward with no doubt in your mind that you’re the right person for the job.

“Take the extra steps your colleagues aren’t”

There are some good old fashioned tips that will always reflect well on you and your chance to bag that promotion – are you the person who gets into the office 10 minutes before everyone else? Always well presented? Got a tidy desk? Under promise – over deliver?

Think about what you do when it’s interview day – you polish your shoes, get an early night, get up a little earlier and hit the day running. Well, here’s the truth – you work with your interviewer every day, so when you’re the person who considers every day to be an interview for your next role – then your game is already higher than the next person in that pile of CVs on your managers desk…

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Do you need to build your resilience in the workplace?

Are you resilient enough at work?

It’s a difficult question to answer, you might consider yourself a strong manager – but return home and worry about work until the following morning. Then again, your work life balance might be great – but you’re finding it difficult to delegate to others in the office.

Resilience means different things to different people. We’ve posed 4 questions – have a look though, and if you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to any of them – you’ll find some interesting tips on how to turn your workplace resilience up a few clicks…

Question 1 – Are you lacking confidence?

There’s a huge amount more to human communication than just the words we use – and even body language experts don’t claim to understand everything that indicates our mental state to others – which is why confidence is important.

Studies show that boosting your confidence levels has a virtually immediate effect on the way you’re perceived in the workplace – and confidence is a commonly observed trait in higher earners. Try some of the following if you feel your confidence could do with a kickstart:

  • Improve your workplace knowledge with reading, studying and asking questions
  • Try to reduce or remove the amount of negative language you use to and about others
  • Note something successful you have done every day – even if it’s just a tiny victory
  • Use a journal to note instances of feeling under confident and ask yourself why

Awareness is everything when it comes to mastering your emotions – so even if you just start by understanding the situations in which you feel under confident, it’s a brilliant first step toward getting it under control.

Question 2 – Can you learn from failure?

There are so many platitudes that relate to failure – “there’s no such things as failure” – etc, but they’re all difficult to stomach if you’re in the wrong frame of mind.

If you’re not ready to embrace a super-positive quote every time you feel like you drop the ball at work, start by noting the instances where you feel like you’ve failed – perhaps keep a ‘failure journal’ – it might sound negative, but stick with us!

As with low confidence, understanding why you feel like you’ve failed is a big step to getting hold of the feelings and using them for something good – and you really can use feelings of failure to help yourself move forward. In your journal, keep the note of each failure to the top couple of lines of the page – and look back on it in a week. Do you feel the same about the failure now? Or has something good come from it? Use the rest of your page to reflect.

If nothing good has transpired, ask yourself if you’ve made the same mistake again? If the answer is no – then you’ve just found your first positive! Reframing failure is all about finding something that makes you develop. When you’ve found a development point for most of the things you write in the book, you’re well on your way to more confidence.

Oh, and don’t worry about crossing them all out. No matter what you think, no one’s perfect.

Question 3 – Do you have goals?

When we’re young we often have goals, whether it’s having a certain kind of house, driving a certain car, doing a particular job – and so forth.

When we get older, it’s easy to become embroiled in the day to day business of just getting to the end of the month with all the bills paid – so the dreams of jobs, supercars and fame go out of the window.

In reality, dreams and goals change – but having one is a great way to boost your confidence levels, giving you a reason to push yourself out of your comfort zone to achieve something – even something small – each day.

Think about where you’d like your life to be in 5 or 10 years – and don’t hinder yourself by thinking that you’re not resilient, skilled or confident enough to make it there. When you’ve got a goal, think about what you’d need to do between now and then to get there – and again, if it’s possible, break it down into chunks of effort you can make every day.

Perhaps you’d like to aim for a promotion, complete a triathlon, earn a certain amount of money, become an actor, write a book – or so forth. Almost everything can be achieved just one step at a time – and knowing you’re taking steps to make your life better is an amazing suit of armour to wear at work when you’re feeling a bit ground down.

Question 4 – Do you meditate or reflect on your day?

When people talking about meditation it’s easy to think of something that’s a spiritual practice, sitting with your legs crossed and thumbs touching forefingers. The truth is quite different.

Over 80% of large corporate CEOs and successful entrepreneurs have a meditation or quiet reflection practice – and the reason is all based in science. When you’re in the workplace and feeling slightly under confident, your levels of adrenaline and cortisol (the hormones that give you that feeling of fight or flight in the face of stress and worry) are increased – meaning your decision are made more quickly and in a snap fashion.

Unfortunately, that’s not how the best decisions are made, so taking time to be still, calm and reflective each day helps to slow those feelings. When you’re more sure of your reactions, you’re likely to find that confidence in those reactions also grows – and with it your resilience to any criticism.

Try taking 10 minutes a day to quietly sit and clear your mind. Concentrating on your breathing rather than your internal dialogue helps – as do apps like Headspace, Insight Timer or Aura.

Overall

Resilience, however that trait looks for you, isn’t something that just snaps into place overnight – and you’re never going to be 100% immune to the things that impact you and cause feelings of doubt.

Like many other traits, resilience needs to be worked – so even if the steps we’ve talked about might not feel like they key to bursting through your office door in a week’s time and taking the world on, you’ll be amazed how different you feel in a month – or a year’s time.

 

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Business

Running A Successful Business Event

Running a business isn’t easy and the work involved goes far beyond the day to day operations doesn’t it? With time you can master the running of your business but one area many people will always struggle is corporate business events. That’s why event staffing companies and event staffing services are so very popular.

Trying to set-up, manage and run a business event isn’t easy and while you might know your business better than anyone else that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to run a high-quality, informative event promoting it. Turning over the responsibility to an outside group might be difficult at first but it will make things much easier.

Plus, it’s not like you won’t have any input either. After all, event staffing companies are set-up to help make your dream business event a reality. They’ll take care of the hard work, so you can stay focused on actually running your business and enjoying the event.

While there are a lot of event staffing services available by far one of the most important is security. Business events of any kind will need security and as strange as it may sound it’s something that is easy to forget! When planning a business event many people will focus on the catering, servers and even the promotional staff instead of the security.

However, security is just as important (and arguably more important) and hiring security staff for your next business event from an event staffing company is the best way to ensure your event goes off without a hitch.

Security guards will be able to keep the peace and ensure everyone attending the event is safe and secure. So, I’ve talked a bit about how event staffing companies can help when it comes to running a business event, let’s look at the main benefits in more detail.

How Can Event Staffing Companies Assist You?

There are a lot of benefits to using an event staffing company for your next business event and they shouldn’t be underestimated. Many times, people will simply think they can manage the job themselves and while you might be able to (in some cases) by utilising an event staffing company you’ll be able to better focus your efforts and lighten your workload.

To put it simply by using an event staffing company you can lighten your workload and put on a more high-quality business event. That’s the short version anyway let’s take a more detailed look, shall we?

Gives Your Staff Time To Enjoy The Event

If you don’t want to use a staffing agency to help set-up and run your next business event, then in lieu of them who are you going to use? Many businesses will turn to their own staff to help assist with the work involved and while they might be able to do this, it will be sure to add more pressure to their workload.

Plus, it will also mean they won’t really be able to enjoy the event themselves, depending on what the event is this might not mean much. Not all business events will require all your staff to be present after all, but if your event would benefit from the presence of your staff you don’t want them running the event you’ll want them to enjoy it instead.    

Increased Security Presence

I’ve already mentioned this benefit but it’s worth reiterating any business event will require professional security services and while again you might have your own security guards or team, security for a business event and security for your own offices are not the same thing.

With an event staffing company, you’ll be able to get an experienced security team to manage all the security aspects of your business event. This can be even more beneficial if you’re hosting your event in a venue you’re not overly familiar with.

Ensures A More Efficient Event

It goes without saying that any business wants any event they set-up to be a success, doesn’t it? By utilising the services of an event staffing company, you can do just that! Whatever services you use them for you’ll be able to get experienced professionals onboard that will help you ensure your next business event is a success.

Lightens Your Workload

Following on from my last point another great benefit of using event staffing services for your next business event is that it will lighten the work you will have to do. Sure, you’ll still play an important role in setting up the event but you won’t be managing everything yourself. This is great news for you because it means you can focus on the running of your business and your part of the event.

Now micro-managing is always going to be a temptation especially for people who are running their first business event, but by using experienced professionals to help run and manage your event you can enjoy a lighter workload. While also ensuring you have the time available to focus your efforts on your part of the event.

They Offer A Versatile Service 

Event staffing companies can do many things, and many will focus on one specific service, some might focus on event security, while others will assist with events management. And of course, caterers will ensure any food and drink is available for the event and there’s venue decorators and much more.

So, you might end up using a number of different event staffing services when you set-up your next business event. Because of the versatile services they offer they can assist you with all aspects of your next business event. From security to waitstaff, these events companies can help in many ways and will be of benefit to any business.

So, if you are planning or even in the process of setting up your next business event then why not consider hiring an event staffing company, so you can utilise the amazing services they offer! Event staffing companies can help in so many ways and any business will benefit from using their wide variety of services. 

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Business

Legal Tips for Startups: All You Need To Know

This article will navigate some of the important legal issues a startup is likely to face and a brief guide into how to manage them. They will be broken down into five main areas:

The company

Register your company

You will decide who runs your business, how the business will operate, and registering that information with Companies House. This is legal procedure.

To register your company you will need to find; an available company name, you can check to see if your idea has already been taken and the regulations you must adhere to; decide on your registered company address, somewhere all correspondence will be delivered and collected; decide the type of company you will be, private limited, private unlimited or public limited; who will run the company, directors and board members; and the shares you will issue and at what value.

Shareholders agreements

This will protect each shareholder’s rights and prevent undue conflict. The document will outline the share issue, the company officers, requirements, rights and how dividends will be allocated. It will also outline the process for when a shareholder leaves the company.

Partnerships agreements

To avoid conflict and ensure the smooth running of your company a partnership agreement should be laid out to define detailed roles of each partner, capital contributors, rights and responsibilities and what will happen in the event of separation or of a single partner leaving the company. It will outline matters of profit, duties and management systems.

Share certificates

This defines which member of the company retains each allocation of shares or stocks in the company. A share certificate must be allocated within two months of the business creation or the introduction of new shares. It will cover share allocation, price, date of issue, a unique certificate number, the type of shares and also member and company details.

Board minutes

It is a legal requirement for companies to keep minutes of all board meetings. An accurate record of decisions and discussions are necessary as evidence in case of issue or member disagreement in future. They are set to record staff, accounting, documentation and important decision making agreements. They must include the time and date, directors present, other attendees, the chairman, the agenda, the matter in question and if the appropriate number of members were present to carry out any decisions raised.

Funding

Business plan

To outline your financial proposal in order to gain funds you will require a business plan. This will help create a real plan for gathering funds, repaying investments, outlining your objectives and strategies, all in order to make your company successful and profitable. It will set clear goals and how to make them achievable.

Loan agreements

If you need to borrow money or are to lend to others as part of your business service, an agreement or contract will be required to make sure your process is legal and compliant. The document is created to protect both the lender and borrower in case of future conflict, it will outline any obligations or restrictions, and also rules on early repayment, late or missed payments, and failure to complete the full payment.

Staff

Senior contracts

Contracts must be administered for every staff member; directors, partners and business owners are no exception. Every member must comply with the rules laid out pertaining to their position and because of higher levels of involvement and security for the company these documents will go into extended levels of detail than more general level contracts.

Director appointments

A letter of appointment is a clear way to outline the roles and expectations in a director’s role. It should cover duties, status, expected commitment, payments and expense allowances, legal and financial obligations and what would happen in the event of a termination.

Job specification and offer letter

Recruiting members for your company will require advertising or agency contribution. The specification is required to outline the purpose and role of the position, skillsets or qualifications required, remuneration, schedule, bonuses and how to reply. The offer letter will give the applicant the option of accepting the role, understanding the conditions and obligations, and that they will be entering into a legal contract if they choose to accept.

Employment contract

You will be providing legal cover outlining every aspect of the position for both employer and staff for the term of employment. This will outline all required terms in fairness, of the role and benefits to create a mutually rewarding relationship for all.

Your goods or services

Website privacy and T&Cs

Your website privacy or data protection policy is a legal document to protect you when trading on the Internet. It is used regarding the collection of data in all areas of your website’s management and presentation. Whether e-commerce, blogging, chatroom or straightforward marketing pages, data protection is key in today’s society and must be covered securely and in detail.

Services agreements

Your service agreement outlines the expectations, rules and obligations to both partners when engaging in a business contract. It will cover terms, rates, control, liability, confidentiality and of course, the service provided.  According to Jones Whyte Law, this legal document is to outline facts if dispute arises that leads to conflict through a court or legal system.

Sale of goods agreements

This document is a record and contract of sales pertaining to goods including all relevant information; price, date, deliveries, and return policy, in order to protect the buyer from insubstantial goods and as a proof of purchase if returned to the seller.

T&Cs

The terms and conditions of sales or services will be outlined thoroughly covering every aspect of what both the buyer and seller expect to be both fair and that are legal. This will be a detailed document to cover eventualities that rarely happen or are even unlikely in order to protect both parties in the event that the unforeseen may happen. These are the rules and the laws required for each and every sale, behaviour and business practice.

Intellectual property

Assignment

Intellectual property rights are the assets of many businesses; trademarks, patents, design rights and copyright where a physical entity isn’t always available. A legal document will be assigned to prove ownership and the control over any of the above and more, depending on the type of business service and product.

Confidentiality

If you are sharing sensitive information with your clients or customers as part of your businesses sales, growth or development then a confidentiality agreement will disclose private information regarding your business. You should never disclose any matter of importance and sensitivity until you have the agreement drawn up and signed outlining the repercussions of breaking trust.

And more…

Setting up a professional, efficient and successful company will require many more legal guides, documents and agreements than these. Finding a trustworthy and professional lawyer to provide your business with everything it needs is an important step. They will advise you at every step required and also in those you may have overlooked — it is imperative you protect yourself, and your team, legally, to ensure a smooth and efficient operation through both the good times and those more challenging ones.

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Business Tech

10 Features Any Great And Affordable HR Software Platform Should Have

In this modern age, it is important that HR managers realise that software can be their friend and is not the enemy that’s hard to figure out as they see it. Although it is admirable, it is not actually recommended that you try to do everything on your own or by hand. For one thing, even if it saves you a little money, it will slow down your operations and prospects for growing your business. When you choose to use HR software for help, you open yourself up to many great benefits.

However, thanks to the wide array of different HR software solutions available at the moment, it can be hard choosing the one that is right for you. There are various features you should look for when choosing the affordable small business HR software. We highlight ten of the most important below.

Tax and Payroll

One of the main features you should look for when deciding on HR software is whether it can handle taxes and payroll. For example, determine if you are able to use it for full integration of your own company’s practices for filing taxes. As payroll is a key area of HR, any HR software you choose needs to have this aspect covered.

Managing Absences and Sick Leave

When you are trying to do it by hand with paper records, it can be very tricky keeping track of absences and sick leave. Most good quality HR software solutions will have some kind of system for managing absences built into them. It is also advantageous to the running of your business if you can find a piece of software that also has a system for managing attendance too. This makes it a lot easier to track your employees so that you know who is supposed to be at work and who is not supposed to be there.

Reminder Emails

Reminder emails is a great feature to have in HR software. This can be used in a variety of different ways, such as contacting your employees regarding any unexplained absences they may have on their record or any important company events that are taking place. Although it is not a particularly big feature, it can help to improve the efficiency of your business.

Support And Training

Does the HR software platforms you are interested in, provide training for all of the people who are going to be using it? Will various members of staff at different levels be able to log in easily to receive training, if necessary? These are important questions you need to ask when looking at HR software, as it is crucial that you find a software that everyone who needs to use it will be able to. You also need to assess the kind of support options that are provided to you. If anything goes wrong with the HR software, is there a support service established to help you out? If there is you know then that the software you are looking at is good value and will serve your company well.

Good Capabilities for Reporting

You should also look for HR software that has good capabilities for reporting. You should have the tools necessary to produce bespoke reports. Concentrate on finding out how detailed the reports that a system generates are and how quickly it takes to create them.

Tracking The Process Of Employees

Employee tracking is another handy thing to have built into HR solutions. You should be able to easily manage your employees’ progress, making sure their work is of a high standard at all times and just generally tracking how they are progressing in the company. This is especially helpful if you are looking to  expand and constantly improve on your company as you can use it to identify the employees who deserve to pushed forward and those who are perhaps needing additional training or motivation and are maybe restricting the company’s progress.

Creating Schedules

Any good HR software solution worth it’s money should have some kind of system for creating schedules.  This is indispensable when it comes to organising things such as shifts, rotas and meetings for your employees, among many other things. You can utilise it to increase the productivity of your team by using software rather than an offline, by-hand method. It also ensures that your business operations are well-organised. Having software that includes schedule creation and reminder emails means you can use both to send out emails to your staff with their upcoming shifts highlighted.

How Fast Is It?

When it comes to any kind of software, one thing we think you should always consider is just how fast it works. It may sound like common sense but it’s worth mentioning that if the software is slow, it may slow down your business. Ideally, you should look for a software that can run on virtually any PC, particularly the ones you use in your office or workplace and that it is quick and effective. On the

Has It Been Designed With The Future In Mind?

You also need to look at whether or not a piece of software has been designed with the future in mind. Will it be able to stay relevant and effective as trends and advancements progress? Or could it become irrelevant and outdated within a few years? If it does, you will have to find a different, better and advanced software. So, when looking, pay close attention to how often the software is updated or upgraded, as you are going to save a lot of money further down the line if you only have to install simple upgrades every so often or, even better, the software updates itself.

It is also recommended that you find a software that can be expanded to cope with any growth your company may experience. You want to know if your business grows, will your HR software be able to grow with it.

How Flexible Is It?

Last but not least, you need to find an HR software that is flexible. For example, will you be able to use the platform on a variety of different devices? Not everyone has the same phone, tablet or computer, even within the same firm – and if your HR software is only compatible with a one or two devices, it restricts the amount of people who can access it and use it. Which is not only impractical but inefficient.

 

 

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Business Marketing

Marketing for Your Biz: How to Get the Word Out on a Budget

When you have a business, it is ever imperative that you have an effective marketing campaign. The trouble is that marketing will cost money…or will it? Traditional marketing has always cost a significant amount of money. Traditional forms of marketing a business usually involved:

  • TV spots
  • Print Ads
  • Billboards
  • Radio spots

These, as you can imagine, do not come cheap at all. It’s good then that there are now better ways to launch a marketing campaign. When it comes to the whole idea of letting your target market know that you exist, there are several non-expensive ways to go about it. Here are a few of them:

Car Wraps

Do you have a business vehicle? Does it drive around the town fairly often? If that’s the case then you’ve got your own mobile billboard on your hands. Car wraps are usually made of vinyl which acts like a big sticker for your car. You can have your business details displayed at the side of your car.

You need not cover the rest of your car so there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the cost of the car wrap. Just think of the returns. Wherever you go, even if the car is just parked, it is constantly advertising your business toward anyone that cares to read the information presented.

Online Ads

Online ads are some of the best and most cost-effective marketing tools you can tap into. If you have a blog or a website, you can host your own ads. If you have bloggers or other affiliate businesses, you can host your ads with them. It doesn’t take much to keep an ad online and it doesn’t cost much either.

Consumers prefer to find their information online now. So if you have online ads running, you widen the scope of your business’s reach.

Social Media Pages

It is free to sign up for social media accounts. All that is left is for you to utilize the public pages of your business. Be clear with all the information, engage with your fans and potential clients. Most consumers will send their queries through social media pages.

This is now the very first battlefield when it comes to building the client’s impression of you. If you answer incorrectly or act unprofessionally, you can expect your exchange to make the rounds online. People now like to share such information with each other which is why it is important for businesses to have well-trained social media managers.

Think About It

Your business needs clients in order to survive. In order for the clients to know you exist, you will need suitable marketing campaigns. We hope that our discussion today has pointed out the fact that marketing does not need to be expensive in order to be effective. All you need to know is who your market is, what they need, and adjust accordingly to those needs.

What budget marketing technique or campaign have you tried to utilize?

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Marketing Tech

Starting Them Young: Why the Youth Is the Key to Effective Marketing

Any field of expertise or profession that wants to make it past this generation and into the next one must know they need to involve the youth. Today, let’s talk about why the youth is the key to effective marketing. In the history of advertising, it has always been established that if you wanted a parent to buy something, you target the kid.

This universal truth still rings true. Actually, it is truer now than ever before. We believe that the youth are wholly critical to effective marketing. This is because:

They Are the Consumers of the Future

A lot of marketing campaigns are launched targeting those in the age of late 20s to early 40s—that would make sense since this would be the age bracket of present earners. However, a lot of people do not realize that it is the early teens to early 20s that will determine which businesses and services will survive the future.

In the era of connectivity and social media, the youth reign supreme. A single post from someone they admire is enough to affect the stock of a company that was once perceived to be infallible. We’re talking about the slip that Snapchat’s stocks have taken since the hard to use update which continued when they erred and had an insensitive “would you rather” question about Rihanna.

No matter how strong your perceived market is when the youth decide that you are not worth keeping around, you can expect to fold up within the next few years.

They Introduce Elders to the Product

There has always been an existing disconnect between newer technologies and the elders. You know who connects those dots: the youth. They guide those older than them toward understanding the newer concepts that have been introduced.

We’re talking about the kids that had to teach their parents how to FaceTime. We’re referring to the kids that had to teach elders that Amazon pretty much has everything. It is the youth that will determine which facets of technology will be useful for their parents or distant elder relatives and make their recommendations accordingly.

They Perceive Things Differently

A lot of marketing executives fail to recognize the fact that the youth aren’t governed by practicality or the ‘best buy’. Every generation, like the one before it, have always been interested in what secures them better experiences and provide suitable boost in their status amongst peers.

It will be the marketing executives that understand that that will be able to effectively harness the latent strength of the youth.

Think About It

It is the youth that will be able to effectively connect the past and the future together in a seamless dot. When it comes to the survivability of your product or service, you need to ensure that the youth are well aware that you exist and they understand why your existence is valuable. The kids and the teens have always been one of the driving forces in the world of consumerism.

With that in mind, why do you think the youth is the key to effective marketing?

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Business Tech

The Monster App: What Marketing People Need to Learn From China

China has always been rather secular when it came to their information, businesses, and even their technology. What is also called the “Great Firewall of China” has kept a rather stringent lock over what they do not want you to know. It is no secret that China guards its image very carefully. They want no news of anything negative or harmful to ever see the light of day.

Their policy has always been China first above all—this was very clear when it came to the service that it afforded its citizens. If the World Wide Web was a vast ocean, the internet sphere in China can be comparable to the mythical depths of the Loch Ness. It is deep and heavily separated from all other bodies of water. As they are separated from the rest of the world, China had to come up with their own forms of the apps that we all widely utilize.

If you think that made China and its development weaker, you’d be dead wrong. Their separation from everyone else birthed a monster of an app. If it was comparable to anything in popular culture, it would be the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings. Their monster of an app has everything that they need from chatting with one another, hailing a ride home, paying bills, and pretty much everything else. It’s a one-stop shop app that successfully crosses the boarders of most other apps that know.

Think of it this way, we need about twelve apps to get everything we want done. China only needs one app. So when it comes to marketing, what do marketing execs need to learn from China?

Cooperation is Necessary

In order to satisfy the needs of consumers, businesses need to be able to work together. Back in the day competition was very stiff and it was pretty much unheard of that two competing businesses would help each other out. In China, regardless of if the business that the consumer is looking for is your competition, you service them anyway. You do not in any way restrict the information that would benefit the consumer.

Whole Connectivity is the Future

China enjoys a no-frills and uncomplicated app because they understand that it is better for them to have everything all in one place. Western sensibilities can’t quite grasp that since it’s mostly capitalism first and foremost. Marketing execs need to learn that a complete package is better than selling off the parts bit by bit.

Think About It

While the other parts of the world doesn’t have such strict firewalls that restrict the app options, it certainly feels like we are all against each other with ads that try to get a leg up over the competition. Instead of thinking of the consumer, most marketing campaigns are geared toward making the business look all sparkly. It’s all form and very little substance.

With that in mind, what do you personally think that marketing people need to learn from China and their monster app?

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Business Tech

The Untapped Market: Three Reasons Why the Online Sphere of Asia is About to Change

In the recent decade or so, you may have noticed that there has been more effort directing business ventures toward the Asian sphere of the world. This is no coincidence. More and more ventures are directed towards Asia because they are presently undergoing a wholly unique cultural revolution. Asia has always been rather traditional.

Regardless of what country you go to in Asia, you will often be met with a highly conservative culture that is very restrictive on what they deem to be appropriate behavior and conduct. The elders will always keep a sharp eye on what the youth is exposed to. Most things are often dictated by elders—from the sort of businesses which should be patronized to what sort of things the youth should learn.

At least, that’s how it used to be. Let’s take a look at three particular reasons why the online sphere of Asia is about to change:

Millennials

Today, it is the youth that is taking charge. While the cultural norms still play a big influence in their decision making, more and more of the newer generation of business owners, workers, and consumers are becoming more open regarding what they accept and reject. It is the generation of millennials that are primarily part of the workforce.

They are taking over for their elders and are armed with a whole new perspective on technology and their cultural roots. It is this generation that were able to shift well through the change of purely analog existence to a digital one. They are the ones that are better equipped to handle the changes of technology.

Technology

The last couple of decades saw a leap of technology unlike anything we’ve felt in the last thirty years or so. Asia was firmly rooted in old world tradition. Many were always skeptical of the advancements that were made by technology but there was no denying the convenience that it brought in. From medicine, communication, information, and even the processes in which businesses were conducted suddenly changed.

Asia realized that it was wholly possible to carry the past into the future.

Consumers

It is the very consumers in Asia—both elders and the youth—that are wholly pushing for the revolution. The elders themselves realized that they needed to embrace change in order to keep up with the generation that they had raised.

The consumer market of Asia is poised to embrace the advancements that the recent decades brought in AND intertwine their Asian sensibilities into it.

Think About It

The Asian sphere of the internet has been growing in leaps in bounds as the people that live there are embracing and adapting to what the west and what they themselves have to offer. From this point forward, we believe that any smart person that is looking to really launch their service or business should pay close attention to the market of consumers that Asia has.

From your own point of view, why do you think the online sphere of Asia is poised for a change?

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Business Discussions

Looking to Nature: Why Geothermal Research Is Critical For Our Future

The world that we are on is resource that will eventually be completely consumed. If we plan on staying here and actually living, we need to be smarter about our choices and decisions.

The Need for Energy

We will always need energy. We need it to power the very things that keep our lives going as smoothly as possible. Our presently most used source of energy would be oil and nuclear power. While oil is a naturally occurring resource, it is a finite one. Meaning, it’s going to run out eventually. Nuclear power is unstable and can be extremely volatile—if there was anything we learned from the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

What we need is a truly naturally occurring and truly sustainable source of energy. Right now, a majority of those in the energy production district are very interested in trying to move on to the next big source of energy. There are existing naturally occurring sources of energy that we are already using such as solar, hydro, and even wind power. These are established ones because they require very little in terms of research and are usually considered to be ‘safe’ sources of energy. However, what experts believe we are ignoring is the very rock that we live on.

Geothermal Energy

This simply refers to the energy that comes from the heat of our planet. The core of our planet is a molten mass which is why we have Volcanoes and volcanic explosions. Geothermal energy is considered to be a wholly sustainable source of energy. The trouble with this is that it will usually require delving down into the surface of the earth to find pockets of sustainable and naturally occurring heat.

Since geothermal energy will be clear and sustaining, there are issues with corporations that are heavily invested in energy sources like coal, oil and nuclear power. Here is why we believe geothermal research is critical:

The present sources of energy are too expensive

While a lot of people are starting to turn to solar energy, not everyone can afford to have the panels installed. Energy and power is something that everyone needs to have access to in order to have human living standards.

The present sources of energy are going to run out

We’ve mentioned that oil and coal aren’t sustainable. This is something that we need to place emphasis on. We all need to find sources of energy that will be enough to satisfactorily sustain all of us and not just a few.

Think About It

It is only a matter of time before we deplete our natural resources in our quest to keep things going as they presently are. We need to find better and naturally sustaining sources of energy. If we want to leave a better world for the upcoming generations, we need to be smarter and start the foundation toward better sources of energy that benefits everyone.

With that in mind, why do you think geothermal research is critical for our future?

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Uncategorized

How to improve your workplace communication skills

Would you consider yourself an exceptional communicator? A lot of us do, but very few actually get it right all the time.
In a 2017 case study involving 400 senior managers, company directors, CEOs and CTOs, 92% of respondents cited ‘excellent communication skills’ as being one of the top 3 traits they look for in high level job candidates.
If you’d like to make sure your communication skills are up to standard, take some directing from the following point:

Engage in active listening

Active listening might be considered a strange term, after all, what other kind of listening is there?
Well, quite a lot it turns out. If you’ve ever asked anyone for directions then completely forgotten them as soon as they’ve walked away, then you were ‘hearing’ rather than actively listening.
The first step to actively listening is to really tune in to what the person you’re talking to is communicating – try to take in the tone of their voice, their posture, the words they’re using and the context that the communication is occurring within.
A lot of active listening needs you to get out of your own head – that’s to say, decrease your internal dialogue and just focus on the person or people you’re talking to. When you do, your understanding and recollection of the interaction will be a lot more solid.

Adjust your language

Most language experts will tell you that there’s no such thing as an incorrect way to speak or communicate – just an incorrect setting for a chosen approach.
As an extreme example, imagine an astrophysicist discussing his latest theory about gravity waves to a group of 8 year olds. Now imagine him using the same language as he presents his theory to a room full of his academic peers. The language and approach is legitimate – but probably not suitable for both settings.
The same is true of your workplace, the way you talk to customers might be different to the way you talk with your friend at lunch. It might sound obvious – but being aware of the appropriate level of communication, including the words, tone and body language you use, is important to help you meet the other person’s expectations.

Confirm you’re listening

Have you ever spoken to someone on the phone and found yourself wondering if they’re listening to you – or even still there?
If so, you’re not alone – and it’s usually because the other person wasn’t giving you verbal prompts to let you know they were onboard. Whether you’re face to face or on the phone, these little pieces of communication are extremely helpful in relaying the fact that you’re listening and you understand.
Think about words like ‘uh huh’ and ‘mmm’ – now say them out loud while you nod your head, that’s an almost universal indication of understanding. Others include just nodding, leaning forward in your seat and maintaining eye contact while you listen. These are all extremely helpful when it comes to the other person feeling like they’re being heard.
You might also want to try recapping what a person says, especially when it’s an instruction:
“So, if I understand correctly you’d like me to send all of those documents over – and when that’s done, work on the next proposal?”
Repeating or recapping what’s been said is double-useful – as it lets the person know you’ve listened carefully – but also gives them chance to correct you if you’re not quite right.

Review written communication

While a lot of what we’re talking about here revolves around spoken communication, the workplace also involves a huge amount of electronic communication – so it’s important to get it right.
There’s a commonly cited theory that the actual words we use only make up around 7% of the message we’re trying to communicate – and while this is disputed by some professionals, the point stands to some degree.
It’s important to re-read all your written communication before it’s sent. Consider if your words and structure really reflect the message and the tone of what you’re trying to say.

Don’t use 100 words when 10 would do

While we’re on the subject of emails – it’s worth remembering that the internet has fundamentally changed the way we read, with skim reading of large chunks of text now the norm.
If you can effectively communicate what you’re trying to say in 10 words, stick to 10 words. Your response rate will be far better and you’ll find people actually act on what you’re asking.

Avoid distractions

When you’re talking or communicating in general, trying to rid yourself of distractions is an excellent way to make sure you’re 100% on the task in hand and not likely to misunderstand or come across wrong.
Mobile phones are an excellent example of a distraction that can adjust our attitude in a conversation:
Some people are more than capable for sending a message and having a conversation at the same time – but our perception tells us that if someone is doing something else while they talk to us, they’re not giving us their sole focus.
Where possible, avoid distractions if you’re communicating – you might be capable of doing two or three things at once – but you’re taking a risk that the other person isn’t going to see it that way.

Consider what the other person is hearing

There’s a vitally important context that extremely difficult to gauge – but makes a huge difference to your communication. It’s all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Now, communicating in the workplace doesn’t require you to be a psychotherapist – you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of everyone’s mind, but you can have some empathy and a little compassion for the person you’re talking to.
Again, an extreme example helps to illustrate the point:
“You’re a bit behind this week, I need you to try a bit harder on Monday”
Said to a care free individual who’s often late back from lunch, this statement might be appropriate – or even a little too gentle. On the other hand, said to someone who’s just lost a loved one, it would be seen as deeply inappropriate and would likely prove worse than ineffective.
There’s an appropriate communication approach for everyone – and many people will be similar – but it’s worth being cautious, it’s impossible to understand how everything is received – and sometimes there’s no substitute for knowing your fellow workers and what makes them tick.

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Uncategorized

8 steps that help make meetings more positive and productive

Do you love meetings?
The answer, as numerous studies has found, is likely to be a resounding ‘no’ – but is there anything you can do about it?
There really is – and transforming stale meetings into positive and productive spaces is likely to win you the favour of everyone in the room. We’ll take you through 8 steps that will see you getting more done – in a better atmosphere.

Escape the office (or at least the chairs)

If your big meetings take place in your office you might want to think about escaping to somewhere else when it comes to meeting time.
It doesn’t have to be far, perhaps you could find a hotel foyer, a coffee shop, a library – or anywhere else that’s just a change of scenery. Studies show that breaking out of the ordinary space means people approach with a more open mind – and from a practical point of view, there aren’t going to be as many distractions as there would be back at base.
Now, if you’re planning on keeping your meetings short – you might not want to bundle out of the office en masse for what’s going to be a 20 minute get together, so if this is the case, mix things up by ditching the chairs and meet standing up.
When we’re stood up we’re more alert – and far less likely to ramble, owing to the lower level of comfort we experience being on our feet. You might get some funny looks suggesting it, but when people realise their meetings are quicker and more concise, every meeting will turn into a standing meeting…

Have an objective

If any of your attendees can’t explain why they’re there in less than 10 words then your meeting is likely to hit problems fairly early. You should either let them be elsewhere (see next tip) or you should have made the objective of the meeting more clear.
If a meeting is a general ‘what’s happening’ update that spans a host of subjects, you’re going to find yourself working against the human brain’s normal way of operating – which is in 20 minute chunks.
In fact, you might be lucky to get 20 minutes – studies show that figure is really the maximum time you can expect from a person engaged in a meeting with no real clear purpose.
Be clear about what you’re hoping to achieve from the meeting well before the it begins.

Be selective with attendees

How many meetings have you been part of where you didn’t open your mouth other than to suppress a yawn or two?
If you know what that feels like, then you owe it to everyone to make sure they’re only in the room if they need to be. That might mean managers feeding back to team members what’s happening – but that’s infinitely more preferable than having a room with 30 switched-off people in it.
Some large companies say that a maximum amount of attendees should be 8 – others say 10. Amazon even say that if 2 pizzas won’t cater for everyone, then there are too many people there!

Leave phones on your desks

Almost everyone (83% of people in fact) believe that using a mobile phone or tablet during a meeting is rude and unnecessary – and while some managers might disagree – it’s probably worth asking yourself what is the absolute worst that could happen if someone couldn’t contact you for 20 minutes or so.
Some of the biggest board rooms in the world operate this policy – including the White House! So if the President of the USA can step away from his phone and Twitter account for a few minutes, you probably can too.

Have an agenda – and be firm

Plotting an agenda is an important part of letting people know what the meeting is about – but also breaks the overall task down into smaller chunks.
For each agenda item, set a time limit – and be firm with what you decide on. When the clock is ticking it’s amazing how concise it encourages people to be.
Also, don’t be afraid to reference back to the original point, talking can quickly change to a different subject if you’re not strict – and while one person might want to change direction, the chances are the rest of the room isn’t interested.
If something comes up that’s not on the agenda – park it. It’s good practice to write it on a sticky note and stick it to the wall – our next tip will cover what to do with them when meeting time is done!

Leave time for ‘parked issues’

As you march, fully focused, through your meeting’s agenda, you’re going to find yourself with a few non-urgent issues parked – perhaps on a sticky note on the wall if you’ve followed our plan so far!
Now, the reason these are ‘parked’ is because there’s every chance you’re going to get to the end of the meeting and find that they aren’t issues anymore, either than subsequent information has covered them – or just that the moment has passed.
Leaving a few minutes at the end to either discuss them briefly – or arrange reconvening further down the line – means everyone’s voice is heard and any unforeseen issues are dealt with.

Have some silence

Science shows that we do our very best thinking when we’re quiet – yet when we’re in meetings we’re often talking reactively with no time to really think about what we’re saying.
Experiment with silence breaks – admittedly, you might need to add a few minutes to your overall meeting time – but as a result you’re likely to get an increased quality of feedback from the people in the room.

Assign tasks

An absolutely vital part of any meeting is understanding exactly who’s taking responsibility for each agenda item discussed.
Making sure there’s a name associated with each task leaves absolutely no room for any misunderstandings.
Effectively, your meeting agenda can look like a grid, with each row covering the following:

  • Agenda item
  • Time spent discussing
  • Objectives
  • Responsible person

Ask yourself – do you need any more information than that? The answer is likely to be no…

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