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blakebyrnes, Author at Less Meeting

Meeting Key Performance Indicators

Posted by | Meeting Tips, Using Less Meeting | One Comment
At LessMeeting, we want you to be able to see what happened for any meeting at a glance:
– Decisions: √
– Actions: √
– Notes: √
– Overall Quality: √So when we started hearing from customers that they wanted to take this further to the Key Performance Indicators they were reviewing in meetings, we took notice.

Was this a key piece of meetings we were missing?

Question 1: Why would you want to add KPI data into LessMeeting?
You probably already have your indicators in a Spreadsheet somewhere, or sometimes a whole KPI Database.  So what motivates you to add them to a meeting?

1) Quick “inline” visibility to the health of your indicators.
– See trends and problem areas projected in a conference room and in the notes that get sent out.
2) Disseminate Data
– An ability to get/reference information coming out of meetings has opened many customers’ eyes to the value of just how many people get on board this way.
3) One Place
– By uploading your metrics to a meeting page, and referencing high level values inline, all of your meeting data is available in one place.

Question 2: How do you make this simple enough?
KPIs have all kinds of methodology behind them: goals, targets, milestones, target lines, trends, statistics, etc.

Simple, but useful: we wanted something that you could setup in a few seconds, and wouldn’t take 2 hours to understand.  That said, we still wanted it to be able to convey important information about KPI health in an instant.

1) Adding KPIs
– Name: what are you tracking
– Thresholds: when do you want to show red, green, and yellow.  This is optional, so you can just show a trend graph if you want.
– Chart Type: bar, line or point
– Data Type: format my data as $, % or just a plain number
… that’s it.  We take care of the rest
2) Updating KPI Vaues
– We decided that KPIs in LessMeeting make the most sense as an addition to Recurring Meetings.  So to add/input values for your KPIs, you simply navigate between meetings and add your data point.  Everything will update in realtime.

Question 3: What KPIs should I track?
Key Performance Indicators are for tracking really important variables that indicate the health of your business.  For LessMeeting, KPIs are:

1) Daily Uniques – how many people are coming to the site
2) Conversion Rates – what percent of visitors are signing up for an account
3) Monthly Revenue – how much are we generating in sales/month
4) Monthly Costs – how much is our combined Ad Spend, Hosting costs, Development Costs, and Employee Costs
5) Daily Meetings Run in LessMeeting – how much is the tool getting used by our existing users

Your business KPIs might be things like: Calls Answered in the First Minute, Production Outages, Tickets Logged, Tickets Resolved, Pre-Tax Profit, etc, etc

Try to think through what is CRITICAL to reviewing in a particular meeting.  Most meetings needing KPI reviews will be recurring status meetings around a particular area of your business.

Focus on what makes that part of your business tick.

That’s all for now!  We’ll be releasing KPIs in a few days, so try them out and let us know what you think.

Please Stop Talking!! 6 Tips to Hush a Talkative Meeting Attendee

Posted by | Meeting Tips | No Comments
We’ve all been there before.  You’re trying to get through a meeting, and Bob (let’s call him Bob), just will NOT stop talking.  It might be because Bob wants to sound smart, or he really thinks you aren’t taking in his point about the TPS reports being redundant, but he just keeps rambling.

So, the question, naturally, is… how do you make him stop talking?
Over on the LinkedIn Project Management Link group, Jennifer Whitt asked this question, and got over 381 Project Managers to weigh in.  Here are some of the best ways that these heroic managers of jabber-jaws suggested to reel in your talking fish:
1) Distribute an Agenda with Time Allotments
This concept was suggested over and over again.  Prepare an agenda with time allotments, distribute it, set time boundaries, and then adhere to them.  The easiest way to move forward was to remind people of the specific item being discussed, and of the need to press forward to stay on time.  In other words, use the time as your scapegoat.
 
2) Have a Visible Parking Lot
When things get off course, have a flip chart (or otherwise visible) parking lot to capture important topics you just don’t have time for in this meeting.  Make it a habit to review this list so people don’t feel like you’re just using it to shut them up.
3) Have a Goal you’re trying to Achieve

If everyone in the room knows what needs to be completed by the end of the meeting, it’s much easier to cut off the discussion and ask “Is this helping us get to X?”.

4) Set Ground Rules up Front
Does everyone in the room know what their individual expectation is in this meeting? Review what you expect to accomplish, how you intend to do it, and how you expect people to participate upfront.  Are we raising hands, interrupting, passing bean bags to speak, going around the room?  The key is to let everyone know.
5) Summarize and Repeat
It’s possible the megaphone in the room just isn’t convinced that anyone understands them.  Thus… they keep trying to explain themselves. Try the old, “Let me try to summarize your point” … “Is that what you’re saying?”
6) Listen to your Attendees
This one might be tough to take, but it’s possible all the talking is because you’re not doing a good job incorporating what your attendees are telling you. Make sure you are not only acknowledging, but USING the valuable information you’re getting.  If not, why invite them in the first place?  Value their time, and maybe they’ll be more likely to value yours.
In summary, provide structure and set your expectations upfront.  Then make sure to listen and adapt to what your fellow attendees are telling you.
Oh, and if you want to make steps 1-3 easier… use LessMeeting 🙂

Send Minutes from Outlook & Nested Agendas (release 2.2)

Posted by | Features Update | No Comments

New Release (2.2)

You asked and we listened! The 2.2 update has a bunch of new features requested by LessMeeting users.

Agenda Headers
Headers, or sub-agenda items, are a great way to add talking points under a more generalized agenda item. For example, if one of your agenda items during a standup meeting is to “Update Status – Go Around the Room”, you could create headers for each member of the team.  You can add them in the streamlined Outlook interface.

If you were a fan of the old keyboard shortcuts, pressing “Enter” will take you to the next entry, just like it used to add new Agendas.  We also made it so you can use arrow keys or the number pad to adjust the time more granularly.

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Headers will appear bolded and have a yellow arrow icon next to them on the meetings page. Click the yellow arrow icon.

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In the meeting page, you can convert notes to headers by hovering over the note and clicking the clip_image006 icon. Only top level notes (ie, not indented) can be converted to headers.

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Send Minutes from your Own Email Address
Now you can send meeting notes out from your own email address! (instead of minutes@lessmeeting.com).

When you close the meeting, check the “Send Using Outlook” checkbox. Then in Outlook, you can select the “Download & Send Meetings” from the LessMeeting menu and a new email with the meeting minutes will be populated.

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You can edit the email if you want, and then send it to the meeting participants.

Convert Notes to Action Items
The notes textbox has been redesigned to allow you to change regular notes into decisions or action items.  Editing still works by clicking to edit an item – notice that we now use the same interface as creating new notes.

And finally… Goals were Removed from the Outlook Client
In an effort to make the meeting creation process easier, we have removed the Goals section from the Outlook client.  Too many of you were confused by what exactly was the difference between Agendas and Goals, so they seemed to be a bit redundant. If you still want to use goals you can still add them through the meeting page.


Bug Fixes
Numerous bug fixes were added to this release, including a bug where notes were sometimes lost when dragging them across agendas, and the plugin having issues behind proxy servers.

Enjoy!
– Team LessMeeting

UPDATE:
To upgrade your plugin, you can either go to the Settings page, and download the plugin at the bottom, or you can wait for it to upgrade automatically (which will happen within 5 days).

Templates and Notifications

Posted by | Features Update | No Comments
Keep giving us more great ideas, and we’ll keep building them! We just pushed an exciting upgrade to the Outlook plugin, with 4 notable new features:
  1. Agenda Templates
  2. Tag Suggestions
  3. Upcoming Meeting Notifications
  4. Improved Plugin Layout
New Layout for the LessMeeting Outlook Plugin
Agenda Templates
Ever wish you could just reuse the template for that Sales Meeting you keep having over and over again? Or not sure what a good status meeting should have in it? This is our first step towards solving that problem. The first iteration has a list of common templates. Fear not… in the coming versions, you’ll be able to maintain your own templates, and even share them with your teams.
Tag Suggestions
You told us that teams were awesome, but they revealed that we were all using different tags! Now tags are automatically suggested based on the attendees you add to your meeting and other tags you use. The Agenda Templates will also filter by the tags you use.
Upcoming Meeting Notifications
Love LessMeeting, but forget occasionally to open up the web space to take notes? This feature is for you. We’ve hooked into Meeting Notifications to pop-up a reminder with your agenda and a link to go to your meeting space.
You don’t need to do anything special to upgrade. Let us know what you want next!

It’s a Team Sport

Posted by | Features Update | No Comments

We’ve heard from a lot of you that you wanted to combine the power of LessMeeting with a little bit of team management. After all, there’s not much to gain from being a one man all-star team.

Welcome to the first iteration of the LessMeeting Team Dashboard!

As your team members join, you will be able to track:

  • Daily Cost!
  • Popular topics
  • Upcoming meetings
  • Recent todos
  • How well people are taking notes and creating agendas

Teams are “opt-in”, so you’ll send invitations to your team members through the team setup page. If they’re not already registered, they’ll be sent a link to do so:

What’s next?
Our next Team Dashboard release will include the ability to create teams filtered down to certain “Tags”. i.e., This means you could create a team with John, Martha and Richard with all their meetings about the “CENTRA Project”.

Thoughts?
What else would you like to see on a Team Dashboard?

Welcome to LessMeeting

Posted by | Features Update | No Comments
Thanks for visiting the LessMeeting blog! We’ll use this forum to talk about:

  • Approaches for meetings
  • Different tips and tricks we’ve learned for overcoming meeting pitfalls
  • Software to make your meetings better
  • New features we’re building

We’re looking forward to sharing our experiences, and hearing some of yours!
Team LessMeeting