The Meeting Minute

Blog

Looking for Less Meeting iPad Beta Testers

Posted by | Using Less Meeting | No Comments
It’s almost here. We’re putting the finishing touches on the Less Meeting iPad app and will start beta testing it soon. And not long after that we’ll releasing it to all of you.

Can’t wait that long though? Or just want to be the first to check it out?

We have a limited number of beta testing slots available for existing Less Meeting users. So if you want in, drop us a line to staff@lessmeeting.com or ping us on Twitter @LessMeeting and we’ll add you to our beta team.

image via bfishadow

Why I Want This Calendar…And You Do Too

Posted by | General Productivity | No Comments
Last week a couple of us in the office caught up with one of our startup neighbors from down the street, James Martin.Whether you realized it or not you might have seen his awesome design work before at TripLingo or iamjamesmartin.

In any case, among some good conversation and strong coffee he told us about this calendar he designed last winter. And I want it. Don’t worry, you’re going to want one too.

I’ll Take One
This thing is smooth, simple, and elegant. It’s not over-the-top, or too bare bones, but rather just right.

It’s Physical
To add an appointment or task, I have to get up, walk over to the calendar, and physically write it in. That might not sound like much, but it’s a heck of a lot more than instantly clicking to accept something on my computer. This gives me some needed extra time to ask myself, “Do I really need to do this?”

It’s Got Perspective

I can now see months, my whole year even, at a glance. This lets me see trends that I’d otherwise miss, maybe telling me just how mismanaged my schedule is. Yet it’s also compact enough to not take up an entire side of my house.

It’s Beautiful
Their site says it for me: “It combines functional features with brilliant aesthetics. In Making Ideas Happen, author Scott Belsky says “the design of your productivity tools will affect how eager you are to use them. Attraction often breeds commitment.” You’ll be eager to use this attractive calendar.”

So yeah, that’s it. Head over to NeuYear to get your own calendar.

Disclaimer – there’s no benefit in writing this post for us other supporting the local startup community and giving our Less Meeting users one more tool in their meeting arsenal.

And if you haven’t tried Less Meeting yet, then you’re missing one of the best meeting tools you can have. Sign up for free to see for yourself.

Train Your Users So They Keep Coming Back

Posted by | Using Less Meeting | No Comments

Less Meeting does a ton of cool things. Did you know you can customize your meeting minutes with the exact colors & logo of your company?

We tell you about as manyof these thingsas we can. There’s even an interactive tutorial to help make it easier to run better meetings.

Yet if we told you about some of our favorite features, how often would you say, “I didn’t know you could do that!!” (ok so the exclamation might not be necessary)

How can we make sure that doesn’t happen?

Walk Before You Run – Taking the Time to Learn a New Tool Does Matter

image via esbjorn2

A recent article from Wayne Turmel points out the somewhat obvious, yet often ignored fact, that many users of new online tools never learn how to use the tool.

You can guess what kind of effect this has on new users. Well, for starters they’re probably no longer your users.

As Wayne describes,

Most [users] don’t see how the features are useful or understand the possibilities…Of those [users] who do, many will do the bare minimum to accomplish what they need…[Only] a brave few will push through and learn to communicate effectively with the tools at their disposal.

Not knowing how to get the most out of a tool creates a less than stellar customer experience. That ain’t good!

And just to be clear, why do users need to be educated on the important features? What is it that happens to the majority of your new users who don’t really learn your tool? Well…

    • They get overwhelmed > so they quit
    • They don’t uncover the juicy features and don’t get the tool’s full benefit > so they quit

  • They make mistakes, causing rework & lost time > so they quit

 

Ummm…notice a theme?

Keep in mind that great design will overcome this problem a lot of the time. Simple and clear interfaces make the user experience intuitive. Or alternatively with very complex tools, new customers often get personalized on-site training.

But what about the middle ground? Your UX only goes so far, or on-site training doesn’t exactly fit into your business model? (Hint: a 50 page user manual is not the answer either.)

Let’s test this out on Less Meeting to see.

Our #1 feature is that we make it super easy to run better meetings. That means if we’re adding work to your meetings instead of saving you time, we’re not holding up our end of the bargain.

SO, how can we help you get the most out of Less Meeting? Would you watch a personalized Webinar? Want more guides and tutorials? In-app notifications? Or maybe we’re doing a decent job already…

We want to know. Tell us in the comments below, on twitter @LessMeeting, at staff@lessmeeting.com, or even call: 800.794.5209. 

image 2 via Girl Guides of Canada

Getting To-Dos to To-Done

Posted by | General Productivity | 2 Comments
Yep, I just went there. I couldn’t help myself with that title.Seriously though, there’s a real problem here.

While over 63% of professionals create to-do lists, a paltry 11% actually finish the tasks they plan to do each day. Thanks LinkedIn via WSJ.

photo via koalazmonkey

Like we did last week, let’s start with a simple scenario to set the mood:

    You just ran a great meeting. Success!!
    That in itself is a challenge, right? The team now has a solid list of to-dos for everyone.
    However, two weeks go by and at best 1/2 of those tasks are done.

Now if you’re like one of my old bosses, you’d march right down to everyone’s desks and demand an explanation. Although your team might demand in return that you get some people skills. Just saying.

For the rest of us, it’s going to take a little more tact to get your team to get these to-dos done for you.

3 Reasons Why To-Dos Don’t Get Done
Before learning what you can do to fix this, let’s first figure out why your to-dos aren’t getting done.

1. Procrastination

Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow? Well, when we get overwhelmed by tasks we continually put them off.  photo via miiitch

2. Forgetfulness
I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night. People forget; it just happens. And a lot of times it’s the to-dos they owe you that they’re forgetting.

3. Prioritization
Put another way, there aren’t enough hours in the day. People prioritize the best they can, and will inevitably prioritize differently than you do.

How To Fight Unfinished To-Dos
What next? Since we now know a bit of the “why” behind to-dos not getting done, we can figure out how to combat those reasons.

Here’s a list of 3 ways to help you get your to-dos done:

1. Simplify The Task
Make the to-do as simple and actionable as possible. If your to-do was “Plan Next Month’s Sales Conference”, would you be overwhelmed? Because I sure would be.

Instead, start simple and with a specific task, such as, “Pick Date for Sales Conference”. That’s much more manageable, right?

2. Remind the Person
It’s ok to send a reminder to someone. Now don’t send them an email every hour on the hour until it’s done, but if it’s been a few days and you’re still waiting on an update, feel free to send a gentle reminder.

Even better – get a tool (Hint hint – Less Meeting) to do the dirty work for you. If someone owes you an action item, Less Meeting automatically reminds them about it for you in their Daily Digest.

3. Own the Prioritization
Be crystal clear about when you need your to-do done. And make sure the other person understands why it’s important. This provides “actionable accountability”.

Meetings are largely about actions. What good is it, though, if the actions you’re creating aren’t getting done? Instead, keep these 3 tips in mind next time someone owes you a to-do and we should be able to get a heck of a lot more than 11% of our work done each day.

And if you liked this post on follow-ups, check out the last post on how to schedule follow-up meetings.

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Meetings

Posted by | Meeting Tips | One Comment
We’re getting pumped for the Less Meeting iPad app release.This got me thinking…what would Steve Jobs think about Less Meeting? Or even, what did Steve Jobs think about meetings in general?

The Most Important Meetings Don’t Happen in the Conference Room
There’s a few lessons we can take from him, but one in particular sticks out.

You see, meetings aren’t always neatly packaged, formal events.

You’re not going to get a nice Outlook calendar invite every time you get together with your coworkers (and I’m not talking about bad meeting planners who don’t send out an agenda before their meeting). Your traditional meetings aren’t always going to be your most important either.

Yes they’re great at keeping things moving day-to-day, but sometimes “water cooler” conversations are where the best stuff happens. This is where you find out what’s really going on, realize what you were overlooking the whole time, and have those “AHA!” moments – all after the “real” meeting is over.

Pixar’s Best Conference Room
When Jobs designed Pixar’s office he realized the importance of these casual conversations. The result is the now-famous story of the giant open shared space he created at Pixar.

The Incredibles director Brad Bird sums it up best:

Then there’s our building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center—which initially drove us crazy—so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.

As a result, you’re constantly bumping into people, having those unexpected, yet inspiring idea creating events. Looking at Pixar’s results, how can you argue it didn’t work?

Now, just remember to keep your iPad handy so you can have a Less.Meeting Huddle next time it happens to you!

quote via Andrew Chen
image via Ain’t It Cool News