Are Your Meetings Ineffective?

meetings

Ineffective meetings are a pain in the backside. They waste time, money and energy and can often result in a loss of productivity. This end result detracts from business success and growth.

The reasons for poor meetings can be endless. Here we explore some of the common reasons why meetings can be ineffective.

1) No Agenda set

It has to be one of the most common reasons while meetings fail – no agenda has been set. You’ve been invited to a meeting with a generic subject title but no agenda has been issued.

The outcome ? Everyone talks about different points or they go off topic and nothing gets achieved. The meeting turns out to be completely pointless.

2) Meetings fail to start and finish on time

Meetings can become ineffective if that can’t stick to the allocated times. By not starting on time people can become distracted or lose interest before the meeting has even begun.

By failing to finish on time may result in some points in the meeting being rushed or ignored completely.

Attendees of your meeting may have other things to do, other meetings to attend to. Therefore holding them up will leave them disengaged, as mentally they’re focussing on where they should be.

3) Others don’t need to be there

A classic of meetings is to either invite everyone or not to invite the key people. Again leading to an ineffective meeting.

By not having the right people there you could agree on an action plan or the next steps for someone else to overrule it. Rendering your meeting useless.

You could also have people in the meeting that have don’t really need to be there. This could also contribute to a negative outcome. This band of people could become disinterested and not focus on the meeting in hand.

Other attendees may pick up on this behaviour and themselves lose interest and struggle to stay focused. Again leading to an ineffective meeting

4) Interruptions

Interruptions can also lead to ineffective meetings. Being interrupted can cause the speaker to lose his or her train of thought and others can become distracted and forget what was being said. Constant interruptions can lead to a lack of progress because the focus is elsewhere and not on the meeting in hand.

It is always best to try and limit the interruptions. This could be done by booking a room, so other people are aware that a meeting is taking place. Ensure phones are kept on silent and allow a policy that allows people to speak without being interrupted.

5) No actions agreed or noted

You may have spent all that time preparing your meeting, people have attended, but following the meeting no actions have been assigned to anyone or the points raised in the meeting noted.

Once a meeting is wrapping up the actions should be agreed and reiterated and also document. Therefore in future meetings, you can see the progress being made

 

Let me know in the comments below how you think successful meetings should be run

 

 

The Difference Between Motivation & Inspiration

Motivation and inspiration are two words that are becoming increasingly interchangeable. Most people believe they have the same meaning, however, I don’t believe this to be true.

Motivation

A quick google search defines motivation as “a reason for acting of behaving in a particular way”.

We can apply this to a number of different situations. I might feel motivated to exercise because it makes me feel good, or I could be motivated to cook because I feel hungry.

When we hear about motivation we seem to need it to force us to do something, something that we might not necessarily want to do.

Left to my own devices, I don’t want to run because sitting and watching TV is far easier. I don’t really want to cook because it’s time-consuming. I can always find something else to do that’s easier than what I need to do.

Motivation is all about doing something we might not be interested in, or don’t really care about therefore we need that motivation to help us overcome the mental hurdles we put in the way.

A photo by Joshua Earle. unsplash.com/photos/s00F6-W_OQ8

Inspiration

Inspiration, on the other hand, is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”

Again we can apply this to situations where we might listen to someone’s story about how they ran a marathon making us feel inspired to do the same.

Or we might get inspired to start our own business by hearing how other business owners created theirs.

I’ll often watch a cookery show and feel inspired to cook. It never turns out the same but I feel empowered to cook.

Differences

The key to the differences between motivation and inspiration are that motivation requires something external to force us to action. Inspiration comes from with. Yes, there might be an external trigger, watching a TV show or listening to a podcast, but feeling inspired comes from within. It’s the feeling of alignment, you are called to act.

This is not to say that you need motivation for negative tasks, and inspiration is all about the positives. Both feelings can be displayed.

Let’s say for example you feel inspired to write a book. You’ve heard an interview with someone who is making a lot of money writing books. You feel inspired to write your own. On day one you put a plan together, day two you write your first chapter. The third day you struggle. The inspiration has gone and you now need to motivate yourself to carry on.

It can be difficult to sustain the feeling of inspiration for a long time. Similarly, it can also be tough to motivate oneself for a period of a long time.

If you can master this problem you’ll be able to succeed in anything you want to do. Because the minute you can’t motivate yourself it’s nemesis procrastination will creep in and detract from any progress being made.

motivation

Let me know in the comments below what inspires you, and how you keep the motivation going.

The Misconceptions of Entrepreneurship

misconceptions

Becoming an entrepreneur is one of those things that’s surrounded in mystery. Everyone’s got their own view.

“You’ve got to invest lots of money”. “Most businesses fail”. “It’s a difficult path and you need to get lucky”. “You need to have a good idea”. And the list of opinions goes on.

When you talk to people about entrepreneurship, the image of a swashbuckling Richard Branson or ultra-successful people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates comes to mind.

Therefore our path of becoming an entrepreneur can become tainted, and often misleading.

Here I try to dispel some of the myths.

1) Great Businesses are created by Individuals

While it can be true that individuals start a company, to become a really great business involves creating and building teams.

If you look at Apple, yes Steve Jobs was the front man and lead the company, but could he build it into a billion-dollar company all by himself?

No. He needed a great creative team that could create awesome problems and build great infrastructure

Therefore its teams that build companies and usually the bigger the team the more likely you are being successful.

Likewise have more than one co-founder will also increase your odds of success.

2) All Entrepreneurs are charismatic

Again when we think of entrepreneurs we tend to think of these charismatic individuals. However a successful entrepreneur needs to have many skills, with being effective communicators, recruiters and sales skills at the top of the list.

All leaders need to be able to communicate the direction they are going in to its staff. Likewise when building your team, you will want to recruit team members that will drive your vision forward. And of course sale skills are vitally important in order to attract customers and their cash to your business.

Likewise, when building your team, you will want to recruit team members that will drive your vision forward. And of course, sale skills are vitally important in order to attract customers and their cash to your business.

However above all entrepreneurs need to be honest and trustworthy. People will deter from you if you appear fake or false, therefore be authentic. This will be an invaluable trait to display to you staff and customers.

3) Entrepreneurs are born with the skills required

Another misconception, is that we often see these superstar entrepreneurs and we justify their success by saying they were born with the skills or lucky to get their break.

When in fact a lot of the skills required can be taught and obtained. Skills such as people management, sale skills, implementation, and project management can all be taught. Or you could delegate these skills and responsibilities out.

Another useful skill is utilising resources better than others, entrepreneurs look for opportunities

4) I need a great idea

One of the biggest misconceptions is that you need a great idea in order to become a successful entrepreneur. This is simply not true.

Say you want to open a restaurant. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not unique.

If you don’t have any idea to start with, then start asking questions. What would you like to do? How could you improve something? What type of customers would you like to serve?

If you start listing and brainstorming you’ll soon have an answer.

The key is start.

Let me know in the comments below what misconceptions you’ve come across on your entrepreneurship journey.

 

[Podcast Review] the $100 MBA Show

podcast

After listening to an episode of the $100 MBA show and embarking on a 21-day writing challenge – which you can read about here –  I feel it’s only fair that I do a review on the podcast 100$ MBA show.

Easy to Understand Business Lessons

The $100 MBA show is a podcast aimed at those in business and entrepreneurship or those looking to get into it. Omar Zenhom, the host delivers business lessons that last only 10 minutes long.

This is ideal for those people like me, who can easily lose attention or feel overwhelmed. In 10 minutes you actually feel like you’ve learnt something and something that you can implement. There’s no overcomplicated jargon or “fluff” to fill the air time – it’s short, to the point and effective.

Other podcasts offer an interview format between a guest and a host. While these podcasts may offer lots of value it can sometimes be difficult to capture everything or stay focused.

The host or guest go off on different tangents, and it can be easy for the listener to become distracted.

Occasionally you get some podcasts where some guests are just more interesting than others. On the $100 MBA show, you’ve got the consistency in every episode

The show is daily as well, so the wait for your next nugget of business advice isn’t too long.

You can find podcasts on how to look after your email list (717), customer service, sales advice, recruiting, the list goes on.

In fact, if there is an area where you would like some business advice, I recommend you check out the website. Here you can search the directory to find a podcast that might help.

Special Episodes

The normal format of the podcast is roughly 10 minutes of business advice. However every week there are special episodes that are either a must read episode or a guest teacher episode

A must read episode is an episode where Omar delivers a book review and summarises some key points from the book. All business related.

For those who just love to consume business education, this gives you an opportunity to get someone else’s view on a book before making that book purchase.

A guest teacher episode is where Omar hands over the reins to a fellow entrepreneur who dispenses some expertise they’ve gain during their entrepreneurial ventures.

Finally, another type of episode is the Q&A weekends. For me, this shows how much Omar cares about his podcast, business, and listeners. In these episodes (on the weekends believe it or not) he answers listener’s questions.

Free Ride Fridays

The $100MBA show is a podcast that supplements Omar’s other business the $100MBA an online business education course for surprisingly – $100.

However every Friday there is a chance that one listener can win access to this vault of information for free.

This is because if you leave an iTunes review for the show, you’re automatically entered to win.

As a side note, I think this shows the business mind at work. Similar to Amazon reviews, iTunes review rank the show in a chart. Therefore this is a potential win-win – the listener gets a chance to win a prize and show gets a review.

I thoroughly recommend the $100MBA show, as a useful resource for any aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.

You can check out the $100 MBA by clicking here

the 21 day writing challenge

Join me for the 21 day writing challenge. Get the rules here.

So there I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts on business and entrepreneurship, the 100$MBA Show, and the host, Omar Zenhom challenged his listeners.

The challenge is to write at least 500 words for 21 days as well as publishing your blog posts daily.

However, there are two caveats.

The first is to write your first 5 blog posts, and then publish them daily while you write the next 5. So your first blog post will be posted on day 6.

The second is that you can take two days off a week. So you are only writing for 5 days, ending up with 15 blog posts in total.

To kick things off it is highly recommended that you list out your 15 blog posts before you start.

I’d also add that as you list out you blog topics, that you write a few key words or ideas next to it so it acts as a prompt when you get round to writing that blog post.

There are a number of reasons why to undertake this challenge.

The first reason is for traffic. People are on the internet searching for answers, solutions to problems or ideas. As a blogger, we need to write the responses to these questions, so people can find us.

The more content we produce the more likely someone is to find our site. The more blog posts you create the more likely you are to show up in searches or be linked to.

That’s the theory. The more you put out there the more chance people have of finding you. Sounds relatively straightforward so far.

Join me for the 21 day writing challenge. Get the rules here.

The second reason is to be consistent. Google recognises when a site is more reliable and more consistent in its output.

Therefore you will increase your chances of being found by search engines by being consistent. Also being consistent increases success not matter what you do, from exercising to building a business, consistency is the key.

The third reason to undertake the challenge is that it allows you to practise the art of writing and put it out there.

Like most things, we wake up and decide to do something, be it a writer or start a business. But it takes time, it takes effort and it takes a lot of mistakes.

When you first start out you need to find your own style, and the only way to do that is to put it out there.

Finally, the fourth reason is to undertake this to challenge, is because it’s a challenge. Test yourself and see if you can rise to the challenge. Prove to yourself that you can do it, be committed and take action daily.

If you want to listen to the original podcast episode – episode 747- by Omar from 100$ MBA show then you can do so by clicking here. Like all episodes of this podcast, the episode is short – only 15 minutes long (ideal if you’re like me with a short attention span) but packed with tons of great value.

Join me for the 21 day writing challenge. Get the rules here.

Chasing the Passive Income Dream

Everyone seems to be chasing the ideal lifestyle where you’re making money but not chained to normal 9-5 work regime. Instead of the traditional trading time for money, systems are built that allows you to earn money without you being physically present.

Where trading time for money works on the basis that if you don’t work you don’t get paid, passive income involves working hard now to create systems that provide revenue streams that don’t involve working the required hours.

The internet has seen a rise in people taking the opportunity to create a passive income business.

The types of systems you may want to build that create passive income may include monetizing a blog, a podcast, an online course or even an eBook.

Creating a business that generates passive income allows the owner more flexibility and more time to do other things that they normally wouldn’t do in a regular job.

For example, you may make enough passive income to quit your day job and as a result, you can spend more time with the family. You’re also location independent in other words live where you want.

In fact, in the book the 4 hour work week, author Tim Ferris recommends leveraging living in a different country to that your earn your income in e.g. if you are earning USDs, it might be favourable to living in Asia.

However one of the biggest misconceptions is that building a passive income business is easy, and it’s all laptops on beaches. This is not the case.

Creating a passive income involves some serious graft and a lot of hustle. Your asset or avenue that will provide passive income takes a time to bear fruition. The reason being is that everyone starts from zero.

You have zero customers to begin with, and it’s telling the world your product is here that takes the time. Blogs take a time to get traction, getting a book sale (not friends or family) takes time. Therefore you have to be prepared for the long haul. Creating passive income isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme.

If you are interested in passive income then the place to start would be to check out smartpassiveincome.com. Here creator Pat Flynn has created tons of information which you can review through his blog posts and his podcast. Pat describes passive income as “work hard now, so you can reap the benefits later”.

Also, check out Pat’s income statements – here he shows you how he makes his money. This is a great insight for people who want to create their own systems.

As already mentioned, generating passive income doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible. The better you serve your audience the better your results will be. You need to provide content that offers value, solve problems and pain points.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Are you creating a passive income business and what strategies are you using?

Do you consider yourself a good listener?

Click Here for My “Easy to Implement Listening Tips”

These days, listening is becoming a harder skill to master. With so much noise in the world, we’re becoming accustomed to tune out the noise. Making us become ignorant to what’s going on around us and only paying attention to what we really need to.

This is bad news.

Listening is essential in everyday life. We need to understand instructions and gain clarity.

Listening is a skill that we need to remaster. Can you recall a time when you weren’t being listened too? How did it make you feel? It sucks right?

I’ve been there too. I believe I’m having a conversation with someone and it’s like they’re not in the room, not interested in what I’ve got to say.

Or someone has been talking to me and I’ve drifted off and then missed the key point of the conversation – whoops!!

You can often tell when someone isn’t listening effectively and here are a few reasons why that behaviour might be displayed.

  • The listeners head is filled with other things.
  • They may not have time to listen.
  • The listener thinks they know better than the speaker.
  • The listener might be thinking about what they are going to say next.
  • Being bored by the speaker could also be another reason.
  • Allowing distractions and interruptions will also contribute to ineffective listening.
  • Another reason is the listener may have already made assumptions or decisions about the subject the speaker is talking about.

The list is by no means definitive but highlights some behaviours to ineffective listening. And let’s be honest we’re all guilty of displaying one if not all traits at some point in our lives.

So if you feel like you’re not a great listener and want to improve here are some helpful tips that you could benefit from.

1) Face the other person.

2) Keep comfortable eye contact.

3) Acknowledge what has been said.

4) Avoid disturbing behaviours – like fidgeting or checking your phone.

5) Complete the listening loop by making short summaries.

6) Don’t prejudge the talker.

7) Allow time to have a proper discussion.

8) Show empathy.

9) Be understanding and patient.

10) Don’t be quick to react.

11) Stop thinking too much about what to say.

No matter who you are talking, be it a work colleague, friend, partner, customer improving your listening skills is essential to provide a level of understanding and respect

Not understanding someone could lead to confusion, missed opportunities or even a loss of a customer. Gain clarity by listening.

If you can implement a couple of these tips you’ll become a better listener and in doing so the talker will feel like they’ve got their points across and ultimately improving understanding.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak – Epictetus

 

Click Here for My “Easy to Implement Listening Tips”

Let me know in the comments below of a time when you felt like you weren’t be listened too.

Are you a manager or a leader?

The roles of a manager and a leader can be blurred. Often people will declare themselves one or the other, but sometimes you have to wear both hats. However, the roles are very different.

Here are a few pointers to help you distinguish whether you are a manager or a leader.

A leader sets the goals and directions of an organisation, someone with the grand vision.

A leader looks for new ways of working, ways of innovation and challenging the norm.

Often a leader is someone who inspires others, motivates a team in order to strive towards the goals.

A leader can be persuasive; they will need to be influential in order to get what they need to achieve their goals.

A good leader is also someone that listens and can teach or coach others.

Leaders create teams.

Managers, on the other hand, are maintaining the status quo who aim to keep everything running smoothly.

Often they are managing teams or individuals in order to achieve goals. The manager is the person who has the responsibility to organise and direct assets –financial or people – in order to achieve the desired outcome.

The manager role is seen as to maximise efficiency so results can be achieved.

The managers’ focus tends to be on work and tasks. Some of the processes involved in this are planning, organising, coordinating, time management, budgeting.

A leader is someone that has people follow them; on the other hand, managers have people who work for them.

In business, both the manager and leader roles need to have their people on side in order to achieve the vision and goals.

Managers often react to a situation. However, leaders tend to be proactive and try and foresee problems arising in the first place.

Managers shift responsibility as they delegate tasks out and often the blame goes with it. Meanwhile, leaders take responsibility and aren’t afraid to admit mistakes and learn from their actions.

While differences in the roles can be drawn, it is also worth pointing out the similarities.

Whether communicating vision and direction or communicating actions and decision making, it is imperative that both leader and managers have outstanding communication skills.

Both roles need to have good team skills. The success of achieving a task or goal is never down to one individual. Teamwork is vital in order to achieve success. Therefore both managers and leaders need to be able to work well in a team. Keep the team motivated and inspired in order to get results.

When you’re starting out as an entrepreneur you are both a leader and manager. Which isn’t too bad when it’s just you. However, as your business starts to grow you’ll soon identify whether you’re a better manager or leader.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of when you hear the words leader and manager?

Leader or Manager? You're often both..
Leader or Manager? You’re often both..

Why you should mind map

Creating mind maps is a simple useful way of collecting your thoughts & ideas and putting them into one place that has an impact. The impact is caused by showing your ideas visually instead of a list or some sort of narrative.

There are a number of benefits of creating mind maps.

Firstly I find it helps cut out of some of the noise. Say for example you have an idea but as you think through the idea you miss parts or forget them. Minds maps help you focus on the key points, and helps bring order to your thoughts. If you find yourself being a bit scatty or struggle with some of your thoughts then mind mapping could benefit you.

I also find that mind maps help with memory. Yes, we can memorise lists but sometimes it can be difficult to recall. Mind maps help store and recall information as you have the ability to personalise the mind map, which helps reinforce the points to memory. You can use colours, images, different fonts – and in doing so aids the learning process.

Mind mapping allows you to brain dump your ideas and thoughts into one place. Let’s say you‘re planning on going on holiday but you don’t know where. So you shortlist 5 or 6 places, and then need to assess the pros and cons, the prices, the temperature, currency, flights times etc.. Before you know it your brain ends up turning into soup because it’s got so much to process. Put it in a mind map and gain clarity. You’ll also find your decision-making process a lot easier.

Mind mapping is accessible to everyone and anyone, from Chief Execs to school kids, it’s so simple to create a mind map and they take a little time to produce.

You can use mind maps in a number of different ways. Brainstorming is often the most common, if you want to pull ideas together on a topic and allow the creativity to flow then using mind maps can extremely beneficial.

If you study or read books you can use mind maps to summarizing the key concepts. This helps to break down the information into smaller chunks which help with understanding and revision.

Mind maps are also a great tool to use when planning. This could be a project, a party /wedding or even a strategy. Mind maps can capture the ideas in one place and can be arranged into a to-do list. Not only a planning tool but also a productivity tool as well.

When I create my mind maps I use an online software tool called MindMeister. There is a free package that allows you to create a limited number of mind maps. If you subscribe you’ll get additional features, such as exporting to pdf or PowerPoint, additional users, custom maps etc. The interface of the software is easy to use and creating mind maps are so simple – Go check it out.

What’s with the long sales page?

I’ve been on the receiving end of a marketing cycle a number of times now. This usually involves receiving up to 4 videos of content after which I get the “my course is now open for 10 minutes buy now” email.

The first thing I want to check out is the cost. How much is this course or product costing. And to find the answer I usually have to spend a few minutes trying to find it.

Why? Because the answer is usually buried in a long sales page, and it’s so frustrating. I feel like I’ve spent a good hour (that’s how long the video series can be) getting to know this person and what they’re about only to find them being coy about how much their product cost.

Surely the sales page only needs to have enough copy in order to make a conversion or sale. Not a deluge of info that overwhelms the reader.

I can’t help but find it really bizarre that these pages are put out, because I for one don’t have the time to read it.

So the latest page I’ve come across has this format; An intro to the product (i.e what you’ll get out of it); the creators story (the journey); why doing this thing he’s teaching has helped him; details of each module; bonuses; evidence of profits; introducing the 3 packages and costs(premium, middle, basic) and what you get at each level; inspirational quotes / motivation; finally the “buy now” buttons; testimonials; FAQs; guarantees & refund policy; summary of packages and buy buttons.

Wow that’s a lot of info to read and digest.

I’ve spoken to people who see how long the page is before determining whether or not to read. And then there are the scanners – People who scan the page and read something only when they find something of interest.

The long sales page is designed to create hype get you enthused about the product, and if you’re selling a product for a high value the buyer will need more convincing to see if your product is worth it.

A longer sales page will also be required if you’ve marketed to people who don’t really know you. Again they will need more convincing that you are legit.

The purpose of the sales page is to agitate a problem so that we are compelled to buy. A longer sales page can tell more narrative and highlight more pain points

 

One possible reason is that I might not be the target audience for this product, hence why I lose interest quickly and move on to something else. People read what they are interested in, because I’m not interested that doesn’t mean other people aren’t.

Another possible reason why people put out these pages are that they are trying to answer every possible question you – the reader – may have about the product in order to make a buying decision.

Or possibly these sales pages are great and I sit with a small minority of people who hate them.

However if you are faced with a decision –long or short sales page – the answer is to test. Figure out what your audience –and ultimately what is converting best.