How to run effective meetings

Part 2: Holding the meeting

Last week, I provided you with tips for preparing for effective meetings. Today, I want to focus on the actual meeting, what to consider when running it and how to avoid it become a waste of your and the other participants’ time. This mini-series will finish off with the follow up of the meeting results and actions.

How can you get the most out of your meeting? Let’s look at this tips for running the meeting:

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How to run effective meetings

Part 1: Preparation for the meeting

Have you ever been stuck in meetings where you wondered what was going on? Or why you were even there in the first place? Unfortunately, this happened to me! It’s frustrating and makes these meetings appear as a waste of my time.

Companies can help their employees become more productive when setting up and running meetings. In fact, I’ve seen a number of organisations, mainly in the education sector, issue guidelines to their employees. For these teams, it has made them more productive and efficient. Given the limited resources we have, that’s a great achievement and in my view, we all should thrive towards more effective meeting cultures.

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Digital Detox – Are you glued to your phone?

Digital detox for beginners

When was the last time you and your phone were separated? Let’s say for an hour. You two in two different rooms. Remember that? No? Neither do I and it’s scary. My phone and I aren’t glued together but… It’s time for a planned, digital detox!

It all started last year when I went on a holiday and international roaming wasn’t working. It was an absolute shock – it happened on my work phone and I was supposed to give a presentation. Little did I know then that international roaming hadn’t been set up by the company. If I had, trust me, relaxation would have kicked in a lot sooner. The first few days were like cold turkey. Luckily, my personal phone was still working and I had my connection to back home. At the end of the week, I realised something had to change. I didn’t want to be so dependent on phone, tablet, laptop, you name it.

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How to have an organised home office

Keeping the home office organised is a very common struggle for many of my readers. One of my clients and I spent a very productive decluttering session, purging, sorting and organising her papers and files. It was so rewarding seeing her achieve peace of mind by knowing where everything is now stored and according to her preferences.

I want to help you to be as productive as you can be in your home office and compiled some top tips for you:

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Get ready for tax season

One of the beauties of Dubai is its tax-free nature. Unfortunately, some of us still have to file a tax return in our home countries. I’m lucky and only have to submit a “mini” tax return. The supporting documents, receipts and forms are already available and kept in one folder. It shouldn’t take my accountant too long to complete it. It’s not always this easy to get ready for tax season.

I’ve had my years where I scrapped for the receipts to get the most out of the different allowances and deductions. The stress of knowing that I had it but couldn’t find it drove me nuts. Until I changed to a system of collecting and sorting tax-relevant documents throughout the year, tax season always had a reputation. Please note this is not tax advice, just general information: Here are my tips to make tax season easier for you:

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Get on top of your emails

Another week has started and for those based in the Middle East, it’s already the second day of the working week. Yeah! The weekend is so close. I love it. What I don’t love, though, is coming back to work after the weekend and seeing my inbox filled with emails. How did this happen? Last week, I managed – drum roll, please – to reduce my inbox to a mere 49 emails. With my American and European team still working on Friday, emails were fired out and I’m back in the hundreds. Does this also happen to you?

Here are 8 tips to get on top of you emails again:

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Paper battles – How long to retain important documents

Next week is my birthday and I love looking forward to it. It’s my special day and this year, I’m giving myself a special present. Instead of continuing to be brought down by my stuff, unfulfilling activities and draining energy vampires, I’m starting my new year already. I’m removing unnecessary clutter from my own life!

For me, keeping paper under control is a huge undertaking. Despite aiming to save as much electronically, there’s a constant battle and questions run through my mind: “Do I need to keep a paper copy?” or “How long do I need to keep this for?” or “Can this go?”

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Who’s in charge? You or your emails?

Over the years, I’ve appreciated the summer months at work. There are generally more public holidays and colleagues are using this time to go on leave for a few weeks. The number of emails and meetings drop and I can catch up on low priority projects as well as prepare for upcoming ones. It’s brilliant! With some companies also working a compressed summer schedule, it’s ideal to be more productive. However, this year, summer hasn’t slowed down.

Last Wednesday, about 70 emails waited for me in the morning. Now, you may say that’s nothing. Agreed, it’s all relative. For me, it’s over 2x the number of emails I normally receive overnight and every email requires an action. Sometimes it’s simply filing the email (I love these). For the majority, it’s replying with more specific information (these take time). The consultancy McKinsey discovered that we spend 28% of our time managing work emails. That’s almost 1 ½ days each week!

How can you control the time spent on email? Here are my top 15 tips for getting back in charge over your emails:

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The Home Office – Are you still cleaning or already getting things done?

Today was a great day. Starting with a walk around the lake, I’ve attended a very informative seminar about medical benefits in the GCC. The best was finishing my work day from home.

To me, working from home has many advantages: Less interruptions and less distractions, a lot more focus and productivity! Given my various deadlines (who doesn’t have them), it was just what was needed and I was so pleased to close a number of activities off.

To some, working from home is a very different story. The laundry basket is calling your name, you haven’t seen your neighbour for a while, why not catch up and oh, you haven’t decided what to cook for dinner yet. What can you do to treat your home office just like your regular office?

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