Keeping The Energy High in Meetings

Last month, we’ve talked about meeting scheduling: how long should a meeting aim to be, or how can you go about proactively fitting the meeting into your schedule like Warren Buffett. Read the 4 tips here if you missed them.

Now, meeting is scheduled. We need to keep them going with high energy.

Everyone should be in a good mood to produce engaging discussions and make the meeting count.

To achieve that, here are some tips, from the easiest, seemingly obvious one: drinking enough water, to doing improvisational exercises – requiring a bit of planning but the result is exceptional.

Keep Things Positive in Meetings


Always answer “Yes, and … ” and never “No, but…” – A simple but great trick to keep things positive in meetings . [su_tweet tweet=”Always answer ‘Yes, and’, never ‘No, but’- to keep things positive in meetings ” url=”” via=”amazemeet @seanblanda”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

– according to Catalyst, a group of young Christian leaders.

Starting with “No, but/however” is a habit most often seen in people who like to win in conversations, and it’s the worst way to keep discussions open and welcoming.

It doesn’t matter how friendly you sound, other people will feel defensive, as you’re basically saying “You are wrong and I am right”. This kills the flow of ideas and positivity in meetings.

Watch yourself when you use this phrase, practice substituting it with “Yes, and … ” and notice the effects.

Thanks to
@SeanBlanda from 99u
and @CoachGoldSmith: article

image credit


Stay Hydrated During Long Meetings

Drink more water during long meetings to stay concentrated and keep a good mood. [su_tweet tweet=”Drink more water during long meetings to stay concentrated and keep a good mood.” url=”” via=”amazemeet”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Study tells us that we need to stay hydrated at all times, not just while doing exercise or under extreme heat.

Even mild dehydration is shown to negatively influenced energy level, mood and ability to think clearly.

During long meetings, a higher level of concentration and objectivity are required.

The discussions might easily slip into heated arguments or disharmony just because attendees are affected by the lack of H2O goodness.

Make sure to drink enough water to be mentally and physically fit.

Carry your water to the meeting if it is not provided to everyone.

image credit


Do Improv Exercises


Consider improv exercises to reinvigorate long meetings and rekindle collaboration. [su_tweet tweet=”Consider improv exercises to reinvigorate long meetings and rekindle collaboration. ” url=”” via=”amazemeet “]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Improv is not just for comedians – improvisational exercises have become popular in all kinds of organisation as an excellent tool for team building, meeting icebreaker or conference room de-stressor.

Here are a few games you can try today:

1. Catch: Toss an invisible ball around the room and everyone catches and passes it around. Add more balls if you’d like. Substitute balls for invisible babies, baguette, etc

2. Yes/No Contrapuntal: Two people take turns arguing different sides of a particular point, then switch sides to argue the opposite.

3. Conducted Story: Cooperate in order to narrate a made-up story together.

Suggest a title and everyone starts, one at a time, to contribute a sentence to the story, picking up the story from the same point of the previous person. End when the story reaches a natural conclusion.

Sources, and more:
Inc, Qualitylogoproducts

Meeting Scheduling: 4 Tips To Do It Right

Often time, the way a meeting is scheduled determines how successful it is. [su_tweet tweet=”Often time, the way a meeting is scheduled determines how successful it is.” url=”” via=”amazemeet “]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

This month’s productivity tips focus on how to transform your usual meetings  into productive, short, and well-spent time – by reflecting on the old old ways of how they are usually conducted, trying to understand the design flaws no one questioned before.

Our featured leadership and time management influencers offer some tips to blow a fresh air into your stuffy, lengthy, and ineffective meetings.

Let’s dive in.

Parkinson’s Law in Meetings


A meeting is as long as it’s designed to be – start with the agenda, not time, and collaborate on making duration estimation.

Parkinson’s Law is stated as “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

In the context of meetings, the duration of the meeting is as long as it’s designed to be. If one sets out to have a 1-hour long meeting, it is usually the time it takes regardless of the significance of the agenda discussed.

For example : a manager wants to hold a 30-minute meeting to reach a decision, even though the decision can be reached in 5 minutes, chances are that the discussion will expand to fill the full 30 minutes.

To stop wasting time on this type of meeting, start with the agenda, not the duration.

Make it clear what the things are that you want to talk about – start with Purpose and Agenda, estimate beforehand, and together with other participants how long each item takes, then come up with the meeting duration.

Try this on Amazemeet’s canvas.

Start short meetings X minutes before the hour


Efficient meetings are short ones. The easiest way to have a short meeting is to start it X minutes before the hour.

For example, a meeting at 8:40 that is scheduled to go to 9 rarely goes past 9.

One reason for this is most other events and meetings start on the even hour. So there is often an urgency to finish the short meeting.

And “odd” meeting start times are easy to remember.

I encourage everyone to set their device alarms a couple of minute before each meeting so they are not late.

From Jim Estill – a Leadership blogger and influencer at CEO Blog – Time Leadership

image: clock

Scheduling Meetings like Warren Buffett


Schedule meetings one day in advance so you get to determine how you spend the next foreseeable 24 hours as you feel like it.

Badly timed meetings are bad.

Warren Buffett has been said to usually not schedule his meetings more than one day in advance.

Someone who wants to meet him will be told to call in on Thursday if they want to meet him on Friday.

By doing this, he can determine how he wants to spend his time in the next 24 hours instead of weeks or months in the future. His schedule is therefore relevant, not prescient.

Try doing this for your next meetings, the ones when someone just asks for your time and attention – not dependent on other factors.

This won’t make you as successful as Buffett, but it gives you the power to decide how to spend your next foreseeable hours, and puts you into a more pro-active position in how to conduct your meetings.

Originally written by Jason Fried

image credit

The magical 30-minute meeting


Halve the time of your normal 1-hour meeting to experience more focus and success. ([su_tweet tweet=”Halve the time of your normal 1-hour meeting to experience more focus and success. ” url=”” via=”amazemeet @peterbregman”]Tweet this[/su_tweet])

Often we allocate 1 hour for most meetings, phone calls or appointments. Why should that be our standard allotment for so many things?

When we halve that slot – compressing time – people are more likely to: focus on critical points instead of stretching to reach the 1 hour by doing unnecessary tasks and having going-no-where conversations (think Parkinson’s Law).

Moreover, everyone will tend to be on time and come prepared (now that you only have 30 minutes!). Every minute makes a difference.

Most importantly, compressing time spent on meetings and other tactical work gives you more unstructured time to spend on activities and people you love.

Originally written by Peter Bregman

image credit

Why should we work together?

How is your company applying collaboration, or teamwork, or collective creative process to the daily operation?

We normally have meetings for this: brainstorming, co-working, all sort of ad hoc or weekly, monthly, yearly etc. It’s permeate from board-level decision making close-door meeting to the open-space employee office, where they do their day-to-day, regardless of whatever job they have.

Collaboration can be both a cure and a curse to obtaining organizational effectiveness, specifically solving demanding problems.

As research showed, working together can be good for finding out unique information, for example: everybody tries and think of  ways to generate revenues for the newly introduced product. You’ll get a bunch of different ideas from individuals, or “the clustered network”, as they would not try to copy each other, as the goal is to come up with various ways.

However, when it comes to the part of interpreting the conclusions from information, interesting things happen: social proof. If someone comes up with the solution, and more people agree to it, I might as well adopt that – everyone think it’s true, it must be true.

From brainstorming to decision making, collaboration helps along the way, but not all the time.

Normally, the way we come to make a decision requires a bit of time, reflection, evaluation of different criteria and scenarios; gathering evidence, data we don’t currently have at hands – and obviously this process needs full attention and focus in order to be effective. Shortcut like social proof, pressures, or just in the context of meetings just won’t make the cut.

In fact, in the working world right now, with all the technology and constant connectivity, we are only able to focus for 3 minutes at a time. And I don’t think this is enough to produce anything meaningful (probably just enough to scan and tweet out an article)

Meetings are good for finding out unique information and finalizing  or making decisions after all the works are done. Lots of issues require more than one individual capability to be solved.

We should work together of course. But just like one doesn’t wear heels to run long distance, collaborate selectively. [su_tweet tweet=”Just like one doesn’t wear heels to run long distance, collaborate selectively” url=”” via=”amazemeet”](Tweet this)[/su_tweet]


Synthesis Work, Manager Daily 5 Minutes and Personal Goals in Meetings

Outcomes Over Outputs


Outputs are the “what”and outcomes “why”; always ask “Did your outputs make the difference that you expected in your outcomes?”

The 101: Outputs are what you produce e.g pizza, outcomes are what happen as a result of producing and consuming them e.g satisfy my hunger and impact are the effect they have, usually on the longer term e.g got fat.

Outputs are the ‘what’ and outcomes are the ‘why’.

So ask yourself ‘WHY am I doing WHAT I’m about to do’ and if you can’t answer that clearly consider not doing it.

If it is unclear/fuzzy ,take a little time to make it clearer.

In designing your meetings – consider the ‘Purpose’ as your ‘Outcome’ and the agenda and the actions as the ‘outputs’.

At the end of your meeting – did your outputs make the difference that you expected in your outcome? [su_tweet tweet=”At the end of your meeting – did your outputs make the difference that you expected in your outcome?” url=”” via=”amazemeet”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]


Read more about Managing Outcomes vs Outputs by Deborah Mills-Scofield on Harvard Business Review

Stop Using Meetings For Synthesis Work


Use meetings to chart the course and finalise, not synthesising on the spot. [su_tweet tweet=”Use meetings to chart the course and finalise, not synthesising on the spot. ” url=”” via=”amazemeet @helpscout”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Collaboration is not useful in every situation. When coming together as a group, people are better at planning and deciding on projects than creating separate pieces, and fixing them together.

To create and produce require deep work and alone time.

If you do this kind of work in the meeting, it not only makes the meeting unnecessarily longer, but also unproductive.

So next time, hold back from synthesising individual works during the meeting, do that in everyone’s own time, and only come together to decide and finalise.

Originally from the blog:

The Daily 5 Minutes For Every Manager


Everyday managers would speak to at least one of their employees for 5 minutes without an agenda to nurture relationships.

“Managers keep a checklist of names so they don’t miss anyone and make this 5-minute talk a daily habit ” – said Rosa Say – acclaimed Leadership and Workplace Culture Coach.

Both sides will start treating each other like people as employees will share their family stories, their struggles and even ideas for improvement.

Managers will know their subordinates better as individuals, therefore gain a more accurate basis of judgment.

In the workplace, acts to facilitate employee-manager relationship are quite underused.

Making an effort to understand one another improves clarity of responsibilities and working expectations.

Originally from the blog of Rosa Say


Never Attend Any Meeting Without a Personal Goal


Have a clear personal goal attending any meeting. [su_tweet tweet=”Have a clear personal goal attending any meeting.” url=”” via=”amazemeet @simpletonbill”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Ask yourself: as a result of this meeting, what can you know, how do you want to feel, what do you do after.

Bill Jensen suggests asking yourself these KNOW- FEEL- DO questions before attending any meeting:

KNOW: What is the one thing you must KNOW that you couldn’t get without attending the meeting? What information, action, advice?

FEEL: How you want to FEEL during the meeting? Included, active, to experience moments of new insights.

DO: As an outcome or result of this meeting, what is the one thing you expect to DO?

Don’t have the answers? Either don’t attend, or make yourself a clear purpose to address these questions during the meeting.

Originally published on medium by Bill Jensen

Image fun-fact: Speaking of setting personal goals, on May 25th 2001, Erik Weihenmayer reached the summit of Mount Everest – and still remains the only blind person to have ever done that.

One avoided meeting is one successful meeting


“The best fights are the ones we avoid.” – Mr. Han, The Karate Kid

How does this apply to meetings?

Of course not all meetings are a waste of time. But half of them are.

Like if you’re going to a fight, and know that there’s a 50% chance that someone, if not everyone, would get hurt pretty badly, would you wonder: what if there’s a better way to settle this dispute in a more peacefully and everyone can avoid getting injured.

My martial art teacher always reminds us: when somebody wanted to challenge you for a fight, or villainously approached you on the street – it doesn’t matter whether you can win the fight or not, you would say to them: “Stop, I don’t want this, go away”.

Ok, maybe it’s not that serious as getting injured, but the wasted costs of meetings in companies are quite significant, 37 billions in salary for US businesses. To understand in figure a bit more in a comparative way, check this out: 11 things the costs of wasted meetings could pay for.

In the workplace, wasted meetings bring about not only loss of money but also hours of possible productive time as people could have worked deeply on their own.

In a great TED talk , Jason Fried from Basecamp said that employees don’t like M&M (Managers and Meetings) because their work time is frequently being interrupted, and that’s why work doesn’t happen at work – they need a more suitable environment to create and produce.

Substitute meetings with collaboration apps or emails so employees get their quality time to be truly creative. [su_tweet tweet=”Substitute meetings with collaboration apps or emails so employees get their quality time to be truly creative.” url=”″ via=”amazemeet”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

At Amazemeet, all participants are expected to set Purposes and Agenda prior to the meeting, others can vote if this meeting is worth happening, or everything can be sorted out beforehand.

Give people their time to thrive, and stop having bad meetings. [su_tweet tweet=”Give people their time to thrive, and stop having bad meetings.” url=”″ via=”amazemeet”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

image credit: karate kids







What Is 37 Billion Worth To You

37 billion dollars is a lot of money, even by the standards of the ridiculously rich.  

37 billion could purchase a major sports franchise. It could buy a major film studio and television production company .

To get even more specific, 37 billion dollars could purchase The Cowboys stadium 37 times over, roughly 30 percent of Apple’s entire stock, wipe out the debts of Panama, El Salvador and Costa Rica combined, 37 “Streets Of Monaco” Yachts, and contribute 9 times the budget of the United States toward The World Health Organization. Finally, 37 billion dollars could buy a one week holiday in Cancun for 10 million people who are reading this while fighting sleep in another terrible meeting. 

See what else 37 billion can buy: 11 Things The Cost Of Wasted Meetings Could Pay For

At this very moment 37 billion collective sighs have gathered in unison in consideration of all the things that cannot be purchased.  This might be considered an embellishment due to the fact that there are only 7 billion people on the planet, though who’s to say that there aren’t extra terrestrials out there sitting in awful meetings?  

The point to consider here is that no matter how you look at it, 37 billion dollars is a lot of money, especially when it is discussed in consideration of wasted money; money wasted on company meetings.

So, how is this figure determined?  

There’s the high percentage of employee and manager time that is spent in a meeting, thwarting productivity.  And then there are those who admit falling asleep or bringing outside work into a meeting.

If these findings weren’t glaring enough, consider that most employees have reported feeling more exhausted with higher stress levels at the perception of a higher workload while watching the seconds tick off the clock in a board room.

Obviously, wasted money is never a sign of high productivity and company efficiency though [su_tweet tweet=”Wasted money is never a sign of high productivity and company efficiency.” url=”″ via=”amazemeet”]Tweet this[/su_tweet] , what’s more important to understand is how this much money can better be utilized. If the average cost of a meeting is $338, not including CEOs and other high paid business leaders, then wouldn’t logic follow that less meetings would be a good start?

Many of the so-called “brightest minds in business” haven’t even made this correlation, so congratulations; you’re well ahead of the curve!


To play devil’s advocate, less meetings could have an adverse effect on business if the required company information isn’t presented and communicated through the appropriate channels.

However, identifying a problem without a viable solution is no different than simply ignoring the problem, so let’s explore some alternatives to meetings.

There are wikis, email lists and groups, teleconferencing, and instant messaging. Collaboration apps and software are one of the more cutting edge forms of communication which allow the meeting to become a relic of the past.

The ability to share files, exchange information, and assign tasks are a convenience of modern technology which serve the same purpose as a meeting, though much more efficiently.

There’s no excuse in this day and age to waste so much time and money in meetings. [su_tweet tweet=”There’s no excuse in this day and age to waste so much time and money in meetings. ” url=”″ via=”amazemeet”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

The statistics are glaring and if a business is to sustain and grow, it must evolve. Employees don’t want them, managers can’t afford them, and business has long since passed them by.  

[su_tweet tweet=”Be a company that keeps up with the day, stays relevant, and builds with what is being saved. ” url=”″ via=”amazemeet”]Be a company that keeps up with the day, stays relevant, and builds with what is being saved. [/su_tweet]

What are you going to do with your 37 billion?

Making Brainstorming Work; CEO of Medium on How To End Meetings

Making Brainstorming Work


Image: jeanbaptisteparis 

To make brainstorming work, have two meetings to determine “what to do” and then “how to do it”.

Brainstorming if not properly conducted can waste time and creative juice.

To make it work, leadership influencer Dan Rockwell has a tip: Successful brainstorming calls for two meetings.

The first meeting is a “What might we do” meeting.

The second is a “How might we do it” meeting.

Divide the efforts and focus maximises creativity and follow through. [su_tweet tweet=”Divide the efforts and focus maximises creativity and follow through.” url=”″ via=”amazemeet @leadershipfreak”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Originally from the blog of Dan Rockwell

Tell Me What You Heard


Image credit: Paul Townsend

Explaining something to someone and not sure they got it – simply ask them to tell you what they understood you said.

In some cultures, the concept of “saving face” is very important.

Sometimes in meetings, when a person explains something and others don’t quite understand, they wouldn’t ask because they don’t want to be thought of as slow, lack of knowledge, or being distracted.

In other cases, it’s simply misunderstanding.

The consequences: misalignment, unclear expectations, may lead to recurring meetings in the future.

As you explain something to someone, make sure they got it by asking them to say what they have understood from you.


How To End A Meeting


Image: Robert McGoldrick 

At the end of the meeting, have a “closing round” to give each participant a chance to comment on the meeting and know where the group is at. [su_tweet tweet=”At the end of meetings, have a closing round to give each person a chance to comment on the meeting .”  via=”amazemeet @ev”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Ev Williams, CEO of Medium has a wonderful idea: The facilitator/host goes around the room asking everyone to make comments, say how they feel about what were discussed.

This allows people to get things off their chest and receive feedback about how the meeting can be improved. They might come up with ideas/ issues that are worth noted but otherwise ignored.

At Amazemeet, we have a section called “Off topics” so these points can be recorded – have you tried that?

Closing rounds can also get the ones who didn’t have a chance contribute to voice their thoughts. And most of all, these rounds can be fun and positive.

So try that out and let us know how it went!


Originally published by Ev Williams, CEO of Medium

11 Things The Cost Of Wasted Meetings Could Pay For

37 billion dollars is a lot of money, even by the standards of the ridiculously rich. What is the significance of this number?  This is the amount of money that is wasted each year on business meetings, thwarting the effectiveness and efficiency in good business practice.  Consider this figure in context with the following items that could be purchased with 37 Billion dollars.

1. Major Sports Franchise


image: wikipedia

At this price, the sports enthusiast could basically take their pick of any of the major sports franchises.  We’re not just talking about consistently losing franchises either.  This much money could easily purchase a certain Super Bowl winning football team roughly 30 times over!

2. Major Film & Television Production Studio


image: Sarah Ackerman

Ever wanted to star in a major motion picture or television series?  37 Billion could buy Paramount Studios 3 and 1/2 times.  So instead of choosing between a movie or a television show, why not star in both?

3. Cowboys Stadium


image: Randall Chancellor

One of the most incredible stadiums of the modern era could be yours for a cool 1.1 Billion.  Since you have so much left over, why not construct a Cowboys stadium in 35 other major cities as well?

4. 30 Percent of Apple Stock



Make sure you are always current on the latest and greatest in technological gadgets.  Anyone, who owns a third of the company should get first crack at all those wonderful new toys, right?

5. White House


image: Tim Sackton

The likelihood of becoming President Of The United States is slim to none though, who’s to say you can’t live like one?  For 37 billion dollars you could not only purchase the White House; you could erect 140 replicas in any city, anywhere.

6. Gold Plated Bentley


image: Concavo Wheels

Since the White House has so much garage space and you have so many of them, why not purchase 37000 gold plated Bentleys to keep safe?  That’s what 37 Billion could buy.

7. Air Force One


image: Dtom 

When transport is significant enough to require air travel, why not hop on one of 70 Air Force planes.  Yup, that’s how many you could purchase with 37 billion dollars!

8. The World’s Most Expensive Yacht


image: Pinponwa

Why not park one of your Air Force series planes on the largest and most expensive yacht in the world?  Choose from any of the 37 versions of the “Streets Of Monaco” Yachts that will always be ready for you to use.

9. Combined Debt Of Countries


image: Images Money

While 37 billion can certainly buy a lot of toys and frivolous impulse purchases, it can also do some good.  Why not take all that money and wipe out the debts of Panama, El Salvador and Costa Rica combined? Yes, you absolutely could!

10. The United States Budget For The World Health Organization


image: US-Mission

Philanthropy can become contagious, so help out the US by covering their budget toward The World Health Organization.  For 37 Billion dollars, you could cover the costs for the next 9 years.

11. Paid Holiday To Cancun


image: pixabay

Most of us could most likely afford this now, if we could ever get away from the office.  This isn’t a solo trip however. This is an all expense paid vacation for you and 10 million of your closest business associates.  Time to get out of those board meetings and into the sunshine of an exotic beach.

Mind Your HiPPO

When JC Penny stock shot to nearly one billion dollars after hiring who was referred to as “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs,” the parade was all but booked on the corner of Money Street and Prosperity Avenue.

18 months later, after the failure of renowned business executive Ron Johnson, those same streets were barren,  littered only with the discount coupons they couldn’t even pay former patrons to use.

According to Business Insider, the “Highest Paid Person’s Opinion,” or HiPPO is a plague that has affected many top corporations and moguls from Sears to former Clinton White House Aide, Jason Goldberg respectively.  This phenomenon is costing stockholders their investments and reserving a space in the unemployment line for an unsuspecting and once faithful and career driven employee pool.

HiPPO Beware

It is often suggested that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who surround themselves with more intelligent people.  Using this information, many major and upstart corporations looking for a boost in profit will seek out and highly compensate one of these individuals. With stacks of hundred dollar bills blocking their ear canals, the suggestions of others become unable to reach the HiPPO’s brain superiority.  

No one is listening, thereby allowing only one set of opinions are being heard.

Whilst surrounding oneself with more intelligent or knowledgeable people is a good start, being able to let their opinions flow and being willing to be challenged is vital for the best plan or decisions to emerge.

This humble leadership doesn’t just apply to the traditional role of the ‘leader’, it helps everyone whose perceived authority can unduly influence critical conversations.

Surround oneself with intelligent people is a good start, let their opinions flow is vital for the best decisions to emerge. [su_tweet via=”amazemeet” tweet=”Surround oneself with intelligent people is a good start, let their opinions flow is vital for the best decisions to emerge.”]Tweet this[/su_tweet]

Highly Intelligent Individuals DO Make Mistakes

The catalyst of failure for Johnson with JC Penny was determined to be something so simple and avoidable, it’s hard to fathom that it was even allowed to occur.

Forbes Online suggests that Johnson chose to follow his “gut” instead of proven focused group data in determining consumer preference. To state it simply, a multimillionaire believed that he better understood what a middle class patron wanted to purchase. In this case, the data was available, though it was ignored by a feeling.  Since JC Penny threw all of it’s “cents” into the pockets of Johnson, is it any wonder why when Johnson asked his subordinates if the plan was working, no one had the gumption to speak up?

Large Ripples The Of HiPPO Effect

The HiPPO effect creates ripples of intimidation as members in the board room learn to keep their mouths shut, eventually lose their voice, and become accustomed to the role of subservient rat to the Pied Piper.

Employees are disempowered, moral is destroyed, and accountability becomes a tale of folklore and mythology.

The goal of a company is reduced to the vision of one, and no matter how well that one is able to see, it could never compete with the strength in vision of a cohesive unit. Why have a board room or, better yet, a board, if the voices and opinions of those in and on it are irrelevant?

Hungry, Hungry, Not The HiPPO

Once a problem has been recognized, it must be confronted if it is to change.

This is often the most challenging proposition to implement and can largely determine the fate of an organization. Allow the opinions of the staff to be vocalized before those of the influencers, even if it requires a closed or silent voting session. Crowd voting has also become a popular method with the seemingly infinite resources of technology.

To diffuse the intimidation factor of the great HiPPO, these actions are imperative. Proper facilitation, idea implementation efficiency, and  restoring the voices of those who matter can bring the creativity and success back in the board room to which it belongs.

Originally published on Linkedin by Mike Sutton


Monthly Productivity Tips – March 2016

Welcome to the Productivity Tips summary series.

Every Monday, a select group of subscribers get a single, actionable productivity tip to help them get their week started off right.

Once a month, we aggregate the last month’s tips into one blog post to share with the rest of the world.

If you would like to get the tips  – hot off the press and into your inbox every Monday – simply subscribe using the form on the right.

In the meantime, we hope you find these tips useful and we’d love to hear how you have put them into action.


#1: The Law of Two Feet


(by Harrison Owen)

Spoiler: “Leave a meeting if you are not learning or contributing and cannot change it.”

You have feet, be prepared to use them.

At times when you’re in a meeting and feel like you aren’t learning or contributing, either change that, or use your two feet to leave.

Move somewhere else where you can make a difference, or at least not feel miserable.

Don’t blame the meeting, the conference organiser or the colleague that talks too much and not letting you voice your opinion. “Responsibility resides with the individual”.

Image credit: pexels


#2 : Keep it short, sharp and visual.


Spoiler: Have short meetings around a large whiteboard, no seating and have plenty of markers.

Long meetings eat up resources and most importantly: employee productivity. If you need to drag your employees frequently out of their flow to be in meetings (maybe even daily like in Scrum), you’re best keeping the meetings short, energised and highly collaborative.

We’ve been doing that very well with a simple meeting space with a large whiteboard, no chairs, and plenty of markers in various colours.


Large whiteboard? To help ideas to flow and develop freely.Everyone can gather round it and see the ‘whole picture’.

No chairs? So everyone can stand and stay energised and achy feet are a great natural reminder that your meeting is going on for too long!

Colourful markers? To use on the whiteboard (doh!).

Visual learners account for over 60% of the population, so chances are your meeting participants will retain more and collaborate better.

Fun fact: The author of this picture Dom Sagolla said:”This picture was taken in the middle of our reinvention and creation of Twitter.”

What are you waiting for, use this tip right away!

Image credit: Dom Sagolla 


#3: Answer recorder = Question Asker = Answer Summariser


Have the question asker summarise and record the answer

Spoiler: Amplify learning and understanding by requesting the person who asked the question to summarise the answer they got and record it for others.

I know getting people to ask questions in the workplace is already hard enough, but what if you want to make the most out of every question being asked and bring collective learning onto a completely different level?

In meetings, you encounter questions being asked over and over again, especially by the same people.

This is caused by information from answers not retained, or unclear answers and incomplete follow-up questions.

By getting the person who asked the question to verbally summarise the answer and record it on the key-points you get increased clarity, better distribution of effort and questioner satisfaction all at once.

Try it and see.

P.S. In the meeting canvas, use the Key Points section to record your questions and answers. Print out the pdf and you got a nice record for the future.

Image credit: Innovation School 


#4 Get Emails Out Of Your Way


Spoiler: Block certain hour per day for only emails or use InboxPause 

Emails are getting in the way of you being productive? Checking emails several times a day can interfere with your focus.

One way to solve this is to separate answering emails from focused work.

If you are disciplined, you could block your calendar for a certain hour a day to check and respond to emails, no exception.

A bit short on discipline? Then you could use something like InboxPause, which pauses your inbox from receiving new emails. Emails can still be sent out but you won’t get any until you hit “Unpause”.

Whichever you try, good luck with controlling email this week. We’d love to hear what worked for you.

Image credit: Leonard J Matthews


#5: Speak only when you can improve the silence


Spoiler: Keep the agenda and purpose in mind, speak only when you can improve the silence.

We have the problem of some meeting attendees not contributing enough and the added problem of other participants talking too much. This can derail meetings , making them take longer and distract from the purpose.

Like in any social settings, the talkers often influence others and assume the role of opinion leaders
The quantity of interaction is commonly used as a gauge of influence – so much so that Klout ( that gauges your ‘influence score’ by your social media interactions, blogging activities, etc. Of course there are people gaming the system.

This is not be a game, quality should beat quantity.

As a participant in any purposeful conversation you can improve both your influence and the value of the conversation for everyone by speaking when you truly believe it will improve the silence.

Speak only when you can improve the silence – Jim Estill

Image credit: Bea