Off message

11 June 2013
Much to my husband’s dismay, I am a talker. Don’t get me wrong – I can be quiet and love to listen, but I also get great pleasure from talking. I have a real interest in people and building relationships and it is from other people that I get my energy. So, unsurprisingly, I am not the biggest fan of the corporate email culture, which leads me to my rant … 1. The ‘Teflon’ emailer You know who you are – you get an action and email it on as soon as possible so it is no longer on your list. 2. The ‘can’t be bothered walking a few metres’ emailer I’m sitting nearby and your question is simple. Could you visit me rather than clogging up my inbox? 3. The ‘I’ll send you an email and come and visit you within seconds’ emailer ‘I’ve just sent you an email to ask you … ” Any reason I needed it in email as well as face-to-face? And no, in the few seconds it’s taken you to hit send and walk over here, I haven’t read it. 4. The ‘copy the world in’ emailer Thanks, I love nothing more than wading through emails that do not require my input. 5. The ‘I’ll cc you in, but still give you an action’ emailer Copy means copy – for information, not action. Please send directly to me if you want me to do anything. 6. The ‘death by e-mail’ emailer Please stop. There is much need for email in today’s workplace, but I fear it is suffering from overuse. I wonder if  we would have better working relationships and achieve more if we all used it a little less?   Steps for successful meetings I’m sure that you have all attended some very successful meetings, but I guess most of you have also left some thinking “what was the point of that?”. Here are some simple steps we often forget: Pre-meeting
  • Purpose: whether to make a decision, or generate ideas, if there is no purpose, there’s no meeting.
  • Outcomes: effective meetings will always have clear outcomes that drive the agenda and attendees.
  • Agenda: this should be well-structured and prioritised to ensure you achieve your outcomes.
  • Timing: don’t waste it discussing something that requires a quick decision.
  • Attendees: think about who really needs to attend and only invite them.
During the meeting
  • Stick to the agenda: in most cases, moving away from it means you may fail to achieve your outcomes.
  • Keep in control: set the scene, drive the agenda and park unrelated discussion points.
  • Take notes and actions: keep a record of salient points and follow-up actions.
  • Summarise: keep everyone on the same page.
Post-meeting
  • Send out notes and actions: don’t leave this too long or people will forget.
  • Feedback: don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from participants to learn how to improve.
☛ Nicola Bromby is head of commercial management, Heathrow Airport
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