How to Run More Effective Meetings

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More that 10 million meetings occur every day in the United States alone, so there’s no denying that meetings are a very important part of the corporate world. But despite that, a lot of people do meetings wrong and end up losing money through lost productivity or even worse, unclear goals.

Be prepared

It’s always a good idea to let people know the overall details of the meeting but it’s also important to provide relevant documents or information that would help everyone come to your meeting prepared. Sometimes a meeting might require research and for your attendees to have some time to gather their thoughts and ideas. It also cuts down on time spent running people through information that everyone could already be aware of.

Know your objective

The biggest mistake people make when calling a meeting is having a poor agenda or not having one at all. Without a good agenda or a facilitator to keep things on track people can go off topic and not add anything of value to the meeting at all. This becomes one of the major reasons why people consider meetings a waste of time.

Make the objective of the meeting clear before you start. That way people are able to come prepared and know what’s necessary to make it successful. With the material you’ve given your attendees, having a clear objective will also allow them to come into the meeting with any concerns they may have going forward, which can be answered easier.

Invite the right people

Cramming the room with as many people as possible doesn’t always accomplish the best results. The more people you have, the more likely it is that people are going to take the meeting in the wrong direction, be afraid to contribute or feel like they can afford not to pay attention. You might also be keeping a lot of people from doing important work that will end up costing you time and money in lost productivity.

Instead it’s about getting the right people who can contribute the best to your objective. These are the people who are most relevant to the problem at hand, whether they’re working on the front lines or overseeing the team that will be solving a problem. Having the right parties present also lets you communicate more clearly with the right team and ensure that they’re on the right track.

Provide key takeaways

It’s all too easy for people to come out of a meeting and go about their day without actually putting anything they’ve learned to use. This comes down to the facilitators. At the end of the meeting, provide your attendees with some key takeaways and goals. Clear tasks help give a purpose to your meeting and people can leave it with something tangible to take back to their desks.

You can also have someone tasked with taking notes during the meeting and putting together a contact report to send out after. This way all attendees have a written record of what needs to get done. This can also be used to track progress for future meetings.

Ineffective meetings can kill productivity and be a waste of time. But with the tips listed above, you can make sure your team can make the most of their time and tackle goals with more direction.

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The July Scoop is Out!

It’s the big one! Canada turns 150 years old this month. Find out how you can celebrate this July with some great events, business opportunities and more. All this and more in this month’s Scoop.

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Waterfront BIA Singing Ambassadors perform at The Rostie Group

The triple award-winning Singing Ambassadors™ presented by The Waterfront BIA return for their sixth year on Toronto’s Waterfront. Eight lively ambassadors will perform impromptu a cappella renditions of classic and modern summer hits and offer assistance, directions and recommendations to visitors on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, from 11am to 6pm, June 22 until September 4. Visit www.waterfrontbia.com for more information.

“The Singing Ambdassadors make people smile and join in as they inform and perform along Toronto’s vibrant Waterfront,” states Carol Jolly, Executive Direction, The Waterfront BIA. “They not only share information and help direct people to the many amazing places on Toronto’s Waterfront but their a cappella performances enhance the visitor experiences all summer long.”

The 2017 Singing Ambassadors are Aisha Barrow, Erin Horan, Crystal Huang, Asha James, Daniel Lord, Russell Niessen, Jackson Smylie and Braeden Soltys. They are split into two quartets that will perform ten a cappella summertime favourites, plus the unofficial anthem for the province, in key locations and busy daytime spots along the Waterfront. Each song has been arranged by internationally-published composer, arrange and performer Aaron Jensen.

Get into the groove and dance on the waterfront with the Singing Ambassadors this summer. Their song list includes: Happy by Pharrell Williams; Summer Vibe by Walk Off the Earth; Sh Boom Sh Boom by The Chords; It’s All Right by The Impressions; Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles; I can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash; I Get Around by the Beach Boys; Under the Boardwalk by The Drifers; Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel; Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte and Ontario 150: A Place to Stand by Dolores Clarman and Richard Morris.

Wearing The Waterfront BIA branded polo shirts, windbreakers, back packs and festive fedoras, the Singing Ambassadors will be easy to spot as they distribute savings cards and information on key local activities to keep Torontonians and tourists well-informed of all that the Waterfront has to offer. Throughout the summer, they visit members daily to gain updates and perform. In addition, they ride the sponsored City Sightseeing Toronto double-decker tour buses to explore the City’s top attractions and spread the word about the Waterfront. Special appearances are also made at member, resident and neighbouring events including the Waterfront Artisan Market, the Redpath Waterfront Festival, Sail-in Cinema, Union Station, Ripley’s Aquarium and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to name a few.

The Singing Ambassadors help to make the Toronto Waterfront a welcoming destination and have a positive impact on the newly revitalized pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood. The program is made possible with assistance from Canada Summer jobs.

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How Getting a Virtual Assistant Can Help You Work Remotely

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Summer brings shorter office hours and sunny getaways, but what if you could do that all year round? There are millions of people doing just that, all without sacrificing their income. This is the power of the virtual office. Virtual offices allow digital nomads to have their home base in another country—in our case, Toronto’s downtown core.

Why have a virtual assistant?

Running your own business can be a time consuming task. You have to juggle strategy, execution, billing and client or customer service. It can all get a little overwhelming and defeats the purpose of becoming a digital nomad.

A major reason people start a virtual business is so that they can free up time to do what they want. That’s just wishful thinking when you’re handling all the details on your own. All of a sudden, you’re spending more time in front of your computer than out on the beach.

Being a new entrepreneur can also be a daunting task because you may not always have the leadership abilities you may eventually need if your business begins to scale. A virtual assistant gives you the chance to learn how to delegate and structure your work.

What can a virtual assistant do?

Virtual assistants can take a lot of tasks of your plate. We already know how much pressure you can face when running every aspect of your business alone. Delegating removes that pressure by eliminating everyday minutiae. But what can a virtual assistant actually do? They can:

  • Manage your calendar and projects
  • Schedule meetings
  • Find contact information online
  • Research and organize information
  • Email management or replying

And those are just to name a few. Many virtual assistants come with their own specialized skillset so finding the right one to help in a different area of business is great.

Where can I find a virtual assistant?

There are plenty of sites online to find high quality virtual assistants. A popular site, Upwork, is the best way forward when it comes to finding an assistant. The site even has a specific section for virtual assistants who range anywhere from about $15/hour to around $45/hour. The site also has plenty of people who work in customer service, data entry or research so if you need an assistant to fit a specific role, you’d be able to find those specifics too.

There are plenty of job boards around the internet like Indeed or LinkedIn.

Managing a virtual assistant

Overseeing employees is hard enough to do when they’re in the room, but to have a virtual assistant who works remotely is difficult. It needs a lot more communication and a lot more organization.

It’s important to properly explain what the job entails, the hours you expect them to work and deadlines they need to keep. Outline all the tasks they will be responsible for and what they need to use to accomplish those tasks. Also give them specific times they need to be available. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a response when something urgent comes up.

A majority of your job can actually be handled by a virtual assistant and detailed outlines. But keep in mind that this is a two-way relationship. If there’s something that your VA doesn’t understand, keep a note of it and make those adjustments as you go along. This will help save you a ton of time going forward.

The June Scoop is Out!

After a long wait, summer is finally here. And with the sun comes plenty of events in Toronto. Catch the world’s largest rubber duck and more at the Redpath Waterfront Festival or celebrate Pride Week around the city. If you’re interested in learning more about email marketing, Constant Contact expert Vito Marchese will be hosting a workshop at The Rostie Group. Find out more about us and our clients in this month’s issue of The Scoop.

How to run more effective meetings

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How often do you run across a coworker, sighing as they go onto their way to a meeting? Or maybe you’ve read one of hundreds of articles that say meetings are a waste of time. It’s not surprising that many people react this way.

An unstructured meeting can be a waste of time, but at the end of the day these are still very important parts of running a successful business.

If done right, a meeting allows your team to get together to collaborate, solve problems and build stronger relationships.

Effective leadership and discipline is needed to get the most out of meetings. But how do you effectively lead one?

What’s the purpose?

Communication is the key to mastering meetings. A long meeting doesn’t always mean a successful one, but on that note, neither does a short one.

A successful meeting is one that addresses all the issues at hand so that everyone leaves it feeling sure about what they need to accomplish.

Come into it with a plan. Why have you brought everyone together? What is it you hope to achieve? Have you scheduled enough time to hit all your talking points?

There are many reasons to hold a meeting:

  • Problem solving
  • Creative brainstorming
  • Team or morale building
  • Training sessions

If you have a clear picture of what you’re holding a meeting for, it’s easier to build a plan.

Create an agenda

Agendas can give your meeting a solid outline. You may not end up hitting all the points on it, but referring to an agenda helps you keep things on track. Otherwise, unrelated topics may come up and waste everyone’s time. Remember, if it’s not worth creating an agenda for, it’s not worth meeting.

A good agenda should be concise and cover just a few major topics. This helps you leave enough time for discussion so that you can expand on those talking points.

By keeping it to just a few topics, it also helps focus your team on what they need to do. It’s easier to send an employee away with one or two major tasks rather than fifteen small ones. Too many tasks can easily lead to confusion and ultimately, procrastination.

Meetings start on time

There was a famous story of a meeting Steve Jobs ran while he was at Pixar. Jobs was to meet with Lucasfilm’s Chief Financial Officer, who decided that he could show he was in control of the meeting by getting there a few minutes late.

He eagerly walked into the room, expecting everyone to be waiting for him. Instead, Jobs had already started the meeting and was now in control of it.

Showing up early shows you’re serious about being productive and getting things done. It also shows that you value your team’s or your client’s time.

No phones under the table

Meetings require your full attention. If you’re staring down at your phone while someone is talking, it can come off the wrong way, especially if there are clients or bosses in the room.

It’s best practice to turn your phone on silent and place it face down on the table or tuck it away in your pocket. That way, you’re not distracted by flashing screens or the temptation to look at the time.

If you have a scheduled call to take, then plan to step out of the room beforehand so as not to distract anyone.

Meetings end on time

Just like starting your meeting on schedule, ending it on time shows you respect other people’s time. It keeps everyone on task and ensures that there’s no time being wasted.

Be sure to discuss the end time of the meeting before it starts and reinforce it again as you approach the time. With a ten-minute warning, you can then set a clear boundary and start wrapping up.

You can then take the final few minutes to summarize ideas and assign clear tasks.

There are exceptions to this. Sometimes, ideas might come up towards the end of a meeting and take everyone down a rabbit hole. If the ideas are flowing and you’re making breakthroughs, you don’t want to interrupt anyone.

Build contact reports

If agendas are important pre-meeting, contact reports are just as important post-meeting.

A contact report helps you follow up with everyone after you’re done. Not everyone will have taken notes so it’s a good idea to have one person dedicated towards it.

This person can then create a contact report, which will cover all the important talking points, key takeaways and tasks to be completed and by who.

Having a successful meeting can do many things for you as we’ve covered. It can build morale, help solve critical problems and more. But unfortunately, many meetings are run haphazardly which is why people remain cynical towards them. That doesn’t need to be the case.

Whether it’s a small or a big team, these tips will help you keep these meetings on track so that your company can communicate and solve problems more effectively.

 

The May Scoop is Out!

Summer is not far away now. With the Waterfront Artisan Market starting later this month and the Victoria Day long weekend not too far behind, it’s time to bring the shorts out of hibernation and enjoy the sun. There’s a lot going on this month at The Rostie Group: we celebrate our 15 year partnership with the John Molson School of Business and Concordia University, our Recruit-mints will be handed out to over 500 people with the Waterfront BIA’s Welcome Bags and there’s a lot more. Read on!

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Toronto Waterfront Office/Team Space Available

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The Rostie Group has a team workspace available beginning this June at our location in WaterPark Place. This space is versatile has housed both closed and open concept workspaces. It is perfect for either a growing team or an established business looking to establish a base in Toronto.

Office facts:

  • 720 sq. ft. total (common area – 440 sq. ft., private offices – 140 sq. ft. each).
  • Located at 20 Bay Street, across from ferry terminal.
  • Less than 5 minute walk from Union Station, underground streetcar and PATH access.
  • Full serviced meeting, conference and board rooms available with free access (monthly allotment).
  • Engaged office community including tech startups, staffing firms, financial services and global transportation companies.

Book a tour:
info@rostiegroup.com
416-214-1840

 

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#RostieTalks with Tim Collins of Stafflink Solutions

This month on #RostieTalks, we welcome Tim Collins, President of Stafflink Solutions. Tim and his team have spent the last 15 years building Stafflink to a staffing firm that now specialises in IT that operates in North America. In this episode, Tim talks about:

  • The job market for AI/ML in Toronto
  • The future of tech in Canada
  • Millennials and educating the next generation of tech experts
  • Using technology for recruiting
  • Why recruiting can be a rewarding career
  • Why Stafflink picked The Rostie Group

You can also listen to the audio version of this interview here:

The Counter Offer

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Contributor:  Pamela Inglis, Recruiter – Rostie & Associates.

Okay.  This is a tough one.  I know there are a lot of articles out there about this subject – written by people far more eloquent than I am.  But, they basically all say the same thing:

DON’T DO IT!

You’re always going to find someone who will tell you that they took a count-offer, got a great big raise and things couldn’t have worked out better.  Believe me, they’re the exception.

Consider things from your employer’s perspective.  Here you come, offer in hand from a competitor.  Do they really want you going there?  I’m sure there are many reasons why they wouldn’t, regardless of how much integrity you have.  Perhaps you’re a sales rep and you’ve got deals underway.  Do they risk losing the deal if you’re not there to close it?   Perhaps the timing isn’t good – maybe, unbeknownst to you, one of your colleagues just gave their notice.  Regardless of the reasons they’re going to be in the position of having to back-fill your role – and not at their convenience.

If you do accept a counter-offer you need to be prepared for the consequences  because they are not going to forget that you (probably) took time off to interview elsewhere and were seriously considering leaving their employ.  Could be an opportunity for a promotion that passes you by; or no raises again – ever.  Or, worst, and most likely case, they will let you go when it’s convenient for them.  And that opportunity you had?  Long gone.

So, consider this, if the only reason you’re considering making a move is salary, pull up your garters and have an open and honest talk with your boss.  I know what you’re thinking, it may not go well.  And it might not.  But at least you’ll know where you stand.

You also have to consider that if they’re not willing to give you a raise, one that you truly believe you deserve, then it’s probably time to call your favourite recruiter.