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Tips on Punctuality & Business Meetings

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I have received a really good question from one person from Hamburg in Germany. His question touches on an issue I am sure a lot of people can relate to: Lack of punctuality and business meetings. I have tried to wait for people to attend meetings and been at business meetings that have been dragged much longer than planned. This can be both frustrating, demotivating and end up ruining the purpose of the meeting.

The question I received was the following:

I often join meetings at work where people turn up late or stretch the meeting longer than planned. What to do to avoid these situations?

Regards

Thank you very much for the great question. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this.

Business meetings can be huge time consumers, especially in large corporations if punctuality and business meetings culture aren’t aligned. What you describe here about people turning up late and stretching meetings can be very frustrating, especially if you are very punctual yourself.

A short story on lack of punctuality and business meetings culture

I used to work for a rather large company that had a very distinctive culture when it came to punctuality and business meetings.

When having an internal business meeting with 4 persons or more, you would seldom experience all participants having showed up 5 minutes into the meeting. People would usually apologize for being late. But they would still be late for the next meeting and never really changed their behavior. But why?

It had almost been acceptable that people showed up late. You never saw anyone show up early for meetings. Since they expected some of the other participants to be late and therefore didn’t want to waste their own time waiting too long. Meetings didn’t start until everybody had showed up and therefore the person showing up late didn’t really lose anything.

This was a very difficult situation to be in and being just one person you might not be able to change the whole culture. But at least you can change the culture surrounding your own meetings. At least that was what I tried to do.

Punctuality and business meetings – when being the host

When being the host of a business meeting, you have every chance to try and influence the punctuality of the participants. A few small tips I use have actually turned out to work really well:

1) Scheduling the meeting as precisely as possible

I always do my best to only let the meeting be as long as needed. Some people use the rule of always setting aside 15 more minutes than what they expect to use. But my experience is that people pick up on this in the long run and then unconsciously expect the meeting to be shorter than scheduled. In these cases they might be even more prone to showing up late.

Making the meeting too short could also be an issue, since you should never run past the scheduled end time. But having a backup plan can usually help you in these cases. I will elaborate on this in point 4.

2) Always send out an agenda before the meeting

I always make sure to send out an agenda before the meeting, preferably including a time interval for each point on the agenda, when hosting a meeting. This signals professionalism and gives the participants important information. Furthermore it lets them get the feeling that the meeting is going to start and end as scheduled.

3) Always start the meeting on time

I always start the meeting as scheduled. This shows the participants that showed on time that I value their punctuality. It of course also shows people showing up late, that the time of all other participants are really important.

I think that nothing sends a worse signal than someone showing up late and not even missing a word of the meeting. Why should they show up on time for the next meeting then?

4) Always end the meeting on time – and having a backup plan

I think it is just as important to finish on time, as the above three points. This shows that you understand and respect the importance of the participants’ time – just as you expect them to respect the importance of yours.

To make sure I can end the meetings on time – I always have a backup plan for when a meeting start running late.

First of all I always make sure that points that could potentially be solved by one or two participants are placed at the end of the meeting. If the meeting start running late. I will use the last minutes of the meeting to briefly touch on the subjects and then delegate the responsibility of making a decision or doing the work to the persons in question. This has worked successfully to me most of the times I have had to use it.

Punctuality and business meetings – when you are just a participant

When you are just a participant at a business meeting. It can be difficult to influence the culture and mood of the other participant.

What I do before the meeting is though basically to ask for information and professionalism. I expect somewhat close to the same information and rules as if I was hosting the meeting myself and if I feel information or an agenda is lacking, I do not mind asking for it.

If the meeting is at an internal location. I usually plan on being there just a couple of minutes before it is set to start, unless I have a purpose of being there earlier. If the meeting is at an external location. I usually aim for an earlier time to be sure I do not turn up late.

If the host doesn’t start the meeting as planned. I usually try to ask if we are going to start on time, without trying to sound rude. If the host decides to wait for all participants I usually do not push further. Since I know this can cause difficulties as well.

If we are reaching the end of the meeting and the time seems to be running. I will usually remind people about the time, since this usually speeds up the meeting in more ways. But as mentioned before, it is much easier to control these things when being the host of the meeting.

I hope you can use some of my tips related to punctuality and business meetings. I would really like to hear, if you have any things you do to cope with these issues. Please write a comment below and share your thoughts.

About Jeffrey Howard:

Over the years I have since worked on many blue chip brands including Nissan, British Telecom, The AA and working at keyword position checker as a marketing adviser. I’m super passionate about helping others live life with more freedom and flexibility, and a bit of travel thrown in for good measure.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jan Zac

    March 21, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Hello ,

    I saw your tweets and thought I will check your website. Have to say it looks very good!
    I’m also interested in this topic and have recently started my journey as young entrepreneur.

    I’m also looking for the ways on how to promote my website. I have tried AdSense and Facebok Ads, however it is getting very expensive.
    Can you recommend something what works best for you?

    I also want to improve SEO of my website. Would appreciate, if you can have a quick look at my website and give me an advice what I should improve: http://janzac.com/
    (Recently I have added a new page about FutureNet and the way how users can make money on this social networking portal.)

    I wanted to subscribe to your newsletter, but I couldn’t find it. Do you have it?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    P.S.
    Maybe I will add link to your website on my website and you will add link to my website on your website? It will improve SEO of our websites, right? What do you think?

    Regards
    Jan Zac

  2. Amanda

    November 24, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I?¦ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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Business

Considering Starting Over? What No One Tells You about Changing Careers

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Changing jobs is hard enough, but changing careers? That’s a giant leap into unchartered territory.

During my decade-long career in marketing, I’ve considered doing everything from working in an animal shelter to trying my luck as a professional book reviewer (I haven’t ruled out either of those things, yet).

Staying in the same role for more than five years may have once been the norm, but over the past 15-20 years the job market has changed considerably. In fact, research has shown that career changes are happening more than ever before and not just that, but people are significantly happier when they’ve taken the plunge to pursue their passion.

There are many misconceptions surrounding career change, so what do you need to know to take the next step? Here are some of the things we don’t get told often enough when making the decision to follow a new career path.

It’s Never Too Late To Change

At the age of 35, former Air Force Officer Eddie Reece returned to graduate school to study community services. Unhappy with the many roles he had taken on throughout his life, he needed a career change and in his mind, it was now or never.

“My main motivation to change careers was that I knew in some way that what I was doing wasn’t really me”

Eddie says, “many of my career choices were driven by the desire to make a lot of money… but I would find myself unhappy and want a change.”

The myth that changing careers is a luxury reserved only for the younger generations continues to persist, despite little evidence to support it. In fact, a recent article on PayScale suggests that 82% of adults aged 47 and over are successful in their quest to change careers, with 87% saying they were very happy with the new direction.

As we get older, our priorities change and our mindset can shift. Your career goals at age 20 versus when you’re 40 are completely different, so it makes sense to consider different career options at different stages of your life.

Be Prepared To Learn – A Lot

You may be an expert in your field, having spent years building a reputation and the respect and admiration of your colleagues. But once you switch careers, you may no longer be at the head of every board meeting, so it’s important to let go of any ego you may have about your past career and treat this like a new adventure.

There’s a steep learning curve involved in transitioning from one career to another, not just in learning new skills, but also the different expectations that come with your new role. There may be aspects that are easier, but some things will also be more challenging. Learning can be a very exciting and rewarding experience, so stay humble and you’ll certainly reap the rewards.

Fear Shouldn’t Stop You From Doing What You Truly Want To Do

Transitioning into a completely different industry and role can seem frightening, but once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner.

“I had to learn what really mattered to me”, says Eddie of his career change,

“living my life more authentically and working in a job that truly satisfies me in so many ways are just some of the payoffs of being in a career that fits the person I’ve become. It’s so much easier to go to work, and it doesn’t even feel like work.”

Your career isn’t everything, but being unhappy in your job can affect other areas of your life.

Don’t Get Caught Up In All The Advice

Well-meaning friends and family may have plenty of advice to give, but too much advice can make the decision making process more overwhelming. Of course, talking to your loved ones about your dreams is important and it can certainly be nice to hear their input but you also don’t want to lose sight of your own goals.

This is also true of those articles that tell you which career is the most stable, or what the happiest jobs are remember that these are often based on various factors that may or may not apply to you. Only you know what will make you happy in the long-term.

If you really want to talk to someone about a career change, make contact with the people who are doing the job you want to do, in the industry you want to work in. Ask them the tough questions and shadow them if you can. The advice they give will provide you with the most crucial information to help you decide if the move is right for you.

Fortunately, career pivots are not only possible, but quite common today. Just ask Eddie: Who has spent the last 25 years working as a psychotherapist; business consultant and writer, while running his own counselling practice helping others live better lives?

“The drive to change careers was an emotional one that came from unresolved emotional issues. Once I worked on those, choosing the right career and staying with it was easy.”

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Why Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

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Everyone wants to improve their financial situation. Everyone wants to protect the assets they have and make the most of the opportunities those assets afford them. But in today’s economic climate, doing so is more complex than ever before.

That’s where financial advisors enter the picture. A financial advisor, such as Oak Street Investments in Denver, is there to help you manage your assets, plan for your future, and live your best life financially.

Read on to learn more about what financial advisors offer and how you might benefit from the services they provide.

Tax Imbalances

If you finish each year owing money to the IRS, you’re probably already aware that you need to make some changes in your finances. But if you receive a refund every year, the problem may be going unnoticed. People enjoy getting tax refunds, and its fun to spend your little unexpected surplus on a treat for yourself or your loved ones.

In fact, however, your goal should be to pay exactly the right amount of taxes each year. You don’t earn any interest on the balance you overpay to the US government, and if you’d had that money sitting in an account all year, it could have been working for you. So if you’re finishing up the fiscal year far off the mark in either direction in terms of your taxes, seek the help of a financial advisor. They can get you back on track.

Understanding your Investments

No matter what you choose to do with your money, understanding your investments is crucial. If you’ve got money in the stock market, you need to know how to read the trends and trade wisely. If your money is a high interest account, you want to make sure you’re getting the greatest possible rate of return.

Working with a financial advisor can make an enormous difference here. Your financial advisor is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the area of investments, and they can help you find the right investments for your assets. When it comes to your money, you shouldn’t be flying blind. Let a professional help you get the most bang for your buck.

Planning for Retirement

No matter where you are in your career whether you’re a few years from retirement or just getting started it’s a good idea to be putting money away and to have a plan for the future. When you reach the end of your working years, you want to make sure you have enough saved to continue living comfortably. A financial advisor can help you achieve that goal. Not only that, they can also help you structure your retirement savings so that you might be able to hang up your hat a few years earlier than you’d planned! Getting ready for retirement can be overwhelming, but with a financial planner on your side, you’re halfway there.

Preparing for Down Markets

You never know when the economy is going to take a turn, and the last thing you want is to be caught unawares. That’s where a financial advisor can really help. You need to diversify your assets, ensuring that not all your eggs are in one basket. That way, if something goes wrong, you’ll have something to fall back on. Your financial advisor will help you divide your assets wisely and comfortably, and you can rest easy knowing you’ve got resources should troubled times arise.

Finances are a complicated matter, and it always helps to have someone educated and impartial to help you through the tangle. Reach out to a financial advisor and get started planning for the future you deserve.

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Business

Accounting Tools Critical for Business Processes and Procedures

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An essential part of the success of any business is accounting – knowing how much money is being expended and how much is coming in. You need to make sure that your business is profitable, that you are bringing in more money than you have to spend to keep things running. But this is a complex question, and often it’s not easy to see a clear picture of the answer until well after the fact, when the money has already been lost.

The solution is to make sure your accounting, whether it’s done by a department, an individual, or just yourself – is both thorough and accurate. Adopt the following tools and practices to take your business’ accounting to the next level and ensure that things are running smoothly.

Establish Budgets and Stick to Them

It’s common for businesses to establish annual or semiannual budgets, and doing so is a good idea for a number of reasons. You’ll start out the year by planning how much money you intend to put into each of your business’ expenses, so it will be easier to keep track of and therefore, not exceed the amount you can afford.

When you build your budget, you should begin by looking at last year’s records. How much money did you spend, and how much did you bring in? Use these figures to project what the coming year will look like. Make a list of your business expenses. Can you trim the amount you’ve been spending in any areas? If so, you’ll give yourself the option to devote that money to another area of the business to stimulate growth, or to increase your profit directly.

An enterprise performance management (EPM) system can help you track your budget and ensure you keep to the plan. Living within your budget is a great way to make sure your business performs according to plan.

Utilize Cost Allocation

Cost allocation is a budgeting tool for those aspects of your business that do not have a concrete cost associated with them. Because it is difficult and sometimes impossible, to precisely forecast these costs, cost allocation is a tool that gives you a way to estimate. The ultimate goal of cost allocation is to spread the expense associated with a specific facet of your business appropriately, so the cost is borne in proportion by those departments or individuals who ought to be paying for it.

Track Financial Statements

In order to plan for the upcoming fiscal year, it’s important to keep track of how your business performed in the past. You should keep careful track of every financial statement, including – but not limited to – income, cash flows, and tax returns. You can take these papers to a professional accountant to help you analyze your finances, shore up weak spots, and prepare for the coming year. A good accountant, such as Nguyen CPA of Denver, can assist with many different aspects essential to managing the finances of your business:

  • Tax preparation
  • Budgeting and financing
  • Payroll management
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable

And, in many cases, much more.

Forecasting

Forecasting is a complex tool, but it can help you predict trends in the market and be prepared for what’s next in your industry. You can gain information by reviewing the history of your business itself as well as trends among your target demographic. It’s also a good idea to look at how your competitors are doing and compare their performance in the market to your own.

Having your accountant look over your books and make sure everything is in order is critical to the success of any business. Use the tools mentioned here to ensure that your bottom line is always met.

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