Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Sleep Deprived Meeting Mania

Monday, September 15th, 2008

How many meetings have you had where you spent so much time preparing for the meeting, you left little time to sleep the night before a meeting? What is better, more meeting preparation, or more sleep?

I have a monthly meeting that I’m responsible for planning and facilitating. Since I’ve been in the meeting business for the past 25 years, it should be a breeze. But since we are in the business of designing and producing presentations, we are driven by client presentation deadlines. We often miss our own deadlines in order to meet our client deadlines. Although I am the least directly involved in the production of client presentations, I seem to have my own full plate of administrative deadlines.

I always start out with the plan to start preparing for the meeting the week before, but other priorities get in the way and it always seems a good portion of the preparation is the night before (just like our clients). Considering I leave for the office at 5:30am, if I stay up late to prepare the meeting detailed agenda and notes, I usually start the meeting sleep deprived. I definitely notice the difference in the success of the meeting when I get a good night’s sleep vs just a few hours or when my partners are severely sleep deprived, because of crazy client deadlines.

I wonder how many meetings are being run by sleep deprived facilitators or presenters? Bad meetings are often blamed on bad slides, but it could just be too many people stay up late producing (bad) slides and then don’t have the needed energy to present the information effectively. Their sleepy presentation produces a bored, sleepy audience and a big waste of time for all.

Just like it is illeagle to drive in NJ if you are sleep deprived (no sleep for 24hrs), maybe there should be a law against running a meeting with less than 6 hours of sleep?

Tele Class Can’t Cut-it

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

redphone1.jpgI participated in a one hour Tele-Class today. It was disapointing for a number of reasons. I suspect there were 25-50 participants and 2 speakers. It started off with some technical difficulties. One of the speakers had the wrong number and was not in the call at first. Then when the call was switched to record it knocked everyone off out of the call. I and others had to dial-in 3 or 4 times to get back into the call. I missed the first half of the first presenter.

I felt like it was a step back in time, like listening to an old AM radio show. There were some noise in the background including a few people who obviously did not know how to mute thier phones. I found myself watching some email coming in, then answering a few emails, and the phone call became the background.

The big problem . . . NO VISUALS. Not even some bad PPT visuals. I have to admit that I’m biased a bit (or a lot) on the value of visuals, but this is the age of YouTube and VISUALs. Show me a talking head, show me a bad PPT, but show me something.

The People Cost Meter for your next meeting

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

People often forget about one of the most important cost factors of a meeting – the audience’s compensation. I’ve seen people balk at the cost of a $1000 cost of PPT visual support costs. This is kind of penny wise, but pound foolish if they considered the 400 people in thier audience was probably costing them $20,000+ per hour. And the cost of not communicating thier important message could priceless. came up with a cute little widget tool to monitor the cost of your meeting. Check it out: Meeting Cost Minder.

Virtual Meetings vs Face-to-Face

Friday, October 12th, 2007

I really like using for our business capabilities presentation. I can pitch to anyone in the country or world for that matter. It takes two minutes to setup. We just did a face-to-face meeting because the potential client was only a few blocks away. It was fun to get out and meet the client, but it took way too much time. We’ll soon see if the results are better than the virtual meetings. I can’t wait for the day when I only need to make a virtual commute.

An E-Mail Meeting?

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Time is so short these days I find I occassionally have an email meeting. Instead of just emailing an agenda, I do long notes to the agenda item. I then ask the potential meeting attendees (usually my business partners) to comment and add suggestions. The email circulates a few times and in the end we have our meeting notes without the meeting.  This works some of the time when our demanding schedules limit when we can meet or meet at all. Is it really a meeting? Will all meetings be virtual some day? email can be dangerous if it is misinterpreted. It seems most people would rather shoot off a quick email than pick up the phone or walk across the hallway these days. I’m guilty of this myself sometimes. But sometimes it is just easier to write an email than leave a voice mail. There was a good article about the dangers of “mis-read” emails in the NYTimes: NY Times article: E-Mail Is Easy to Write (and to Misread)

Does anyone use PPT 2007?

Monday, October 1st, 2007

I’ve only heard bad things about PPT 2007, such as they changed all the quick key short cuts. No one I know is using it. Of hundreds of clients we have working with PowerPoint, no one has requested it to be in 2007? PPT 2003 works well. It is reliable. Fast. What more do we need? Check out PPT 2007 at