Here are ten things that you can do to hold more effective meetings.
1) Avoid meetings. Test the importance of a meeting by asking, "What happens
without it?" If your answer is, "Nothing," then don't call the meeting.
2) Prepare goals. These are the results you want to obtain by the end of the
meeting. Write out your goals before the meetings. They should be so clear,
complete, and specific that someone else could use them to lead your meeting.
Also, make sure they can be achieved with available people, resources, and time.
Specific goals help everyone make efficient toward relevant results.
3) Challenge each goal. Ask, "Is there another way to achieve this?" For example, if
you want to distribute information, you may find it more efficient to phone, FAX,
mail, e-mail, or visit. Realize that a meeting is a team activity. Save tasks that
require a team effort for your meetings.
4) Prepare an agenda. Everyone knows an agenda leads to an effective meeting. Yet,
many people "save time" by neglecting to prepare an agenda. A meeting without an
agenda is like a journey without a map. It is guaranteed to take longer and produce
fewer results. Note, without an agenda, you risk becoming someone else's helper
(see tip #6 below).
5) Inform others. Send the agenda before the meeting. That helps others prepare to
work with you in the meeting. Unprepared participants waste your time by preparing
for the meeting during the meeting.
6) Assume control. If you find yourself in a meeting without an agenda walk out. If
you must stay, prepare an agenda in the meeting. Collect a list of issues, identify
the most important, and work on that. When you finish, if time remains, select the
next most important issue. Note: you can use a meeting without an agenda to
recruit help for your projects.
7) Focus on the issue. Avoid stories, jokes, and unrelated issues. Although
entertaining, these waste time, distract focus, and mislead others. Save the fun for
social occasions where it will be appreciated.
8) Be selective. Invite only those who can contribute to achieving your goals for the
meeting. Crowds of observers and supporters bog down progress in a meeting.
9) Budget time. No one would spend $1000 on a 10˘ pencil, but they often spend
40 employee hours on trivia. Budget time in proportion to the value of the issue. For
example, you could say, "I want a decision on this in 10 minutes. That means we'll
evaluate it for the next 9 minutes, followed by a vote."
10) Use structured activities in your meetings. These process tools keep you in
control while you ensure equitable participation and systematic progress toward
Certified professional facilitator and author Steve Kaye helps groups of people hold
effective meetings. His innovative workshops have informed and inspired people
nationwide. His facilitation produces results that people will support. And his books
show how to hold effective meetings.
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Humanitarian chief and special envoy warn of potential for another humanitarian catastrophe
The UNâs two most senior Syria experts have warned of an Aleppo-style humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib as an EU donor conference aimed to raise up to $6bn (ÂŁ4bn)to help Syrians displaced both inside and outside the country.
Idlib is the last major territory still in rebel hands. It is partly held by Hayâat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadi group that Russia and the Syrian government regard as a legitimate target in an area where civilians and fighters continue to pour in as part of evacuation deals in other parts of the country.
French presidentâs offer seems calculated to appease Donald Trumpâs discontent with the current âbad dealâ on Iranâs nuclear programme
Emmanuel Macron has proposed negotiations on a ânew dealâ aimed at curbing Iranâs military power and regional activities, to exist alongside a three year-old agreement that restricts the countryâs nuclear programme.
Post appears to connect alleged killer with âincelâ, or âinvoluntary celibateâ, communities that have made sexual frustration the basis for misogyny
Shortly before a rented van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, killing 10 and wounding 14 others, a short and cryptic message was posted on the Facebook account of Alek Minassian, the man accused of carrying out the attack.
Research shows that treating whole populations could wipe out the illness, but it requires decisive political action and a lot of money
Malaria could be quickly eliminated in south-east Asia by an all-out effort to dose whole populations with drugs that treat the disease, regardless of whether people have symptoms or are healthy, say experts.
Guardian investigation reveals $64bn fund includes investments in companies involved in bribery and major environmental damage
The United Nations is facing calls for a full review of its staff pension fund after the Guardian uncovered that it has around a billion dollars invested in companies whose activities are or have been incompatible with core UN principles and programmes.
Established in 1948 by the UN general assembly, the fund provides retirement, death and disability benefits to employees. At present it has 203,050 beneficiaries and a market value of $64bn (ÂŁ45bn), of which nearly $1.5bn is invested in 24 publicly traded companies. Many of those companies have been or are being prosecuted for corrupt practices, implicated in human rights abuses or in environmental catastrophes.
Kenyaâs ban comes with the worldâs stiffest fines and some businesses are struggling to find affordable alternatives, but in Nairobiâs shanty towns the clean-up is changing lives
Waterways are clearer, the food chain is less contaminated with plastic â and there are fewer âflying toiletsâ.
A year after Kenya announced the worldâs toughest ban on plastic bags, and eight months after it was introduced, the authorities are claiming victory â so much so that other east African nations Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan are considering following suit.
Photographs from Sihanouk in the countryâs south west reveal locals living amid a staggering tide of plastic pollution
Looking down into the water that lies beneath the ramshackle houses of Sihanouk, Cambodia, it is hard to imagine that the sea is there at all. Instead, there is dense layer upon layer of plastic waste clogging the water, piling up around poles that support the wooden homes, carpeting the beach.
Remains found near mausoleum destroyed after 1979 revolution, which deposed Pahlavi dynasty
A mummified body found near a shrine in Tehran could be of the early 20th-century Iranian monarch Reza Shah, a polarising figure whose reappearance would be problematic for the countryâs present Islamic leaders.
Local media have published conflicting reports about this weekâs discovery at Shah Abdol-Azim shrine, close to a former royal mausoleum south of the capital where the shah had been buried.
Prime minister reportedly discussed the plight of Raif Badawi, Saudi sentenced to 1,000 lashes, whose wife has asylum in Canada
Canadaâs prime minister, Justin Trudeau, expressed his âserious concernâ over the continued imprisonment of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to the kingdomâs King Salman bin Abdulaziz, his office said on Tuesday.
Jaime RodrĂguezâs grim suggestion for punishing those who steal from the public purse drew incredulty and mockery, then terrifying reality
When a Mexican presidential candidate proposed in a televised debate that public servants who steal should have their hands cut off, his comments were initially greeted with disbelief, and then mockery.
Hours later, however, there was a much grimmer reaction: drug cartel members dumped a dismembered corpse in the Pacific city of Acapulco with a sign saying that they were already enforcing the punishment.
Inadequate support for Hong Kongâs ageing population means for some older citizens, scavenging and selling boxes and scrap is the only way to scrape by
Miss Wong, 65, scavenges the streets of Hong Kongâs Sheung Shui area in search of disused cardboard to sell to local recycling plants. She starts her day at 7am and often works until 9pm, seven days a week. For her efforts, she receives about HK$41 (ÂŁ3.60) per day.
Wong is one of an estimated thousand senior citizens nicknamed âcardboard granniesâ who collect and sell waste boxes and other scrap across nine of the poorest districts in the city.
âBicycle Dayâ on 19 April is the 75th anniversary of the day Albert Hofmann accidentally discovered LSD, changing his perceptions â and the cityâs future
Seventy-five years ago, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann experienced the worldâs first full-blown LSD trip on his way home from his lab in Basel. Hofmann had been researching the ergot fungus, hoping to develop a drug to treat fatigue. Among the compounds he was analysing was lysergic acid â LysergsĂ¤ure-Diethylamid in German, also known as LSD. On Friday 16 April 1943, Hofmann left the lab feeling a little dizzy: âI lay down and had these wonderful dreams â I saw every thought as an image,â he said in an interview for his 100th birthday. The chemist concluded that he had accidentally touched the substance, and was intrigued by its powerful effect.
Three days later, on 19 April, he returned to the lab and swallowed a tiny amount just to see what would happen: âAs it later turned out, it was five times too much and gave me a horror trip.â He asked an assistant to take him home by bicycle, and Basel transformed into a panorama of hellish and heavenly visions. The bike seemed to freeze to the spot; a friendly neighbour turned into an evil witch. Hours later, Hofmann felt wonderful. âLSD called me, I didnât seek it out,â he recalled. âIt came to me.â
For decades, Haifa has been Israelâs model of what a âmixedâ Jewish-Arab city could be. But as the countryâs 70th anniversary nears, the strain is showing
Ben-Gurion Boulevard climbs from the bustling port on Haifaâs Mediterranean shore up Mount Carmel towards the famous Bahai shrine, its gleaming golden dome surrounded by lush terraced gardens. On the south side of the palm-lined road, on a spring lunchtime, the Fattoush restaurant is packed with customers chatting noisily in Arabic and Hebrew over Levantine and fusion salads, cardamom-flavoured coffee and exquisite Palestinian knafeh desserts.
Fashionable eateries like Fattoush are one reason why Israelâs third largest city and its biggest âmixedâ one, as officially classified, is held up as a model of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Not everyone agrees with the concept, of course, and the âcâ word is often qualified, placed in inverted commas, or simply dismissed as propaganda. Official figures say Arabs make up 14% of Haifaâs 280,000-strong population; unofficial estimates are closer to 18%, swelled by students and commuters from nearby Galilee. Public spaces, at least, are open to all. And the ever-present Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, usually, softer-edged than elsewhere in the country.
Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with a full 40% of its population living in either Melbourne or Sydney: large, sprawling, coastal cities with very different personalities. Factoring in the other state, territory and national capitals â Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Perth and Darwin â takes that share to two-thirds of the total population of nearly 25 million.
Each of these cities has its own character, typically a result of its geography or weather. Thereâs Perth, the westernmost city, closer to Bali than the east coast. Canberra, the flat, planned federal capital of fake lakes and roundabouts. Melbourne, with its changeable weather. Harbour-centric Sydney. Hobart, Australiaâs second-oldest city. Brisbane, split by the river. Darwin, the largest city of the Northern Territory, changing character from wet season to dry. Post-industrial Adelaide.
As Finlandâs government calls time on a bold experiment in giving citizens cash, can others still attempt such utopian schemes?
When the Finnish government embarked on a trial of basic income it was lauded as bold, evidence-focused and innovative. The country became something of a standard bearer in a worldwide push towards basic income projects. In failing to commit to widening the scope of the trial in 2019 beyond its current group, however, that reputation is under threat.
Universal basic income (UBI) in its purest form is a payment that every citizen receives on a regular basis, without condition and as of right, in and out of work. Universal credit is paid on a household basis, is means tested and conditional, for example on recipients proving that they are actively searching for and accepting offers of work. The Finnish trial is not universal, as only 2,000 unemployed people were selected for it, but it is a basic income.
Father-of-three from Ireland is fighting for his life after allegedly being attacked by Roma fans before Champions League game
A Liverpool fan left fighting for his life after allegedly being attacked by Roma fans before a Champions League semi-final football match has been named as father-of-three Sean Cox.
Cox, a businessman from Dunboyne in County Meath, Ireland, suffered serious head injuries after being assaulted outside the Albert pub, next to the Kop end of Liverpoolâs Anfield stadium, on Tuesday evening.
Rolling coverage of the dayâs political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs, Amber Rudd giving evidence to MPs on Windrush and David Davis giving evidence to MPs on Brexit
Hair-raising moments punctuate this home-movie-like documentary about a Kurdish officer disarming booby-trap devices set by jihadis in Iraq
There are moments of great tension in this film about the work of an extraordinarily brave mine-disposal expert, or âdeminerâ, in Iraq. It is of real value in the raw archive material it presents, though often frustrating in that its footage is mostly presented without editorial perspective, almost like a rough assemblage of videotape.
Col Fakhir Berwari was a Kurdish army officer who was a US military liaison officer in Iraq between 2003 and 2008, disarming booby-trap devices set by jihadi insurgents using little more than a pair of pliers to snip the wires.With no small sense of his own heroism, Fakhir got a subordinate to film him with a videocamera (though this documentary never comments on the secondary heroism of this camera operator) and it gives us some hair-raising moments from this video cache that his son Abdulla later discovered.
During the course of her travels, my mother, Margaret Knox, who has died aged 93, immersed herself in the culture of the countries she and her husband, Andrew, lived in.
In Nigeria she set up one of the first primary schools in her area and went on to carry out humanitarian work during the Biafran conflict. Later, in Fiji, she produced English-language textbooks aimed at an island audience. In retirement she wrote a guide to Norfolk and a book on Suffolk cheeses.
The centennial flame is a popular attraction in Ottawa, but it could be replaced with an âalternative sustainable approachâ
The Canadian governmentâs efforts to cut the countryâs carbon emissions have found a new target: a small flame that has burned on Parliament Hill for more than 50 years.
The centennial flame in Ottawa was first unveiled during celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Canadian confederation. Initially envisioned as a temporary installation, the flame remained so popular with visitors that it has continued to burn ever since.
Directed by John M Chu, adapting Kevin Kwanâs bestselling book, the film portrays the opulent lives of affluent south-east Asians through the conventional, commercial lens of romantic comedy. The all-Asian cast is led by Wu, best known for her role in US sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, playing an economics professor who travels with boyfriend Nick (British-Malaysian actor Golding) to Singapore for his best friendâs wedding only to discover he is the son of the richest families in town (âThe Prince William of Asiaâ, as she calls him). Rachel has to navigate the Dynasty-like world of Singaporeâs wealthy elite, and avoid the sharp tongue of Nickâs mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), who, in the words of Rachelâs brazen friend, played by the comedian Awkwafina, is just like an âunrefined banana: yellow on the outside, white on the insideâ.
The Turnbull government will use the looming May budget to dump plans to increase the Medicare levy to fund the national disability insurance scheme, in a shift intended to reframe the tax debate before the next election.
Scott Morrison will use a speech to business economists on Thursday to confirm the about face on a measure the government outlined in the 2017 budget.
Shocked by the humanitarian crisis she saw unfolding in Greece, Ayesha Keller got on a plane to see if she could help save lives
Ayesha Keller was horrified by the treatment of refugees in Europe and wanted to try to make a difference. She left her job and headed for the Greek island of Lesbos, where she found the beaches strewn with discarded lifejackets, and the formal refugee settlement overflowing. Thousands of people unable to get into the camp were huddled in freezing fields, with no facilities, food or shelter. Keller banded together with other volunteers who had gone to Greece in response to the tragedy. During her year-long stay, she helped crowdfund, establish and run a transit camp in a local farmerâs olive groves
Sounds from Lesbos were recorded by Cambria Bailey-Jones
Britain and the EU are under fire for engaging with a nation with one of the worldâs worst human rights records â all in the name of stemming migration
When Amjed Farid was transferred to a small cell in Kober prison on 5 April, he had a sense of deja vu. âI suddenly realised it was the same one Iâd been in five years before,â he says. âIt brought back some unpleasant memories. I spent a month in solitary, and had hoped Iâd never have to see the place again.â
Farid was one of hundreds imprisoned in Sudan in January following peaceful protests against government austerity measures. While some were released after a few weeks, dozens were detained for nearly three months without charge, including British citizen Sidqi Kaballo. Many were kept in a bitterly cold security centre in Khartoum notorious for interrogations and torture, dubbed âthe Hotelâ by officials.
The shocking case involved a girl from the Bakarwal nomadic tribe, who was out grazing her horses when she was abducted, drugged and murdered after a week of torture and repeated rape. It led to a nationwide outcry for swifter justice.
Progress has been made but fire safety initiatives are soon to end, unions are being stifled and wages are still the lowest in the world
Five years ago, Asma Khatun pushed through the crowds that had formed around the Rana Plaza building, determined to see the destruction with her own eyes.
Deep cracks had appeared in the eight-storey building outside Dhaka the day before. That morning, workers who had been producing clothes sourced by major international brands had begged not to be sent inside. Managers would not relent. More than 2,000 people filed in. Some time before 9am, floors began to vanish and workers started falling.
Experts say suit alleging election conspiracy could inform the public about Trump and Russia, but some Democrats have voiced concern
By suing the Trump campaign, the Russian government and others, the Democratic National Committee has opened up a new front in a legal battle that is either a campaign for justice or a pitiable attempt to overturn the 2016 election result, depending on whom you ask.
North Korean leaderâs surprise freeze should be seen more as diplomatic manoeuvre than step towards giving up warheads
Rockets, satellites, missiles and atoms pepper the landscape in Pyongyang. They are the anchors of funfair rides, feature in extravagant floral tributes to the countryâs âdearâ and âsupremeâ leaders from the Kim dynasty, and appear on stamps, apartment buildings and school walls.
These celebrations of the countryâs weapons programme serve as a constant reminder to residents and visitors of how critical North Koreaâs nuclear project has been to its national identity and security.
A win for security, but real acid test of Pyongyangâs intentions is whether it will give up the weapons it has already built
North Korea has announced it will cease testing nuclear devices and missiles, and promised to shut down its primary nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. If this is genuine, it is a serious step forward, but we should greet it with cautious optimism.
We have been on the cusp of a breakthrough with North Korea before, only to be disappointed. There will be a lot of questions. But there is no need to be recalcitrantly hawkish about this. Within the limits of North Koreaâs strained credibility, this is a win for allied security.
A Korean âreinterpretationâ of the Swiss fried potato dish rĂśsti is one highlight of the banquet planned for after Fridayâs summit between the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Koreaâs president, Moon Jae-in
The French president is on the first state visit to the US under Trump's presidency. During the three-day trip, the two heads of state have shared some touching moments â including Trump brushing dandruff from Macron's suit â in between discussions on global affairs
The US president, Donald Trump, and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, exchange a vigorous handshake at the White House. Macron is the first leader to be accorded a state visit since Trump came to power in January 2017
The US president has treated his French counterpart to a colourful welcome at the White House. As the two leaders stood for a photo-op, Donald Trump said he and Emmanuel Macron had 'a very special relationship' before brushing away what he said was a 'little piece' of dandruff from Macron's jacket to 'make him perfect'. While the French president has tried to develop a close relationship with Trump since taking office last May, he has so far seen few tangible results on issues from Iran to climate politics.
Political dramas Homeland and Designated Survivor have recently explored how a president could be removed from office using the 25th amendment to the US constitution. It can only be triggered if the president is deemed 'unfit for office'. But how would it work in reality? Who would be needed to trigger it? And why has it never been used before? The Guardian's US political reporter Sabrina Siddiqui explains
Kim Jong-un visited survivors after dozens of Chinese tourists were killed when their bus plunged off a bridge in North Korea. The state-run KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday that the North Korean leader had visited two survivors of the crash on Sunday in which 32 Chinese and four North Koreans died
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