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8 Ways New Immigrants Can Create Effective Business Meetings

8 Ways New Immigrants Can Create Effective Business Meetings

Meetings

You can love meetings, or hate them. But no matter where you’re from you have become an expert at attending meetings in your new country if you want to succeed. From job interviews to staff meetings, volunteer meetings to senior leadership gatherings and more, how you communicate during meetings in your new country will make or break your immigration journey.

Barriers

Now imagine this scenario. You are a new immigrant who wants to work in Canada. In order to get a job and keep it you’ll probably have to:

  • Learn english
  • Upgrade your education
  • Deal with the reality that the first job you get will not be the job that you ultimately want and more

On top of all of this you’ll also have to learn how to be effective during every meeting that you attend. For example, if you don’t understand the way that most Canadians conduct a job interview meeting then it is likely that you won’t know how to act. So while you may have spent a lot of time on your resume, all of your effort could be wasted because you do something negative during the interview. The same concept applies to all of the meetings you attend once you get hired, as well as any volunteer meetings that you participate in.

Another problem (that you may not even be aware of) is that you are used to the way people conduct meetings in your home country. For example:

  • India – Many people don’t mind interrupting others during a meeting
  • Columbia – Many people will not question what the meeting leader says, because they have been brought up to not question the authority of their Catholic Priest
  • Barbados – Quite often meetings don’t start when they are supposed to because they are on ‘bajan time’

So how can you quickly adapt to make sure that your next meeting is as effective as possible?

8 Ways New Immigrants Can Create Effective Business Meetings

When I did a Keynote Speech called “How To Be Effective In Any Meeting” for 150 highly educated new Canadian immigrants at the Smart Connections event for ERIEC (Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council) I learned just how tough it is for new immigrants to conduct effective business meetings. The feedback from the audience included:

  • My ability to speak English is not strong enough, so I often don’t understand what the other person is saying
  • Where I’m from you’re supposed to wait to be told what to do, and sometimes meeting leaders in Canada want you to speak up first
  • A woman would never be leading a meeting where I’m from, so how do I respond to a female meeting leader here?

So, because my mission is to help everyone learn how to have more productive and inspired meetings, I have put together this practical guide to help new immigrants quickly adapt to any type of meeting in Canada, no matter where you’re from.

1. Be Self-Aware

Great business meetings start with you

If you understand the good and the bad about yourself, then you can avoid behaving negatively during a meeting, and you can also bring out the best you have to offer so you can make the meeting fantastic. For example, let’s say you’re a highly qualified Accountant from India, and here’s what you know about yourself:

  • I’m really smart
  • I work hard
  • I don’t like it when people waste my time so I cut them off

To prepare for a job interview you will have to:

  • Practice being patient
  • Learn how to let the other person finish talking, no matter what they are saying
  • Learn how to appropriately brag about your excellent work ethic and ability to deliver outstanding results

2. Learn The Meeting Basics

You should be aware of how people behave during meetings in Canada compared to the way that you conduct meetings in your home country. For example, people in Japan hand a business card over with two hands and bow their heads as they do this. Whereas in Canada people often toss their business cards on the middle of the table.

To help you think about how differently we act in business meetings around the world, here is a simple guideline that you can refer to and adapt based on where you are from:

table
3. Know The Meeting Expectations

Do you know what is expected of you when you walk into a meeting? Every meeting has both spoken and unspoken expectations. As a new immigrant it’s your job to quickly figure out what they are. To do this you might ask questions like:

  • Should I turn off my cell phone?
  • Where would you like me to sit?
  • How long will this meeting be? Because I would like to be respectful of your time
  • Would you like to go over the agenda for this meeting before we get started?

4. Learn How To Treat The Meeting Leader

Depending on where you’re from, you may like dealing with authorities or you may be intimidated. Here’s a few suggestions to help you deal with Canadian meeting leaders:

  • Regardless of whether they are a man or a woman they are in charge so treat them with respect
  • Some Canadian meeting leaders want to be challenged so you will have to learn how to speak up at the right time when you have something valuable to say
  • Many Canadian meeting leaders like to talk about the weather or sports at the beginning of a meeting so don’t get frustrated if they don’t get to the point right away

5. Connect The Meeting To Your Strategy

I believe that you should be able to stop any meeting, at any moment, and connect that moment directly to your strategy

For example, if your personal strategy is to get a job so you can support your family, then when you are in the middle of a job interview meeting you need to know that everything that you’re doing will make you the best candidate for that job.

Another example will be when you already have a job and you’re in a staff meeting. Because if you realize that people are wasting too much time talking about issues that aren’t related to the company strategy, then you can do your best to get the meeting back on track. Ultimately that will make you look good and it will also help the company reach its strategic goals faster.

6. Make A Great First Impression

If you want to succeed in a meeting then you better make a great first impression. So, if 80% of what we assume about you happens the moment you walk into a room, then what do you want us to know when we first see you?

When you walk into a meeting:

  • Do you slouch?
  • Are you worried?
  • Is your chest out and are you confident?

One of the best ways to practice making a great first impression is to do the ‘doorway drill’, an outstanding practice by Jordan Harbinger, host of the Art of Charm Podcast (https://gooddadproject.com/professional-relationships/). He suggests that every time you walk through a doorway that you practice being confident and proud. This means that every time you walk through any doorway you can practice being at your best when you walk into any room. How will your next meeting go after you make a fantastic first impression?

7. Ask About Follow-Up

How do you follow up after a meeting in your country? In Canada, follow-up is often unclear after a meeting. For example, some people wait for weeks to hear about what happened in a job interview, and then they are disappointed when nobody calls. Or maybe you’re in a staff meeting and nobody made any notes, so everything that was said during the meeting is forgotten. To avoid this uncertainty here are a few suggestions to help you follow up effectively after a Canadian meeting:

  • During the last 5 minutes of the meeting, ask the meeting leader what is expected after the meeting ends
  • You can also ask the meeting leader about their preferred method of follow up. Should you call? Send an email? Text?

8. Be Proud Of Your Home Country Meeting Style

Canada is built on immigration innovation. So if you have some terrific best-practices to share from your country’s meetings, then you should find the right moment to introduce them into a Canadian meeting. For example:

  • At the end of a meeting in Belgium, instead of shaking hands you are often expected to give each other an ‘air-kiss’ (so if you really get to know your Canadian colleagues well, maybe you could try this?)
  • In Finland they often like to get to know each other in the sauna. And who wouldn’t want to get sweaty during a business meeting? (maybe you could wait a while to try this one…)
  • In China, people appreciate presents. Do you think that might catch on in Canada? Who wouldn’t love a present?

Summary

  1. Be Self-Aware
  2. Learn The Meeting Basics
  3. Know The Meeting Expectations
  4. Learn How To Treat The Meeting Leader
  5. Connect The Meeting To Your Strategy
  6. Make A Great First Impression
  7. Ask About Follow-Up
  8. Be Proud Of Your Home Country Meeting Style

Conclusion

The most important thing that you can do in any meeting is to show off the best in yourself and adapt as needed. So why not start now by applying these 8 practical tips to make your next Canadian meeting a success!

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7 Awesome Meeting Habits That Will Make You Money $

7 Awesome Meeting Habits That Will Make You Money $

Do your clients suffer because your team is wasting time in meetings?

Let’s face it, most of us deal with unproductive meetings everyday. You know the type of meetings I’m talking about:

  • When the executives talk more about golf than how to improve profitability
  • When you spend an hour figuring out which brand of gluten free hot dog to serve at the summer staff bar-b-q (I’ve actually suffered through that meeting)
  • When somebody leaves the meeting every 10 minutes to check their cell phone
  • Or how about when you spent 2 hours trying to come up with great new marketing ideas and you realized midway through that nobody in the room knew anything about marketing…

I could go on, but I can feel your meeting pain shooting through your eyeballs as you read this. I think we can agree that you can’t afford unproductive meetings. Why? Well, they cost too much money, waste valuable time and frustrate your staff (which could make them quit). Too much bad meeting behaviour affects your ability to serve you customers at a high level, and ultimately will cost you a lot of money.

But don’t despair! Here are 7 Awesome Meeting Habits That Will Make You Money $, based on my experience in running and attending more than 2000 meetings.

MH #1 – State Your Strategic Objective At The Beginning Of Your Meeting

Here’s what will happen when you clearly state your most important strategic objective at the beginning of a meeting:

  • It will set the tone for the meeting, and focus everyone’s attention on why you’re all there
  • If anyone says something unrelated you can ask “Is what you’re saying right now moving our strategic objective forward?”
  • At the end of the meeting, you can re-state the objective then and ask “Did this meeting move our strategic objective forward?” If the answer is yes, then it was a great meeting. If the answer is no, then you’ve got some work to do to make your next meeting more profitable.

For example, take a look at this Key Strategic Objective for Apple:

To ask less of the planet, we ask more of ourselves.

Now, let’s imagine the beginning of a new product development meeting at Apple. The facilitator could say “Throughout this meeting, let’s challenge ourselves to responsibly use Earth’s resources when we talk about developing this new product.” Then they could conduct their new product discussion, and at the end of the meeting the facilitator could restate the strategic objective and then ask, “Did our discussion honour our commitment to “ask less of the planet?”

If the answer was yes, then it was a profitable meeting that moved this Key Strategic Objective forward. If the answer was no, then that meeting team should have started to make adjustments to ensure that this key concept was reflected in their next product development meeting.

Meetings Are A Great Opportunity To Move Your Organization Strategy Forward

MH #2 – Figure Out The Total Cost Of All Of The Meetings That Happen In Your Organization And CUT The Money Losers

Here’s how:

  1. Do a complete inventory of all of your meetings
  2. Assign an average cost-per-meeting
  3. Determine your total meeting cost

Now give your CEO a kleenex to wipe the tears from their eyes when they realize how much money your organization is wasting on bad meetings…

Here are some cost-per-meeting examples:

#1: A company with 25,000 employees in which each employee attends 100 meetings per year (2 meetings per week) at an estimated cost of $500 per meeting.

  • Total meetings = 2,500,000
  • Estimated cost per meeting = $500
  • TOTAL MEETING COST PER YEAR = $1,250,000,000 (over 1 BILLION!)

#2: A medium sized business with 1000 employees in which each employee attends 50 meetings per year (1 meeting per week) at an estimated cost of $250 per meeting.

  • Total meetings = 50,000
  • Estimated cost per meeting = $250
  • TOTAL MEETING COST PER YEAR = $1,250,000 (over 1 MILLION!)

Can your organization afford to spend this much on meetings? Which of your meetings are the most profitable? How can you repeat the best habits from your most profitable meetings so you can make more money?

Now. Estimate what you would like your MROI to be (meeting-return-on-investment). Cut out any meetings that are not giving you a positive MROI. Then create a bonus program that encourages teams to continue to have more profitable meetings.

Once you understand your organization’s total meeting cost you can begin to invest and turn your meetings into a competitive advantage

MH #3 – Lock The Door When The Meeting Starts

Would you be late for a meeting with your best customer? No. So if you want your meetings to make you more money overall, then treat each person in the meeting like they were your best customer.

So if people are coming in late for meetings, here’s a suggestion.

If your meeting starts at 9AM, then lock the door at 9AM and don’t let the latecomers in.

I learned this technique when I interviewed Larry Schwenneker in episode 8 of the Create Awesome Meetings Podcast. Larry was a Senior Leader in charge of a 500 million dollar portfolio, and his time, like yours,  was precious. So, when he chaired a meeting he would lock the door at the appointed meeting start time, and anybody who was late wasn’t allowed in. One time, his boss was late and stood outside the room pounding on the door to be let in. And guess what happened? Larry didn’t let him in. Guess how often this happened? Once. Because after that, Larry’s boss would show up on time for meetings. And while it was fun to hear about how much trouble Larry got into for doing this, I also found out that Larry’s boss adopted this technique and started locking the door at his own meetings, to make sure that everyone was respectful of each other’s time.

How much more money would you make if every meeting in your organization started on time?

MH #4 – Fire A Bad Meeting Facilitator Right Now

Ineffective meetings are led by money-losing meeting leaders who:

  • Don’t care about the real cost of bringing people together
  • Don’t prepare an agenda
  • Allow talkers to take over meetings with unrelated blather
  • Don’t have the skills to respectfully manage fights during a meeting which breaks team trust and kills productivity.
  • Don’t follow up after meetings resulting in no accountability for anyone

So if this bad meeting leader is wasting your team’s time, how is that helping your customers?

Here’s what you can do to help/fire a bad meeting leader:

  • Rotate the chair, as in, assign someone else on your team to lead the next meeting. This will give the current meeting leader a chance to learn something new and hopefully they will improve
  • Immediately send the current leader for facilitation training so they can learn how to run more effective meetings
  • If they refuse to get training then you should remove the bad meeting facilitator from the meeting forever. This will allow that team to rebuild and move on, and give their meetings an opportunity to become more productive

Don’t assume that just because a person has a big title (CEO, President, Director, Manager) that they know how to effectively run a meeting

MH #5 – Place Unrelated Discussions In The ‘Parking Lot’

One of the best ways to respectfully keep people on track during a meeting is to set up a ‘parking lot’ for unrelated discussions. This is a place on the whiteboard or on the agenda itself where you can record good ideas (that are unrelated to the current meeting) so you can revisit them later.

For example, let’s say you were meeting with your team to review your budget. If somebody started to go off topic to enthusiastically talk about a new service that you could create, which is clearly unrelated to talking about the budget, then the facilitator could gently cut that person off and say something like,

“That is a terrific idea that you’re bringing up, and we would all love to hear more about it. So let’s put it in the ‘parking lot’ for now and then we can come back to it at a later time. And now, let’s get back to the budget discussion.”

When a facilitator does this with confidence, then not only does that person know that they have been heard and that their new idea will eventually be discussed, but everybody else in the meeting will feel that their time is being well used.

How much more money would your organization make if every one of your meetings stayed on track?

MH #6 – Ask People To Challenge Ideas During The Meeting

With the pace of change these days, status-quo meetings will lose you money. I have to admit that when I worked in the corporate world I often ‘mailed-it-in’ during useless weekly staff meetings. You know the type of meeting that I’m talking about, where it’s all about updates and people talking about what they did on the weekend, instead of actually making decisions that move the company forward and ultimately serve your customers.

So, to avoid status quo meetings, the facilitator should occasionally interject and say, “Can anyone disagree with or improve what we just talked about? Because if we can’t, why did this item get onto the agenda in the first place?” This will set a tone of high trust for the meeting and allow people to openly share their best insights.

If you aren’t asking your team to challenge ideas during your meetings then you’re leaving money on the floor

MH #7 – Treat Every Person In Your Meeting Like They Were Your Best Customer

Like I said earlier, if you’re not treating everyone in your meeting like they were your best customer, then you’re leaving money on the floor. So, at the beginning of your next meeting you should make a list of the ‘Top 5 Ways That We Treat Our Best Customers’. Here are a few suggestions to get your list started:

  • We don’t interrupt when the customer is talking, so why do we interrupt each other?
  • I don’t look at my cell phone when I’m with a customer, so why do I look at it during a meeting?
  • I follow up fast after every customer meeting, so why do I not follow up effectively after our meetings?
  • I have all the information my customers need when I speak with them, so why did I come to this team meeting unprepared?
  • I’m never late for a customer meeting, so why was I late for this meeting?

Imagine how much more profitable your company would be if every person in every meeting treated each other with the same high standard of service that you give to your best customers.

Awesome Meeting Habits Summary

  1. State your most important strategic objective out loud at the beginning of your meeting
  2. Figure out your organization’s total meeting cost and cut the money losing meetings
  3. Lock the door when the meeting starts
  4. Fire a bad meeting facilitator right now
  5. Place unrelated discussions in the ‘Parking Lot’
  6. Ask your team to challenge ideas during the meeting
  7. Treat every person in your meeting like they were your best customer

Conclusion

Now that you know what to do, your biggest challenge is implementation. To help you get the ball rolling here are few reasons that have inspired other teams to improve their meeting culture.

  • We want to earn more money by improving our MROI (meeting-return-on-investment)
  • We want to become more efficient by getting rid of money-sucking meetings
  • We want to make our organization workplace of choice for top talent and one of the best ways that we can do this is by demonstrating that we have the most efficient, innovative and enjoyable meetings

Are you ready to put at leas one of these habits into action to turn your meetings into a competitive advantage? Do you want to serve your customers at a higher level? Do you want your company to make more money?

Now it’s up to you…

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How A Professional Meeting Facilitator Can Increase Your Profits

How A Professional Meeting Facilitator Can Increase Your Profits

Are Your Meetings A Waste Of Time?

Do you feel that your last meeting should have been an email? Do you find yourself discussing subjects that are not on the agenda (if you even have an agenda), like what brand of coffee to buy for the office kitchen, or the latest cat video on Youtube?

If your meetings lack focus, then the person running the meeting probably doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Perhaps this is because they never received proper training. Or maybe they just got promoted to ‘manager’, but just because they have the leadership title it doesn’t mean that they know how to run an efficient meeting.

And as you well know, if you don’t have a solid meeting facilitator, then your meetings will be a waste of precious time and money.

So how can you remedy this?

Get A Professional Meeting Facilitator

What does Professional mean?

A Professional Meeting Facilitator has the credentials, experience and confidence to make your meeting a success. The Professional Facilitator is not there to soothe wounded egos, or to solve your problems. He or she is there to ensure that your meeting is profitable, by giving you options to drive your meeting’s agenda forward, and ultimately to help you achieve your organizational objectives.

How Do You Know If You Need A Professional?

Simple. Give your meetings a quick rating out of /10, and then you’ll know.

For example, on a scale of 1-10, what number would you give to your meetings? A rating of 3/10 would mean that your meetings are a waste of time and that you should consider cancelling them (or bringing in a Professional Facilitator).

A rating of 7/10 would mean that your meetings are achieving what you want. And if you rate you meeting a 9/10 then you could probably sub-contract your meeting leader as a Professional Facilitator!

Why Hire A Professional Facilitator?

Objectivity

A Professional Facilitator is an outsider. They are not involved in the office dynamics that created inefficient meetings. They will see things with an unbiased view to help you get your meetings on track.

Time Management

The pace of business is too fast to allow for unproductive meetings, so hiring a Professional Meeting Facilitator will help you improve more quickly and save time.

Discretion

A Professional Facilitator knows the importance of client confidentiality, so when you work with them you know that your secrets will not be revealed.

Fun

They will bring high energy to your meetings and light up those dull participants who don’t talk much.

Strategy

A Professional Meeting Facilitator will ensure that every aspect of your meeting is connected directly to your organization strategy, and moving it forward.

What Are the Traits of A Professional Facilitator?

Firm and Enthusiastic

  • A Professional Facilitator is firm and fair
  • They will supportively say what needs to be said without worrying about bruising the egos in the room
  • They will also allow everyone to articulate their point of view no matter how unpopular that view might be
  • They will manage personalities. For example, if there is a someone who likes drone on and on, the facilitator will make them keep it short and focused
  • They will also encourage the quiet guy in the corner and help him feel comfortable enough to give his 2 cents

Big Picture Seer

The Professional Facilitator will connect all aspects of the meeting to the overall goals of the organization, which will allow you to consistently move your strategy forward.

Time Keeper

A Professional Meeting Facilitator will ensure that the meeting starts/ends on time and that people get to the point and use time wisely.

Humorous

By making a joke at the right time, or helping people to not be to serious, a Professional Facilitator can ensure that the meeting doesn’t end with a fistfight.

What Questions Should You Ask When Hiring A Professional?

  1. What is your approach?
  2. Tell me about your favourite facilitation engagement
  3. How do you separate issues from personalities?
  4. How will you deal with confidentiality?
  5. Are you willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement?
  6. Do you have service insurance?
  7. Can you provide references?
  8. Can you submit a proposal for the facilitation?
  9. Will you provide an engagement contract?

The Steps Involved When You Hire A Professional Facilitator

  1. Define the scope of the engagement as in:
    • What are the objectives to be achieved during the meeting?
    • What will the Professional Facilitator be responsible for?
  2. Agree on the costs and sign the contract
  3. Help the Professional Meeting Facilitator to thoroughly understand the meeting participants, and allow them to pre-interview meeting participants
  4. Help the Professional Meeting Facilitator get all necessary background on key issues
  5. Choosing the meeting location
  6. On the meeting day
  • Check that everything is in place including the furniture, audio and presentation systems.
  • Introduce the Professional Facilitator in an exciting way that immediately establishes their credibility
  • Establish ‘ground rules’ as in; what happens with cell phones during the meeting; what happens if there is a fight?

Download the FREE "How To Hire A Professional Meeting Facilitator Checklist √"

How A Professional Facilitator Helps You Win

  • They go with the flow and ensure that everyone is heard
  • They frequently summarize and capture key discussion points
  • They allow for cordial disagreements that are about issues and not about personalities
  • They keep the meeting fun and energetic by cracking the odd joke
  • At the end of the meeting they present a strong call-to-action and ask every participant to state out loud what he/she is going to do according to the conclusions of the meeting to create accountability

Cost Issues

Professional Facilitators often bill by the hour or by the project.

  • By the hour you can expect to pay $100/hr and up.
  • Per project charges are based on the scope of the project and prices will start around $1500 and go up from there depending on what’s involved

Do You Need To Hire A Professional Meeting Facilitator?

You can assess the need for hiring a Professional Facilitator by looking at the opportunity costs with questions like:

  • What will our meetings continue to be like if we do not engage a Professional Facilitator?
  • How much better will the meetings be with a Professional Facilitator?

And in the end, hiring a Professional Meeting Facilitator is a long-term investment in your organization’s overall profitability. It will also grow your MROI (Meeting-Return-On-Investment).

Download the FREE "How To Hire A Professional Meeting Facilitator Checklist √"

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You Can Choose How You Act During A Meeting!

You Can Choose How You Act During A Meeting!

Lead By Example!

Whether you’re a leader or a follower, you can choose how you act during a meeting. And here are a few simple tips to help you do this:

  • Take responsibility for yourself
  • Put away your cellphone
  • Be a phenomenal listener
  • Rehearse what you’re going to say before you get to the meeting
  • Be concise when it’s your turn to speak
  • Lead by example and inspire the whole meeting team!

Want more great meeting productivity improvement tips?

Listen to the Create Awesome Meetings Podcast where you’ll get:

  • Practical tips that you can use today to improve your meetings
  • Real meeting stories from experts, as well as how they solved the problems
  • Free downloads
  • Inspiration that will help you make your next meeting fantastic!

Download the quote and share it with your team!

 

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3 New Ways To Create Awesome Meetings Today!

3 New Ways To Create Awesome Meetings Today!

Love them or hate them we all have go to meetings. Everyday. At work. At home. At the Dentist. Pretty much everywhere we go. So, here are 3 new ways to createe awesome meeting today!

So with all the hours we spend in meetings we should be productivity All-Stars. Right?

According to FreshTracks here are “Ten Reasons Why Meetings Fail”

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CAM 023: Why Taking Action Creates Awesome Meetings

CAM 023: Why Taking Action Creates Awesome Meetings

Welcome! Let’s look at why taking action creates awesome meetings starting now!

On a scale from 1-10 would you rate your meetings as -5? Do you know that you need to do something about this but you just can’t seem to get the ball rolling?

Would you like to learn how to get inspired and take action to make your next meeting amazing?

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Prosci Change Management – Certifiably Worthwhile!

Prosci Change Management – Certifiably Worthwhile!

As I continue to gain ‘quals’ (qualifications) as a Professional Meeting Facilitator and Consultant I sometimes wonder if I’m not certifiable myself – as in certifiably insane for spending time and money to re-learn the same best practices under newly packaged names. So before I enrolled in the

So before I enrolled in the 3-Day Prosci Change Management Certification Program, I was honestly suspicious. Why have a separate approach for the people side of a project?

Isn’t change the natural state of being in business these days? So any decent leader who can execute his organization’s strategy should have the people side of things covered. Right?

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CAM 022: How To Hire A Professional Meeting Facilitator

CAM 022: How To Hire A Professional Meeting Facilitator

Are your meetings a disaster? As in… the facilitator is incompetent and the participants are running the zoo?

Would you like to learn a fast way to turn your meetings from bad into awesome?

Well, then today’s episode of the Create Awesome Meetings Podcast is perfect for you because it is all about helping you learn how to hire a Professional Meeting Facilitator. In this episode you’ll learn:

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CAM 021: Why Great Meetings Start With You

CAM 021: Why Great Meetings Start With You

When you’re in a meeting, how do you act? Do you check your phone, cross your arms and fall asleep?

Or do you come prepared, keep your energy up and inspire everyone else in the room?

Do you want to learn how to become the best that you can be during a meeting?

Read More