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Thursday
Mar282013

Time to change your business meeting note taking style?

Taking a look at a few blogs and the comments it seems to me that many people are missing the point of note taking in meetings. 

There seems to be great emphasis on remembering the content of meetings. Considerable numbers of people are re-writing notes after meetings in order to help remember the content of the meeting. This thinking strikes me as rather bizarre because it is at odds with what meetings are generally for. If this is the way people are approaching meetings no wonder so many people hate them. Certainly re-writing notes afterwards is a terrible waste of time.

The whole point of meetings is to get stuff done that you can't do on your own. Whether it is communicating ideas, making decisions or solving problems meetings should always be about doing things, getting work done. 

So where does this idea of having to remember the content of meetings come from? Education. Our education system is based on the idea of taking notes in order to remember things that will be useful later. That's all fine for education but as soon as you step into the work place those kind of note taking skills are no longer appropriate. What you need is action oriented note taking. The notes are your memory. You don't need to waste time memorising anything. Notes only need be sufficient for the task. i.e. document decisions and why they were made, document who is responsible for doing which tasks.

So if you are taking notes the same way now as you were in school or university, take a careful look at your goals in meetings and consider how you can change your style to one more appropriate for the work place.

 

Wednesday
Mar272013

Version 4.0 released - now includes Dropbox backup

I'm delighted to announce the release of version 4.0 of Meeting Gold today. For this version I've concentrated on the most requested feature: Dropbox backup. 

  • Create full archive and upload to Dropbox.
  • Backup all document files to Dropbox.
  • Automatic backup keeps a copy of all your documents on Dropbox.
  • Continue working in Meeting Gold while documents are backed up to Dropbox.

You can opt to backup manually or automatically. Automatic backup attempts to upload to Dropbox when you close a document after editing it and also every 24 hours it runs another checking backup to ensure that all documents have been uploaded.

If a document has been uploaded to Dropbox and the copy of the document is still on Dropbox Meeting Gold will not re-upload until the document changes.

You can create a full archive of all meetings (as you could previously for email archive) and upload that to Dropbox.

You can set a manual upload running which will upload all documents to Dropbox that are not yet uploaded.

Dropbox backup only uploads to Dropbox while the app is open. You can continue working in Meeting Gold while it uploads. It will try to pick up where it left off for large uploads on reopening the app.

You will need a Dropbox account to use this feature.

Dropbox backup settings are found on the settings menu.

 

Thursday
Mar142013

How to stop hating meetings...

If you were to do a survey for one of those TV programs that ask contestants to guess the percentage of people saying a particular thing about a subject and you asked their opinion of meetings, what would you expect to see as the top answer? 

You'd probably expect to see "waste of time" at the top of the list. Or maybe "boring and not relevant". Perhaps "Too much time and nothing achieved". You could probably add a few of your own.

All of which are very negative statements and we can all have some empathy with them.
So how do we turn this loathing of meetings into, if not love, a healthy respect or maybe at least a fondness for the work we can get done in meetings that we can't get done elsewhere.

Meetings don't need to be a waste of time.

The good news is that meetings don't need to be a waste of time. They don't need to take us away from our 'real jobs'. They can be productive and useful.

Much has been written about getting the most out of meetings. It is very simple. All you need to have better meetings is to have some discipline to stick to a few simple rules:

  1. Write down a purpose statement i.e. what you will achieve in the meeting. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just a simple statement making it clear why you are holding the meeting and what you will achieve.
  2. Write an agenda. Just a simple list of things to cover in the meeting. Writing an agenda is easy. Just think about the steps you'll need to take to achieve the purpose of the meeting.
  3. Write good notes in the meeting. The minimum is to make a list of what people agree to do: the action points. Don't write down every word that was said. Nobody will ever read it again. Just write down the things that need to happen afterward.
  4. Follow up afterwards. Just chasing up the actions to make sure people have done what they promised will ensure that the meeting achieved its purpose. If nothing happens as a result of the meeting then you may as well not have held it in the first place. You absolutely must follow up the actions to make sure they get done. 

 

Follow the simple rules to get great meetings.

Just doing these few basic things will significantly improve the quality of your meetings. If you focus on doing basic things and doing them really well then you usually get really good results. Starting with your next meeting check that you are doing these four things properly and you'll be on the way to having great meetings.  

 

Monday
Feb182013

Happy Birthday Meeting Gold!

It is now one year since Meeting Gold was first released onto the Apple App Store. Sales numbers over the year have been gradually increasing and the app is now at version 3. Each new version has added a significant number of new features and version 4 is on its way.  

The reviews have been excellent both from the press and from users. Currently on the App Store across all versions, Meeting Gold has more than 92% five and four star reviews.

Many thanks to everyone who has purchased the app and to those of you who have given feedback on the features you would like to see added. Many thanks to everyone who has taken part in the beta testing of the app. And, of course, a big thank you to everyone who has supported the app by writing positive reviews, telling their friends and colleagues about it, or writing blog posts. Your support is very much appreciated.

The list of future features is brimming over with great ideas to make meetings painless and productive and I look forward to adding them to Meeting Gold over the coming year.

Friday
Feb152013

Version 3.3.0 of Meeting Gold now available on the App Store

I'm pleased to announce that this morning Meeting Gold version 3.3.0 was released on the App Store. This is a minor release to fix a couple of issues with Word 2007 and Calendar access in new installations.