Many people often dread having to attend meetings that are scheduled by managers and supervisors due to the interruption that it causes in their busy schedules. For supervisors, they may not receive the attention that they expect from their employees when everyone is in the same room, which can make it feel like a waste of time. If you want to make your meeting run smoothly and have it be productive, there are a few important tips to follow.
Gather Supplies Well Beforehand
Whether you’re presenting to an audience or are allowing an employee to lead the meeting, it’s essential to have the necessary supplies on hand to ensure that the time is used well and that the person speaking can communicate their message effectively. You may need to purchase a projector screen, a projector, a microphone, a whiteboard, laser pointers, and a mouse. Providing your employees with notepads can also allow them to retain more information and help them to remain engaged.
You can also take notes for yourself to send to attendees as a follow-up on the topics that were discussed to help everyone stay refreshed on the information that was discussed.
Consider Your Audience
Understanding the needs of your audience is crucial to ensure that they benefit from the meeting and can walk away with more knowledge and understanding of the company. Meet any of the specific needs that your team may have, which includes accommodating those who may have impaired hearing. Consider hiring an ASL interpreter who can use facial expressions, signs, and body postures to communicate to those who need assistance. You may need to take into consideration ADA standards when planning your conference, depending on the participants and any special accommodations they may need.
Leave Room for Creativity
You’ll need to get creative to engage your audience, which means making time for brainstorming sessions that allow everyone to participate and become more invested. Some companies even allow employees to use coloring books in creative-thinking meetings where they can talk and decompress. The act of coloring has been proven to prompt active listening and can allow employees to multitask during long sessions.
There are ways to schedule fewer meetings and have them to be more effective to benefit your employees and the company as a whole. By implementing a few techniques and using the right supplies, it will prove to be time well spent as a team.
Anyone who owns a business should take advantage of Google My Business (GMB) listings. These free, easy to create information blocks appear in Google search results whenever someone enters your business’s name in Google’s search engine. Because Google is the single largest search engine in existence, and because the listing is free to build and post, anyone who misses out on this powerful marketing tool is losing out potential customers.
Even though it is rather simple to build a GMB listing, there are several essential tips that first-timers can use to optimize their listing and make sure it looks professional right out of the box. Effective marketing, particularly when it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time, is a key part of any company’s overall goals.
Take Your Description Seriously
It’s important to write attractive and accurate business listings. Search Engine Land talks about how Google lets users use up to 750 characters (not 750 words) to describe a business. That’s not a lot of space but is enough to get the essential characteristics down on the page.
Entrepreneurs should use active verbs rather than passive ones and should carefully consider each key word in the description. Think of the way you’d write a resume for an important job application. The GMB listing, when created with precise, strong language, can bring in new customers quickly.
Make a rough draft just to get a feel for the 750-character limit. Try to use all 750 characters and hit every major bullet point about your company. In addition to the essential demographic data, customers want to know what you make or sell, how long you’ve been around, what your product/service line looks like, what sets your company apart from others in the sector, and why they need what you have.
Use a two- or three-person team to go through the first draft and then begin to edit it line by line. After your get all the key points in and it looks sharp, get ready to add visuals.
Podium reports that profiles with pictures will have significantly higher click-throughs. GMB listings without visuals or photos lack a key component that most online shoppers want. Words on the printed page only go so far. Of course, if you have a storefront be sure to highlight it in your listing, but also include several photos of products whenever possible. Use clear, close-up photos of products as well as a few mid-distance shots so potential buyers can get a feel for the total look of a product.
Respond to Every Review
Customer reviews are a vital link in any successful business’s marketing effort. When customers leave reviews on your GMB listing, either you or someone in your company should respond immediately. Online shoppers read reviews, especially when a business only has one or two on their GMB listing.
Respond to positive reviews in a thankful way. For negative reviews, be careful. Read the comment carefully to really try and understand what the person is saying and why they left the comment. Do your best to respond and, if necessary, offer to correct a noted problem. Otherwise, be polite and factual when explaining why the person might be mistaken or gotten what they perceived to be bad service or a faulty product. If you are at fault, offer a replacement item or maybe a coupon for future service.
Collect Feedback from Family and Friends
Get out of the “business bubble” and ask friends and family what they think of your new GMB listing. Sometimes, casual feedback from non-business professionals can reveal important points about how to improve the review.
Promote Company Events and Giveaways
An active GMB listing is the perfect place to post prizes, contests, awards and special company events. Many GMB listings contain time-limited coupons, which are a powerful sales tool. Gallimore Industries, Inc explains that coupons help marketers grow market share, increase sales volume, sell faster, cultivate loyal customers, and drown out competitor advertising.
Include Short Videos That Offer More Information
Google recently allowed for video upload on all GMB listings. Companies should use this feature for maximum impact. Many shoppers want to see informative videos before making a buying decision. Dream Grow describes how video boosts conversions and sales, has great ROI, builds trust, appeal to mobile users, and can convert even the laziest buyers.
There’s no need to spend hours and hours on a Google My Business listing, but entrepreneurs should expect to spend at least an hour or two on their first attempt. It’s also a good idea to have help. One or two extra sets of eyes, especially when those eyes belong to other company leaders, can help eliminate all sorts of common errors.
After posting the GMB listing, be sure to verify that it went up without a hitch. Do this quick audit of the listing every day for a week or so, and then only check it once per week after that. Whenever any of the details in your company’s basic data change, head to the GMB dashboard and update it as soon as possible.
A GMB listing is free advertising that provides credibility for new businesses and significant marketing reach for companies new and old.
Most of my life was spent in sales and small business management. I was good at it, really good. By the age of 26 I was married with 3 kids, and my family of 5 was taking a piece of the American dream when we bought our first home in 2007. Things were going great.
In 2009 I went through some knee surgery and had been off work for about a month when the recession hit the area. It effected my industry, but not nearly as bad as the hit my family took in October 2009 when our house caught fire. We lost almost everything we had. Clothing, furniture, my wife’s wedding dress, our home… and my sense of direction with it. Our insurance claim was denied, leaving me with a family of 5 to care for, a sense of defeat, and a sales management job that demanded too much of my time. We had no place to live, no money to rebuild what we lost, and no idea where to go next.
I was fighting 2 court battles to get my home back, one against a national insurance company, and another against a national bank. Worst part is I had to do it Pro Se (representing myself). So I spent a lot time learning about contract law, the litigation process, and legal documentation. I was also spending any available time tearing apart and rebuilding the house piece by piece. This left me with almost no time for my family.
In January 2011 while at a management training meeting in Indiana, the Regional VP was reviewing a few marketing pieces I had put together for my sales team. I remember his exact words to this day:
“Ryan, if you were not such a great sales manager for me, I would say you were in the wrong business. You should be in marketing.”
I took his words to heart. If I were to start my own business I could have the extra time necessary to rebuild my house, learn the legal system and fight in court for my home, and still be able to spend time with my family.
In Jan. 2011 I took the dive and started a business. Initially RyCOM offered graphic design and digital marketing services. Things grew slowly that year, but soon I had moved out of my basement to a small office in Downtown Rockford. In 2012 I had tripled my 2011 revenues, and in 2013 it grew by 200%. Things were going great for the business.
Unfortunately, I was still fighting in court to get my house back, and laboring away on the house rebuild. Plus, I was completely wrong about having more spare time. I was running a business – spare time was non existent. I had a choice to make – my house, or my family.
Through this process I was locked into getting back what was taken from my family. Rebuilding the walls of our house is how I envisioned restoration. I was wrong…so very wrong. The entire time I was spending at a construction site, in a courtroom, at my office, or in meetings – my family was desperate to spend time with me; to connect with me; to recover with me.
By the end of 2013 I had finally realized that I was fighting for the wrong things. By starting my own business, I wasn’t giving myself more time to rebuild my house, I was building a future for my family that wasn’t going to rely on anyone else – not an insurance company, not a bank – nobody but us.
So – I expedited some resolution to all the unimportant dealings. Since then, RyCOM has become a great company that helped me reconnect with my family, recover from our loss, and to establish roots in a community that we love. Needless to say, we don’t live in that burned down house anymore – but my business, and more importantly my family… we are doing great!