For many companies, “productive meeting” could be considered an oxymoron. I have sat through a few of these types of meetings myself, and I’m sure that I’m not alone.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case. I am currently reading Rework, by the founders of 37signals. Something that really struck me is how these guys measure meeting time. It’s not just an hour of meeting time, it’s actually multiplied by the number of people in attendance. Hopefully this will help you reconsider who actually needs to be in your next meeting, and how long it needs to last.

They also suggest conducting your meeting at the place where the problem is happening, instead of in a conference room. (this is of course assuming that meetings are happening only when they need to, and for a specific purpose) Meeting in this way ensures that the process is efficient and productive.

We’re at the point where people are starting to go on summer vacation. School is out, and we’re close to the 4th of July. What are your summer plans?

As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to get bogged down with daily tasks, and move away from creativity and innovation, which are so important for your business. Don’t let this happen to you! Having time for these is essential for your business to continue to be successful.

Going on a vacation and actually stepping away from your business is ideal. We’re able to return to work with a fresh perspective and new ideas. In addition to actually going away, make sure to build time into your day for thinking. You can brainstorm, think about where you want your business to go, or just read for fun. A friend of mine worked for an advertising agency where creative directors were able to play ping pong at the office when they needed to generate new ideas. What’s your creative outlet?

Does humility have a place in the business world? I would like to think that it does, however, I think there needs to be a balance between being modest and overconfident. Both of these qualities are essential at different times.

Many of the job seekers that I coach seem to struggle with having to talk about their accomplishments. To show their stuff, they really need to sell themselves during the interviewing process. A lot of people are not comfortable with this, but quickly learn that they need to be if they are not going to be passed up for job opportunities. How will the interviewer know how successful you were in your last position if you don’t let them know? Searching for a job does not seem to be the best time to be humble.

Aside, from the example above, I do believe that humility has a place in the business world. Executives getting their hands dirty and showing their employees that they are not too good for the small tasks is a great example. By supporting employees and showing them appreciation, leaders are able to create a healthy and happy work environment.

How comfortable are you with asserting yourself and talking about your accomplishments? Are you able to step down and get your hands dirty?

I recently presented with Dave Wilson of Hirsch Roberts Weintstein LLP on Social Networking in the Workplace for SBANE. Employers have a lot to consider, and we discussed some important aspects of social media for businesses.

Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are experiencing significant growth, and employers need to think about how they want to embrace social networking in their organizations, if at all. Some companies take full advantage of the power of social networking, some restrict its use and others ban it completely. Common concerns are related to productivity and company exposure. Implementing a company policy on social media will help with any potential issues.

Social networking has a lot of advantages for an organization, as long as it is used properly (or within the guidelines of a policy). First, it is a great way to promote your brand and gain exposure. One way to do this is through a Fan page on Facebook, or by adding your company onto LinkedIn.

Another advantage is having the opportunity to engage with customers, once you’re on these sites. There are different ways to do this, but a couple of examples are quickly responding to their positive or negative feedback, and showing your appreciation for their business. Social networking offers a fast and efficient means of communication.

An organization can benefit from embracing social media, but there has to be a balance. The protection of clients, employees and the company’s reputation always have to be considered. Any policy that is put into place needs to be fair to employees and prevent unnecessary exposure to the company.

We’re almost halfway through the first month of the year…how are you doing in terms of sticking with your resolutions? Are you right on track or have you already forgotten about what you said you would do (or not do, as they case may be) ?

In my last post, I talked about identifying your values, and making sure your resolutions are aligned with what’s important to you. This is a great time to check in and see where you’re at, and possibly tweak your resolutions.

Resolutions that you will stick with are created by looking at what you want in your life, and not from what you “should” be doing. Think about this as you’re evaluating the resolutions you have made.

Resolutions can be made at any time, and this is the most popular time to make them.  In the new year, we think about what we want more of in our lives, and what we want to leave behind.  This does not mean that we stick with our resolutions.

There is a lot of discussion about resolutions that are not kept, why we bother forming them in the first place, and how to keep them.  This is because of resolutions that are made according to what we “should” be doing.  These are not authentic and come from a place of guilt.

If you really want to keep your resolutions, think about your passions and values when creating resolutions for 2010.  This way, they will be aligned with what is truly important to you.

Can people find you on LinkedIn?  Similar to a website, it is important to keyword your LinkedIn profile to ensure that you appear in a search.

Under the “specialties” section, type in the words that relate to your job title and description, and any words that someone searching for your job description would type in.  For example, if you’re a coach, some words would include:  life coach, transition, coaching, training, career, facilitation, etc.

Another useful tip is to include any common misspellings of your name in this section. If someone misspells your name in the search box on LinkedIn, they most likely will not find your profile, unless these words are added.  Place misspellings in parentheses, under the keywords.

Help your profile emerge from its hiding place!

The use of social networking sites has greatly evolved over the past few years and there are now many opportunities for businesses.  Social networking can be very beneficial for a small or large business.  In this entry, we will be looking at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  

On Facebook, businesses can now create profiles, similar to those created by individuals.  Businesses are able to grow their network by creating a fan base.  This page will ideally build brand recognition, drive traffic to the main site of the business, and also help people learn more about what you do.  This is aided with the use of videos, pictures and written postings.  Social networking also helps in recruiting both prospective customers and potential new employees to the business.

Twitter is another social networking site that has grown in popularity for businesses.  With a maximum of 140 characters, users are able to let people know what their business is up to.  Similar to Facebook and any other social networking site, users build a following.  All followers can see whenever a new “tweet” has been posted.  It is a quick and efficient way to stay in touch.  

LinkedIn is used by individuals who are looking to network in the business world.  While it is catered to the individual, it is still a great way to let your network know what your business is up to.  For example, letting them know that you’re looking to meet with a specific type of client.  As a business site, it offers a great setting to network with other businesses.  

Social networking sites create additional exposure for businesses if we take advantage of the tools that they offer.  As we are all trying to grow and gain more clients, it is important to network as much as possible, both electronically and face to face.  

For more information on business coaching and this topic, please contact info@bluewavecoaching.com.  

A lot of us have a hard time stepping away from our businesses, especially when times are tough.  However, spending time away can be very beneficial.  

Many times, people take a break, but don’t actually stop working while they’re on vacation.  You might see them checking email on their phone or spending time with their laptops.  

Why do we need a real break?  Being consumed with work will cloud our judgement and we lose perspective.   Vacation is one way to step away and gain a new perspective.  You might say to yourself, “what do I see from here?”  When we come back from a true vacation, we feel refreshed and can take on a new and uncluttered view of the business.  

Of course it is not always possible to take time off, especially if a company is unable to sustain itself.  For example, it is probably unrealistic when a company is new.  It is important to realize when your company is at the point of sustainability and then have the ability to step away from it.  

So how do you take a break?  Start off slowly and then gradually take more time off.  Time your breaks to coincide with slow periods in the company.  

It is essential to instill correct methods and train the people below you.  This is especially true if they are used to turning to you for questions and advice.  They need to get used to going to someone else, or they need to be trained in what you do.  Your customers will also need to be prepared for this change.  

Coaching can be very beneficial for the transition.  Clients are held accountable and goals are reached quickly and efficiently.  This means being able to take a vacation that much sooner…

For more information, please email info@bluewavecoaching.com

When trying to grow a business, it’s easy to start thinking that we need a broad scope of clients so that we don’t miss any potential business opportunities.  However, this can slow us down.  It is more difficult for people to refer business to us when they don’t really know what we’re looking for.

The first step to getting specific is defining your target audience.  What does your ideal client look like?  Some important components include, occupation, age, interests, educational background, and income.  There are others to consider, but these will help in getting started.

The next step is creating a message to promote yourself to attract this type of client.  You want to describe what you provide and most importantly, how they will benefit.  This message should be personal and connect you to the product or service.

Getting over the fear of narrowing your niche will help your business to grow because you will be sending a clear message to your network.  In turn, people will understand your product/service, and refer business to you.

For more information, please email info@bluewavecoaching.com.