Follow These 7 Mantras For Meeting Room Etiquettes

Business How To’s

20 June 2018

Follow These 7 Mantras For Meeting Room Etiquettes

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

A lot has been written about business meeting dos and don’ts. All of us who work in the corporate world understand the importance of putting our phones away, and on the silent mode, before stepping into a meeting room. Everyone instinctively knows that it is bad manners to interrupt someone while they speak, and of course, nothing really needs to be said about the value of punctuality.

Meeting rooms work as collaboration hubs for co-workers. And as with any shared space, there are some dos and don’ts that need to be adhered to. These are unspoken rules, but keeping them in mind can make a tremendous impact on the functioning of a company. It also ensures that shared spaces are used efficiently, and are used by all.

Here are a few mantras to meeting room etiquettes:

#1 Check before you slip into a meeting room

Sometimes all you need are a few minutes for a quick team discussion. You might think it’s alright to call a meeting and step into a room that is unoccupied.

However, what if someone else has a booking and is surprised to find you there already, when you have, in fact, not even reserved that space? It can be a bit awkward for both sides, with you asking for ‘just a few minutes’ while the other group just around doing nothing. Or you have to break up your meeting and go look for some other place to complete the discussion. Either way, the flow and momentum are lost.

Take a few minutes to check if the room you wish to occupy is booked, and if it not, then book it, even if it is for 10 minutes. This is respectful of everyone’s time, including yours.

Some offices also have small collaborative spaces within their premises which need not be booked. These can be a few chairs or bean bags, or even standing meeting areas. These can be utilized for quick discussions on the fly.

#2 Make sure there is no double booking

No one does this deliberately, of course.

In your bid to get a room at the earliest, what you might have done is booked all rooms to see which one gets free faster. And the moment one is, you get your meeting started. The only problem is that you forgot to unbook the others. Which means, they are now booked against your name and no one is using them, while others are scrambling to find a space for their discussions.

The best way to avoid this is to do a quick check before starting your meeting to ensure you cancel any double booking.

#3 Be quick to book (and cancel) rooms

In most offices meeting rooms are in great demand. As soon as you realize that you might need to call for a meeting, book a room. The longer you delay, the tougher it might get to find a slot that suits your needs. And believe us, it is embarrassing to ask co-workers to accommodate you just because you have not been proactive. Imagine if your client is standing with you while you go door to door, looking for a free meeting room. Not a pleasant image, right?

On the flipside, if your meeting gets cancelled, unbook the room right away. This opens it up to other people who might be looking to reserve a room.

#4 Don’t linger

Anticipate how long you will need the room for and book it accordingly. However, as is wont to happen, some discussions can go on for longer. Whether you have covered all the points that were to be discussed or not, leave the room once your allotted time slot is over. You are simply using up someone else’s booking and taking up their meeting time.

#5 Leave behind a clean meeting room

When you leave the meeting room, leave it neat and tidy.

If you came in with a coffee cup, take that with you when you leave or throw it in the bin. If printouts were being passed around the table, take them all with you. If it was a lunch meeting, make sure all traces of food are removed.

Clean the whiteboard, remove all post-its, close all computer applications, put the chairs back neatly, and lastly switch off the lights and air-conditioning.

In a nutshell, leave the room the way you found it, or better.

#6 Close that door

A discussion between a few people need not involve the entire office, right? And the best way to keep it that way is to shut the door while the meeting is in session. Similarly, if you need to enter a meeting room, knock on the door before walking in. This is irrespective of whether you are meant to be a part of the meeting or whether you just wish to have a quick word with someone present in the room. A closed door means you need to ask for permission before you enter.

#7 Be willing to adjust

If your meeting consists of just 2-3 people, and you are in a room meant for a larger group, be willing to change rooms if required. Sometimes other emergencies may crop up and a coworker might ask you to shift or use your room in the middle of your meeting. Be understanding and help your colleagues whenever possible. Someday you might need a room in an emergency, right?

None of these tips are tough to follow. In fact, if all of us climbed aboard the same wagon, everyone will get an equal opportunity to use shared spaces efficiently. Do you have any meeting room etiquettes that you would like to tell us about? Write to us in the comments below.

Small Data: Your Guide to Achieving Big Success

Business How To’s

11 June 2019

Small Data: Your Guide to Achieving Big Success

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

From being a buzzword to becoming synonymous with sound business decisions, big data has come a long way.

However, investing in big data can be a huge challenge for startups and small businesses, considering its strong appetite for resources. Add integration costs to it, and you have a foolproof formula for drilling a hole through your budgetary allocations. Then there are the additional challenges of complying with almost-draconian regulatory challenges.

All said, data quality remains the biggest challenge of big data. Despite the availability of analytical tools, sifting through vast chunks of data to extract relevant and accurate pieces of information remains a demanding task, hence big data’s appetite for resources.

Small data to the rescue

Enter small data. Small data refers to data that is understandable by humans. Unlike big data, small data comprises of data sets that are easily accessible, limited in volume, informative and, more importantly, can be interpreted without using complex analytical tools. It typically deals with information that addresses a specific query or issue, delivering promptly actionable insights that can aid critical decisions. Meeting schedules, individual health records, weekly reports, and weather forecasts are some examples of small data.

What’s in it for startups?

For startups, efficiency and productivity are the most valuable aspects;optimal utilization of resources is crucial.As such, spending time and resources on integrating high-end analytics can be farfetching for a small business when it all boils down to identifying prospective customer needs – not sentiments, not trends, but needs.

Small data helps you do just that; it enables you to identify the areas of opportunity without you having to invest time and other resources in complex data collection tasks.

Let’s take a look at how you can leverage small data to up your startup’s ante.

  1. It’s all around

Social channels are replete with small data that can readily be collected to inform marketing and buyer decisions. All you have to do is analyze the collected data to extract actionable pieces of information.

For instance, if you’re planning to start a marketing campaign for a product launch, you can simply collect data metrics from your social media campaign regarding how users interact with products. Then you just analyze it to gain meaningful insights to target your campaign to the right audience, with the right messaging.

  1. It’s quick and cost-effective

You don’t need a team of highly skilled data analystsor complex business intelligence systems to handle small data. Data mining can be done with spreadsheets, saving both, time and costs. Moreover, small data can be collected from open source data collection tools, such as ODK Collect.

  1. It’s all about the end user

Small data is all about the end user, helping you focus on their needs without going into the murkier details of customer behavior across channels,so you can concentrate on creating customized user experiences through targeted campaigns.

Lego’s remarkable turnaround

Lego is a brand that needs no introduction. However, over the years, Lego faced quite a blow, thanks to the emergence of immersive digital games. Expert big data studies seemed to suggest that the future generations would eventually lose interest in Lego, owing to their lack of time and patience. This led the brand to move away from its core product, shifting their focus to theme parks, apparels, video games, TV programs, and books.

Nevertheless, Lego’s remarkable turnaround was made possible by small data when in early 2004, the brand’s marketing team paid a visit to the home of an 11-year old Lego fan in Germany. The boy, a passionate skateboarder, proudly held a pair of worn-out sneakers as his trophy.

It took no time for the team to realize that children are motivated to be popular among their peers by attaining mastery over their chosen skill, be it video games or skateboarding. It was this chance observation, and not the expensive big data studies, that fueled Lego’s turnaround. They refocused on their core product, this time making it more detailed and complex, to deliver a challenging yet immersive experience for its users.

As a result, Lego’s sales rose by 11 percent in 2014 to exceed $2 billion and trump Mattel as the world’s largest toy maker!

Conclusion

Big data, despite all its uses and benefits, misses the most important aspect of data harnessing: the opportunity lies in the details. And details are seldom overlooked with small data at your behest. Small data is all about your target audience, giving you actionable insights that you can take advantage of to accomplish incredible results. Add to it the immense cost and resource benefits you can enjoy, leveraging small data effectively can open a lot of avenues for your business to grow and prosper.

Strategies for winning the World Cup of marketing

Business How To’s

03 June 2019

Strategies for winning the World Cup of marketing

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Cricket is big business in India and with the World Cup here once again, everybody is set to follow the excitement. Teams are gearing up to play their best, fans can’t wait to see their favourite players in action and big brands are getting ready to ride this wave with their marketing strategies. Who will be the winner this time around?

Let’s take a look at some of the strategies that can be used to up the marketing game in the playing field during one of the world’s biggest tournaments.

#1 Emotion

Brands can do a wonderful job igniting passion in fans for their favourite team. This is an excellent opportunity to write a song full of positives and build hope that they will bring the world cup home again. Using inspiring music and smart activation on social media, it is possible to turn the brand song into an anthem and thus kindle enthusiasm.

#2 User-generated content and participation

Does your brand come in multiple flavours or varieties? You can invite consumers to participate in a competition to decide which one is the world champion among them. This is consumer participation at its best. You can create social media buzz, get consumers involved in the brand beyond just consumption and generate massive PR too. An added bonus, you can get consumer feedback through this activity on what really works and what doesn’t.

#3 Cross-media campaigns

As a sponsor, instead of following a typical signage approach, a brand can deploy a multi-media campaign getting fans involved in the excitement of the game. Invite fans to share information about the players and the best story can then be splashed across social media platforms. Conduct quizzes via text messages and the right answers with the name can be displayed on digital screens at the venue in real time, to be seen by thousands.

#4 Social media-led campaigns

Build excitement on social media by asking fans to predict winners and the best players. Track the game in real time across all digital channels and change stats as the game progresses. Fans can participate in a worldwide real-time voting system to try and predict the winning team and the Man of the Match.

#5 Celebrity

Using a cricket celebrity always works. However, instead of promoting your brand or product outright, make the promotion about the sportsperson. Is there a story around the sportsperson that you can use? This will generate more eyeballs among fans. And remember, the cricket celebrity need not be a current player, but can be someone who has long retired but still evokes nostalgia among fans.

#6 Grassroot initiatives

Take the game to the fans. Develop a marketing strategy that focuses on areas that the players of the teams originally come from. Make the people part of the strategy and inspire them to participate in creating the message that goes out to their team player. This will do wonders for brand equity and the recall value of your brand.

#7 Guerrilla tactics

If you are not an official World Cup sponsor it does not mean that you cannot get noticed. Try some ‘ambush marketing’ to cut through all the promotional noise around the world cup. Reach the fans where they are: catch them in bars and pubs where the games are being telecast; have flash mobs converging at the venue of the matches. This will create a buzz and get people talking about your brand.

#8 Sports-led campaigns

Does your brand have any sports connect? The World Cup is a splendid opportunity to reinforce those credentials and make its voice heard on a global platform. Start small, at local cricket grounds, and then take the game to the big players. Try and get your brand to the actual players where people watching them can see it clearly. Share the clips from these moments on social media and talk about your brand helping improve the teams’ performances.

Conclusion

The World Cup is a splendid opportunity for brands to get seen and talked about on a global platform. Whether you choose to be a sponsor or not, these strategies can help you do just that.

Are you aware of these top trends affecting HR today?

Business How To’s

27 May 2019

Are you aware of these top trends affecting HR today?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

In a world that’s focused more on disruption, innovation and ideas, it is sometimes natural to ignore the ideas and trends that are affecting HR departments. After all, it is the folks in the HR department who hire the people who go on to come up with all those disruptive ideas, right?

Let’s take a moment to find out what are the top trends, in no particular order, in HR today.

#1 It’s a job seeker’s market
Hiring is on the rise and certain skill sets in all industries are hot right now. But there are challenges too. Every industry has some problematic jobs, those that are constantly in need of the right employees – in hospitals it’s good doctors, software engineers in IT, and line engineers in utility services.

With no immediate solution to this shortage of talent, it becomes all the more critical for employers to retain their talent by focusing on workforce development. This works two ways – existing employees do not go looking for a change, and potential employees look at the company as a way to better their careers.

#2 Paid time off is precious
It is important to offer paid time off to employees, especially parental leave and sick leave. Many companies globally, including Adobe, Netflix and Nestle, and closer home, Infosys and TCS have made news with their much-needed paid paternal leave policies.

While many companies have these leaves in place, not many employees take them simply because they are not aware of them. Transparency and clear communication with regards to leaves is critical in making more employees aware of their rights.

#3 Wellness and self-funded healthcare plans
Many employers are going out of their way to offer economical health benefits to their employees without compromising on quality. Some of these include wellness programs, onsite health centers and even self-funded health plans. When an employer focuses on employee wellness, it not only makes them feel cared for but also happier. By bringing healthcare into the organisation, employers are helping reduce the cost of healthcare that employees would need to receive.

#4 Goodbye annual raise; hello variable yearly bonus
One trend that is sweeping HR is the drop in yearly fixed salary raise and an increase in variable bonuses. Employees too seem to prefer a yearly bonus – they feel that gives them ‘greater control’ as it is often a reflection of their performance. The shift away from annual raises is also representative of a more holistic approach that companies have taken towards compensation and benefits. Companies that offer a strong healthcare program or have an amazing workplace culture can afford to pay slightly lower salaries. Eventually it is all about what employees want.

#5 The end of annual reviews
Many employees seem to be opting for regular feedback rather than an annual one. This is in part because of app-enabled technology and millennials too. Most next generation employees believe that an annual review system is cumbersome and doesn’t really have a benefit, neither for the employee nor the employer. With everything in their lives immediate and tech-enabled, an annual review is dying a fast death indeed.

It is interesting to note that companies like GE are swapping their ancient, analog systems for supple, mobile-enabled programs. But there’s a challenge – any performance review should continue to remain objective and minimize bias, which means collecting more data and not less.

#6 Managing multiple generations is more important than ever
Let’s accept that millennials are now the majority in any organisation, but that does not mean sidestepping Gen X and Baby Boomers. If anything, employers need to ask themselves how they can make all generations work together while moving forward.

The good news is that the needs of the millennials and Gen X are not too different. Both need instant access to information, so it might make sense to move beyond emails and start using mobile apps and other newer messaging tools. Interestingly, the Baby Boomers generation too is quite open to adopting these new pieces of tech.

Millennials might tend to be more idealistic, but they and Baby Boomers want the same things – an opportunity to work hard and to make the world better. Keep communication lines open and tell all employees that learning is a two-way street.

#7 Gamification of HR
Most HR policies sound great but implementing many of them is quite cumbersome, to tell the truth. HR tech accessibility is the biggest grouse, with some of it for employers only, leaving employee, the real beneficiaries, out of the loop.

More and more HR teams are starting to release the benefits of implementing technology that will help everyone within the organisation.

Accessible apps and gamification of HR is gaining momentum. Apps that can be accessed via computers at work and even the mobile phone are becoming increasingly popular. Corporate learning is one such aspect that has benefited greatly. Quizzes, social media contests and friendly competition can encourage daily interactions too.

Conclusion
Innovation and disruption seems to be a natural expectation of marketing, sales, production, design and other traditional creative departments. However, as people evolve and gravitate towards these newer ways of working, it is imperative that the HR departments play catch up and find innovative and disruptive ways to engage and retain the talent in their organisations.