27 June 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the office...

I have been asked to speak in December and I am supposed to be funny. How do you plan to be funny in December? With me it is a hit and miss sort of thing and sometimes I am funny, sometimes I am melancholy. How do comedians do it?

I went to a writing workshop and the woman who was presenting said that comedians are only as funny as their writers. If you have very funny writers around you, your material will be great. If not, then be prepared to be booed off the stage... Yikes!

So how am I going to be funny in December? Perhaps you can help. Do you have any funny office stories that you want to share? Let me know at pattyannrobb@rogers.com

The only one I can think of is something a friend of mine told me about a woman at her office. This woman was speaking to the CEO and her skirt slipped down to her ankles. My friend said it didn't seem to faze her and she quickly pulled up her skirt and kept talking like nothing happened. Hmmm! I wonder what that CEO was talking about that night with his wife. "Honey, you will never believe what happened at the office?" HA HA

This assignment of course is a result of "Just say yes". Someone asked, it's something I've always wanted to do, but my fear kept me from saying yes. Fits the criteria, so I will plunge on and hope for the best.

Now I am off for a week's holiday at the cottage with my daughter and grandson. Yippee!


23 June 2009

Colour Coding Works ...

I have never been a fan of colour coding, until recently. I was in back-to-back Committee meetings and I decided to use two different colours of folders, a blue one for the Committee members, with an attendance sheet stapled to the inside cover for my purposes, along with their meeting packages, and a red one for the Chair with everything the Chair was going to need.

Because the meetings were right after the other and I had lots of packages with me, it was easy to distinguish what went to whom just by looking at the colour. I also put them in order of the meetings so it made it even easier.

Without the colour coding, I would have been in a panic trying to find the packages, but as it was, it went very smoothly.

Too much colour however can be confusing. Keep it simple and easy to remember. When you are busy, busy and don't have time to think, having two or three colours to choose from will help make things easier.

Try it, you may like it.

14 June 2009

Meeting preparation...

I have an upcoming Board meeting and want to be prepared for everything that is needed to make it run smoothly.

To-do lists

I have to-do lists for the Board and Committee meetings and a to-do list for the Board Reception and Dinner. You can never go wrong if you are making a list and checking it twice.

My favourite to-do list is a calendar timeline so I can see at a glance where I am at and what I need to do to get there. It is simply using an on-line calendar with space on each day to enter what needs to be done. I fill it out from start to finish and each day check what needs to be done and where I am at. I feel confident as I check off each item that things will be done on time. No surprises!

To generate a calendar in Word 2007, click on the Office Button (in the top left-hand corner). Choose New. Under Office Microsoft Online, click on Calendars. You will be given a choice of many styles and types of calendars. My favourite is the basic design, with large squares to fill in my to-dos. I customize it and remove the weekend days to give me more space.

I also have a checklist that I go through to make sure we have everything we are going to need on the day of the meeting. Some things I have on this list is a memory stick with the minute templates, tentcards, meals ordered, meeting packages, pen, notebook, highlighter, calculator (I hate math so just in case they ask something that requires mathematical skills) and attendance records to establish quorum for each meeting.

Minute Template
I take my minutes on a laptop so prepare a minute template ahead of time. Then it is a simple matter of filling in the blanks on the day of the meeting. This does increase the preparation time, but on the day of the meeting it goes very smoothly with no stress.

To prepare a minute template simply use your agenda and put it in minute format. Under each agenda heading you can then record the appropriate information when you are in the meeting. To finalize your minutes, you will just need to tidy up the language and formatting for the Chair's approval.

Are you plugged in?
Once I plugged my laptop in and thought I had power, but the plug-in was not working. My battery power died half way through the meeting. I had a notepad and pen with me so continued the minutes by hand, but it was a lesson learned to check in the bottom right hand corner of my computer to see if I actually have power. If it is plugged in, it will show a battery with a plug symbol. If it is only operating on battery power, it will just show a battery. Good thing to check before the meeting begins.

Meeting Materials
To make it easier for the Chair and board members on the day of the meeting I set up the meeting materials in a binder in as user friendly a way as possible. I use the meeting agenda as an index with each item as a tab number.

1 Approval of Agenda
2 Approval of Minutes
3 Business Arising
4 Committee Reports
5 Chief Executive Officer’s Report
6 Board Correspondence
7 Next Meeting
(Be sure to include a calendar in the meeting binder
for yourself and the board members)

When a motion is required, I include the language of the motion for the board members at the appropriate tab:

To approve the agenda of June 15th as presented.
Moved: Seconded:

The motion language is also included in my meeting template at the appropriate spot so all I need to do when we come to the motion is fill in the names of who brought the motion forward and seconded it.

The members of the board have always been appreciative of the simplicity of the meeting binder which leaves them free to make the important decisions and get on with the business of the meeting.

All done?
I enjoy the preparation leading up to the meeting. It is a lot of work, with the highlight being when the meeting runs smoothly and minutes are completed and sent to the Board members.

Whew! Now I am free to ... prepare for the next meeting! (It is a never ending circle isn't it?)

However, you can be sure I will use my previous templates and checklists and just change the date to the next meeting date.