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Keeping the meeting monsters at bay — preventing personal attacks

Keeping The Meeting Monsters At Bay — Preventing Personal Attacks

You remember these people for the wrong reasons.

They are the monsters who hurt others with insults, ridicule, and sarcasm. They bully. They threaten. They attack.

And that ruins your meeting.

Personal attacks are unacceptable because if one person is being hurt in your meeting, everyone else feels it. As a result, the participants retreat into making safe and generally useless contributions.

So, how do you respond to attacks?

First, take a big breath. Grab your courage. And then use one of the following approaches.

Approach 1: Speak to the group

Respond to a hostile remark by making a general comment. Look at the middle of the group and say:

«Just a moment. Let’s pause here to calm down. I can tell we’re upset about this. And we want to find a fair solution for everyone.» (Take slow deep breaths and relax to model calming down.)

After saying this, pause a moment to let the group respond. Often, someone else will support your request. Then continue as if everything were normal.

Avoid looking at the attacker when speaking to the group. Making eye contact acknowledges and returns power to the attacker.

Approach 2: Explore for the cause

Sometimes people throw insults from behind an illusion of presumed distance. You can respond by calling for an explanation. In this case say:

«Pat, you seem upset with that.»

«Tony, you seem to disagree.»

«You seem to have reservations about this.»

I realize these statements may sound like naive responses to an insult. However, such understated responses improve the situation because they sound less threatening, feel easier to deliver, and preserve the other person’s self-esteem. Realize the attacker may have viewed the attack less seriously than it sounded.

These statements also transfer the focus from the target to the attacker’s feelings. And this is what you need to talk about in order to resolve the dispute.

After you speak wait for the attacker to talk about what caused the attack.

If the attacker continues with hostile remarks, interrupt with:

«Excuse me, we need to respect each other. And I wonder what makes you feel upset over this.»

«Excuse me, we heard that. Now, what makes you feel that way?»

«Excuse me, I’m interested in hearing what your concerns are.»

Approach 3: Call a break

If the first two approaches fail to end the attacks, then call a break or end the meeting. This will give you a chance to meet privately with the attacker, rewrite the agenda, rebuild communication, and (if appropriate) schedule another meeting without the attacker.

You could say,

«We seem to be at an impasse. I want to take a break so we can calm down.»

«This hostility makes it impossible to get any work done. So, I’m adjourning the meetings. We’ll work on this later and then reconvene at another time.»

«We need to work on this outside of the meeting. So let’s adjourn.»

Note that some people use anger to intimidate others into cooperating with them. If you adjourn the meeting, you will have to meet with the attacker to resolve the conflict.

Meetings are a forum for finding solutions, making decisions, and reaching agreements. When you apply these approaches to disruptions, you will maintain the productive environment necessary to accomplish your goals.

This is the seventh of a seven part article on Monsters in Meetings.

How to run a conference call

How to run a conference call

With the new innovations more people are working from home, or working from the road.  All of this work is done through the internet and through the phone.  And a lot of times people don’t know how to run a phone conference.  Trust me; I’ve set in on a lot of those meetings.  So, I decided to write some steps that will help with organizing a phone conference in a more structured way.
Send out the agenda before the meeting
The key to an effective meeting is an agenda — this applies to any kind of meeting, not just a conference call. Make sure you send out the details of the call in number in advance, and make sure it stands out, so the participants will not miss it.  If you using Outlook send out meeting using the tools that are built in, it will help you track and be aware of who is attending your meeting, and it will do all the work for the participants for them by filling in their calendar slot with your meeting.

If the conference call is a regular status update, ensure you also send out the meeting notes from the previous call.  In that case the first item on the agenda should be checking in with people up for the actions they’ve agreed to be responsible for in the previous meeting.
Introductions and details
At the beginning of the call introduce any newcomers to the rest of the group and invite them to spend a couple of minutes describing themselves and their role on the call.

Next, ensure everyone has a copy of the agenda. I suggest recording the conversation, so later one you can hire a transcription services company to transcribe the entire conversation. This serves two benefits: firstly, everyone will be more careful and accountable for what they say, and secondly, a single set of meeting notes will be distributed after the transcription of the meeting is complete.
Finally, lay out the rules for interaction on the call. Because it’s audio-only, the usual cues we use to indicate that we wish to take a turn at speaking are not present.  Since you recording the call ask people to say they name before they speak so it is easier for the transcriptionist, and your notes are clearer. Clearly it’s unrealistic to expect people to stick to the interaction rules for the duration of the call, but laying them out at the outset will help ensure things run quickly and smoothly.

Keep it short

Studies have shown that people start to suffer a number of unpleasant side-effects after holding a telephone receiver to their ear for longer than about an hour. In any event, forty minutes is about the limit of most people’s concentration span.
If you find the call is starting to drag on beyond an hour, it’s a good idea to wrap things up and continue at another time. If you find this is a regular occurrence, it may be an indicator that you need to revisit the agenda, or possibly split the group up into separate, more focused groups. A particular time-waster is having engineers and businesspeople on the same conference call. A better way to handle this is to have three shorter meetings — one with just the engineers, one with the businesspeople, and one with single representatives from each group to present the results and take any feedback to the next department meeting. Remember practice makes perfect, so get on the phone and schedule some meetings.

Important features of business improvement programs

Important Features of Business Improvement Programs

There are various reliable training centers on the World Wide Web that allow business owners to actively participate to various professional Business Improvement Programs. Such professional training programs account for a wide range of features including business management, innovative sales and marketing strategies, as well as long-term business planning strategies. Solid Business Improvement Programs are aimed at debating both the basics and the subtleties of proper business management, accounting for all relevant aspects regarding profitability, the customer-employee relation, the development of strategies for achieving short-term and long-term goals and so on.

The extended curriculum provided by professional Business Improvement Programs renders such training courses appropriate for any business owner, regardless of the previous level of training in the branch. While inexperienced business owners can rapidly assimilate valuable information regarding proper business management and marketing solutions, well-trained business owners can further enhance their knowledge and acquire a set of innovative strategies for boosting the profitability and the longevity of their business.

A complete Business Improvement Program can actually guarantee success in virtually any type of business. Considering the fact that all businesses share similar characteristics, following common patterns of development, a reliable Business Improvement Program can enhance the potential of any business, regardless of its nature, size and market position. Structured on multiple levels, Business Improvement Programs rigorously explore and debate a wide range of subjects related to business planning, management, and development, familiarizing attendants with the entire process of running a business.

Professional Business Improvement Programs are taught by the best professionals in the branch, allowing attendants to acquire vital information regarding proper business management. The training programs are well-structured and contain comprehensive materials, stimulating and facilitating the process of learning. Unlike self-study oriented programs, professional Business Improvement Programs involve active participation, allowing attendants to interact with both «business coaches» and the other trainees. In addition, people who participate to Business Improvement Programs are encouraged to freely express their ideas and confront their opinions with other business owners. Business coaches offer prompt and extended feed-back, ensuring that all participants understand the issues discussed during the program.

It is important to note that Business Improvement Programs are not solely focused on theoretical courses. Professional programs often include seminaries and laboratories which are aimed at developing a set of practical, managerial, negotiation and interaction skills and abilities, crucial in the process of achieving and maintaining a successful business.

By attending to a professional Business Improvement Program, business owners can rapidly assimilate a complete set of knowledge and practical abilities, vital in the process of management. With the help of such training programs, business owners can effectively increase sales by implementing new marketing strategies and by attracting new potential customers to their business. Thanks to their proved efficiency and reliability, Business Improvement Programs are recommended by thousands of business owners worldwide!

How to choose a collection agency — part one

How To Choose A Collection Agency — Part One

The type you choose depends on how much time, effort, and money you are willing to put in before you turn accounts over.  They fall into two broad categories:  Contingency Agencies & Fixed Fee Agencies.

Contingency Agencies

Contingency Agencies, so named because their fees are “contingent” upon collecting from debtors, typically charge anywhere from 20% to 50% of amounts recovered from patients.  The fee may be based on the age of the debts owed, but more typically is based on negotiations, with larger practices and practices with larger balances, able to negotiate lower charges.  Some have two tiered fees, depending on the age of the account when collected.

Age of Accounts

They tend to get accounts that are at least 6 months delinquent due to the fact no doctor wants to give up a 20% to 50% on income the he or she worked hard for.   If your accounts are over a year old, a contingency agency is your best bet.  At that point there is only a 10% chance anything will be collected.   If they collect nothing, you pay nothing


Contingency agencies are dependant upon human intervention with debtors.  Collectors typically are rewarded with a percentage of the agency’s share as a commission.  They are highly motivated to work accounts most likely to earn them the biggest reward for their efforts.  Elaborate “scoring” models have been developed to direct their efforts to those accounts.

Shopping For Price

Think you’re a great negotiator?  Choosing a contingency agency simply based on the fee they charge has pitfalls.  As you succeed in driving down their fee, rewards to the agency  (and collector) are lowered.  Your accounts may be ranked lower than another practice’s because the other practice is willing to pay more.   Taken to an extreme, an agency that charges only 20% may not collect much, if anything, while an agency that charges 50% might recover 30% of your past due balances.  Which is the better deal?  Note that according to the  American Collector’s Association’s  “2008 Benchmarking Survey” the average agency recovered only 13.8% of the dollars they were assigned to collect, due in large part to the age of the accounts assigned.

How many types to prevent acne scarring

How Many Types to Prevent Acne Scarring

Acne scarring is one of the great misfortunes of many people, young and old. It is basically visible markings, indentations or lumps on the surface of the skin that result from scar tissue which has shaped as part of the healing process where acne has previously ruined the original skin or the hair follicle.

Acne scarring is observed in different forms. Three of which are the main types of acne scarring: ice pick pore scars, acne out scars, and raised scars. It is interesting to know in the first place that this classification was discovered by the development of the acne scarring classification system that assists the medical professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of acne scars.

The first type of acne scarring which is the ice pick pore scars are noted to be large and deep scars with detectable open pores that generally seem as if the skin has been jabbed with a thin and sharp instrument like the ice pick. This type of acne scarring is typically caused by a deep pimple or cyst that has damaged the hair follicle as its infection moved to the shell of the skin.

The second type of acne scarring, which is the acne pit scars, are characterized by a slightly sunken or depressed appearance on the skin. These types of acne scarring are basically indented and caused by pimples or cysts that have destroyed the skin and formed the scar tissue.

The third classification of acne scarring, known as the raised scars, are caused by the clumping together of a number of large cysts. When the cysts have clumped together, the scar tissue then forms, which can create a lumpy mass of, raised tissue on the surface of the skin, thus known as raised scars.

Acne scarring can be prevented. One of the main steps to prevent acne scarring is simply not to pick, pinch, and squeeze your pimples. Besides, there are several tactics that can help you lessen the visible signs of acne scarring. There are glycolic peels and special creams on the market today that can help soften the scar tissue and enhance the texture of the skin. Aside from that, acne scarring can be prevented or eliminated through some effective options like the dermabrasion, laser resurfacing or collagen injections. And, there are some vitamins and minerals that can also help to reduce acne scarring such as the vitamins A and E, as well as zinc.

So if you are having problems with acne scars, don’t let acne scarring control your life. Apply those mentioned ways or consult your doctor first before opting for a particular method.

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