kenny soto successful meetings post

The Two Essential Parts of a Successful Meeting

Meetings can be a chore but, they are necessary.

Regardless of what you do for your business, eventually you will have to conduct or be a part of a team meeting. I have attended meetings in multiple school clubs, so my experience is limited. However, if there is one thing I have noticed is that, not all meetings are productive. 

After much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that there are two aspects of a meeting that can make it, so no one is wasting their time: an agenda and meeting minutes.

An agenda is your Gandalf, leading you to Mordor.*

When I became the secretary for my fraternity I didn’t have much training, so I had no idea what was expected of me during the first executive meeting. It was a daunting experience, one that doesn’t seem as scary now. I realized however that I would have a significant impact on how our team would be organized very early on when the president of our team asked me to start writing the agendas. 

Now first and foremost, I am still debating over whether or not one person should ultimately decide what is on the agenda for any meeting. But, at the end of the day, there needs to be a directed discussion about something. No matter what your team’s overall objectives are, they have to be organized to save time. 

I have witnessed meetings that lead to nowhere because we either have too much oversight on important topics that need to be covered or because we didn’t have enough time in the meeting to discuss it. I personally have adopted the Steve Jobs way of conducting meetings: if there is no agenda, please do not waste my time. 

Agendas are not the end all be all; there also needs to be some flexibility for discussion on topics not on there if circumstances come to it. However, keep in mind that an agenda should consist of the essential items that need to be addressed by the team to move forward (all other items should be secondary to the team’s goals). An agenda helps meetings go smoothly and saves a tremendous amount of time.

The time that can be best spent doing what is supposed to be discussed during the meeting.

Write minutes. Then read them!

We can discuss what constitutes a successful meeting for hours but, if there is anything I am convinced of is that to keep a team coordinated, it has to be writing meeting minutes and ensuring the whole team reads them after. The importance of well-constructed meeting minutes is underrated. Minutes allow for those team members who couldn’t attend the meeting to stay informed and allow for your team to better organize reports for your customers and the entire staff.

One key factor to a team’s success is communication, and you cannot achieve that if there aren’t any meeting minutes that can be reviewed at any given time. How can you follow up on action items? How can you ensure that everyone is doing their part? 

Minutes are not just to keep a record of all team discussions but, are also a good indicator of how productivity over time is cataloged and assessed (in a qualitative manner). One of the secretary’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure the team’s minutes are accurate and well-organized. And meeting minutes can only be useful if people read them!

As an involved teammate, you should never be caught dead in a meeting that doesn’t have an agenda set at least 24 hours ahead of time. Also, you have to make sure that someone is ready to take the minutes for the meeting. Everyone’s time will be wasted otherwise. And then you have to ask yourself, “Why did I even add this to my schedule in the first place?

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Recommended Articles:

  1. Dan Bull Meetings At Your Workplace
  2. Canceling One-On-One Meetings Destroys Your Productivity
  3. 8 Really Bad Meetings to Avoid (and How to Fix Them)
*Lord of the Rings reference, I hope you didn’t need to read this to know that.
Option Paralysis Kenny Soto

3 Decision Making Strategies to Counter Option Paralysis

Simple decision-making strategies to increase your productivity

Every business professional needs to be effective in completing their tasks but, they can be stumped when a difficult situation arises. Perhaps a client is not satisfied with your product or a key founding partner wants to leave the company. One of the biggest deterrents to making the right decision in any scenario is option paralysis: not being able to make decisions because there are too many options one can choose from. One quick fix to this issue is being impulsive and going with your gut but, this can often times backfire. So what can one do, to stop option paralysis? Below are several decision-making strategies in which you can help optimize your decision-making and make sure you can make the right choice in a timely manner.

 The power of SWOT

From my own experiences in business I have seen most people use SWOT when working on a business plan and not in everyday life. SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is a great decision-making strategy used by most business professionals when planning a new business venture such as the launching of a new product line or a merger.  I use this decision-making strategy to quickly see the bigger picture before I make any important decision. Whether it be choosing what to prioritize during the day or who I should do business with to maximize my profit, using this model can help tremendously with speed and productivity.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Political support
  • Funding available
  • Market experience
  • Strong leadership
  • Project is very complex
  • Likely to be costly
  • May have environmental impact
  • Staff resources are already stretched
Opportunities Threats
  • Project may improve local economy
  • Will improve safety
  • Project will boost company’s public image
  • Environmental constraints
  • Time delays
  • Opposition to change

Example from: Business News Daily

Using this strategy can also help when explaining to your team why you decided to go a specific route. Having a diagram of how you came to your decision will help when explaining why you thought your decision was best for the group and it can help when reflecting on how the decision effected your business when looking back.

Trust your team

Whenever a decision seems too much to handle, remember that you are not alone. Seeking advice is always a really simple way to make sure you are not being complacent in making an important decision. Asking for another person’s perspective can often times enlighten you and show you others ways you can handle specific issues that you may have never considered. One of the reasons it is always best to surround yourself with people who do not think like you is so you can expand your mind and constantly learn different ways to approach any given situation. Never forget the power of the many in making a decision, one person can only see so much. Another positive of making difficult decisions through the advice of others is that you get to see how your team members will make decisions in your absence. It is very important to know who you should trust with the responsibility of making choices for the team in the event of an emergency when you are not able to be there and supervise the situation. It also shows who can possibly become your successor if you ever decide to leave the team and venture off into something else.

Flip a coin

This is the last resort way I make my decisions if I find myself thinking too much about pressing matters. I keep it simple and flip a coin. If it lands and I do not agree with the decision then I know that is the one I have to make. I don’t necessarily let the coin decide for me, I just let it solidify my decision. Do not under any circumstances leave anything up to chance. Just use this tactic to make sure that all doubts are subdued and you can assure yourself that you are doing what you believe is best.

I like to limit my decision-making strategies to these three because as “option paralysis” can deter you from making a decision, the same effect can happen by having too many strategies to work around it as well. Keep things simple when you can so you can go through your life and professional career in a fluid and productive way. You save yourself countless time by keeping these decision-making strategies in mind.

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Recommended Articles:

  1. 5 Weekend Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
  2. The Most Surprising Way To Increase Employee Wellbeing And Productivity[…]
  3. 20 Awesome Productivity Tricks Anyone Can Use
Blog post image about organization

Organization: A Leader’s Obsession

We are subjected to a constant barrage of tasks and responsibilities. Every day, we have to complete before the end of the day, as a leader, completing all these objectives each day sometimes feels insurmountable, there never seems to be enough time during the day to complete everything.  In one of my earlier articles, I went over the essential qualities a leader should have. One skill a leader needs in, order to succeed (and stay sane) is organization.

Fall in love with your calendar.

I would not survive college if I did not follow my iPhone calendar. The key to success is to follow the four D’s of success:

  1. Do it
  2. Delegate it
  3. Defer it
  4. Drop it

This is the formula I use to rank each item on my calendar. With all the goals a leader has throughout the day, they aren’t effectively supporting their team if they are doing all the work. A leader who does what he promises is necessary, however, being able to delegate tasks to your team  (you can see other qualities every leader should have here). Another thing to always remember is that if something can be done tomorrow, worry about every thing that is important today. To help with this you have to set up criteria for what exactly is important in order of 1-5. Using a simple ranking system, such as: Family chores, School Work, Internship, etc. The easiest to defer anything is to set a list of priorities during the day, week, and the month. Finally, always remember that successful people always say no. You can not accept every thing people ask you to do. This is how leaders over extend themselves, they say yes to everything and that is never ok. The key to time management is to consistently understand that it is impossible for you to do every thing that you want to. Always focus on doing one important thing at a time.

Get a task journal to build infrastructure for your organization goals.

To stay on track of everything I have to do during the week I keep a journal that I write in when I arrive home everyday. The point of the journal isn’t to just write what you have done and what you haven’t done, it is so you can record the process of how you completed each task. Understanding how to improve on each process so you can complete  similar tasks in the future more efficiently is some thing I highly suggest doing if you are a very busy person. It also helps with making sure you aren’t wasting too much time on one specific thing; knowing that you can come with better approach to reaching a goal after studying how you’ve done things beforehand is really helpful.

To stay organized make sure you do the bare minimum.

There will be days where you can’t complete all things you want to do but, they need to get done. The best practice is to do the bare minimum on the tasks that aren’t necessarily as important as the other tasks you need to complete. Just because something has to be done immediately doesn’t mean it is more important than your other tasks. If you keep this in mind you will save yourself a lot of time and stress and keep yourself organized.

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Recommended Articles:

  1. The Power and Peril of Your Daily Choices
  2. 8 Tricks To Make Yourself Wake Up Earlier

  3. Social Media Tools to Cut Down Management Time and Increase Effectiveness

 

digital marketing skills post

4 Essential Marketing Skills For 2015

A skill for the future

I have been recently contemplating how would I be able to propel myself closer to success after college and it dawned on me that there are many skills that I have to capitalize on to stand out from the crowd. I want to share with you what the essential marketing skills are, whether you are looking for a job or beginning to start a business. In the modern job market, hiring managers need to see what more could you offer that makes you stand out as a valuable employee. Whichever industry you are entering it is always imperative that you show some knowledge on marketing (yourself and a company). Having marketing techniques at the very least can help you stand out from your competition when hiring managers are searching for prospective employees. Below are four essential skills/techniques you should have knowledge on if you wish to advance your career this year:

1. Understanding the keyword research and keyword planning

It has become common practice to use search engines such as Google to find all the product information you may need before deciding. Knowing the basics of keyword research is essential knowledge that everyone should educate themselves on. I am a strong advocate in teaching keyword research and keyword planning in college and high school considering search engines are an essential tool in our lives. Knowing which keywords your competitors are competing for and which ones you can use for organic and paid customer allocation is very important in whatever your endeavors are. Google is the most powerful advertising machine in the world and we all need to know how to properly use it. I highly suggest checking out Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Keywordtool.io and other tools that help generate keywords based on the business you are trying to join. You could also start to see which keywords you should consider researching by using keyword suggestion services such as KeyWordShitter. Another pricier tool I highly suggest everyone should invest in is the LongTailPro.

2. Effective Social Media Campaigning

It has become a need for all businesses now to use social media platforms to reduce customer acquisition costs and to promote a product. Many people do not use social media other than to see how their family and friends are doing, however, there are so many ways to market yourself on social media. Social Media Optimization has become an increasingly important need in any  job, especially in 2015. Here are a list of tools you can use to increase the amount followers you gain in your endeavors. Buffer is a wonderful application that allows the user to plan their posts ahead of time, its free membership features are great for building up a toolkit (they also have a mobile application for iPhone and Android. Two other tools that work wonders with Twitter are TweetDeck and Sumall, which help with managing your account and giving you accurate analytics.

3. Creating Buyer Personas

The power of the buyer persona is strong. A buyer persona is a fictional profile of a person you attempt to engage in your marketing efforts. Using this marketing technique can help you in finding out who you should be marketing to as a customer and/or a hiring manager. Here is a wonderful article that goes more in-depth on the subject. I also recommend utilizing these links as well to  gain more knowledge on buyer personas (I am still learning myself at the moment):

4. Clear and persuasive writing

Lastly, of all the essential marketing skills listed above, the most important one  is simply effective writing. All communication begins with writing and to truly communicate your goals to how you will be an asset to a company and your customers you must be able to express yourself clearly and persuasively. It is imperative that you constantly attend workshops throughout your area and take grammar classes to routinely work on your writing. If there is anything you take from this article is that you should always focus on the basics first which is writing.

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Recommended Articles:

  1. 5 Essential Marketing Skills Every Person Should Know
  2. Five Essential Skills for the Future Marketing Manager
  3. 15 essential skills for modern marketers
digital dieting kenny soto

The Importance of Digital Dieting

Not all time spent on the net is healthy.

There are thousands of fitness programs, gyms, and personal trainers out there that work solely for one purpose: keeping your body healthy. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any services created (at least to my knowledge) on how to manage the Internet and specifically mobile, bingeing. There have been some startling statistics on the amount time we are all exposed to digital media during our daily activities.

1. Let’s talk and interact.

It has become increasingly common for most social gatherings in life to consist of people talking to each other while simultaneously having their phones in their hands. I never noticed this small little fact until I spent a day without my phone. I could not help but, be slightly irritated when I would speak with my friends and they would constantly check every notification they had. It became increasingly more apparent that this was an issue when I worked retail and saw that one of the employee rules was not to take out your phone while behind the counter. It slowly dawned on me that perhaps a lot of people were not monitoring the amount of time they spent on the internet (it doesn’t show any immediate side effects when you are using it). Speaking from my personal experience, I have learned that  both professionally and socially, it is rude not to engage with who you’re talking with in any situation. Part of digital dieting is learning how to support some level of self-control when interacting with others in the non-virtual world.

2. The Internet is a tool.

I recently had an engaging conversation with a new acquaintance of mine about what are some the most important subjects the urban youth in New York has to learn. I mentioned digital dieting to him, and we spent a considerable amount of time discussing our views on social media and video streaming platforms (what happens to most of us when running through a rabbit hole of videos and posts). There is a vast amount of articles everyone has access to that is just waiting to be absorbed. As opposed to just scrolling through “memes” and photos of your old friends, subscribe to magazines and news articles. I am in no way promoting that you deactivate any of your social media accounts; I am only suggesting an alternative to your regular digital routine. Consider how you will utilize your time before interacting with your phone the next time you begin that initial interaction with it.

3. Give yourself time to enjoy your surroundings.

There are so many moments that we miss daily because our necks are spent bent down looking at screens. I have been a victim of this for some time now. There are so many beautiful things that occur while I am walking through Central Park or Brooklyn and I miss them because I am tweeting about my walks. Mobile phones have certainly helped countless people and industries; all I am suggesting is that we become more aware of our usage of the Internet. Perhaps this may seem a little extreme but as an experiment leave your phone home for a day. It will show you how dependent we have become on our little tiny pocket boxes.

Time is your most precious commodity, and you need to maximize all the time you have, especially when using the internet.

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Related Articles:

 

 

kenny soto 4 qualities of an effective leader

The 4 Qualities Effective Leader’s Have

Before you lead a team…

I have come across many people in my time as a student leader. Throughout all the different interactions I have had with many of my fellow peers, they all have an abundance of different qualities that make them all exceptional leaders. There are, however, four core characteristics that make them successful leaders.

1. Patience

To be a leader you can not be impulsive in your decision-making. Trusting your instincts is important but, there is a difference between going with your gut and reacting from your emotions. It is always important to analyze the intended and unintended consequences of every choice you make. Being able to stand back and ask yourself important questions such as, “Is this venture worth the risk? Should we worry about this issue now or leave it on the side to address other pressing matters?”, is very important to do as a leader. Every  decision you make affects the ones that will be made in the future; having clarity is the only way you will be able to lead a team to greatness.

2. Curiosity

In anything that you do, whether now or in the future, there will always be ways for you to further develop and improve yourself as an asset to the group. Always seek opportunities to grow and the best way to  do so is to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from anyone, not just people in your immediate network. One of the best ways to constantly learn besides reading every day is to continuously engage with people you do not normally converse with. Learning about new cultures and different social topics makes it easier to build rapport with people in any situation, which is very important for a leader. You can only stay the leader of a group so long as you grow with it.

3. Service

I am a strong believer that a leader is the one person who knows how to serve the group’s purpose the best. A leader is not someone who works to meet his own agenda (surely most leaders get their positions with determination and desire as two key pillars that drive them) but is someone who works to carry out the goals and aspirations of everyone  involved within the team. When given a position of power that can decide the future of an entire group of people, the responsibilities of the leader should not be taken lightly. Being able to understand the importance of your role, not only for yourself but, for everyone else is key to sustaining a team and achieving success for all.

4. Delegation

I struggle with this every day. Being the most significant quality in a leader, honing this skill is a must in order to be successful. Delegating tasks is not only important for the health of a leader but more importantly, it lets other members of the team have the opportunity to further propel their growth and possibly become leaders themselves. You are never truly done leading a team until it is able to survive without you. This can only be achieved if you give others the chance to tackle challenges and obstacles without you. Don’t be afraid to trust your teammates with hard tasks. Staying concerned with issues, present and potential, as well as opportunities that may arise in the future is what should be your main priority.

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Recommended Articles:
Learn Digital Marketing kenny soto

3 Reasons Why You Have to Learn Digital Marketing

Today, everyone is their own media company.

[Editor’s note: Posted originally on February 8th, 2015]

“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business.”Harvey Mackay

I am currently an intern at SCORE NYC, a not-for-profit small business consulting agency right in the heart of New York City. As an intern, I am being exposed to what digital marketing is and how the marketing world has changed dramatically. Here are the top three reasons why I believe no matter what industry or profession you are going into, you have to be savvy in digital marketing.

Everything is sold on the internet.

Whether you like it or not, most professions rely on the art of selling. When someone is looking for a new product or service, a nonprofit to donate to, or just a new blog to read, understanding how to market on the internet is essential to your success. The more you understand how to market yourself or a business you work for on the internet, the more valuable you become. There is a lot of white noise on the web and you want your potential customers/viewers to reach you. Digital marketing is all about optimizing your online presence.

Your information is being indexed every day.

It should come as no surprise that Google catalogs every Facebook post, Tweet, LinkedIn update and Instagram video you share online. Your information is out there and what you need to do is make sure you are in control of what people see. The first thing employers do today is the Google your name before even deciding to skim your resume (if you’re an entrepreneur looking for investors, be aware that they always do their due diligence in researching who you are before your pitch). Make sure what they see is spectacular and show them you are an asset; the right person for the position. At all costs avoid any damaging information to be posted about you online. Digital etiquette is the one thing you cannot afford to overlook.

Your competition is everywhere.

How can anyone be able to get a job in today’s ever changing job market when thousands of people are applying to the same positions daily through the internet? How do you sell a product to customers when there are thousands of competitors in the same industry creating and giving out content on a daily basis? Business professionals need to know how to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do so is to make your digital presence known. This doesn’t mean only setting up a LinkedIn account, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best. You have to join forums or message boards and start communicating with people within your industry (creating an active presence is key). Show your potential employers, customers and business partners that you are the expert and authority in your field. It’s all about developing a personal brand that will have employers wanting to know more about you.

Don’t only spend your time on the internet scrolling through news feeds and watching countless YouTube videos. Invest your time into expanding who you are online. Trust me, if you aren’t doing so your competition is.

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

Recommended Articles:

  1. 26 Free Online Marketing Courses: Learn to be a Marketing Mastermind
  2. MAY THESE 4 DIGITAL MARKETING FORCES BE WITH YOU
  3. 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand

Page 6 of 6« First...23456