University blogrolls

Team meetings!

Posted on: 7 September 2012
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Filed under: Business, Communication, Uncategorized

What’s the point of a team meeting?

The point for me is to gauge a sense of wellbeing and productivity in the team but also to ensure the smooth running of our operations and that can only happen with communication, so yes we do – in moderation.

When I worked at the BBC, it seemed that everything we did was attached to a meeting; I don’t know how we achieved anything in the normal working day. Working at an agency was different, you really only had a meeting if you required consultation on decisions, they were in the style of the ‘fast and furious’ and I liked that. In Copenhagen we held fortnightly breakfast meetings with coffee and Danish pastries. The company paid and everyone turned up and participated – it worked.

So where do you strike the balance between using a meeting to pass on information ensuring smooth operation and using it to take action?

The Business Efficiency Consultant (do I sense some irony in that title?) Andrew Jensen bases his advice on the need to be efficient down to the time and day you hold the meeting. There’s a lot to be said for that; most people like to get into their day first thing and having a meeting at the start of the day can side track even the most dedicated workaholic. He suggests meeting at 3pm on a Tuesday. I see the logic in the Tuesday; it’s not the start of the week but still the beginning and sets you up for what’s to come but 3pm in the afternoon is not mine and after a temperature check with the team, their preferred time of day to meet. It’s good for coffee and a Danish but not much else and I’m sure is when we are physically and mentally at our most weak and tired point in the day.

It’s here that Mr Jensen and I part good company; I have to have meetings, it’s part of management, communication, interaction all the ethereal things that can smooth the workings of an operation but it only works if everyone else really wants to be there.

Taking a different approach, we’ve all signed up to Google+ and are evangelising the beauty of cross communicating without the need of a meeting or an email. You can send links, screenshots and comment on what’s being viewed by those in your circle. It works because it’s reactionary without interrupting what you are working on, or at least in a non-intrusive manner and you feel like you’ve gained time, not lost it.

Google + didn’t exist all those years ago when I was a student. On my very first day at University, during my first lecture, I walked out. The Professor was trying to cram 800 years of European history into one hour: ridiculous. As a responsible adult, I feel less able to just “walk out”. But if the meeting is not achieving anything then why have it and who has the guts to say so?  In a world of wasteful meetings we are going to adopt the Privy Council model and hold ‘stand up meetings’. Let’s see how it goes, I’m not expecting anyone to walk, a Danish and coffee is optional though.

It’s all in the design

Posted on: 16 January 2012
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Filed under: Communication, Design, Identity, Redesign, Responsive design

Since being at the helm of the University’s website,  we’ve done a lot of tweaking of the existing design.

We’re now at the point where we need to make some real change to how we communicate with our target audiences visually. It’s an obvious conclusion to make but hard to implement without certain building blocks.

…continue reading the post It’s all in the design

Getting to grips with grammar

Posted on: 22 July 2011
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Filed under: Communication, Content, Education, Writing for the web

A recent article on the BBC News website suggested poor spelling could result in reducing online sales by half.

A website owner interviewed said: “Sales figures suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility”.

He has a good point but we must not forget that it is not just poor spelling that can let us down.

Grammar and awareness of other factors eg brand names, can have an important effect on how users not only view websites but how these views can spread to other, potential, users.

…continue reading the post Getting to grips with grammar

Writing for the web

Posted on: 13 July 2011
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Filed under: Communication, Content, Writing for the web

Produce web content that’s relevant

Good web content helps satisfy our visitors’ information needs, drives conversion (from visitor to paying customer) and is search engine optimised (SEO) containing keywords and phrases to enable Google et al to include our web pages in relevant SERPs (search engine results).

…continue reading the post Writing for the web