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EDITOR’S NOTE
The Filipino term for a project lead is “punong-abala”. It’s a telling term, chiefly because the direct translation is “first in being bothered.” But it doesn’t have to be bothersome – and that’s what we’re here for. We can’t claim that it isn’t nerve-wracking to organize an event. From a simple meeting, to a big team-building or convention - the responsibility of trying to mount an activity, getting people to come, and keeping everything on topic and on schedule is certainly difficult. For big events, the sheer amount of choices can paralyze some people. And there isn’t even a respite while the event is in progress: you have to make sure that your agenda is followed, and you have to manage the expectations of people in all the elements in play: food, lodging, equipment availability, the choice of speakers, getting people engaged in the activities, and all other boxes you have to tick off. Pressure is nobody’s friend. Meetings and More is here for you. On these pages, there are tips, suggestions, and overviews of the various elements that you have to manage – designing an event timetable, getting a hotel from all over Manila, what to expect from speakers, unorthodox ways of managing a meeting, getting people fed and making sure everyone is happy, and new media tools that will hopefully increase your productivity when you get back in the office. Meetings and More is just an overview, but we hope that you can get some sort of inspiration from our words, and maybe you can get some of that pressure off by using our ideas. We hope that we can be of help. Yours,

Amy Mosura
EDITOR

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
How To Plan Your Event Out-of-Town Office Plan: Places to Stay in Visayas Out-of-Town Office Plan: Places to Stay in Mindanao Top Metro Hotels for Your Business Needs Team-building: New ways to regain a sense of joy in work Team-Building Tips: The Visayan Adventure! Team-Building Tips: Explore Mindanao Subic International Hotel: Your Business Destination in the North The Dish on Getting Good Catering More Productive Meetings – Now! Apps That Get You Back in the Swim of Things 5 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 16 18 20

Amy Mosura EDITOR

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Vanessa Mae S. Almeria Des Arellano Maria Irene S. Aserios Ava Ay-ay Jao Bautista Jenny Babe Esportuno Amy Mosura Anna Oposa Kara Santos Carmel Tongo-Mosura WRITeRS Vanessa Mae S. Almeria Bon Aserios Mark Rodel dela Rosa Melanie Diaz Ahmed Fahmy/ Shutterstock.com Darius Pimentel Kara Santos Francis Jorel Villaluz PHOTOGRApHeRS (NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER) COVeR IMAGe

With additional data and photos from • American Express Transnational Mags Salvador // Sr Sales & Marketing Manager - Leisure • C.J. Alba // Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Team Building Facilitator, Inside Dynamics • The Legend Villas Abby Apura // Communications Officer Corporate Group Branding & Marketing Communications, Armadillo Holdings, Incorporated • Midas Hotel and Casino Erwin Doña // PR and Brand Manager • Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center Aleah Alam // Public Relations and Marketing Communications Assistant Oakwood Asia-Pacific Ltd. • Subic International Hotel Corporation

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How to Plan Your Event
Amy Mosura and Carmel Tongo-Mosura

While it’s always nice to hire a big fancy event planner, sometimes the resources aren’t there. Luckily, taking the time and marshalling up the knowledge to plan a work event doesn’t have to be an all-consuming project. All it takes is organization and a list of tasks you need to do to get your event in gear.

6-3 MOnTHS TO START DATe

Decide on an event date. If your date falls on a long national holiday, like Holy Week, the week following Christmas, and All Saint’s Day week, your participants will most likely choose their personal plans over your event. Survey coworkers and get a consensus that most will be happy with. Define your objective. A MICE activity requires expenses. Make sure you don’t waste any resources by ensuring that the activity has a defined objective.

Book a trainer or event host. You’ll have a better chance of booking the person you want when you make a decision way in advance, even if you’re rebooking someone you hired before. Call your contractors. If you’re staging a big event, you need to rent a stage, lights, a sound system, chairs, some kiosks, and have tarps and props made. EYP.PH can help with research, and ask for “pakyawan” rates by getting a quote from all your needs from one firm.

Get your travel plans and other reservations lined up. “Book early for access to more reasonable rates, early confirmation on flights, hotels and other land arrangements,” says Mags Salvador, senior manager for major travel agencies American Express - Adventure International Tours Inc (AITI) and Universal Holidays, Inc. (UHI). “A group as big as 100 and above needs a 6-month lead if you requires visa processing. For a group of 30 or more, but below 100, 2-3 months is good if you don’t need visas.”

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A MOnTH befORe
Plan the meals. Get a fish, meat, and chicken course and at least two vegetables, and one soup and dessert, and go over by at least 10% to 20% in case anyone wants seconds. Also consider light snacks and drinks scheduled for the midmorning and the midafternoon. When in doubt, ask for sample menus first.If you’re staging a big event, you need to rent a stage, lights, a sound system, chairs, some kiosks, and have tarps and props made. EYP.PH can help with research, and ask for “pakyawan” rates by getting a quote from all your needs from one firm. Double-check your reservations. If you’re going out of the country, make sure your visas and permits are ready. Re-confirm your travel and land accommodations. Make sure your budget and petty cash covers everything. Go through your agenda with your trainer or host. Run through your program at least once. Also make sure your bosses give their input before proceeding: get that program or script routed for comments.

Start a team blog. Facebook or Tumblr are great corporate tools. Create daily prompts for discussion for about two weeks before the event and encourage everyone to participate.

A WEEK BEFORE
Get your event checklist done. Get all your needs and tasks on paper. Seeing things in print sometimes gives you a different perspective, and you can pass around lists so you can delegate tasks to the rest of your team. Get an activity list together. Research activities that you can do with your team, and keep it in your back pocket. You’ll never know when it’s needed. Send reminders to everyone in the team. People get distracted. Email and texts are your insurance. Scope out the location. In case of a sudden group emergency, it’s best to know how to get in touch with the nearest hospital or police station, either by land or by phone.

EYP Canvass can help you find the best quotes for your needs. Visit canvass.eyp.ph now!
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Looking for a travel agency or a team buidling company to help you with your event planning?

Out-of-Town Office Plan

PlAceS TO STAY In

Jao Bautista, Ava Ay-ay, Anna Oposa, Des Arellano

VISAYAS

Planning to take your MICE out-of-town? Try these recommended places in Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, and Palawan.

BOHOL

Tagbilaran City To experience the capital’s nightlife and daytime tours, go to Tagbilaran. We recommend Bohol Topics Hotel, Darunday Manor, or Vest Pension for accommodations. Panglao If you’re planning to stay in the beach, Panglao is the best Bohol beach experience. Check your group in at Bohol Plaza and Alona.

CebU

In the city La Florentina is an old home that was transformed into a pension house. Room rates begin at P600-750. For travelers who are into the arts, head to Kukuk’s Nest Restaurant and Pension House. Rates range from P500-850. For a more comfortable budget hotel, book a room in Islands Stay Hotel. Room rates begin at P950.

BORACAY

Station 1 Who would have thought you could find a P2,500 beachfront room in Station 1? You will at La Fiesta Resort. The rooms here are air-conditioned and good for 4 people. Station 2 Businesses on a budget who want to get the best of the three stations are sure to find Tan’s Guesthouse a charm. Rates start at P1,500 for an air-conditioned twin room. Station 3 If your office isn’t into the party scene, Orchid’s Resort in Station 3 is a quiet and cheap place to stay. Rates start at P600 for a fan twin room.

PUeRTO PRInceSA

Lounge at the roofdeck garden at Aniceto’s Pension and marvel at Puerto Princesa Bay. Banwa Pension House offers affordable accommodations which range from dorm-type bunk beds to private rooms. Dallas Inn is quiet, clean and offers relaxation after an adventure-filled day. Duchess Pension offers tour packages, which can be arranged with the staff. El Nido Rico’s Cottages and Dara Beach Cottages are nearer the main beach strip and both offer comfortable and clean lodgings starting at P1,000. Coron Rooms at Krystal Lodge start at P500, while Coron Reef Pension House is a great place to launch your island hopping tour.

Visit miceguide.ph to read the extended articles!
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Want to know more about these places?

Vanessa Mae S. Almeria, Kara Santos, Maria Irene S. Aserios

MINDANAO

PlAceS TO STAY In

Here are accommodation options in Davao, Gen San, Zamboanga, and CDO for your next MICE event in the Mindanao.

Because of its strategic location right in the heart of Davao’s shopping and business district, Marco Polo Davao is the best choice for business travelers. For budget friendly hotels, try My Hotel, La Anclar Hometel, and Sampaguita Tourist Inn. Ponce Suites, also known as The UnConvention Center, is an eccentric hotel that has been transformed by artist and owner Kublai Millan into an art building.

DAVAO CITY

GENERAL SANTOS CITY

Tierra Montana Hotel is conveniently situated along the National Highway. Each room has a comfortable bed, a clean bathroom, cable TV, and most of all, a strong Wi-Fi connection. Richeva Gensan Suites is one of the city’s newest hotels. The hotel offers affordable rates that include modern amenities and complimentary breakfast.

ZAMBOANGA CITY

Business travelers often opt for Garden Orchid Hotel located five minutes away from the airport. This luxurious hotel is a favorite for conventions because of the amenities and excellent service. As the oldest hotel in the city, Lantaka Hotel by the Sea offers visitors a historic place to spend the night. Other more budget-friendly options include Marcian Garden Hotel, Skypark Hotel, and Casa Don Atilano.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY

Hotel Koresco offers bigger-than-usual deluxe room sizes, fitness gym, pool, spa and even karaoke. It is most famous for its 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course and 25-bay driving range. If you want to be where the weekend action is, you might want to check out Marsdale Pension. Businesses on a budget may like Travelers Pod, which adopts a pay-per-use concept. Premiere pods, complete with wireless Internet and cable TV, are good for three to six people.

With features such as the Map View, nearest landmarks, and directions, getting around these cities will be a breeze.

Find these hotels with the EYP Mobile App.

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METRO MANILA
Amy Mosura

TOp MeTRO HOTelS fOR YOUR bUSIneSS neeDS So you need to get a bunch of people in one place at one time in Manila. Where do they stay? What do they do? How do you make your choices? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help.

THe EXpeRTS Oakwood Serviced Apartments

Oakwood provides a different 5-star experience: the luxury of a hotel, with the security, comfort, and personality of a private residence. PUBLISHED RATES: Starts at $160 per night for a 1-bedroom apartment, although studio residences are also available. EVENT AREAS: The Joy and Nostalg ballrooms can each fit 200, and can each be divided into smaller, soundproof function rooms. BUSINESS CENTERS: Oakwood’s Genesis Business Hub has internet-equipped workstations, two boardrooms with videoconferencing facilities, binding, business card printing, and fax and photocopying, secretarial, courier, and airline ticket-handling services. You may also rent business equipment. ROOMS: Oakwood’s 230 rooms are classified as studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom suites. FOOD: The Oakroom serves international cuisine and buffets. The same team caters to functions and are considerate of corporate clients: last minute additional event requirements are subject to the availability of the function rooms and the chef’s discretion, but no emergency fees will be charged. OTHER AMENITIES: Oakwood welcomes repeat business from corporate accounts, and have designed a frequentguests program. Airport transfer, limousine and taxi services are provided, as are complimentary shuttle services to selected shopping centers and on-site parking. The hotel has a gym and a pool. It also has wi-fi.

To find more hotels in Manila for your business needs,
go to www.miceguide.ph.
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THE BOUTIQUE The Legend Villas

The Legend Villas are unique among boutique hotels in that they have been a Mandaluyong institution for two decades, and are proudly old-world Filipino in ambience, charm, and flavor. PUBLISHED RATES: Ranges from P4,400 (single-occupancy studio) to P10,175 (team suite). EVENT AREAS: Legend has nine function rooms that can accommodate up to 50 persons, and two ballrooms, Raja and Banahaw, that can accommodate 80 and 150 persons, respectively. BUSINESS CENTERS: Open 24 hours, Legend’s business center offers full secretarial services, as well as fax, mailing, and parcel-delivery services. ROOMS: Legend’s 130 rooms range from single-occupancy studios, family rooms that house four, to team suites, which can house six. FOOD: Legend Villas specialize in traditional Filipino cuisine, as evidenced by the menu in Lola Maria Restaurant, which hosts both a la carte meals and breakfast and lunch buffets. International options are available for functions. OTHER AMENITIES: The hotel has a gym and a pool. It also has wi-fi. A frequent-guest program is still in development, but existing amenities are already good. All local phone calls and faxes are complimentary. There is also a 24-hour transportation service.

THe newbIe Midas Hotel and Casino

Taking over the Leandro Locsin-designed edifice that formerly housed The Sheraton, Savoy Philippines and Hyatt Regency Manila, the Midas Hotel opened its doors for the first time in December 2010, to brisk business, a five-star rating, and celebrity guests like Manny Pacquiao. PUBLISHED RATES: Deluxe rooms start at $160. EVENT AREAS: There are private function areas for small meetings. BUSINESS CENTERS: Basic business center services offered. ROOMS: With a total of 227 rooms, Midas Hotel can accommodate large groups easily. FOOD: Midas Café offers fusion cuisine, and daily lunch and dinner buffets. Japanese cuisine can be found at Yanagi Japanese Restaurant. Light meals and cocktails are served at 2702 Lobby Lounge, designed by Cynthia and Ivy Almario. There is also a 24hour room service menu. OTHER AMENITIES: Midas Casino has world-class gaming equipment and free live entertainment nightly. Guests also receive free airport transfers and shuttle service to SM Mall of Asia. The hotel has a gym and a pool. It also has wi-fi.

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TEAM BUILDING
Carmel Tongo-Mosura

New ways to regain a sense of joy in work
for a particular corporate culture. The goal is to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will also bring in a change in the way the employees interact.” Having begun his career as an employee before branching out on his own has given Alba a different perspective on team-building. “Back in the day, the team-building activities I attended always tended to be the same, year after year,” he notes. “I think this is a turn-off today: participants now look for ways to connect with their facilitators, and facilitators who can speak from the heart, as well as from the module he crafted.” These were the things that he kept in mind as he decided to craft his business. “There’s no better approach than trying to connect with the participants,” says Alba. With audiences becoming more sophisticated, how does Alba create a team-building experience and that still meets your business goals?

While most people look at team-building exercises as a chance to get out of the office and have some time off, the truth is that in many ways, team-building is very difficult work. Sure, there’s always a corporate culture, but within that, there are cliques, barkadas, lunch buddies, colleagues, enemies, and friends, and a team-building event is a great way to get the real work of getting this diverse group together and refreshing their sense of purpose and joy in the job. Corporate trainer, motivational speaker, and team-building facilitator C.J. Alba of Inside-Dynamics Seminars and Workshops says integration is the biggest trend now in corporate team-building events. “Based on my many interviews with managers, companies need to connect the benefits of the activity back to the team,” he says. “My job is to find creative options that will surprise the clients. I can’t stick to just textbook activities, no matter how tried and true. You need something tailor-made and customized

Make sure to connect with the management. “Consultations with the management team are a must. Before every activity, I do face-to-face meetings with clients, or, if pressed for time, I do phone interviews or send them surveys so I can be in line with their goals.” Be original. “All teams are different. Listen to the client, and make sure that their needs are met by the methods you try.” Create a “holistic” experience. “While we base our modules to meet organizational needs, we also include experiential learning targets and a spiritual approach that we try to not make explicitly religious.” Remember that a team-building activity is about healing rifts and becoming one. “Games are a good way to process pain and anger, bitterness, resentment, and other negativities which commonly happen in the workplace. At the end, I make sure to schedule an emotional healing session, where I advise participants so that they can have their own private anger-management sessions even outside the team-building activity.”

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Want to get in touch with C.J. Alba of Inside-Dynamics Seminars and Workshops?

THE VISAYAN ADVENTURE
Jao Bautista, Ava Ay-ay, Anna Oposa, Des Arellano

TEAM BUILDING TIPS:

Here are the places to go in Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, and Palawan for your office team activities. BOHOL
Island hopping. Visit these islands while in Panglao: Pamilacan, Balicasag, and Virgin/ Puntod. Eco adventure extreme edition. The nonbeach side of Bohol is made especially for the adrenaline junkie. Bungee into a canyon? Rappel from a cliff? Brave rushing rivers? You can check all of the above off your teambuilding list. Spelunking. Once in Panglao, pass by Hinagdanan Cave for a different kind of cave exploration. Beach beyond Panglao. On the other side of Bohol is Anda, a beach town whose stretches and pockets of white sand shores are largely unexplored.

BORACAY

Boracay Pub Crawl. A happy-crazy way to string the hottest night spots in one night while hanging out with your team at the same time. Reserve at La Reserve hotel for a minimal fee. Crawl starts at 8pm. Paraw sailing. If you want to witness sunset like no other, hop into a paraw and sail the golden hour away. Swimming at Puka beach. A few minutes away from White Beach, Puka Beach is a haven for travelers who are looking for a lesscrowded spot for swimming.

PALAWAN

CEBU

Nightlife. Cebuanos also know how to party out of the streets. Their clubs and bars, like Crossroads, give Manila’s serious competition. The call of the sea. If you’re not a scuba diver yet, take your Open Water or Discover Scuba Diving course in Mactan, Cebu. Not into the deep? Splurge on an unforgettable beach trip and reserve a day with Islands Banca Cruises.

Go underground. Visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Learn croc basics. Kids of all ages will be fascinated by crocodiles at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, also known as the Crocodile Farm. Hop from one island to the next. In Puerto Princesa, book a Honda Bay Island tour to swim, and snorkel to your heart’s content at Pandan Island, Strarfish Island and Pambato Reef. The Coron Island Tour is the main draw to this charming spot. On the itinerary: karsts and soaring views at Siete Pecados, wreck diving at Skeleton Wreck, and more.

Go to miceguide.ph to see the complete articles and contact details.

We’ve got the complete guide to these amazing spots.

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TEAM BUILDING TIPS:
Vanessa Mae S. Almeria, Kara Santos, Maria Irene S. Aserios

EXPLORE MINDANAO
when it comes to fun activities.

Davao, Gen San, Zamboanga, and CDO have so much to offer

Thinking of bringing your team to Mindanao?

• The prolific Davao sculptor Millan is also the artist behind many of the artworks and figures representing the Lumads that can be seen in People’s Park, a major tourist attraction in the city. • Experience white-water tubing in the Wild Water Adventure Rafting tours. • Those who have a day to spare can also head to Eden Nature Park and Resort, a mountain resort 3,000 feet above sea level where guests can commune with nature.

DAVAO

ZAMBOANGA

GENERAL SANTOS

• Mount Kalaja is where Kalaja Falls is located. A must for travelers to see. Kalaja Falls is named thus because it is like a huge cauldron. The waterfalls drops into a cauldron-like pool under which deepest depth is 16 feet. • Mount Olympog, on the other hand, is the highest peak in General Santos. Upon reaching the peak, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the city and the Sarangani Bay.

• Visitors who would like see the vintas in Zamboanga City can now enjoy sailing in one at Paseo del Mar. Just PhP50 each for adults. • Most visitors who stay in the city head first to Fort Pilar and the Museum to get a taste of the city’s rich history. • The National Museum, which contains a collection of paintings, cultural memorabilia and antique items about Zamboanga’s history, is also located within the Fort. • Pasonanca Park, with its famous tree house, is another popular landmark of Zamboanga City. The park contains a campsite, amphitheater, convention center, and other facilities.

CAGAYAN DE ORO

• Visit Dahilayan Adventure Park for their two new attractions: Dropzone and the Luge. • Conquer your fear and try your hand on practical shooting. You can try practical shooting at NMPSA Firing Range in CDO.

If you reveled in the sights of the natural eco parks in these places, or had a blast doing all those exhilarating activities,
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Subic International Hotel:

Your Business Destination in the North
Subic International Hotel Corporation, being the first locator in Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and still standing, has ten function rooms that can accommodate from a minimum of 10 pax to 600 pax. The hotel also has the biggest room inventory in the whole Subic Bay; Bravo Building has 142 rooms while Delta Building has 67 rooms with a maximum capacity of 4 pax for both buildings. SIHC also caters to long staying guest with a minimum rate of Php 20,000.00 at Alpha Building, which is in front of Harbor Point, Ayala Mall.

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The Dish on Getting Good Catering
Carmel Tongo-Mosura

DO reserve ahead of time. You will always get better deals when you reserve ahead of time – not just in terms of discounts, but also in getting your preferred locations. DO look at getting package deals from your site. Hotels offer great-value packages for corporate clients. Oakwood offers an allinclusive deal for meetings, cocktail parties, product launches, and most social occasions. Legend Hotel’s meeting packages start at a very reasonable P460 per head, and this includes use of the function room. They also have theme packages for celebrations, which throw in tastefully put-together party décor with the location rental and catering.

They say an army marches on its stomach. A team can’t function on any less, either, but your work team likely spans a wide age and fitness range, and a one-size-fits-all approach will not be the best solution to getting everyone fed and happy over the course of your activity. Here are some do’s and don’ts that can help:

If you reveled in the sights of the natural eco parks in these places, or had a blast doing all those exhilarating activities,
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share your experience on EYP.ph!

DO try to have some snacks for the team on travel day. This is especially crucial if you’ve scheduled a long drive. Pre-making sandwiches and buying chips and water and handing them out in transit saves time and money, versus stopping at convenience stores and buying food. DO make sure that you have a trash receptacle ready for all the snack wrappers and drink bottles that your team consumes. DON’T forget to check what your team’s preferences are. Diabetes. Gluten intolerance. Lactose intolerance. Gout and rheumatism. Or somebody could just be on a diet. Some might even be on faith-based dietary restrictions. Food can cause problems for some team members. Try to send out a short questionnaire to ask if there’s anyone with concerns about the menu and keep it in mind when consulting with your caterer.

DO ask for a discount for future business. If you like your caterer, and plan to use their services again, it can’t hurt to ask for a discount for a future teambuilding seminar, or even takeout orders. Caterers tend to appreciate repeat customers, as that how brand loyalty develops, so it’s a fair risk to take. The worst thing they can do is say no, right? DON’T serve food over Styrofoam and plastic, if you can help it. Consider that all of you are away from home, and some are probably cranky, tired and unused to the physical activity that’s required from teambuilding activities or setting up a convention or event. If you can sit down for a proper meal, not only will you be taking a breather, but the face-to-face mealtime will be a great way for everyone to strike up conversations and deepen their bonds. Plastic and Styrofoam are also wasteful and bad for the environment.

DO serve healthy options. Nobody’s saying you should ban all fried foods, but look into serving fresh fruit instead of sugary cakes, or if you are serving pastry, maybe see if you could serve them without icing. Crudités, yogurt, freshly-brewed tea, honey, and whole-wheat bread could be great substitutions for chips, ice cream, instant coffee, sugar, and white bread. DON’T forget to budget for seconds. No shame in being a big eater, but you do have to budget for this. At the very least, budget 10% or 20% over the headcount for people who want to come back for seconds. You can always serve the leftovers in the next meal, or bring the food home.

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MORE PRODUCTIVE MEETINGS

NOW!
Amy Mosura

Depending on where you work, meetings can be one of the most effective ways of incubating new ideas and getting them to stick, or one of the most titanic wastes of time ever. The sad thing is that the more used you are to the rhythms of the people around you, the likelier you are to take meetings – and the time of your coworkers - for granted. In a network I used to work for, the highlight of the meetings were the premeeting chitchat sessions, which (a) were a font of gossip about the network’s stars and executives, and (b) often lasted longer than the meetings themselves, as the meetings invariably started late because the network execs always came in late and left early. While the network did manage to get things done, and I did manage to amuse myself with

all the gossip, I also had to scramble to make up for the work I missed while attending a three-hour meeting wherein only 45 minutes were actual work. Business magazine Fast Company calls meeting fatigue “meeting-itis”, and asked top companies for how they shook their meetings up. Their findings? Employees and executives both confessed that they thought their office scheduled too many meetings close together, had too many participants, and the meetings themselves lasted too long. Writes Gina Trapani, “When you calculate the true cost in person hours, you quickly see how meetings waste more time than they save. An hour-long meeting with 10 attendees actually costs an organization 10 person hours, an entire workday worth of productivity.”

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There are ways for meeting leaders to create a culture of respect for everyone’s time. Trapani checked with some top companies and laid out their unconventional meeting tactics.

BIG-TIMe TIMeR

Google imposes a strict time structure in its meetings – attendees need to use their allocated time wisely to present all items in their agenda, and thus are forced to prepare their agendas ahead of time. Their presentations are timed with a simple computer timer program – which is then projected four feet high on the wall, making sure that everyone is aware of the time everyone is spending at the meeting instead of other tasks. The process forces the attendees’ minds to focus on the agenda at hand instead of other distractions.

NO CHAIRS

Trapani singles out a Los Angeles company that found a radical solution: “One team member suggested [they] get rid of all the chairs in the conference room…Meeting attendees had to stand the whole time--and as a result, they kept conversations brief and to the point.”

BOwlInG BAll

Anecdotally, I did hear of another company that allows each participant to present only for as long as he or she can carry a bowling ball. This also forces the attendees to find a way to efficiently talk about their agendas, because it’s difficult to hold a bowling ball and a set of notes at the same time.

TOpleSS MeeTInGS

Sometimes the same devices that are supposed to help us with productivity are the things that hold us back – and so you find meetings where people are checking their smartphones and laptops, trying to multi-task and failing at all tasks anyway. A design firm called Adaptive Path instituted the “topless” meeting, wherein everyone checked their electronic devices at the door. The mystery of the name they chose for the meeting continues, however.

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Rewarding your team members also helps a lot with getting them intune during meetings.

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Jenny Babe Esportuno

Apps That Get You Back in the Swim of Things

Business today is no place for a Luddite. Apps, social media, cloud storage, and other programs are helping workers everywhere increase their productivity by allowing people to take their work wherever they need to be. And the best time to introduce them would be after a successful team-building. Not only will people be more receptive to new ideas, but the fact that it takes a bit of time for most people to get back in the swim of things after being out of town will make pretty much everyone grateful for new ideas to help navigate the tide of new work. Here are some helpful – and free – apps to help your team get back on track.

It’s already a hit with many people, but maybe your workgroup still hasn’t experienced the wonders of Dropbox, the cloud-based storage system that allows you to save and share documents, photos presentations, and other files across a swath of different computers and smartphones. Not only is the Dropbox program fairly intuitively-designed – you can master it within an hour of installation. You can also share contents of specific folders with your teammates, which is way easier than emailing documents to everyone and then individually checking if everyone got all the files.

It’s like one of those fat ring-bound planners, but for your phone. Evernote allows you to create bookmarks, clippings, take pictures, make notes, create lists, and even make audio recordings, and organize and tag them so you can retrieve them more easily in the future. You can even sketch ideas – Evernote has a sketch utility. And most importantly, you can export all of these to email.

Yes, placing Post-Its on your workdesk is easy, but then they get lost. Think of Colornote as the next-generation Post-It: You can do notes, reminders, to-do lists, and even shopping lists, and the only way you can lose them is to press delete. Also, you can sync notes to yourself through email or Facebook in case you need to archive them.

Thirty million users must be on to something, after they’ve made CamScanner the most downloaded scanning app in the world. Whereas in the past, you had to look for a proper scanner to get your documents archived, or else deal with a grubby camphone photo, CamScanner adapts your smartphone into a portable scanner, then allows you to save it as a full-size PDF file. You can also tag documents and send them via email or Bluetooth. Fair warning though – the PDFs have watermarks, and the interface has ads.

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