How to Run an Effective Meeting in a Digital World

Whether you’re back to the office in-person, fully remote, or working in a hybrid environment, running meetings has become about much more than simply standing up in front of a room with a PowerPoint presentation. Now, there are new challenges to consider.

How do you engage participants that aren’t in the room? How do you lead if you’re sitting at home behind a screen? What happens when there are interruptions? Luckily, there are some tried and true methods to help perfect running a meeting from near or far. Check out five tips you can use to make your next meeting a success.


When we used to be all in the same room, small talk would naturally happen before everybody was settled and ready to begin. Now, it’s not as authentic if everybody isn’t in the same room. Build in some time at the beginning of the meeting for a bit of organic conversation. If nothing is happening conversation-wise, as the leader you can have a prepared question that feels organic to kick off the meeting on the right foot.


When nobody is standing at the front of the room leading the conversation, it can be easier to get off track or misunderstand who is steering the meeting. Come in with an agenda typed out on a slide or document you can share on your screen or print it out for an in-person meeting. This will help ensure participants know what they’re there to discuss and how to stay on track.


Interaction is the way to keep all of your audiences involved no matter their working environment. Consider online polling tools that could be used either remotely or in-person so your audience can answer questions or even ask speakers questions. If applicable, incorporate an interactive game that helps drive the theme of the meeting. Incorporate gamification efforts wherever possible to encourage interaction.


One of the most important parts of a meeting isn’t actually in the meeting at all—it’s what happens after the meeting. Who is going to take action? What was discussed and how do we move forward? Leave time at the end of the meeting to recap who is in charge of what and how you’ll proceed. Consider if there should be another check-in on the project or if emails will suffice from here on out.


Make a habit of keeping an eye on the time. If necessary, assign somebody to let you know when there is a certain amount of time left in the meeting so that you can leave time for questions and a recap. Just because you’re not physically in front of a room full of people who need to rush to the next meeting doesn’t mean you can continue talking past the time. Many people are booked in back-to-back meetings or have already planned out the time after the meeting. Respect their timing, and if it seems like a follow-up is needed, ask to schedule in the future.

Navigating the leadership of a meeting has changed along with the modern workforce, but that also comes with its advantages. You have the opportunity to interact with people from virtually anywhere! Consider how to keep all parties engaged, how your meeting can be actionable and how to move forward in the future. With these tips, you’re on your way to meetings that matter!

How to Become a Better Public Speaker

There are certain skills that come in handy within the professional world. For instance, good grammar makes a difference. Taking charge of a project demonstrates leadership skills. And of course, there’s the big one: the one skill so many of us fear. Public speaking.

According to Forbes, only about 10% of the population actually enjoys public speaking. Another 80% feel anxious and nervous before a presentation. And the last 10% are genuinely terrified by the thought of public speaking. These people can even experience nausea, panic attacks, and extreme anxiety. Public speaking is a valuable skill that’s often necessary within the professional world. So how can you overcome anxiety and become a better public speaker? Check out these tips!


The first step in becoming a public speaker is to simplify your message into one main concept. If your audience needs to walk away knowing one thing, what would it be? Use that concept as your focus for the presentation and continually refer back to it throughout. If you overload the speech with too much content, audience members will end up not remembering anything. However, if you can drill into their minds one thing, focus on that.


We all know about presentation software. When used correctly, slides can be a valuable tool that amplifies your presentation. When used incorrectly, slides can be confusing, and overbearing, and draw your attention from you. When you put together your presentation, be sure to keep the number of slides to a bare minimum, with wording as simple as possible. You want the audience to look to you for information, not to the slides.


When preparing your speech, memorize concepts, not content. Have a strong grasp on what you want to say, but not necessarily how to say it. This will make you appear more relaxed and conversational, rather than robotic. When you act like yourself, people will feel more engaged—like in an actual conversation, instead of just a presentation.


Stop repeating yourself. Stop repeating yourself. Once you share a concept, let it be, rather than continuing to circle back to that same idea. Repeating phrases or concepts can make you look scattered and unprofessional. The more you repeat yourself, the less interested audience members will feel, so be sure to run through your speech beforehand and make sure everything you say is new and engaging.


More than 90% of communication is nonverbal. This means that even if your content is great if your voice is bland, gestures are nonexistent and facial expressions are boring, audience members will not listen. Be aware of your nonverbal communication throughout your presentation and how that may be interpreted by others.


Finally, the age-old mantra: practice makes perfect. Practice, practice, practice your presentation beforehand so you can remember the concepts, nail down your nonverbals and be conversational. The more comfortable you are with your presentation, the better you will do in front of audience members.

Public speaking can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you remember these tips and practice beforehand, your presentation is sure to be a hit. Give them a try to see how you can develop your public speaking skills and grow professionally.

How to Use Swag to Market a Business

When it comes to marketing a business, there are a variety of different avenues to choose from. There are print advertisements, TV commercials, websites, email marketing, and of course, the wide, wide world of social media marketing. The options are limitless. However, there’s one tried and true marketing option that is as effective as it is useful: swag.

What is marketing swag, you ask? Swag is all things you can put a business label on and give away to current—or potential—customers. Consider items like coffee mugs, hats, frisbees, etc. Everything you might receive at a convention. The downside of business swag? You have to invest a bit of money to create your own. The upside? You create walking billboards everywhere customers wear or use the items. If you want to try a new avenue to promote your products, we have some ideas for how to use swag to market a business.


One of the most important things to keep in mind when using swag is to come up with something new. There are plenty of promotional swag products out there that all look and function the exact same way. Even if the products are free, consumers can still get bored with the same thing over and over. Instead, stand out from the crowd and show the business is unique by coming up with something new to give consumers and turning them into customers. For instance, try a branded umbrella, a toy, or a deck of playing cards. See what other businesses are giving away for their swag, then generate something new you can use instead.


As you decide what to use for swag, be sure to tie it into the brand. Slapping a logo on a swag item might be helpful, but you can really drive home the point with consumers if they remember how the item ties into the brand. For instance, if a university wants to reach out to prospective students, they might give away branded notebooks with their logo on them. Or, if a business works in the financial industry, they might hand out money clips with the logo. Recognize what the business does and the brand and image it strives for, then consider potential swag items which may align with it.


Now, this is important: when you develop swag products, don’t be cheap. This can be tough because there are certainly areas you want to cut down on costs. However, no one really wants a cheap piece of garbage with a logo on it. Instead, invest a little bit more money and offer quality products to your potential customers. While they definitely don’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, offering a quality piece of swag will actually grab consumers’ attention and show them you care enough about their business to invest.


Next, be sure to cater to the target audience with your swag items. For instance, if you want to market to an older generation, maybe free earbuds aren’t your best bet. However, if you’re looking at the millennial generation, offering earbuds to go with their devices would be a great choice. Consider who you want to reach out to with your swag items, then think about what would work best to cater to the audience based on their demographics.


And finally, don’t forget to leverage social media. Social media is the best way to market a brand at lightning speed in this day and age, particularly when it comes to swag. Swag items tend to be very photogenic, and a great way of engaging with social media followers. Offer a giveaway on your social media accounts for followers to get swag, or encourage recipients to share the swag they receive on their own accounts by creating a unique hashtag. By encouraging followers to share photos of your swag items with their followers, you generate a type of influencer marketing, which can continually draw in new customers.

Giving away free swag is one of the oldest and best ways to market a business. However, there are a few tips and tricks in order to make it as effective as possible. Take advantage of these tips next time you want to successfully use swag to market and grow a business.

Using Event Marketing to Find New Prospects

At long last, many events are beginning to slowly move back to in-person attendance. The return of community and industry events means your business has another lucrative opportunity to put your marketing efforts on display and capture the attention of new prospects! Whether you’re brand new to event marketing or ready to get back into the world of in-person events, these tips can help you succeed, from picking the event to following up afterward.


It all starts with finding not just any event, but the right event. Consider the audience that normally attends the conference or in-person gathering. Often, event organizers will have a demographic breakdown from the attendance of prior years. This can help you determine if you think the demographic matches the same audience you’re trying to reach. Similarly, it can be helpful to search for industry events that are related to your field.


It may be tempting to do something completely different and special with your branding to match the theme of the event. While this can be done if certain aspects of your branding remain the same, it’s important to ensure that your core branding remains the same for brand recall.


You’ll want to have something you can physically hand to your new prospects so they can remember your business long after the conclusion of the event. Get creative with the style, colors, and shapes so that your materials will stick out among those of your competitors. You can also include QR codes on your signs and printed materials so that your prospects can easily pull up their phone and get to a landing page made specifically for them.


If possible, offer an incentive for signing up to receive more information. This could be a percentage off of their first purchase, or even a giveaway for a local restaurant. It doesn’t necessarily have to relate to your business, but if possible, offer something related so that you can gather qualified leads. Offer a list to sign up in person, or an easy way to enter their information online, depending on the audience.


Don’t wait! You’ll want to follow up while the event is still fresh in the audience members’ minds. Use the contact information you collected to send the next logical steps in your marketing and sales process. For example, this may be a follow-up introduction email to thank your prospect for their time getting to know your business at the event. If you have a lead that requires more attention and is ready to proceed, make sure to separate them from your other prospects so you can follow up with the proper care to guide them through your sales process.

Now is the time to get back out there and into industry events. When done correctly, this can be a successful way to gather new prospects, especially when the audience of the events lines up with your business. Make sure to come prepared with the key ways your business can help, all designed in a compelling way with brochures, business cards, and more.

How to Foster a Positive Work Environment

In today’s world of online job searching and recruiting, it’s easy for employment seekers to narrow down companies they’re interested in. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed make it easy for them by allowing past and current employees to leave company reviews. Studies have found people trust online reviews nearly as much as they would a recommendation from a friend.

That’s why it’s crucial for companies today to create an environment their employees enjoy. Positive reviews will encourage more candidates to apply, giving companies a larger pool to choose from. There are many ways companies can cultivate a positive work culture to keep their employees happy and motivated to leave positive reviews. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.


No employee enjoys being hovered over by their managers. You may be thinking you’re just keeping them on track, but loosening the reins a bit might actually increase their productivity. Most employees consider autonomy to be an important aspect of their jobs, so your letting go will not only make them more at ease, but it will also lead to a more relaxed work environment.


Great communication occurs when both employers and employees know what is expected of them. An open-door policy establishes trust as well as creates a loop of information and feedback throughout the company. Constant feedback causes teams to always be improving, contributing to the overall success of the organization.

Make sure to get to know your employees, as well. When they see you care about their goals and interests, they will be more likely to communicate more clearly with you.


A quick “Hi” or “Good morning” to people goes further than you may think. People will appreciate you noticing them, even if it’s just with a simple smile with eye contact. It makes you seem approachable, especially if you’re in a managerial or leadership position. Your good attitude will hopefully rub off on others and cause them to spread the cheer.


In order to enjoy their jobs, most people need a clear correlation between hard work and reward. People want to feel appreciated. Saying “Thank you” or “Good job” shows that you’re paying attention to the effort employees put into their jobs. Make sure to explain your appreciation so employees can know what they did well and keep doing it.


No one wants to be criticized in front of their peers. It’s embarrassing, and it could cause you to lose your employees’ respect. If you need to evaluate someone’s behavior or work, do it in an area where only those involved are present. This will ensure privacy and show you’re not trying to publicly humiliate your employee.


Everyone likes to feel heard. Listen to your employees when they come to you with ideas, and be open to them. By letting your employees know their opinions matter, you are fostering a safe space where everyone’s perspectives are taken into account.


Did your employee write the winning pitch? Has someone been with your organization for 10 years? Congratulate them, and tell others about their successes. Finding a reason to celebrate your employees shows you care about them and their contributions to the company. They will feel energized to keep working hard and making their employer proud.

Positive work environments cultivate happy employees, who then write raving company reviews. These reviews help create a good buzz for the company. They also attract top-tier job candidates who can continue to make your organization great. Following these tips can help ensure your workplace is somewhere people are proud to talk about even after they leave.

The Art of Marketing in a Virtual World

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the world of marketing is constantly changing as the world changes. Because of the global pandemic, many offices have shuttered their doors in favor of permanently working from home. When such a drastic change to the way we work and live happens, it inevitably affects how your business operates, as well. In order to succeed in this virtual world of marketing madness, it’s important to keep the tips below in mind.


Don’t be afraid to try something new. Think back to 5, 10, or even 20 years ago. The marketing world looks vastly different, doesn’t it? Social media hasn’t always been around and now it’s a top way to market to new and existing customers. This is your reminder to always try something new. Who knows where technology will be in the next 5 years and what marketing tactics you may need to learn? As the world evolves, so should your marketing plan.


Email marketing is an efficient and cost-effective way to reach customers. Because of this, you also have more competition to get noticed in your audience’s inboxes. Start with a compelling subject line that captures your recipient’s attention. Entice them with a valuable offer, a cliffhanger phrase, or something that makes them want to click to learn more.

Once you have their attention, ensure that the content you’re providing is valuable. If you’re sending emails to hit a quota and include information just because you need to send an email, your audience will start to devalue the content you send and write off the important information when it comes through. Don’t fall into the trap of sending just because you think you haven’t in a while. Make sure you have something of value to say!


We may be living in a digital world, but that does not mean you can ignore the success of physical mailers and merch. It does cost money to send, but you also have to consider the fact that you’ll be able to stand out in the mailbox. A personalized notepad or a branded shirt is a pleasant surprise to receive, especially when it’s sent “just because.”

If you’re really looking to grab the attention of your audience in a virtual world, it’s vital to marry your physical marketing mailers with your digital marketing efforts. Use an included QR code to direct your audience to a landing page so you can track the success of your physical mailer.

It’s an ever-changing world, and we’re just living in it. Luckily, you’re a smart marketer who knows that to be successful, you must adapt! Marry your physical and virtual marketing worlds, embrace the new technologies and do things in the virtual world that makes you stand out from the crowd. With these three reminders, you’re on your way to a virtual success story.