The purpose of this website is to cascade our business management, project management and people management principles and best practices. We aim to achieve this by sharing our knowledge within the pages of this website. Hopefully, we will help to stimulate and encourage your personal development in this important area of expertise.

We are strong believers in continuous improvement and learning; the process of increasing your knowledge in a chosen field of interest, not just to become better at your job, but to become a more rounded person and a team player. As such, over time as our website expands, we intend offering a number of relevant, carefully selected products and services: these will cover more advanced techniques to further expand your knowledge of specific topic areas.

In any type of business, communication is a key ingredient of good and efficient management. As such, we aim to lead by example and present the facts to you in digestible, bite-sized chunks of plain English information. We have a serious message to deliver but aim to present this in a fun and light-hearted manner to prove that learning really can be fun! To help us achieve this approach, we will be introducing you to our very own Business Information Guru – that’s him pictured alongside – but you can call him BIG (not to be confused with STIG) as it rolls more easily off the tongue! Hover your cursor over the picture now…

We are keen to inspire you to embark on some individual learning – which is a terribly formal way of saying – think about what it is you would like to learn in relation to business and simply encourage you to go out there and do it. But don’t forget to also enjoy the journey along the way!

Holanno Ltd are a dedicated provider of bespoke project and programme management services. Please visit the About Us page to find out more – our services are available to hire on a flexible short or longer term contract basis and can be tailored to meet your individual project or programme requirements.

Remotely Managing Project Teams – Audio Conferencing

This is the first in a series of articles providing hints and tips on how best to remotely manage project teams. In this article, we will gain an insight into proven ways to get the most out of running your meetings via audio link.

Audio conferencing is a tool that has been available to the project manager for a number of years. There are a variety of service providers (e.g. Webex, Genesys, etc) and, whilst the tools they provide may vary from company to company, their offerings are broadly the same.

How does audio conferencing work?

  • The meeting organiser creates an account with an appropriate service provider – they are then provided with a master phone number (often with regional / international alternatives) and a conference number which is controlled via a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
  • The meeting organiser sends out an invitation to potential participants who, accept, decline or mark as tentative, the appointment in their diary.
  • At the appointed time, attendees phone up using the supplied phone number. When the call connects, they type in the conference number and wait for the meeting organiser to insert their PIN to open the call.
  • Normally, participants are announced by an audible ‘beep’ but, they may be given the opportunity to record their name which is then announced as they join / leave the call.
  • Any number of participants can join the call and so it is a great tool for getting everyone together to cascade information or to discuss project progress.

How can you get the most out of audio conferencing?

  • Restrict the number of attendees to those that are likely to contribute the most to the audio session. This will save on resource time and also keep the number of participants to a manageable level.
  • As meeting organiser, rather then opening the call through your telephone handset, access the audio conference through the web portal that will be supplied to you by the service provider; this will give you greater functionality and enable you to control the call more easily.
  • When you access the call via the website, you are able to easily perform the following tasks and identify at a glance, the status of each function:
    • See how many people have dialled into your call.
    • Identify who each line belongs to (you can even label them) so you know who is talking even if you have not known the group long and find it difficult to tell voices apart.
    • Close the virtual meeting room door to stop unwanted participants from joining the call.
    • Easily identify and mute individual lines if someone is in a noisy environment – background noise can be a real distraction to everyone on the call. You can also use this function (in extreme cases) if someone is behaving inappropriately or is not allowing others to speak.
    • Mute everyone’s line so they can only hear what you have to say; the lines can then be opened again once you have finished your presentation, so you can take individual questions from your attendees.
    • Disconnect  the call at the end of the meeting to ensure the line is closed, forcing all participants to leave the virtual meeting room.

In summary, audio conferencing can be a great way to bring geographically remote teams together to interact and move project tasks forward.  You can gain greater control of your meeting by accessing each session through the web portal rather than through your telephone handset.

The ‘golden rule’ of great customer service?

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In one form or another we have learned this rule for as long as we can remember. But can the simplest life lessons apply to our sales or service careers? Many people try their best to apply this rule in their everyday lives. But, how many of us try to follow such a simple principle when it comes to business?

If you think about it, this could single-handedly be the most important rule to follow in business. After unpleasant sales encounters, it is not the product or service that customers are most upset about even though they may have been the root of the problem. The reason most people leave these situations upset is because of the way they have been treated. They feel upset when they have spent their hard-earned money on your product or service and that for one reason or another it did not perform to their expectations. This upsets them, but what really angers them is when they feel that no-one cares.

This applies equally to sales and service environments. In fact, it also applies to general stakeholder management. We have all had negative customer service experiences. Whatever your business, you have most likely been on both sides of such exchanges. With this in mind, never underestimate the importance of treating others as you would like them to treat you. By doing so, it is often possible to turn a negative customer experience into a very positive one that will bring far greater rewards to your business in the long run.

But much more than that, if we are able to keep the good old “Golden Rule” in our consciousness at all times when dealing with customers, we are likely to find our jobs more enjoyable, our customers happier and yes, even our profits on the rise!