I’m speaking at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida

I’m very honoured to be chosen by Microsoft to speak at the Ignite conference in September on a couple of topics around Office 365:

Groups and Teams: Friend or Foe?

“Both Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams present a fundamental shift in how people come together and collaborate. While some elements have been available in other ways, these two tools introduce new complexities to organizations and users around governance and security, information management, communications, and change management. This session shows what Office 365 features rely on Groups, covering how they do and don’t work together. We also cover Teams and where it sits with Yammer, SharePoint, Skype for Business, and others. Learn best practices from real-world customer examples of how to utilize both Groups and Teams from the perspective of IT, the business, change management, and users.”

Workplace etiquette with Office 365

“Did you know that Office 365 can help make you a better communicator, as well as a worse one? Join Loryan Strant and Darrell Webster in this session and learn how to use Office 365 technologies to improve communications and collaboration for yourself and those around you. We show you some quick tips and tricks, as well as etiquette to ensure that you and your users find the technology to be beneficial – not a hindrance.

We all know people who do things to annoy us in the workplace, and with Office 365 some simple etiquette tips will help drive adoption of the platform, improve communications, and overall, improve the relationships of users.”

This session directly builds on my Office 365 Good Etiquette Guide and will involve Darrell and myself showing our acting chops by taking attendees through the damage done by bad etiquette and how easily things can be improved.

Across the conference I’ll also be doing some live streams for RE: Office 365 also with Darrell and others.

I’m very much looking forward to connecting with people from all over the world at Ignite, as well as my fellow MVPs and Microsoft friends. There will be some amazing content available by both Microsoft and the MVP community – so if you’re not able to attend in person I highly recommend downloading the videos and slides when they’re made available after the conference.

Anatomy of a well-communicated meeting

Earlier this week on RE:Office 365 we discussed etiquette when it comes to meetings. A lot of great points were raised and I think most people generally come to the same consensus that meetings should be better. So why is it that people still get their feathers ruffled around organising and having meetings.

I thought it quite ironic that almost immediately after the live stream ended I was speaking with a friend that works at a large Australian firm, and mentioned the discussion I’d just been a part of. They were staying at home for the day as they were unwell and had logged into their email to cancel any meetings for the day. One of them was a workshop with a number of people, and within a few minutes of the cancellation the organiser fired back quite tersely about how important this workshop was, how it was core to my friend’s job, how difficult it was to organise, etc. My friend was quite flustered with this brittle response.

I asked the question: “did you give a reason for your cancellation, or just cancel without any message?”. They indicated the latter. I didn’t need to say anything further on this as they immediately followed up with “I guess I should have explained why”.

The organiser of the meeting found out from my friend’s manager later that morning and sent an email wishing them a speedy recovery. This was a positive action to take from someone who realised that they may have overreacted in the tone of the email and was attempting to make amends. However, time and energy would have been saved if my friend had simply let the organiser know that they were unwell in the first place.

I recently wrote an article about “Bob” and his boss, where Bob cancelled the meeting with a few minutes to spare which caused his boss to overreact with a terse email. Bob could have done better by cancelling the meeting earlier – this would have avoided his boss being a dick and responding with how important he was and how unacceptable the meeting cancellation was.

On The Office 365 Good Etiquette Guide I have written a number of smaller articles around meeting etiquette that are really common sense, but for the sake of the exercise let’s piece together what I believe would be a well-communicated meeting that everyone will benefit from.

For the meeting organiser:

For the meeting participants:

The reality is that if the organiser spends a minute or two extra before sending a meeting invite: they will have a better a response.

If participants write a line or two when declining or cancelling this will save considerable frustration.

The technology has been here for a while:

If you don’t have the technology, get it. A comparatively small investment will result in an increased speed of decision making and collaboration, improve employee satisfaction by removing meeting frustrations.

The people aspect however costs even less to improve. Think about your fellow human being as a person, not a resource or obstruction. This person has their own job and life with their own challenges and pressures. We don’t know what is going on at all times with each other, and in reality, it’s not entirely our business. However, it is important to be considerate. So, spend a few extra seconds or minutes before, during and after meetings – it will pay off handsomely in the long run.