Criss Cross Applesauce Hands Off Your Laptop

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At the end of a busy day the kids like to relax with a story before bed.  We all gather around our fireplace and the kids sit, listening intently, as my Husband reads tales of Huck Finn, James and his giant peach, and that Indian who was living in the cupboard.  False!  Story time typically comprises of wrestling the kids into their pajamas, forcibly scrubbing their teeth, and scolding them for jumping on the beds.  After repeated trips to the bathroom and a gallon worth of sips of water we have two hyper children who can’t calm themselves for the 3 minutes required to get through “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.  How in the world do teachers at school get 15 preschoolers to actively engage in circle time and sit quietly through library visits?  I’ve learned they use a wonderful little rhyme that works (almost) all of the time.

Criss cross applesauce hands in your lap.

Tongues in your mouth.

Listening Ears on.

Just like that.

This type of distraction is not limited to kids at story time.  I sit through many meetings throughout the day where people are trying their hardest to multitask.  Laptops are open, cell phones are ringing, side conversations are diverting from the topic at hand, and team members can’t sit still.  Some people are standing up, some walking around, some even have their heads down on the meeting table.  For the meeting organizer you’re typically pleased that you can get anyone to show up on time, so full undivided attention sounds like an unreasonable request.  What results is miscommunication, redundant meetings, and project delays.  The meeting organizer must be diligent in setting meeting expectations upfront.  Send an agenda and request that everyone review the items beforehand and come prepared to discuss.  Unless absolutely needed, ask that all laptops and cell phones remain out of the meeting room.  Most importantly, at the end of the meeting, confirm what was discussed, assign action items, and set due dates to those items.  If that doesn’t work you can always try a rhyme.

Criss cross applesauce hands off your laptop.

Tongues in your mouth.

Agenda reviewed beforehand or the meeting will stop.

Listening ears on.

Cell phones off.

Action items due.

Keep attendees to the needed few.

How do you run an effective meeting?

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Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
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