3 Useful Tips For having a Great Meeting

“Meetings are at the heart of an effective organization, and each meeting is an opportunity to clarify issues, set new directions, sharpen focus, create alignment, and move objectives forward.” – Paul Axtell

What according to you is a good meeting? It is an activity that is:

  1. Efficient so that work gets done.
  2. Fun and Positive so that people enjoy themselves while working at the same time look forward to the next meeting as well.
  3. Participative so that everyone becomes the part of the meeting instead of just zoning out.
  4. Open so that people are free to say what they really think.
  5. Creative so that new ideas can be generated and discussed freely and openly by everyone.

Having graduated from one of the top colleges and being fresh in a new workplace, you will have to be a part of a lot of meetings. So, learning an art of great meeting is fruitful for your overall growth as a leader. So how to begin?

1: Open the meeting with a positive note

Studies have shown that the way a meeting starts, decides the tone for the entire meeting. If you start the meeting with problems, complaints and mutual blame that is exactly you are going to get. But if you start with a positive note, the rest of the meeting is going to be more productive and fun. The best way to start a meeting is to ask each participant to briefly share one thing positive on the agenda we have met for today. This would create a positive environment and when the difficult topics get discussed, people would be more open to listen and might come up with meaningful suggestions.

2: Have Regular Breaks

This should not be an option but a mandatory rule especially in case of long meetings that will go on for hours. Taking five minutes off after every one-hour or half an hour to cool off would help the team to stay focused and productive for the entire meeting. We know the agenda is long and you are tempted to wind it up as soon as possible but taking less breaks would do more harm than good as the productivity will suffer. For all you know, the meeting will run longer than you initially planned.

3: Lose the tableOh yes! This is not something most people would think as a good idea. But there are scientific reasons. Studies have shown that the flow of communication is better when you get to see the entire person. Also for meetings involving 20 plus people, the table would be huge and the average distance between two particular people would be high. This may hamper the flow of thoughts. Losing a table or having a circular sitting arrangement ensure equality and democracy and thus improves the output of a meeting- drastically.

 

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The Hyderabad Alumni Chapter Meet saw 50+ alum; revisiting the days gone by

Begumpet’s Ohri’s Jiva Imperia And De Thali had the Parking Full glowsign blinking by the time it was 8 in the evening of August 8,2018. Keen and nostaliga-tinted faces were stepping in the beautiful dining hall of the restaurant- all excited to meet their long-lost friends and faculty with whom they had spent two extremely defining years of their lives. It was time for the Alumni Reunion- Hyderabad Chapter meet!

Beside hosting the annual Alumni Meet on campus, VJIM leaves no stone unturned to stay connected to its alumni. Being the primary torch-bearers of the institute, alumni serve as a major source of motivation for the B-school and its students by contributing through mentorship, guest lecture sessions, placement guidance and what not! August 8, 2018 was about re-celebrating them and their constant efforts to keep the flag of the school- high!

The event started at 7pm with Prof. Janani, Prof. Jayashree, Prof. Padmini, Prof. Jyothi, Mr. Keshav and the Dr. CH S Durga Prasad joining the event. After a welcome speech delivered by the Director, the evenign became all about chats, laughter, food and drinks. B Naresh and S Pruthvi Raj from the 25th batch of VJIM, Hyderabad presented a beautiful musical performance to engage the crowd. Amidst thundering applause, alumni committee member T. Shiva Prasad invited other alumni to share the funniest, craziest and one of the finest memories from his days at VJIM, Hyderabad and his answers had everyone happily nostalgic.

“Looking back and reflecting on the days gone by, made me crave for those days once again. Such easy yet productive times we spent together at the B-school and now friends are all around the globe, doing various things, contributing in millions of ways to make the world a better place to live in,” quipped one alumnus when asked about her experience at the B-school.

Everyone extended their gratitude to the Alumni Committee for the lovely initiative and the evening ended over a hearty dinner with endless conversations. Numbers were re-shared, memories were re-visited and life- relived!

Kiran Aketi makes a strong and colorful start to his professional journey with a placement with Asian Paints

When Kiran Aketi stepped onto the vibrant VJIM, Hyderabad campus for the first time, he had his set of expectations. He wanted to understand the real life business world better and gain in confidence to face it when time came. Two years of training with cutting edge pedagogy that included term papers to improve presentation skills and CVS training for better communication meant he left the campus with a bright and colorful future ahead of him. After all, he has bagged placement with a top brand like Asian Paints and forayed into the corporate world in style.

Corporate insights for budding manager
Kiran asserts that he really understood the importance of PGDM after he started the program. He learned about different aspects of business including consumer behavior, product life cycle, marketing strategies, pricing and more. “But above all, VJIM, Hyderabad gave me the belief and confidence in my abilities. That’s why when I didn’t get through initial placement interviews I believed that a big company was waiting for me, and that’s how I cracked Asian Paints interviews,” he claims.

Internship creates the perfect launchpad
Kiran got the opportunity to use his learning in the real corporate world during his internship with Triumphant Institute of Management Education. His project involved conducting competitor analysis, promotional activities and counseling of students. As he rubbed shoulders with professionals he got the taste of actual work environment. “The experience was important for my placement interview. But it will be absolutely vital in my job with Asian Paints as I will handle different responsibilities including working with dealers to achieve sales targets, solving their queries and more,” he adds thoughtfully.

In Kiran VJIM, Hyderabad has created another confident professional with bright future. At the same time, through the social outreach programs it has made him aware of his responsibilities towards the society. So when he talks about giving back to the community and those in need, you know that his transformation is not only complete but heartening too

VJIM, Hyderabad modernizing its management programs with changing times

“Our competition is not with other B Schools, we need to compete with where we were yesterday and keep bettering ourselves,” says Mr. K Harishchandra Prasad, Chairman, VJIM, Hyderabad. His words reflect the constant efforts of the B School, which strives to imbibe that philosophy in every aspect of learning, from methodologies to knowledge resources, networking for industry inputs to building on the faculty strength. And the results are showing as its PGDM programs evolve giving students the cutting edge advantage.

It all begins with the curriculum that gets frequently updated to keep students abreast with the latest industry moves. Ms. V. Jayashree, Sr. Asst. Prof – Marketing and Program Director at the B School also reminds us that the courses are designed to even the playing field for students from various backgrounds. “Some of our students have work experience, others don’t. A big task is to make them un-learn and then re-learn. We try and do that by bringing case studies, on field assignments etc to the program,” she tells us.

The Chairman asserted that one of the goals for the B School was to achieve zero fail percentage. Efforts have been taken to monitor the performance of students on a regular basis. Dr. Ch. S. Durga Prasad

Director of the institute adds, “We started offering evening classes to students who were weak in particular subjects. They were given tutorials and extra work, which resulted in them catching up with other students. As a result there was hardly 5% failure rate in the Batch of 2017.”

Moving with the changing times VJIM, Hyderabad launched several initiatives including streamlining some of its programs in 2017. It also started online exams for students and Television Schooling, which was an instant hit with the students. Speaking of the initiatives Dr. Prasad says, “The idea was to build confidence in students and make them believe in themselves. With over 20 companies recruiting 125 students this placement season, I think the initiatives are paying off.” And that is good news for students of the B School.

 

 

 

Santosh takes ‘rejection’ in his stride and bags placement with ITC Limited.

Some of the brightest minds and leading personalities in the world of business have risen from failure. It’s your ability to take setbacks into your stride and turn the opportunities into success that proves your mettle as a professional. That’s exactly what Santosh, PGDM 2016 – 18 at VJIM, Hyderabad did after he failed to make it past the first round of placements for his ‘dream company’. “It was tough but I realized companies don’t reject candidates, they choose those who are ideal for their organization. After that I got shortlisted by every company,” he says wisely. And his reward was placement with a top brand like ITC Ltd. He tells us how it all happened.

Getting down to the basics

As an engineering graduate Santosh admits that he had no knowledge of management concepts when he enrolled with VJIM, Hyderabad. He chose to be a generalist with knowledge of core subjects rather than being a specialist in one. The nature of the program encouraged him in his pursuit. “Dynamic and updated course structure, affable faculty, mentoring system and career vision schooling systems for placement preparations are four factors that make VJIM stand out from other B Schools. These elements of learning were crucial for my growth too,” he adds.

Building on the strong foundation

According to Santosh, VJIM, Hyderabad offers students a number of platforms to showcase their talents and grow as professionals. He singles out the influence of AIMA games where he had to take solo responsibilities, manage teams and improvise to overcome worst case scenarios. “My SIP with Trip Thrill, a startup company in Tourism Industry was another building block in my journey. My project was to acquire homestays for the company in Coorg and market them on online platforms. I could put my learning into practice in a short span of time,” he says.

Santosh believes these experiences will help him in his professional life as he takes on the role of a Sales Manager with ITC. Besides the learning he takes memories of open air dinners in the hostel, canteen hangout sessions and placement parties. Given his own prestigious placement, you’d imagine that his party was one to remember.

 

11th National Conference at VJIM, Hyderabad offers students an enriching experience on a timely topic

Vignana Jyothi Institute of Manegement (VJIM), Hyderabad recently hosted its 11th National Conference on “India Rising: Perspectives from South Asian Region” in the presence of renowned names from different industry sectors and academia. Held on 29th and 30th of Jan, the topical conference was high on relevance as it focused on the growing might of India, which has been bolstered by initiatives like Make in India and Digital India. As Indian brands taken on global powerhouses, intra-regional trade in South Asia needs to reach its potential. These were some of the questions raised and answered through eye opening discussions in the two day conference.

With Mr. Mahendra Raja Ram, Disaster Risk Reduction Officer, UNICEF as the Chief Guest and Mr. C V Raju, Head Distribution, Nigeria, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Retired, as the keynote speaker, the conference was inaugurated in a star studded ceremony. Dr. Ch S Durga Prasad, Director, VJIM and Dr. A S Rao, Director Centre for Project Mobilization and Globalization, Vignana Jyothi addressed the gathering and put the theme of the conference into perspective. Over the course of two days, experts deliberated and discussed four sub themes that streamlined the learning for all participants.

“Building Social and Physical Infrastructure” was the first topic that was discussed by Dr Vijaya Bhavani, State Project Officer, UN Women, AP, Mr. D. Suresh, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation, Hyderabad and representative from L&T Metro, Hyderabad. The latter talked about the metro project in Hyderabad, voted the most liveable city in India in Mercers Report. Dr. Bhavani then spoke about Gender Equality and its role in Building Social Infrastructure. Mr. Suresh delved into his own experiences working with the Foundation that focuses on learning and development. The stimulating discussion has several crucial learnings for the audience.

The session on “Leveraging the Demographic Dividend and Fostering Governance and transparency” had Prof. Paritala Purushottam, Adjunct Professor, Centre of Economics Social Studies, Hyderabad, Dr. A M Rao, Vice President, Corporate, Satyam Venture Engg. Services Pvt Ltd, Tech Mahindra, Hyderabad, Mr. M Sanjeeva Rao, HR Professional and Trainer on soft skills and Management Systems, Dr. I V N S Raju, General Manager, Corporate HR and Admin, Renew Sys India Pvt Ltd, Fab City, Hyderabad and Dr. K V S Sarma, Prof. Law, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research on the panel. The discussion shed light on demographic dividend, lessons from China and other Asian countries, and ways to tap into Demographic Dividend, Economic Growth, Employability, Gender and Demographic Evolution.

Day 2 of the conference carried the tempo of the discussions with the first session on “Institutionalization of Financial Reforms”. With seasoned speakers like Mr. Shankar Suman, GM – Banking Supervision, RBI and Mr. B. Srinivas Reddy, Managing Director, Wealth Aggregator Financial Services Pvt Ltd. on the panel, it wasn’t surprising that participants were taken through different stages of banking reforms, financial markets and reforms in industrial sector in a simple yet effective manner. Students in the gathering realized that reforms are launch pads for social sector, including agricultural sector, SME’s and marginalized weak sectors.

The final session on “Reimagining an Education Eco-System” was helmed by Dr. K. Panduranga Rao, Group Head – HR, IVRCL, Dr. Sekhar Murthy, Director, IIC Technologies and Mr. R K Dinavahi, Board Member, NHRD. Dr. Rao made a valuable point when he said, “Educational qualifications are important for your success but attitude, vision, physical health and communication are also crucial.” Dr. Murthy talked about ‘Disruptions in market place and Digital age education’ and suggested, “The educational system should connect to the students by talking their language.” Finally, Mr. Dinavahi urged students to go beyond textbooks, learn from their experiences and shine in the field they choose.

His words were held true for the conference, which created an immense learning experience for students on topics that are timely and vital for managers of the future.

How VJIM-ites use outbound activities to learn team dynamics and understand the importance of “unity”?

Aim: Team dynamics and collaboration through outbound activities. 

About the activity:

The outbound activity was conducted in three rounds

  1. Maze game
  2. Bottle and stick
  3. Jigsaw puzzle
  4. Team band

The PDGM students of Vignana Jyothi Institute of Management, Hyderabad were divided into 4 groups, each group with 15 members in them.

Tenure: It was a 2 days’ event where all the students were divided by their sections and activities and attended conduct one section after another.

Place: Green Lahari near the VJIM Hostel

Activities- 

1.Maze game:
In this game the students were asked to cross through a route assuming they have landed over mines/bomb and were given instructions by the team members which route to take and according to that the player had to take the route that helps him/her avoid getting bombed and reach their destinations safe.

2.Bottle and stick:
This game tested students’ analytical skills as well as their coordination among the team. The task was to pick a bottle by only using two sticks and the sticks had to be placed back in a cover. This game teaches how imperative it is to accept the instructions of the peers than only relying on one’s own decisions in life.

3.Jigsaw puzzle:
It was the regular jigsaw puzzle game where students had to join the pieces that replicate the main picture. VJIM students learnt from this activity that “too many cooks can spoil the food.” Presence of mind is absolutely critical for any game one plays!

4.Team band:
This activity tested the trust level of the team members while they operate within a team. This activity shows how important it is for every member of the team to contribute, resulting in building strong bond within the team. It also showed when any member of the team quits, there is a huge impact in the remaining body.

Conclusion:
It was an adventurous experience for each and every student of VJIM, Hyderabad to attend the Outbound Training Programme. “The kinaesthetic way of learning opened our minds towards understanding the dynamics of management better,” says Poojitha, PGDM Class of 2018. “We all got to explore more things in terms of the place, persons and games,”she adds further.