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Outline ReviewIf all business meetings could happen as concisely and productively as this nifty little book dispenses advice, we wouldn't need a pocket-sized meeting planner like this in the first place. But, because most of us do, be glad that this 72-pager offers what it does--namely, smart secrets and strategies for getting twice as much accomplished in meetings, and in half the time--including how to decide if you need to call a meeting in the first place, and, if so, if you can make it a quick and informal one; prepare a meeting, from the participants and location to the agenda; get the most out of your attendance at a meeting, from making sure that you're seen and heard to practicing "active listening" and taking good minutes; chair a meeting effectively by maintaining pace and order, problem-solving, and evaluating your own skill as a chairperson. On every page, boxed tips, handy checklists, and mini case studies bring all of the advice to life. Granted, if you're looking for very specific or in-depth guidance, you might find this book too cursory and general in its approach. But, if you're looking for a thumbnail guide to the basics, it'll do just fine.
It's worth mentioning that the book is part of the "Essential Managers" series by reference publisher Dorling-Kindersley--a series comprising 20 itty-bitty books on business and career topics that range from communication, leadership, and decision-making to the management of time, budgets, change, meetings, people, projects, and teams. Combining the talent of the "For Dummies" book series for breaking down a lot of information into bite-sized bits and sidebars with Dorling-Kindersley's signature design style of crisp, classy graphics on a gleaming white backdrop, the books don't represent the cutting edge of business thinking or reflect necessarily any unique individual perspective. Instead, it's as if someone had collated the best general thinking on these 20 topics, and rolled them out into 72 brightly designed and easy-to-read pages--studded along the way with boxed tips, color shots of a multiracial cast of "coworkers" animatedly hashing through the workplace issues of the day, and, on the last few pages of each volume, a self-test of one's skills in the topic at hand. Again, they're not for anyone who's looking for more in-depth or focused help on any of the covered subjects, but they're perfect as a quick general-interest reference; and, let's face it, they're so damn cute, and look so smart in a neat little stack or row, that probably you'll want to buy a whole bunch to give as gifts to your entire staff or department. --Timothy Murphy
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