Author: Rich

5 Reasons Why You Should Determine Your Business’ Customer Satisfaction Rate

According to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth, “ . . . the customer you’ve got is a lot less expensive to sell to than the one you don’t have yet.”  It’s a no brainer – satisfied customers lead to loyal customers which means more business. Boom. End of article. But businesses and the people that run them are all inherently different. Therefore, customer satisfaction is important to each business differently.


Have you determined the customer satisfaction rate for your business and how it has impacted it? If not, here are reasons why you should.

REASON #1 Customer satisfaction maximizes your marketing budget, by optimizing it

All businesses spend tons of money marketing their products and services to win new customers every day. From small “Mom and Pop” restaurants to large technology corporations. But if your customer satisfaction level is low, those customers may not return. However, as mentioned in the opening of this article the more satisfied your customers are with your products and services the more likely they will return again and refer others as well. When that happens, your marketing dollar is now stretched and optimized producing incremental business. Determining how satisfied your customers are may potentially lead to more business without actually spending more on marketing but rather making a concerted effort to keep the customers you have already originated because of it.

REASON #2 Customer satisfaction is your point of differentiation

Free market enterprise exists to produce competition in a variety of ways. So in essence, there are always options for customers to select which business they purchase from for their needs. Customer satisfaction, like anything else, quite often is the reason people select one business over another.

Take Apple for example. Apple, especially under the direction of Steve Jobs and his successor Tim Cook, has always aimed to create high-quality products and experiences with them. And as such they have a large fan base of product champions that continually grows each year. For years, Apple placed a premium on meeting and exceeding expectations of their customers that has led them to surpass technology giants like Microsoft and become the largest technology company in the world.

REASON #3 Customer satisfaction shores up operational issues and inefficiencies

Let me ask you a question – if you discovered that your customer satisfaction rate with your business was lower than expected, what would you do? Wouldn’t you look at doing business differently?

Change can often be a frightening word to people and especially those in business. But in this case, change can be a tremendous benefit. Your discovery leads to an opportunity to change operationally the things that are inefficient. New processes. New projects. And a tremendous chance to improve the overall quality of your products, services, and the rate of satisfaction your customers have for them.

REASON #4 Customer satisfaction spurs new ideas

Similar to the above bullet, knowing your customer satisfaction rate and its impact can lead to ideas that are with the customer in mind first and foremost. Apple is tremendous at this. They are quite keyed into making their products appealing, hip, fun, user friendly and simple. Customer satisfaction is at the core of what they do, and they’re notorious for not inventing new gadgets but reinventing ones already adopted and making them exponentially better. MP3 players existed before the iPod, but the iPod transformed the digital music industry. The iPhone? Same story. Apple makes the most popular personal technology products because their products are so engaging, and so customer-centric that their fans have no reason to buy such items from the competition.

REASON #5 Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction are interwoven

When you work for a company that puts people at the center of its purpose, inevitably satisfaction levels remain high. Customers ultimately buy the feelings the products and services provide them. And employees perform with passion when they feel validated, challenged and involved. It’s a natural yin and yang.

Employees treated fairly and with a stakeholder mindset build better products and services. The customers that buy those products ultimately feel happy and satisfied about their decision to buy. And those same customers are more likely to do it again and share their experience with others. The positive mojo transfers from employees to customers and back again.

The Importance of Creating and Maintaining Your Company Culture

Partnership and team work

The company culture. What is it? And why should I, as the company leader, care?

There are a number of variations of what a company culture is to an organization. Wikipedia, the foremost internet expert upon, well…. everything, defines the company culture as, “…the values and behaviors that uniquely amalgamate with the social and psychological persona of the company.” Certainly a generic and bland way to think about it. But that leads to some questions like: 1) do only established organizations have a culture? And 2) are the employees then the originators and stakeholders of the company culture?

The quick and dirty answer to both is “no.”

Company culture begins and ends with you

As the leader of your organization, the company culture begins and ends with you. Certainly employees, partners, vendors, and customers may help to refine it but it is the leader that sets the tone. Even a company of one or two employees develops a culture. It starts with the leader and how the leader functions and communicates the long term vision, values, and beliefs. Quite early on your employees’ behaviors are the result of your direct leadership and growth of the company. Assumptions are made. Processes and systems developed. Routines and habits are formed. And the very nature of your organization’s ecosystem is created.

But whether you are leading a small and emerging company, or assuming the reigns of a fully developed and mature organization, the culture blueprint is set forth by you. What you do, say, and believe as the leader about the operational aspects of your company plants the seeds. How you follow through, relate, and communicate, as well as your attitudes on display will begin to nurture what you have planted. Ultimately, what you harvest is in the results.

Needless to say it behooves you, as the company leader, to pay close attention to how and what you are doing in defining the company culture and how it is maintained. Even if you are assuming a new leadership role with an organization with a historically positive company culture, you as the leader can inadvertently change it without realizing it.

SmartDraw Tip: In the Template Screen’s Left Panel, navigate to the Marketing Charts category.  In the Marketing Chart Templates sub-category, select Marketing Mix-1. To insert an image into a shape, select a shape. In the Insert ribbon, select Picture.  Locate the appropriate image. Click Open.  
Click here to learn about more ways to use the Marketing Mix template.

Forging a new or refined company culture

With the many items leaders tackle, one of them should be to make time to think and diligently plan ways to positively impact the company culture from the outset. Take time to listen to employees and their ideas and thoughts. Provide customers and vendors opportunities to add input. Closely examine what outside influencers write about your organization. Regularly review the current company mission and values. Then….

Adjust as necessary. Focus on how to change the attitudes and beliefs strongly held by your team. Those adjustments will permeate across other teams and filter down to customers and vendors. For example, if your team struggles with its behaviors and performance with serving and supporting customers, learn to seek how those systems can be improved. Develop new systems. Charge and challenge your team with new roles and responsibilities. Model the behaviors and actions routinely. Align the attitudes and behaviors with desired results.

And in the end, the attitudes and behaviors of your team will change along with the improvement of a long standing corporate issue. Thus forging a new or refined company culture.

How to Present Your Data More Effectively

meetingThe data you collect in your business is only as valuable as its analysis and presentation. Without the latter, problems cannot be solved. Opportunities cannot be capitalized. Decisions cannot be made. Data presented to audiences can be a mine field. So, as the leader, be mindful of how you present your data and findings for your audience (or team) with the use of charts and visuals.

The key is to present the data in palpable ways. And nothing accomplishes this more effectively than the use of visuals. Properly constructed charts, and other visuals, certainly provide insight. But you already know this. However, what if I told you that presenting data through visuals is only the beginning?

Look, pouring over data in a spreadsheet is an arduous task. One simply cannot detect through the data alone whether or not the business is improving, souring or remains stagnant. But through the use of visuals, you are now able to determine trends, opportunities and make a slew of strategic planning and other business decisions.

However, simply presenting various charts, graphs and other diagrams to illustrate your data may also gloss over key learnings that may be important to you and your business. What I mean is – don’t throw the entire kitchen at them (or chart). Reveal it sequentially so that the entire message is understood.

Let’s look at this as if you are to give a presentation later this week. Essentially, you are presenting to the entire company how the business performed, and in particular, the sales results for the end of the fiscal year.

You could simply project your spreadsheet of the numbers onto the screen and verbally disclose your learnings to the audience. But a spreadsheet of all the sales transactions (similar to the one below) would be far too overwhelming and detailed. Looking at the numbers, one cannot determine if sales are up? Flat? Sideways? It’s far too granular.

Spreadsheets versus Charts

So if we know the audience finds it difficult to make the connection from what you say and what you are showing, you could throw your data into a chart (like the one below) and present it to them. The chart is now able to illustrate the sales numbers at a higher level to essentially show the accumulation of sales growing over time this past fiscal year.

sales chart - no sequencing

However, charts presented all at once don’t fully realize the potential impact of your message with your audience. Why? Because the audience may not see or comprehend some key data points that you learned from your analysis and find important for them to understand.

In this example, you want the audience to not only see the overall sales numbers over time for this past fiscal year, but to also understand how the various versions of the product performed. To do this with your chart, reveal the data sequentially. Now your presentation presents all of the data in a step-by-step format easily digested, and thoroughly explained by your audience.

For example, your presentation may go a little something like this:

…and now to show you how our sales performed for the past year. First, coming into the year we supported two product versions: the 2014 and 2015 versions. As you can see from this first data set within our chart, the sales for the 2014 version waned as the year progressed.”

sales chart - sequencing and data labels (red only)

Our 2015 version at first glance shows flat growth. But if you look closely at our chart, you will see a large uptick in sales in Q4.”

sales chart - sequencing and data labels (blue and red)

And of course, we debuted our latest version earlier this year. However, as good as the latest version sold right out of the gate, the sales of our 2015 version outperformed it in Q4. And by a staggering margin.”

sales chart - sequencing and data labels (all series)

Because of these Q4 numbers, we are proceeding with further product and customer analysis to learn more about the customer satisfaction within these versions. In particular the 2015 version for further opportunities.”

As you can see, using charts and other visuals as well as sequentially revealing the data creates a more compelling presentation for your audience. And the audience now understands the data originated from your spreadsheets. A presentation home run!

Increase Productivity: 5 Ways to Get Your Business More Organized,sur:fc&tbm=isch&imgrc=0YEJfxZg5Xkq5M%3AOrganization is key to running any business effectively; regardless of size or industry. It’s the most fundamental aspect in starting or managing a business. Everything is effected either positively or negatively based on the scope of organization employed.

But let’s be real for a moment – organization, if not done right, can be time consuming and distracting. Which is why so many business owners, executives and managers neglect it.  The solution is to keep it all simple, straightforward and seamless with the rest of your business making it painless for everyone involved. Here are five strategies to improve your company’s organization.

#1.  Organize Ideas and Information

Brainstorming sessions and planning meetings can get wildly out of control. Some of the best ideas can be lost or not prioritized properly. Begin by capturing all of the ideas during the brainstorming session using mind maps. When the ideas have all been captured, you are then able to organize and prioritize them based on the needs of your business and team. After creating the mind map, be sure to share it with your team and have a specific person responsible for its evolution and continued importance in future planning discussions.

To sharpen your meeting management skills, read Make Your Meeting Matter: 6 Tips to Run Effective Meetings.

Organize Your Ideas Using Mind Maps


#2.  Organize Projects and Teams

The great thing about creating mind maps via software is that they can be instantly leveraged for your projects and teams – which also have to be closely organized to meet deadlines and customer expectations. Traditional project managers typically leverage the power of Gantt charts and timelines to do this, however, you do not have to be a professional project manager to employ them. In fact, Gantt charts, timelines and other project charts can be used for large and small projects – regardless of your role in the company.

So once you have built out your mind map of ideas, convert it into a project chart and begin assigning teams and people responsible for specific tasks as well as dates, times, and other pertinent information keeping your idea (now project) on schedule for completion. You will be able to see from a high level the progress made and where potential log-jams may occur.

Using SmartDraw, Convert Your Mind Maps Into Project Charts…with Just One Click!


#3.  Organize Processes and Systems

Once you and your team are working on specific projects and tasks, how you and your team members proceed will be critical for efficiency and productivity. The documentation of the various processes involved is vital – but can be time consuming. The easiest way to accomplish this is to create a set of process flowcharts that illustrate the various systems within your tasks and projects. Flowcharts are easily created, consumed and understood. They can be updated and shared quickly as well for easy organization.

Like your idea mind maps and projects, be sure to delegate someone specific to manage the upkeep and collection of your processes and systems so that the information can be updated and shared regularly.

#4.  Organize Communications

Communications between team members, customers, vendors and partners in this modern age can be in countless forms. In order to keep your business hedging forward, it’s important to organize, archive and document the various forms.  By using a repository such as Dropbox or SharePoint, you’ll ensure that you and your team meeting deadlines, manage customer expectations, as well as maintain any other critical operation within your business.

To learn how to increase the effectiveness of your email communications, read 5 Email Tips That Will Transform How You Communicate.

#5.  Organize Stakeholders

The larger the business, the greater the ability to involve your team members for greater collective strength. Organizing stakeholders on different projects empowers your team.  It provides each member the opportunity to broaden their skill set and grow with a deeper comprehension of the inner workings of your business.  This cross-pollination of teams is a technique that we will often use at SmartDraw.  In order to ensure the success of this approach, it is important to clearly define each individual’s roles and responsibilities.  Thus allowing the individual to prioritize tasks and decision-making more efficiently should any conflicts arise with their current role within the organization.

The overall benefits of employing these organizational strategies are greater involvement from team members, improved productivity and efficiency of projects, tasks, processes and systems, as well as an improved employee and customer satisfaction level.

Create an Infographic in 3 Easy Steps


Everyone likes infographics. Infographics are easily consumed and entertain.  They inform by weaving data and visuals together. But there are some of us who feel that they are difficult to create and should be left to the graphic artists of the world.  I am here to tell you that premise is no longer the case.  Creating an infographic with SmartDraw can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here’s how I created this year’s college football bowl game schedule infographic complete with hyperlinks to each game’s specific website for easy access.

STEP #1.  SELECT a pre-existing SmartDraw infographic template or example

If you have data that you wish to convey by way of an infographic but are limited in your skills as a designer, simply select one of the many SmartDraw infographic templates or examples from the SmartPanel.

infographic - template

I had a printed text only list of the bowl games that I was looking to add a little pizzazz to, so I selected the template “List Infographic – 1.”

list infographic template

STEP #2.  INSERT images, shapes, symbols and text

Next, I changed the shapes to boxes and entered all of the text related to each bowl game.  To learn about adding text, color, and effects to shapes, take a look at the   SmartDraw User Guide: Fundamentals for New Users.  Then, I proceeded to add images of the various team helmets that represented the various football teams playing in each game. Finally, I double clicked my shape, selected “Add a Hyperlink” and entered the url address to the bowl game official website.

infographic designing

STEP #3.  SAVE and export as an image

Once I finished designing the basic infographic, I simply saved the file and exported it as an image file by clicking the “File” tab, clicking the “Export” option and selecting the “JPEG” file type. SmartDraw maintains your original .sdr file and saves your new infographic as an image.

Now, is that easy, or what? Three steps and I have a newly sharable infographic.  If you’d like to see more   infographic examples, click here.

Here’s my finished 2014-15 College Football Bowl Game Schedule Infographic. Click the image for the full size:

college bowl game - infographic

Is Your Organization Publishing and Distributing Infographics?

infographic-visualcommunicationIt seems like there are scores of new articles validating the existence of social media and content marketing strategies on a daily basis. And while, in my humble opinion, the question of whether to employ a social media and content marketing strategy seems to have been justifiably answered, what may be the real question is perhaps – are you employing the right content mix?

There are so many forms of content that exist today: blogs, case studies, white papers, videos, etc. So does this mean your organization should embark on creating and distributing various allotments of each?

Not necessarily. In fact, it would be better to churn out high quality forms of content that can be leveraged, consumed and shared across multiple social platforms than simply producing volumes of low quality content; especially if you have limited marketing resources. So which forms of content should you start creating and leveraging?

Chances are that by now your organization has a blog and has invested time and resources into it to validate its authority within the industry. And I’d go one step further and bet that your marketing department spends a lot of time distributing the blog content via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ (among others). And that’s certainly a worthy strategy for continuation. But, is your marketing team creating infographics for mass consumption? Here’s why it should be:

1. Infographics are visual. People are visual learners.

The human race is consuming data at paces never before seen in human history. The internet, social media, and the ever changing technology we use daily allow us to create, consume and distribute it more easily than ever.

And while the devices and applications we use change more quickly than the tires on a stock car by a NASCAR pit crew, how the human race processes information still remains largely visual. Depending on which study you read, the majority of people remember anywhere from 65% to 80% from what they see and do; versus only 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear.

Knowing that, it only stands to reason that visual forms of content like infographics are far more digestible than case studies, white papers and other text-heavy content. Infographics visually weave data and information in a story-like format that entertains as it informs. The data is therefore in a more palatable state for the masses to engage and understand. In fact, infographic engagement levels are so high that many studies suggest that only videos and photos supersede its power to engage consumers.

2. Infographics are easy to make.

It used to be that visuals like infographics were only created by design professionals using complicated and expensive tools.

But creating infographics doesn’t have to be so complicated or difficult. Tools like SmartDraw can help you create professional-looking infographics more quickly and easily by providing you templates and examples as starting points. Your marketing team can easily create a library of infographics that can be shared and consumed instantaneously via social media.

3. Infographics are easily consumed and shared

infographic-example-best-time-to-buy-smallAs previously mentioned, most of us think and process information visually – which is why infographics, are so easily digested. And when you have more people get and like the information you present, it is more likely to be shared socially.

In addition to sharing infographics on social media, infographics can be useful in presentations, blog posts, and even in PR pitches to third party sites. All of this will help increase your organization’s authority and visibility.

4. Infographics can enhance or replace other forms of content

If done right, infographics could essentially replace or at least cut down the need to create other forms of content from your marketing team’s project list.

How so?

Infographics, like case studies and white papers, tell a story using data and statistics. They just tell their story using visuals instead of text. But don’t let the visual nature of infographics diminish their importance, because the end goal is the same: communicate complicated ideas in a way that they’re easily understood and consumed. And in a lot of cases, a visual can do this better than words alone.

Even if infographics don’t completely replace other forms of content marketing, they can certainly augment them and help increase engagement. Presentations, case studies, white papers and any other text heavy content is made more appealing if you can incorporate more visuals. And studies have shown that having those visuals will help increase understanding and will make your content more likely to be shared.

And ultimately, isn’t that the goal of your content marketing? Easy to access, easy to understand, and easy to share information that helps increase your brand’s engagement and visibility.

Business Lessons Learned from Pop Warner Football

pop warner football“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” -Vince Lombardi

Business and life lessons can be found in most group activities–and especially in sports. We all know that to win the game it takes a team (along with its coaches) working together toward the same common goal. A football team’s success, perhaps more so than any other team sport, is predicated on this. There are many different tasks being performed correctly at the same time by all of its members on virtually every play. Therefore, every position and how it’s performed are vital to the success of the team.

If you’ve ever watched a Pop Warner football team practice, then you know that there’s a lot of drilling, studying, repetition and refining. In order for each position to be performed well it must be mastered. This requires the right player with the right skill set and attitude at every position.

It’s no different in business. You hire skillful people to perform tasks in order for the organization to grow and become stronger. But to achieve organization-wide success, the mere hiring of the individuals that comprise your team is only the starting point. Here are a few lessons I learned coaching Pop Warner football that can be applied in your business to encourage your team to succeed.

Develop a Team Focused Winning Mindset

Before every Pop Warner football practice and game, the team stretches, warms up, and huddles together. The pre-game routine usually ends with some form of rousing team chant. In fact, at every level of football from Pop Warner to the NFL, you’ll find teams performing these rituals on the field prior to practices and games.


Because they value the constant instillation and reinforcement of an attitude and culture of winning before they do anything on the field. Every practice and every game, the team is focused on the team goals first and the individual goals only as they pertain to the team’s objective. And when the team wins, so do the individuals who comprise it.

Now businesses often preach about teamwork and a positive mindset, but more often than not these are simply corporate buzzwords from the executive, human resources or training departments. Beyond orally suggesting a positive mindset to your team, is your organization honestly set up to encourage team success?

If not, here are some ideas that will help. Begin first by moving beyond the empty motivational bulletin board stuff. Model the behavior you want emanating throughout the organization and reward those that exhibit it. Get buy-in from your employees towards the team goal and have a system of positive reinforcement and team accountability on the path toward achieving it. Encourage your team members to get involved in every aspect of this process and give them the freedom to openly do so.

The result is a well-focused and motivated team that is prepared to work together to create an environment of winning.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Pop Warner players have to do many of the same drills over and over again. So do the pros. The reason is that it’s the culmination of doing all the little things correctly that will lead to the overall success of the team. The quarterback cannot consistently complete passes by himself. He needs the proper mechanics, footwork, blocking, receiving, and communication to execute each play.

Business, just like football, has a lot of moving parts with people directing and carrying them out. But even the most competent people have flaws and occasionally make mistakes. So it’s imperative that your team works in an environment that is geared toward rallying and forging ahead together when setbacks occur.  Furthermore, grant your team members the time and resources to work on developing their skills. This will help reduce mistakes and allow your team to improve. Encourage them to document their processes and find ways to refine them. Have them mentor and train others to reinforce a culture of teamwork and pride. As the old football adage goes, leaders are not born – they are made.

In the end, applying lessons learned in Pop Warner football—practice, teamwork, and a winning mindset—will help your team succeed in business, too.

The Effective Meeting Toolkit


people-690810_1280“That meeting was a complete waste of time.”

“Why do our meeting discussions wander so far off track?”

“We had a meeting but did we actually accomplish anything?”

Do you ever feel this way about your meetings? If so, you are not alone. Check out these statistics from a Robert Half Management Resources survey (right):

Meetings should be productive. Otherwise, why should we even have them? They certainly should never, ever be viewed as a waste of time.

There are a variety of things you can do and tools you can use for better, more productive meetings. These tools are extremely inexpensive when you consider the potential time savings alone. Increases in productivity and bottom-line results make them a must-have for anyone wanting to maximize meeting effectiveness. We’ve put together a list of some of them for you.

Effective Meeting Toolkit

In the business world, time is a precious commodity. Businesspeople spend a lot of time in meetings. Not to mention time spent on the preparation, and follow-up. Successful meetings are collaborative, efficient, productive and empowering. And although there are varying types of meetings that exist, the toolkit below is aimed to keeping the majority of your internal and external meetings on task and completing on time.

Pre-Meeting Tool Assortment and Preparation

It’s important to set the tone, establish an agenda and communicate the goals preparing discussions prior to the meeting. Otherwise, the meeting is at risk to becoming a time suck for everyone right out of the gate.

SmartDraw-boxshotSmartDraw – Need to create a quick agenda that visually illustrates the interconnectivity of the serious topics and their importance?  SmartDraw is the tool for you. Leverage the power of the mind mapping feature. It’s automated and easy to use in a collaborative environment. Its “one click” export controls let you publish your mind map agenda directly to email and circulate to your team for review before the meeting. This helps everyone understand the purpose of the meeting and sets the framework for achieving a desired result.

Prior to the meeting, be sure you’re comfortable with the hardware available to you. This may include projectors, conference calling, speaker phone features, and WiFi internet access. Don’t rely on your IT department to have this set up and working properly. Make sure it runs with your laptop, iPad, smart phone, or other hardware you are bringing. Otherwise, you risk not starting on time and losing engagement right out of the gate. If your meeting requires involving participants from outside the office, try using these virtual meeting conferencing tools: –  Drop into a real-life meeting from anywhere. is a terrific way to get everyone on the same page, whether you all are in the same room or not. Whether you need to collaboratively review documents, run a training session, demonstarate your products or services or simply have a status meeting, is a simple screen sharing tool for planned meetings or meetings that arise in an instant.


meetingburner1MeetingBurner is a fast and more agile conferencing solution that is also lighter on the corporate wallet and doesn’t require and download or pre-meeting set-up. Meeting Burner features one-touch recording and sharing for use on social media channels or for participants not attending the meeting live.


Meeting Execution Tool Assortment

Once your meeting is underway, the goal is to keep it collaborative. Using your original mind map agenda that you circulated, convert it within SmartDraw to a project chart and begin assigning responsibilities and tasks that originate from your meeting discussions. This allows everyone in the meeting to know what they will be responsible for when the meeting is over as well as the time table for task completion.

Here are a few other tools that can also help facilitate meeting participation and expedite specific tasks:

EvernoteLargeEvernote – Participants that are engaged and remain productive following the meeting typically take copious notes. So, whether you are the meeting facilitator or participant this free app is great for ensuring you quickly capture your latest random idea that may be part of or outside the meeting discussions.


adobe_echosign_1EchoSign – If your meeting requires contract documents to be signed at the end, than you need to have this app. EchoSign allows users to send, sign and manage documents from the application interface. You will eliminate the need of paper from your travels as well as expedite the process of sending and receiving documents from your team to your client, and back again.


Meeting Follow-Up Tool Assortment

Once your meeting is over, be sure to circulate your project chart (or mind map) around to your fellow meeting participants so they have a copy of the official project and tasks. Communicating everyone’s responsibilities ensures accountability and clarity. You then automatically have your agenda for your next meeting to discuss the status of the various tasks that were assigned to your team.

Once you have a clear idea of you and your team’s various responsibilities think about employing a virtual assistant to keep you organized and focused especially if you are mobile much of the working day. Here are few of the best:

Speaktoit-LogoSpeakToIt – SpeakToIt offers much that you would find in Siri – talk to it and it will perform actions. You can dictate an iMessage, open web site, create calendar entries, engage email, maps and other productivity-oriented apps and a myriad of other tasks.

Calendars 5 – The newest calendar from Readdle isn’t just for finding the date – it is a full-fledged task manager and organizer. One signature feature is its support for “natural language.” You can type “Meet Susan in her office at 2:00” and it will create an event, which is much faster than tapping through a menu to create an event.

Do you have other suggestions? What meeting essentials would you add to this toolkit? Let us know in the comments section below.