The right tool can often be the difference between a successful break through and a stalled effort.

With the challenges of competing in business, the efficiency of meetings can get lost in the daily operations of a company.

To help with this challenge, Christiaan Zeirleyn presents meeting software called Yabu in MLP 106.  Yabu streamlines meeting-related tasks to drastically cut meeting times and grant more ownership of individual processes.

Christian Zierleyn

Christian Zierleyn - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Born and raised in the Netherlands. Bookworm, cycling fanatic and nerd that became IT-consultant during the dot-com bubble. Entrepreneur, but also diversions as director of exchange organisation YFU Netherlands. Since 2008 engaged in local politics as a council member and alderman. Learned much about bad meetings that way. Co-owner of Yabbu. Now on a mission to change meeting culture. Dreams of only having short and fun meetings for the rest of his life. 

You Can get in touch with Christian at https://yabbu.com

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00:00 – Show Opening

If you are a meeting leader who is frustrated, you know you’re talking about the wrong things in the meetings that you’re leading and you’re looking for a solution, you’ll get a lot out of today’s show, because today we’re talking about a meeting productivity app to improve team communications on The Meeting Leadership Podcast.

00:43 – Podcast content starts here!

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach, with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to The Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode of The Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard. I want to say thank you so much for being here. I want to say thanks because mainly the folks that are listening like you to this podcast understand that meetings are a process and that you really want to get at the overall philosophy and tactics together that will combine to make them better. You know that to do this, you need to build your leadership skills. You also need to learn how to run highly effective meetings, and you’re coming to this podcast to pick up the tips and the strategies to do just that. I really appreciate that you’re here.

01:17 – A software solution to make your meetings better

Gordon Sheppard: Today on the show we’re going to look into a software solution that you might consider to make your meetings better. That’s because today we’re going to talk about a meeting productivity app to improve team communications, and that’s with Christian Zierleyn from Yabbu. Now, for the past two years, Christian has been working on this startup to really come up with an app that they think can change the game, can really bring a full philosophy around improving meetings, and they’ve developed the app, they’ve gone to market, they’ve tested with the customers and I think you’re going to get a lot out of today’s interview so I’m not going to hold you back any longer. Here’s the wonderful interview about Yabbu with Christian.

01:55 – Welcome, Christian Zierleyn!

Gordon Sheppard: Christian, welcome to the show.

Christian: Thank you for having me.

Gordon Sheppard: It’s really great to have you here. There’s so many wonderful things I think that people need to know about you, beyond the fact that you’re really an expert at helping them have better meetings. One of the pieces that stuck out for me from your bio is the fact that you’ve actually spent time in the political realm, and that is just all about meetings. Is that correct?

Christian: That’s correct. You start at morning with the meeting and you go up until the evening, and it’s just meetings.

Gordon Sheppard: I just can’t imagine what it’s like. Good for you for taking on that badge. I think it’s one of those things that, when I think about doing it, I’m not sure that I could last. Especially from that too many meetings perspective. Let me just let you know also that a lot of people listening to the show are meeting you for the first time. When they meet you for the first time, what do you want people to know about you?

02:41 – Christian’s self-introduction

Christian: Well, my name is Christian Zierleyn. I’m from the Netherlands, I live in Amsterdam. I have an IT background, and like you’ve already said, I’ve been a politician in my local community for a while, I’ve been an entrepreneur, and for the last two years I’ve been partner of a small startup here in Amsterdam, it’s called Yabbu. I’m really an active guy, I’m doing a lot of cycling.

03:08 –  What is Yabu?

Gordon Sheppard: So just run of the mill for a startup, because startups are just so easy, right? You said the keyword there, which is Yabbu, which is your meeting productivity app, and today we’re going to be talking about your meeting productivity app and how it helps really people to improve their team communications. So help me out there. What is Yabbu for people that don’t know?

Christian: Yabbu is a software startup from Amsterdam, and we developed a whole new kind of meeting tool. Our approach is about preparing a meeting online together with all participants and doing it so well that you can close most agenda items before you actually have a meeting.

04:42 – The key benefits of Yabu

Christian: How does it work? Well, when you schedule a meeting with Yabbu, you start by creating a digital agenda with agenda items, like you would do with other meeting tools, and you add participants with their email address. But when you publish the agenda, all invited can immediately share information, discuss agenda items and also close agenda items if the discussion is clear, then you can immediately add action items and decisions. All that happens online before you have the meeting, and the result of that is that when it is time for the meeting, and say there were originally six agenda items, you’ll have closed three or four agenda items already so the actual meetings will last 20 minutes instead of an hour.

Christian: We see Yabbu really as a whole new approach to meetings, one that truly transforms meeting culture, and the key benefits are that you’ll save up to 50% time on meetings. It will create much more ownership for the whole meeting process, and it will lead to better decisions. Our customers tell us their meetings are much shorter and a lot more fun than they used to be.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, this doesn’t sound like an app, it sounds like a miracle.

Christian: It is.

05:02 – Ownership leads to more accountability

Gordon Sheppard: I love learning about this and I’m going to take some time here to unpack a few of the just blockbuster things that you’ve just said, because that was a really eloquent summary and I think for anybody needing to learn about it, the piece that I’ll pick up on right away, because I actually do facilitation and training to help people have great meetings as well. I don’t develop apps like you do, but I can tell you that ownership piece, which leads to accountability, is so critical. The really great thing that you just said was sharing.

Beforehand, everybody gets access to the agenda, because right now I can tell you in, what, 99.9% of offices or whatever, where is the agenda? One, if it got made at all by the senior leader, it’s sitting in his head or her head or whatever, or they come in and they do it on the fly so they don’t even have one, or this is the killer, they’ve got it on their laptop. Somewhere where people can’t get access to it. So just that simple piece that you’ve put in, I don’t know if people realize how powerful it is that everybody gets to access the agenda, everybody gets to take ownership. What feedback are you getting about that specific aspect?

06:07 – Shifting engagement to the preparatory stage

Christian: Yes, that’s really important. We sometimes call it WhatsApp for meetings, so it’s really a simple tool that everybody can use to quickly create an online meeting. That’s really our focus, make as simple as possible, and we believe that you should shift as much as possible to the preparatory phase and get done as much as possible there. If you do that and you can really engage people in that stage, then the whole meeting process becomes much more active, and as a result the results will be much better.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, and you told me a great story. Can you just please share one of your case studies so that the folks here can really paint the picture fully in their minds?

06:43 – Case study: the university teachers

Christian: Yes. We originally had a tagline that was Cancel The Meeting, because we thought once you use Yabbu, you don’t really need the meeting anymore. But then we got our first customer, and it was a university here in the Netherlands where teachers started using Yabbu for their weekly meetings, and then they came back to us and they said, “Oh yeah, we like your tagline to cancel the meeting, but actually for us that’s really not that important, because since we’ve been using Yabbu, our meetings are much shorter,” and actually they are so much fun that for the first time they actually like going to their meetings. That made us really think and also change our tagline. So we now say, with Yabbu, you can really love your meetings again.

07:36 – Get focused on the tasks that matter

Gordon Sheppard: Well, and I’m going to guess loving the meetings comes from the fact that they can get focused on team building, get focused on strategic items, get focused on the things they need to be discussing and not getting hung up on the weekly updates thing, or are those types of disasters, or the things where people speak on and on and on.

Christian: Yes, we really think, it was one of our basic principles, that you should really think about what you discuss in a meeting. A lot of items in the typical meeting, like status updates, we think you can easily do before the meeting in a tool like Yabbu, and that just leaves the really important complicated stuff for the meeting itself. So you get all the boring stuff out of the way and the meeting becomes a lot better.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, again, if I said app equals miracle, I think we’ve just heard it from you. Congratulations on your software startup. It’s quite remarkable. If people need to get in touch with you to learn more, where’s the best place to get in touch?

08:22 – Get in touch with Christian Zierlyn – http://yabbu.com – christian@yabbu.com

Christian: Oh, they can just go yabbu.com. That’s Y-A-B-B-U.com. They can contact me at christian@yabbu.com.

Gordon Sheppard: That sounds really great. Christian, thank you so much for being on the show.

Christian: Thank you.

09:12 – More from Christian – MLP 113 – MLP 120

Gordon Sheppard: Now, there were so many great takeaways in that interview, but can you imagine using a tool to get most of what you need to get done before the meeting, so that when you actually get to the meeting you’re doing what counts? You’re doing that high strategy work, you’re doing that relationship building work, all the things that really create high performing teams. What a great opportunity, and if you’d like to learn even more from Christian, then check out episode 113 on The Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called How to Lead Productive Startup Meetings, and in there Christian’s going to use his startup experience to give you a bunch of tips that you as a leader in a startup or any agile type situation can really take advantage of. You can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/113.

Then on episode 120, Christian is going to share an inspiring leadership story about how Yabbu really is helping people who are almost in tears from meetings being so bad, and how he is mission-driven to turn that around. You can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/120

09:58 – MLP 030: Effective Meeting Agenda Software That Gets Results – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/30

Gordon Sheppard: If you’d like to learn about another great software solution for meetings, then check out episode 30 on The Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called Effective Meeting Agenda Software That Gets Results, and that is with Ashley Jansen, and you can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/30.

10:17 –  Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy

Gordon Sheppard: I also want to let you know that this episode of The Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by The Meeting Leadership Academy. Now, there you’re going to find some really strong live training options and online training options to help you and your team learn how to have highly productive meetings that really ultimately impact your entire organization and flow right on through to helping you serve your customers and your community at the highest possible level. You can learn all about that by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/academy.

If you haven’t done it yet, I really recommend that you hit the subscribe button on your favorite podcast app so you can get more of the great episodes that are coming up, and if you get a chance, please leave a rating and review and we’ll take that information in to create even more great content moving forward. As always, thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you tomorrow on The Meeting Leadership Podcast.

11:11 – Podcast Outro

Thanks for listening to The Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader, and don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow right here on The Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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