Running Great Meetings

How many times have you left a meeting thinking, MAN, that was a waste of time???

The average executive spends 23 hours of their week in meetings, and 71% say these meetings are unproductive and inefficient.

This article will hopefully keep YOUR meetings from falling into that trap. 

Before you ever call a meeting, you should define the objective.  This can most easily be done by creating an agenda.  An agenda has the power to speed and clarify a meeting that very few people understand or harness.  

-          Be Precise. Instead of having “develop budget” as an agenda item, use “Discuss the need to reduce the operating budget by 15% and how to achieve reductions without reducing headcount.”  This level of detail allows attendees to think about the problem in advance and come armed with ideas. 

-          Circulate the agenda 24-48 hours before a meeting. 

-          Don’t be that person - the objective should always be one that cannot be accomplished by e-mail. 

Set a time contract.  Everyone should know exactly when the meeting will end and it is your job as host to keep the meeting moving towards its objective within the time constraints. 

Appoint someone to take notes.  This should be a rotating task.  Be sure you don’t just ask the lady in the room.  Seriously.  Not cool. 

Start every meeting with a check-in.  I like the question, “What’s going right?”  Starting a meeting with a question that asks about a high point experience, cause for celebration, or source of excitement, helps people connect positively with their work and ensures that everyone’s voice gets heard at least once. 

Whether you are the host or not, go to the meeting prepared to ask open-ended questions and listen intently to the answers.  High performing teams are characterized by members who ask great questions.  If you are the host + don’t have all the answers, don’t worry.  Rich questions can spark ideas for problem-solving, solution-finding, and obstacle-hurdling.  Some great questions are:

·       Is everyone clear on their role, and why they matter to this project?

·       What do we most want to happen with this project/initiative?

·       What makes it possible to do our best on this type of project?

·       What tools do you need to be successful? 

·       What are your pet peeves on this project?

·       If you could wave a magic wand and make three things happen between now and the next meeting, what would they be? 

·       What makes this project hard? 

·       How can we think about this differently?

·       What’s on your agenda today? 

Before the meeting adjourns, be sure that you agree on next steps and thank the group.  Some prompts are:

·       Would it be helpful if…

·       I believe where we are is …

·       Our next steps are …

·       Before the next meeting, we will…

Following the meeting, the note taker needs to circulate the notes.  The notes should be based on the agenda, salient points discussed, all decisions reached, all actions agreed upon, and who will be undertaking the action. 

If you are the leader, be sure that you follow up individually with the folks who are responsible for actions.  Make sure that they are clear about what their responsibilities are, what support they need to be successful, and when they should reach out if they get off-track. 

Now that everyone understands what their role is and what their responsibilities are, you need to hold them accountable for following through. 

Mic drop.  Everyone agrees: you CRUSHED that meeting