I used to schedule dental appointments rather than attend a weekly team meeting. That’s how bad these meetings were – they were long, rambling, everyone got a turn to talk & no one else listened. I didn’t know why I had to attend. After some discussion with my manager, I found out that I wasn’t the only person who hated these meetings. With feedback from participants the meetings were changed, and they actually added value!
My career has changed, and one of the things I do now is design and facilitate meetings. I learned from the bad and good meetings I have attended, and the training I’ve taken.
If you don’t want your employees preferring root canals to your meetings, here’s my 007 Tips for Killer Meetings:
Decide if you need a meeting – Instead of wasting people’s time, determine what the best way to communicate your information is. It could be through a virtual meeting or an email. Don’t assume meeting is the only option.
Share meeting outcomes – If you are going to call a meeting, then there should be a defined reason for that meeting. And “because it’s Thursday morning” isn’t a good enough answer. Participants can choose to attend or not based upon your meeting outcomes. You are more likely to get the right people there and who are prepared for the discussion if the know the meeting outcomes.
Share the agenda – First, you must create an agenda. You have to stop and think about what is going to be discussed, decided and shared. An excellent agenda builds upon what was done in previous agenda items or previous meetings. By sharing the agenda in advance of the meeting, you are allowing people preparation time to successfully participate.
Have firm stop and start times – If you don’t start your meetings until everyone is in the room, then you are punishing the punctual attendees. The punctual people will start coming late if they know your meetings habitually start late. See the reinforcing spiral? I might give 5 minutes leeway but more than that sets up a bad precedent for future meetings.
Be prepared – Bring the information and tools required for the meeting. Don’t waste time looking for data on the computer, have it ready.
Prepare attendees – First, invite the right people to achieve the meeting outcomes. Then prior to the meeting tell participants if they are going to be speaking on an issue, or if you want them to bring information into the meeting. I will also run difficult ideas past some of the influential participants to ensure I’m prepared for the discussions and have their support.
End in action – Before anyone leaves the meeting, agree upon actions that will be taken, who will do them and when they will be done. I am amazed by the number of meetings that end with the assumption that “someone else” is taking further steps. If you don’t specifically assign it, it won’t get done!
With these 007 tips for killer meetings you will be achieving more success in no time!
Want help designing or facilitating a “Killer Meeting”? Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
Read more about running better meetings: 3 Tips to Save Yourself from Bad Meetings