Manufacture your Day by HAVING BETTER MEETINGS
How can people get their job done with the amount of meetings that they have to attend?
There are so many people who have put their brain on autopilot when they run to a meeting. Everyone is busy and stressed, and usually they have their mind on something else. Seriously, how many meetings have you attended that you would classify as a colossal waste of time?
I have participated in meetings in which team members were totally tuned out, stayed low-key, checked their emails and in the worst case even dozed off. Sometimes people become aggressive, loud, and verbally attack one another. The person who called the meeting barely notices what’s going on in the room or doesn’t know what to do about it, and drones on. Meeting Guidelines can be definitely helpful.
There is certainly no shortage of information available on how to conduct effective meetings, yet very few seem to have mastered this critical skill.
Now here is some great news. You can totally rock any meeting in the shortest possible time if you just keep a few things in mind.
- Purpose and Structure
Why specifically are you there? Are you having the meeting for a tangible reason? Is the meeting focused on problems or opportunities? How will you make sure that you don’t waste time and get to the point? Who has to be there to make this meeting successful? What is the expected outcome? What do you want people to think, feel and do when it is all said and done? How will you build a structure into the meeting that people understand the context? How will you ensure the engagement of the participants? Who is in charge of the agenda? How will you stay focused?
Energy is important. You can’t get positive results with a negative mind. Positivity doesn’t mean to neglect problems but to see the opportunity in them. Have you every thought about starting your meeting on a positive note? You can ask, “Let’s start with celebrations. What went well since our last meeting?” You can go around the room quickly and ask everyone to share one of their successes. If you think that this would be a waste of time, I would ask you to think again. Starting your meeting with a positive bang, will boost the results of your meeting in a big way.
- Encourage Creative Conflict
Conflict is often seen as something negative but in reality there is nothing wrong with conflict as long as we stay respectful with one another. Conflict is necessary to have different opinions voiced and discussed. Everyone looks at challenges from a different perspective, and we should be eager to learn something in meetings instead of putting each other down. What is going well? In what areas are we stuck? How can we get better? How about having a meeting while walking outside and getting some fresh air? Would it be possible to create a colourful room that encourages creativity?
- KIS=S (Keeping it Short = Sexy)
It’s only possible to conduct a time effective meeting if you stay on topic and keep the time. If a meeting lacks structure and certain rules that everyone must adhere to, it will easily get out of hand. Have you ever considered standing through a meeting, or putting treadmills in the meeting room? The meetings would definitely be shorter, more productive, more energetic, and would deliver better results.
- Make it Participative and Engaging
There is nothing worse than a boring meeting. You also don’t want to be seen as the dictator instead of the facilitator. If people don’t say anything, it’s never a good sign. Either they feel intimidated or they are disengaged. Be observant. Have the courage to “see” what’s going on. What is the body language of the people in the room? Are they tuned out or tuned in? Are there people dominating the conversation? If so, make it a point to ask the quieter ones for their input and ideas. At the end you should always ask for feedback about the meeting. What could be done differently? What can be improved? Asking open ended questions is a wonderful way to get everyone involved, and reflection is always an important part of improvement. Before people leave, everyone should take ownership of different action items.
I strongly believe that people have the right to look forward of being an active participant in a meeting (instead of merely attending one) because they know that their voice will be heard. In order for a meeting to be successful, it has to deliver results otherwise it is a waste of people’s time and the company’s money.
Please make the effort to run more effective meetings. Your co-workers will appreciate it.