January 15, 2018
Meetings are a favorite target of complaints across all levels of an organization. Why is it so hard to have meetings that enthuse every participant?
The obvious response is that we often want different things. Some prefer a highly structured, disciplined process of making rapid-fire decisions on a wide range of topics; others seek a free-wheeling discussion of current challenges and opportunities. Some see the meeting as a time when the team comes together to get reconnected and bond; others see it as the opportunity to lobby for their pet project. The list of differences is endless. It’s no wonder that most meetings result in some participants grumbling about the process and the outcome.
In reality, meetings will always have multiple purposes, which means that not everyone will be equally happy with the outcome(s). Much good can come from a well-planned and conducted meeting. The challenge is to structure and conduct meetings that fulfill the needs of most of the attendees.
The average leader spends about 15% of every week in formal meetings. How do we make the time we spend together be of maximum benefit to as many as possible?
Effective Meetings Start With Good Agendas
Meetings Need An Active Driver.
Once a strong agenda has been established, meetings need an active, involved person at the helm.
Improve The Process By Seeking Feedback
At the end of every meeting, ask the group what could be done to have future meetings be even more productive and efficient. When the question is genuinely asked, participants can see the sincere desire to make every future meeting better than the last one.
A Word Of Caution
Most people believe that the best way to have a shorter meeting is to reduce involvement, based on the assumption that it takes more time. Leaders need to ensure involvement, and work to create a positive atmosphere where members feel they need to contribute. Part of that includes monitoring bad behavior of team members who make it difficult to have productive meetings. Leaders need to provide feedback to team members on behaviors that not only make meetings more successful, but behaviors that hurt meetings as well.
Consider the impact in your organization if every meeting were even just 15 minutes shorter and run more efficiently. Having the ability to move meetings along quickly, controlling side conversations, taking issues that need more discussion off-line, and getting important decisions made will have a profound impact—it is the one of the bests gifts you can give this year!
This article was first published on Forbes.com.
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