(image credit: alaboroflove.org)
You can almost hear the groans when you call for a meeting and a general feeling that meetings lead nowhere. This is because meeting organizers are too busy with their regular work to spend much time on planning a meeting, visualizing in advance how the meeting will unfold or deciding how long each Agenda Item would take.
But, what if we could do things differently? Below are some preparation techniques that will put an end to bad meetings that steal your time:
Define the objective
There can be nothing worse than having a meeting for the sake of it. It is important that every single person recognizes the purpose of the meeting. Defining the objective of the meeting allows you to set the tone for the meeting as well as define how success would look like.
Tip: Think hard before you call a meeting. Always remember if the message can be conveyed through an email, then you don’t need the meeting. See a sample decision tree for organizing meeting.
As Jeff Bezos rightly said, “ If the folks in the meeting can’t be fed by two pizzas, then the meeting is too big”. More the merrier should not be the mantra for calling the meeting. By not inviting people who are involved only in the periphery of the project, you are not being rude but you are being respectful of their time.
For example: If the VP of sales wants to have a meeting to discuss the sales of a new product, it is sufficient for the Sales Managers to attend the meeting who can then have an internal meeting with their sales staff.
Now that you have established the objective of the meeting and determined whom to invite, you have to concentrate on creating content that is engaging and informative.
You should also always share an agenda in the calendar invite that you send across to the attendees which in turn helps them to prepare beforehand for the meeting and contribute to the success of it.
Another important thing that you have to determine is the amount of time the meeting would consume.
Conduct a hands-on meeting
You have to make sure that everyone attending the meeting has an equal voice and that the meeting does not get dominated by participants who are more outspoken. To resolve this issue you can use tools like Wizergos that allows those participating in the meeting to voice their opinion and cast votes on the decisions that are being made during the meeting.
Keep an open mind
Always be prepared to challenge and be challenged. You can get the best outcomes only when you are flexible and open to new and creative ideas.
Review Action Items
Make sure that everyone leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of the next steps by assigning action items and following up on a regular basis on the status of those action items.
Tools like Wizergos use speech recognition to record minutes of the meeting which can then be circulated. You can also make use of it to assign action items to individuals attending the meeting and follow up on its progress.
And finally, follow up and follow through
Follow-ups and follow through are critical for a successful meeting and yet nobody gives it much of a thought after the meeting. This can be easily achieved by setting deadlines to your action items.
Hoping that with the above tips, the groans are banished and people actually start looking forward to attending your meetings