I recently came across a New Yorker cartoon of people sitting around a board room table, with the caption “Today’s meeting will be endless, with a half-hour break for lunch”. How many of us have been through this before? When the meeting ends, we leave drained and upset that our hour (or more!) has been wasted.
Let’s Get Clear
Your time is too precious. You’ve got important things to do, and so does your team. Make sure that your meeting helps you get to where you need to be and won’t drag you down. Here are three simple (and relatively quick) ways to instantly improve the quality of your meetings.
1) Engage your team: Ask for their input.
Before your next meeting (or even at the beginning of your next meeting) email or ask your staff these three questions.
a. What works well about our meetings?
b. What should we change about our meetings?
c. What suggestions do you have to make our meetings more effective?
A lot of teams take meetings for granted and don’t stop to question whether we can make them more useful. These three questions will help everyone to break out of complacency and think about what could be different.
2) Always Ask: What is the purpose of this meeting?
If the answer is a version of… “because we always do”, I encourage you to question whether you need to hold the meeting at all! Break meeting inertia by only holding meetings that have a clear PURPOSE and set of OUTCOMES, and make sure that everyone attending knows what these are, ahead of time. Purpose and outcomes are so important, we will discuss them in a later blog post.
3) Clarify: Who’s going to do what by when?
Create a standing item at the end of every meeting. In just 3 – 5 minutes at the end of a meeting, you can confirm the action items, who is responsible for them, and by when. Often times, people will leave a meeting before agreeing on this. This creates confusion post-meeting AND makes the next meeting more frustrating, because you are rehashing the same old stuff.
Apply these three tips immediately and observe the difference! We always love to hear success stories. Share yours with us at email@example.com.