Maybe you were surprised or even upset with that the meeting never get to be about that one thing that you thought it was going to be about.
Everybody else kept talking about other things that you could not have cared less about. Keep reading below and I will share some of the secrets that make meetings efficient, energized and excellent. People often ask me for advise on this topic since they have experienced how these strategies I will give you below work their magic when applied properly.
It doesn’t matter if you are the person who seems to be in charge of leading the meeting, calling people together, booking the room or not. If you consider yourself just a participant at the meetings with no responsibility for the action, then that is the place to begin! Get into the action! If you are not contributing you are blocking. Blocking your meeting, your team, your corporation, from being all it could be. So get busy being part of doing and being by reading on and applying whatever your formal role in your meetings is.
“If I had six hour to chop down a tree, I would spend five hours sharpening my axe”
It is all in the preparation, or almost all of it, it is just plain simple the way it is. The first thing you should do to sharpen your meeting axe is to decide who is needed at the meeting. All to often people are called there just to be present. If they are not needed for input or it will add to the quality of your relationship by spending some time face to face, send them an email with the info instead or visit with them afterwards. A good meeting group size is between 2-12, if you go beyond that you are well on your way to have an information instead of a meeting, that is if you wish to be efficient. If your department is bigger than this, consider have one large information and several smaller meetings.
Next is to make sure that the purpose of the meeting is clearly communicated to each and every participant of the meeting. The almighty, all important and earth-shaking question is “why do we get together this fine Monday morning?”. Get that clearly answered in a way that makes sense and you are half way there. It is also an excellent opportunity to ask for input, as to what others feel should be on the agenda for the meeting. Maybe you have overlooked something important, maybe you can not fit it all in (which you should avoid anyway), but it might go into the next meeting or give you a feel for what others feel is important.
With the agenda in front of you, notice we are still sharpening the axe, clarify if an item is Information, Dialogue or Decision. Information means one person informs, the other LISTEN, you could allow a few questions to make sure the information is clearly communicated, but NO and I mean NO input, no discussion, no questioning! Dialogue means you take the time to discuss an item, it might be something that someone needs input on. If giving good input means that the others need to prepare before the meeting, make sure that is communicated well ahead of the meeting. A good rule of thumb is that the person bringing that item into the meeting should do the least talking. Decision means that you are going to decide on something, at the end of the allotted time you need to have reached a decision. Start any Decision item by quickly decide how you are going to decide. Voting? Compromise? Unanimous? Chairman or boss decides?
That’s it. In the Quick List below I have for your convinience summarized the three strategies described above, out of a total of ten strategies. Find the other seven strategies in articles 2 and 3 in this series on Everything That Your Parents Did Not Tell You About Effective Meetings.
The quick List
If you jumped right here and something below does not make sense, I suggest you take some time out of your busy life and read more about it above.
1. Clarify who is needed at the meeting
2. Communicate Purpose of meeting before the meeting, ask for input
3. Clarify if items are Information, Dialogue or Decision
I wish for you excellent, rewarding and productive meetings. It is my sincere hope that the above will be helpful for you. Remember that meetings are about PEOPLE coming together to get THINGS done, not the other way around.