"Has anyone ever said, ‘I wish I could go to more meetings today?”– Matt Mullenweg
Nothing deflates morale more than unmet expectations. Conducting a great meeting exceeds expectations and are engaging, productive, and empowering. Conducting a bad meeting wastes the time of everyone present, they’re counter-productive, draining, and pointless, yet they take place every day.
Some statistics say more than 1/3 of employee time is spent in meetings, and nearly half of employees surveyed consider too many meetings to be the number one waste of time in their work schedule.
Meetings produce synergistic effects that ripple throughout an organization, they are either the best or worst use of everyone’s time. Nothing helps or hurts organizations like regularly scheduled meetings. Good preparation will always meet and exceed employee expectations.
Meet With Your Key People Before the Scheduled Meeting I’ve held numerous meetings over the years and learned through trial and error that the most effective, productive and energizing meetings were strategically scheduled, thoroughly prepared, and well-organized.
To conduct more productive meetings that meet expectations, I follow John Maxwell’s advice of having the meeting before the meeting. Meeting with key people before the scheduled meeting helps me to answer questions and consider the possible outcomes to the topics we’ll be discussing.
Maxwell lists five benefits of holding a meeting before the meeting
The meeting before the meeting:
Helps you receive buy-in
Helps your followers gain perspective
Helps to increase your influence
Helps you develop trust
Helps you avoid being blindsided
* For details read “Leadership Gold” by John C. Maxwell Chapter 18
Seven things I’ve Learned From Others and My Mistakes:
#1 – Do you have a good reason for holding the meeting? If not, why hold one and waste everyone’s time? It’s disrespectful and counterproductive to call people away from their responsibilities without a good reason, and it also depletes morale.
#2 – Do you have an agenda – What is it? Put together your agenda, it should be specific and applicable to those attending the meeting. Highlight and prioritize each item. Address the higher priorities first and the lesser priorities if time permits.
#3 – Do the participants receive the agenda before the meeting? Once I’ve prepared the agenda I email it to the participants. I send the agenda one week in advance allowing everyone time to prepare and participate in the discussions.
#4 – Are you prepared? I usually set aside two 60-minute sessions for some quality think time at least one week before the meeting. I make sure both timekeeping and minutes recording are taken care of in advance.
#5 – Set the agenda and stay on it I conduct meetings as roundtable discussions, with everyone having a say the discussion can easily drift from the agenda. Being fully engaged and mindful of time allows me to seamlessly get us back on track.
#6 – Start and end on time If your meetings don’t start on time, your people will eventually stop coming up on time. Starting and ending on time respects their time. I also try to be sensitive to restlessness, keeping the meetings short, relevant, and to the point keeps everyone engaged (they know I’ll close the meeting on time).
#7 – Follow-up We close each meeting by going over the responsibilities of each participant. Everyone knows they will be receiving a full report of everything discussed and will be contacted by me for their input and feedback.
“The secret to a productive meeting is the presence of productive people” – JSP
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***