Why meetings suck – plus 5 easy steps to rock them
It’s the meeting that drones on and on. What a waste of your time—not to mention everyone else’s. How many hours are lost, collectively? Half the team is messing with their smartphones (under the guise of checking emails), and your confidence as a leader and budding business owner deflate in an instant.
Worse yet, it’s the meeting where everyone arrives late. You’ve worked so hard to befriend and build relationships with your team that something as simple as a meeting isn’t taken seriously anymore. People arrive, and they haven’t even read the agenda—or maybe there isn’t even an agenda.
There IS a better way.
You can show gutsy leadership and drive productivity through efficient meeting management. Here are the five easy steps to take.
Step 1: Verify that you really need this meeting
Meetings aren’t always the best way to accomplish things. A meeting requires an agenda (more on this soon), planning and organization, and if those things take you longer than crafting an email, that’s a red flag.
Team goals that require quick interaction and collaboration are usually best-suited for meetings. The next step looks at some specific examples.
Step 2: Identify what type of meeting it’ll be
Identifying the type of meeting from this quick-and-easy list (and then communicating it to attendees) provides you (and everyone else) greater clarity on what’s supposed to be accomplished.
- Status updates
- Info sharing
- Decision making
- Problem solving
- Team building
Step 3: The right agenda, the right way
Craft an agenda ahead of time. Craft it so far ahead of time that you send it out to attendees with plenty of anticipation—if attendees don’t have time to review the complete agenda, you’re setting yourself up for an inefficient meeting.
Expert tip: Remember, agendas are designed to keep you on track. Roll the agenda out at the meeting and refer back to it anytime conversation veers off track.
Step 4: Nip [certain] questions in the bud
This sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Yes, all questions are good. Yes, you want your startup team to be hyper-engaged. Not all questions have a place in the meeting at-hand, however. When long or not-so-relevant questions come up that dilute the main topic of a meeting, assign a time or venue to discuss them further, then table them to get back to the agenda.
Step 5: Focus on action
You’ve done it. The meeting is wrapping up, and five minutes ahead of time. What’s next? Identify action items.
The last few minutes of every meeting have to clearly identify next steps. This includes articulating who’s responsible for what along with each task’s deadline. Pay special attention to this, because the meeting will be moot without this final pass.
Have specific questions? Are you curious how a one-on-one meeting needs to be optimized, too? Reach out to me today.