Frequently, leaders, managers and employees tell me (with frustration) how ineffective their meetings are. It’s become a national, if not global, epidemic! From lack of focus to poor facilitation, people are wasting millions of hours a year which not only takes an economic toll but an emotional toll as well.
Are ineffective meetings draining company productivity? Adopt these 4 best practices and watch your meetings go from boring and mundane to compelling and engaging:
- Know Your Purpose – Be crystal clear about the purpose of the meeting. Ask yourself, is this meeting necessary? If the answer is yes, identify if it is to provide updates (reporting out and information sharing); or to problem-solve and make a decision. Clients tell me the typical ratio is 80/20 (info sharing to problem solving) where it should be the reverse.
- Use An Agenda – Stop fighting it and create an agenda template for every meeting. Lay out the timing and objectives of each section of the meeting. Be sure to distribute the agenda 24 hours in advance give people time to prep.
- Use Skilled Facilitators – This is a great opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of others on your team! Be sure to include a scribe, timekeeper and someone who is comfortable intervening when they see challenging behaviors (ranging from dominators to silence). Having a small cadre of leaders trained to become strong, effective facilitators will bring drastic improvements in your meetings.
- Finish Strong – Too often the hour is up and people are abruptly dropping off the call or packing up and running off to their next meeting. Schedule meetings to end 10 minutes before the hour. The final 5 minutes should include 3 essential things:
– Ask: “What decisions did we make today?” Agree and write it down.
– Complete the “Who-What-When” action register so there is accountability for unfinished items and next steps.
– Decide what info must be cascaded out of the meeting and to whom.
Meetings don’t have to be nightmares. They can be incredibly productive for speeding communication; accelerating decisions and healing relationships. Try following these 4 best practices and I guarantee success!