As the New Year unfolds before you, you have the opportunity to make the most of the time that you spend in meetings.
Tips to Manage Your Meetings:
- Trim the attendee list – meeting productivity precipitously drops the more people you add to the mix. When you have more than five people in a meeting you might as well light your money on fire.
- Have a point – the objective of a meeting isn’t to plan the next meeting (we were facilitating a group of extroverts who wanted to get together to figure out what a meeting was going to be about.) Be clear about WHY you are having the meeting and what you want to accomplish. A meeting should never be held for informational purposes.
- Minimize the time – try scheduling 30 minute meetings. Who said you need to put 60 minutes on the calendar for every meeting? Alternatively you can start meetings at five minutes after and end them five or ten minutes before the hour. This is most appreciated (although confusing at first) for attendees.
- Come topless (no laptops) and no electronics – devices distract. So eliminate them, get your business done and move on.
- Be prepared – meetings are maximally productive when everyone is prepared. Send out any materials and an agenda at least a day in advance. If attendees are not prepared, you have the right to cancel the meeting in the middle of the meeting. Better to release the attendees to spend the time more productively. Find another time to meet and stop the madness. Meeting attendees who read the materials during the meeting are not adding value.
- Frame the meeting before you begin – everyone is busy. Take a minute or two to remind everyone why they are there, what needs to get done and what the outcomes will be. Then at the conclusion of the meeting, review what you committed to do and show that you accomplished your intended outcomes. Everyone will benefit from a squirt of mental happy juice.
- Just say no – when something comes up that is not part of the agenda, is not included in the objectives or doesn’t support the meeting outcomes…just say no. Table the discussion and move on. Too much time is wasted on tangents during meetings. Stay focused and get the job done.
Magical Meetings happen when you are responsible for people’s time by being clear on what needs accomplished, who needs to be there and you maintain focus on the outcomes.