Meetings on meetings on meetings

Published July 15, 2016 5:29 pm by Jamie Goff

We’ve all been there – the meeting to prep for the meeting. Or the meeting to regroup on the meeting. Or the meeting to ______ the next meetings. It’s a time-suck for sure, but a necessary event to keep forward progress. But how can we stay on point, operate efficiently and prevent eyes from glazing over?

The key is to determine areas for meeting improvement and create a meeting protocol for your office based on feedback from coworkers and colleagues. This is not an unecessary process, but rather an effort to implement a few key guidelines that will provide structure and give peace of mind to all involved. It seems rudimentary, but this will help uncover common meeting missteps to avoid or corral moving forward.

Here are some eye-openers for us when asked why meetings are so brutal:

  • They’re unorganized; no facilitator/leader
  • The intention is unclear. What is the expectation of attendees?
  • They spiderweb
  • They’re too long
  • We don’t know how to end

losa-5084-01_Blog-Content_July_JamieGA few fundamentals that can be universally adapted:

  1. Establish mandatories. Meeting invites should include length of meeting, agenda, objective, participants and give all of the information that will help participants come prepared and in the right mindset.
  2. Designate a host. Participants can bring a multitude of disciplines and perspectives to the table, but a host is responsible for facilitating the conversation and keeping things on track. The host is responsible for recapping the meeting and next steps, so he or she should document the discussion or designate somebody in advance to take notes.
  3. Define roles. What are the expectations of participants? If a meeting has been properly scheduled, participants should know what the expectation is, understand what they have been asked to do or research and know exactly what data or insights to bring.
  4. Rate it. Wrap it. Recap it. Finishing strong is arguably the most important part of a successful meeting. Ask participants to rate the meeting on a scale of one to 10. If it earns a low rating, ask why and apply those insights to improve future meetings. Asking all participants to recap their next steps, takeaways, action items, deadlines, etc., ensures accountability. Finally, the host should centralize and play back these next steps and deliverables to the full team.
    • Address the clock. If you’ve completed the meeting objectives and there is time left on the clock, GREAT. Allow for closing statements, discussions, etc., and wrap it early—nobody will object.
    • If you’re running over, acknowledge it. Your participants have honored their commitment to the time you blocked—now pay them the same respect by allowing them to leave, agree to stay for an extended amount of time, or regroup at another day/time that works for everyone.

There are many factors that will influence and affect each individual meeting, and that is ok. But a few guidelines can help wrangle in those meetings and make them more productive. Do you have any meeting tips or tricks that we might have missed? Drop us a note in the reply box. We’d love to hear from you.