Time is one of the most valuable things you lead in your organization. Time wasted is a high cost to your team. Try putting a monetary value on time spent in meetings (simply do an hourly estimate of what you are paying the people in the room) and it can be a wake up call to assess how your organization is spending its time.
There is nothing more frustrating than having an unproductive meeting and organizations do it all the time.There's nothing more frustrating than having an unproductive meeting, right? Click To Tweet
Here are ten ways to ensure your meetings have positive outcomes:
- Clarify (in writing) the meeting purpose and objective. What is the outcome you want from the meeting? What will be the key takeaway when the meeting is over? This one step will determine the who, what, and how of the meeting.
- Determine who needs to be at the meeting. After purpose is clarified, only invite those necessary to accomplish the objective of the meeting. Be vigilant about not inviting those that are not central to the meeting purpose. A meeting killer is having the wrong people in the room.
- Prepare an agenda. The agenda should include specifics on subject, person leading, and time allotted. If the meeting has only one item to cover (a called meeting to solve a problem or ideate an opportunity) there still needs to be a statement of focus, person leading, and time set.
- Communicate clearly the meeting purpose and agenda. Prior to the meeting send out the plan in time for the team to ask questions or speak to any additional items they believe should be covered.
- Come prepared. There is a mental, emotional, and physical engagement for successful meetings. When people show up ready, there is a tangible energy in the room that ensures meeting success.
- Start well. Start on time. Be ready and prepared. It is okay to start with informal engagement if this is part of your plan.
- Respect the agenda. It is a guide for your meeting success. Often, the meeting will need to deviate from the plan BUT the one leading the meeting needs to acknowledge that openly to adjust the plan. Respecting the agenda is really respecting the people you have invited to the meeting.
- Have a “parking lot.” Items come up that are not on the agenda. Park these ideas for later but don’t let the random ideas highjack your meeting.
- Foster dialogue. Unless the meeting purpose is a critical update, meetings should include the cross learning and engagement of those in the room. Great meetings create a collaborative environment where great outcomes happen because of shared insights and solutions. When one person dominates the meeting, it is easy for the meeting to take on a passive tone.
- End strong. Restate purpose and state the outcome and key takeaways from the meeting. Summarize decisions or action items. Point out next steps or follow up items assigned. If there is a next meeting, mention the date.
Time is a precious gift that we all must steward. As leaders, we can help ensure that meeting time is not time wasted.Time is a precious gift. As leaders, we can help ensure that meeting time is not time wasted. Click To Tweet
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” Psalm 90:12
What are some ways you make your meetings more productive?