Diary cram-packed with meetings with no space in between to think, reflect or even breathe? An issue for many a leader.
How’s that working for you?
Do you return from meetings saying ‘that was a waste of time?’
You’re not alone. Many people complain that the meetings they attend are like wading through treacle or herding cats. They go on too long, the critical decisions are not made, some people are allowed to go off at tangents and other people don’t ‘speak their truth.’
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Here are my ten top tips for masterful meetings
(and, yes, they might be common sense – but are they common practice?)
1. Be clear on what type of meeting it is. I love Lencioni’s thinking on the daily check in; weekly tactical, monthly strategic and quarterly offsite meetings . Knowing the difference is key
2. Start and end on time – if people are late, start without them. It’s their problem, not yours. Make it one of your ground rules.
3. Allow a 10-15 minute check in if people don’t meet frequently. How is everybody?
4. If it’s your meeting, engage people from the beginning. Get them excited, energised… meetings don’t have to be dull
5. Agree simple ‘ways of working’ for your meetings – one person to talk at a time/no individual conversations/no emailing and texting during the meeting. Make these explicit don’t just ‘expect’ people to know. They won’t.
6. Agree concrete actions steps, clear accountability and timescales. No need for reams of meeting notes. Who has time to read all that stuff.
7. Make sure all views are aired. Great meetings have lively, healthy debate AND focus on outcomes and decision.
8. Please, please, please STOP ‘death by PowerPoint’ at meetings. Particularly those slides with reams of figures that we can’t read.
9. Know how much the meeting is costing you in terms of everybody’s time… is it value for money? One organisation I worked with have a ‘taxi meter’ ticking away. Focuses the mind!
10. Stop rushing from one meeting to the next – have space to reflect and gather your thoughts
By the way, if you hold meetings where everybody goes round the table and shares what they’ve been focusing on for the last month…. STOP IT NOW! It’s tedious, time consuming and, frankly, a waste of everybody’s time. Find a better way to communicate. The daily 5-10 minute check-in might, may be just what you need.
But that’s just my opinion.
Till next time,