May 3, 2023
“This could have been an email.” How many times have you had this thought during a meeting?
Would you like your employees to feel more engaged and not mutter this under their breath in your meetings? Ready to run better meetings? We have some pointers to help you stay focused, keep your audience, and avoid an Elon Musk-style walk out.
The Anatomy of a Good Meeting
A good meeting should have the following items:
A Clear Agenda
Know exactly what you want to accomplish during your allotted time. Share expectations ahead of time with attendees by posting a clear agenda. Note: Sending an agenda less than an hour before the start of the meeting doesn’t count as “ahead of time.”
The Right Attendees
Invite everyone who will have input or any decision will impact. These stakeholders should have insights into the conversation you wouldn’t have otherwise. Note: leave the door open for anyone to decline a meeting where they don’t feel they’ll add value.
If you’ve curated the right attendees for the meeting, you should also have active participants. These people have skin in the game and can contribute valuable insights into the topic at hand. Someone in the group a little quieter? These attendees often take time to absorb information. Ask for their insights.
SMART Action Items
Don’t walk out of any meeting having no idea what happens next. Take the last 2-3 minutes to recap decisions, any next steps and their owners. This one step ensures others leave a meeting understanding the value of holding it.
Do You REALLY Need an Actual Meeting?
Sometimes other business needs fool you into thinking you need to devote meeting times to them. Don’t believe these wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you have any of these needs below, rethink how you can accomplish your goal without an actual meeting.
When employees gather to watch one person talk about (or worse, read slides verbatim), you don’t need an actual meeting. If your slides say everything the audience needs to know word-for-word, save your team from death by Powerpoint.
The Solution: Send the deck to people in advance. If you want to discuss the material or allow others to ask questions, make THAT your meeting instead.
The Status Update
Do you have basic status update information to share with your team?
The Solution: Share that electronically instead of wasting everyone’s time. You get Dealer’s Choice on whether you want to share via email, Slack, Teams, or your intranet. Just allow an avenue for people to ask follow-up questions. Consider posting the most common ones.
The Required Check-In
Checking-in with your team members can feel like a great leadership tactic. And certainly you should make sure they each have what they need to succeed in their roles. But what do you accomplish during those sessions?
The Solution: Rather than breaking an employee’s workflow for little more than shooting the -ish, clear their calendar of the pointless touchbase. Keep your lines of communication open if they get stuck. Save the meetings for project kick offs with the entire team.
You can run better meetings with a bit of intentionality and care. Rethink your instinct to automatically hit the meeting invite button and ask yourself WHY do I need this meeting? Then take steps to make it a valuable experience for everyone on your invite list.
Need a great place to hold your next meeting? Consider renting the Chamber’s conference room.