Meetings – I’ve heard more than one person say meetings are a huge waste of time. They hate them. They aren’t productive. A meeting gets in the way of their “real work.”
Here are four steps to a better meeting:
- Send out an agenda ahead of time. This shows people what will be covered. If there’s something other people need to prepare or think about beforehand, they have time to do that. And make sure you stick to the agenda – no straying.
- Set a time limit. Do you need an hour? Do you really just need 15 minutes? Set a time limit and stick to it. You’d be surprised at how much can be accomplished in a smaller chunk of time.
- Lead the meeting. As the meeting leader, it’s your job to stay on topic and move the meeting forward. During the meeting, if someone is monopolizing the discussion, take an active role in getting feedback from others. For example, ask if others have something to share. You might say something like “Sharon, you haven’t shared yet. What do you think?” If you get off topic, feel free to interrupt the conversation and steer people back to the agenda. You can also use the “parking board” concept for those stray ideas. Write the idea down, and say that you’ll need to cover that at another time (and then remember to actually do that).
- At the end of the meeting, set some next steps. During your meeting, did you decide a plan of action? Assign the work and set deadlines. Set the next meeting time if needed.