“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Most meetings lack in the arena of inspiration, they are habitually boring and unproductive. Some conventions get the folks involved all excited but have no follow through. Your meetings don’t have to be this way. Here are some ways for making your conferences count.
1. Begin with a Purpose
Decide first what it is that you want to achieve. If you don’t begin with the end in mind your meeting will fail to have the desired structure and you won’t achieve much. Too many meetings are held for the sake of meeting instead of being outcome based. Make every assembly matter – or don’t meet at all.
2. Micro-Meetings are Time Savers
Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice-president of search products uses micro meetings very effectively. When setting aside your normal meeting time cut it into smaller segments of 5 – 10 minutes each. Instead of including everyone in the meeting unnecessarily rather have a small meeting with the key people on a particular subject or project. Using micro meetings also means employees don’t have to wait for a week or so before being able to meet on a pressing matter.
3. The Importance of Agendas
This follows on from having a purpose before the meeting. Make sure all the relevant persons have the agenda beforehand. Even though agendas should be flexible they do ensure that individuals think about what they want to achieve in the meeting and help people to stay focused.
4. Stick to the Clock
Cover only what needs to be covered and stick to the relevant topics and discussion points on the agenda. Own your meeting, take charge and keep your meeting moving forward. When you find someone pontificates, the best way to deal with it is to acknowledge the person’s experience with the subject but to suggest raising the issue at a later stage. Discourage politics, use data. Get the constructive input you need from everyone present. Avoid favouritism in the decision making process but make use of facts and data instead. Use timers in your meetings to impose structure.
5. Have an Action plan for moving Forward
It is vital that everyone leaves knowing the next step and when the next meeting will take place. Assign individuals to keep track of the progress of things decided during the meeting. Keep everyone involved updated on the development of the various projects. Deliberate action and delegation ensures follow through, without this the meeting was a waste of time.