Wow – my informal survey shows there’s a lot of strong opinions about meetings. Everyone’s been to “that meeting” organized by “that guy/gal”. There is a “force” and it isn’t with you. It’s the kind of meeting where you leave with less information than you had walking in the door.
If only you could get the last hour of your life back you think to yourself. There is a way. In fact, based on your input, I would propose there are 10 ways. 10 logical approaches to improve your meetings and help influence your immediate culture (i.e., respect, communication, team work, execution, to name a few). They are almost too logical, simple even, yet you don’t have to be a Jedi Knight to do start doing them.
- Before organizing a meeting – determine what you want from the meeting (information collected, information given, discussion/work, other). If you do not know what you want from the meeting, no one else will either
- Invite only those that are necessary to meet the objective of the meeting – less can be more
- Schedule meetings in open calendar spaces (Do not create intentional conflicts!). If you have to schedule over something, let the person with the conflict know why you had to create the conflict AND why they are needed in your meeting over another meeting
- Start the meeting with the purpose/objective – end the meeting with a summary indicating if the objective was met and what the next steps are
- If you do not think you need to go to a meeting, ask the organizer why you were invited. If there is not a good reason, decline to go
- If you can’t make a meeting, let the organizer know you can’t make it and why. Or, send a representative
- In the Outlook meeting notice: include an agenda and the expectation of the meeting
- When you are seeking information in the meeting – give people a heads up so they can come prepared
- If it is a cross-functional formal meeting, put out meeting notes – especially if decisions were made, or actions were requested
- Realize any gathering of two people is a meeting. Meetings are not bad if true communication is made
Let me know if any of these work for you or if you have more suggestions.