I know where your meeting went wrong…

You booked the meeting well in advance, knowing it was important. It affects your client.
You invited your core team and some of the wider team — in fact, your best people.
Some arrived on time, some didn’t, but you got going in the end.
You spent two hours trying to come up with a solution to the problem you’re tackling.
The end of the meeting comes and you have a solution which you think will solve the problem, but you can’t help but feel that somethings missing.

You get back to your desk, ready to take the outputs of the meeting into actions and you realise a few things:

You’ve ended up with all the actions.
You’re not sure exactly what all the actions are.
There’s a bunch of gaps in the output.
You feel uneasy about the ‘decisions’ made.
You’re not sure if everyones bought into the solution.

But time is tight, so you work with what you’ve got and give it everything to meet the deadline.

You plough ahead.
You write up the output.
You send actions via email to people in the meeting who you think own certain bits.
You collate what comes back and bring it all together.
You share the ‘solution’ with the key stakeholder.
It receives a lukewarm response.

You get a lot of feedback — it’s not hit the mark.

You call the next meeting….

And you start again.

Sound familiar?

This is the symptom of a meeting that hasn’t been planned (or executed) properly. Meetings lead to outcomes. Poor meetings lead to poor outcomes.

It’s amazing how often this happens — for a number of reasons and certainly not by intention.

‘Busyness’, stress, the ‘wrong’ people coming, lack of balance and other things cause this. In short, you haven’t got a framework for running meetings to get the best possible output.

Time and time again I’ve seen this happen, in meetings, creative sessions, workshops, reviews — lots of people — the best people — and poor quality output.

Theoretically having a good number of people, within reason, should lead to better output, right, because you’ll have a more balanced set of opinions?

I mean after all, it’s a big challenge you’re trying to meet so you need your best heads on it. Will having a range of people in this meeting provide the best output?

The answer to this is a cautious yes — or maybe. Making it happen, is different.

Having more effective meetings is something that *every* client I meet says they want. I’ve not met a single organisation who doesn’t think they can improve their meeting quality.

Typical complaints are:

They go on too long
We have too many meetings
Some people don’t contribute
Other people steam roll and take over
We meet lots, but action less

So how can you fix this? It’s not hard.

Here’s 10 simple techniques to boost your meetings efficiency.

  1. Always set a clear goal for the meeting which is circulated to all — where do you need to be by the end of that hour?
  2. Always set an agenda.
  3. Brief people in advance, or share materials relating to the meeting. Confirm they’ve been read or have them ask the next question.
  4. Have everyone ask the question ‘do I need to be at this meeting’?
  5. When facilitating, use a ‘one at a time’ method to allow both the introverts and the extroverts to have equal air time.
  6. Suspend judgement, don’t shoot down ideas you don’t like — allow all voices and opinions to be shared before making a decision.
  7. Give people permission to leave if they feel they are not adding value.
  8. Have a nominated scribe taking notes and actions.
  9. At the end, ask everyone how happy they are with the output on a scale of 1–10.
  10. If the number is lower than 10, ask them what would have needed to happen to bump it up a number.

The most important of these that you can start doing *now*?

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Set an agenda.
  3. Brief in advance.

If you can remember just these three things at every meeting, you’ll half the unnecessary time spent in meetings. Or your money back. :)

Happy Meetings.

Matt

I help digital teams and individuals be the best they can be by helping them unlock their own motivation and better collaborate with those around them.

My mission is help ordinary teams become extraordinary — through fine tuning of the 4 C’s — communication, collaboration, confidence and creativity.

Read more at www.improvisingchange.co.uk