Meeting Hacks: Start With the End in Mind

Few activities have both the short & long term impact like your team coordination meetings. When done well they’re a place of action, innovation and empowerment, when done poorly it’s time sucking culture killer.

Start with the end in mind

If you’re interested in meeting success, this simple perspective has the highest return. Only when you know what you want from the meeting can you move towards that goal. That clarity helps to simplify your process. You can now ensure you have the right people, have shared expectations; ability to facilitate the conversation and then flow the meeting results into action.

You’re bringing this group of people together for a reason. They are good at what they do. Who really needs to be part of this conversation? How do they fit into the meeting’s purpose? Do you invite people just so they don’t feel left out? It’s helpful to be clear and let some people know the meeting is optional. They can be briefed afterwards from your summary meeting notes. Make it easy for them to not attend if not appropriate so they don’t ‘let down the boss’.

The more people who are on the same page coming into a meeting, the better chance they’ll be at the end. With your meeting purpose clear, you can develop an agenda to lead you to the goal. Do others need preparation before you talk? Is someone else responsible for a portion of the meeting? Are you all clear with each other? It’s possible that not all the information has to in the meeting, some can be shared ahead and focus on issues to move you forward.

As you orchestrate the conversation in your meeting, inevitably tangents come up. These discussions can seriously derail your meeting unless you know if they fit or not to your purpose. Having a shared expectation provides everyone the awareness when a topic isn’t appropriate. You may want to put it into a parking lot for future discussion.

As you near the end of a meeting, get bonus points by quickly reviewing the initial purpose and how well everyone felt the meeting reached expectations. This provides plenty of learning and future adjustments.

Even in ongoing, recurring meetings, you will have remarkable better results if you occasionally review your purpose. At times, a new person to your group will give you a chance revisit and restate the meeting purpose.

Meeting preparation is one of those things in life that we never have time to do right, but always have time to bitch about crappy meetings. Single task this, think about your next meeting, take time to share the expectations and involve everyone. I ensure you the dialog will be more fulfilling, and have a far better chance for success.

Curious to hear people’s thoughts. How do you improve the team impact from your meetings?