Want Better Meetings? Make a Plan.
3 things your meeting plan needs to have
Ever get on a meeting and realize in the first five minutes that it isn’t about what you thought it was about?
Or that the meeting doesn’t seem to have a point at all?
I’m going to hazard a guess that you’re nodding your head because most of us have attended meetings like this (and more often than we’d like.)
Either we’re silently frustrated about being stuck in an aimless meeting, or we’re feeling unprepared for the conversation because we thought we were going into a different one.
Meetings don’t have to be this way.
Before you open the browser tab to make a calendar invite, you need to create a meeting plan.
It’s exactly what it sounds like — a plan for the meeting.
The plan starts with what you need to accomplish and then details exactly how you’ll spend time to get there.
When you create these plans with care, you not only run a better meeting that makes the most of everyone’s time but you can also stop meetings that don’t need to happen from ever getting scheduled.
Here are the 3 things that need to be in your meeting plan:
- The point: Why are you bringing these people together? What needs to be achieved by the end of the meeting? Bonus points if you can include a sentence of context.
- The pieces: Add the steps you need to go through. Say “make a decision about the dates of the fall staff retreat” rather than “staff retreat” so it’s not an open-ended topic, but a crystal clear action.
- Time blocks: Now add time blocks to each piece. If you stick to your plan (and you should!), these blocks enable you to invest the right amount of time into the right things. The time block can be as small as 5 minutes.
In addition to your plan, you also want to share materials in advance of the meeting. It’ll take some intentional discipline at first, but people need to come to the meeting having already reviewed everything — and preferably with their thoughts and questions organized.
No one wants to be on a call with unprepared participants. It’s a waste of time.
Remember, a meeting isn’t just the cost of 30 minutes. It’s 30 minutes times the number of people on the line, all of whom could be doing something else with that time.
Make the meeting worth it.