Lets talk about meetings and why we hate them so much?
- There is no goal sometimes
- You rarely understand why you are here
- They are full of other people who don’t understand why they are here
- They are too long
- You feel like you’re losing your time
- There are too many of them
- If someone else is conducting them you feel totally helpless you may only sit, observe that chaos and wait till the end
- They are destroying your daily work and kill your concentration
Do you feel the same?
So why do we have them at all?
Well… they are a “must”. We have processes in our organisations which demands to be fed with meetings!
But don’t hang yourself yet! I will give you a few simple tips on how to make them more efficient!
Let’s start from the most important one:
There is no goal
Believe it or not but person who invited you really have a goal in doing that! They may just not be aware of best way to achieving it.
If you are the host think about your time and all those people you’ve invited and find 10 minutes to prepare yourself to the meeting.
Think about your goal:
Why are you conducting this meeting?
What you would like to achieve? -> Do you have questions which need to be answered?
List these questions
Mark the most important ones (3 or less)
Mark the less important ones, which may be skipped without great loss
Meetings are overcrowded by people who don’t understand what you want from them.
Next, think about people you intent to invite and help them to prepare.
- Is that person really needed?
- Are they capable of answering your questions? -> Are your questions in line with your meeting-participants’ areas of expertise?
- What kind of activity are you expecting from participants? -> Ideas, votes, reaching out a consensus?
Consider your guest list and cross out participants who will not add any value to achieving meeting goal
If you are sure that you need all those who left, prepare a meeting agenda for them.
Goal -> We will meet to come up with new design for our logo
I invited you because -> You are the most experienced person in this kind of tasks.
In this meeting I would like to agree on:
- What color-scheme should we use and why?
- We would need new corporate motto to place under our logo. Prepare propositions!
- What style should we use modern/classic/retro and how it fits to our organisation?
Please prepare your ideas earlier, we wouldn’t have much time to discuss them!
Now you and other participants have common understanding on what is meeting goal and how they may prepare to fully participate. Next thing you can do is set timeframes and inform your participants about it:
Meeting will last 1h.
- First question should take 5 min to reach a consensus
- For second question we will have 20 minutes to talk about ideas witch you have prepared earlier
- We should intend 10 minutes to collect arguments pro/con every style listed above
All time that left we intend for preparing first sketch, brainstorming and choosing who from your group will prepare few projects for us.
We will organise follow-up meeting to decide about final version.
Now your participants not only know how to prepare but also what they may expect from meeting. Thanks to adding that info to the agenda you will not have to waste time to explain it at the beginning of the meeting. And you won’t loose your time for arguing on how the meeting should look like. This is what I hate the most, when host itself has no idea how to conduct a meeting and starts long discussion about how we should handle this meeting… Don’t talk about how to do something, just do it!
Taking care about order of the meeting and interrupting monologs should be easier when every participant is aware of the schedule.
If you are not assertive yourself ask someone to be a time-keeper for you. Inform everyone at the beginning of the meeting that this person role is to inform that we used half of the intended time and loudly interrupt when we are getting out above schedule. If time-keeper role will be clear no-one should treat that person behavior as rude.
Try to set realistic time-frames and don’t allow to break them. It will be hard at the beginning but with after few next meetings people will start getting used to it.
They will understand that, if they want to obtain something, they have to prepare earlier and follow your rules.
Thanks to that you will be able to make your meetings shorter in the future.
How about feeling that you are loosing your time?
If you would be inform about goal of the meeting and have opportunity to prepare yourself and time to say what you need to say on every subject. Would you still feel that?
I think that it would happen hardly ever.
What about “there is to many of them” paragraph?
Well not everything is up to you but having this agenda you may decide if your meeting is really needed… Maybe you may just send your expectations via email or personally give instructions to your coworkers? You may prepare short survey in which they could decide on easier, less important factors. Maybe they may prepare their own projects and send them back to you and all of you would only need to meet on the follow-up meeting to make final decision? Those are the things, that are up to you!
We handled few points for now. Next two of them are connected.
There is to many meetings and you hate to participate in most of them.
Well you should start yourself at first to prepare your meeting agenda according those simple rules and fanatically follow them during the meeting.
When other people notice that it works and you all are able to reach a consensus on meetings that you host maybe they will start to be interested in what is your secret! 🙂
If you are afraid to act with those new rules, just send them this article before next meeting and explain that you would like to try this method in hope, that it will help all of you to get your task done on time or get your hour back!
And what with our last point?
“They are destroying your daily work and kill your concentration”
Well It is not that simple. Maybe we will find a way so solve that problem together?
Go on www.shootIT.com.pl and share your ideas with me!
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