Love them or hate them we all have go to meetings. Everyday. At work. At home. At the Dentist. Pretty much everywhere we go. So, here are 3 new ways to createe awesome meeting today!
So with all the hours we spend in meetings we should be productivity All-Stars. Right?
According to FreshTracks here are “Ten Reasons Why Meetings Fail”
No agenda = no purpose
No advance communication = surprising behaviours/responses
Not encouraging participation = no interaction
No time management = cost to organisation – time is money
Allowing conflict to get out of control = chaos
Not reaching consensus = waste of time and company resources
Allowing sub meetings = no focus or direction
Not controlling difficult behaviour = everyone becoming difficult
Not summarising actions = misunderstanding of next steps
Not motivational = attendees leave feeling flat and despondent
Of course it does. Because we all think, talk and occasionally rage about how to fix these common meeting problems. Because we want our precious time back. Because we want to take action. Because we especially want that idiot to stop talking about the latest cat video on YouTube.
So if we know what’s wrong with our meetings why can’t we fix them? How can you take a new approach your next meeting to get the results that you want?
Below are 3 new ways to create awesome meetings. And when I say ‘new’ ways I mean you already know them but what will make them new is when you actually put these techniques into action.
1. Get Real With Yourself First
At one point I was an employee who yearned to climb the corporate ladder. I watched Managers gather for their weekly meeting and felt pangs of envy as the boardroom doors closed.
I imagined all of the high-level conversations and camaraderie that must have been taking place and I knew I had to be a part of that meeting.
Then I became a Manager and I attended that weekly meeting… and wanted to go back to being an employee. We worked our way through the “Ten Reasons Why Meetings Fail” in that weekly management meeting.
As a result I felt disillusioned, helpless and I expressed my anger about these meetings to anyone outside of work who would listen. Then one day, in the middle of one of my prophetic rants my wife told me to STOP COMPLAINING.
She said that my complaining was endless and that the situation hadn’t improved FOR YEARS.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Maya Angelou – Author
My wife was right. Before I could change the meetings I had to work on myself first.
I started to ask myself the following questions.
And if you want to improve your meeting performance by getting real with yourself first then these questions provide a great place to get started. So ask yourself…
- How do I act during the meetings?
- Am I loud? Quiet?
- How would I like to behave?
- How do other people see me in the meetings?
- Am I aware of how other people see me during the meetings?
- Do I care?
Can I ask my colleagues to tell me what they actually think about my behaviour in the meetings?
How do I feel about the other people in the meetings?
Who do I like? Not like? Why?
Can I separate the issues from how I feel about my colleagues?
What is my role in the meeting?
Am I the Leader? Follower? Innovator? Peacemaker?
What happens when I don’t play my role in the meeting?
Do I talk with my friends and family about what happens at the meetings?
What do I say?
Does this help me to improve the meeting?
Answering these kinds of questions will help you to create awesome meetings because;
You will begin to gain knowledge about how to take responsibility for your own actions in the meeting.
You will start to assess what you can and cannot control in the meeting
You’re approach to your next meeting will become more intentional.
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-assessment. If you really need to take a serious look at yourself please start by;talking with your doctor, family and friends.
Looking into workplace programs like the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help
Researching proven personality assessment tools like Meyers-Briggs or True Colours
And if you work with the questions above please send me an email to let me know what happened ([email protected]).
Not only would it help me to improve my skills as a Strategic Meeting Facilitator, I might also score some brownie points with my wife if I could tell her that someone else had benefitted from answering the kinds of hard questions that she led me to answer for myself.
2. Get Real With Your Team
Now that you have a better understanding of yourself it’s time to look into how you can influence your team.
One way to begin to assess each team member is by adapting the questions you’ve already asked yourself.
How do they act during the meeting?
How do other people see them during the meeting?
What is their role in the meeting?
NOTE ABOUT ASSUMPTIONS: DO NOT MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS
As you gather the answers to these types questions please keep in mind that they are based on the perception of you and your colleagues.
So please don’t assume that you have all the answers when it comes to assessing someone else’s behaviour. For example, if someone is quiet during the meeting does that mean that they don’t care?
If they sit at the head of the table does that make them a leader? If they talk a lot does that mean they’re getting a lot done?
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.Stephen Covey – Author
When you have done everything possible to understand your colleagues and their point of view then it is time to get real with your team. This can be done in a number of ways including;
Connect with your Manager before the meeting
Voice your concerns and figure out a plan of action
During a Meeting with a High Level of Trust
Find an appropriate moment during the meeting and voice your concerns
During a Meeting with a Low Level of Trust
If you have done your homework, and you are clear about your own position, and you understand the support level of your colleagues and senior leader it may be appropriate to speak out OR
You may have to make greater efforts outside of the meeting in order to find the
right way to address your concerns
Follow up after the meeting
Take action on any ‘To-Do’ items
Touch base with your Manager and key colleagues to get feedback
plan for the next phase of how to address your concerns…
TIP: How To Make Your POINT during a Meeting
P – Prepare your idea
O – Optimize the benefits of your idea when you present to the group
I – Invite feedback
N – Name the problem and possible solutions
T – Take Action
3. Get Real Resources
To help you get real with yourself and your team here are a variety of tools that I personally recommend that will help you to create awesome meetings.
“Death by Meeting” by Patrick Lencioni
“Death by Meeting is nothing short of a blueprint for leaders who want to eliminate waste and frustration among their teams, and create environments of engagement and passion.”
“Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott
“Inspired by more than 10,000 hours of conversations with CEOs and senior executives, Fierce Conversations is the quintessential guide to productive, respectful, and results-driven communication and leadership.”
“The Facilitator’s Fieldbook” by Thomas Justice and David W. Jamieson
“The Facilitator’s Fieldbook has long been the go-to resource for novice and experienced facilitators alike. The book gives managers, trainers, and group leaders in any industry the step-by-step procedures, checklists, guidelines, samples, and templates they need to make any group work like a well-oiled machine.”
Recommended Blog Articles
“Steve Jobs Knew How To Run A Meeting: Here’s How He Did It” by Justin Bariso on Inc.com
In this article Bariso analyzes a video recording of Steve Job’s at a company retreat and he then offers excellent insights that will help you create awesome meetings.
“Don’t Meet Like That. Meet Like This” by Patti Azzarello on FastCompany.com
“Stop the Status Review Meetings Already! Here’s how to turn mind-numbing meetings into something productive and valuable.”
““Meet The Team” Pages: Examples and Trends” by Cameron Chapman on SmashingMagazine.com
“Meet the Team” pages are popular among web design and other creative firms, but are also found on sites within various other industries. These pages are a valuable addition to any site where human contact is an important part of the industry. It adds a personal touch to the company and can lend trust to visitors.
Recommended Professional Resources
IAF – International Association of Facilitators
As a professional association, we set internationally accepted industry standards, provide accreditation, support a community of practice, advocate and educate on the power of facilitation and embrace the diversity of facilitators.
ICA – The Institute of Cultural Affairs
The mission of The Institute of Cultural Affairs International is to advocate for and actualize the fundamental right of all peoples to define and shape their own futures, toward the goal of realizing sustainable, just solutions to human challenges.
Some estimates predict that poorly run meetings cost us billions of dollars every year. How much longer can your organization handle that profit loss?
Now I’m not suggesting that you rock the boat tomorrow. Applying these 3 New Ways To Create Awesome Meetings takes time, especially if you don’t have a history of being real with yourself and your colleagues.
But what I can tell you from my experience as a Professional Meeting Facilitator is that when a meeting is well run you can grow your productivity and profitability.
Awesome Meetings create energy and commitment and will allow you and your colleagues to take action and achieve your goals.