Want Better Meetings ? - Follow These 4 Rules
"Now THAT's an hour of my life I won't get back!" ..it's a phrase I have heard a number of times leaving meetings, I'm willing to bet you have as well, in fact come on, let's admit it, it's a phrase we have all probably used.
Meeting are generally those parts of the business that people hate and it doesn't seem to matter if you are an exec or anyone else in the organisation, meetings are generally seen as something that is getting in the way of doing the real job, any that's the thing.. for a lot of people in your organisation especially managers, leaders or execs meetings are where you do your job, but only if you do them well.
Here is a quick test for you, think of the last few meetings you went too, let's say they on average last an hour or two, did you leave with any of the following:
- Feeling energised
- Fully understanding what just happened
- Knowing exactly what you had to do next
- Go and talk to people about the meeting & the outcomes
Think about the same amount of time you spend say watching your favourite TV show or even the movies.For the most part I bet you could tick off most, if not all 4 points above, the reason? You were drawn in the opening act, the first 10 mins grabbed you, there was drama and conflict, you weren't certain of the outcome or perhaps you were, but you didn't know how the plot would get there.
Now back to thinking about your meetings, how differently would they be if they had some drama in them, if you grabbed the attendees in the 1st 10 minutes & took them on the adventure. What if they sparked passion in your team to debate and some conflict to really get to the genuine heart of the issues you are focused on for the session, would that help?
Ah.. Conflict.. erm, you don't want that? Why?
We're not talking about personal conflict and internal fighting we're talking about the ability to have open ideological conflict where you are free to challenge every idea on the table, change your mind, then change back if need be. For everyone to weigh in on the issue from both their view point and from each other's. You need to really push to get the opposing views out on the table, so everyone can have their say. I people don't weigh in, they can never buy in and that is really important.
So here are some simple rules to improve your meetings, they sound simple but like most things they can take some work and maybe some help along the way
- Be clear about the purpose - ensure everyone knows the purpose of the meeting & stay focused on that, don't dilute the session and be very clear about what's at stake.
- Mine for conflict – look for opposing arguments, encourage them but ensure it's never personal
- No one leaves the room without input - treat silence as a disagreement and push for discussion, it's hard at 1st but like everything the more you practice the better you get
- Make a decision - At the end of the meeting the needs to be
an outcome or a group of outcomes, if there isn't then you just wasted everyone's
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