3 Ways To Improve Your Meetings
by Mike J. Agugliaro
Who loves meetings? Ha! Not surprisingly, almost no one raised their hands. Well in this blog post I will share with you 3 powerful ways to improve your meetings. Just do these 3 things for the rest of the quarter and see how they improve your company meetings.
It might even be possible for your team to actually ENJOY the meetings… for them to become productive high points of your week instead of hassles.
But right now? People dread meetings because they fail to see the point of them. They only view it as taking away from the time that they could be doing something better. For most of the time, when you have a meeting, you’re probably saying something like: “Meet in the meeting room. Be there at [10:00] AM.” And that’s it. They go to the meeting not knowing what to expect. Worse yet, some companies have meeting regularly that do not feel productive or helpful, so the staff has become conditioned that 10 o’clock every Thursday is a meeting but they are not excited about it. Have you ever noticed how these meetings kind of fizzle out? You talk about stuff and there are no action items at the end of the meeting. Nothing productive happens because you do not have the right positioning for the meeting.
Here’s how to fix that…
Tip #1. Name Your Meeting
Your meetings need to be positioned to set expectations. To do that, give your meetings a name that sets the expectation.
In the service business that my business partner and I built, we called our meetings “Level 10 meetings.” That means you can’t come in all groggy and sloppy. You have to come in with a level 10 of energy! When your energy and your physiology is up, you’re ready. That’s when the strategic moves happen, when people come with their best every time!
Even if I’m on the phone with my vendor and we’re having a meeting, they know that it’s a Level 10 meeting because I’ve said so earlier. They know we are in there to play hard and that this is not a social gathering. (If we want to be social, then we can go out for dinner and be social after work).
But for your meetings? Name them and set expectations of POWER and ENERGY!
Tip #2. Have An Agenda.
Never go to a meeting again without an agenda. If you are setting the meeting, you should create an agenda. If someone else is attending the meeting, they should create an agenda. Every meeting needs an agenda so that people know what will be discussed.
On the agenda, list the following information:
- Who should be present and what they need to bring
- What subjects that will be discussed (and who will be leading that discussion)
- Items that need to be decided upon
- The start time of the meeting
- The finish time of the meeting
All too often, businesses don’t even bother creating an agenda… and those that do, skip the vital parts of the information in this list. The meeting then just becomes a black hole of topics, people show up unprepared, and they can’t schedule anything for afterward because they don’t know how long the meeting will go.
Tip #3. End Your Meetings With Action Items
One of the biggest complaints people have is that meetings are not productive at all. And it’s true! If you have a meeting but everyone leaves with INFORMATION and not ACTION, then the meeting was likely not that productive at all.
Be sure that your meetings have good structure and that you are planning to get things done. Enter meetings with the mindset that you are bringing the team together to achieve more together than you can apart. Meeting should become the place that your big ideas get tackled!
If you are not sure where or how to start, ask. Ask the people who come to the meetings you currently have. Your vendors, clients and staff will have ideas on how to make those meeting times more effective.
One great place to start is to go around after each meeting and ask people what they plan to start doing, stop doing, or keep doing as a result of the meeting. This Start/Stop/Keep helps to ensure that everyone has at least one takeaway that they will act on. (And if someone attends your meeting and doesn’t have a Start/Stop/Keep takeaway, they either weren’t paying attention or they shouldn’t have been at the meeting in the first place.)
Meetings are dreaded by so many people… from your techs, your CSRs… and maybe even you! But that’s because you’re running your meetings the way many companies do, and you aren’t taking your meetings to the next level.
Meetings can be powerful times of growth for companies when you do them correctly. The right structure and the right direction will help, as well as an understanding that meetings are meant to make decisions and create ACTION. (Otherwise you end up at meetings that are not much more than a social gathering, a waste of time.)
So, I challenge you to examine your meetings. If you’re not having meetings, then you probably need to have some. And if you have meetings, follow these 3 tips to help you make them more effective.