January 25, 2020

Have better and quicker meetings

Have better and quicker meetings

If you are like me, you attend a lot of meetings. I’ve noticed a few shortcuts that will help, so here are two LeaderLike tips for better meetings.

First of all, let’s talk timing.

When setting up a meeting, calendar apps give you an hour by default, eg from 9:00-10:00. The problem is that you tend to schedule yourself back to back from 9:00-10:00 and then 10:00-11:00. So, if you are like I used to be, you will always be running. Simple fix, don’t schedule any meeting over 50 minutes! That way you have 10 minutes to have a break, drink a coffee or tea, go to the bathroom, speak with a colleague, make a call or just to travel from one room to the next. Having a 2-hour meeting? Then schedule a 10-minute break after 50 minutes.

Second, thoughts versus actions

The next thing I’ve noticed at meetings is that once the main topic is announced, meeting participants begin sharing their thoughts. Sharing thoughts is potentially beneficial because participants get their feelings “off their chests”. One of the major, and I mean major, downsides to sharing thoughts is that it is simply impossible to plan a thought.

So next time someone says, “Well, I think we should look at more of the issues affecting the current marketing expenditures...” please respond with the following, “Thanks Steve, so what do you suggest concretely?” Remember – you cannot plan a thought; on the other hand you can debate a proposal that is concrete. The now-enlightened Steve might respond with, “I suggest we run an audit to see what the issues are with the current marketing spend.” Now that’s a lot different. You can debate and then turn a proposal into something concrete. Meetings end well with planned out and articulated actions.

Here is a SMART planning approach that yields SMARRRT:

S: Make it Specific

M: Ensure its Measurable

A: Is it Attainable, given the current conditions or people’s abilities?

R: Are the right Resources that are needed to attain the objective in place?

R: Which are the crucial Relationships we would need to think of to make the idea work?

R: Is it Realistic?

T: Time bound – when do we need to do this by?

50-minute blocks make meetings livable and give you breathing space. Meetings with concrete suggestions yield more robust plans and might just be the starting point to accelerated follow through.