We all know what a great meeting feels like: we’ve solved a problem, decided on a course of action, aired differences, repurposed and refocused, or learned something important. We leave the meeting feeling energized, refreshed, important, and valuable. We have a renewed sense of teamwork, faith in management to solve problems, and an expectation of what actions will be taken before the next meeting. We have a feeling not just that something will be done, but the right thing will be done, at least for now.
This, of course, almost never happens.
We all know what most meetings feel like: boring, tedious, rehashing tired old issues, coworkers with gripes and hidden agendas hijacking the meeting, a manager reciting the same sleepy list of reminders, avoiding solutions, avoiding answers, and arguing trees while the forest burns. We leave the meeting feeling exhausted, irritated, disgusted, and frustrated. We have a sense that nothing has been accomplished, our time has been wasted, and that we should have been helping patients instead of feeding the ego of the manager or a coworker. We know that nothing will be done to solve any problems, no one held accountable, and ourselves eventually blamed.
Here are tips to make your meetings great:
- Have a purpose: everyone at the meeting should know exactly what the meeting is about and what is supposed to be accomplished right out the gate.
- Start and end on time: meetings cost money, and meetings that start late or end late cost more money.
- Remain on topic: don’t let hijackers take over the agenda with rehashed, already resolved, or obscure issues; note these for later and move on.
- Focus discussion: a structured, open discussion forum works if topics are important and urgent enough e.g. use the Eisenhower method. Anything else can wait.
- Be accountable: each meeting should begin with what has been accomplished since the last meeting, and if not, why not. This will help focus the team on action to resolve issues and not just airing gripes and frustrations.
That sounds pretty good to me. Maybe, it’s time to have a meeting about it.
NEXT: Self Control