It’s Time to Feel Better About Your Meetings

A lot of people hate meetings and with good reason. They can turn so easily into exercises of futility as you and your team spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to get on the same page. Sometimes it feels like you don’t get anywhere at all, and hours of productivity have been lost for nothing as a result. But meetings are a necessary thing, and there are practices you can enact to feel better about each and every one of them.

Know What You're Getting Into 

This seems like such an obvious thing, but it’s much harder to put into practice. You should always have a clear plan in place of what exactly you want to accomplish when you step into the conference room. That agenda should be on everyone’s plate at least a week beforehand. Especially if you are expecting that every team member is bringing something to the table.

Now this sounds fine and easy, but the real trick of the agenda is sticking to it once you get started. As we’ve discussed before, it’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of tangents and lose track of what you even wanted to achieve in the first place. More planned out and aggressively timed meetings are one solution to that problem.

If people know that they have hit a set few checkpoints in a limited time they will be more engaged. Meetings with a clear endpoint and a goal in mind almost always work better overall. That said, it is true that a big, long meeting to brainstorm and hash out bigger ideas can be just as valuable if you have the time to spare.

Engage Your Team in the Process

Instead of changing your structure and organization, you could try changing the way that people think about meetings. The biggest problem with the agenda and the meeting is when no one is engaged in that process of preparation. When everyone steps into the meeting room and no one but the manager is prepared, it’s very likely to slow down to an unproductive halt.

People need to know unequivocally that the meeting is a valuable use of everyone’s time. More importantly, they need to know that their own contribution and effort is valuable, especially if those demands of preparation are adding more required bandwidth and time to their personal schedule.

Be ready to reward team members that come prepared before the meeting begins. Let them know that their valuable contributions mean something to the success of the company as a whole. Above all, let them know that they are an important piece of what is going to take your business forward to the next level. They will reward you back for it.

Elevate the Meaning of Your Meetings

Meetings can so easily turn into rote, boring exercises that everyone just wants to get through and move on. But the thing is, they don’t have to be that way. In reality, meetings are a prime opportunity for your team to gather together, get your thoughts aligned, and build a greater connection and culture.

Meetings should mean something to everyone going into it. Team members should see it as a valuable opportunity to carve out and define their own role, to gain a better understanding of what they are working toward, and what they are helping the business work toward holistically.  

If you can make meetings a friendly and frenetic atmosphere of thoughts, ideas, and conversation, not only will everyone be more invested, but the output and value will undoubtedly go up. High energy meetings have to come from a high energy manager. Once you can make people really get excited about stepping into that room, you’ll be amazed how much those hours can be worth.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment