We’ve all been there. Firstly, there’s the mild stress that comes from being invited to a meeting – that you may not even really need to attend – when you have a long list of priority actions you would rather be working on. Secondly, there’s the mounting irritation that comes from spending your precious time at a meeting – which is rapidly going nowhere!
Time is precious – your own time and that of your colleagues. So take these steps to ensure that your time is used as profitably as possible.
Be clear on the objective
Know what the end goal of your meeting is and what you intend to achieve. This is your starting point, and from here you can create an agenda that is focused on that one objective. General updates and ’round the room’ discussions may be better shifted to a different forum or simply provided in bullet point format beforehand as part of any meeting pack.
Be clear on attendees
Really tighten the attendee list and be respectful of time. Be clear who is a mandatory attendee, who would be valued, and who may wish to optionally attend. For many people, full attendance at a long meeting is unlikely to be necessary. Either get rid of long and exhausting meetings and switch them out for small and focused sessions or be clear on the times and slots that people need to attend – or would be welcome to attend.
Be clear on the decision-making process
Who will authorise decisions? Will they be at the meeting or must the conclusion be proposed or fed upwards to a decision-maker? What processes need to be followed? The more you can clarify the leadership and decision-making protocols beforehand, the better the results – and the more focus and clarity everyone will have.
A facilitator with a watch and plenty of meeting experience is a hugely valuable asset. Nominate a second to write notes and actions, or video/record the discussion for later note-making. Be clear to your attendees as to their role at the meeting, so they can operate clearly and without over-stepping.
See your own patterns
Do you contribute to situations where meetings go round in circles? If we’re honest, most of us probably do at times, as it’s hard to maintain a laser-like focus on end goals when we have all of the team together and a lot going on in the business! However, the more awareness you can have about your own behaviours, and the power that you have to improve meetings, the more adept you can become at stopping a long discussion and politely reminding everyone that you are going off-track, and need to remain focused.
Personal effectiveness is one of the best skills you can have in leadership or, indeed, in any area of your life. If you can become an excellent meeting host, facilitator and attendee you will automatically find that you get more done and you will also gain the appreciation and respect of your own colleagues and stakeholders, who will see the respect and emphasis that you place on everyone’s precious time and limited resources.
Why not explore the benefits of coaching and book a call with me to discover how it can help to drive your personal success.