How many times have you sat in a meeting thinking, “this is such a waste of time”? Chances are, you’re not alone. Many people sitting around the conference table probably feel the same way. Bad meetings can create disengagement and fuel team dysfunction, frustration and even lead to passive-aggressive power playing and posturing – oh sign me up – no thanks! So, how do you right the ship and go from bad, useless meetings to effective meetings that are productive?
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in, meetings are essential to team alignment and productivity, they’re a cog in the wheel that keeps a business going. Meetings keep teams alert, informed and connected, so you have to have them. The key is to make them interesting, relevant and effective and not boring-snoring!
Mine for Conflict, Yep – Add a Little Drama!
Texting, checking email, spinning pencils, faces in hands, and doodling are all signs that you’re in a snoring meeting. To mix it up, add a little drama to your meetings. This drama can come in the form of productive conflict. We are not encouraging an MMA Fight – but a healthy productive debate is invigorating and stimulating! I love how Patrick Lencioni in his book DEATH by Meeting, talks about The Hook. If you lose people in the first 10 minutes of your meeting you’re through – the key is to give them a reason to engage and to care! Talk about the most controversial and important issues at the beginning of the meeting – this will get people engaged and alert during the meeting. Tackling a controversial issue can spark a good conversation and keep team members involved throughout the meeting.
Create Context and Purpose and Structure – Go 4 it!
An effective meeting needs to have context and purpose. You can’t just meet to meet, that’s for the watercooler. So often useless meetings cover everything under the sun and jump from topic to topic, and nothing ever gets solved. Leaders must make sure that every meeting has a purpose and that everyone attending the meeting is clear on that purpose. To have effective meetings, it takes more meetings. Not necessarily more time in meetings, but more meetings with a clear purpose. Here’s a tip from Pat Lencioni; leaders should actually schedule 4 Meetings – The Daily Check-in, Weekly Tactical, Monthly Strategic, and Quarterly Off-site review.
The DEATH by Meeting Format – 4 Effective Meetings
The Daily Check-in: This effective meeting should be short and sweet, no more than 5-10 minutes each day – I like to refer to them as Huddles. In fact, attendees shouldn’t even sit for this meeting. Keep it strictly administrative; members should run through schedules and activities.
Weekly Tactical: This effective meeting is a discussion about the week. It should 45-90 minutes and should be a review of weekly activities, metrics, and resolve any obstacles or issues. This is my very favorite meeting – I call this one the Getter-Dun Tactical – where we get traction as a team – organizational momentum is actually palpable!
Monthly Strategic: This effective meeting will be roughly 2- 4 hours each month. It will be a more in-depth discussion on strategy and analysis. Brainstorming and decisions on critical issues will take place during this meeting. Really critical for keeping the train on the rails headed toward the station, creating clarity and alignment around where we are headed!
Quarterly Off-Site Review: Each quarter schedule 1 or 2 days away from the office. This will be a meeting that discusses industry trends, competitive landscape, strategy, personnel and team development – aimed at keeping us relevant and our fingers on the pulse of our business topography.
You can learn more about these effective meeting strategies in the book, DEATH by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. MDR uses a variety of resources and development programs to bring drama and momentum to your meeting structure – contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation and put a stop to Snoring-Boring meetings.