How many times have you been in a meeting and you are scratching your head wondering what the person is talking about and why you should care? If you are like most of our clients, they tell us that 70% of all meetings they attend are a waste of their time. Imagine what you could do with that time if you got it back!
Here are some ways to STOP wasting meeting time:
1. Have a GOAL oriented AGENDA. This means each attendee should be able to quickly see what is on the agenda, why it is relevant, and what you want as an outcome. None of this “Software Update or Johnson Project” on the agenda. Those are too vague and don’t tell the what or why about those items.
2. Do Outcome Meetings, Not Share Meetings. Stop sharing information. A meeting is a time to bring great brains together and to be able to use that collective wisdom. The worst thing that can happen is a meeting is just used to dispense information-emails can do that. When people get talked at they stop listening. Here is your acid test: If you find you are partially listening and just waiting for your turn to give your team’s “update” then you are running “Sharing Meetings” and not “Outcome Meetings.”
3. Invite Healthy Debate. Meetings are not about group consensus. There are times you need healthy debate. Just make sure it stays focused on the outcome and not personal. In our Flagship Managing Your Message Program we spend time sharing a three step process to get that healthy debate and not cross in to the defense area.
4. Start on Time and End On Time. Let people know your meetings will be tight and to the point. More people will attend when they know your respect their time schedule. If someone arrives late, don’t back up and update them, just keep going.
5. Recap Specific Action to Happen. Make sure all discussion points end with firm dates and times attached. If you say, “next week we will look at” the brain actually keeps rolling “next week” so for the listener it doesn’t trigger action. Saying “by Dec. 15th we will have the number of attendees and the first write up ready for review by all” moves the brain to immediate action.
Take Action: Make this year a more productive year by declaring that you will NOT participate or run SHARE MEETINGS any more! With Outcome Thinking we have found clients improve productivity by over 25% and achieve higher execution because the time and discussions are focused on outcomes not just steps.