We all know how much time can be wasted in meetings, yet week by week, day by day, we keep running them and often without good reason or ineffectively. Here are five things that we should all consider when it comes to running quality meetings.
1. Question if you need the meeting in the first place.
Perhaps you need the meeting, but does it have to be for an hour? It might need fifteen minutes. Maybe the weekly meeting could be fortnightly, the monthly meeting quarterly, or the weekly meeting could be held over 9-minute stand-up meetings over video conference each day. Question everything! Perhaps your one-hour meeting, on reflection of the agenda, should actually be a half-day?
2. Ensure that you have a quality agenda that maximises the value of the contribution of all attending.
Will anyone be attending the meeting that won’t really give or receive anything of value? You may need to dig deeper than “being kept in the loop” when that person could be smashing out great work instead of sitting in a meeting for no real purpose. Ensure you set the meeting for a time that will not interrupt your team’s ability to do deep, productive work.
3. Create an agreed set of ground rules for the meeting that promotes collaboration, creative problem solving, and consensus-orientated decision-making.
If the meeting is just about delivering information, perhaps send a video that can be captured in two minutes, an email that can be read in one minute, or add it to an existing meeting where everyone will be there. If you need good thinking, collaboration, and buy-in from everyone, ensure you have clear ground rules that promote free-thinking, idea generation, safety, and collaboration. Reply to the email if you want a free copy of our Evolve ground rules for internal and external deep work meetings/workshops.
4. Ensure decisions (resolutions for boards) and action items are captured and stored where everyone has access.
Let's grab a coffee if you want to learn how I had to learn this the hard way. Make sure that meetings have a shared place to capture decisions and actions. It could be a software platform, shared document, minutes taken and distributed, email, or SMS. Whatever you do, ensure everyone is clear on what you decide and what you will do about it.
5. Question again if you need the meeting in the first place.
After reading the above, challenge yourself again on whether you need a meeting or whether there is a more efficient and effective way to communicate. Some meetings are great; research would suggest that most need acid poured over them.
Remember that most meetings take people away from their core work, where they add the most value to the world. Make sure it’s worth them stepping away from that! Monday coming is a great place to start.
Quick Questions for Meetings
Why are we having this meeting?
What are we trying to achieve?
How long do we need for the meeting?
Who needs to be here to make the meeting worthwhile?
How will we maximise the contribution of those that are here?
How and where will we capture our decisions and actions so everyone has visibility?
How and when will we follow up actions to make sure we do what we say we’re going to do?