How to Make Your Meetings P.O.P.
My daughter once explained what I did for work as “she meets.” What a terrifying statement!
Inc. reports that each day 25 million dollars are wasted in ineffectual and poorly run meetings which equates to $37 billion each year! Imagine what good could be done with that money! We all go to them and we all hate most of them. Why?
Meetings are a slippery slope of obligation, formality, culture, and convenience. Many times they are unconscious obligations with little value or meaningful outcome. A missed opportunity cloaked in everyday ware.
.Let’s turn this on its head. Let’s commit to “gatherings” with P.O.P.!
If you don’t have POP then either cancel the meeting or spend more time preparing.
Each gathering should have a clearly defined purpose or deliverable. You do NOT meet to inform. This can be done via email, text, vlog, or direct communication. Formal gatherings are an opportunity to have critical discussions, challenge perspectives, and rumble with ideas. These should be active, engaging, energizing, and challenging.
DO NOT have a meeting without a clear agenda that is sent out at least 24 hours in advance. Without an agenda, you are saying “I really have no idea what we are talking about but, I am sure we will come up with something once we sit down.”
Feel free to cancel the meeting if nothing is pressing or you only have updates.
Begin and end on time, if you are running over, ask permission to go another 5-10 minutes. If you are the leader, be the first to arrive. Your actions set the tone for the team.
Lead by example. If others are late to join, do not repeat and catch them up. They will quickly learn to be on time. “Repeating” sends the message to others that promptness is not valued.
WWW: each meeting ends with a clear statement of Who is to do What by When. This WWW will start your next meeting as a report out of progress or barriers encountered.
Have the decision-makers in the room - this is the time to generate ideas, challenge thought, innovate, and create action.
Not every person needs to attend every meeting, only the ones critical to the immediate process and action. A discussion around trust and creating opportunities for contribution and engagement is important in alleviating feelings of exclusion.
Non-critical members can be considered “at-large” and will receive minutes and will be called in on an “as-needed” basis only.
Be aware of the cost. Imagine if you posted the cost of each meeting on the door, would this change your perspective? Take the average hourly wage of each person and multiply it by the length of the meeting. Or, use this meeting calculator. As an example, if the average salary is $100K and 6 people meet for 2 hours your meeting cost is about $615. That adds up fast. Given at least ⅓ of all meetings are not productive.
Finally, the PRE-MEETING, there is great value in talking to individuals prior to the gathering to gain insight, test out ideas, and listen to varied perspectives. These discussions give you ample opportunity to hone your message, uncover barriers, and develop a framework that supports the entire team.
A few other great resources for you:
Book: Death by Meeting- Lencioni
Coaching for Leaders podcast: How to Run an Online Meeting
Coaching for Leaders podcast: How to Lead Meetings That Get Results with Maimie Kanfer Stewart
My Challenge to YOU:
Critically look at your “standing meetings”, why are you having them? Are they critical for innovation and change? Are the right people at the table? Can you alter the length?
Ask the team their perspective. Are these gatherings useful and productive? Is there a better way to approach the agenda or spend the time? Can you combine two meetings into one?
Eliminate at least one meeting from your schedule. Delegate, honestly assess if your contribution is vital, if not, respectfully decline.
If you are the leader, be prepared. You have valuable, talented, and expensive people at the table. Use this time wisely.