When was the last time that you called a meeting and things did not go as you had hoped? Not only are unproductive meetings a common complaint, but they can have more serious consequences. An unsuccessful meeting can delay a project, alienate an audience about a topic, and potentially erode your reputation as a leader.
What can you do about it?
1) Understand your objective – what is your desired end state? When the meeting is over, what do you want for the people who are at the meeting to do? Do you need their concurrence that things are going well? How do you want for them to feel (e.g. energized, informed, concerned)?
2) Understand where your audience is before the meeting. Knowing where people are before you start is important if you want to engage them to go somewhere. You need to engage them where they are in order to take them where you want for them to go. Think about how much they know about the topic and how they feel about it. If there are some outliers, you may want to consider a chat with the pre-meeting so that all of the audience is a roughly in the same place.
3) Plan your meeting, especially your introduction. You want to engage people right away. It is also a good idea to anticipate ways that the meeting could go off track and how you will steer things back to your agenda.
4) Develop an agenda and distribute it and any reading materials well before the meeting (ideally at least 48 hours). The text in any of these communications should be consistent with the first three steps above because they are setting the tone and expectations for the meeting.
5) Summarize the highlights of the meeting including any action items at the end of the meeting, and confirm them in writing as soon as possible.
To ensure continuous improvement, ask yourself each time how steps #1 and #5 are consistent? What can you do to improve the process the next time.
QUESTION: What do you do to ensure that you get the result that you want from a meeting?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.