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How to Make Your Next Meeting More Effective

How to Make Your Next Meeting More Effective

March 11, 2008

Admit it. Deep down inside you really like going to meetings.

It's OK. You can say you like them.

Granted there are some meetings I dread, but I absolutely love most of them. The ideas, the brainstorming, the creative juices that flow out of them all combine to create an energy that is rare to find in any other environment. For some meetings, I like to crank up my tribal music, dance around the room and just let it all out! A stranger walking into the room may think I've absolutely lost my mind. But it's actually my mind that I'm pumping up to get going and prepare for the meeting.

And I bet that you probably like going to meetings too.

In fact, most meeting moaners are total fakers, according to an article yesterday in The Wall Street Journal. A study due to be released later this year found that 69% of people surveyed about their last meeting rated them at least 'good,' while only 16% rated them poor or worse.

Most say they want more meetings each day

'And although 50% said they complained about meetings, more than 60% of these complainers admitted that they either 'don't mind them that much' or 'enjoy them,'' according to the Journal article, which is based on an upcoming study from Steven Rogelberg, a professor of industrial organizational psychology at the University of Nor Carolina. Two-thirds said their ideal work day would include at least one or two more meetings!

Now don't get me wrong. There are plenty of meetings I've been in that have been a total waste of time. And I'm not about to suggest that more meetings are needed just for the sake of holding more meetings.

But it's important to point out that a meeting is more than just about what you get done. We are by nature interactive. We like to be part of a group and to exchange ideas, laugh and have the opportunity to feed off of the energy of others. Who wants to be stuck in a cubicle all day? Not me.

Imagine for a moment, running your business without meetings.

To me it's like trying to stuff an octopus in a bag. That's what it would be like trying to keep everyone in your organization headed towards a common goal. The only way to do it is to have a meeting rhythm, like a rhythm to a song.

That rhythm or beat is a flow of energy, or sound that keeps the band in tune. Similarly, in business, it's very important that everyone is working together.

Don't let you company suffer like a bad song

You should have a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting rhythm to keep your company in sync with all of its parts. As your organization grows, things start happening more quickly and as the speed and complexity grows, it's important that you stay on the same page together. Otherwise, your company will suffer like the infamous song, 'Feelings' ' sorry if that's a favorite.

And don't worry about holding another meeting. Seems like all the negative talk you hear about meetings may be just that ' talk.

3 things to include in your management meetings

Hold a 10-minute meeting with your managers each day to discuss three things.

1. Each person's accountability, and how they're dealing with those responsibilities. This is where they are reporting on key metrics such as sales, collections and other milestones.
2. The five most important things each person is working on, and how are they progressing with it.
3. Any bottlenecks they're experiencing.

Don't use this meeting to solve all the problems. Use them just to get everyone on the same page. Set up additional meetings if necessary, for problem-solving. Use these meetings as just a chance to check-in.

Your managers should be holding similar meetings with their subordinates each day.

Try it and next time try cranking up some tribal music and get everyone to dance before the meeting starts. It just might jump start a breakthrough idea. At the very least, they'll have something to talk about at the next meeting!

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman