By Kathleen E. Murphy
We have all been there, and you were probably in one today. You know, the dreaded meeting you had to attend and which you felt like sucked the life out of you. I’m sure at some point during the meeting you asked yourself, do I really need to be here, or is this a good use of my time, or will this meeting ever end? If you are asking yourself any of these questions, I guarantee it’s because either you, or the person who arranged the meeting does not know how to actually make meetings a useful part of your day.
I painfully remember before I learned the secret to having a “fun” meeting what it was like, and distinctly remember receiving an email from my human resources department about taking a two-day course on how to have “useful” and meaningful meetings. At first I thought this was actually a practical joke email, but when I read through the agenda, it piqued my curiosity. This may sound ridiculous, but this two day internal course on how to have “productive” meetings was probably in the top (5) things I have learned as a business executive.
Since this blog would be way too long if I had to share every aspect of how to have a productive meeting, I am going to share with you the basic elements of how to accomplish this. However, I need to caution you about needing to be committed to following these meeting principles, and that it’s an addictive process – but not one you will need any rehab for. Here are the (5) aspects you will need to embrace in order to love your future meetings as much as you love dogs.
- Define the purpose and goal of the meeting. If you can’t then you do not need to have a meeting.
- Put an agenda together, and include the amount of time you will spend on each item. Also include any “pre-work” which needs to be accomplished prior to attending the meeting (e.g., reviewing a document, talking to others in the company to gain consensus, doing research on the topic, etc.).
- Determine who needs to be invited to the meeting, and what role they will play in the meeting (e.g., speaker, participant, listener).
- Send out the meeting notice at a time which provides the recipients with enough time to do their pre-work, and at a time when it works with the majority of your colleague’s schedules.
- Stick to the agenda, take notes during the meeting and then share the meeting notes along with identifying who has “action items”, and when these items have been agreed to being accomplished.
Keep in mind that most meetings do not need to be longer than (30) minutes. Why? Namely because you will lose people’s attention after this amount of time. Ideally, if you get really good at holding the type of meeting format I have shared with you, you can reduce your meeting time to what I refer to as “micro meeting” times. Micro meetings are 15 minutes or less. Imagine having this type of meeting? It is highly possible to do so. These are my favorite type of meetings, and they are similar to what in the software and other industries which use a “scrum” meeting method, are hyper productive meetings.
Fast forward a month from now, and think about what impact having productive meetings will have on your outlook on attending them. Also consider how much time you will get back on your calendar to focus on doing what you need and enjoy doing in your profession. Now, I know it was a stretch to get you to imagine what dogs and meetings have in common, but I know if you embrace the meeting concepts I have outlined for you above, you will see the common factor is you will like both dogs and meetings after applying these (5) meeting principles. Your goal now is to become a “master” of the “micro meeting”, and to share your meeting holding knowledge with others. They will thank you for doing so, and you will potentially look forward to meetings one day.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.