Think about how much time and money your company spends on meetings. Yet so few executives know what it takes to make meetings crisp and productive.
i. Generate ideas?
ii. Challenge and debate positions?
iii. Make a decision?
iv. Share information?
v. Create a plan?
i. Is there information that each participant will need? Can you get them this information in advance?
ii. Do you need certain materials? Or a certain amount of time and attention?
Make the meetings so on point and useful that you maximize the time. Texting and email during the meeting likely means you don’t have that individual actually fully participating. If you don’t need their full attention, then you likely don’t need them in the meeting! Also, while it may be more efficient for that one person to text or email during the meeting, but they are wasting all the other participants time by their distracted participation.
Shorter time often helps produce a more effective meeting. It creates a sense of urgency and energy to be efficient and productive.
Use email to send updates, use a project management tool like Basecamp, Zoho projects, or some other software tool to create accountability, and use meetings for the things that only a meeting can do well – to collaborate on ideas, to come to a consensus or make a decision, to vigorously debate an idea.
Do you really need 16 people sitting in that meeting for an hour? Couldn’t you shorten the meeting in half by inviting half the people who then focus on creating much better results out of that meeting. You can keep the other half informed of what was decided or learned from the meeting later.
Just because you’ve always met before doesn’t mean that meeting is still even needed. Cut unnecessary recurring meetings wherever possible.
What key insights did the meeting produce? What was decided? Who will take what steps? By when? How will they report back on results? If you don’t pin this down – in writing – meetings will start to slip to become a frivolous affair. To make meetings meaningful they must impact later behavior and investments that your company makes. Otherwise, why did you call the meeting in the first place.
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