Exercise Good Meeting Hygiene Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Don’t contribute to the dread. Next time you need to gather people together to advance your project, make sure you do the following to make your meeting worthwhile:
•Make sure it’s necessary. Before sending out the invite, ask yourself whether there’s another way to move the project forward. Can you get input… via e-mail? Can you gather a sub-group to solve the current issue?
•Be clear about the objective. State the purpose of the meeting in the invite and again at the beginning of the meeting. Be sure to explain how the meeting will advance the overall project goals.
•Focus. Just because you have an hour scheduled, don’t take it. Keep the discussion centered and avoid unnecessary side conversations.
Adapted fromGuide to Project Management. Take Back 10 Minutes A day of back-to-back meetings is exhausting and overwhelming. Running from meeting to meeting, you leave an inbox full of unanswered emails and undoubtedly start to run late to your afternoon appointments. Stop the madness by insisting on 50-minute meetings. What can be done in 60 minutes can easily be done in 50 with some focus and discipline. Defy the default in your calendar and send meeting requests that end 10 minutes before the hour. This will allow you, and everyone else, to take a quick break, check email, and restore some sanity to your day.
Adapted from”The 50-Minute Meeting” by David Silverman. Three Ways to Encourage Meeting Participation You know the drill: A meeting is called to discuss an important issue but only the usual suspects participate. Everyone else is quiet and their opinions go unheard. Meaningful contribution is the key to meeting success. Here are three ways to get more people involved:
•Don’t dominate. This not only gives others less time to speak up but also conveys that only your ideas are important. Let at least three people speak before you talk again.
•Be positive. Demonstrate that all ideas are valuable by restating important points. Thank people who are usually reticent for their comments.
•Ask directly. To get input from everyone, ask each person for their thoughts. Don’t do it in a confrontational way. Try, “Do you have anything to share?”
Adapted fromGuide to Making Every Meeting Matter. Two Rules for Making Global Meetings Work With people spread across locations and time zones, global teams can struggle to run effective meetings. Distance isn’t an excuse for bad meeting etiquette though. Here are two policies that can make your far-flung team’s meeting easier:
•Share the inconvenience. It’s not fair to force a few people in Delhi to always take the call at 3am local time. Rotate your meeting time so that everyone shares the burden of an inconvenient time.
•All together or all separate. The dynamic of a meeting can be thrown off if some people can see and talk to one another offline. If one person is separated from the rest, ask everyone to call in from their desks. This means no one unduly benefits from side conversations or facial expressions.
Adapted fromGuide to Making Every Meeting Matter. Makeover Your All Staff Meeting When executives want to communicate important messages or engage employees, they hold town hall or all hands meetings. Gathering everyone together is meant to convey the importance of the topic and get the biggest bang for your communication buck. Yet, employees often rank these meetings as some of the least effective. Don’t give up on bringing everyone together. Instead, give your all staff meeting a makeover. Make your message resonate by explaining what’s in it for everyone. Forego the PowerPoint presentation in lieu of a more personal communication. Make the conversation two-way and engage your people in a discussion. Lastly, don’t hog the stage. Even charismatic leaders can sound like broken records. Staff often want to hear from others in leadership for a fresh perspective.
Adapted from”The Perils of the All-Employee Meeting” by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins.