Any time I mention meetings, here is what I hear from executives and executive teams I work with:
- Too long
- Too many
- Wrong people attending
- No one is prepared
- Waste of time and resources
- No agenda or agenda not followed
- Same people sabotage the dialogue
- Decisions not reached or made
- Never got to the important stuff
- Technology interference — people emailing or texting
- No one is listening
- Nothing gets accomplished
What did I miss?
What if we stopped having meetings and instead started having communication experiences? Keep in mind the experience would have to be congruent with the complexity of the outcome. For example, one company we are working with wants departments to connect with each other. So instead of creating boring meeting where everyone attends and one department is selected to present their purpose and vision, they are now going to have a Pirates tailgate after work 10 x this summer where each department is takes turns preparing food in their parking lot.
As meetings get more complex where problems need to be solved or actual strategic planning needs to take place, we need to be more creative on the experience, because we will not waver on results. Yes, you can still use the boardroom, and the following meeting fundamentals must still be present:
Pre-meeting checklist – purpose, attendees, location, time, agenda created and sent, room set-up
Actual meeting strategies – Start and end on time, state the purpose and time frame at the beginning, take a moment to answer the “why” question, encourage open and causal environment, encourage participation from everyone, use good human relation principles, and establish technology ground rules. Before the meeting begins, assign action items and responsibility, determine due dates, and define feedback expectations.
Post-meeting Checklist – follow-up email with results and decisions, review action items, highlight responsibility, and reaffirm completion deadlines.
Key coaching point: Stop having meetings and start creating experiences. Three keys to your future success: preparation, preparation, and preparation.
Human relations principle: “Arouse in the other person an eager want.” ~ Dale Carnegie