Many of us spend a lot of time there.
When I ask people why they don’t like meetings I hear:
• They’re boring.
• They waste lots of time and are too long.
• They take away from what I should be doing!
• There is too much tension, too much drama.
Badly run meetings create organizational inefficiencies, negatively affect everyone involved, and suck productivity right out of the company. What can be done to shift this negative pattern?
In a recent post, ‘5 Ways to Instantly Improve Organizational Efficiency’, I suggest 5 instant efficiency builders for organizations. Instant Efficiency Builder #2 was Kill the Deadly Boring Meeting.
Ok, let’s do it.
Everything starts with intention. (For a wonderful practice to set your intention, check out Improve Your Communication and Get Better Business Results Now.)
If you are the meeting leader or convener, consider answering this – What kind of a meeting do I need now?
Sometimes there are just too many competing agendas for a meeting to be effective. If it feels like there are many urgent matters to discuss, it’s a sign you may not be having enough well structured, well run meetings. (I know you can’t imagine more meetings, but hang in there with me.)
Here is a suggestion for a daily meeting practice that is not really a meeting, but an awareness practice.
It can revolutionize the flow of work and relationships in an office and super charge efficiency in an organization. It can help reduce the heavy agendas of other meetings. It may take a total of 15 minutes out of your day. (Should be worth it…how many minutes a day are you spending on emails accommodating other people’s agendas? This will help your team get focused on your company’s agenda!)
This is an excellent practice for smaller companies and teams or subsets of teams – ideally up to 15 people.
Daily Touch Points:
Gather in the morning (at an established time) in a circle – standing.
Ask everyone to take three deep breaths.
Now ask each person to share the three most important things they wish to accomplish today at work. Bam! On to the next person. No extended discussions. Just sharing. Maybe an important connection or two gets actively made. Everyone gets 30 seconds.
Gather again at the end of the day at a set time.
Have everyone share : What are the three most important things you accomplished today? Again, no extended discussion.
This can be done by phone. I have even seen it done effectively by email – but in person is best.
This is an awareness practice. If you hear someone say something you want to have a longer discussion about, you can approach them after the practice for a longer discussion, but during this practice, just listen.
Why is this practice so powerful?
As a leader, suddenly, you will know what is actually happening within your organization or business during each day.
You will know where to connect and how to connect others and so will your team because they will know what everyone else is doing.
It’s also extremely helpful for individuals, as it provides a formal time to structure and prioritize what each person wants to accomplish that day.
Warning: If you tend to be a micro-manager – your staff is going to resist this exercise. They must trust that this exercise is for their benefit, not just yours. Ms. or Mr. Micromanager must be very disciplined not to co-op this opportunity to re-organize someone else’s day. If this time is subverted for the purpose of reordering everyone else’s agenda, it will destroy any benefit of this awareness practice very quickly. (If priorities are not well established for your team, establishing them needs to happen in a different kind of meeting.)
Next time: How to lead a successful meeting.
Want some help in making your team more efficient? Contact me here and I would be happy to have a complementary 45 minute consulting session to explore the possibilities.
Share Below: What do you love and hate about meetings?
And once you try this practice, please share with us how it goes!
I hate when there’s a meeting with NO agenda that spells out what’s being covered AND I’m frustrated when I’ve invested time in a meeting that ends with no action items! Leaving a meeting should mean you leave with a specific task/s you are responsible for accomplishing—by a set date!
Amen Melanie! Excellent points…we are going there in the next post – what does a productive meeting look like? Thanks for sharing.
What I hate are the meetings that are supposed to be an hour, but drag on to three! Really! It was the CEO’s meeting and that’s how he like things. Made the rest of us want to do everything we could by email…then phone…then in person, but only if we absolutely had to. Really affected communication.
Thanks for the great advice.