We all have so many meetings however how many of them are truly productive and have a great outcome such as closing a deal, making a sale, signing off on a project etc?
The reality is we have too many meetings that run for too long with little or no benefit. So how can we change this? Well follow the next few steps and you will find yourself having more meaningful and productive meetings and less time waster ones.
1. Be clear on the purpose of the meeting. Going into a meeting with a vague intention is not enough to keep the ball rolling. Ahead of the meeting think through what is the purpose of the meeting? Do you really need to have a meeting about it or can an email exchange suffice? If there is more than one purpose for the meeting create an agenda, either formally written up or at least in a note book that you can talk to through the meeting.
2. Be clear on the desired outcome of the meeting. A clear purpose is not enough, one needs to have a clear outcome in mind to drive the conversation towards a goal. By stating the desired outcome at the beginning of the meeting sets the tone. You are in control, you know what you would like to achieve. Furthermore, this reduces the likelihood of wafting conversations that go nowhere and another meeting to discuss this meeting.
3. A short meeting is a good meeting. Less is definitely more in this case. Schedule meetings for 30 – 45 minutes. This different time frame tells people that this is a meeting with purpose and drive and let’s get to it.
4. Bring yourself to the table. Up until now the tips may come across somewhat robotic and systematic. This is needed to set the framework in place for effective and productive meetings. However remember, meetings are with people. Bring your humanness to the table. Be real and authentic. The meeting may be shorter but the conversations can still be meaningful. If you feel that you would like to engage with that person longer, have the meeting and then continue the conversation over coffee.
5. Keep moving. One way I like to have meetings (as mentioned before in my previous post: How many firsts have you had this year) is having a walking meeting. Rather than sitting down for your 50th coffee for the day or in a meeting room, get outside and move. When having a walking meeting you get to be side by side with someone and moving forward. The subliminal messaging is huge – you are equal and you are progressing forward.
6. Follow up. After the meeting be sure to send a follow up email saying thank you for their time and note the key points discussed and action points that will be taken (and by whom). This way there is no confusion as to what was discussed or agreed to, and if there is, it can be resolved immediately.
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