A meeting is the coming together of people who share a common goal, and through sharing information contribute to this goal being achieved. However anyone who attends meetings regularly will know that this is not always the case for the following reasons:
- Lack of Objectives. Tip – include objectives in every meeting invitation, in this way you manage expectations for the participants and you.
- Too much time spent simply sharing information. Tip – sharing information is important, but can it be accomplished without calling a meeting? Try to limit meetings to 10% information sharing and 90% action and decisions.
- Revisiting and rehashing. Why? It seems like one main reason is that we like to revisit our decisions. Another issue is attendance. Tip – Revisit decisions at key points or milestones. Perhaps we should put a timeframe around implementing the decision, before we revisit an original decision. This would allow for reflection after action has been taken, as opposed to stopping action. As for attendance, if we cannot make the meeting, we should send a proxy.
- Lack of accountability and follow through. Tip – Wrap up meetings with next steps and owners and then use technology as a way to share progress information between meetings.
- Showing up unprepared. Tip – Make sure everyone understands the objectives of the meeting they’re asked to attend and prepare for all meetings in advance. Anyone not prepared should acknowledge that up front and accept the consequences.
Are you one of those people who feels bored during the meeting and yet do not step forward and actively participate? These tips will raise your profile:
- Draw a ‘Venn’ diagram. It will help others focus on what needs to be in each circle and may encourage creativity.
- When someone gives lots of numerical data, do a quick calculation and pipe up that this represents x% – showing your quick thinking and willingness to simplify the complex.
- Ask a relevant question about a stakeholders perspective that has not been considered in the meeting e.g. “What is the PALS view on this?” This pulls the group back to seeing the overall big picture rather than focusing on the detail of one stakeholder.
- Ask “What would happen if we……….?” This might be to postpone a decision, do something radically different etc. However, it shows your interest by promoting an alternative view (even if you are not!)
- Summarise very simply what a speaker has said that everyone seems baffled by.
Contributed by Dedici Managing Director: Marion Parris