Hi Q Training has been working with teams for more than 15 years. We run workshops and coach teams in real time so we get to see the best meetings and bear witness to the worst. While this isn’t a definitive list of quick fixes, here are some ideas to immediately transform the impact of meetings in your company –
- Define the purpose of meetings and specific agenda items. When people know what the meeting is for and the outcome that is required (ideas, a decision, feedback, for instance) the meeting becomes more valuable.
- Enable people to contribute. When meetings provide an opportunity for people to think, discuss in small groups, make notes on post-its or reflect on information and feedback at another time, the discussion is far richer and the ideas generated far more innovative.
- Distinguish between different types of meeting. Don’t confuse strategic and tactical topics. The mindset required is completely different.
- Decide up front how a final decision is going to be made and who is going to make it. Will it be a democratic decision that everyone needs to agree with or will the final call be the manager’s, having listened to input from the team?
- Write down decisions, action-steps, who is accountable and timescales and return to this at the next meeting. When this isn’t done no one is clear on what’s been agreed and what happens next. Inevitably nothing happens next. What a waste of everyone’s time.
However, every team and meeting is unique. I’ve observed meetings where all of the above is in place but the meeting still doesn’t work. In one case it was due to politeness. Everyone was so concerned about the feelings of the other members that they didn’t want to create tension by expressing their opinion. In another case, everything seemed good in the meeting but a quick chat with individuals afterwards revealed that no one had any intention of doing their bit before next time. What’s the issue in your meetings?