What’s the number one complaint I hear from clients in relation to their productivity and effectiveness? They all hate meetings! Most people especially hate meetings that waste their time, where nothing is achieved, and no decisions are made. They complain that the meetings are full of colleagues talking in circles, and whining about things without offering solutions. People are often speaking out of turn, creating tangents and blaming others for the challenges at hand, and there is no accountability for bad behaviors.
Good and effective meeting structure is not rocket science, but it does take discipline. It can be as simple as asking for directions.
From what I have learned, these are the elements of an excellent meeting:
- An agenda is prepared, and it’s shared with everyone before the meeting.
- The meeting starts on time, and the expectation is that everyone is present and on time.
- Ground rules are created by the team and reviewed/posted at every meeting.
- The right people are included in the meeting.
- Notes are taken action items are tracked. Action items include those both from the previous meeting and from the current meeting.
- Every action item decided during the meeting is assigned to someone and has a clear completion date.
- The meeting ends on time, and there are 10 minutes dedicated at the end to discuss the quality of this meeting, and how it could have been better.
Even better, if you can evaluate whether these actions were achieved for each meeting as a team, you can track your progress and show continuous improvement!
Like I said, it’s not rocket science. How many meetings have you had in the past year that fulfilled all of these criteria? I’m just curious.