I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “The quickest way to kill an idea is to take it to a meeting!” Often in my business advising I am invited into meetings that are, to say the least, painful. Well-meaning managers talk and talk while bored employees pretend to listen. With over 25 years advising teams on how to conduct better meetings, I thought today I’d simply coach-you-up on 7 meeting truths and how to minimize their damage.
7 Meeting Truths
- Too many people call too many meetings of too many people! Just like in the kitchen, too many cooks do indeed spoil the meeting broth. Only invite the essential staff that have direct impact and influence – all others can be in the roll-out of the decision. Most often, the fewer people the better.
- The interpersonal elements in a meeting are just as important as the objectives. How you open, lead, or contribute is just as important at the goal of the meeting. Check your ego and personal agendas at the door – focus on the goal and gently lead all personalities toward the goal.
- Over 50% of meetings could be handled better by email or phone. Don’t call a meeting to convey routine information. Send it out by an email or a pre-recorded call blast. Your people would FAR prefer to have a short email with an attached list or a 90-second recorded call rather than be forced to spend 30 minutes in a meeting hearing routine stuff.
- The main reasons for poor meetings are inviting the wrong people, no clear objective, or an autocratic leader. Wrong people – No objective – Autocratic leader. Fix these and you fix most of your unproductive meetings. (Yes, you can fix an autocratic meeting leader – if you would like a future post on how, leave a note in the comments below).
- Little real work occurs during meetings. Why? All you typically do is TALK about work. No one really DOES much work during most meetings – unless you’re the one having to take the minutes (a lost art).
- Real meeting success is measured by what happens AFTER the meeting – not DURING the meeting. With rare exception, it is far more important what the participants do AFTER the meeting – not during. Great meetings produce positive action and results – not merely good discussion.
- Remember what will most likely happen if you don’t call a meeting. if you don’t call a meeting, what will every meeting participant likely do instead?
Your Meeting Truisms
These are a few of my favorite meeting truisms. What other meeting truism have I missed? Let’s build a fun list – join the conversation below.