As mentioned in this great adaptive path blog, not only do we waste too much time in meetings. It also affects the rhythm of your day.
It made me remember a seminar I attended a while back on running effective meetings. (Ironically, the one-day training felt like a long and boring meeting, but it did leave me with one key insight I really found very valuable).
Change you meeting’s subject line into a question:
- Make every meeting title (on your calendar) ‘a question’. This encourages people to think about possible responses (and therefore it makes people prepare).
- If the meeting is longer, with multiple topics, apply the same concept: make every agenda point a question
- Who should come? The answer is, only if you feel that you can help answer the question, you should come. If not, you shouldn’t.
- If you decide not to come, but are on the invite list, the answer (or draft answer) to the question(s) are emailed to you.
Example of a meeting regarding our recruitment wallboard below:
A few weeks back, a manager at our company gave me another great tip, more relevant to recurring team meetings.
Send every participant a ‘one-question evaluation survey’ right after each meeting.
- Create a one question survey with free text field below, asking them to rate the meeting on a 1-10 scale (a simple survey tool like Wufoo will do).
- Send it out straight after the meeting and get people to score and provide context on their response .
- Review the scores regularly. Every person and every team is different. As a manager, you need to create the right mix in terms of actions orientation, process, information sharing, or team participation. It’s also good to understand how the group dynamics can have a different impact on different team members. It sometimes surprises me to see that most team members give a really high score while one person scores the meeting poorly. As you monitor scores going up and down, you ultimately create the right meeting format that works for the team.
- It’s a simple way to create buy in and a joint responsibility to make a meeting more effective.
There are more great suggestions out there:
Through a quick search on Google I found some other goodies.
- Move meetings to the start and the end of the day
- No agenda = no meeting – meet only with a certain goal
- Take charge of your own calendar – be prepared to decline meetings
- Make meetings shorter, 15 minutes only.
- Try to get out of the meeting as soon as you can. If there’s an hour assigned and you’re decided in 25 minutes – great!
- Trust your team – you don’t always have to be attending yourself. Trust others to make the right calls