We often say, “If you don’t like meetings, you aren’t doing them right.” Meetings are compelling interactions between intelligent people working together to create something. They should be interesting and energizing, but only if you do them the right way. Here are some tips for improving your meetings.
Visualize Better Meetings
Use a method for visualizing the discussion like a whiteboard, flowchart, projection or presentation. This will give participants something common to look upon and give them a basis for the discussion. As the discussion occurs, make notes or draw diagrams to help the team all move together as one. Without this visualization of the discussion, participants often come away with vastly different understandings of what was agreed upon at the meeting.
Conflict Leads to Better Meetings
Don’t avoid conflict. Meetings without conflict are boring and often useless. Effective meetings involve different opinions. It is the combination of different opinions that often yield the best insights. Meetings must also confront reality, even when reality is difficult. The “elephant in the room” has a major impact and must be introduced.
Avoid the Meetings You Shouldn’t Be Having
Meetings are a great place for discussion, transparency and establishing next steps for an organization. However, too often, organizations have meetings that simply should not be meetings. These meetings include:
I’m Doing My Job
This meeting sounds great in theory and it is typically intended to keep departments updated on what is happening. However, too often, these meetings don’t allow for active participation, which means participants are sitting in their chairs pretending to listen. The only time people usually speak are to say aloud that they are doing their job, rather than engaging in relevant discussion. Thus, simple emails or visits are generally enough to keep everyone in the loop.
We’re Going to Ignore the Elephant in the Room
Relating to the bullet point, Conflict Leads to Better Meetings, mentioned above, meetings that refuse to face realities and disagreements do not lead to valuable results. There are a lot of meetings where participants can sense the conflict in the atmosphere in the room, but everyone fails to talk to about. Talk about the elephant because if not, your meeting has missed a major opportunity.
Have a Meeting Cadence
Another important key for meetings is to have a meeting cadence. Meetings that routinely happen need to be just that, routine. At People Centric, we have a set time for our meetings held every week. By having a proper meeting cadence, it helps us stay organized and focused on our strategic initiatives.