Stop Having Meetings That Suck: 4 Ways to Leave ‘em Wanting More
I harp on this a lot. Meetings can be the bane of many companies. They are usually long, arduous and many times, useless. Few leave with any real good information, and fewer leave wanting more, many times complaining about how bad they sucked. Here are some ways to improve your meetings from suck status to awesome status.
HUMANIZE THE LEADERS
At a recent client meeting, the President and VP dressed up as Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie from the Alamo (the meeting was in San Antonio), complete with musket, coonskin cap and fringed buckskin outfits. The team loved it. They saw their leaders being fun and loose instead of tight and reserved. The President and VP took a chance by putting themselves in a vulnerable position, open to criticism, and instead were met with cheers. A “receiving line” was formed where they took individual pictures with each member of the team. It will be talked about for years.
HAVE AN AGENDA
Everyone likes to plan their time. None of us feel like we have enough of it. Give your team an exact idea of when things will start and finish and follow that. You don’t have to tell them every detail, but a rough outline so the team can plan is imperative. It lets them know you not only honor your time, but theirs as well.
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
Electronics have become an addiction for too many of us. Phones, tablets, laptops, etc are ruling our lives due to the notifications from the numerous apps, programs, communication portals and whatever else beeps, vibrates, flashes and damn near pokes us. Depending on the length of your meeting, have everyone leave their phones on a table or in a box away from the meeting table.
If you have a meeting longer than a few hours, give them extended breaks to check calls and emails. Have them put an out of office message on everything like email and their voicemail, and have them tell whoever may need to reach them (family, etc) that they will be away from their phone to help keep everyone in the loop. The team will focus better on the topics at hand and the meeting may even take less time.
ADD A TEAM BUILDING ASPECT TO YOUR MEETING
We’re all moving fast these days, and even though we work alongside someone, there may be little time to really get to know them. Have everyone answer questions like:
What is the most unusual food you have ever eaten?
Who was the most influential person in your life and why?
Have them share their answers and vote on the most interesting one. They will laugh together and get to know each other better. A team that is tight knit will conquer challenges and overcome barriers. Make them stronger by adding some enjoyment to your time together.
These are just a few of many ideas. Try some. Break free from the norm and help your team see new angles and perspectives. Meetings should end with everyone fired up and ready to take on the world. Make sure the information you are sharing is beneficial and useful to everyone and add some other components to the meeting that will foster the company culture you want. “Awesome, fun, supportive, helpful, sharing, respectful…” These are words you want your team to use for your next meeting; now go make it happen.