Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Hate Meetings? 5 easy tips to make them worth attending

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on November 25, 2009

Meetings are typically viewed as a necessary evil.  Most people absolutely hate meetings.  So be a change agent, do something about it…be the hero that brings life and energy into your organizations meeting culture.

I highly recommend Patrick Lencioni’s book, Death by Meeting.  It’s full of great ideas on how to approach meetings and how to break them down into either strategic or tactical agendas.  Lencioni will show you how to get buy in from all the players in the meeting and how to ensure that the meeting results in productive activity every time.

Here are 5 ideas on meetings. Add them to your business tool belt along with all the great content put forth in Lencioni’s book, Death by Meeting.

When in doubt, invite

It’s a sinking feeling to hear about a meeting that you were not invited to if the subject matter in that meeting was even remotely connected to your roll in the organization.

  • Get ALL the players in the room.
  • If their relevance to the meeting is questionable, then give them the option to attend or the option to leave early if they feel like it’s wasting their time.  People will appreciate being included.

Plan for follow up meetings

  • If the meeting is strategic (vs. tactical), make it clear to the players in the meeting that the goal is to cover information which is relevant to everyone in the room.
  • Avoid fostering a meeting environment where ten people become bored listening to two people go back and forth about an action item that involves only those two people.  This happens often, and it’s one of the top reasons that people hate meetings.
  • Action items involving a few people simply need to be discussed in a follow up meeting to keep creative energy flowing in the group.

Somebody please lead!

The worst meetings I’ve been in have occurred when the attendees of the meeting did not have a clear understanding of who was leading the meeting.

  • The meeting leader’s job is to to ensure that all of the players give input (not to talk the whole time).
  • If you are the meeting organizer then by default you are the leader of the meeting, but if someone else is going to lead then the organizer needs to open the meeting with their endorsement of the meeting leader and then let them take over.  Set the meeting leader up to win.
  • If you are the meeting leader consider having someone else introduce you/your ideas or endorse you to add credibility.

Meet before the meeting

  • If you know there is going to be some tension or controversy in the meeting then identify your allies ahead of time and meet with them to let them know how they can best support you in the upcoming meeting.
  • Meet with the players who will be in opposition to your agenda and ask them what their concerns are.  Let them know you’re going to consider their concerns between now and the upcoming meeting, and that you hope the meeting will offer a solution that they are content with.
  • You will be amazed at how doing these prep meetings will increase the buy in and the chemistry in the room when everyone meets together.  Our tendency is to just show up and start shooting from the hip.  Don’t do this.  You will be frustrated with people when the meeting is over.

How long?

  • The meeting will always expand to occupy the time allotted.
  • Think about how much time is really needed to have an effective meeting and remember that follow up meetings are encouraged.
  • You can always schedule another meeting but once the time is set it’s extremely rare that a meeting will take less time than scheduled.
  • Consider using odd time segments like 12 minutes or 40 minutes instead of the standard 30 minute or 1 hour blocks.

When in doubt bring lots of candy to the meeting.

For more ideas on how to have better meetings, read my previous post about meetings or check out Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership events to get the tools for building a team, increasing communication and hosting more productive meetings.
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One Response

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  1. Dale Suslick said, on November 26, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Thanks for sharing …nice insights. I’ll use this information. Great micro-lesson to add to the follow-up program for EntreLeadership!!!


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