COMMUNICATIONS 6—MEETING MAKERS
Good meeting bring good results. Bad meetings are a total waste and at times a total reverse. So what makes a meeting good. The previous post outlined some helpful ideas that really work. We’ll finish rounding out that picture here.
Assign Clear Roles
A rugby scrum looks like total confusion but it’s actually a well orchestrated meeting with clear roles for each player. In the same way, a meeting should have clear roles for every one who attends. Scribe. Facilitator. Timekeeper. Devil’s Advocate (yes, seriously). Let people know how they can best contribute to the overall success of the meeting.
Look for Areas to Improve
Set aside 5-10 minutes at the end to evaluate the meeting. Identify what people think went well and what we could improve on in the future. Incremental improvements from meeting to meeting will end up making you a master meeting manager.
Think of Time and Place
Sometimes the time of day can make for a better meeting. Research shows that some of the most productive times in the work day are either right before or before quitting time. Consider scheduling your meetings at these times. How about locations? Cavelike meeting rooms without windows or rooms that are simply too small contribute to brain and energy drains. Open, spacious with windows and good lighting are essential.
Have the Right Equipment and Tools
For me, a white board and a flip chart (with a sturdy easel and sticky note pads) are musts. You may or may not need an LCD projector. A good speaker phone (one of the Polycom types with 360 degree speakers) and/or an iPad with Skype for affordable video interaction can expand you reach to the corners of the world.
Turn off Cell Phones
No one is indispensable for ½ hour. It’s a courtesy to the team to be fully engaged and not constantly checking email or texting. If you can’t resist (which most people today can’t) then just turn it off until the meeting is over.
Meetings don’t have to suck. They don’t have to be a waste. However, good meetings don’t just happen. They take work and discipline. Since the cost of the meeting is THE HOURLY RATE OF PAY OF EACH PARTICIPANT X THE TIME SPENT IN THE MEETING + WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE WITH THE TIME be sure and make them count.