Creating Effective and Productive Meetings
by Margo Crawford of Wave Productivity
What to avoid in meetings
Two of my current clients are working on ways they can have more productive meetings. One wants to have better meetings with their customers and find ways to add more value in less time. The other, wants to effectively work with their staff so meetings won’t be a time waster. Here are things to avoid when you have a meeting.
Waste time-Look around the room at the people you’ve assembled. Do each have a purpose for being there? Can each contribute their own insight and ideas? If not, you’re wasting their time and yours. Invite the people who can move the project forward. Invite the people who can bring solid contributions to the group.
Whisper-Side talking in a meeting can really throw people off, especially the facilitator. Is there something in the side discussion that should be addressed? Are they chatting about nothing important? Are they talking about me? These are the things that run through people’s minds as they watch a side bar conversation happen. Don’t even keep it to a minimum, stop it all together. It’s distracting and distrustful.
Wing it-My clients have stopped the ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ style meetings. They plan, prepare and have an agenda. They expect that their team members who are in the meeting will do the same. Don’t wing it. It’s a time waster, no one is prepared for the discussion. It’s difficult for the leader to facilitate a thoughtful conversation if no one has thought through in advance what the discussion will be.
Wander off-If you need to leave early, let others know. Your abrupt departure might be justified but awkward for others. When someone leaves a meeting it can be disruptive, when people are clued in, with a clear explanation, it’s a more natural exit.
Watch It-Ever been in a meeting with someone who is constantly on their phone? It can be distracting for them and for you. Unless there is a dire emergency stick to the topic at hand, rest your digits and your phone. Stay engaged with exactly what’s on point—the meeting.
Wake up-Didn’t get enough sleep the night before, then nod off in a meeting? Embarrassed when you are woken up as the meeting comes to an end? Don’t be that person. If you have the power, pick times in your day with mid to high energy levels to schedule meetings so there isn’t any head nodding and sleepy eyes.
Avoid whispering, wandering and winging it and your meetings will be better. Use these techniques to make your meetings thoughtful and thought provoking.
Margo Crawford is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer with Wave Productivity. She works with CPA’s, serial entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She coaches by phone nationally and in person in Phoenix, Providence and Boston. If you want to get more organized in your office call 602-677-8275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.