𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀: 𝗔 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗲
Updated: Mar 11
“𝙈𝙚𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙖 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙯𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣. 𝙁𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙚𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙢𝙚𝙚𝙩𝙨 𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙨.” – Peter Drucker
For many people, meetings top the list of things they hate about work. The words “waste of time” and “meeting” often sandwich together easier than a PB & J.
A growing company needs to install systems and processes to scale* and relies on group meetings to efficiently convey information.
While an unproductive meeting can be wasteful and deflating, when productive, meetings can be incredibly powerful. By brainstorming ideas, you encourage innovation** and collaboration. Exploring options and solving problems can be valuable and motivating.
𝗗𝗼 𝗪𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁?
Whether you do this every time or review on a quarterly basis, question whether you really need to bring a bunch of people together in a room.
There are a variety of meeting types, from company-wide updates, brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and training sessions.
However, sometimes a meeting is not needed. For instance, holding meetings for accountability may not be optimal. Instead, utilize a shared resource to measure progress and ask questions as needed. To check on individual progress, career development, and mental health, utilize 1:1s instead of group meetings.
While it may be expedient for a manager to ask everyone at once how things are going, this is highly wasteful for everyone else.
𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗕𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗸
Meetings can be incredibly useful, but not if they dominate contributors' time. Other ways to spend less time in meetings:
· Schedule them for 30 or 45 minutes instead of an hour. This will encourage everyone to cover topics quickly.
· Block a period of time weekly when no one has meetings. The team will really appreciate the time for deep work.
· If you’re not presenting but need to know what was shared, watch recordings of the meeting in high speed.
Meetings are not always necessary for productivity. Determine if there are other ways which yield the same results while saving people time.
𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗘𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀
A leader who values others' time sends the message that they believe in both business growth and personal respect.
Attendees should participate fully. Here's how to set expectations.
· Be clear on the purpose for getting together
· Decide who will facilitate discussion (not always the top leader)
· Send an agenda and any information 1-2 days before (e.g. deck)
· Limit it to an hour if possible, and ideally, 30 or 45 minutes (we will often fill the time allotted one way or another)
· Charge every attendee with adding something e.g. for introverts, encourage them to send ideas beforehand (and recommendations after)
· Begin by stating your purpose and what you hope to accomplish
· Start and finish on time to encourage full engagement and trust
· As facilitator, keep the discussion moving without being directive
“𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙟𝙤𝙗 𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜.” – David M. Cote
· If it’s a recurring meeting, consider allowing different teammates to share one positive and one negative story each week
· Designate someone to own timing (and be nice, since it's a tough role)
· Ask someone to take notes and share afterwards (you may rotate)
· Create a little conflict. Make sure every major decision has some conscious dissent. Consider making one person play “devil’s advocate”
· If the tension rises too high, however, re-frame the discussion around solving problems and change the topic if it becomes unproductive
· For unsolved issues, form a smaller task force (usually, the ones most impacted) to wrestle with the issue and report progress next meeting
· Clarify next steps, assigning an owner and a deadline for an update
· Every attendee should add value, and if someone did not, then decide whether they need to contribute more next time or not join again
· Acknowledge attendees who really contributed to the discussion
· Check with attendees on how to improve (e.g. “what’s one way the meeting could have been better?”)
· Share notes and seek any clarifications or new thoughts
· If there are follow-up items, check on them when needed and send updates - 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙖𝙡𝙪𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨
· On a quarterly basis, block time to review all your meetings and respectfully challenge the purpose of every single one
𝗕𝗼𝗻𝘂𝘀: If you find that your meetings are running stale, consider changing one aspect. You may introduce humor or stories, encourage guest speakers from other teams, present more visuals and video clips, or ask attendees to take turns sharing information and even facilitating. A small changeup can make a big difference.
Meaningful meetings can reinforce productive collaboration, encourage innovation, and solve major problems. Use them as a catalyst for growth.
* Systems and Processes: www.webuildscalegrow.com/post/9eb1a420
** Innovation: www.webuildscalegrow.com/post/89cd9be1