Running Effective Meetings

Ben Tootill
3 min read

One thing that people often complain about in the workplace is boring meetings. If you were to ask people to rank what frustrates them most about work, I predict that poorly run meetings would rank somewhere near the top.

“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”  Elon Musk

Ineffective meetings have somehow become the norm in the modern corporate setting, so what’s going on?

When done well, meetings can lift spirits, improve morale and increase productivity, but when delivered poorly, meetings suck the enthusiasm and engagement right out of us.

I remember one place I worked that made an industry out of meetings. Managers were spending 70% of their week in meeting after meeting – these meetings were poorly delivered, repetitive and soul destroying. It’s no surprise that engagement, sales performance and retention were declining year on year.

You have a meeting to make a decision, not to decide on the question”
Bill Gates

But meetings aren’t inherently bad, what we call boring meetings are simply poorly led and lack structure. Meetings can and should be an opportunity to learn, inform, motivate, collaborate, clarify and drive performance.

Here are some tips for having better meetings;

1. Be clear on your intent and purpose for the meeting – there must be a point to the meeting, be clear on your core message and frame up the context and relevance for everyone at the start.

2. Start and finish on time – ever heard the quote “time is our most precious commodity”? It may seem obvious, but some people are notorious for wasting time – don’t let it happen.

3. Follow these rules when planning what you will saySmall beats beat big – don’t use big fancy words in your meetings like “fastidious” or “vitriolic”, they doesn’t impress anyone, and no one will understand what you are talking about.

• Short beats long – nothing puts people to sleep faster than someone who rambles on in a meeting. Keep things short, and if you can use fewer words to get the message across – do.

Simple beats complex – distil what you need to say into simple terms, limit numbers to “the” numbers and fit your core message into a single statement. The goal of a meeting is never to confuse, it is to create clarity and inspire    action.

• Increased productivity, morale and commitment

• Improved team effectiveness and co-operation

• Increased openness to change and enhances the effectiveness of complex organisations.

For more tips

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