Meetings can really suck. Most of us simply have too many of them. How many times have you thought well, that’s an hour of my life I can never get back or how many times are we going to meet to talk about the same damn thing?
But, meetings can be really useful. If there’s someone actually running it like a boss.
Running an effective meeting is a perfect opportunity for you to shine as a growing leader at your organization.
Let’s break down the keys to run a meeting like a boss and the true badass you are.
Decide if you really need to have a meeting at all.
Seriously, so many meetings do not need to happen.
Meetings are needed for two key reasons:
1 – Make a decision
2 – Drive action
If the intent of your meeting is purely informational, 9 out of 10 times you don’t need a meeting. You need to share the news by other means.
Need to give a quick update? Send an email.
Need to pass along an urgent bit of news? Find the right person in person or call them ASAP to pass it along.
Define a meeting objective and agenda.
It doesn’t need to be elaborate. But it does need to be clear.
If you don’t want to spend the time thinking this through, you are part of the problem.
Make sure any meeting invite you send has a specific objective, along with an agenda that drives that objective forward.
Be deliberate about your invitee list.
Who can really drive your objective forward?
Most people over-invite. Out of politeness. Or confusion about who’s on point for what.
There’s a difference between meeting participants and an audience. Don’t invite an audience.
Prep your meeting invitees for a productive session.
Send any pre-reads in advance. Be clear with people what you expect from them before they enter the meeting session. Make it easy for them to be prepared attendees.
Lead that meeting and drive your agenda.
You are responsible for making this a productive use of time. Drive that discussion.
Watch that clock and be mindful of time to ensure you get through your agenda before the scheduled end of your meeting.
Use a parking lot for the black holes.
Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard. Is someone taking all the air? Help others be heard.
Put specific people on the hook for follow up items. Don’t let any action go unassigned.
Always document the meeting after the session.
Use a simple format: meeting title and date, attendee names, key decisions, and action items.
Be sure to be clear with action items. Assign them to specific names. Give them specific deadlines.
Keep people honest. Follow up with them and make sure they follow through on their action items. Especially yourself! Do what you say you will.
Meetings don’t have to suck. Do your part to make any that you schedule a useful part of someone’s day.
Being an effective meeting leader is one of those ways to have your leadership abilities noticed.