Perfect Meeting Key #4: Consider The Cost
If people at the meeting are being paid, then the meeting is costing you the sum of their salaries. Consider the cost of a meeting before inviting people, or having it at all. If you have 5 people whose salaries are $25 per hour at a meeting, then that meeting costs you $125 per hour. Is this the best way to spend this money?
Perfect Meeting Key #5: Only Have A Meeting If You Have To
Often a meeting isn’t really necessary. Consider the following questions before scheduling a meeting:
• Is the meeting just for distribution of information? If so, can it be done via email or printed documents?
• Is most of the discussion going to be between just two people? If so, let them have a meeting and report the results to everyone else.
• Do you have clear goals for the meeting? If not, either figure out what you want, or don’t have a meeting.
Perfect Meeting Key #6: If You’re The Leader, Then Lead
Assuming you are the leader of the meeting, then be prepared to do just that.
• It is your job to make sure that the participants stay focused on topics that bring the meeting closer to the its goals.
• It is your job to keep the meeting moving along so it will be completed in the needed timeframe. Often, there is always more that can be discussed. After the most relevant information has been discussed, a good leader will move the meeting on to the next phase.
• It is your job to tactfully counter people who get off track, or use emotional tactics to manipulate the meeting. Such tactics include:
o Dominating – Being aggressive in tone or language such that more shy people will not express their true opinion.
o Rambling – Talking on and on about a topic in a way that is not constructive. This wastes time and makes others just want to do whatever is quickest to end the meeting (not necessarily what is best).
o Anger – Some people will have emotional outbursts when a meeting
doesn’t go their way. It is simply an adult tantrum. It is often used to manipulate others into ending a meeting early or conceding on a decision.
• It is NOT your job to have all the answers or to take all the actions.
• It IS your job to make sure that decisions are made based on facts, and that those people who need to take actions know who they are and what they are going to do.
Perfect Meeting Key #7: Finish On Time
People want to participate in meetings, and get more out of them if they are brief and to the point. Keep them on time by beginning and ending on time. You are the leader and this is your responsibility. If other people don’t take it seriously, this sets the tone for the whole meeting. When the time is half over, make sure you are halfway through the material. If you need more time, make it a formal decision to either continue for a specified amount of time, or to adjourn until another time.
Remember, you will often not cover all the details that people have in mind to talk about. This is okay. Use the 80/20 rule and move on. (80% of the work gets done with 20% of your time and effort. The remaining 20% will take 80% of your time and energy. Focus on that which nets you the greatest results.) At some point, it’s just time to move on.
Overall, meetings can be a very effective tool in business. Be sure to use them as such. When underused or overused, they lose their value. If you have specific questions about your meetings, feel free to email me at coach@CenteredBusiness.com.
By Al Lipper