Meetings That Work
6 Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Meetings
Some people despise meetings, and rightfully so. A poorly planned meeting wastes both time and money. On the other hand, a well-organized meeting with purpose can be effective and rewarding. How do you separate a good meeting from a bad one? Not surprisingly, most of it comes down to structure. Here are six tips on making sure your meetings hit the mark:
1. Show Up Early. If you’re on time, you’re late – especially if you have things to set up. If you’re presenting on screen, make sure you are prepared and ready to go. When technology is involved, there is great likelihood that something goes wrong, so plan for it and don’t waste others’ time.
2. Have an Agenda. Like with anything else, have a plan, and communicate. State your purpose and what you hope to achieve, and include this information in an invite before meeting. Nobody enjoys getting a meeting invite with no purpose stated, and people often assume the worst, sabotaging you from the start.
3. Stick to the Agenda. A plan means nothing unless you follow through, so keep an eye on time during the meeting and make sure it is flowing properly. Create a Parking Lot for ideas that are unrelated to your meeting’s objective and set up separate meetings to tackle them. 1UP: If you have a whiteboard to write parking lot items on, it helps people know their ideas are being taken seriously, and they are more likely to stay engaged.
4. Respect People’s Time. Respecting other people’s time means they’re more likely to respect yours, so schedule meetings for a reasonable length. I like to aim for one hour, and definitely not more than two. Schedule a five-minute break for any meeting over one hour. Most importantly, if you don’t need to use the entire length of the meeting, don’t. People’s time is precious. Let them go if you don’t need them.
5. Use the Two Pizza Rule. Too many people in a meeting can be a distraction, so use the Two Pizza Rule: don’t invite more people than it takes to eat two pizzas. (If you’re like me and enjoy pizza, that number is eight.) Invite only the people who are needed in the meeting. You can send the invite as optional to keep folks in the loop, but if you are unsure if they need to be there, leave them out and send a good set of meeting notes. Don’t waste their time.
6. Create Clear Takeaways. Take good meeting notes. Better yet, have someone else take them so you can focus on running the meeting. Even better, have a pre-prepped takeaway that you can hand out at the meeting or email out afterward. At the end of the meeting, recap what you’ve learned and create an action item list so folks know what to follow up on.
Let’s recap: To run a great meeting, show up early, have an agenda, stick to the agenda, respect people’s time, use the Two Pizza Rule, and create clear takeaways. (See what I did there?) Take action: what’s one thing from this list that you can adopt to make your next meeting more awesome? (See what else I did there?) If you’d like to work with me 1-on-1, hire me as a coach and we can split the two pizzas.