When you mention meetings, most employees roll their eyes at the sheer waste of time of these far-too-often scheduled get-togethers.
So why do organizations continue this ritual and what can we do differently?
Here are three keys to making the most of your meetings in person and virtually.
No meeting should ever go over the allotted time. To prevent this, let participants know time is limited and you would appreciate their full cooperation. This is what I refer to as the “initial condition”.
Your vocal tone should reflect a sense of urgency and communicate to participants that you expect their full attention for a finite amount of time. This is also a good time to ask people to stay off their mobile devices. If the meeting is virtual, urge participants to pay full attention and avoid distractions.
It is much more effective to do this at the start of the meeting rather than to chastise participants halfway through.
Should an issue arise that can derail your meeting, graciously explain that for the purposes of time you would appreciate moving on, but will take note of the concern. Doing this is commonly referred to as the “parking lot”. Please remember that people appreciate having their parking validated, so don’t forget to follow up if you have promised to.
We all know that the chance of buy-in is greater if individuals feel they have taken part in decision making. The same is true of meetings. Ask questions, welcome comments, and where appropriate when asked a question, see if someone else in the group would like to answer.
If the meeting is virtual, at the start of the meeting ask everyone to say their name before commenting.
It can be difficult if you feel your meeting is being hijacked by a challenging question or comment. The key is to remain calm and assume “positive intent” on the part of the questioner.