Ah, the dreaded office meeting: When you hear that word meeting, what pops into your mind? Most of us who have experienced too many unproductive ones will say, “waste of time!” And that would be true. Too often, meetings are inefficient, unproductive and disorganized.
But before we go into how to improve meetings, let’s first remind ourselves of why they are important. Meetings help people stay on track. Meetings are necessary before projects, and at the end of projects. They’re where we share the company/project vision, roll out the plans, clarify expectations and desired results and make sure everyone is up to date.
Meetings are also where we learn from the past by discovering what went wrong, what went right and what we should do differently next time. Effective meetings improve productivity, rather than detract from it.
To decrease the amount of time we spend in meetings and to increase their effectiveness, try using GRIT to pave the way. GRIT entails usingtruth as a foundation, aligned with integrity and combined with respect for self and others. All of that is then devoted to the achievement of the goal generosity.
Know the purpose of the meeting. Is a meeting really necessary? What needs to be covered? Has an agenda with targeted outcomes been created? Prioritize the items in order of importance.
Stay aligned with the purpose of the meeting. Make sure the right people are included. Don’t invite people who aren’t needed. For those you are unsure about, help decide if they need to be there. Stick to the agenda — use a parking lot for things outside it. Follow through on items from the previous meeting and make new action items. Tackle the most important items first. Start and end on time.
Be objective and inclusive. Have attendees turn off gadgets so they can be “present.” Give everyone an opportunity to weigh in; acknowledging people helps them buy-in. Solicit and respect all opinions and views. Manage “off-topic” remarks. Be mindful of everyone’s time: Stick to the schedule, keep things flowing and keep the agenda on topic and on time. Enforce accountability, and make the tough decisions, so people will respect you.
Set up the meeting for success. Think of everything attendees need to have, to be successful. Give them all required information promptly. Make the event enjoyable while keeping things on track. Impose a “disruption fee” for anyone who is late, takes calls, texts or is otherwise distracted.
Implement GRIT into your meetings, and you’ll notice people stepping up, taking accountability and producing more efficient and effective results immediately.
Laurie Sudbrink is president and founder of Unlimited Coaching Solutions, which specializes in improving workplace performance. She is the author of Leading With GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth.