5 questions to help you cure your meeting-allergy
21 november 2018
I have a confession to make: I love meetings.
I know, I know, but before you roll your eyes and click away. Hear me out.
I don’t know how you started your career, but I started mine at the bottom. My first job was receptionist, then I moved into an admin support role.
These are the kinds of roles where what is going on in the company is a complete mystery. You have no clue, everything seems to be happening above your head.
Until one day my then manager decided he saw some potential in me and put me in a different role, as program coordinator.
We were a start-up company, launching a new product, and people had to start talking to each other.
For the first time ever I got to go to meetings. I started hearing things, learning things, connecting the dots.
I was having the time of my life.
So here is the thing: meetings are where the gold is. Meetings are where real business is done.
Or they would be - if we hadn't screwed up the way we do meetings so much.
But here is the good news: we still all want to have great meetings, where ideas are born & decisions are made.
The only thing we need to do is be more intentional about it.
No more mindless accepting of any meeting request that doesn't completely ruin your agenda.
No more slouching in your chair waiting for others to make the magic happen.
You only need to answer these 5 questions to start changing the meeting dynamic right now.
Why do I choose to go to this meeting? You need to figure out what the goal of the meeting is & why you need to be there. If that's clear for you, you have a personal interest to be there.
Is everyone on the same page about why you're having the meeting? This may mean you need to speak to the other participants in advance, or that you'll need the courage to speak up at the start of the meeting. If no one else does it, you have to - unless you want to sit through another fuzzy, sleep-inducing meeting where everyone is talking, and no one is listening.
Have we covered every angle? If someone's being the silent one, get them involved. Ask for their opinion. If everyone is agreeing, ask what you guys are not seeing. Make sure that the meeting happens right here, right now - not afterwards in the corridor. You're here to discuss about things, make sure that you do.
What have we decided? Don't leave the meeting without having a clear decision - even if that decision is that you need to study things further and come back. But don't leave things up in the air.
What's the next step? It's not enough to decide on what needs to happen, you have to break it down into actionable items. It's great that you are going to start a new project or address a new market. But who will take the lead? What needs to happen next? and by when?
And before you ask: yes, this is your task (too).
It's not because you are not the manager of the team or the organizer of the meeting that you can sit back, shut up, and complain about it later.
If you don't like the way meetings go right now, ask 5 questions & make meetings better.
It's that simple.