OH BOY, has my calendar been bananas lately.
Or should I say crazy-pants town.
There have meetings and appointments and phone calls and … basically a whole bunch of time with other people has landed on my calendar lately.
I love supporting these people.
And yet, it’s left little time to put my butt in the seat and do the things I want to be doing in my own business.
What has happened though, is that it’s made me highly aware of where my time is going.
And I noticed that it really is going to the meetings that have made their way onto my calendar.
Let’s just say, not all of the meetings have been ultra productive either.
The thing is, this isn’t unique to me.
So many businesses let meetings become inefficient, ineffective and just a plain ol’ time suck.
As a result, projects move at a snail’s pace, team members drop the ball, insights from failures never get talked about, let alone learned from.
And worse yet, we think there’s nothing to do to change it.
But there’s a way out of it.
You don’t have to dread meetings with your team, whether you hold them weekly or monthly or as needed for projects.
Follow these tips and you’ll be loving your team meetings again in no time.
- Make sure your team members who need to be in the meeting are there, and make sure those that DO NOT need to be present aren’t bothered with an invite.
And who needs to be in the meeting? Those who have a say in the discussions or decisions. If it’s a no, they can be filled in afterward with the meeting notes.
- Think through the approximate time you’ll need to really discuss the topic at hand BEFORE sending out a meeting invite. Your time is valuable. Your team’s time is valuable. And no one likes it when a meeting runs over.
Be respectful and tell people upfront how long you expect the meeting to last. If you overshoot and it wraps early, everyone will think you’re a goddess.
On the flip side, if a meeting that you’re in (and didn’t call) runs long, feel free to let the meeting lead know that you have to run for another appointment or project or whatnot when you hit the originally stated end time. You’ll start to train the rest of your team on the new expectations for meeting length and boundaries.
- Keep the meeting topic to ONE TOPIC only. I know, I know, there’s so much to cover in your weekly update meetings. Hear me out, if you’re talking updates and progress you’re going to cover a range of topics.
BUT, if during your weekly update meeting, the conversation heads into the weeds of which new logo is best reflective for your rebrand, you’ve veered off course. That is a separate meeting, so call a new meeting to talk only logos and branding.
Also, make sure the person running the meeting has the authority to pull the conversation back on-topic. If it’s you, then you should have no problem as the business owner having people put a pin in the tangent. If it’s someone else, like your assistant, make sure you pass the baton to her and let others know that she’s leading the meeting.
- Once the meeting begins, remind everyone what the objective is. Sometimes it’ll be to come to a conclusion and make a decision. Sometimes it’ll be to just brainstorm and bat around ideas with no decisions being made. When people know the expectations from the start, it helps to keep the conversations focused (hint – see #3 above).
- Leave 5 minutes at the end of the meeting to recap and make sure you’re all on the same page. Us humans are funny, funny creatures. We say something that we think is clear as the ocean. And the person next to us interprets that next step completely differently.
So take the final five minutes – yep, that means if you called a meeting for one hour, you actually have 55 minutes to hold the discussion part of the meeting – and talk through what was decided on during the meeting, what the next steps are and who is specifically responsible for each next step or action.
One last note – be upfront about these changes because people will notice. Don’t beat around the bush or look for ways to slyly shoehorn them in.
Just say upfront, “hey, I’ve noticed our meetings are getting a bit away from us and I just read this great article about how we can get it back on course. I’d like to try it out over the next month. I’d love to hear how you find the new format, too.”
And watch as a new buzzy, light energy fills your meeting spaces, as progress on projects moves faster, and learnings get better integrated for the future.
Let me know how it goes – post below and tell me all about it!
Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash