“I’m not supposed to be here. This is not happening.” Is that how you feel when you attend a meeting that just seems to be a waste of your time. Well, how do you feel when you are the one conducting the meeting and as you look around, attenders are doodling, staring off into space, checking messages, texting, and yes, even coloring. What about those attenders who talk too much, speak out of turn, and try to inject their own agenda? And, let’s not forget Johnny come lately who raises his hand and ask, “What did I miss?” Yeah, you too feel like saying, “I’m not supposed to be here. This is not happening.”
Is it any wonder why people hate going to meetings? Meetings could and would be a lot more simple and peaceful if people would just check their egos at the door, come prepared, stick to the agenda, and turn off or silence those smartphones! Ooh, did I say that out loud? Well, I can’t help you with the egos, but I can help you make your meetings a little bit more PEACEFUL. Try the following.
Benjamin Franklin was once asked – How long does it take to cut down a tree? He said it takes six hours -five hours to plan and one hour to cut it down. – When you put sufficient time into planning your meetings it will help you answer the who, what, where, why, when, and how, which will help the meetings to stay on point and not make the attenders wonder, – Why am I here?
Contact all those who need to be invited. To avoid confusion, make sure the email shows date, time, location, and name and telephone number of person to contact.
Ask for input
Why are meetings so boring to many? Because everybody listens to the same station – WIIFM – What’s in it for me? If attenders do not see how what you are presenting benefits them, you may lose them at some point. So when preparing your agenda, prepare with the attenders in mind. Ask for their input.
Control the flow of the meeting
Start on time. Communicate your expectations at the start of the meeting. Stay on point. Minimize interruptions. End on time.
Encourage participation. Evaluate the meeting. End with a thank you.
Encourage participation through open-ended questions, and ask attenders for their thoughts and opinions. Use and view evaluation forms as constructive feedback. It is not necessary to do this at every meeting. However, it is important to get feedback from those attending your meetings. And, of course ending with the words – Thank you – goes a long way.
Send a recap to those who attended as well as those who missed the meeting so that everyone will be on the same page and know what has been discussed and decided.
Update latecomers with printed information they missed. Because you did not stop, recap, and start again each time someone came in to your meeting late.
Let attenders know date for next meeting.
Look out for a future article on how to keep it simple when conducting meetings.
Is this your typical morning? Your alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. You are due to be at work by 9:00 a.m., which is about a half-hour ride. For all intents and purposes, you have two hours to get yourself and your family up and out of the house with time to spare. However, your clothes are not selected or pressed, you forgot where you put your keys, the kids are not cooperating, and nobody seems to remember what is expected of them after school. So what happens like most mornings? You waste 15 minutes looking for something to wear, 10 minutes looking for keys and about 15 minutes explaining your wants. You should be leaving home by 8:15 but you finally exit the door at 8:40. How do you feel when you get to work? Are you focused, centered, and ready for what comes your way? I did not think so. And to make matters worse, you found out when you got to work that the promotion you knew you were a sure in for, went to someone else.
What went wrong? Perhaps your disorganization at home affected your performance at work. We wear many different hats in the workplace and in the home. However, at times, the hat on the head says office, but the stress and distraction in the heart and mind says home. Therefore, unless you get organized in the home, it can affect your performance in the workplace.
As organizers we often tell people to jumpstart their day by using the first 15 minutes of the workday to organize and prioritize their work. A really good jumpstart however, would be to take a good look at the things that eat away at your time in the mornings before you leave home, organize it, and allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes to reflect on your day before you – now get this – not run through the door to catch your train, but walk through the door. When you enter your office knowing that all was taken care of on the home front, you can take the time to do exactly what you did at home. You can get organized, and then proceed.
To help you have a good morning which in translation is a good organized morning try the following:
1) Select clothing for work the night before. (Save 15 minutes)
2) Put the car keys and house keys in the same place each time you enter the home. Make sure small children cannot reach them. (Save 10 minutes)
3) Choose a permanent place for your children to put their homework when finished. (Save about 10 minutes)
4) Allow easy listening music to wake your children up each morning. Or, sing to them to get them up. (Save about 10 minutes of whine time)
5) Save your voice. Set up a schedule and have weekly family meetings so that each member knows what is expected of them daily. (Save 10 minutes)
6) Make sure items you have to carry with you each morning are left near the door. (Save 10 minutes)
7) Prepare lunch night before. (Save 20 minutes)
Well, would you look at that? You are actually saving more than an hour. What a bonus!
I would love to hear from you. In addition to the above, what are you doing to save time each morning?