“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.