Zack loves meetings because he gets more attention than at any other time, but I suspect this might just be a 'dog-thing'. If you have been on one of our workshops you will have seen how enthusiastically the African Wild Dogs greet each other every time they meet.
For the rest of us, memories of dreary, badly-attended meetings that seem to achieve nothing are all too frequent. But it needn't be like that. Here are a few simple tips on meeting management.
- Meeetings are only held when there is real action required by the individuals attending. For example they need to make a decision, plan or understand and resolve an issue.
- Ensure at least 65% of your time is spent in the future. If your meetings are packed with data exchange on the past that no-one can alter, don't expect high levels of enthusiasm.
- Be present and ready for action at least five minutes before the open - apologies are often heard but rarely accepted.
- Allow leadership to change hands.
- Some invaluable meeting ground rules:
- One voice at a time
- Active participant not passive audience
- Share ideas, concerns - not paid to be silent
- Full presence - no distractions permitted
- Mutual accountability for progress and energy levels
- Say in the room what you would say in break times
- Use "commitments" rather than "action points"
- Surface and label what is going on, e.g. why are we all looking so bored and what can we do about this?
- Use icebreakers & challenges to add pace, raise energy and give the individual an opportunity to build relationships
- Listen with your eyes as well as your ears and watch for tell tale signs of hidden agendas and undercurrents amongst participants.
- Always "officially close" the meeting