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Quit Having Meetings....

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

...that don't have an outcome.

I’m not sure what happened over the last several months, but I found that I have agreed to way more meetings than before. And many are a waste of time, including the ones I run. To clean up my act and my calendar, I refreshed my meeting skills, thanks to the folks listed below these tips:

Define Your Purpose: That’s the why behind your meeting. Even your standing weeklies. Make sure you have one or two of these why's checked before you send out the calendar invitation:

  1. Connect

  2. Align

  3. Make a decision(s)

  4. Ideate/Brainstorm

  5. Plan

  6. Produce or co-create

State Your Desired Outcome: This is actually more important than the purpose, so why didn’t I put this above Purpose? Because it’s easier to define the purpose, then add your outcome. Outcome needs to be defined in such a way that you know for sure that you accomplished it.

  • Example Purpose: Brainstorm on new services we can provide during a pandemic.

  • Example Purpose with Outcome: Brainstorm on new services that we can provide during a pandemic, resulting in at least 2 new ideas that we can begin vetting by next Monday and report back in two weeks.

If you can’t recap a meeting with at least one or two outcomes, reconsider having the meeting in the first place.

Think About Who Should Attend: There’s nothing worse than being in a meeting and knowing it’s a waste of time. If you invited someone just to inform them, you can do that via email or a recorded video. Alternatively, if one of your outcomes includes making a decision, invite the decision-maker. And if you send any pre-reading to the attendees to save time, let people know how much time is needed to block for the pre-read.

While most of our meetings are virtual today, these recommendations can apply to virtual and in-person meetings. We’ll follow up in a couple of weeks on tips for making your virtual meetings more engaging. If you have any suggestions, send them my way.

The content of this blog came from Mamie Kanfer Stewart, author of Momentum: Creating Effective, Engaging, and Enjoyable Meetings during her 40 minute conversation with Dave Stachowiak on his podcast, Coaching for Leaders. Well worth the 40 minutes if this is a hot topic for you!

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