I work with a team that has amazing meetings. All the time. Every meeting. And do you know how they do it?
They make a commitment at the beginning of every meeting that everyone there will do whatever it takes to accomplish something HUGE in the meeting.
Think about it for a second. If you’re going to spend your precious and valuable time meeting, why would you be satisfied with just an average outcome? Too many times we find ourselves stuck in meetings where the outcome really isn’t that big a deal. And if that’s the case, then why are you wasting your time meeting? My friend Gino Wickman likes to ask the question “was that meeting worth an hour of your life?” If it wasn’t, you didn’t get enough done.
Meetings Should Accomplish Something
And if you put your mind to it every meeting you attend can accomplish something amazing. Don’t settle for anything less, and be very clear at the outset what amazing outcome you expect.
For instance, let’s say you’re going to have a one-hour meeting to plan an event. That has all kinds of potential to be a rudderless round-table discussion where everybody throws out their own ideas until you finally run out of time and you have to stop the meeting even though you haven’t really gotten anything done. But what if at the beginning of that meeting you had asked the team to commit to completing the entire agenda, speaker list, and topics for every breakout session. Whoa, that’s a BIG order. But if everyone commits to that up front chances are you can push further and faster than you ever thought you could.
When you commit to great meetings you’ll have a razor sharp focus on what success looks like. You’ll also create an immediate sense of urgency when people understand that you’ve got lots to accomplish and there’s no time to waste.
Next Meeting You Lead Just Try This.
At the outset ask everyone to put their pens down, close their laptops and pay attention to you for a moment. Let them know that you intend for this to be an amazing meeting…that you are going to accomplish great things. But you can only do that if everyone in the session commits to you that they will make that happen. Give everyone permission to call it out when you’re being sucked down an irrelevant rabbit hole or beating a dead horse. Encourage people to contribute only when they truly have something new to add. No checking email. No texting. No sidebar conversations. Make them be present and make them focus on the task at hand.
Meetings only suck if you let them.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.