For everyone who dreads meetings, we’re here for you.
Meetings are the most significant struggle people endure in the world of office jobs. Many articles, research, and events have been focused on making our meetings more productive and fun.
You might be wondering how you can change the meeting culture of your organisation too. We will take you through 5 simple ways to lead better meetings.
These tips are compiled from our efforts to shift today’s meetings into future-proof, interactive in-person gatherings. Because what happens when offices across the globe shut down and millions of people disperse to work from home?
Exactly, for most people, the answer was even more online, or hybrid, meetings.
Your meeting culture won’t change unless you are the one that takes the lead in reimagining the way you and your team meet.
Here are 4 simple ways to do so.
1. A meeting is not your objective
Think of an objective for every meeting you initiate or attend. If you or nobody can find one, then cancel the meeting. The purpose of your meeting is to achieve an objective, and your meeting is not your objective.
Today, meetings are all about discussing, while the goal should be to make decisions and move on. Try to identify a clear objective for bringing people together. If you can't, there shouldn't be a meeting.
Again, your purpose is to achieve a goal, not to attend a meeting.
2. Is the meeting the best opportunity for your objective?
Are you considering all possible tools to reach your objective? Is your meeting necessary, or can you interact through, for example, a shared doc or Slack?
Trying to brainstorm during a meeting while no one came prepared works counterproductive. The loudest team members are likely to share the wildest ideas, while the others might pass on beautiful solutions.
Must-see information should be communicated in writing. If you can share your information as an update, just send an email.
If all you need is a quick progress update, consider reaching out to each member individually.
3. If your meeting takes place, define your agenda
Luckily, not all meetings suck. Only those that are poorly timed, prepared, and led are the ones that are doomed to fail.
So, what can you do to make your next meeting solid productive?
Specify people; who is supposed to attend, and who can skip this one? Even if people are involved in specific projects, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should participate in all meetings.
Specify roles: once you’ve selected your meeting team members, explain why you think they are of added value and assign talking points to each team member to keep things running smoothly.
Specify talking points: identify specific aims, outline what you like to accomplish, indicate a length of time for each item on the agenda, and make sure to perfect your hosting skills to lead the meeting.
Ever heard of the phrase, too many chefs spoil the broth? It’s true. Based on their book, Mankins and Blanko tell us once you've got 7 people in a decision-making group, each additional member reduces decision effectiveness by 10%.
That means the bigger the group, the less productive it gets without the proper preparation.
4. Pick the right online tools
Make sure you pick the tools that contribute to an interactive session and help you move forward. Our all-time favourite tools to use simultaneously are Zoom and Miro to improve online collaboration. These tools enable us to make all client meetings, workshops and events more engaging and innovative.
We use it to collaborate, communicate, and brainstorm together. We develop concepts, map user stories, visualise customer journeys and build roadmaps and strategies for innovation workshops or training sessions.
While preparing and leading such workshops, don’t forget to be inclusive. The limitations of hybrid meetings can make equal participation more difficult. Pay special attention when others are trying to speak. Be intentional about including diverse perspectives and help amplify them.
An excellent method to keep everyone engaged is to record meetings and share notes for those unable to attend.