Leaders See Meetings as Opportunities, Not Something to Dread
Years ago, when I was entering the workplace after graduating from law school, I dreaded meetings. They seemed to go on forever. They included too many people. Much on the agenda never got resolved. People walked away from meetings frustrated.
As time passed, I learned that meetings are an integral part of any business operation. I learned that leaders must possess the right attitude about meetings. I learned that meetings can be very valuable in helping leaders pursue and achieve their objectives.
My evolution in thinking about meetings derived from a paperback book I read decades ago about the value of meetings and how they can bring clarity and purpose for work teams.
Meetings can help younger teammates learn so many things:
-They can learn how to plan for effective meetings
-They can learn how to plan to participate meaningfully in meetings
-They can learn how to listen actively in meetings in order to ask significant and important questions
-They can learn how to hold their teammates accountable during meetings
-They can learn how to document what happens in meetings
Over the years I learned the following steps to help ensure effective meetings:
-Always disseminate an agenda prior to a meeting, especially so the introverts on your team have an opportunity to think ahead
-Check in with teammates to see if they have additions to the agenda prior to the meeting
-Include a timed agenda to help make the meeting more efficient
-Make sure the most important items are included at the start of the agenda and not relegated to “other business”
-If you are the leader, don’t talk first about a particular issue
– Wait to offer your opinion until the end of the discussion so your teammates don’t tell you what they think you want to hear or are not unduly influenced by your remarks
-Consider asking teammates to run weekly meetings because it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to learn -In our weekly team meeting at Georgetown CLE, we intentionally rotated the identity of the teammate running the meeting each week and taking minutes each week
-Document all decisions that are made during a meeting and who has agreed to do what by when
-Disseminate the meeting minutes or notes to all participants within one day
-Consider always having the first meeting agenda item be “Action Items from Last Week” – this helps create team accountability and prevents items from falling through the cracks
Meetings are an essential aspect of any effective organization.
What can you do starting tomorrow to make sure that your meetings are more productive, participatory and helpful?
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