Meeting preparation is serious business.
The Process of Extracting Results in a Business Meeting
Meeting Preparation is Serious Business
Throughout your leadership career, you will be a meeting attendee and host thousands of hours in the meeting room. THOUSANDS! Let’s do some basic math. If you work an average of 40 hours per week for a year, it comes to a total of 2,080 hours. Now, let’s say you have worked for 30 years. That number comes to 62,400 hours, aka, your career.
If you spend 1/3 of those 62,400 hours in “meetings,” that’s a total of 20,800 hours, which is equal to 10 YEARS in actual meeting hours. 10 YEARS, sitting, listening, or speaking, in meetings. UGH! So, it’s incredibly important that if you are an attendee, or most importantly, from a leadership perspective, as a meeting facilitator, responsible for organizing the team meeting. You use meeting preparation tools and advice to make the most of your time and the time of those around you.
Strategically Planning your Meeting Preparation
Over the years, Dr. Scott Vinciguerra uncovered seven tried-and-true strategies for making meeting preparation better. Above all, these strategies make the next meeting you host productive but also engaging and accountable. He built a strategy designed to get the desired outcome. Meetings don’t have to suck. With proper preparation training, they are often reflective, actionable, innovative, and creative, NOT dull, boring, useless, or draining. A good meeting has a purpose and is used to solve problems. Also, they need critical thinking to build your team and address challenges.
7 Rules of Meeting Preparation and a Few Quick Tips
1. Have an Agenda (and Bring Food When you Can)
Team leaders are responsible for providing direction and vision. If a meeting agenda isn’t already part of your existing protocols, add it to your practices. Think through the various parts of the preparation checklist, and become like a surgeon in an operating room. Dissect the multiple components of the meeting objective. To increase seamlessness, determine the priorities and order of what has to be covered. Whenever possible, have something healthy to snack on. Food is a great motivator.
2. Assign accountability as a Goal
Throughout your career, you will have to delegate specific responsibilities and tasks to your team and colleagues. By assigning accountability to the task, you are creating a platform for expectations and progress. Of the many frustrating components of attending a formal meeting that is poorly run is not assigning accountability. Zero accountability establishes a level of ambiguity, confusion, and speculation. Eliminate those three confusing elements and assign task accountability to your business team.
3. Schedule Your Meeting Time at Optimal Times
In every organization, there are ‘busier times of the day and some that are less busy. If you don’t know when that sweet spot exists, ask your team. Use this sweet spot where your team is less busy as your ideal time to hold your next meeting. This way, the meeting time can correlate with the office and not interrupt productivity. Employees can rely on the certainty that they will be counted on as active meeting participants and should be prepared to attend and fully contribute.
4. Require Punctuality to Any Formal Meeting
Fewer things kill the momentum of an effective meeting than having attendees show up late or allowing a revolving door to your meeting’s attendance. By establishing the rules of engagement and setting the standard of expectation, you can fully commit to the meeting agenda without distraction. You will maximize your meeting time and message. All attendees should be held accountable for timeliness.
5. Attendee Two-Pizza Rule
You know your organization and team goals the best, but if you are curious about the number of people for a successful meeting. Keep this little tip in mind. It will likely help you determine which colleagues should be there and who should not attend the next meeting. Jeff Bezos regularly uses this strategy to determine who needs to be at a business meeting. The idea behind this philosophy is that for productive business meetings, you should keep them sized large or small enough to feed everyone there with two pizzas. This size attendance provides enough feedback for a successful meeting and still obtains a clear goal for decision making.
6. Design Actionable Moment Into Your Meeting Agenda
Along with accountability, have moments in the meeting where you assign an action to individuals in attendance. Either process-oriented or step-by-step action items give momentum to your goal and your meeting material. Folks need to feel a sense of growth and contribution in their professional lives. Design these moments and commit to action in order to meet their needs.
7. Celebrate Meeting Task Goals
Take time during your meetings to honor superior work and work in the process of being completed. It offers you, as the decision-maker, to recognize the people or team and give them praise for their efforts. Far too often, leaders get so focused on the task that they forget about the people producing. If you are intentional about celebrating successes, it’ll be on your radar to add to the next meeting agenda. With this at the forefront of your mind, it allows you to watch for these high-performing individuals.
Being a Better Leader and Powerful Participant
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, hop over to our E-Learning platform and take the Making Meetings Work Course! You’ll learn the specific tools, strategies, and skills to elevate your leadership game to the next level. Make your meeting space work! Best of luck to you, and remember to live and lead with purpose & passion!