Meetings. We love them. We hate them. And let's be honest: mostly the latter.
For a lot of workers, meetings are synonymous with: "A boring, pointless waste of my time." To change that mentality, we need to change the way we approach our conference calls and boardroom gatherings. Here are four best practices to make sure every meeting counts:
1. Get rid of status update meetings FOREVER
Allow me to start by being bold — status update meetings are a waste of your time. 10, 15 years ago, they may have been necessary to make sure everyone was on the same page. Today, we have team collaboration software like Wrike to share updates freely. No sitting in a cramped room at an inconvenient time of day. Everyone can check on the status of projects when its most convenient for them, and they'll never forget who said what. Ask questions and leave comments or feedback online instead of repeating yourself or getting incomplete answers during a conference call.
Make your next meeting perfect: Only hold meetings if you want instantaneous, person-to-person collaboration and brainstorming.
2. Only involve the necessary people
The biggest drain on your colleagues' precious time is to ask them to join a meeting they don't need to attend. If you set a precedent of only involving necessary parties, your colleagues will stop dreading "useless" meetings. Which means their engagement in your meetings will rise because they will always go in knowing they need to contribute to the gathering for work to get done.
Make your next meeting perfect: When you create your list of meeting attendees, also write down tangible reasons they need to attend. More than just: "They're on the marketing team." Try reasons like, "They have prior experience with this type of project."
3. Create a goal-oriented agenda — and stick to it!
Decide in advance what you want to accomplish by the end of the meeting — finish a customer email, come to a decision about the next website design, brainstorm ideas for a new conference. Turn those goals into an agenda and do not allow people to deviate in their conversation. Once you have accomplished all your goals, blow the whistle! The meeting is over! This will keep your meetings focused and purpose-driven. In line with only involving the necessary people, goal-oriented agendas make sure you don't waste anyone's time.
Make your next meeting perfect: Focus! Go through your agenda in order, creating one solution after the next until you hit the bottom of the list. Bada-bing, bada-boom. Successful meeting.
4. End your meeting with "role" call
Don't let the momentum die once you have left the (possibly virtual) room. End your meetings by creating next steps for everyone involved so they walk out of your meeting and jump right back into work. Before you adjourn your session together, ask each person for their action plan. You've just accomplished two things: created accountability by publicly confirming responsibilities, and made sure everyone ends the meeting on the same page.
Make your next meeting perfect: As soon as the call is over, send out the list of next steps for every person involved in your meeting.
After implementing these four tips, no one should walk out of your meetings thinking they have wasted their time.
Have you rid yourself of status meetings and created goal-oriented agendas? Or do you have more advice for creating the perfect meeting? Help us out! We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.