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I’ve just finished reading yet another article on how to hold good meetings. If you are anything like me you don’t find the topic all that exciting but are searching for that elusive holy grail of how to “give good meeting.” Are you spending most of your days in back-to-back meetings, leaving post-work after hours the only time you have to actually work? Are you spending your evenings responding to emails because you literally didn’t have a free minute during your 10-hour workday? I’ve spent way too much time on that hamster wheel and it’s exhausting! I hope that the following suggestions will eliminate the need for you to have to read another article on meetings.

There are proven ways to make the most out of your meetings. And it’s the best managers, the GREAT ones really, who are doing things right. It’s time to take a page from their playbook. And lucky for you, a team at Root Inc. has been studying high-performing managers for the past few years. And they’ve discovered that the best of the best all have something in common regardless of industry or geography. Proper meeting planning.

Yes, the managers who produce dramatically better results than their peers in general also know how to plan exceptionally great meetings. You know these meetings – the effective ones. The engaging ones. The meetings that accomplish more and take up less time. The impossible is indeed possible!

The Root team has boiled this ocean down to four key behaviors and actions that the best performing managers have perfected. If you want to learn how to hold a meeting like the cream de la crème, you can read all the details here. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you started before you have to rush off to your next meeting.

Step 1:

Mix it up. It’s easy to invite the same people every time. You know them, you trust them. But, what about who you’re not including? The people who have different opinions and priorities? The people from other parts of the business? The best managers know it’s important to bridge gaps and create strong relationships with all business groups, so if there’s a team making your team’s job more difficult – invite them. It’s amazing what can happen when everyone is face-to-face.

Step 2:

Know your s*&t. This one takes some up-front work. Before the meeting, research facts, data and recent successes and failures that will help everyone do what they do even better. For example, if the customer is the #1 priority for the quarter, explain what this means and show what this looks like with descriptive examples – actual things happening around the company. Give details! People want smart strategies and tactics so they can make an impact.

Step 3:

Keep it tight. No one has time for an agenda-less meeting! So get yours ready ahead of time. That will help you 1) accomplish everything you need to accomplish, 2) cover the important stuff first and 3) save time for attendees to give their opinions and thoughts – everyone just wants to be heard, right? Don’t end up forgetting to share the great data you’ve spent time collecting or leave a critical discussion point to the end and have to rush through it. Just make an agenda.

Step 4:

Build a roadmap. Great managers never leave work unassigned. As the Watercooler article says, “High-performing managers don’t ‘noodle’ and they don’t ‘place things on the back burner.’” So you shouldn’t either. The best meeting leaders work with their teams to decide who is doing what, when, and for how long. When everyone has a roadmap they will get where they need to go faster!

So, that’s the scoop. It’s not rocket science, but it does take time and commitment. Trust me, it’s worth it. What’s your meeting productivity trick?

June 9, 2015


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