Better Meetings in Three Steps

Here are three ways to improve your meetings.

1) Involve Everyone.

Most meetings are held by discussing something. As with most discussions, some people have more to say than others. Then the rest sit and watch.

This is unfortunate because the people who talk the least are usually the people who think the most. That means they have valuable solutions and important questions. But their ideas are often ignored. And that reduces the quality of the results obtained in the meeting.

In addition, people who sit as spectators in a meeting are wasting their time. If they are really spectators, then they should be working on other tasks that earn money for the business.

Key Point: Use group activities that involve everyone.

2) Ask good questions.

Too many meetings begin with, “Well, what do you want to talk about?”

Save social questions like this for parties. Instead, ask specific business questions that direct thinking to accomplish results in the meeting.

For example, if you want to reduce the budget, you might ask, “How can we reduce capital spending by 5% over the next quarter?”

Note: it is best to prepare these questions before the meeting based on your goals and agenda.

Key Point: Questions control thinking. Use them to lead your meetings.

3) Ask for help.

The “do it yourself” approach can be a bad idea when it’s applied to everything.

You will be more effective (and accomplish more) when you focus on activities that use your best skills. That way you can make uniquely special contributions that advance your career, instead of amateurish attempts that cause problems.

Thus, when a meeting matters, use a facilitator. This frees you to participate in the meeting. And now you can benefit from an expert who specializes in meeting process, human dynamics, and creative thinking.

Key Point: A professional meeting facilitator will help you accomplish more.