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Successful Meetings: Be a Human & End Early

Meetings are a necessary part of any business, but they often become unproductive, way too long, and ultimately frustrating. However, with the right approach, you can turn meetings into a powerful tool for driving action and achieving results. Here’s how to create successful meetings that leave everyone focused, energized, and ready to take action rather than bored, uninspired, & bogged down by another list of things to do.

Phones down, laptops closed.

One of the most critical steps to ensuring a productive meeting is minimizing distractions. Make it a requirement for everyone to put their phones away and close their laptops. This simple rule ensures that everyone is fully present and engaged in the discussion. Without the constant lure of notifications and emails, your team can focus on the task at hand and contribute thoughtfully.

Be a human. Start with Small Talk

While the primary goal of the meeting is to drive action, it’s also important to leave a little time for chatter. Small talk can help build relationships and foster a culture. It can take the edge off before heading into intense discussions.

Be on-time & on a timer.

Respect everyone’s time by starting and ending your meetings promptly. Set a clear agenda with specific time allocations for each topic and stick to it. This not only keeps the meeting on track but also shows respect for everyone’s schedule. Using a timer can help you manage the flow of the meeting and ensure that no one is leaving frustrated or behind schedule.

*** You know what they say about assumptions (of people's time.) Assumptions make an ass out of you & me.

No prep meetings.

To streamline the process and ensure that everyone is on the same page, eliminate the need for pre-meeting preparation. Instead, provide all necessary information at the beginning of the meeting. Hand out a memo or a brief document outlining the key points, data, or questions to be discussed. This approach levels the playing field, as everyone gets the same information at the same time, and no one is disadvantaged by a lack of pre-meeting preparation.

It's time for silent reading.

Start the meeting by giving everyone a few minutes to read the memo silently. This ensures that your team has a clear understanding of the topic before any discussion begins. It also allows for immediate questions or clarifications, preventing misunderstandings later in the meeting.

Guide the feedback.

After everyone has read the memo, the person who distributed it should open the floor for feedback. Encourage open and honest discussion, and make sure everyone has a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions. This collaborative approach can lead to more innovative solutions and ensures that all perspectives are considered.

Create a plan.

The most important outcome of any meeting should be a clear action list. Summarize the key points discussed and assign specific tasks to individuals or teams. Make sure each action item is clearly defined, with assigned responsibilities and deadlines. This ensures accountability and helps keep the momentum going after the meeting ends.

It's okay to end a meeting.

 End abruptly & action-driven. Conclude the meeting on a high note by reviewing the action list and emphasizing the next steps. Make the ending abrupt but focused, so everyone leaves with a clear understanding of what needs to be done. This approach leaves participants energized and ready to tackle their tasks.

Creating successful meetings requires a thoughtful approach that balances structure and flexibility. By minimizing distractions, ensuring timely starts and finishes, providing all necessary information upfront, encouraging open discussion, and focusing on clear action items, you can transform your meetings into powerful tools for driving success. Remember, the goal is for everyone to leave the meeting feeling motivated, focused, and ready to take action.


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