Another meeting? You're bombarded with meetings that break your focus and drain precious hours away from meaningful tasks. But meetings are a necessary evil. Get quick tips for how to keep meetings focused, fun, and moving fast.
(upbeat music) - Meetings, I mean we know they're unavoidable. We should probably have fewer of the them and when we do have them, well they need to be more productive. But how do you do that? Well we know a lot about the traditional ways to make a meeting rock. You've got to have an agent that gets out early, you need someone who's a scribe to take notes so we have a record of what happened. Maybe a time keeper (whistle blows) would be good as well, etc., etc.
But what about some more abnormal, light-hearted, fun ways to make the point, meetings need to be productive? Try these tips. Lock the door. (door slams shut) Make sure that if they don't show up on time, you don't let them in on time. It speaks to accountability. It's kind of funny and it makes a point. Hey if some is late habitually, maybe you change locations. Make them come find you. Again, it's funny, it makes a point, makes them accountable so they do what they're supposed to. How about we punish some people? They show up late or unprepared, they got to put a dollar or maybe a five spot into the jar for snacks for the next meeting.
Or here's a fun classic, have every single member of the team stand. No chairs at all in the room. When people are standing, you know what, they want to sit, but they can't, so people stay focused, conflict gets managed quickly, the meeting rolls more effectively just because you made them stand. This one's a little extreme. Try making people put their hand in a bucket of ice water before they can speak. I heard from a friend about a high ranking general that did this one, everyone knowing they had to put their hand in the bucket became concise, focused, and absolutely brief.
Man they had some short meetings. Oh, oh, oh. Look it doesn't have to be complex. You can use a buzzer. (buzzer goes off) Put it around the table, let people hit it, for example, if they hear a violation of one your important group norms. That gets people's attention. Or how about using a ball as a prop. So you're not allowed to speak until someone throws you the ball. That gives you permission and you have the floor. Doing this adds levity and it also adds focus and makes a potentially messy conversation really happen quickly.
Hey it's just about the end of the day here and I'm walking around the halls and I'm going to see if I can find someone, pull 'em in and ask 'em a question. So we know that meetings are pretty much unavoidable. Sometimes they can be productive. Do you have any thoughts or tips on how to make meetings productive? - Oh that's a good one. I think the biggest thing to remember is you place in the meeting. Is this a communication meeting? Am I just supposed to be getting information? Is this a group discussion? And if you're in a group of 10, you probably shouldn't be talking more than about 10% of the time. And the rest of the time, you should be listening as intently as possible.
The idea is to get information from your peers. You're together for a reason. - That's really good. - I try to keep my focus on the things that pertain to me and my world at most meetings. And I know we can't always do that. I know every meeting isn't specifically about us, but if I can pull something out in those moments and I can find ways to participate in the meetings, something to offer, then I find that I have better engagement. - One of the things that I find really effective in a meeting is when you have an agenda written out, so that you know from the start what you're talking about, who's speaking, what sort of topics you're going to go over.
- What if you see great people completely disengaged in a meeting, what do you do about that? - Open up the floor, ask a question. Pull the meeting back a little bit and say hey guys, let's see if you've got something to offer because I feel like we're not maybe on all the same page here. - Sure. - Maybe ask for feedback on each topic, and just ask them a question about it. I mean, that could be embarrassing potentially if they don't even know what you're talking about. - (laughs) If you do it correctly though. - Or you create the expectation that we want everyone's voice to be heard.
We want participation. - I try my best to know what people are going to be best at contributing, so that when we get to that topic we can look to them, ask them if they have any suggestions. Some people just need to be asked, invited to the conversation. - Great answer, thanks. - Listen, none of these are magic, but my real intention's just to get your creative juices flowing. I mean try these, or variations of them. Just don't allow meetings to continue boring and unproductive. Remember, change is up to you.