Join Lauren Bacon for an in-depth discussion in this video Why most meetings are a drag, part of Collaborative Design: Managing a Team.
- When I say the word meeting your eyes probably don't light up. It's not a word that provokes excitement in many people, because we've all sat through seemingly endless, badly run meetings. When it comes to doing collaboration well though, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting for getting ideas on the table quickly and making collective decisions. So what's the difference between a meeting that drags and a meeting that works? Well, there are several places where meetings can get tripped up, and if you can avoid these mistakes, you'll be well on your way to running effective and efficient meetings.
So first, don't hold a meeting if all you need to do is communicate information. It's much more efficient to do that in writing than it is to get everyone in the room and have them listen to you. So there's no quicker way to ensure that everyone in the meeting will sit there on their phones or their laptops doing other stuff, than to organize a meeting that's solely for the purpose of lecturing the room. Another thing that can make meetings fall apart quickly is when you don't respect people's time, and that goes both ways. So if there are a couple of stragglers, don't hesitate to get started right away and catch them up when they arrive.
That will send a clear signal that they ought to show up on time next time. And by the same token, try to communicate how long you anticipate the meetings are going to last, and finish early whenever you possibly can. Another common pitfall with bad meetings is not having an agenda, or holding to the agenda so loosely that nobody's totally clear what's actually going on. So we'll talk more about the importance of agenda-setting and good facilitation in a minute, but the main thing I want you to remember is not to call a meeting if you don't have a clear goal in mind.
And one other way that meetings can fall apart is when no one's tasked with keeping the meeting on track. While you may have the best of intentions around sticking to time limits and your agenda, this may turn out to be challenging if you have people in the room who veer off on tangents and start talking about other things. So be ready to actively facilitate the discussion and steer people back on track if they seem like they're at risk of derailing the main goals of the meeting. Avoid these pitfalls and you'll be halfway to running a meeting that doesn't make people's eyes glaze over.
Now, in the next video I'll share my favorite tool for planning a meeting that people are actually glad they went to.
- Identifying stakeholders and decision makers
- Defining roles
- Choosing a collaboration model
- Running great meetings
- Resolving conflict
- Thanking collaborators