How to Handle Meetings
Disclaimer: this is an article published by me in April 25th 2018.
The picture is a meeting between Steve Jobs and the original Mac team.
In most cases, it’s not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
From all my experiences in the business world, meetings are (almost) always terrible. In the absence of leaders who would set things straight, meetings flow just as unmanned ships at the ocean.
Meetings have the obligation to be productive, otherwise, it’s simply a waste of time. Of course, that’s different than building a solid and healthy relationship with your co-workers or teammates. That’s extremely important, but business meetings must be designed to be productive and getting things done.
Do you even wonder why? Businesses are supposed to deliver value in the form of physical or digital products and services. Meetings are supposed to set and refresh operational points, data, and intelligence among leaders and workers – and that won’t get done by screwing around.
What is a business meeting?
A meeting is any encounter between two or more people to talk about anything.
A business meeting is an encounter between two or more people to talk about business perspective, progress update, feedback receival or any subject valuable and indispensable to operations.
Here’s a common scenario that we’ve all been through:
a meeting starts to talk about subject XYZ and, for the next thirty minutes, XYZ is not touched. Instead, participants engaged in what I call “ice-breaking conversation” – which is nothing but bullshit.
I’m like him in 97.492% of all meetings I attend
How to Handle Meetings
There are ways of making a meeting productive – if you’re an executive, that’s your obligation. Meetings must be work sessions, not bull sessions.
1. Decide what kind of meeting it will be
Different meetings require different types of preparation to have different results.
If there’s a meeting to write a marketing campaign, press release or something that needs to have a draft, a member or team has to prepare a draft beforehand. Otherwise, your meeting will be filled with brainstorms and conversation that won’t get the job done.
Objective meetings are supposed to ship the necessary/requested results at a glance. If you’re developing a new product, then you may arrange brainstorm/creative sessions, modularization, operations and scaling sessions.
If you’re dealing with a crisis, you may need results even faster. Delegating the right functions to the right teams will be a key to shipping such results.
Also, leaders can set meetings to happen in strategic parts of the day. Priorities should be handled early in the week – and that’s a nice excuse to arrange an 8 AM on Monday. Brainstorming or product development events may be handled after priorities are cleared.
Informal meetings, on the other hand, could be arranged
If one or all members report, the meeting should be confined to that matter.
Either there should be no discussion at all or the discussion should be limited to make the points clearer. If all reports must be discussed, then they should be previously emailed or handled to each member. Also, each report should have a predefined time-space.
3. Product Development
Product development and brainstorming sessions could be disastrous if there are no rules to be respected. Here are some points that might help you organize creative sessions:
defining the beginning and end of the meeting. If you planned a 1-hour session, such timeframe must be followed, especially if general thoughts are leading nowhere and except if thoughts and points are being extremely productive, then such meeting may be extended;
documenting valuable (and only valuable) points. These are the ideas and points that should be discussed or developed in next sessions or operation meetings;
don’t ask for unnecessary stuff. Just don’t.
4. Use your weapons
Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and thousands of other apps are there to make your day more productive. Stick to one or two platforms and integrate them as much as necessary – one of the things I offer in my consulting hours.
Now it’s time for you to speak:
How do you handle your meetings?
Which strategies do you think are valuable?
Comment your answers or email me them @ [email protected]