Well-Organized Meetings Are a Sign of Respect
There should be a zero tolerance policy for bad meetings. Bad meetings can be annoying and a complete waste of time. But don’t just complain about them….do something! If you call a meeting, respect your teammates by taking the time to learn how to run a good meeting. They will respect you in return and respect, as we know, is a key ingredient for achieving employee engagement and job satisfaction.
So if you have been winging your meetings so far, this blog is definitely for you!
Dan McCarthy writes a well-known, award-winning leadership development blog called Great Leadership. He recently published the simplest and most effective 8 easy steps on how to make a meeting tolerable and productive.
1. Show up on time. Showing up on time is probably the easiest thing to take responsibility for and fix, yet it has remained on the list of annoying meeting behaviors since the dawn of time, when cavemen would go hungry because their tribe mates arrived late for the woolly mammoth hunt. I sometimes wonder if people think they look more important when they arrive late? It’s as if their time is more important than anyone else’s, or they are busier than everyone else.
In fact, what it really does is delay the start of the meeting, waste the time of others in getting them caught up, makes them look stupid when they try to contribute after missing important information up front, and shows a lack of respect for the meeting leader and everyone else. If you are arriving late for meetings more often than not, then do yourself and everyone else a favor and make a resolution to leave 10 minutes earlier for every meeting until you curb the bad habit.
2. Keep your status updates brief, to the point, and upbeat. Status updates are a regular agenda item for most meetings. Don’t be “that guy” who consistently takes way more time than everyone else and drones and whines on and on about every little detail of their work. Prior to the meeting, jot down a few items to share that would be of interest to everyone in attendance. Keep it to two or three minutes, tops. Offer to go first — that way, you set the example and pace for everyone else. Put some enthusiasm in your updates, even a little humor, and it will raise the energy level and lighten the mood.
3. Pay attention to your body language. Next time you go to a meeting, try observing the body language of everyone around the room. Are they paying attention, making eye contact, leaning forward, and taking notes? Or are they slumped in their chair, rolling their eyes, checking their e-mails or daydreaming? Great meetings are all about the collective energy level of every single person in the room. Your appearance can add energy or can suck the life out of the room. Others will feed off you, either in a positive or negative way.
4. Stop with the side comments. When someone else is talking or presenting, seeing someone make a side comment to their neighbor can be incredibly distracting and annoying. You wonder what they are saying and usually assume the worst. If you have something important to say, then wait for the appropriate time and say it to everyone. The same goes for texting — it’s childish and rude.
5. No hand grenades. A meeting hand grenade is when someone has to leave the meeting early, or the meeting is just about to end, and they toss an incredibly complex issue on the table or say something controversial or rude without leaving time for anyone to respond. If you’re going to bring something like that up, consult with the meeting leader ahead of time and ask to include it on the agenda with ample time to address it.
6. Add value. If you are invited to a meeting, then you are not only there to soak up everyone else’s contributions — you are expected to add value. Set a goal to make at least one constructive contribution to every meeting. Suggest a solution to a problem, offer to take an action item, support one of your co-worker’s ideas or ask an intelligent question.
7. Come prepared and follow up on your commitments. This one is my personal pet peeve. When we all leave a meeting with action items, there is an expectation that everyone comes to the next meeting with completed homework assignments. When the same person either consistently “forgets” their assignment, makes lame excuses, or tries to BS through it, I want to reach across the table and slap them. Don’t make your responsible co-workers want to slap you — keep your commitments.
8. Bring food. When all else fails, bring yummy snacks to your meetings. Your co-workers will thank you and maybe even cut you some slack for occasionally violating any of the above commandments. Don’t be that little piggy who devours everyone else’s goodies but never contributes anything.
Original article here: