How to Love Your Next Meeting in 5 Easy Steps

Meetings are like the ugly duckling in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. They are easy to hate and hard to love. Few see the underlying beauty that awaits.

We hate meetings, because frequently they are time-wasting, energy-sapping experiences where:

  • Nothing gets done
  • My voice doesn’t count
  • My work suffers
  • Time is wasted
  • The right people are not present

Want to transform your meeting from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan?

Here are five steps that will make your meeting easy to love.

Step 1. Create a compelling purpose for your meeting. Ask what you want to be different or what you want to create because this group met?

Step 2. Make sure the right people are present—those with information, authority, and who will be impacted by the meeting’s results.

Step 3. Take a ride in the “Meeting Canoe.” Experience the six steps to creating powerful meetings:

  • Welcome participants
  • Connect People to Each Other and the Task
  • Discover the Way Things Are
  • Elicit People’s Dreams
  • Decide on Next Steps
  • Attend to the End

Step 4. Become a meeting investor instead of a meeting bystander. Ask yourself what you can give to make sure the meeting is a success, and what you need from this meeting to support your work?

Step 5. Make sure your meeting contains at least one of the following:

  • Work worth doing
  • A challenge
  • The potential to learn something new
  • The ability for participants to influence the meeting
  • Foster connection between participants and the task

The more of the above things that are present, the more there is to love about your meeting.

By following these five steps, your ugly duckling meeting transforms into an easy-to-love experience.

What happens at lousy meetings?

What happens at great meetings?

This is a guest post by:

Dick & Emily Axelrod
Dick and Emily Axelrod have a combined 60+ years in working with businesses and non-profits. They are pioneers in creating employee involvement programs to effect large-scale organization change, and co-founded the Axelrod Group in 1981.

Together, Emily and Dick are frequent keynote speakers, and co-authors. Their latest book is Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2014).