7 Quick Techniques that Make Meetings Better Today

The opportunity of meetings is they can energize instead of drain.

The opportunity of meetings is they an energize instead of drain. Image of a sunrise over water.

Make meetings better today:

1. Start on time. Don’t dawdle. End early.

A person who wastes time disrespects life.

Brisk meetings energize teams especially when they end early.

2. Declare purpose.

Please tell me why we’re meeting.

3. Serve up the meat.

Avoid wrong-headed thinking like, “Let’s get a few dainty items off the table before we get to the real reason we’re here.”

Minimize distractions. Connection time isn’t a distraction.

Great meetings enable action.

4. Go beyond discussing.

The goal of meetings is deciding, not discussing. Discussion is a means, not an end.

Great meetings enable action. Generate three options to resolve an issue and choose the best one with a vote, for example. Define obstacles and choose a path forward.

Cancel the meetings where talk is the goal.

5. Make topics action items.

“Agenda topics” are blackholes that drain brains and invite irrelevant blather. Narrow the focus of conversation by declaring a specific outcome or action item.

Tip: Listen carefully when people talk. If they move the topic sideways, interrupt them. Restate the purpose of the conversation and ask them to explain the connection. (It’s always possible you’re missing something.)

Many things are interesting. Only a few are useful.

If you want people to respect your leadership, run meetings high performers love to attend. Image of a giraffe.

6. Inform less. Act more.

Informational meetings are drudgery. You suck the life out of people by forcing them to listen to irrelevant drivel. Inform when information is relevant to everyone in the room.

Honor and fuel energy. The cardinal sin of leadership is draining people’s energy.

7. Seek Feedback.

Ask the team, “What’s one thing that would make this meeting better?” Or “What’s one thing you/I could do to make this meeting better?”

Vote on which suggestion to adopt in your next meeting.

Which of the above suggestions do you think would most improve your meetings?

What suggestion can you offer that would make meetings better today?

More practical techniques:

10 Commandments that Fix All Lousy Meetings

4 Tools to Keep Meetings On Track

Why Your Meetings Stink—and What to Do About It