The Right Meeting Attitude

Does your team look forward to your meetings? Do you typically end early or run overtime? Do they leave energized or exhausted?

When I coach executives, I always begin by asking what motivates and demotivates them. One of the most common demotivators is crappy meetings. Of course, it’s not the meetings they run, it’s the ones they attend.

I’ve read a lot of content about time management. I’ve tested many approaches. There are no new techniques (but I’ll give you some below). It comes down to attitude. Time management is about what you believe. Beliefs drive action.

This is what I believe:

  • Life is precious and not to be wasted.
  • A moment spent in a meeting is a moment my team can never spend doing something else valuable or energizing.

So, time in meetings better be ‘on point’ for everyone at the table. If I waste your time, I’ve detracted from your ability to perform, and the organization’s ability to be successful.

Now, if you need some pointers on how to do that, the recipe for a kick-a$$ meeting is:

  • Clear purpose
  • Agenda (preferable sent in advance)
  • Only decision-makers invited – do not include those who just need to be informed (send them the summary)
  • Start on time and only meet as long as needed
  • Distribute minutes with clearly identified commitments

Now, that could still be an agenda of drudgery. Consider:

  • Inserting some fun (search “icebreakers” for great ideas)
  • Reading the room – knowing when to poke people, change the subject, cut off a conversation, push to agreement
  • Ensuring everyone contributes as appropriate to their role and ability
  • Recognizing good work

It doesn’t all have to be business. The development of trust and connection can be an objective of meetings. The power is in the process of whatever activity you use.

If you are a leader of change, the responsibility to use meetings well is even greater. Change is not meant to happen slowly; there is always more of it coming. We need to act. When meetings are the method for action, make them count so your people don’t end up telling me they are the most demotivating part of their job.

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper