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Monday, September 7, 2009

Great Meetings? Planning required

In order to run great meetings, you owe it to yourself and the people involved to properly plan.

Examples of poor planning:
  • Interviews: I experienced an interview where it was obvious the interviewer had done no preparation before-hand. The person was not familiar with my resume and had not thought out the interview questions at all.
  • Staff Meetings: The boss walks into a staff meeting with no agenda and just says "anybody have anything to talk about?"
  • 1:1 Meetings: The boss sits down, looks at you, and says, "what's on your mind?" It's really great that the boss thinks enough of you to ask, but unfortunately that's the agenda for the meeting. Evidently, the boss has other things than you on his or her mind.
As I've stated time and again, I know that most everyone is busy. That's a given. That is also no excuse for wasting other people's time (as well as your own). You don't have time? People have never said management was a 40-hour a week job, have they? That's why you get paid the big do what needs to be done, even if it takes a little extra time.

What can you do to properly plan?
  • Have an agenda. Add to it as the week goes along. One thing I like to do is add notes to my on-line calendar reminder as the week goes by so I'll have my agenda at least partially thought through before I have to "formally" plan the meeting.
  • Formulate your questions. Write them down. Then, when you ask the questions or cover your points, record the responses.
  • Come to the meeting ready to participate fully. The chances are that it's your meeting so it would be reasonable to expect you to be engaged.

You and your team need to be focused on the mission, revenue generation, and your customers. When you do pull them away from these areas of focus, you need to ensure you're not wasting their time.

What other ways do you plan that help make your meetings more successful?

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