Meetings can be a pain, and a UK study finds that the average officer worker spends about 16 hours a week stuck in them. Surely, if we are going to have that many meetings, we should make them the best and most productive meetings possible. Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield write for Fast Company with 11 tips for success from the world’s biggest players.
Everything You Need to Know
- Pretend you’ve already failed. (Guy Kawasaki)
- Keep it novel. (Richard Branson)
- Pause. (Clay Shirky)
- Don’t squander youth. (Sean Higby)
- Say it in five words. (Christopher Frank)
- Think like a director. (Patrick Lencioni)
- Get them laughing. (Suzanne Bates)
- Bring something to the table or don’t come at all. (Al Pittampalli)
- Be like a talk show host. (Ian Fisher)
- Use meetings to beget meetings. (Valentina Rice)
- Always be meeting new people. (Mark Zuckerberg)
Before heading into a meeting, take a timeout like Shirky suggests, so you can enter the room with a clear and engaged head. Keep meetings novel with a change of scenery now and then, even if you cannot afford a spare island like Branson. Try to get them laughing too, because it endears your employees to you and earns their respect. You might think that this ties into Fisher’s recommendation of being like a talk show host, but it is not the same. Fisher means you should give people just enough time to make their case and then cut them off. This does however relate to Lencioni’s thinking like a director, in that he recommends you allow competing passions between employees to come to a head and guide the discussion dramatically.
Along those dramatic lines, you can pretend a project has failed before it has even started and reflect on where you went wrong, so that you can weed out a lot of potential risks from your imaginary failures. Especially keep your ears open for the opinions of your younger talent, who bring a younger and more “to the street” perspective to what is trending. For their sake, they might have to bring that perspective if they have someone like Pittampalli for a boss:
Al Pittampalli, author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting, believes in requiring those who come to your meetings to “turn up in mind and spirit and contribute something.” This could include “asking questions, sharing insight or offering to take on tasks.” Pittampalli suggests making this message stick by letting everyone know that if they aren’t bringing added value they won't be invited to future meetings.
A good way to get everyone on the same page about current challenges in the business is to ask them to articulate their problems in just five words. If that can be done, then building a strategy to address issues should become easier. And though it may get some people awfully nervous, Rice believes that a good meeting should beget more meetings to touch base with more relevant people.
Finally, as a bonus tip, Sweeney and Gosfield mention that Zuckerberg made himself meet one new person a day last year, so as to seek “broader exposure.” You can read the original article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3013013/dialed/11-simple-tips-for-having-great-meetings-from-some-of-the-worlds-most-productive-peop