7 pro tricks to minimize meeting mistakes
“I just got out of another meeting that could have been an email!” In order to avoid that your participants catch a meeting-itis and mysteriously excuse themselves from the next congress, claiming an important operational emergency, follow our 7 pro recommendations to avoid the most frequently made mistakes during these oh-so-important gatherings!
Lack of precision in the meeting agenda
So many meetings begin with “What are we going to talk about already?” This is probably the worst way to start a productive meeting! In order to ensure that all members are aware of the topic covered during the event, it is useful to clarify the perspective with which it will be treated. Instead of placing the term 2019 strategy on the agenda, it is important to clarify which facets will be raised around this theme. Words like new, improve, straighten, continue or validate serve as a preamble to what will be treated. Do not hesitate to give the agenda in advance so the participants may prepare the content that will be discussed.
Lack of involvement of participants in planning
A good way to ensure that all stakeholders feel concerned is to integrate them into the planning phase! If Jane in Sales is known for her creative abilities, give her the mandate to prepare some talking points that will serve to loosen up tongues around a specific subject. Maybe Dominic in Accounting can prepare the financial statements highlighting strengths / weaknesses of the past year to make sure they are obvious? Or Martin in R & D can prepare an overview of new products coming soon? This implication creates an interest even before the beginning of the event. In addition, if the agenda is communicated in advance, participants have the chance to prepare their points in a structured way, saving precious minutes that can be spent on something else!
Not assigning tasks to do after the meeting
Many empty wishes are verbalized in a meeting that often begins with a variation of “we will look at it back at the office“! Way too often, no follow-up is done afterwards. If a point is important enough that it provokes debate, it should be important enough to ensure a follow up. Many of the frustrations related to meetings come from the fact that the participants feel that nothing is done, since there is no follow-up…! Fix the problem by assigning execution and follow-up tasks to the people involved. This responsibility ensures that the subject remains relevant and that concrete solutions are implemented. It is not a bad idea either to start a meeting by a recap of the last one 😉
Bad use of time
The main frustration with meetings is time. Too much to do, not enough time! Events are sometimes perceived as a waste of time because they are unnecessarily long, poorly planned or happen too little/too often! We have all attended a meeting that should have been held several weeks ago. Result: the topics have accumulated and we become unable to keep our focus on the central point of the meeting. In addition, it quickly becomes endless and frustrating! Although we far too often run out of time, it is sometimes more productive to take a moment to meet quickly, rather than let things accumulate unduly!
Not assigning roles to participants
I can already sense some of you smiling at this point! It’s time to take out your old CEGEP books and list the roles of meeting participants. An animator, time keeper, note-taker, (and so on …!) can structure the work so as to keep the focus on the primary mission: productivity. Thus, we make sure to limit the excesses, to take note of the important points and that all have a right to speak. The degree of formality to give to these roles belongs to you. The important thing is to keep in mind that the roles you choose reflect the values of the team members.
Including too many participants
Even today, we tend to include everyone in an encounter. On the other hand, a fundamental reason that gives a bad reputation to meetings is the fact that not everyone involved is concerned by the subject. Although one might think that Marie-Eve in production is interested in a presentation of the historical evolution of sales statistics by product segment, the reality is that her presence may not be necessary. In addition to overloading the entire team, we are also overloading Marie-Eve with work! Think lean about the selection of participants. You can even bring in some colleagues for specific portions of the congress. In addition to adding a punch to your meeting with the departure/arrival of new participants, it will help you keep track of the schedule: nobody wants to make a colleague wait in the hallway because we are unable to meet our schedule 😉
Abundance of technology
In 2018, technology and meeting are terms that go hand in hand. On the other hand, have you ever thought that too much technology can kill a meeting? Cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc., are handy, BUT, they are also an incredible source of distraction for participants! According to an Atlassian study in 2012, 73% of meeting participants are working on something else. By limiting the number of laptops or tablets in your meeting, you directly increase the productivity of your meeting 😉
Do not hesitate to contact our sales team to discuss how our involvement can contribute to the success of your meeting!