Why Your Meetings Are Hit or Miss
There are five key elements of engaging meetings. If your meeting was a clear miss, you probably flubbed one of these.
We’ve all been in a miserable meeting that seems to go on forever without going anywhere.
We’ve also been in a meeting that seemed to go pretty fast (even though it took an hour) and be full of great information and engagement.
So why are your meetings hit or miss?
I’ve spent a few decades in business and have had tons of meetings. Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about meetings (**queue the Farmers Insurance jingle**) .
Here I’ll share the things that make meetings great so you can get results for you and your attendees. I’ve also included a downloadable pdf checklist because I’m helpful like that :).
5 Key Elements of a Engaging Meetings
Meetings that rock all contain these five key elements.
- Clear purpose
- Advantageous timing
- Core people
- Relevant content
- The right organization (of material/agenda)
Having a purpose for your meetings may seem obvious, but it’s not always clear from my experience. I cannot count the times when I’ve gotten an instant message during the meeting asking, “Why are we here again?” while the facilitator is droning on and on trying to build engagement.
When you send out the invitation for the meeting be clear about the purpose for the time you’ll spend together. “This meeting is to update the group on project XYZ and you do not need to prepare any materials to contribute.” That’s pretty clear, right?
What I see a lot is this. **meeting invitation shows up in calendar asking me to confirm** [Project XYZ]. That’s it. Nothing else. Just an invitations with a vague title. To boot, there is no agenda AND no indication what is expected from the meeting, the group, or me?
No clear purpose upfront is why people blow off meetings. The attendees need to clearly evaluate whether the time spent is worth while.
The Right Timing
Having the meeting at the right time to maximize results is important for having engaging meetings. Often I’ve seen the situation where the meeting facilitator spends little time preparing (we’ll handle that a little later) and it showed.
Either they couldn’t update the content because the reports weren’t ready or analysis is not complete.
For Entrepreneurs leading teams this terrible because time wasted is money spent. If you are having a team meeting and want to include the Q2 results in your call to action, you’d better have Q2 results.
[bctt tweet=”Time wasted is money spent. #Entrepreneurship” username=”@coach_ryanmc”]
During preparation, think about the purpose of the meeting and what the specific needs for the outcome you want. Align the outcome with the timing to make sure you’ll have what you need.
The Right People
Another key area is having the right people. That also may sound pretty basic, but so many get it wrong. Most people hit the “invite” button, they get it wrong because they don’t align people with the purpose.
Determine if your meeting is to inform, update, gain alignment, get a decision, or to collaborate. Aligning the purpose and audience are key to engaging meetings.
- Are you having an “Update Meeting”? Who needs to be updated?
- Will a decision be required to be made? If so, do you have confirmation that the decision-makers will be there?
- Is the purpose of your meeting to pull others together to facilitate collaboration? If so, have you made the participants aware of what’s expected of them and what outcome you are planning for in the meeting?
As an Entrepreneur, you must get this right. Often your competitive advantage is your ability to bring the right people together. Visualize the meeting in your mind and what you plan to get from the meeting.
The Right Content
Have a plan for the type of content you will need to share. This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to create all of the material. Make the requirements for others clear (including the timing of when the material is needed).
Are you bringing a project together? You may have many different sources for your content. Some may be specs from the contractor and other content may be budget information from your CPA.
The content all depends on the purpose, timing, and audience.
Organization is the wrapper for the first four key elements of engaging meetings. Clarify your purpose, the timing, the audience, and the content for a well-organized meeting.
Now it’s time to talk about the tactical organization of the meeting. To best organize use my Successful Meeting Checklist to cover all angles.
Although you’ve considered these 5 key elements in all of your planning, you will also encounter those situations you can’t prepare for.
Being aware that the unexpected will happen anyway is relies on your confidence level. Try asking yourself how confident about your preparation you are on a scale of 1 – 10 will reveal a lot about the situation.
No matter what number you have, ask yourself what it would take to move to the next level. After you’ve landed on what would move you to the next level, do that.
Tips for Successful Meetings
- Allow plenty of time to prepare for the meeting
- Use the Successful Meeting Checklist
- Evaluate your purpose, the timing, the audience, and the content
[bctt tweet=”Tips for Engaging Meetings #successfulmeetings #entrepreneurship #businesstools” username=”coach_ryanmc”]