And yet, so often we tolerate them. We sit thru meetings where nothing is accomplished or where people are so uncomfortable that true and honest communication is avoided. It does not need to be that way.
When I have control over the outcome of a meeting, I make certain that it includes both careful planning and skillful facilitation. The planning includes:
- The agenda
- The goals
- Processes for achieving each goal
- Agreements and guidelines for how people behave during the meeting
- Roles (facilitator, time-keeper, recorder, and whatever else the meeting needs)
- Feedback / Evaluation
Depending on the meeting, I might add other things such as warm-up activities, breaks, refreshments (and refresher activities.)
When I do not control the meeting, I seek to influence it in advance to include those things mentioned above.
When I do not control or influence the meeting, I decide ahead of time how necessary is it for me to attend, and if the answer is "not" then my response is "don't." But I get it. Some times we are forced to go to meetings that make no sense for us and that we do not control or influence. Still, they waste our time or worse, antagonize our time and selves.
Here is one thing you can do in those cases:
Use that meeting time to leverage better future meetings. Here's a way to do that: determine who is responsible for the meeting and ask if they would appreciate feedback on the results of the feedback. If the answer is yes, give your best feedback on ways to influence more productive meetings. Remember, stay positive. If the answer is "no" stay curious about that. Why is your feedback not important? Wouldn't more productive meetings mean better results? What if there were ways to create better meetings that everyone involved enjoyed more and worked better during?
Get better answers. Get the answer you want. Stay curious, stay open, stay curious, courageous, compassionate and clear -- and your chances of success (and enjoyment) improve dramatically.
High performance leaders insist on productive meetings.
-- Doug Smith