Let’s be honest: meetings can be such a hassle to deal with. What starts with the best of intentions quickly becomes the most wasteful part of a workday. Conversations get derailed, tempers run high, and employees’ patience runs thin. So how do we break the cycle?
Management meetings can and should be one of the core points of productivity for any team. Can’t you dream of a world where collaboration and efficiency thrive around the meeting table? We certainly can. It’s about taking a few steps to ensure a secure environment.
If you can take some of these tips to heart, we’re sure that your management meetings will do a 180° turn back towards the way you always hoped they would look. Just remember: privilege what’s best for the whole management team, not just the loudest voice.
Check Your Egos at the Door
With that, big egos most often derail productive meetings. Managers will come in thinking that they have the best solution, only to have their feelings hurt when everyone else doesn’t hop on board.
When you leave egos outside the boardroom, it will be worlds easier to actually problem solve. People will only campaign for what makes the most sense, rather than what they’re most politically attached to. Instead of looking for validation, managers will look for solutions, and it will produce a more satisfied outcome and team.
While You’re At It, Ditch The Chairs
When we meet in big comfy chairs, we risk losing out to two enemies: our comfort, and our phones.
When you meet at a big table with big chairs with big cushions, it’s going to be easy to slump. The less vocal folks can tune out and turn to their phones under the table, while others simply listen to the sound of their own voice. Ditch the chairs, and you’ll all be significantly more motivated to stay on task and move on.
Have An Agenda, Keep It At All Costs
Especially when you have management meetings, you’re going to find that a lot of problems are waiting to surface from every corner of your business. A semi-weekly meeting may not be the time for those problems to surface—but if you let them, they will.
Instead, be the kind of meeting leader who can stay on task. You don’t need to silence every joke, but you shouldn’t be afraid to quell the side bars. This is a group of managers, they know better than to get off track.
Define The Goals Early
But with that, your managers may not know exactly what a meeting is about, and use that to introduce an issue that could be derailing for your agenda. So cut them all off at the top of the agenda, and clearly define meetings goals.
Say, “We’re going to talk about x, y and z today, nothing else. A, b and c issues will be solved at the meeting on Tuesday, and we’ll have time to discuss any other issues on Friday morning.”
That kind of talk can help to address concerns that someone won’t be heard, but also give you a better justification for sticking to a very specific agenda.
Limit The Number of Times You Meet
And while you may have a number of reasons to hold meetings, don’t overdo it. Your managers will become wary of all the extra time that you’re taking from them to talk through what could seem like insignificant things.
Try to determine when a conversation can be sufficient to tackle an issue, and save the meetings for only the topics necessary for everyone to be present.
Keep The Format Fresh
Don’t just have the same run-down every time. If people can begin to predict the exact format of each meeting, it will be increasingly easy for them to go on “auto-pilot.”
Instead, start some meeting with personal catching up, and others will a poll. Start some with a report, and others with a conversation. If you can keep your employees from falling into a “meeting routine” it will give off the impression that a specific goal needs to be accomplished, and each point of the meeting has real purpose.
Have Uncommon Meeting Times
While there should never be an excuse for a manager to not know what time a meeting is, it’s not uncommon to have a lot of managers running “behind schedule.”
The truth is, people assume that 10:30 really means 10:34, and then that bleeds into another five minutes, and another, and eventually your meeting doesn’t get started until 30 minutes after the scheduled time.
If you set the meeting for a time like 9:18, your employees will know that the exact minute is still important.
Keep Personal Matters Personal
You don’t need to hash out issues that can be solved between a smaller group of people at your weekly meeting. As it was alluded to before, sometimes a simple one-on-one conversation can be enough to put a problem to bed.
If you let personal matters come into meetings, then you’re opening up your meeting times for unnecessary drama and emotional tension. Keep the personal issues personal, and your meeting will breeze by a lot faster.
Don’t wait for people to initiate their opinions. Make them advocate for a side. These are your most trusted employees, and the ones with the most authority. They have ideas, and they have opinions. You need to foster an environment that welcomes genuine, non-emotional discussions that can keep things moving at a productive pace.
If managers aren’t contributing well to a meeting, then they’re wasting your valuable time. Let them know that each minute matters, and they’ll give you a much better return for your time—and you’ll find that meetings really can be the high point of your team’s week.How to Get The Most Out Of Your Management Meetings Rob Wormley