“I cannot get my work done because all of my days are spent in *^#@ meetings!”
Sound familiar? Meetings are supposed to be a means to success, but most people in organizations describe meetings as a time-suck that actually prevent them from getting their work done.
We’d like to suggest that at the beginning of each year, you take time to inventory your meetings to decide if they are adding value and contributing to your success… and if they aren’t DUMP THEM (or see if you can extract yourself from them if you don’t have the power to dump them completely!).
Once you have the right meetings scheduled, then you need to make sure that you have the right roles filled in at each meeting to make them successful, and you need rules in place to guide the group as they work together.
We’ve found that there are 4 key roles needed to run an effective meeting so that teams stay engaged, the meeting stays on track, and people know the next steps.
The Leader – this person runs the meeting and takes responsibility for the content delivered. The leader may lead the whole meeting, or ask others to lead a part or all of the meeting.
The Notetaker – this person takes notes during the meeting and is responsible for sending them out to the team after the meeting, and is often responsible for keeping all of the files in one shared location.
The Herder – this person makes sure to keep the discussions within a topic, on topic.
The Timekeeper – this person makes sure that each section of the agenda stays within its allotted time.
There is an additional role that is often added to larger team or executive meetings and that is the role of the facilitator. The Facilitator is responsible for the overall process of the meeting and keeping things moving, which allows the Leader to fully participate in the meeting. This person is not typically involved in the meeting content—their job is to keep the members of the team in dialogue and focused on creating success.
We’ve also found that the team meetings that are run most efficiently have shared rules, including:
Everyone is fully present (i.e. – literally put away cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc). The ONLY exception is made for the person taking notes.
Everyone agrees to stay on topic. If anyone starts to go down a rabbit hole, or off on an elaborate tangent, everyone agrees to refocus on the topic at hand and to add the new topic to the next agenda or to meet about it offline.
Everyone honors the assigned roles. Having roles is useless unless people are willing to abide by the authority given each of the roles.
Everyone and every idea is treated with respect. Period.
Spend some time this week taking an inventory of the meetings in your organization and determine if they’re contributing to success. Once you have the right meetings in place, make sure you have the right roles and that you have shared rules to support the success of the meeting. Next week, we’ll take a look at creating effective meeting agendas.