Want to have more worthwhile meetings?

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Here's 5 facilitation tips to make your next meeting one to look forward to

The average corporate meeting? Poorly prepared; centred on listening to one person speak; sitting around a table, tapping away on phones and laptops; thinking about the real work you should be doing; and not saying what you really think because it might make the meeting go longer.

Any of this sound familiar? Here’s a few tips to help you make your next meeting worthwhile for everyone.

1. Pre-meeting prep

For my money, the best use of time is activating the minds in the room. To make best use of that precious time together, try sending a short briefing video to the group before the meeting. That way everyone is on the same page when they turn up and they know they’re there to work, not to sit back and half listen to another presentation with one eye on their phone.

 

2. Give everyone a voice

Respect personality types by acknowledging that not everyone likes to express themselves in a group setting. Provide different ways to contribute to the discussion depending on the participant’s comfort level (introvert, ambivert, extrovert), and stop using embarrassing ‘team building’ exercises to shake people into participating.

3. Short brainstorming turnaround

Most meetings revolve around a problem that needs to be solved. Many meetings end with the problem still looming large. Try breaking down the bigger issue into smaller problems and tackle them with quick 3 to 5 minute brainstorming sessions where every person writes down as many possible solutions as they can think of, then shares with the group to build on the most promising ideas. Keeping it short will limit over-thinking, self doubt and negativity, and will increase creativity levels.

4. Leave with an action

Finish your time with a shortlist of the next action items that will lead to actual resolution of the problem. Assign deadlines and responsibilities (use the RASIC model to  Responsible, Approves, Supports, Informed, Consulted) as a team to continue the momentum long after the enthusiasm of the meeting has worn off.

5. Follow up with accountability

Set a time in the calendar to follow up each of the responsible individuals both personally and as a team. It’s amazing what an impending follow up call will do to motivation levels.

+1 tip…Introduce movement

Asking people to rise out of their chairs and gather around a chart or talk to each other in small standing groups will have a real impact on the atmosphere in the room. After everyone’s groaned as they drag themselves from their hideaway behind the table, you’ll notice the energy levels quickly lift and creativity with it. *No star jumps necessary.

What's your most dreaded part of an average meeting? How do you get the most out of your meetings?