We’ve all been in that room. The stuffy one, filled with bored team members rambling on about vague topics and statistics. It sucks. Not only do your team members want to escape, but so do you! This year, resolve to make your company meetings more bearable by using the SLED (Suck Less Every Day) philosophy and the six principles below. The perfect meeting will not happen overnight, but incorporating these small changes will make your meetings more efficient (and suck less!) day by day.
1. Invite Fewer People
Ask yourself what the meeting is about and only invite people who are relevant to that topic. Meetings should only involve the key people who will generate new ideas, results, or actions. In a company-wide meeting, discuss broad topics first and once the discussion narrows, dismiss the team members who are no longer necessary. This saves them the headache of being privy to a meeting that they cannot add value to.
2. Name Your Meeting
Naming your meeting will give it a clear objective and purpose. Before it starts, send out an agenda to those attending so they know what to expect. That way they can bring ideas or solutions to the table right off the bat instead of waiting to hear what’s going to be discussed. Establishing a clear name and agenda will also help narrow the focus and keep the meeting on track.
3. Stick to a Start and End Time—Every Time
Start every meeting on time and end every meeting on time. When people know that you’re not going to spill over into their lunch hour, they’ll focus better. They’ll also show up at the right time instead of trickling in during the first 10 minutes. As a visual reminder, close the doors to your conference room once the meeting starts and open them as soon as the meeting finishes.
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4. Remove the Chairs and Stand
Make every meeting a stand-up meeting and you’ll increase the engagement and attentiveness of attendees. Standing during a long meeting is uncomfortable and the team will want to finish faster, i.e., be more productive in a shorter amount of time. This model will make any meeting short, sweet, and to the point.
5. Power Down
Electronics in meetings are my biggest pet peeve. A meeting should be free of distractions or it’s waste of time. If you’re the meeting leader, pass around a bucket for everyone to throw their cell phones in or create a stack of them in the center of the table. Thirty minutes without a connection to email, texts, or Facebook isn’t the end of the world and enforcing such a rule will change the vibe of your meeting.
6. Leave with an Action List
Before the meeting adjourns, ask who, what, and when. Meaning, when we leave this room, “Who is going to do what by when?” This simple practice gives a clear vision of the next steps to take. Employees will have accountability and a set of defined tasks. In 2015, your meetings don’t have to suck. Incorporate these principles into your everyday meetings and they’ll start to become a little more endurable. Your team will thank you.
About Andy Bailey
As the founder of Petra Coach, Andy Bailey can cut through organizational BS faster than a hot knife through butter, showing organizations the logjams thwarting their success and coaching them past the excuses we all use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Andy learned how to build great organizations by building a great business, which he started in college, then grew into an Inc. 500 multi-million dollar national company that he successfully sold and exited. He founded Petra to pass on to other entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders the principles and practices he used to build his successful enterprise, which are rooted in the Rockefeller Habits methodology. Andy currently serves as president of the EO Nashville Chapter, named one of the fastest growing EO chapters in the world. He is a two-time finalist for Nashville Executive of the Year and has been honored as Nashville’s Volunteer of the Year.