How many boring meetings have you sat through in your life? I’ve endured a bunch!
In general I have found that “staff” or “team” meetings are boring! Probably the ones I’ve led have been the worst…
Lately, I’ve been thinking about why meetings are so awful. I don’t think I know all the reasons but here are some that I’ve come up with:
– They discuss things everyone already knows or should know
– Time is spent on things that aren’t relevant to everyone in the meeting
– There is no agenda
– The emotional result of the meeting is not intentional
Now, I hate to be negative so I apologize for that list but I think to improve something we need to diagnose the problem and that usually means a critique. In this case let’s make it constructive!
So, here are my “rules” for great meetings:
1. There must be an agenda! It doesn’t have to be written but everyone in the meeting should know what will be discussed. Then they can come prepared! And they will know when it’s over! And the meeting can stay on track and accomplish its purpose without wasting time, emotional energy or anything else!
2. The meeting must only have content that is relevant to everyone in the room. If something to be discussed isn’t relevant to everyone, then it is BORING to them. Also, they feel left out which is a terrible thing to do to anyone. So, if you’re having a general company, staff or team meeting be sure the topics are relevant to all. Otherwise you need a smaller meeting.
3. Is there anything worse than discussing things everyone already knows about? BORING!! Spend time in meetings sharing things that are new! Sometimes this is hard because you don’t have anything new, right? Well then, why have the meeting? Just because it’s on the calendar? Give me a break…
4. People are motivated by emotion not information. Information can create emotion but motivation comes from emotion not information. Whew! My point is what emotion do you want coming out of the meeting? Excitement? Fear? Boredom? Commitment? Celebration? Plan the meeting to accomplish that purpose.
We have a monthly “team” meeting in our company. It’s the only time every person is in the room. We are trying to work on these ideas to make the meeting better, more productive, more enjoyable. So, with that in mind here is my last “rule”
5. Everyone participates! Why be in a game where you don’t get to play? This is not easy but find a way to allow everyone to play. Then there is buy in, enthusiasm, interest and hopefully no boredom.
In our company we’re getting better and better. Last month several people thought the meeting felt like a pep rally! Some said it was the best meeting ever! I think the result was, at least in part, by following these 5 “rules”. I don’t generally like meetings for the reasons I’ve mentioned but I loved being a part of the last one! I can’t wait for the next one to see if we can do it again. Try it yourself! Let me know if you have other ideas for how to make meetings better.