My good friend Zig Ziglar’s company recently did a survey of executives concerning meetings and the results were not pretty. What they found was the following top complaints; no agenda, no clear purpose or objective, too long,generally boring, nothing new, nothing interesting, not at all motivating or inspiring, doesn’t start or finish on time, allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comments over and over, no interaction, no specific actions or walk away points. Sound familiar? It does to me too.
I cannot tell you over the years how many meetings I have attended, but the number is in the hundreds, maybe over a thousand, and I too can count on one hand the number of these meetings that were productive and inspiring.When was the last time you attended a meeting and came away with useful, actionable information and felt inspired to have been there????
Having a meeting simply for the sake of having a meeting is a colossal bad idea. Having no agenda is a sure way to waste time and money in a meeting. Speaking in a monotone is another sure way to bore everyone senseless.
Here are some suggestions concerning meetings;
1. Don’t have a meeting unless it’s necessary to impart information, data, new products or tools.
2. HAVE AN AGENDA AND STICK TO IT!!! Don’t let the meeting stray from the agenda.
3. Start and end on time. Individual concerns and comments are just that, individual, address them individually at another time.
4. Have a presentation that follows your agenda and make it interesting and uplifting. Nothing is worse than a meeting narrator who sounds and acts like a robot.
5. Ask for input only when you want it, don’t allow the meeting to be taken over by the people attending, and more importantly do not allow anyone to continually ask the same things over and over. You as the presenter must maintain control of the meeting.
6. Give your meeting attendees an agenda, paperwork on any new products or ideas or processes you wish them to use. Any salient points should be given out on paper, don’t assume that your attendees will take copious notes.
7. Begin and end the meeting on a positive and inspiring theme. If you have less than good news to deliver, be as brief as possible, and move on to the positive.
8. In general, even a good speaker can keep the group’s attention span for only about 50 to 60 minutes, be sure to give your group a break of at least 5 to 10 min. every hour. There is only one Zig Ziglar, and only one Anthony Robbins, and most of us are not as proficient in our speaking abilities.
9. Keep in mind when planning a meeting that the people attending, by their attendance, are costing you money. They are listening to you, and when they are, for the time they are there, they are producing and earning zilch. If the purpose of the meeting is simply a transfer of data, or a discussion, consider e-mail, conference calls,or a video conference. These are much cheaper and do not require travel time, and tend to be much shorter.
10. Most of all remember inspired and motivated people are more productive and tend to get more done, so plan your meeting so that your attendees will leave with that frame of mind.