How to Get the Most out of Meetings
We all remember the movie Ocean’s Eleven. Most of us wanted to be involved in a heist after. The movie just made it seem so cool with all the nifty ideas that were utilized to be successful. Heists are bad, and yet we were rooting for the team. Well, what made the eleven people so successful? They did something a lot in the movie that brought their ideas together. They had meetings!
In the business world, one cannot get anywhere without conducting meetings. They do more than just bring coworkers together. Meetings are the ideal way to spread ideas and make sure a project or task is done with ideas of all involved, but how exactly do you get the most out of them?
1. People– The first thing that someone needs to decide is who to bring to a meeting. A DISC assessment might be a good way to decide which people to involve. DISC is a physiological assessment that places people into four different groups. They are as follows:
Dominance: Likes order, control, and assertiveness
Influence: Very social and likes to work in teams; optimistic
Steadiness: Patient but persistent; follows orders well
Conscientiousness: Likes taking everything into account, structure, and accuracy.
Obviously you need a good balance of these personalities in order to get the most out of a meeting. Two dominant people will just kill each other for leadership, and too many influential people will just socialize about what’s happening on their Facebook. A group of steady people will have no leader and likely die of starvation, and conscientious people will just be a giant pile of paranoia.
2. Agenda– Know what you want to do beforehand. Sit down and create a skeleton framework for what you need to discuss and its importance in the grand scheme of things. Try to frame out what questions you want to ask and form a clear purpose for the meeting. Without an objective, people might start discussing alternate dimensions or other things to scare other members or create an explosion of irrelevant information.
3. Know Your Limits– The best way to get anything out of a meeting is to know when to move on. You can sit there all day and debate on a topic, but might never reach a decision. Spend a little time on it, but if no clear decision is being made, then tell everyone to take some time to think about it outside of the meeting and press on to the next subject. The good thing about meetings is that you can reconvene. There is no limit! Remember to also finish the meeting with expectations of deadlines and what to do next.
4. Think outside of the box– Don’t be afraid to get some outsiders involved. Meetings might be productive if everyone is knowledgeable on the topic, but that might also be a downfall. You might think something is explained well or developed because you already have knowledge on the topic. Getting someone from the office who isn’t involved can assure that all angles are looked at.
These simple rules will assure that your meetings will be successful. Embrace the different personalities in your office and utilize them to your advantage. One more thing- set the mood for your meetings. If it’s warm out, why not meet outside? If it’s cold and rainy, go to a comfortable place with some soft background music. If it has to be professional, then you can go to the conference rooms, but people like to be relaxed when sitting in a group for long periods of time!