Meetings. Hands up everyone who’s either sat completely zoned out in a meeting and left none the wiser as to what went on. Or found a meeting so cyclical and frustrating that it felt like a waste of your workday?
Or perhaps you have chaired meetings where people have not actively engaged, despite the importance of it? Worse still, not showed up at all?
And we’ve all had those first thing Monday Morning, bleary-eyed team meetings. They never seem to be terribly effective, other for the distribution of pastries.
We spoke to Trenton Moss, Leadership Coach and Partner at Sterka to find out how we can make the most of meetings.
The Three Reasons for Meetings
How can we make the most out of these meetings? Our time is precious after all. And do we even need them in the first place?
Not necessarily, says Trenton.
“There are 3 reasons why you should do a meeting. And if any of these aren’t true, then you should just do Slack or email.
So number one: If your objective is to solve a problem. Number two: If it’s likely that more than one person will have an action. If only one person is going to have actions, you don’t need a meeting. And number three: It’s complicated, right? A complex debate, contentious topic, lots of people involved.”
The Power of Meetings
It’s not that Trenton isn’t a big believer in the power of meetings, he really is. But he also wants us to understand that in order to get the most out of them, not only do we need to value the attendees, we also need to show them what they are getting out of it.
“Everyone who’s there, there is an opportunity cost for them to be there, right? There’s always something else they could be doing.
What you want is the perceived outcome of your meetings, (What people think they’re going to get out your meeting,) to always be a lot heavier than that opportunity cost and this is at the core of driving emotional commitment to your meetings.”
Consider the Objective
Whilst this may sound like a tall order, there is a pretty straightforward method of engaging attendees and ensuring their investment in meetings ahead of time. And it’s applicable whether it be a pivotal, high-stakes moment for the business, or a routine one-2-one chat.
It all centres around having a clear objective.
“If I could only choose between an objective or an agenda, I would send out an objective. That’s more important, and very few people do that. The meeting objective helps everyone work out what the perceived outcome is and the perceived outcome has got to be heavy.”
Make it Useful
In conclusion, meetings have to have a purpose, be clear as to the benefits of attending and a clear objective. By following this simple list, we can make sure that out meetings are engaging and well-attended.
Trenton is a qualified executive coach, a former Samaritan, and has been coaching and training teams for almost 20 years. He’s also the founder and head coach at Team Sterka, a training and coaching business that supercharges client-facing businesses with people skills.
He’s also a published author and you can buy my bestselling book, ‘Human Powered’ on Amazon and most other book websites.