Have you ever been in a meeting wondering why you are there or if it will ever end? I know I have. Shamefully, I've led a meeting or two (or thirty) where I could see my team was asking the same thing. Great meetings happen because of great preparation. I say this because every meeting has to have a direction. Without direction a meeting will always fall victim to what I call, "Right turn guy/gal." Right turn guy/gal, we can refer to him/her as RTG, is master of the tangent thought. Every team has RTG. RTG has a great heart but an unfocused mind and they can influence a meeting in a direction that doesn't accomplish anything.
But are you RTG? Do you cause the meeting to crash? If you've been feeling like your meetings often crash, burn, and derail your teams momentum let me give you a couple of thoughts.
1. Have an agenda - I know the word agenda makes you think, "Big Boy Pants," but you have to use it. I feel like RTG is subdued from jumping to another topic if they can see it will be discussed later in the meeting.
2. Have a balance - When I plan a meeting for our leadership team I think thirds. One third of the meeting will be building our community. One third will be a time for me to do some coaching or give input. And the last third of the meeting is going to be a planning time. I don't have those in any particular order but I think they are valuable pieces to a great meeting.
3. Use a template - Once you have discovered a template for a meeting that works stick with it. I find that people engage more in a meeting when they know what's coming.
4. Leave people wanting more - Long meeting is code for, "Shoot me." Short meeting is code for, "Why did we do this?" A balanced, well run meeting that operates on a time limit will make people feel involved, informed, and considered. But don't be afraid to leave people wanting more, which leads me to my next point...
5. Have a hard time - No, I don't mean struggle through your meeting. I mean have a time that you will not pass. Even if you have more to cover shut the meeting down. When you honor the time of your people you demonstrate that you honor what else they have going on in their life. In other words, you appear human.