Vail Valley: Here’s how to rock your next meeting
As we move into the new year and decompress from the holidays, get back to work, school, and life, we will no doubt have a need to run, host, or participate in a meeting.
There are many ways people meet today – one-on-one, in groups, at coffee shops, in conference rooms, over the telephone, on the Web, and more. Don’t get me wrong – I am a big fan of meetings, as long as the meeting has a purpose, a clear agenda, an established start time and end time, and someone who will take ownership for managing the topics and people during the meeting.
But sometimes we look at our calendars and we see meetings and conference calls scheduled and we cringe, because we know that all too often the meeting’s been called just so we can check the box and stamp our attendance. Our to-do list is already overloaded and we would rather do anything but attend these meetings. We show up to our scheduled events not so much because we want to add value through our active participation and superior intelligence; instead we go to each meeting not to lose.
Lose? How can someone lose by not showing up to a meeting? We attend so we don’t lose our status. We show up so our absence doesn’t become an unintentional and unwanted nomination for the worst assignment or project. And we go to the meeting so we don’t lose favor with our manager or boss. So instead of being excitedly present, we harbor feelings of resentment and imprisonment.
What if we become the change we want to see in the meetings we will plan or attend in 2011? As the year begins, we can look at our calendars and see which meetings we are leading and which ones we are scheduled to attend, and then we can follow these two tips from local productivity coach, Laura Stack:
• Prepare to have a great meeting. As vehicles for communication, meetings can be extremely valuable mechanisms for disseminating vision, crafting strategic plans, and developing responses to challenges and opportunities – so be ready for them. The productivity of any meeting starts before the meeting begins
• Create a meeting code of conduct. Chaotic, over-long meetings can leave you frustrated and with minimal energy. The next time you attend a meeting, request the opportunity to lead an exercise aimed at making the meeting more productive and less draining.
Again, I am a big fan of meetings, well run, up-beat, and energizing meetings where participants walk away fired up and ready to conquer the action items and to-do’s surfaced during our time together.
I would love to hear all of your creative ideas about how to improve your next meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make our next meeting a better than good meeting.