Picture the typical high school student.
Imagine the trepidation when that boring teacher walks in and how the student then proceeds to “survive” the class.
When high school is over, the assumption is they’d never have to sit in a boring class again.
Not quite true.
An email title reading: “Meeting in 15 minutes in the boardroom” is dreadful news for some employees, so they do what they did in high school. They make their way towards the “bored” room, like a prisoner heading to the gallows and “survive” your meeting.
If you were hoping to make a valuable headway with the growth meeting, you know that agenda is dead on arrival.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
Most meetings are more or less growth meetings. After all, the supposed goal of the meeting is to ensure productivity and progress among team members.
So how do you run really good growth meetings? See 6 important tips you can follow:
1. Ensure there is an agenda
Never ever walk into a team meeting without an agenda.
Obviously no rational human being would ask a group of people to a meeting without telling them the reason for the meeting, however, you find that this happens a lot.
So, for the love of your sanity and productivity, take the time out to plan what your meeting is about and write down clearly what you hope to achieve from the meeting.
2. Assign roles to specific people
Sitting through a meeting without assigned roles means no one is in charge, there’s a whole lot of talking and supporting but very little decisions made.
Which means, you wasted precious time. The time you could have spent closing a new deal and improving your bottom line greatly.
It’s perhaps best to assign a few roles for your meeting. This helps to give the meeting more purpose.
The three most important roles in a meeting are:
Facilitator: You need someone to facilitate the meeting and drive its direction. Of course, this can only work if there’s been a pre-written agenda.
Note Taker: It’s a meeting, which means there’s going to be a lot of ideas and comments flying around. To be honest they can be hard to keep track of. So you need someone to take notes and remind everyone of what their commitments are.
Timekeeper: A meeting without a timekeeper tends to drag on for too long. Get a timekeeper to ensure you keep to time so you can get to other things.
3. Have a brainstorm before the meeting
One of the biggest time wasters of any meeting is asking people to come into a room and then brainstorm ideas while in it.
Creativity can come to you in many ways.
Your team should be given space and time to brainstorm new ideas before the meeting. Be clear you want them to take some time during that week whether in or out of the office to come up with interesting new ways to solve a problem.
Here are some tips to help you:
· Brainstorm. Ask people to brainstorm at least 3 new ideas a week or so before the meeting.
· Reminders. Don’t forget to send reminders to ensure that this is a priority.
· Be Anonymous. Ask them to anonymously enter these ideas in a google doc or other platforms.
· Present ideas to all. Write all ideas on the board, or somewhere easy to read so that people can look at them at the beginning of the meeting or a half an hour before.
· Vote. During the meeting, the leader should list all the brainstorming ideas and ask the group to vote on a few.
· Create an Idea Vault. The top few ideas can be discussed, and others are put aside for later. Only then should the creator of the idea be named.
4. Ignore the loudest person in the room (Most of the time)
There is always that one person who has something to say about everything. Make the effort to notice the people in your meetings who are being interrupted or shut down often.
You should make sure that everyone participates. If you’re not hearing their perspective, why are they even there!?
Research shows that groups often have a hard time deciphering between the most confident person in the room (aka: the loudest) vs. the smartest (Littlepage & Mueller, 1997).
The more thoughtful, introverted team members usually stay quiet during a meeting only to come up with a great idea after the meeting.
5. Identify those who will benefit from a project’s success
It’s important to determine those who will benefit the most from a project’s success and who has the most to lose if the project doesn’t go well.
This is to know the intentions of every person on the project. Sometimes the person coming up with the project is being influenced by his ego, rather than results. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but must be uncovered as a team in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page moving forward.
6. Your meeting needs to have a focus
Most meetings involve discussions revolving around the “what”. To avoid this, it’s important to have a platform that individuals update when they are running, or analyzing an experiment. This keeps the team updated of any changes.
The result is that team members come to the meeting knowing what is going on, giving ample time to focus on more vital issues.
So, if you don’t focus on the what, then what do you focus on?
Focus on impact and learnings. It is much harder to communicate impact and learnings. Thus, a meeting is the most efficient way to extract those two things.
Also, your team needs to continually learn about your product, channels, and customers. The problem is that most learnings end up living in silos among individuals or within sub-teams. So, the learnings are not applied to their work. With this they aren’t going to work on the most impactful items.
It’s important to note that getting together for a meeting when a project hasn’t been completed is unproductive. When this happens, people tend to get together and try to fill up the time.
The person responsible for getting things done shouldn’t come to the meeting until they are fully prepared to answer the following:
· What was completed?
· What were the results?
· Challenges and learnings
· What’s next? (resources needed)
If they haven’t completed their work, they should write an email to everyone involved and explain why this hasn’t been accomplished.
If you, or the manager, receives a few of these in a row, then it’s time to have a conversation about your coworker’s priorities and how they are managing their time.
A great periodic meeting can prevent the need for numerous other mediocre meetings that take more time, more money, and more opportunity.
Whichever role you choose to play during a meeting, you should make an effort to ensure that the meeting has an objective. This results in a good use of your company’s money and your precious time.
Follow this guide and give your growth meetings the much-needed boost.