Seriously? These meetings need APPS … or need to go.



Well… not all meetings. But most of them. I’m not talking about the quick one-offs where you might be helping out a customer or colleague, or recurring status meetings, because those have specific objectives and generally meet the APPS criteria (below). [Although now with tools like Salesforce’s Chatter, the need for status meetings is quickly becoming obsolete.]

What I am talking about here are expectations for those typical, scheduled meetings that usually include 3>= people.

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Worthy meetings have APPS:

    1. Agendas: Show me some love. Show me that you care. Don’t waste my time by asking me to attend a meeting without an agenda… or at least a known objective.  I also prefer to have time limits on each agenda item, but for most people that’ll probably be phase 2, so let’s just start with getting agendas in the invite well ahead of the meeting itself. 

 

    • Without an agenda or known objective why would I be inclined to give up my time?
  1. Products: Meetings should produce or build something–otherwise what’s the point? The product could be a decision, a document, a calendar with milestones, action items…something. Don’t waste my time by hosting a meeting where we discuss–I mean, ‘brainstorm’–with nothing to show for it. Even brainstorming meetings should produce an outline, or action items.
  2. Preparation: Nothing drives me crazier than when I prepare for a   meeting (such as reading through a content draft so that I come to the meeting armed with feedback) only to find out that I was the only one who prepared, and the meeting is actually spent “discussing” (or regurgitating) what everyone should have known ahead of time. So… read up, review, understand everything you can so your meeting group can hit the ground running.
      • A great tip for keeping your calendar organized and up to date is to actually schedule your “to-do” items on your calendar. So if someone invites me to a meeting, I’ll schedule X amount of time before the meeting to prepare for it. This (fantastic) HBR blog post goes into more detail and I highly recommend reading: To-Do Lists Don’t Work
  3. Structured discussion: Let’s use lunch time or even Chatter to brainstorm sans limit, and save valuable meeting time for structured, facilitated discussion that sticks to the agenda. It’s so easy to get side tracked and lose focus, so the meeting host or facilitator should ensure the discussion is indeed structured.

Also:

  • Don’t be a jacka**. If someone has taken the time to prepare and execute a proper meeting, don’t waste their time by checking your phone/iPad/laptop. Ever. If you absolutely must send that email, leave the room and come back when you’re ready to contribute. 
  • For meetings in which I play a key role please check my schedule before sending the invite. It’s pretty easy, and most platforms support this super advanced feature (Outlook, Gmail, Lotus Notes).  
With so much on our plates these days it’s ever so important for to exercise respect for each other’s time. If I’m asking for your time, you can bet your bottom that I’m going to do everything in my power to make it productive.

Historically I actually cancelled / rescheduled meetings where key people had to bail at the last minute or when it became clear that no one had prepared…so I rescheduled with enough time that everyone could commit to preparation.

To be clear: I’m totally not a meeting nazi, perhaps just a little revved right now. And I definitely am guilty of committing at least one, if not all, of these faux pas, but the point is that I recognize and actively try to avoid them. My goal is to aim for, you know…collective respect.


Because respect RULES! #ThxKBai



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