Ok, so I exaggerated a bit. There's no such thing as an awesome meeting.
Meetings last too long, they cover too many topics, they involve too many people, and everyone leaves feeling like they lost a small piece of their life that they'll never get back.
Meetings give us the false sense of security that we're actually communicating.
That's why we host them.
The "boss" feels better, but everyone else suffers.
We can do a lot better. We can strive to have a good meeting.
So let's discuss a few practical ways we can improve the format of meetings:
#1 | Start with an Agenda: Write down 5 things you want to cover in the meeting. Then, cross out 4. Seriously.
#2 | Ask Better Questions: "How are you doing?" = the worst question of all time. A question I find a lot more illuminating: "Tell me about a recent success story?" or "What's keeping you up a night?" Ask questions that will give you some actual insight.
#3 | Good News: Meetings have a tendency to focus on the negatives. What is your team doing right? Don't overlook the unexpected success. Find what's working and do more of that.
#4 | Stop on time: It goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyways because I find it therapeutic... long meetings suck. Keep the meeting short and then stop on time. As a side bonus, you will instantly improve your popularity among your team.
#5 | Frequency: Short, daily meetings are my personal preference.
#6 | Be mindful of trends: Meetings tend to get hijacked by the most recent HUGE PROBLEM. Words like really important, ASAP, must-do, or any adjective that is written in ALL CAPS are an immediate red flag that someone is acting out of emotion.
A topic/problem that is brought with regularity carries much more weight. As the leader, pay attention to these trends. Identify them. Act on them.
#7 | Talk less: When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves.' - Lao Tzu. Act like a shepherd. Guide the discussion, engage the team, and get out of their way.
So the next time you throw out that one hour Google Calendar invite to your team, throw them a curve ball.
Kick the meeting off with the simple agenda, ask a few poignant questions, share some good news, listen more, talk less, then end the meeting in 15 minutes.
Rinse and repeat.