We are awful at meetings. They are often too long, unproductive, not fun, and have lost their reason to exist. So let me help you with 10 quick actions to transform them.

  1. First, test the reason to exist of all your existing meetings by doing something really simple. Define one to three questions the meeting needs to answer. If the current meeting is not generating answers, kill it. So many meetings will die when faced with this test.
  2. Define the key questions that need answered across the business and ensure that a meeting exists to answer that question.
    • How are each of your sales professionals going to hit target this month?
    • What marketing campaigns had the biggest impact last week?
    • What did we ship last week and what are we shipping this week?
    • What  are the priorities for generating marketing content this week?
    • etc
  3. This next part is often missed out. What preparation is needed by who to make the specific meeting a success? Meetings fail because of preparation.
  4. The timing of a meeting is crucial. Too soon and you’ve no chance of having the vital metrics to share. Too late and the impact is weak and the follow up actions inept.
  5. For all key meetings be clear who needs to be in the meeting. Two tests. They are there to provide answers and/or receive instruction.
  6. Which part of the day is best to hold a meeting? Depends on the subject. Sales related meetings should be done at lunchtime or briefly before 9.30.
  7. Don’t forget to use the 15 minute, stand up meeting to make quick points and touch base on the latest news.
  8. Public humiliation of one member of a team is rarely effective. However public tough love to a team is often essential (and public cheering of a team is also allowed).
  9. Coach attendees to a meeting about inappropriate body language. The immaturity shown by people can be quite breathtaking.
  10. Be clear on housekeeping rules. The key ones? -timeliness, mobile phone use, laptop use,  statutory need to attend, who is trapping the clear next steps of the meeting.