Many of my executive clients complain that they spend all day in meetings, often with little to nothing to show for it. We’ve all been there, suffering from unproductive meetings that waste our time and energy. You may not be able to control other people’s meetings, but you can make sure that the ones you lead are worth attending.
This five-step plan will help you make your meetings more effective and more likely to yield better results. The next time you schedule a meeting, start by considering the Five P’s:
Purpose. Every meeting needs a purposeful agenda. Let people know what the meeting is about ahead of time and specify if they need to do anything ahead of time to prepare.
Preparation. Most of what makes a meeting successful is the advance preparation. Consider your purpose, specific action items, and points that need to be communicated or discussed. Ask yourself if a meeting is the best way to achieve the goals you’ve defined.
People. Make sure you have the right people in the room. Be thoughtful about who you invite. If you’re sharing information, include everyone who needs that information. If a decision needs to be made, include those providing input and everyone whose approval is required. But don’t over invite: once you’ve got everyone who truly needs to be there, stop. Let the meeting’s purpose dictate who needs to be there.
Process. As part of your planning, think about the specifics of how things will get done. What will be the order of information? What process will you follow? How will you clarify and capture the actions and decisions made during the meeting? Following up after the meeting is important too. Define accountabilities and next steps, and make sure everyone has an open task list and that the owners are clearly identified. Solidify agreed-upon timelines for resolving open issues. Once it’s all clearly defined, document everything in a follow-up email to the team. (Don’t forget to thank them for their time and effort.)
Progress. If you want your meetings to be effective, think in terms of progress. Progress is about results, and people should be accountable for honoring their share of the commitments that make up that progress. As things move from planning to reality, take time to celebrate accomplishments and achievements as part of the agenda. It’s also a good idea to check in and ask what’s working, what isn’t working, and why.
For all that people complain about meetings, they’re still one of the best ways to share information, gain consensus, assign accountability, and get things done. If you lead them poorly, they’re a big waste of time. But if you lead them well, your team will be on track to get the results they want.
Lead From Within: The most effective meetings are the ones where people get to show their competence and capabilities, so don’t let them go to waste. Lead effective meetings by following the Five P’s and see the difference.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.