As a leader, you spend an inordinate amount of your time in meetings: Leadership team meetings, strategic planning meetings, ops reviews, personnel reviews, project debriefs, daily huddles, one-on-ones…and the list goes on! So it’s darn important to make those meetings matter to all involved.
Thought I would share a few standout tips I gleaned from facilitating a recent round-table discussion of manufacturing executives:
- Break the Ice. Create opportunities for “activities” aimed at getting to know/understand/appreciate the members of the team.
- Reinforce Core Values. (e.g. start with safety) or ask for examples of our core beliefs in action
- Bookend the Meeting. Review open action items and close with new action items, person responsible, and due date.
- Confirm Action Items. Being clear about accountability for action items and timelines increases the probability that these items get done.
- Take Notes. Have a note-taker distribute meeting minutes as a draft. Ask for all to read and provide input/corrections to ensure the note-taker didn’t miss anything!
- Keep it Fresh. Having the same agenda week after week, month after month is downright boring. Try changing topics or focus. For example, one meeting is strategic, another financial, or focused on operations. Perhaps one is to “work in the business” and the next one is to “work on the business.”
- Rotate Locations. Meetings don’t always have to be in your office or building! If a company has multiple plants, rotate the location of the monthly/quarterly or annual meeting to each of the locations. Take them on a tour to show off their facilities.
- Face to Face. It’s hard to get everyone in a room together, so use web/video tools to bring everyone virtually face-to-face.. And ensure the team physically comes together for a real face-to-face meeting periodically (e.g. once a quarter – or whatever the budget allows). Nothing builds trust more than being in the same room getting to know each other.
- Pop In to Other Meetings as an observer with no particular agenda. Nice to bring a snack with you!
What are your ideas for making your meetings more productive?
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.