Meeting success – the who, the why, and the how
Meetings can be either the worst waste of time for participants or they can leave completely fired up and ready to tackle anything. Adriana Girdler’s book, Good Meetings = Great Results, identifies what’s needed to have a great meeting result: have the right people in attendance (those involved with the issue at hand, decision-makers, and doers). As well, know why to call a meeting – to make a decision, resolve an issue, brainstorm, plan or train.
Having established the who and the what, Adriana also points out it’s time to re-examine the concept of what a meeting is and to stop looking at it as one point in time. Start thinking of your meetings as a three-point cycle.
The 3-point meeting cycle
Think of a product launch – is it one point in time, do you just launch the product? Of course not. There are a host of pre-launch activities to prepare for your entry. The launch occurs, then follow up, post-launch activities to sustain the launch and propel sales forward.
The same type of thinking can be applied to the meeting scenario.
Phase one – Pre-meeting preparation. In this phase, develop the meeting objective and agenda. Presenters prepare materials, contact participants with any pre-work that needs to be done. Establish all logistics related to rooms, food, audio/visual requirements.
Phase two – The meeting. This is actually where decisions are made, or problems are resolved, or the planning or training takes place. In this phase you cover off the items on your agenda, and you capture action steps to reach the objective of the meeting. A final element of this phase is a recap of what was agreed upon and the course of action to take. This sets the team up for the third phase.
Phase three – Post-meeting activities. In this phase the meeting documentation – send the action steps and tasks, responsibilities and due dates to attendees. As well, follow up on action step progress – why? Because this follow up will be the start of the next meeting agenda, as the cycle of phases repeats itself.
If you want your meetings to deliver results and be successful, ensure you have the right people in the room for the right reasons. As well, and of equal importance, make sure you look at the meeting as a three point cycle – pre-meeting, meeting, and post-meeting activities.