Get More Out of Your Meetings

This month, we've been talking about how to lift others up. We've already discussed helping them grow professionally and celebrating their successes. Another way you can bolster your team and your colleagues is by helping them work smarter and avoid practices that stand in the way of their best results. I'm willing to bet that most people would cite meetings as one of the things that hamper their productivity — and happiness — at work. But a few surprisingly simple tweaks can shift that.

  • Request at least one expected outcome and objective when people ask to meet with you. Ask for these before you commit the time for the meeting. This will help you and the other person clarify what you want to get out of it and make better use of the time.

  • For meetings that you lead, restructure your agenda so that the purpose of the topic is clear: to provide an update, get input, or make a decision. (See my gift to you below). If the agenda involves mostly updates, challenge the need for the meeting. Look for other more efficient ways to provide them. Reserve meetings for topics that require input and discussion.

  • Set expectations about how far in advance you need meeting materials so that you can prepare and contribute to the meeting.

  • Shorten your meetings. For example, reduce one-hour meetings to 45 minutes. This will give you time to process what happened in the meeting and follow up before your next one.

  • Show up with intention and purpose. What would make this meeting worthwhile, and how can you make sure that occurs? By simply asking yourself this before you walk in, you will be more deliberate about how you use the time.

As our gift to you, we're offering a free, downloadable agenda template to focus your meetings by clarifying the purpose of each topic. It is simple, but effective. Give it a try this week and let me know how it worked for you. Find more tips for working smarter and having more impact in the "Getting the Right Work Done" module of the WOW! Women On the Way to Peak Performance ProgramSM and in the WOW! Highlight AudioSM.