As leaders, it seems we spend an inordinate time in meetings. However, we can’t lead well without face time with others. And face time means we must meet with our teams in person. At the same time, an unproductive meeting wastes time and creates frustration. What are some common meeting killers? Consider these 11 and potential solutions for each (some very obvious).
- You do more than 25% of the talking.
- Solution: monitor how much you talk and ask others off-line if they feel like you jabber too much.
- Team members regularly jump to conclusions and make pre-mature judgments about what others say.
- Solution: train your team that great listeners seek understanding first before being understood (a famous Covey quote)
- Some people seldom speak up.
- Solution: specifically ask the quiet ones what they think about an issue.
- Team members get easily hurt and offended when their ideas aren’t received well.
- Solution: if a staffer consistently does this, talk off-line and find out what root issues are causing the touchiness.
- There is too much happy talk. Seldom do you discuss emotional and/or difficult issues.
- Solution: don’t fear difficult conversations. Encourage them. Those can provide some of your greatest leadership learnings.
- Someone interrupts to complete somebody else’s sentences when he or she is having a difficult time formulating ideas.
- Solution: if that happens, ask the person who was cut off if she felt she was able to fully share her thoughts.
- Personal stuff comes up that should have been addressed off-line and 1-1.
- Solution: set expectations annually about how you expect meetings to go. Include the importance of discussing personal issues off-line.
- Too many rabbits get chased that have nothing to do with the agenda items.
- Solution: if you lead the meeting, again, set the expectation that as the meeting leader you have the prerogative to shoot the rabbit.
- You try to accomplish too much in a meeting and as a result feel rushed.
- Solution: schedule different kinds of meetings…perhaps some need to focus on weekly tactical items while others should focus on just one or two strategic items.
- Your meetings are waaaaay too long.
- Solution: Shorten your meetings. Meetings beyond 2-2 1/2 hours are seldom productive unless you break them up with lunch, dinner, or something that isn’t mentally draining.
- You don’t start or end your meetings on time.
- Solution: start and end on time.
What meeting killers have you seen in your experience? How have you killed those killers?