Congratulations! You survived a meeting that could have been an email.
I wish this were a joke but for most of us, it’s a reality. Showing up to a meeting with pen and notebook in hand only to have it derailed by Sally and John having a 20-minute discussion about how their current project is affecting their sleep patterns is as frustrating as…well… a meeting you didn’t need to attend.
Is it possible to run an effective meeting in 20 minutes or less? You can and you will! Follow these steps and stop wasting stop wasting your time in pointless meetings.
Time Is Money
In his book, Meetings Suck, Cameron Herold reminds us right off the bat that wasting the time of our employees is essentially wasting money.
Hear me out. There are some meetings that are important, crucial in fact, to the success of your team. At Priority VA, we make our weekly meetings a priority. There are very few occasions in which we’ve canceled our weekly call.
What I don’t want to do on the call each week is “shoot the breeze”. I’m all for team camaraderie, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the intention of the call. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the week to catch up on our personal lives.
Respect the time your team has dedicated to meetings and create an agenda.
Create An Agenda To Avoid Pointless Meetings
In order to avoid meetings that simply waste more time than their worth, design a meeting agenda. Ask each person to attend meeting prepared with the following.
- #1 goal for the quarter
- Team members should reiterate their goal for the quarter. It will keep it front of mind.
- Did you hit your goals from last week?
- Ask each person to share whether or not they hit the goals set for the previous week. If not, what was the impediment to progress?
- What are your goals for this week?
- With each week comes new goals. What are they?
- How many hours did you work last week?
- Knowing how many hours your team spends on tasks will help you understand their bandwidth and where they’re spending their time.
- Did you maintain Zero Inbox?
- At Priority VA, we expect our team to maintain Zero Inbox. This will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
- What did you learn last week?
- I put a high emphasis on learning, so I have asked each core team member at Priority VA to dedicate 10% of their time each week learning. By implementing this, you’ll be the recipient of new tools, methods, and strategies.
Following this agenda will help you avoid pointless meetings with your team.
Stick To The Agenda
Every meeting should have an Agenda Master. I know it sounds a lot like a Jedi Master, right?!
The role of the Agenda Master is to keep everyone on topic. Choose the team member, whether you COO or Executive Assistant, who can keep people on task and not afraid to cut someone off.
Inevitably, you will go off topic and someone (or everyone) will go off on rabbit trails. Your Agenda Master will be the one to reign it in and get back to the agenda.
Going off on tangents or thinking up new product ideas has their place, but make time for that. When someone thinks up a new idea, praise them then add it to the pile-up zone.
Weekly meetings aren’t the time for brainstorming. This is the time for your Agenda Master to say, “John, that’s a great idea. Connect with Sally after the call to schedule a brainstorming session.” then back to business at hand.
This will keep the call on track and allow your team to feel heard.
Make Weekly Meetings A Priority
Failing to make weekly calls a priority results in wasted time because you’re too busy “catching up”.
It’s important to stay well connected with your team. Otherwise, you’ll spend entirely too much time getting updates on all the project and all the life events.
Solid, weekly communication helps you avoid this problem.
To learn more about running effective meetings, grab a copy of Cameron’s book, Meetings Suck. It’s given us the tools to structure efficient meetings.
If you want more information on building a team of your own, I’d love to chat with you. Let’s start the conversation here.