I hate meetings. You hate meetings. We all hate meetings.
Actually, wrong. I really don’t hate meetings, at least not all meetings. Sure, I’ve been to my fair share of agonizing please-shoot-me-before-I-die timewasters, but don’t hate the meeting. It’s not to blame.
Meetings get a bad rap because the people leading them are unfocused, unclear, unenthusiastic and basically don’t have any idea what they’re doing. What starts out with promise quickly devolves into an afternoon of checking your phone, sneaking a peak at your fantasy football team and otherwise daydreaming.
But suppose you ran the meeting. Suppose it was all on you. What would you do to make it not suck?
For starters, remember every meeting has a purpose and if the people attending don’t understand that, you’ve already failed. Communicate, pique their curiosity, make sure your purpose is their purpose.
Try listening instead of droning. You invited them, now listen to them. Sure, you need to keep them focused and on track, but listen because everybody, well, at least most everybody, has a good idea now and then.
Go for the gold. Do you have any idea how badly the people who come to your stupid meeting actually want to succeed? You may have dragged them there, but honestly, they want to show they’ve got smarts and the ability to pull off the impossible. Given the opportunity, they’ll work with you. Given the opportunity to shoot for the moon — they will.
And for goodness sakes, be a leader. Which means sometimes cutting off debate and making a decision. And sometimes taking a back seat and letting the brilliant ones run with their ideas.
Believe it or not, here’s what can happen at a meeting: an obstacle is presented. The people attending are challenged to come up with a solution. High-energy discussions take place, concepts are tossed out and debated. Great ideas are recognized and bad ideas are recognized not as bad, but as part of the solution process. The meeting ends and everyone is excited to work on their ideas and come back and move the project forward.
It can happen. I hate meetings. When they’re disorganized, pointless and futile.
But when meetings produce results, when meetings bring the team together, when meetings are a high-five, we rock affair … I love meetings.
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