The simple question that will increase meeting effectiveness

The simple question that will increase meeting effectiveness

I was walking past a meeting room the other day and looked in. A few people looked rather bored. Of the 10 people inside, only 6 look engaged. That’s a load of wasted time. As mentioned in this great adaptive path blog, not only do we waste too much time in meetings. It also affects the rhythm of your day.

Working in a software company, we want to ensure that people can work without constant interruptions. Meetings are the worst offender for context switching for flow based roles.

It made me remember a seminar I attended a while back on running effective meetings. (Ironically, the one-day training felt like a long and boring meeting, but it did leave me with one key insight I really found very valuable).

Change you meeting’s subject line into a question:

  • Make every meeting title (on your calendar) ‘a question’. This encourages people to think about possible responses (and therefore it makes people prepare).
  • If the meeting is longer, with multiple topics, apply the same concept: make every agenda point a question
  • Who should come? The answer is, only if you feel that you can help answer the question, you should come. If not, you shouldn’t. 
  • If you decide not to come, but are on the invite list, the answer (or draft answer) to the question(s) are emailed to you. 

There are more great suggestions out there:

Through a quick search on Google I found some other goodies.

  • Move meetings to the start and the end of the day
  • No agenda = no meeting – meet only with a certain goal
  • Take charge of your own calendar – be prepared to decline meetings
  • Make meetings shorter, 15 minutes only.
  • Try to get out of the meeting as soon as you can. If there’s an hour assigned and you’re decided in 25 minutes – great!
  • Trust your team – you don’t always have to be attending yourself. Trust others to make the right calls
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