The 5 Ds of a Good Meeting
I wrote earlier about ten tips for greater productivity. In the list, several had to do with meetings. Specifically, I said that I’m trying to schedule meetings consecutively (to control my schedule) and carefully monitor how I meet with people (to maximize the time spent on the meeting).
As many of the people I work with know, I am not a fan of long meetings. Generally, they drain me of my energy as we swirl around and around an issue. So, I’ve started thinking about how I can better hold a good meeting. Here are five ideas.
Design. When a meeting is necessary, so is a plan for the meeting. Before you even send out invitations, take time to design the meeting. It is the one sure way to know whether or not the meeting is even necessary. And, upon finding out that it is necessary, it ensures that time will not be wasted.
Discuss. Meetings are held for various reasons such as negotiating, informing, and updates. When it is time to start your meeting, get to the discussion phase quickly. If you have to deliver content for the purpose of the meeting, consider doing it digitally prior to the meeting. Even if content needs to be communicated, involve everyone early in the meeting with some level of discussion to ensure they are engaged. I highly recommend that you work from the design phase to have a plan for discussion. How will you involve everyone? Will you write notes on a marker board? Do people need to be prepared with certain information? What are the exact topics for discussion?
Decide. Many of my meetings are held because a decision needs to be made. As with the discussion phase, the decision phase should have already been planned. Too many meetings are held to discuss an issue but no one walks away feeling as if it was resolved. Don’t leave the room without a decision of some sort. Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone’s time; especially, your own.
Delegate. When the decision is made, then make the assignments. The people who are present for the meeting should be those who have a stake in the issue discussed. Therefore, everyone is a candidate for receiving a portion of the work stemming from the meeting. Make sure that everyone has absolute clarity regarding who has what responsibility.
Dismiss. When you’re done, be done. Do not – ever – land the proverbial plane on the meeting and then continue to chit chat. It signals to people that you don’t have anything else to do and that they are not allowed to leave. If you are leading the meeting, let everyone know that “we’re done” and then it is up to them if they have time to socialize, network, or move on to another subject.