Design the way you set up a meeting (Part 3 of 6)

In this blog post, I’ll spell out Step 2 of my 4-Step Process for getting the most out of meetings … top tips and techniques I have discovered, invented and developed over several decades. These are the principles I use to keep expanding my capacity to achieve more with less.

This is about focussing on the ‘when, where and for how long’ of a meeting. It’s about creating an environment that promotes efficiency, fosters collaboration and stimulates creativity.

I would love to hear your ideas and feedback – so please take the time to comment at the end of this post.

Like you, I am always looking for new ideas to enhance both the effectiveness and efficiency of the performance of the teams in which I play.

The “Where” is Important when you Set up a Meeting

Treating a meeting as an occasion leads you to consider how your choice and design of the meeting environment can support your goal. If you want people to do some imaginative and creative thinking, why not take them up to the top of a tall building, or convene the meeting at an art gallery. Make your choice of venue work harder for you by better aligning your intention with people’s attention.

Set Shorter Meetings

Ah, yes, I knew you’d like this one. Paradoxically, you can often get more out of a meeting by shortening its duration. Most people automatically set their meetings to be one hour long. So does the default on their software!

Try setting meetings to be 45 or 50 minutes long. When you allocate less time, it helps your mind to focus. It is a bit like putting yourself into exam conditions – it sharpens your attention.

Also, when you create buffers in your day – 10-15 minute breaks at the end of meetings, short periods of rest and recovery – you achieve three very important things:

  1. You reduce your and other people’s stress levels, by creating mini reserves of time and “space” that enable you to be on time for your next appointment more consistently and easily. Being on time is a basic measure of your integrity, creates a sense of being in control, and helps build trust and respect.
  2. You allow for the unexpected. If something comes up, you have created these regular 10-15 minute windows in which to respond. And you can always extend the meeting to 55 or 60 minutes duration, if you and the other attendees agree to do so, once you are in the meeting.
  3. You promote flexibility.  People can leave a meeting, transfer action items into their project management software, and maybe even take some of those actions immediately. For example, emailing someone else from the meeting an important document they urgently need reduces the time lag often associated with collaborating with others.

CLICK HERE to read the previous article in this 6-part series titled, “Discover if a meeting is worth attending or convening”.

GO TO THE NEXT article in this series titled, “Develop how you plan an agenda”.

DOWNLOAD [PDF] the full report on ‘How to get the most out of meetings’.

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