“Let’s have a meeting about that meeting… need to clarify some stuff. Yeah?”
Ever heard that one before? If you’re like me, then the answer’s probably yes. Today, meetings seem to be the abundant theme and while there’s a lot going on, it’s important to remember that meetings are only valuable when they are effective. So, how do you execute a successful meeting? Well, for me – it has everything to do with golf.
True, I’m an avid lover of the sport but, in this example, I’m referencing golf terminology. When a hole is completed within the permitted number of strokes, the golfer is said to have scored “PAR”. And, when setting up meetings, I like to use PAR as well…
Purpose | Agenda | Results
Step #1: Purpose – Regardless of who’s responsible for hosting the meeting, ensure that you and/or your guests are clear on the purpose of the gathering. All too often, the first thing people ask when sitting down for a meeting is, “Why are we here again?”. Now, while you probably can’t escape this question every time, doing your part to communicate effectively the purpose of the meeting should mitigate the frequency of the question. Besides, it also gives you the right to say, “All the relevant information was provided in advance…” thereby putting that person in their place. Caution: don’t use that line on your manager! 😉
Step #2: Agenda – Having a proper agenda outlined will help keep your meetings on track and allow your participants to keep up with the conversation. Unfortunately, due to external issues, many of us ‘zone out’ for a short while to put out a fire – having a visible agenda allows people, for when they return, to get right back into the conversation. In addition, it’s also great for those who end up arriving late because it allows them to pick up right where you are instead of asking questions and disturbing other meeting particpants.
Step #3: Results – Do you know what you call a meeting without results? Happy Hour… Regardless of what the outcome of the meeting is, ensure that it is clear and understood by all. To close the loop, you can also consider sending a summary e-mail (when applicable) to capture notes, assign action items, and follow-on steps.
Remember – keeping your meetings organized will not only ensure that you stay organized too, but it will also promote an effective use of time for others attending. Furthermore, don’t forget that when you are hosting a meeting, all eyes are on you! So, regardless of the type or visibility (high profile or not) of the meeting itself, you’re communicating a clear message by ensuring your meetings are up to P-A-R.
See you on the tee…