62. Making Meetings Not Suck

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/62. Making Meetings Not Suck

62. Making Meetings Not Suck


Why do meetings suck?

There are a couple of critical mistakes that most entrepreneurs make when setting up meetings with their team.

But with just a couple of small tweaks, you can have highly effective meetings that keep you moving forward without driving everyone crazy.

Once you have productive meetings, you’ll never want to turn back!

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Meetings Suck, right? Don't Meetings Suck? You know, you're thinking the same thing? You know, you are? Well, maybe not, maybe not. If you've implemented some of the things that I'm going to talk about in this episode to make meetings not suck.

Quite a task, isn't it? Not really. It's actually pretty simple. People actually, when done correctly, people love meetings, you can get a lot done in a very, very short period of time. And have everyone feel like they're contributing, if the meetings done correctly. So how do we do that? How do we make meetings not suck? Welcome to smooth operator? So good to have you on today's episode of the show. And if you are an operator or a visionary CEO, with a team, you have meetings as part of what you do, and if you don't, dude, how are you operating? How are you surviving? I love meetings, I love having a consistent schedule of meetings, knowing what my week looks like, being able to jump on calls and get things done and communicate things. And I have a system for doing that. And it's called the the meeting cadence. And it gives your team structure. Because people actually like structure. People love structure, people thrive within structure. Even if people say they don't, everyone likes structure, guys. So get yourself over that false belief right now that people don't enjoy structure, people love structure. So how are you going to give it to them. So the first thing to make meetings not suck, is make sure they're pre scheduled, make sure they're on some kind of a shared team calendar.

And they are pre scheduled and pre communicated that people know a meeting is coming up. And they know what's going to be discussed in that meeting. They know what the meeting is for. Be open book on that and have it in a place where everyone can see it, everyone can then plan their day accordingly. plan their week accordingly. Now, it doesn't mean everyone has to be on the meeting, you shouldn't have every meeting B and all skate, it shouldn't be that way. So the only people that need to be on the meeting are the people that need to be on the meeting, and share the results with the whole team if you wish. But it doesn't mean everyone needs to be there, especially if they don't have a thing to contribute to that. So limit meetings to those that are supposed to be there those that need to be there. And then if there are any outcomes from the meeting that impact everyone do communicate those but it doesn't mean they have to be in the room, someone wanting to be in a meeting just to know what's going on. That's not a reason, don't do it. Don't fall for that crap. Bringing people on the meeting that need to be on the meeting. And when you're scheduling, make it a consistent schedule. So if you need to meet with a certain department every week, plan it and get it on the schedule and have it on the schedule every single week. So people can count on that. It doesn't mean you don't have the ability to cancel a meeting if nothing is needed to be discussed. But having it on the schedule versus fitting one in at the last minute, is it's much preferred to have another schedule, be able to cancel it versus the other way. So make it consistent. Make sure you're working from an agenda. Make sure you have talking points that you want to go over and decision points that need to be made in the process of that meeting. Do not walk into a meeting without an agenda. Otherwise, how do you know what you're going to talk about? Okay. And make sure that agenda is public. You can have your private notes that you need to address. Like I'm not saying you got to open up open door and everything. There's certain talking points you want to get through related to an agenda item. Have those separate, but the agenda needs to be public.

It needs to be communicated well ahead of the meeting. Because then you give your team and everyone that's attending the meeting time to consider the position. They don't feel like they're being surprised with something that's coming up during a meeting. They don't feel hoodwinked. Especially if it's big decisions that have to happen, you know they have time to consider before ever jumping in. I'm a I'm a huge lover of agendas. Also having the agenda be like a drop off point. So what I'll frequently do if a teen member brings me a suggestion, like, Hey, I have this cool idea for this blah, blah, blah. Like, okay, great put in the agenda. Put it in the agenda I don't I can't deal with right now we're going to deal with it on the meeting, but put it in the agenda. So that way we know we're going to deal with it on the meeting. This does two things for you guys, I love this is one of the coolest discoveries I've ever made in dealing with people and managing people. And it's so cool for two reasons. A, it releases you from the obligation of having to answer a question right then and there. It allows you the opportunity to do consider it consider their positioning, consider how it impacts you or the rest of the company. For the appropriate time to discuss it. It also provides that outlet for the person that needs to discuss it with you, you're providing that outlet, providing that place for them to put their idea.

So they're not bottling up inside, they don't feel like they're being ignored. They feel like they're contributing at their highest level and their ideas are being heard. But they're not feeling the need to do it in the flow of things. But they're able to do it right then and there. So get get where that give her that it's kind of cool, because it it really makes a difference in allowing people's mental health and their focus. Because imagine they have this idea of running around in their head for like, three, four days. And they Oh, I can't forget this, I gotta keep this on my mind. You're releasing them from that. Now they can go back to being focused. Do it. It's huge. It's huge. I also like to make my agendas rolling, meaning it's a single Google Doc, and we're just building on top of it. And why did we do that. So we can look back at what happened in previous meetings, and decisions that were made. So have that agenda pre scheduled, pre released to everyone on the team. And then outright communicate that like, Hey, guys, we're having a meeting tomorrow on whatever the marketing plan or this new product launch we're doing, please fill it out any items that you want to discuss in the agenda, have it done today. If it's on the agenda, we're not talking about it. Oh, something new came up with it's not on the agenda. Let's talk about it next week. All these are great ways to make meetings not suck, right. You're letting everyone work from a place of predictability, consistency. And being able to feel like they're not being hoodwinked, being able to consider their positioning, consider any input they would have, without feeling like they have to do it right then in there.

You give people time to consider things. Meeting should always, always be time bound. We're gonna meet, we're gonna meet for 30 minutes. We'll get done early, great. But we won't go a minute past 30. There's some pressure right there, right? If you set their meeting time, and the duration of the meeting now, that doesn't have to be every meeting, especially between leadership, if you have to do open ended meetings. Those happen to they're very rare. But make sure your normal meetings are time bound. And they don't go over. Otherwise, you're just opening the door to all sorts of craziness happening both sides where people will either take too long, or they'll elongate what they're saying to make it take the time that they're proceeding it should take. If a meeting only has to be 30 minutes, make it 30 minutes, if it has to be 10 Make it 10 times about time bound them and then work within those time bounds. And don't let them go over. This deals right on with Parkinson's Law, which if you haven't heard of it, Parkinson's Law states that we will always make a task take the time that we give to it. So if you give yourself a full day to record a podcast episode, you're gonna take the full day. If you say here's my podcasting hour, I'm gonna script up and record an episode in an hour and get it ready for publishing. You're gonna get done an hour.

Okay, these apply to meetings as well. So make them take as long as they need to, but not one second longer. The final thing is really just make sure chit chat is limited. So I like to start meeting if I'm the one leading the meeting, and it doesn't always have to be you leading the meeting you crazy thing called delegation. whoever's in charge of the meeting, everyone knows who's in charge of the meeting. Everyone knows who the boss is on that meeting and who's calling the shots. So they started by just maybe asking Hey, how's everyone doing today? And about a minute Half later you say, Okay, let's jump in limit that chitchat. And not only doesn't waste time, but if you're anything like me, I'm like, dude, just shut up. Let's go, come on, I'm busy. I got stuff going on, and I really don't care about but whatever. If you can have plenty of places for chitchat within a team, it just seems to have its place. It's not to be extended during a meeting. So I like to do chit chat kind of bound, where there's like a little chitchat at the beginning. And then you allow for some at the end if and only if there's time. But when it's at the end, and there's time, and to people who want to chitchat about something, you gotta bounce, well, there's nothing stopping you from bouncing, you can jump if you need to go, and you're not going to miss anything.

while also giving that place for your team to continue building their inter team relationships, especially if you're a remote team, like that's important. All right, just a couple of ideas for making meetings not suck.

I hope you enjoyed them. I hope there's at least one thing you can apply from this, that will help you make better meetings and make your team love meetings and know that they're going to come into them and contribute at their highest level. And you're going to get things out of it to run and move the company forward. That's one part of the overall communication cadence. If you'd like help implementing this if you'd like a second set of eyes or some advice on what you're doing, and ways to make your team work better, do find me. I have an Operations Program. I teach entrepreneurs just like yourself into how to create the systems and structures that are going to propel your business forward help you grow that team that you need to succeed, communicate, and provide stability to everyone in your organization. So you can grow to levels that you have never imagined. It all comes from within and the energy that we're building inside the team, and how they can support us as leadership to move the company forward.

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