It seems like weeks since I last wrote something on here. Oh wait, it HAS been weeks. Work has gotten hectic and I’ve been running meeting over meeting, to the point I started to notice where is that most meetings fail, and how to improve them to a whole new level with focus on just getting things done. Time and task management is a real, solid need in my company so we can’t really waste any time with meetings which are less than straight to the point and time-efficient.
So, picture this in your mind: you’re sitting in a meeting which, on paper, makes totally sense, but sooner than later you notice how things start going off track, things fall into chit-chatting and you suddenly find yourself sitting back at your desk with the same doubts you had at the beginning of the meeting.
You do remember the reasons of the meeting, but you’re not so sure all the answers have been given. Who’s to blame? Well, not sure about that, I believe it’s a mistake which is very common in startups or generally unexperienced entrepreneurs / managers. One thing though worked for me and my company, and that’s the #1 rule of each of our meetings since several months:
Before the start of every meeting, decide what problem you want to address
I strongly believe a meeting should be focused around one single subject, even if you “attack” several sides of it. For example, we had a meeting just today about an eLearning platform we are developing and even though we discussed many aspects of it, the main subject remained the same. If you include too many things to talk about in a single meeting you’ll end up sitting for hours and having your head fuzzy when you’re done. Is it really useful to do it like this? I don’t think so and this way proved itself much more time-efficient.
With this approach, it’s not uncommon to have 2-3 meetings in a single day, but when they are all 20-minutes meetings you really don’t feel them as a burden.
In our eLearning meeting the “problem” was deciding how to do things, in what timeframes and who to assign each task to.
Before the end of every meeting, ask yourself: has the problem been addressed?
This is the key point! Too many times we used to get back to work with a sense of “vagueness” (not sure that’s even a word) and uncertainty. Now I ask this question, and if the answer is “yes”, we can go back to work, otherwise, something’s wrong and we address it immediately.
In the eLearning example, the answer was an enthusiastic “yes”, and everyone’s merry and happy.
Mind you, this is a very practical suggestion which I am sure many of you won’t agree with (especially the “one-meeting-one-subject” part) but I can assure you it works.
Just give it a go and let me know.