Harvard Business Review found that 71% of senior managers from a range of industries describe their meetings as “unproductive and inefficient.” Another report estimates the total spent on unproductive meetings in the U.S. annually tops $37 billion.
Are you looking to up your leadership game? Developing your ability to lead fruitful meetings stands out as a high-reward opportunity for you to add value to your team and organization.
If you’re like many leaders, you’ve struggled in the past with organizing, planning, and leading effective meetings; perhaps, it’s time to try a new approach. In my role as a professional facilitator of team and leadership development experiences, I’ve identified three practices that transfer well from the world of facilitation to the realm of productive meetings. Give them a try; the facilitator’s approach to meetings will transform your view and boost the effectiveness of meetings for your team and organization!
Channel the Group’s Energy
When I’m facilitating an activity or discussion with a client, one of my primary goals is to strike a balance between focus and flexibility. I want to provide focused direction for the group’s conversation while also affording space for creative thought. With that aim in mind, I avoid asking questions that are generically broad; this has a tendency to leave participants feeling the conversation is too open-ended and the purpose lacks clarity.
When it comes to meetings, equip your colleagues with the information they need for productive interaction – nothing more, nothing less. Pre-meeting agendas are helpful inasmuch as they afford team members an opportunity beforehand to clarify their thoughts on a particular topic. Avoid the common pitfalls of 1.) Overloading your meeting agendas with too many business items to cover in the time allotted, and 2.) Consistently deviating from the subject matter you outline in your agendas.