Businesses hold too many meetings that achieve very little!
Below is a powerful, yet simple way to stop that happening.
At the end of every meeting, ask this question of everyone, around the room: What are you taking away from this meeting?
Let each person answer however they wish. Some will comment on what they learnt, some will talk about actions they will take up, some may not have anything to say (that would obviously not be a good comment on the meeting itself or the person’s engagement of the meeting or both), some will make suggestions about how to better conduct future meetings. Make sure you get all thoughts from everyone, by going around the room a second time or even more. Strongly discourage “I don’t know” by making that plain before the first person responds.
By taking this approach at the end of every meeting a number of things will happen:
- Everyone knows to expect the question every time and are more likely to engage effectively during each meeting.
- Follow up actions from each meeting are way more likely, given they have been raised by individuals themselves.
- People are more likely to leave the meeting feeling it was worthwhile after they have heard everyone’s summaries (rather than potentially feeling it was a lot of talk).
- People are likely to pick up on what someone else is taking away from the meeting that they may have missed, not understood or even misinterpreted.
- It invites clarification if someone articulates a takeout that someone else or others don’t understand.
We spend too much time in meetings that lead to little or nothing. Ask this question at the end of every meeting and it will help significantly.
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