Team Building Resources

5 Steps for Epic Meetings

Jul 11, 2019

Meeting Philosophy

Why does everyone hate meetings? probably because most of them are a waste of
time and money, but they don’t have to be.

We know that meetings = time, and time = money, so we avoid unnecessary meetings at all costs. The average attention span is only 18 minutes long, so as much as possible steer clear of scheduling meetings longer than 30 minutes.  A recent Atlassian study found that the average employee attends 62 meetings per month, considers 50% of them to be a waste of time and this accounts for over 31 unproductive meeting hours a month.  That’s almost an entire week every month of unproductive meeting time.  This clarion call for more effective meetings couldn’t be more urgent.

At The Escape Game, we have developed an internal set of rules & guidelines that help us ensure that meetings are as valuable and productive as possible.  If your company is ready to stop wasting precious time each month then hopefully these steps and attitudes can help you also.

WE BELIEVE that there are two types of meetings: to give out information and to solve problems. We always
separate them and structure the meeting accordingly.
WE UNDERSTAND that problem-solving meetings have to force decisions and drive results in order to be productive.  Meetings to spitball ideas are often a complete waste of time.
WE RESPECT our team members’ time by preparing before the meeting and staying on track during the meeting. We are selective in who we involve in meetings to maximize our efficiency.

ULTIMATELY, CALLING A MEETING IS A BIG RESPONSIBILITY. IF YOU’RE GOING TO REQUEST THE TIME AND
ATTENTION OF OTHERS, MAKE SURE IT’S EPIC.

 

 5 STEPS FOR EPIC MEETINGS

1. DECIDE if the meeting is even necessary and, if so, what type and format it should be.
2. SCHEDULE the right people at the right time for the right length in the right location.
3. PREPARE a results-driven agenda and send to participants well before meeting.
4. MEET and engage in a powerful, productive conversation that moves the needle for your business and projects.
5. FOLLOW UP by reviewing your meeting notes, completing your assigned tasks, and holding others accountable for theirs.

STEP 1: DECIDE

A. Is this meeting necessary?
• Can we avoid setting a one hour long meeting by setting aside a few minutes later to problem solve yourself?
• Can we share information via Slack, Email, Asana
B. Are you sure you’re necessary?
C. Who else should be involved?
• Calculate the approximate $ being spent
D. What type of meeting do you want?
E. What’s the right format?

STEP 2: SCHEDULE

A. Find a date and time that works for everyone necessary.
• Work shrinks to the time allotted to it.
• Average attention span = 18 min.
• Start and end on time.
B. Where to meet?

STEP 3: PREPARE

A. Prepare the Perfect Agenda
• Send to participants with calendar invite:
• Completed agenda
• Any reading, material, questions, comments they should have prepared by the meeting.
• Designate a “facilitator” who will take notes and keep time during the meeting for you.

STEP 4: MEET

If the meeting’s purpose is to problem-solve, follow these steps:
A. Lead the Conversation
• Stay on topic
• Guard against distractions
• Ask good questions
B. Make Effective Use of Technology
C. Avoid Annoying Meeting Behaviors
• Arriving late
• Checking email
• Engaging in side conversations
• Interrupting others
• Not coming prepared
D. End With Action
• Determine who does what by when. Make the deliverables crystal clear.
• Facilitator read of the action items.
• Agree on a due date. Put it in writing.

STEP 5:  Follow Up

A. REVIEW MEETING NOTES

1. Document decisions so there is no misunderstanding later. Hold people accountable to their action items

2. Distribute notes to participants after

3. Schedule Time to Complete Action Items

These principles are common sense but they may not be common practice. If you adopt these simple steps you can revolutionize your productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction and ultimately, your profitability.

As a leader, it’s on you to ensure that the meetings you call are effective.  If you plan inadequately or fail to plan at all then you are setting you and your team up for massive meeting failure.  Don’t let your team be caught in the 47% of American workers who complain that the #1 time waster in their office are meetings.

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