I meet a lot of leaders who take the idea of New Year’s resolutions seriously—yet they sometimes struggle to know exactly which resolution they should be making. Let me offer you a practical suggestion: As we head into the new year, resolve to make better use of your company meeting. Be efficient. Be action-oriented. Be brief. Make sure that you’re not wasting your own time—or that of your team members—and that when your people show up for a meeting, they know something actionable and important is on the docket.
Make Your Meetings Better
Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Here are just a few ways to carry out this particular resolution.
Don’t invite people to your meeting until you know the agenda. This way, you can have a better sense of who needs to be invited, and how long you need to allot for the meeting to run its course.
Make sure your team is prepared. Don’t keep that meeting agenda to yourself; send a copy to everyone involved in the meeting so they can show up well-prepared, and knowing what to expect.
Commit to your agenda. Only discuss topics that are planned, and only spend the allocated time on each item; if you plan to discuss Item X for 10 minutes, do so—and if you need more time, push it forward for the next meeting and keep moving down your agenda.
Try to get everyone involved. Create an environment in which all opinions are welcomed; remember that you can listen and respect everyone’s point of view without having to take every single suggestion.
Be present. Active listening is crucial in any meeting. Look at people when they talk, and take notes as needed. Consider a policy in which no laptops or mobile phones are allowed in the meeting, to prevent distraction.
Your meetings can always be improved—so make that your first resolution for the coming year.
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