How many boring meetings have you sat through in your life? I’ve endured a bunch!
In general I have found that “staff” or “team” meetings are boring! Probably the ones I’ve led have been the worst…Lately, I’ve been thinking about why meetings are so awful. I don’t think I know all the reasons but here are some that I’ve come up with:
- They discuss things everyone already knows or should know
- Time is spent on things that aren’t relevant to everyone in the meeting
- There is no agenda
- The emotional result of the meeting is not intentional
Now, I hate to be negative so I apologize for that list but I think to improve something we need to diagnose the problem and that usually means a critique. In this case, let’s make it constructive!
So, here are my “rules” for great meetings, whether you’re running a weekly meeting for insurance agents or a quarterly sales meeting:
1. Agenda first
To have a good meeting, you need an agenda. It doesn’t have to be written or printed out, but everyone in the meeting should know what will be discussed. This way they can come prepared, and they will know when it’s over. And the meeting can stay on track and accomplish its purpose without wasting time, emotional energy, or anything else.
2. Be relevant to all
The meeting must only have content that is relevant to everyone in the room. If something to be discussed isn’t relevant to everyone, then it is BORING to them. Also, they feel left out which is a terrible thing to do to anyone. So, if you’re having a general company, staff or team meeting be sure the topics are relevant to all. Otherwise, you need a smaller meeting.
3. No old news
Is there anything worse than discussing things everyone already knows about? BORING!! Spend time in meetings sharing things that are new! Sometimes this is hard because you don’t have anything new, right? Well then, why have the meeting? Just because it’s on the calendar? Give me a break…
4. Set an emotional goal
People are motivated by emotion, not information. Information can create emotion sometimes, but motivation comes from emotion, not from information. My point is: what emotion do you want everyone to feel coming out of the meeting? Excitement? Fear? Boredom? Commitment? Celebration? Plan the meeting to accomplish that purpose.
We have a monthly “team” meeting at our company. It’s the only time every person is in the room. We are trying to work on these ideas to make the meeting better, more productive, more enjoyable. So, with that in mind here is my last “rule”
Why be in a game where you don’t get to play? This is not easy, but find a way to allow everyone to play. This way there is buy-in, enthusiasm, interest, and hopefully no boredom.
In our company, we’re getting better and better at this. Last month, several people thought the meeting felt like a pep rally, and some said it was the best meeting ever!
I think this result was achieved, at least in part, by following these 5 “rules”. I don’t generally like meetings for the reasons I’ve mentioned, but I loved being a part of the last one! I can’t wait for the next one to see if we can do it again.
Try it yourself! Let me know if you have other ideas about how to make meetings better - you can find me on social media or use our contact page.