How to Schedule Strategic Meetings That Don’t Waste Time
By Christy Lamagna CMP, CMM, CTSM
If your meetings are a waste of time, fix them.
The number of words dedicated to self-improvement, streamlining time, eliminating unnecessary tasks and amplifying one’s productivity are beyond measure. Who among us wouldn’t benefit from a bit of fine tuning to our days? What isn’t often discussed is how to take something that is on the discard pile and transform it into a key factor towards your success.
Take the concept of eliminating or drastically reducing the number of meetings you attend. Most of us have sat through endless, unproductive, meandering meetings that accomplish little more than to make the organizer feel important, the extroverts feel heard and the introverts wondering why they bothered to come. The short-sighted quick fix is to eliminate as many meetings from your life as possible. The strategic, productive solution is to fix the meetings themselves.
Pointless meetings inarguably need to be eliminated and then replaced by strategic meetings. Strategic meetings are goal oriented experience-based gatherings designed to do one of three things:
- Impart critical information
- Inspire discussion and conversation
- Foster/develop relationships
Strategic meetings influence what people think, say and do. They have a specific, defined goal, a clear agenda and precise talking points. They rarely need to be more than 45 minutes in length per topic/session and strictly limit conversation to the essentials.
The only people in attendance are the key stakeholders and a scribe who will capture the main talking points. A list of action items and due dates are circulated within 24 hours of the meeting, and those same action items kick off subsequent meetings to track progress and dictate next steps.
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When the extraneous topics and people are removed, meetings are powerful vehicles that drive business objectives, shorten sales cycles, build relationships, inspire creativity, facilitate teamwork and remove obstacles. Who wouldn’t raise their hand to attend meetings that guarantee moving attendees closer to their goals?
So, if you are the person who calls meetings on a regular basis, take a close look at your methodology. If you are thinking about ordering food and who to invite, you’re doing it wrong. Participants likely won’t be gathered long enough to eat; the attendee list should be obvious, and your focus is the goal of the meeting and the content around achieving it.
If you’re not the person who calls meetings but are instead the recipient of invitations to pointless meetings, forward this article to the people in your office who need to make a new year’s resolution to make their meetings strategic going forward. Not only will the office be better for it, their own productivity will be as well.
Want more tips on why strategic meetings matter and how they can accelerate your sales cycle? Check out these articles: