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How to make successful online meetings – Don’t generate smoke. Generate light

How to make successful online meetings – Don’t generate smoke. Generate light

The corona lockdown has introduced the pain of workdays filled with online meetings. Online are less efficient. Yet much of the pain I have experienced is the same pain that I experience in physical meetings. This can be fixed. This blog is the second in series of tips that can improve the quality of your meetings.

Even enlightening discussions can me a waste of time when no action results from it.  This can happen for several reasons, all of which, you can prevent when facilitating meetings.

Without a clear purpose you should not expect clear outcomes (See – Start with the end in mind). But even with a clear purpose there are two common traps to avoid:

  1. Failing to allow time to formulate actions and agree on ownership. This is like watching a great movie with a boring ending. Timekeeping is an important tool of the facilitator but can be hard to master. Awareness and practice will get you there.
  2. Leaving the documentation of the actions agreed to the minute keeper. Ownership is not something you delegate – it is something people can take. Actions you chose are more exciting than tasks you are given. And as everybody have busy schedules, if you want action, you need to empower people to pull tasks. This is even more powerful when the group pull actions during the meeting, as this introduce peer pressure. If actions are not assigned on the meeting, but assigned in the minutes of the meeting, chances that you will get action is low.

As you can’t make people live longer, beware how you spend their time. Time spent without generating action is time wasted.

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How to Make Succesfull meetings – Start with the End in Mind

How to Make Succesfull meetings – Start with the End in Mind

The corona lockdown has introduced the pain of workdays filled with online meetings. Online are less efficient. Yet much of the pain I have experienced is the same pain that I experience in physical meetings. This can be fixed. This blog is the first in series of tips that can improve the quality of your meetings.

Often, I find myself in meetings where I neither learn nor contribute. To me this is painful! And it doesn’t take long before I mentally zap out. Our brains are hardwired to zap out. After 10-15 minutes maximum our thoughts start to wander off. This happens regardless of the meeting format.

Even though distractions are more readily available online, this is countered by the fact that sitting down in front of a computer all day without moving is uncomfortable and unhealthy – especially if you do it on a laptop from home.

If you are the meeting facilitator, you can improve the quality of the meetings you facilitate tremendously, by starting with the end in mind when you plan a meeting.

Unless you have a clear expectation of the outcome of the meeting, you will probably do everyone a favor not calling the meeting in the first place!

When you have arrived at a clear understanding of what you want to achieve in the meeting, you should carefully consider who to invite. Who is necessary to get the task done? Don’t just invite everyone on a mailing list. Stop and think. And leave those not needed to do something else.

Limiting the meeting invites to the absolute minimum necessarily has several advantages:

  1. Meetings with a purpose that is clear and meaningful to everyone attending makes it easier to for people to chip in rather than zapping out.
  2. The fewer people on an online meeting, the less negative impact of not meeting face to face. As 55% of human communication consist of non-verbal communication, it is challenging to communicate efficiently online.
  3. Delegating autonomy over own time to people around you is a great driver of engagement and morale. If you make a habit of only inviting people when needed, you will experience motivation grow around you.

Purpose is the driver of progress. As you can’t make people live longer, don’t waste their time by creating meetings without a clear purpose