Are meetings still spooking you?
How would you say your team is handling your current working environment in whatever format that may be: remote, hybrid, in-person? And when I say right now, that could be this week, because it could shift again in the coming weeks. If nothing else, I hope we have all become better at managing the unknown... that is, accepting our lack of control over the unknown.
Looking at your team’s meetings is a good place to look for indications of the status of your team’s communication health. In observing professional meetings, I pay special attention to two moments in time: the beginning and the end. Why? Because those are the 2 moments that have the largest impact on the effectiveness of the meeting. You may be wondering what I mean, because the time in between is the most important, right? That’s where the meat of the sandwich is, right?
Well, it is the longest part of the meeting, but setting the stage at the beginning by Leveling the Playing Field and ending with the 3 W's will change the outcome of every single meeting. I promise!
Remember, when we set a level playing field, we are indicating the Purpose, the Process and the Timeframe at the beginning of the meeting and then ensuring that all parties agree.
We begin the meeting with the end in mind.
What do we want to accomplish before the end of the meeting and how are we going to do it? If we do this well at the beginning, our meeting is headed in the right direction and can produce the desired results, without wasting time or risking disengagement.
Once the “meat” of the meeting has concluded, you have two choices: let everyone leave with a weak understanding of the point of the meeting and without a clear path of future responsibilities OR with a statement summarizing WHO is doing WHAT by WHEN. That’s right, I am bringing up the 3 W's again! Better yet, have every stakeholder indicate what they are doing and by when.
If you haven’t yet, pay attention to meetings and conversations today and tomorrow. For the ones you are leading, make an effort to include a Level Playing Field statement and conclude with the 3 W's. For those in which you are a participant, focus on the beginning and end -- is there a level playing field or the 3 W's? If appropriate, add a 3 W statement at the end of the meeting. I predict others will respond favorably!
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