Most meetings are useless. I’m guessing the more meetings you attend the more you’ll agree with that statement. Think about the REAL value of the last five meetings you attended. How much action was initiated or change realized as a result? That’s the topic of Today’s Challenge: How can we generate more action as a result of our meetings?

First, let me begin by affirming the value of well designed and executed meetings. Here’s my vision for meetings…

Meetings are a forum capable of empowering teams and individuals, identifying and solving problems, reinforcing core values, encouraging, affirming, learning, challenging, helping people grow, collaborating, building community, increasing accountability, changing behavior, improving performance and more!

If the meetings you attend don’t do these things, you should work to make it so. But, the truth is, if you can’t use your meetings as a platform to generate productive action, you’ll be wasting tremendous potential.

To create catalytic meetings, here are five ideas guaranteed to make things happen…

1. Start with the intent to create action. All meetings are not created equal. If you attend a meeting with the purpose of updating people on projects, don’t expect this to create much activity. My recommendation is to focus 75% of your meeting agenda on performance management. Intent is the primary driver of action.

2. Ensure closure on every agenda item. This may seem obvious – unfortunately it is not. This is not to suggest you will actually finish every item you address. However, you should never conclude your discussion without identifying appropriate next steps. There are infinite options including identifying work to be done outside the meeting or the date on which the team will address the topic again.

3. Visually display action items during the meeting. This simple step increases accuracy and agreement. Allowing individuals to capture his or her own action items does not provide sufficient visibility for the rest of the team. This is more powerful than you can imagine. A flip chart in every meeting, used to document action items, would revolutionize most businesses.

4. Be sure you really have an action item. Again, this is basic but often missed. Unless you know WHO is going to do WHAT by WHEN, you do not have an action item. And, to be sure everyone else knows, I recommend reviewing the action items at the end of the meeting, distributing them after the meeting and distributing them again with the agenda for the upcoming meeting.

5. Review all action items at every meeting. Once an action item is identified, by definition, it must have a completion date. Therefore, it falls to the facilitator to be sure every agenda has a designated time allocated to review previous action items. When the team begins to hold people accountable, you will see more action as a result.

One reason meetings have such a bad rap is a lack of action. If your meetings begin to create positive action, you may be surprised how quickly their reputation will change.[GLS_Shield]

Action Item:

What: Share this post with three facilitators or team leaders in your organization.
When: July 15th.
Who:You.

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.