One of the challenges that all business owners face is how to share information and ideas efficiently among your staff, and also get them engaged. Here are three steps I’ve discovered that will revitalize your meetings:
1. Develop meeting objectives as a group. Start with your premise and ask every participant to contribute. Write each objective—along with the name of the person who contributed it—on a board at the front of the room. If people feel responsible for the content of the meeting, they’re far more likely to participate. Participation is important. Make sure that every person voices their objective in their own words, even if you have repeated them.
2. Consolidate the list. Combine and condense your group’s objectives to a manageable number—three to five is achievable in a brief meeting. Then move on—share the information you need to and work through solutions to problems you’ve identified.
3. Finally, confirm that each objective was achieved. When you model this efficient approach, your team members will see the benefits of your goal-oriented approach, and they’ll not just pay attention, but they’ll participate. You’re demonstrating measurable progress—and achieving their objectives.
Another tactic for keeping your team engaged: discard hour-long sit-down meetings for tightly focused, 15-minute stand-up meetings or huddles. You’re a team, and it’s essential that you all be focused on the same end result. Providing a regular huddle for each member of the team to share progress, request help or resources, and ask for feedback lets you quickly check in with your players and send ’em right back to the field to score. You’ll need to prepare for these huddles a little differently, so here are a few micro-tips for great micro-meetings:
If you’re running the meeting, you’ll need to be extra prepared. The idea here is to have only 15 minutes, every one of which is productive. You must have a clear idea of what will be accomplished, and you must get to the point.
If your meeting is a team check-in, establish a protocol. Let each participant share successes or challenges, and you’re getting information to team members who can share skills to solve problems. Make the structure clear so you don’t get bogged down in anything off-topic or irrelevant.
Have a stand-up meeting area with no chairs and with raised tables suitable for taking notes. The idea is to get in, work hard, and get out.
Appoint a timekeeper to keep the meeting on track. The focus on time helps you prioritize. If you can accomplish only a few things in each meeting, you’re going to work on the most important.
If you’re clear about the purpose of a meeting, and if you directly engage every member of the team, you’ll be astonished at how productive your meetings will become. It doesn’t matter if it’s a monthly upper-management event or a sales team huddle, you can build a better, more productive meeting.
About the author: MIKE MICHALOWICZ (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford–a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts, and no savings, he systematically bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; a former small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next E-Myth!” For more information, visit http://www.mikemichalowicz.com
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