Every once in a while you hear somebody saying, “Oh they have their own agenda,” and it doesn’t always have the most positive connotation. From somebody who’s spent most of their life in meetings, some of which do not have an agenda despite the overwhelming consensus in the best practice area that that’s how it should be, I think it’s ok and should actually be encouraged to have your own agenda. In fact if you don’t have your own agenda and no one else does either, you’ll probably all just end up wasting your time. When I find myself in that situation where I’m going into a meeting and for whatever reason it would be uncomfortable or improper for me to ask or provide an agenda I like to spend a little bit of time developing my own agenda going into the meeting. You should know things like:
- Why am I attending this meeting
- What am I hoping to achieve by attending this meeting
I also like to think about what the other people that are participants in the meeting might be hoping to achieve from it and what their agendas might be so I’m at least prepared for whatever direction the meeting might take. Finally once I’m in the meeting and things begin to drift into that agendaless zone that happens so often when you don’t have a plan and the topics sort of drift left and right, I’ll try to steer the meeting towards value. Simple things like
- What are we hoping to accomplish in today’s meeting
- What are the actions that we are looking to get as we move out of today’s meeting
Simple prompts like that that get people back thinking about why are we here and why do we want everyone to take time out of their day to be in this one place or be on this one call. To have the conversation be brought back around to what are we trying to solve is usually enough to get people tracking back towards value. I’m curious what other people think as always and I look forward to hearing from you.