NextGen Breakout Session: How to make your next meeting not suck

How to Run an Effective & Efficient Meeting
Jennifer Stanford, Chief Executive Officer, Emergent Performance Solutions

How do you make a meeting not suck?

“Meetings are a necessary evil.”

These infamous words were uttered by Jennifer Stanford, CEO of Emergent Performance Solutions during a breakout session at the NextGen conference in Washington, D.C.

A recent statistic shows that, on average, leaders spend about 50 percent of their time in meetings – and many of them admit that this means it’s a struggle to get any actual work done.

So how can anyone combat this problem?

Stanford says it’s all about asking the right question: Do I even need to be here?

In a world where sharing has become the new normal, it might be time to think about collaborating less in some instances.

Stanford explained there are four main types of meetings:

  • Status – meetings where everyone shares what is going on with projects/programs
  • Consensus – meetings where the leader makes sure the team is doing what they need to be doing (these often come with organizational policy changes)
  • Decision – meetings where a decision is discussed or explained
  • Engagement – meetings that seek to recognize and engage the team

Understanding the fact that different types of meetings exist is the first step to making these gatherings more palatable. And there are lessons to be learned for both meeting creators and meeting attendees.

“Just because someone is leading a meeting, doesn’t mean that they’re in charge,” Stanford explained.

In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, set the stage so the entire room is accountable for its behavior. Make sure you invite people to be part of the process, not just one of the bodies in the room.

Also, follow up and closure are incredibly important. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it!

Additionally, Stanford said you should learn the power behind the decline button by asking yourself these four important questions:

  • Does the status from the meeting impact my work directly?
  • Is my support required to get others on board?
  • Am I the right decision maker?
  • Do I care about being a part of a high performing team?

So, when you get back to your office tomorrow or Monday, it might be a good idea to see if there is at least one or two meetings that you can actually decline — but don’t forget to send a response if you do!

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