Give Boring the Boot

By Lain Ehmann

As with any ongoing activity, meetings can become routine, boring and stale. You can rev up your meeting quotient, says corporate coach Leslie Groene, author of Picture Yourself and the Life You Want (Tiger Publishing, 2003-2004), and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time. Here are her tips for taking your meetings from stale to stellar:

  • Don’t just have an agenda: have a goal! “One of the biggest mistakes sales management makes is that they have an agenda, but they don’t have a goal,” says Groene. “There needs to be a goal, an objective.” Possible objectives could be motivational, housekeeping, technical updates, educational… Once you have your goal, determine all other meeting factors from there, suggests Groene.
  • Ask, “Do we really need to meet about this?” Just because you ALWAYS have a Monday morning status check doesn’t mean you always HAVE to have a Monday morning meeting. Unnecessary meetings, says Groene, are a common error, particularly when sales people are pulled out of the field for non-sales-related meetings. “That’s a waste of time,” she says. If business can be taken care of by a conference call, a memo, or a series of email messages, then leave your salespeople alone and let them sell.
  • Make your meetings good meetings. Leading meetings is a skill, and “if you’re going to be a leader, you need to be good at it,” says Groene. That means brushing up on your facilitation skills, your time management skills and your presentation skills, to make sure you’re doing the best job possible.
  • Location, location. Some meetings are best held in the office, but sometimes taking the meeting on the road can further your goals. Not only does it send the message that your subject matter is important enough to take time away from the office, it also gives you uninterrupted time. Certain types of meetings are better served by leaving the facility, says Groene, such as training, strategic sessions and other planning meetings. “You want to have a different mindset than you do day-to-day,” says Groene. Off-site meetings also enhance the expectation that the attendees need to be more “present,” says Groene.
  • Encourage a positive attitude. While you always want to encourage feedback from your staff, meetings spent focused on the problem “are a waste of time,” says Groene. Keep things positive, and focus on how you can solve the issues.

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