Let us look at successful meeting planning as a whole, but in three separate pieces; before, during, and after. We are going to discuss research results and best practices that go into each phase of the process, and provide you with tools that may help you further enhance your meeting management and outcomes skill-sets. According to the Manager Foundation (2017), research performed by UCLA and University of Minnesota concluded that nearly half of an executive’s typical day is spent in meetings. This statistic makes it paramount for us to manage that time to the best of our abilities.
Deborah Barrett’s book, Leadership Communication (2014) states, “Communication, purpose and strategy should come first in planning meetings, as in all communication situations” (p. 281). The text also states, “Meetings often have multiple objectives, but effective meetings, like good presentations and e-mails, usually have one main overall purpose” (p. 281). This type of clarity and pro-active communication planning can positively influence the success of all meeting activities downstream, as well as brand you as an effective leader overall. All stakeholders are going to appreciate clarity as to why a meeting is going to be called, and that the meeting will be efficiently and effectively managed. Then, the post-meeting follow-up and accountability can make all the difference to everything you strive to achieve going forward.
Aside from your chosen communication when planning a meeting, who you choose to participate is also a critical success-factor. Additionally, it is always wise to appoint roles and responsibilities in the planning process.
Typical roles that can help your project success include:
· Note taker
First of all, when we reflect upon research done by Daniel Goleman (2012), a psychologist and author who coined the term “Emotional Intelligence”, states that in addition to I.Q., the most successful project leaders also happen to have high emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ).
EQ assists in the best decision making, tone, content, communication strategies, and spirit of your meetings. Daniel Goleman references research conducted by Vanessa Druskat concerning high-performing teams. He claims her studies show a very close relationship between the collective emotional intelligence of a team and its tangible productivity. The studies also link optimum productivity to the widest diversity of talents in a team. Her research is further supported by research conducted by Rob Morris and Rosalind Picard from MIT (2012). This tells me a meeting organizer is better off choosing attendees with a wide array of expertise and capabilities to meetings.
The leader brings his or her own capabilities to the entire process. Something called E.Q. is essential to successful leadership.
Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author, defines Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.) as how well we handle ourselves in four major domains:
1. Self-Awareness, moral compass, defined goals
2. Self-Management, self-control, positivity
3. Empathy, creating collective goals
4. Combining it all to build relationships and drive efforts toward success
Once all the attendees are chosen, producing the best results from the participants can be achieved by practicing high E.Q., and a mentor approach with the team.
· The facilitator is tasked with keeping the interactions as productive as possible
· The note taker is tasked with keeping the follow up correspondence as effective as possible
· The timekeeper is responsible for keeping the meeting timely
This way, each teammate is empowered and encouraged to exercise his or her expertise to its best capacity. Another researcher named Frederick Taylor authored a book named Principles of Scientific Management (1914). Taylor argues that organizations need to make sure that workers are assigned the correct tasks for their skills, they need to be trained appropriately, and guided by clear and specific goals. Taylor stated, “the greatest prosperity can exist only as the result of the greatest possible productivity of the men and machines of the establishment – that is, when each man and each machine are turning out the largest possible output” (p.12).
If you appreciate the 6 habits of highly productive people that Brendon Burchard crafted (2011), you’ll appreciate the importance of bringing energy to your efforts.
Brendon’s Six Habits for High Performance Leadership:
1. Seeking clarity
2. Generating Energy
3. Raising Performance Necessity
4. Increasing Productivity
5. Developing Influence
6. Demonstrating Courage
You can share things that you love and that energize you such as starting each meeting with a short song from one of your favorite artists like a video performance The Mike Wheeler Band. Or, find a new artist for each meeting; someone who is trending with mass appeal. The most important thing is to bring an enriching surprise that will add levity and a new habit to your teammates’ lives. Larry Williams in The Mike Wheeler Band demonstrates the epitome of productivity, positivity and influence. You all soak a video of him performing into your senses, enjoy a few moments of cleansing your mental palette, and then get to work with smiles.
Who is not going to want to come to your meetings?
Just remember to keep it timely and get to work! Timing is everything.
This bonus orientation video series sums up the importance of well managed efforts and communications through pre-planning, meeting management and post meeting follow up.