Movie magic in the meeting room – get the popcorn out!

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Business meetings have gotten a bad rep. Not all of them are pointless, but when you consider just how many are, it can be difficult to give the good ones any credit.

In the U.S. alone, 11 million business meetings are conducted each day, and it is estimated that $37 billion is squandered every year on unnecessary meetings[1].

So why all the senseless meetings? Why all the waste of time and money? My guess is habit and protocol. For millions of years, people have been coming together to solve problems—and at one time, when the ‘coming together’ was necessary to life and limb, they worked. There was a noted reason for the meeting. A problem had to be solved, or people would perish. As centuries and centuries have passed, the meeting has become less about solving problems and more about coming together just to say ‘we talked about the problem.’

Action is no longer at the core of business meetings. The meeting has become the core of the meeting.

How can you make your business meetings more productive?

Think of it this way: We all love a good movie. We seem to learn more from a movie than we do from most business meetings, and yet the meeting is obligatory and the movie is for entertainment purposes. That just doesn’t seem right, does it?

What if you could make your business meetings more like an engaging and entertaining movie? Do you think more people would actively participate and remain focused? Do you think more people would learn and go away inspired to make changes and achieve goals?

So why not fashion your business meetings after movies? Here are a few things you can do to make this happen:

  • Schedule only necessary meetings. No one goes to see the same movie 52 times. So why would you hold the same, useless meeting every week of the year? Start by decreasing the frequency or the duration of these regularly scheduled meetings. Then, move onto scheduling meetings only when necessary.
  • Create a hook for each meeting. When every business meeting is announced, stir up anticipation by hinting that there’s something important to discuss, or that there’s something exciting to announce. You can be vague or specific—the choice is yours. The suspense will get people’s attention, even before the meeting starts.
  • Know your ending. At the beginning of every meeting, state the purpose of the meeting, along with what you intend to accomplish. This will keep attendees focused and motivated to achieve stated goals, and you will remain driven in a particular direction, with one specific goal in mind.
  • Stick to the plot. Make every attempt to stay true to the plot you’ve created for your meeting, and avoid going down rabbit trails. In order to accomplish this, manage the discussion to ensure that it always relates to the meeting’s goal. Getting sidetracked not only meddles with your meeting’s purpose, it eats up valuable time that you could be using to accomplish great things.
  • Choose a narrow cast of characters. Choose attendees in accordance with the purpose of the meeting. Not everyone needs to be involved in every meeting, and when you limit attendance to a need-to-know basis, individuals will feel more responsible for the outcome of what is discussed.
  • Encourage conflict. Every good movie has conflict and resolution…and learning by all involved is a predictable result. When a disagreement or difference in opinion arises, do not discourage it. Instead, ask attendees to weigh in on both sides so the full spectrum is represented. This is how change and forward movement happen.
  • Create a sense of urgency. Like an action flick, every meeting should generate a level of excitement that motivates people to move forward and enact the change that’s been talked about. Positive outcomes should be discussed, so everyone has a clear idea of what completing their tasks will do for themselves and for the organization. Make it clear that the sooner these tasks are completed, the sooner good things will happen.
  • By the end of the meeting, have a sequel in the works. People should not leave the meeting without a clear set of tasks to accomplish before the next meeting. Its purpose is to facilitate action, and therefore change. This can only happen if everyone understands his or her role and the importance of completing their assignments by a set deadline.

Ideally, every meeting should be unique in that it won’t need to accomplish exactly the same thing as the meeting before it. If you’re hosting reruns, then something needs to change. One meeting should be titillating enough to spark action.

Are you tired of serial business meetings that are simply perfunctory, with no real purpose? Are you wondering how you can make them more interesting, more productive…something that people look forward to and that feels like a wise investment of time? I encourage you to put the above tips to work, and then schedule a 30-minute consultation with me to take your business meetings to the next level. I think you’ll be thrilled at what a few changes can do to advance your business strategy.

[1] http://meetingking.com/37-billion-per-year-unnecessary-meetings-share/

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