I’m about to blow your mind.
What would you say if I told you that you waste hours of your workweek needlessly? What if I told you that almost everybody these days wastes hours and hours uselessly that they could be spending productively? What if I told you that the very notion of workplace productivity is flawed and marred by one simple fact? Would you want to know what that fact is?
It’s this: The fundamental model of the modern business meeting has remained unchanged since the 1950s, and consequently is wasting hours of daily productivity. The modern office has experienced quantum leaps in technology, digital integration, and interconnectedness, and yet we still shuffle into boardrooms, pens and notebooks in hand (or tablets, if we’re really advanced) one or more times per week to listen to each other talk. Oh sure, we’ve tried to get around it with conference calls and video teleconferencing, which at least gives us the illusion that we can perhaps listen out of one ear while being productive at our desks. All that happens then is that you don’t really listen to the meeting, and you don’t really concentrate on your work, thus destroying two potential productivity birds with one stone!
The business meeting is flawed. It’s wasting valuable time, and worse than that, oftentimes we trudge out of our boardrooms with no more clarity or purpose, or actionable decisions than we went in with. Why???
Because we don’t properly prepare for meetings.
That’s it. That’s the simple answer. What I’m going to do, over the next few paragraphs, is reveal to you my secrets that enable me, in my daily work, to not only hold shorter meetings (never more than 30 minutes, regardless of topic) but to engage more productively in those meetings, and achieve real results! If that sounds like something you’re interested in, read on.
The reality is that, with just three simple tools, we can drastically reduce the amount of time and wasted energy in our daily meetings. Even better, the system that I use and that I’m proposing to you now is completely modular and scalable. Depending on your needs, you can use one, two or none of the tools offered, and you can improvise and adapt to fit your goals! Having said that, this is a holistic system that works best when all three products are used in harmony, but overall the goal is to reduce wasted time, so if you don’t need all three, don’t use all three!
The first product, or tool, that we’re going to look at is the Categorization Matrix. As you can see from the picture below, the Categorization Matrix basically creates five different meeting types, or templates, to choose from based on your particular need. Of all the tools, this will be the one that you use 99% of the time, even if you don’t employ the other two, simply because it guides and sets the tone of the meeting right up front. Before anyone even enters the conference room, they should understand which of the five meeting templates will be used. As you can see, these templates come with guidelines that should be adhered to, in order to achieve the desired meeting goal.
The next tool we need to look at is the Meeting Template. This is very simply a “fill-in-the-blank” style form that you, as the meeting organizer, can send out to your prospective attendees some time in advance. The meat of this form lies in the anticipated questions and discussion sections. Nothing can derail a meeting faster than an oddball question, which provokes a lengthy rabbit trail of discourse, out of which nothing is resolved. To avoid that, we have attempted to create a form that will limit the number of those questions, and allow all attendees to begin reflecting on possible questions that may come up, and be prepared to answer during the meeting.
Finally, the third tool that we use in the 30 Minute Meeting System is the Read-Ahead. This tool, which combines the first two tools into one product, should be sent out fairly close to the actual scheduled meeting time, but not so close that nobody has a chance to actually look it over. It should contain the meeting type, derived from the Categorization Matrix, and any anticipated issues and discussion questions from the Meeting Template. This product, which will form the basis of your meeting, should be very familiar to all your meeting attendees prior to sitting down for the meeting.
And that’s it! In just three simple tools, we’ve successfully cut out about 90% of the “fluff” of a meeting, and prevented numerous derailing rabbit trail discussions! As I mentioned before, each of these tools can be used independently, or together. The overall goal of the 30 Minute Meeting System is to produce results, so whatever you need to use to produce the results you need is what the system will provide you.
By using this simple, easily scalable system, I have personally reduced the amount of time that I spend in weekly meetings by over 50% and am still scaling down! You too can achieve the same level of productivity and success with this extremely effective system!
For more on the 30 Minute Meeting System, as well as other great Leadership Resources, go to www.milleadial.com today!