Do your employees love meetings? Probably not! Here's how to create efficient, engaging, productive meetings that everyone can enjoy.

How to Plan a Great Meeting

How to Plan a Great Meeting

It’s meeting time! As the boss, you could not be more excited. You are ready to gather your employees together first thing in the morning, hash out ideas, go over plans, and make some magic! They are all raring to go, invested in your company, willing to brainstorm and engage in your flow charts!

Just kidding!

Your employees shy away from meetings. In fact, they dread every single one of them.

Here’s why your staff don’t like meetings

Meetings tend to be largely pointless. Only a few people speak up and those with enthusiasm overrun the quieter ones that usually have equally remarkable ideas. Meetings take your
employees away from other time-sensitive tasks and they already don’t have enough time. Meeting ares also rarely fun. Your employees are playing business meeting bingo while you enthusiastically encourage them to maximize the baseline potential while strategizing to optimise the company’s value-added mission statement.

Credit: Dilbert

Credit: Dilbert

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is hope. If you follow six simple rules on how to plan a great meeting, you can be met at the door of the boardroom with a stampede of keen staff
instead of a shambling horde of coffee-deprived workers giving you their side eyes.

Save your meetings with these strategies

1. Be time sensitive – part 1: If you just sent an urgent memo reminding the team that Monday at 10 AM is the deadline to have that important project completed, why would you call a meeting for Monday at 8 AM?

2. Be time sensitive – part 2: How long are your meetings? Long meetings make people fall asleep, which leads to you speaking louder, which leads to interrupted naps, which then leads to anger, and ultimately leads to complete meeting failure.

3. Have an objective: Do not just call a meeting because you are the boss. If what you need to say can be sent in a group email, do that instead. Have an agenda and stick to it if you need interaction and employee engagement.

4. Stay on topic: Nobody cares about your weekend. That is what happy hour is for. You can regale them about your scuba diving as a secret agent infiltrating an underwater base while fighting off a shark later. They will believe your stories after a cocktail. Meeting time is when you talk about work and if anyone gets off topic, be prepared to rein them in.

5. No bullies – part 1: Meetings provide an excellent time for bullies to talk over shy employees or present ideas as their own even if they are not. Before the meeting, get your team to e-mail you their ideas on the topic you will be discussing and then give everyone a couple minutes to talk about their idea at the meeting. That way, you know who came up with what and everyone gets a chance to be heard.

6. No bullies – part 2: “So Sarah annoyed the client with her not wanting to hold the pet tarantula he keeps in the office, and John made you see red by not rinsing out the coffee pot – again”. Suck it up and take it like a boss! Calling out your employees in front of the staff is a serious no-no. If you have a problem with Sarah’s arachnophobia or John’s style of bachelor cleanliness, have that talk with them offline. Do not be a bully boss.

Lucas the Spider. Check him out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrS6akzR3sk
Lucas the Spider. Check him out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrS6akzR3sk

You can have a great meeting

Don’t worry about making your meeting fun and exciting with doughnuts. Half of your office is on a diet and the other half is gluten free anyway, but give advance notice of meetings so
your team can prepare and adjust their schedules. Make sure everyone gets heard and stays on topic, and do not allow any bullying – from staff or from yourself.

You can have the types of meetings that employees show up to with a smile. They will not love them but they will be productive. And you can be the cool boss that everyone loves at happy hour chilling instead of the lone guy at the bar whose team flees in horror because they do not like your meetings.

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