Ever get stuck in the meeting from hell? Is your day filled with seemingly pointless meetings? While meetings seem unnecessary at times, there are ways to get the most out of your meetings.
Don Dennis of the L.A.-based Law Firm of Don R. Dennis Jr. has figured out a way to make meetings more effective.
Give people a reason to come and to bring something to the table. “Create incentives by focusing on what about my meeting agenda will motivate the attendee(s). No one wants to attend a meeting that they feel is perfunctory. And I do not blame them. I want to attend meetings that are interesting and that I feel are in my best interests,” says Dennis. “Thus, I research my audience before meetings and ensure that the topics that I must cover are mixed with those that are of interest to the attendees. Upon identifying the topics of interest to my audience, I advertise those topics, under the general meeting announcement title, during the promotion of the meeting. When readers view something of interest to them on the agenda, they are often incentivized to attend and be attentive for the duration of the meeting.”
Social media has changed the way people view meetings and the way they meet. Social media has caused people to want fast-paced environments, so long drawn-out meetings will be highly ineffective.
“Nowadays, the advent of social media has made many individuals have a limited attention span. Thus, to have a meeting where I go through legalese or possibly boring details will not maintain an audience’s attention,” points out. “Therefore, I often discuss high-level ideas and allow for the attendees to engage with me based on what piques their interest during my discussion. For example, in my practice, I will go over the general details of copyright infringement. However, if I mention something that resonates with a client, I am able to provide in-depth legal analysis. I want to engage my clients. I have found this strategy effective in enabling me to cover a breadth of topics and maintain client focus.”
Make sure you have prepared and organized your meeting beforehand. “Unless an emergency situation strikes, do not call a meeting. Attendees will recognize your lack of preparation and it will be hard for you to maintain your focus. Furthermore, your leadership skills will be questioned and you will lose credibility,” says Dennis.
Make sure the meeting is suited to those who are attending. The meeting should be relevant for all. “For the sake of order, sometimes it makes sense to hold all audience questions until the conclusion of the meeting. However, sometimes your audience may be so engaged with you as a speaker that they want to ask a burning question. A failure to recognize this engagement can diminish the audience’s interest and cause attendees to tune you out and start texting,” explains Dennis.
Stick to the agenda. “No one likes being surprised and overwhelmed because they feel they have been caught off guard. If you have not advertised or advised meeting attendees on a subject to be discussed at the meeting, think carefully before you ask people questions about it. People will view you as a person attempting to embarrass or humiliate them in front of their colleagues. Also, it may create resentment in the office and diminish the professional working relationship.”
Don´t drag on the meeting. No one likes to be in meetings that never seem to end. “End the meeting ontime,” advises Dennis. “When a person is ready to go, they do not want to feel like they are a prisoner. I do not like being in meetings where my available attention has been depleted. People should be respected. There is no better way than to show people your respect for them than by honoring their time.”