Before you say I’m crazy, certainly there are meetings that could be handled quickly over email. But anything involving a group, or nuance, or high stakes decisions (okay, even medium stakes decisions), is much better served face-to-face. Done right, meetings get decisions made and build relationships.

Only 7 percent of what we communicate is in the words themselves. Voice is 38 percent, and the balance, 55 percent is facial expression (Mehrabian). Going from face-to-face to the phone, loses 55 percent of the communication. Even on video there is a loss given screen size and resolution. Going to email leaves 7 percent. So, when it’s complex, nuanced or important, it’s important to be in the room where it happens. And that’s a meeting.

So this weeks tips are about how to make the meeting work for you.

Tip 1. Be clear about the goal of the meeting.  What decisions need to be made? What relationships need to be built?

Tip 2. Use an agenda to map out the tasks of the meeting. Notice the tasks are about how you meet the goals not the goals themselves. Include the task and time allotted on the agenda.

Tip 3. Agree upon and follow ground rules for time, for feedback, and for decision making. If times need to be adjusted, how will that happen? If there is to be feedback during the meeting, what is acceptable and what is not? If there are decisions to be made, how will they be made- a vote? Consensus? Something else?

Here’s to better more productive meetings.



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