As I prepare to board a plane for three different meetings, I’m reminded of my early education with The Quality Coach. During a Train the Trainer certification program, we learned a few simple rules to guarantee productive meetings. After all, who has time to waste on something that doesn’t fulfill its purpose?
I’ve sat in too many business settings where the participants groaned at the end. It’s frustrating to invest energy on minutes and hours you can never retrieve again, only to find no definable benefit for it. That’s why a few easy tips can transform your next meeting responses from, “I’ve got better things to do,” to “I’m glad I came.”
So to ensure my clients are energized instead of drained, I prepared an agenda for each group in advance of my departure. Creating a time budget, and sticking to it, works the same miracles for efficiency as it does for our finances. A little planning carries us a long way down the road to success. You can create really good meetings using the format below:
9:00am — Start with icebreaker. I like to do something that incorporates team meeting rules. (Always start on time — even if all participants haven’t arrived. It sets a tone of respect. Just invite stragglers to sit when they walk in the door. Odds are they won’t be late the next time.)
9:30 — Brainstorm marketing plan
10:30 — Break
10:45 — Review financial spreadsheets
12:00 — Lunch
1:00 — Icebreaker
1:30 — Google Analytics comparative analysis
2:45 — Break
3:00 — Next steps
3:30 — Review highlights
4:00 — End (Always end on time. Even if you don’t get to everything on the agenda.)
This layout may seem overly simple, but remember, the goal is to track your time expenditures and keep you on target. An agenda isn’t meant to explain in minute detail everything you’ll cover, it’s purpose is to tickle your brain so you don’t forget to cover important topics. It also gives participants a reasonable expectation for how their day will evolve.
I’m often asked how I tackle so much — this little tool is one of my secrets. Like a financial budget, I set priorities, and if there’s anything left over, then I invest in fun. Whether I’m facilitating a team or working on a solo project, a time budget keeps me focused.
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
Proverbs 21:5 (NIV)
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, national speaker, and author of the soon-to-be released book, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, client of WordServe Literary Group, graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith. Anita lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.