Delivering WOW At Your Next Meeting
I Hate Meetings
Growing up, we were told the word “hate” was a very strong word, like a cuss word. We weren’t allowed to use it. Instead of saying “I hate fish,” we were corrected to say “I don’t care for fish” or “I dislike fish.”
But I’m grown up now, and when it comes to meetings, saying “I don’t care for meetings” or “I dislike meetings” doesn’t cut it.
Meetings have a tendency to dominate our time at work. Studies of managers and professionals reveal they spend between 25% to 80% of their time in meetings.*
I hate meetings because I have found the majority of those I attended have been a waste of my time. Snacks are the only things that save some meetings from being a total waste, but with budget cuts, the snacks — if even offered — aren’t cutting it either.
From my experience, meetings usually:
- Don’t start on time.
- End late.
- Have too many people in attendance.
- Lack an agenda or have too many personal/hidden agendas.
- Are too long.
- Conclude with no or few decisions, resulting in the need for — you guessed it — another meeting!
Feel free to add your own gripes to this list. I know you have some.
And that is at the meeting. There is something before the meeting even starts that gets me riled up — the meeting invitation.
Here are two common mistakes most people make when calling a meeting.
Mistake #1: No Subject Lines or Vague Ones That Make No Sense
Do these subject lines calling a meeting look familiar to you?
- Team Meeting
- Meeting Re-Group
- Level Set Review
- Sloppy Discussion
What do these even mean and why should I come to this meeting?
Mistake #2: No Information About the Meeting
Other than seeing the date and time, who else was invited, and maybe the actual meeting location rather than TBD, you have no idea what to expect about the meeting but you accept and show up anyway.
Meetings won’t go away anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t turn hate to WOW at our meetings.
I am going to give you two rules to follow when calling your next meeting. Each takes a couple minutes on your part and your invitees will think you’re awesome.
To be awesome, from now on all your meeting requests must:
Meeting Rule #1: Have A Clear Subject Line
These days, many of us look at meeting requests and our calendar on mobile devices. Keep that in mind and create a subject line that tells them what the meeting will be about.
Meeting Rule #2: WOW Your Invitation
In the body of the invitation, you will add the WOW.
W = Why are we meeting
O = Outcome of having the meeting
W = What will be covered in the meeting (agenda)
You can even use WOW in your text until it becomes second nature to you. Something like this:
By providing this information, you stated a clear need/reason for why you are having a meeting and you have an agenda. Maybe the meeting you were going to call for an hour can now be only 30 minutes, giving everyone the gift of a little time back.
With your subject line, your informed team now has what they need to prepare and will no longer wonder what “sloppy discussion” means. They know it’s about snacks, what to expect at the meeting, and can come prepared. They can even decide if they should attend the meeting or send someone else who has a better grasp on the subject.
You may even decide — after getting clarity on your purpose — that a meeting isn’t necessary. Maybe you can get the information you need another way. Let’s take the example of snacks and see what that would look like in a WOW email.
W = Why I am sending you this email
O = Outcome of the email
W = What I need
To help you WOW your next meeting, I created a free WOW meeting planning worksheet. Download by clicking the image below.
Let me know how WOWing your next meeting or email works. I know your people will think you are awesome.
Choose Awesome believes bad leadership has become common practice and just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. I am on a mission to change the world with how we lead. If you believe that engaging the hearts and minds of people is how you grow the bottom line, please join me.