With employees at work being more agile, mobile, and nomadic — getting together, especially for those critical/high-yielding and productive meetings that value more from in-person face-to-face collaboration, are becoming more necessary and requiring sharper planning than ever before, often at an inopportune time. Meetings require careful consideration on when and where they need to occur — plus given consideration as to whether they even are necessary, virtually through a video/conference call or Skype, or can be better handled for a better use of time.
Once it’s determined that it is indeed necessary, if not critical for it to be an in-person meeting, and the agenda has been set with clear guidelines and a firm time limit so that the meeting doesn’t meander off on tangents, thus allowing colleagues to plan the rest of their work-day and other meetings more cogently, it’s always valuable to do a post-meeting assessment in order to plan better future meetings. Yes … meetings require their own ‘performance evaluation’ plus a commitment to continual improvement; living and learning on how to build towards even greater meetings and results in the future. In a sense, a meeting is commonly a ‘teachable moment’ for professional observers who participated in, or managed the meeting, yielding clues so that the next meeting is an even more fruitful and effective one.
Good meetings, when they are administered right, create momentum for upcoming meetings, and spark better prep, participation, attendance and enthusiasm on the part of attendees. On the flip-side, meetings that drag beget low-energy future meetings, plus participants who will come predisposed to participate less than energetically, practically dooming the meeting and outcome before it even gets off the ground … a self-fulfilling prophecy that only perpetuates the stringing out of further low-productivity, unenthusiastic participation. Yes — good meetings jumpstart and breathe life into new and better upcoming meetings — and take on a competitive quality and life of their own — a ‘how can we top that last meeting?’ implication that also feeds and underscores the organization’s culture.
So how do you evaluate a meeting? The first measure is to determine: ‘did it achieve its objectives?’ presuming that the objectives were clarified before, and re-focused at the start of the gathering. Nobody wants to waste their time at a meeting that they walked away from not achieving its objective and wondering why the meeting was wayward, or scheduled in the first place. That’s a good way to ruin future meetings based on past meeting evaluations and flubbed expectations. The next litmus test is: ‘was the meeting memorable and enjoyable?’ Yes — people need to walk away feeling that the meeting ‘spoke to them’ in, not only an informative or business level, but also on a personal level. People like, and high-performing employees expect good, productive, well-managed meetings. It’s a dividend that buoys their company pride and loyalty.
The meeting has to be a source of motivation. If a person does not leave a meeting feeling that its purpose was achieved, and/or a clear sense of what’s next and expected of them going forward, then the event was probably limited in its effect. A meeting should create greater affinity, synergy, teamwork and commitment. If not, maybe the meeting wasn’t necessary. Perhaps what was addressed could have been handled better via emails. People’s time and effort need to be respected now more than ever in these hustle-and-bustle times of greater technology, globalization and the need for spontaneous pivoting at breakneck speed during work.
Last but not least, picking the right spot for the meeting, a place that’s not only convenient but also makes everyone feel comfortable, at home and has a pleasant and competent staff to rely on- without breaking the bank, is a key component of the meeting planning phase. Some organizations that have suitable meeting room alternatives on-site are now opting to rent off-site meeting facilities anyway, even for small-size and 2-hour meetings, because they find them to be more invigorating, productive and lend themselves for greater innovation, strategizing and problem-solving, by providing a fresh, new environment while avoiding the interruptions and same-ness that are common at routine, on-campus meetings.
And the best news of all is that now there are wonderful referral services with greater options available to make it easier for people and organizations to find that ideal, energizing location for their get-togethers and off-site meetings … just what the doctor ordered for these fast-moving, pinball machine-like pace and way that is typical of the way that people work in these ever-changing times.