Fans of Stephen Covey will recognize the title of this article as one of the seven habits of highly effective people. It could also be a characteristic of highly effective meetings.
As you plan your next meeting, consider what you want the tangible outcomes to be. The more specific you are, the greater the chance you will be able to explain it to the meeting participants. The better they understand, the more likely it is that together you will produce those outcomes.
Here’s an example. Suppose you want to have a department meeting to deal with some serious customer satisfaction issues. You hope the group will figure out the problem and decide to do something about it. So how can you help the meeting succeed? By turning your hopes into a list of tangible meeting deliverables such as the following:
- A list of customer concerns, prioritized by likely impact on the customer.
- A root cause analysis for the top three concerns.
- An action plan for addressing the top three concerns.
If you are still having trouble being specific, shorten your meeting to the point where you focus on just one tangible result. Here are some examples:
- A flowchart for the current new employee orientation process.
- A list of 20 overtime-reducing ideas.
- A pro/con analysis of a current proposal.
- An implementation plan for the new training module.
There’s another saying that goes, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” When it comes to meetings, make sure you ask for something or you are likely to get nothing.
Image credit: MikeBaird