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Posted on May 2nd 2019
4 Meeting Policies to Implement Today
Nothing disrupts the flow or potential outcome of a meeting like bad etiquette. If you or your teams are struggling with meetings that feel like a waste of time, or that require three sessions instead of one, here are a few practices to consider implementing.
Things come up for everyone - phone calls that go long, unexpected traffic, mistakes about meeting location. It’s impossible to eliminate these instances altogether, but one simple practice can be the difference between a once-in-a-while interruption and a spiraling pattern of tardiness.
Address the issue the first time. Late arrivals that go unacknowledged and unaddressed tend to turn into repetitive problems. And not just for the original offender, but for everyone else who starts to recognize that respect for everyone’s time isn’t required.
An on-time arrival standard in meetings can also help correct punctuality behaviors elsewhere.
No SmartPhone Zone
In surveys, studies, and conference rooms around the globe, one of the biggest complaints employees have of meetings is the lack of attention of those in the room. Putting a phone face down on the table doesn’t eliminate the distraction. Instead, it sends a signal to everyone in the room that the conversation is their most important focus until something else - anything else - pops up.
Pre-meeting cell phone use isn’t a winner either. With a team of talented people around the table, pre-meeting minutes allow an opportunity to connect personally and build better relationships with peers and leaders.
Consider making your meetings smartphone-free zones. Those that can’t attend because of other distractions or needs won’t be a cause of disruption. And those that are present can remain so.
Nothing is worse than carving out time for a meeting, only to realize that you or another person responsible for progress isn’t actually prepared to have a conversation. Not only does it waste valuable company resources, it can also contribute to an organizational infection. Skirting through meetings and not being clear about their purpose or goals sets the tone that others’ time isn’t important and that poor time management prior to the meeting is also acceptable.
Some companies have encouraged richer dialogue by implementing pre-meeting practices, such as sharing an intended outcome, a personal high, a professional high, or a quick 5-minute social chat to get the wheels of participation turning.
It’s frustrating for a presenter or driver when dialogue is soft or non-existent. Most meetings’ purpose is to gather feedback, gain buy-in, get teams on the same page, or address challenges and opportunities - all of which require dialogue.
Setting standards for what meaningful participation means to your company can be enormously helpful in getting and keeping your people engaged.