Do you always have the same people showing up for meetings? Did you ever wonder why “everyone” is there? If someone was not there, would you even notice? The only thing in life you cannot buy is time, and to invite the wrong people to meetings is wasting everyone’s time.
How do you know who to invite? That is the question.
When you are creating your meeting experience, think about what you want to achieve. What is the real reason for this meeting? What is the anticipated involvement from the participants? Each of those items should be considered before you ever send out a meeting invitation.
Sharing information – If you are simply sharing information, why are you meeting? You can share information in many ways; send a memo, record a video using your phone, create a powerpoint, have a contest based on the shared information or simply record a podcast they can listen to while they are driving. Follow up with them to insure understanding.
Setting direction – If your meeting is to set direction for the future, are you including the people who are creating the direction as well as the people who will carry out the direction? Many times we forget to consider “next steps”. For instance, we create a wonderful PSA and then we fail to determine how we will get people to listen to it. Or we create “white papers” and fail to consider how to get people to read them.
Each person at your meeting should be there for a reason. Do they have information to contribute to the content or the decisions? Do they have the responsibility to participate and carry out the decisions? Are they overseeing the entire project? You should be able to go through your invitation list and see the role for each of the participants. If you cannot reasonably decide what value they bring to the meeting, should you be inviting them? If you invite people who are not relevant to the meeting, you not only waste their time but you also waste the time of the other participants. They are not able to make the most of the time together because the level of commitment is not consistent.
If you want to learn more about the levels of engagement at meetings, I encourage you to attend a 2 day workshop, Meetings That Work. You can find more information about it at http://www.meetingsthatwork.training/ The next class is this November in beautiful Miami Florida. What a great combination – meeting tools and tips and fun in the sun.