Better Meetings Make Happy People

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In a recent blog post, we talked about reducing the overall number of meetings on employee calendars to improve productivity and job satisfaction. But some meetings are always going to be part of our job. Let’s look at some creative ways to make them better, get more out of them, and have more fun with them.

As business analysts, product owners, or product mangers, we often have to schedule and lead meetings. We want our meetings to be effective and fun. We don’t want people to groan when they see our requests on their calendars!

Keep meetings small and focused – The most effective meetings focus on a single goal and include only those people who can and should contribute to achieving that goal.

Two people discussing frustration with meeetings
Two people discussing who to invite to meeting

Plan ahead – If you have an agenda and prepared materials, the meeting will be much more organized and effective, and you can achieve your goals faster.

Two people discussing meeting plan

Make it fun – Who decided that meetings should be all serious and dull? It’s okay to play. In fact, play encourages creativity and team building.

Two people discuss using crayons to draw a draft design

Make things – Meetings don’t have to be “talk and take notes.” You can interactively build models or deliverables together.

Two people discussing what to make in a meeting

Manage the meeting – Use the scheduled time effectively and stick to the plan. Sidetracking and analysis paralysis result in frustration and wasted time.

A meeting facilitator reins in a sidetrack conversation

Deal with the problems – Negative team members, apathetic team members, bullying, or toxic meeting behavior can derail the whole project, not just a single meeting. Meeting facilitators have to manage the personalities effectively and stop problems before they get out of hand.

Meeting facilitator redirects frustration to problem solving

Don’t be afraid to cancel – If key team members can’t attend or critical pre-work isn’t complete, don’t waste people’s time. Cancel, reschedule, or shorten the meeting. Save people the switching costs of jumping into a meeting that isn’t going to be productive.

Two people discussing whether to cancel a meeting

Follow up – You usually don’t need lengthy, formal meeting minutes. But do follow up with action items, key decisions made, and copies of deliverables/models that were built or updated.

Meeting attendee thanks facilitator for sending out process flows

Anything else that you do to make meetings more fun, engaging, and productive? We’d love to hear from you.

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