I’m going to go a limb and assume you’ve had at least one meeting in your entire career. Were you happy you participated actively or did you feel like it was a waste of time for you and others?
I’ve visited some fellow colleagues to engage in meaningful discussion related to how people feel about behavioral skills in their work life. I’ve had immense amounts of feedback and I noticed that the meetings I held were very purposeful and drew lots of insights, albeit small.
A good leader knows how to host a proper meeting.
Before the meeting, the leader ensures it is necessary. If so, the leader suggests a straightforward agenda, in a timely manner, with the exact amount of time needed. He or she invites the minimum necessary amount of people for it and asks them — and himself — to prepare. Before I traveled to meet my leaders and colleagues, I had a very specific objective in mind when meeting each one and we didn’t deviate too much from the agenda I had devised earlier.
During the meeting, the leader asks direct questions related to the agenda. If there are external concerns that need to be addressed, he or she writes them down so they can be attended afterwards and not waste time. When I held the meetings during those days, I made an effort to focus on the agenda at hand, if ever so informally, depending on the tone of the meeting. I wanted to ask direct questions about the topics at hand and engaged actively in discourse and listened to their stories.
After the meeting, the leader gathers all relevant information, writes them down for future reference and follows up on decisions made. Furthermore, is the fundamental that he or she reviews the overall rhythm of the meeting: did everyone participate enough? Were there too many distractions? Was the agenda discussed effectively? Were there decisions made or not? Before I jumped on the train the last day, I grabbed my laptop and started writing all the conclusions and insights I drew when talking all the people I engaged with. The ideas were fresh and I was pumped to write them down, I felt unstoppable.