Averil is talking to BBC’s Fred McAulay tomorrow morning, following an article by Eddie Mair where he describes meetings at the BBC, saying humorously that staff priorities are: “1) Try to have a meeting; 2) If you’re not having a meeting, you should be planning one 3) If you’re not having or planning a meeting, you should be talking to someone about the pointlessness of your last meeting.” Many people in other organisations feel much the same – So many meetings, so little time. Here are some of Averil’s tips for good meetings: How to ensure your meetings are rubbish
- Always wait 20 minutes till the last straggler arrives – that way you de-motivate all the organised, punctual people and ensure late ones know you will always wait for them
- Always run over time. This maximises the stress everyone takes into their next meeting and ensures that the tradition of Step 1 continues
- Make sure those who shout loudest are heard every tine. Make no effort to include introverts. Who cares what they think?
- Keep people in the dark about the point of the meeting. You only really want to check they are in the building
- Call a meeting every time you want to avoid having to make a decision and you need scapegoats
How to have the meetings that will make your people flourish
- Get the basics right – make sure people know why they are there, when the meeting will end and what you need from them
- Greet every contribution with interest and positivity. In the most successful team meetings the ratio is 5:1 – positive to negative. Yes, really. Try it. Ditch the negativity
- Ask questions rather than give your own opinion. Say, ‘What a great idea! How will we get over the problem with X?’, rather than, ‘That will never work’ or ‘We tried that once’
- Be inspirational. Paint pictures about what you are trying to achieve and how important everyone is to success
- Find ways to make sure everyone is ‘heard’, even if that means asking them to write things on post- it notes rather than speak out loud if they are silent types.
- Make sure people leave on time, excited and clear about what they have to do next