meetings going nowhere

Why is it that, as soon as your staff leave the meeting room, it’s as if a device has zapped their brain and erased everything you’ve discussed? You’ve had a useful conversation, identified the goals and objectives, and still, two weeks later… nothing.

Recruitment entrepreneur Wayne Brophy calls it “The Zappers” – the only possible reason why culpability and commitment miraculously vanish the moment people return back to their desks. For meetings to be effective, you need to ramp up accountability. In other words: inspect, don’t expect.

Want to stop best-laid plans turning into back-slapping exercises? Put measures in place to stop your rousing call to action fading into oblivion. Here’s how…

Keep meetings to a sensible length

Tiring out attendees with painstaking meetings is counter-intuitive. Treading the well-worn path of hour-long sessions only leads to exhausting everyone in the room – and that’s when mistakes happen. 

Instead, create an agenda and stick to it. This will allow you to keep meetings brief. Ensure your points are succinct and trim any unnecessary conversation that should be had elsewhere.

Only include who’s necessary

I see this all the time: meetings where every man and his dog are invited to discuss aspects of the business that are irrelevant to half the attendees. It’s a bad habit (and, frankly, lazy management) not to effectively delegate and be aware of your staff’s responsibilities.

Only ask those who have a direct connection to the task – whether they need to complete work for you or oversee it.

Give follow-up instructions

Want immediate action or results? Give instruction! Don’t just let a meeting trail off once you’re tired of your own voice – actually instruct your staff to email ideas and actions back to you.

Clearly define what a good example of the task you’re setting looks like. Specify when it’s due and where the responsibility for each task lies. Then ensure you have the full understanding from the team.

Be thorough and embed the message periodically

People do what you inspect, not expect. That is to say, when you act accountably and don’t blame inaction on employees, you get better results. So, make a note in your diary to chase the relevant team members. Don’t let people fail you: it sets a dangerous precedent. Once completed, make another note to check again in three months.

This is management done right. You’re embedding the correct process into their heads through due diligence checks. 

Following this process works for meetings of any subject – whether you’re building out pitches, tackling objections or even covering compliance and marketing.

Eventually, your team will cease to invest energy in finding shortcuts and recognise you’re going to hold them to their word. The people who bring value to the table will flourish and you’ll shed passengers – leaving the rest to enjoy the fruits of their labours.