The two types of meetings (and how to nail both!)

21st May 2024

Every meeting is either:

  • An update
  • Something else

Here’s how to nail each one…

For Update Meetings, give all attendees 30 seconds max to tell you their BEST/NEXT/HELP:

  • BEST – what’s the best success they’ve had since the previous Update?
  • NEXT – what is their #1 priority to achieve before the next Update?
  • HELP – what is their main challenge now, that they’d like help with?

After everyone’s 30 seconds, the rest of the meeting is:

  • BEST – agree how everyone can learn (ok, copy) from everyone else’s successes
  • NEXT – ensure you’re all aligned on next week’s priorities
  • HELP – give everyone the help they need – either in the meeting, or (more usually) outside the meeting with the relevant helper

For all other meetings, the #1 super-critical word is “agree”:

  • Before the meeting, decide what you want to achieve as a result of it – identify action A, make decision B, assign responsibilities C and D, get advice on E, secure sponsorship on F, agree budgets, agree timelines, etc
  • Put this outcome in the meeting title, after the word “agree”
  • For example, if your desired outcome is to agree your #1 priority for next month, call the meeting “Meeting to agree our #1 priority for next month” etc
  • When the meeting starts, refer to the outcome: “Welcome to today’s meeting. The outcome we want to achieve is for us to agree our #1 priority for next month. And, as soon as we’ve agreed it, we’ll agree our actions, and then end the meeting”

These simple techniques make meetings more interesting, more focussed and MUCH SHORTER.

All of which means that today’s…

Action Point

  • For every Update Meeting, replace it with BEST/NEXT/HELP
  • For every other meeting, change your title and intro to include (1) the word “agree” and (2) your desired outcome from that meeting.

Oh yes, and one other thing…

  • Once you’ve done this, shorten your meeting’s duration. You don’t need an hour any more. So schedule it for the time you think it will take. If that’s seven minutes, schedule it for seven minutes!

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