Some fun facts about meetings – courtesy of a blog on LinkedIn:
- Every day, there are 11 million business meetings in the US, and 50% of these meetings are deemed a waste of time
- Most professionals spend 62 hours per month in meetings
- Most employees feel they waste 31 hours every month in unproductive meetings, almost one full week of work!… In sum, the estimated cost of unproductive meetings is $37 billion US dollars per year
A Google search for more effective meetings returns over 5 million results with catchy titles promising to teach you how to conduct more effective meetings. These “how to lists” certainly provide some good advice, but unfortunately, many of us find ourselves in difficult and challenging situations every day and need the right learning, at the right time, right away.
Any time you convene a group of 7 or more people for a meeting, things get complicated quickly. People bring their own biases and agendas, and suddenly your well-planned agenda falls short because your preparation doesn’t account for unique group dynamics. A distinct opportunity exists to help others be more effective in leading groups by utilizing the skills and techniques The Clearing uses every day in our consulting practice – for this reason, we created an interactive, responsive experience known as Meeting PRIMES.
Making It Real
Meeting PRIMES equips up-and-coming leaders to face their next challenge. “Leader” can have different meanings to different people, so it’s important to define what we mean when we use the term.
We define leader as any person who guides or inspires others toward an achievement. Meeting PRIMES is an interactive website where anyone can learn how to conduct more effective meetings that move the needle based on techniques, tools, and methods developed from years of experience. You can use Meeting PRIMES to address the following scenarios:
- Design a meeting that achieves tangible outcomes
- Break through old ways of thinking and generate fresh, new ideas
- Better understand individual, interpersonal, and group interactions
Design a meeting that achieves tangible outcomes – Instead of putting together a standard agenda with a list of points to discuss, Meeting PRIMES suggest the concept of a meeting design in light of the outcome the group wants to achieve. A meeting design helps the leader think through the participants that need to be in the room, the materials that could be used, and the content that might need to be prepared ahead of time all in service of driving towards a leader’s intended outcome.
When the outcome of a meeting is clearly defined by the leader up front, all of the other decisions about the meeting become in service of achieving the outcome.
Break through old ways of thinking – People are creatures of habit. Some of us are early adopters –eager to take on new challenges and endeavors, but some of us are laggards – more hesitant to try something new. Regardless of which camp you fall into, people typically follow the same processes and lean on past experiences when making decisions on how to best move forward. While this can be helpful, our past experiences and processes don’t always apply to our current situation. This can mean we don’t get our desired outcome – after all, should we expect different results if we keep applying the same tools, techniques and methods? Breaking through old ways of thinking asks the group to come from a place of possibility. Meeting PRIMES offers a fresh set of effective tools and advice on how to get people thinking differently.
Better understand individual, interpersonal, and group interactions – In every meeting room, there are nonexplicit individual behaviors and group dynamics at play.
- Meetings that are dominated by a few, but attended by many
- Meetings where the same one or two participants prevent the conversations from moving forward
- Meeting participants have conflicting interests in the outcome of the meeting
One specific tactic that leaders at The Clearing use, is having the participants agree to the definition of consensus at the beginning of the meeting. Consensus means that the process of coming to an agreement was explicit, rational and fair; the participant feels they were treated well and their input was heard; they can live with and commit to the outcomes. This working definition of consensus does not seek agreement from everyone for everything.
Seasoned leaders have access to many time-tested, battle-proven tactics that allow group conversations to flourish even with difficult group dynamics at play. Meeting PRIMES provides the right insights to guide you through new situations with a conscious competence and awareness.
Meeting PRIMES is the brainchild of Tara Carcillo, The Clearing’s President and CEO, and Pepper Bullock, Founder of Safe Harbor Consulting. After one particularly intense client meeting, Tara and Pepper received feedback about how instrumental the design of the meeting had been to reach a shared outcome. This led to a larger conversation about how Tara and Pepper could help more people do the same thing. It has never been more clear – ineffective meetings are a drain on corporate and personal resources and make bright people want to jump ship.
While actual numbers will vary from study to study, it’s clear that poorly run and managed meetings severely impact the bottom. So how can a website that is asking me to put more time into my meetings save me time?
Meeting PRIMES can help you use your time and mental bandwidth more wisely. By knowing how to design more effective and efficient meetings, you can cut down on the number of meetings you have and the amount of time spent overall, all while better engaging employees. If you have ever worked with The Clearing, you have probably heard the term “go slow to go fast.” The advice, techniques, and tools discussed in Meeting PRIMES are simple and intuitive – AND –The Clearing is here to help you.
Go slow to go fast. Take time to think through the process and allow extra time to plan a meeting that is designed to reach your desired outcome– it’s a worthwhile investment and you will reap the rewards.
Meeting PRIMES is currently under development with a target launch date in the Fall of 2016. While under construction, visit MeetingPRIMES.com and sign-up to receive advice and best practices that can help you become a more effective communicator who is prepared to lead conversations and meetings that produce results.