If your meeting facilitator doesn't know how to run a good meeting, the right preparation can help meetings run better.
For decision-making meetings, ask about the process and the decision. "How will we choose which world domination plan to use? I'd like to show up prepared." If Lex says, "We'll choose the cheapest plan," you know to be prepared with cost data. If he says, "We'll go with the most certain plan," you know to bring quality and reliability data.
For brain-storming, ask "What should I research? I'd like to show up prepared."
And for team-building, "How do you think we could get people to bond even closer?" For this one, you can do some of it yourself. Talk to other members and put fun and bonding into the meeting as best you can. One word of advice, however. Some people think it's fun to have a group bonfire and burn the team leader in effigy. Not a smart move. Try something nicer. I like playing "Compliment Bingo." Every time your team leader starts a sentence with the letter "T," you have to start your next statement by complimenting someone at the meeting. He says, "Today, we will dominate the world!" and then you slyly say, "Kirby, you do such a great job with graphics, can you draw up the worldwide domination org chart?" Then at least you're getting it from each other. (Hmm... not sure that came out right.)
Since you asked all these preparation questions, your team leader has had to think through the issues as well. Now it's time to get good ole Lex to create an agenda.
Get Lex to think timing by asking how long a topic will take. It's easy if the meeting has many purposes, like information sharing and decision-making. Then you can ask about each phase. "Will we have enough time after the status report to make the world domination decision? I'd like to make sure I come prepared." You can gently figure out a rough agenda with follow-on questions like, "Is three minutes really enough time?"[[AdMiddle]
Since you and your co-henchmen all want change, you can each ask one or two of these questions and ease Lex into your way of thinking. I wouldn't all start at once! Bombarding your team leader with a gazillion questions might make him feel uncomfortable. Your goal is for everyone to enjoy accomplishing things together, and "everyone" includes Lex. So ask about goals, topics, decisions, research, and timing. You get the information to prepare, and your team leader ends up preparing, to give you the information. Soon, you'll discover the right questions can lead even Lex Luthor to drop plans of world domination and live a life of honor, courage, and saving the world.
This is Stever Robbins. If you have a question about how to Work Less and Do More, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or leave voicemail at 866-WRK-LESS. You can also find a transcript of this episode at getitdone.quickanddirtytips.com.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
- https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/productivity/organization/file-so-you-can-find-anything-instantly, Original meeting madness article
- http://blog.steverrobbins.com/getitdoneguy - the BLOG for the Get-it-Done Guy book