Have you ever been in a meeting that was a complete waste of time? Have you ever wondered how did that happen? Why did such meeting take place? Have you ever heard that meetings are not effective and we should avoid them? Being in the software world for quite a while, I can assure you that happened a lot for me as well. I have asked why couldn’t or wouldn’t the meeting facilitator have done a better job several times. Why can’t he or she get people more excited and engaged?
But these days we are in the Agile space, you might believe or hear that there are not many meetings need to be facilitated. There is stand up which doesn’t count as a meeting, people just need to stand up and talk. There is sprint review which the team will take care of it. There is a refinement meeting which is the role of the Product Owner to run, and it is basically his or her turn to ask questions and answer any ambiguity, so basically it is a Q&A session. There is the retrospective which is different, but the Scrum Master found it easy to run, there is this website you go to and it gives you many ideas on how to run your meeting. Are these resonating with you?
It doesn’t matter in what space you are operating. Whether it is a manufacturing company or a leading tech company running state of the art high performing teams. If you want to have a great meeting you need to prepare for that meeting, be present as a neutral facilitator to that meeting and then follow up if needed after that meeting.
Achieving a way to run an effective meeting effortlessly, I have come up with a canvas called Better Meetings Canvas. It is basically a collection of questions. The questions are simple but necessary to be answered for any meeting. There are chores that need to be done before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting. If you are scheduling a meeting, I suggest you think about all the sections of this canvas. After a while, you don’t even need to look at it. It becomes a habit of yours.
You can also find a Google Docs version of the Better Meetings Canvas.