On an average day, 11 million meetings are held in the United States.  It’s a fact of life—and Farm Bureau—that the higher you rise in an organization, the more meetings you’ll have the opportunity to participate in.

Unfortunately, attending meetings ranks high on many people’s list of LEAST favorite things.

What are some of the top reasons people dislike meetings?

  1. The meeting isn’t really necessary, or the wrong people are there.
  2. They get off the subject.
  3. There’s no agenda or goal for the meeting, so nothing gets accomplished.
  4. They last too long.

Clark Kokich, Liveramp Chairman advises, “Never have a meeting just to share information. Always focus on one specific challenge, and don’t leave without a solution, or specific steps towards finding a solution.”

These problems can be addressed by having a written agenda that is distributed to participants at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, and by the chair of the meeting working to keep attention focused on the subject at hand. And by announcing and observing starting and ending times.

Still, even with these additions, a meeting may fall short of being dynamic. Try adding ZING to your meetings by trying some of these creative ideas.

  • Set the climate for the meeting by greeting everyone, describing the meeting’s purpose, announcing arrangements, times for breaks, and locations of restrooms.
  • Get better participation using the “Phillips 66 Technique.”  Get six people together to discuss a common topic for six minutes. Have a goal for the discussion and deadline to report the group’s ideas. (Or get four people together for four minutes, or two people for two minutes.)
  • Play the devil’s advocate. In advance of proposing a new idea, plan, or program at a meeting, arrange for several of the participants to attempt to shoot it down, and several participants to build it up. The resulting discussion should find weaknesses and strengths in the new proposal and ways to improve it. Whatever the final decision, meeting participants should be more committed to it because of this thorough analysis.
  • Get instant feedback on a new idea, either by asking each participant to comment in turn, or by asking everyone for brief, written, anonymous comments.
  • Offer a creative refreshment break by having seasonal fresh fruit, popcorn, or an unexpected food item or food product from Utah’s Own.