Leaders get work done through the conversations they hold. Often those conversations are in meetings—particularly when multiple people need to be in the discussion. In spite of all the criticism of time-wasted in meetings, leaders need meetings to create new insights, build understanding, and make decisions with their teams.
As a leader, you can choose to make your meetings more effective by understanding how to structure them and when to hold them to accomplish real work together. Effective meeting structure is the key.
Most prescriptions for better meetings focus on changing behavior. But most leaders (and their teams) find it hard to adopt and maintain different behaviors under the pressure of important discussions (and few have a facilitator to help them “talk nice.”) Instead, leaders can change the way their meetings are structured to make them naturally more effective. “Structure” refers to various physical, temporal and procedural variables that influence how people talk together. The right structure naturally supports more effective behaviors and leads to productive use of participant time and expertise. Here are three structural changes you can make to your meetings to improve the quality, efficiency and outcomes of the work you need to do in your meetings.
Three Structural Changes
There are a number of choices you can make to create an effective structure for your meeting. Here are three of the most fundamental.