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Meeting Intelligence Checks

June 25, 2021

Every meeting offers opportunities to learn how to have better ones.

Professor Peter Hawkins uses simple checks to build collective meeting intelligence and leadership, increasing the odds that the time spent together is time well spent:

Pre-check: Ask, “Should I be in this meeting?” Only go to meetings where the reason for the meeting and the value you add is clear. Each agenda item should need everyone’s thinking and input.

Check-in:  Start with a question to get everyone’s voice in the room. This prompts immediate engagement and makes it easier for more reticent participants to speak up later.

Mid-check:  Many of us are familiar with doing some form of an After Action Review. But why wait until the meeting is over? Especially during longer meetings, enable participants to improve the second half of the meeting by asking:

  • What’s one thing that’s happened in our meeting so far that created real value for our team, organization or stakeholders?
  • What’s one thing we can do differently during the rest of the meeting to create even more?

Check-out:  End by making the ROI for this time spent together clear:

  • Rotate responsibility for recapping the outcomes of each agenda item. Bonus points for succinctness and specificity.
  • Ask each person what they’re going to do as an outcome of the meeting. This turns the discussion into action.
  • Learn from your time together. Ask, “What helped make this meeting valuable?”  “What could make future meetings more so?”  This defines what needs to happen in the meeting to better achieve what needs to happen outside the meeting.

With repetition, and therefore familiarity, these kinds of checks can become more efficient and effective … helping your meetings become so as well.

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