Most people have all been in a meeting that has felt like a waste of time. In this video, look at the three important roles to fill in a meeting in order to use your time efficiently and successfully.
- Let's talk about the beginning of a meeting. Have you ever attended a meeting that was a waste of time? Of course you have. Everyone can think about a moment in time where they've attended a meeting that was a waste of time, or at least it felt that way. Ask yourself, "What happened in that meeting to make it go off the rails?" Now, I've asked this question of many, many groups, and here's what I have learned over time. The kinds of things that make meetings go off the rails are rarely the things that are topically important to the meeting, what the meeting is about. More frequently, it's things like there's no agenda, or someone's not managing the time appropriately, someone co-ops the meeting and makes it all about their agenda, and it wasn't what everyone else thought was going to happen in that meeting, key people don't speak up, and other people speak up too much. These are all the kinds of problems that hijack the meeting, or take the meeting in a direction that wasn't intended, and that can make that meeting not work out well. So you want to take charge of a meeting, take control of a meeting, without coming across as controlling. So how in the world do you do that? Well, there was some research that was done by a wonderful organization out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, called Synectics. And years ago, they researched what goes into the success in a meeting. And they figured out that there are three roles in a meeting. And unless all three of them are paid attention to very clearly, meetings will go awry. Here are the three roles. One is: there's a problem owner. Someone owns the topic or the final decision. That's the problem owner. It's their problem or their issue or their challenge that we're all gathered together to try and solve. The second is what we'll call resources. Anybody in the meeting is a resource. So whether it's you and your team because you're the trusted advisory team and the experts who are brought into the meeting, or if it's even the client... The client can solve their own problems. And all the people the client brings into the meeting, they can solve their problems as well. So anyone who is attending the meeting is potentially a resource to help solve it. So these two roles that are part of three that exist in a meeting and contribute to success are what the meeting is about, or the content of the meeting. They contribute to the content. There's a third role, and this is the really fun one. A lot of people don't know to pay attention to this third role, and yet it's such an important piece. It's called the facilitator. Now, most of us have probably attended a meeting where there's a facilitator, where that person is in charge of making sure that everything is orchestrated well and people speak up and ideas are treated well. But for many years, that was not known. So when Synectics did their research and figured out that there is this third role called facilitator, this is how they figured out that, "Oh, wow, meetings that go off the rails are because people are under attending the process management, the meeting management, how the meeting is conducted, as opposed to what the meeting is about."
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