Greetings Leaders!

This is the third posting in the series, How to Run Better Meetings.

  1. The first posting dealt with executive sponsorship
  2. The second with having meetings with purpose

This posting will address getting people to come to your meetings.

So let me start off by asking a question. Why don’t people come to meetings? Here are some popular answers I’ve heard or experienced over the years:

  • The meeting is irrelevant
  • The meeting is poorly run
  • I can’t attend all of my meetings. I’m overbooked
  • The meeting is a waste of time – they don’t need me there
  • Nothing ever gets accomplished at these meetings
  • I’m too busy

I’d love to hear what other reasons some of you may have heard. Feel free to comment below.

So, how do you get the right people to your meetings? People will come to your meetings if they think it is worth their time. Period.

There are a lot of things to consider here. This posting will address just one of these, with more to follow in future postings.

The first thing you have to do is to ensure you invite the right people.

Pretty obvious right? As easy as this sounds, it is often not easily accomplished. Lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities can lead to misunderstandings and make it difficult to determine who you should invite to your meeting… often with disastrous results for your meetings and your reputation.

Consider what happens in the following scenarios:

  • You invite a large group to a meeting, just because you weren’t sure who the decision makers are. People come to the meeting, but feel it is a waste of time if they really weren’t needed and just sat there. Result? They don’t come to your next meeting.
  • You fail to invite a key stakeholder necessary to reach a decision. Result? After clearing their calendars, people sit around and discuss something, but nothing gets done. People then wonder about your political savvy and may not come back to your next meeting because it was a waste of their time.
  • You invite the right people, but they didn’t know they were a critical to your meeting and don’t show up. You get a repeat of the scenario above.
  • Everyone shows up, but discussion goes on forever without a decision, because it isn’t clear who how decisions are made when parties disagree. Result? Your meeting is ineffective, viewed as a waste of time, and people stop coming back.

To help solve these problems, I recommend using a RACI Chart to help you determine who needs to be at your meeting. A RACI Chart is a chart that breaks down roles into four categories: Responsible, Accountable, Consult and Inform. You can find a short powerpoint presentation on RACI Charting here.

I have used RACI charting very successfully on many projects. It clarifies roles and responsibilities and enables you to ensure you have the right people at your meetings, and they all understand why you need them.

All the best,
All the time,
JT

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