Shut Up Barb: How to Run an Effective Meeting

Several office workers discuss agenda items around a table "How to Effectively Run a Team Meeting"

Inefficient meetings are the bane of our existence. No one needs to hear you ramble on for 15 minutes about your visit to the corn maze or that one time at band camp.

Meetings are inescapable and the only thing we can do is make them more efficient. We are meeting czars, which comes from being an EOS company. We run what is called an “L10.” Don’t ask us why it’s named that, we weren’t really paying attention. What we do know, however,  is they are highly effective and center around accountability and efficiency. 

Guess what Karen? If you didn’t do the thing you were supposed to do, it gets talked about.

Follow these tips and do not EVER delineate from them.

Before the Meeting

Before a meeting, the following needs to happen. 

Call for agenda items

This should happen the week prior. If you can’t be bothered to send anything ahead of time, then it really isn’t that important…is it? 

Send meeting reminder and agenda

Now that everyone, including Sherri, has sent in their agenda items, a final agenda is sent out. This agenda has time allotted for each section, which makes it very clear that no one has time for shenanigans.

Remind everyone what time it starts

…and start it PROMPTLY at that time. If Bob is late, too bad—should’ve showed up on time. 

If you’re really thorough, send another reminder the day before the meeting with parking instructions, meeting etiquette rules and a list of those who will be in attendance.

Running the Meeting

Every single meeting has the same agenda. All information is submitted prior to the meeting to the host or the facilitator. No one is hijacking your meeting, because that’d be the opposite of efficiency. If you’re not on the agenda, you don’t speak…unless there is a public comment portion. 

Bob you don’t get to show up and just talk for 45 minutes and hold everyone hostage. 

Segue (5 minutes)

One personal and professional best and the 5 minutes is allotted for ALL meeting attendees. So keep your ad lib to yourself Chad, no one cares.

Scorecard (5 minutes)

We’re not going to go into a whole lot of detail but essentially each attendee reports on set KPI (key performance indicators) each week. For example, the PR team reports on how many pitches went out for clients. We know the number that we need to hit to be effective and to meet our client’s earned media goals. There is no sharing, there is no commenting, you state your number and if you miss it you move it down to the discussion area (IDS).

People Headlines (5 to 10 minutes)

This section is focused on acknowledging someone for a job well done, sharing schedule updates (Barb is finally taking a day off) and any relevant news that has a direct impact on the purpose of the meeting. For example, some dick name Kanye has taken over the news cycle with his antisemitism so we’re gonna need to probs hold off on pitching anything for the next week.

To-Do List

This is one of our favorites. This is the stuff that was assigned (action items) to you after the last meeting and now its judgment day. Did you do it, Sherri? Or are we going to hear more excuses about why you couldn’t get it done? If something wasn’t completed, move it to the discussion portion of the meeting and we’ll dig into why you’re incapable of doing your job.

IDS (Identify, Discuss, Solve)

It kind of speaks for itself. It’s the big stuff that needs to be talked about: missed deadlines, project updates, why Sherri can’t seem to pull her shit together, the best dog breeds and anything else that is IMPORTANT. This is going to vary based on the purpose of your meeting and if you don’t have a purpose for your meeting, then you SHOULDN’T be having a meeting. You dig into the actual issues—this isn’t a social hour. It’s discussing why a project stalled. Is it a resource issue? Staff issue? Client issue? Determine the core issue and then solve it as a group. And when time is up, time is up. If something doesn’t get addressed, then it stays on the agenda for the following week or a separate meeting (God forbid) is set up with a few key folks. 

Conclude

Alright folks, what are the takeaways? Review the to-do list (action items) and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them. 

Being the facilitator is not easy. You’re expected to keep the agenda on track and that means you need to cut off Karen, Sherri and Bob when they go on their tangents. You also need to add Tangent to the IDS portion and dig into why all three of them feel the need to hijack every meeting.

After the Meeting

If you’re not sending meeting recaps with action items outlined, you’re doing it wrong. We live in a world with a lot of self-important people, which means you need to make up for their narcissism and inefficiencies. There will be no misunderstandings on what was discussed or what each person is responsible for, because you’ll send the notes with everything mapped out. 

We promise you, if you follow these steps, you’ll keep the pain to a minimum and people will thank you…maybe not at first, but they will.

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