The Straight Truth


Four Ways to stop the meeting during the meeting

The meeting-after-the-meeting is DEAD – it’s the meeting during the meeting that’s killing us now.

As an entire workforce makes the shift to Zoom calls, Webex sync-ups, and BlueJeans chats, online team meetups have spurred a new, counterproductive phenomenon…the meeting-during-the meeting between participants on the call.

Sound familiar? Want out? Here’s how.

1. No Agenda, No Meeting
Agree on an agenda or do not accept the meeting. Or, if there is no stated purpose for the meeting ASK. Be accountable for understanding your role in the meeting, what parts you may be leading, and if there is anything to prepare. Unclear? Ask.

2. Suggest Q & A Facilitation
Define what question is being asked. Be sure this is clear before anyone starts an answer. You can do this by summarizing what you heard and confirming, “is that your question?” Answer the question. If you don’t know, say so. Don’t talk around a question you do not have an answer for unless you have relevant information and you can say it in one minute or less. Ask: Did I answer the question? Invite permission to keep asking until the person asking the question is clear.

3. Provide a “safe” word.
“If I’m ever going on and on, say the safe word and I’ll stop and thank you and get back on track.” Having an easy way to stop a tangent will help use time wisely. Demonstrate gratitude when someone uses the safe word, not annoyance, or you’ll never hear it again.

4. Poll the Meeting
Poll your meetings as to effectiveness on a scale of 1 – 5. If you want honesty, make the polls anonymous. If you are not getting 5’s on your meetings, wake up and stop wasting your (and everyone else’s time)!

Be accountable for effective meetings that are compelling enough to keep everyone off a meeting-during-the-meeting.