RSS Meeting Expectations

In any given day, week or month, the number of meetings I attend can be – I must admit – almost mindboggling. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of these meetings and, upon careful consideration, I confess that not all of these meetings are particularly beneficial to me. And, if body language is any indication, nor do they seem to be particularly interesting to some of the other people sitting around the table.

In personal reflection, I must ask myself, “Is it possible that people attending the meetings I facilitate consider our time together as providing no particular value or, perhaps even a great waste of time? Yikes.”

What I want to share from a leadership perspective is the importance of understanding the purpose of the meeting. In other words, a good leader should be clear on whether or not the meeting is really about what the leader/facilitator wants it to be, or should it be what the team members NEED it to be?

I recently assumed the position of president of my local Rotary Club and, having just completed facilitation of my first board meeting as the club’s new leader, I had a great opportunity to make some interesting observations. The meeting was very well attended, both by board members and by other members of our club; I had created an agenda based upon my vision of where our organization is going; and for the most part, the discussion was lively and valuable to all. However, as I sat listening to one of the board members discuss his committee plans, I noticed that a few people around the table were “tuning out” his comments. The reasons for this could be many, and for the purposes of this blog post, unimportant; but it made me think about the times that I “tune out” of meetings when either the subject matter isn’t pertinent to me or the discussion lasts longer than I find of value.

We all recognize that meetings often contain content that is simply intended to inform us and not necessarily meant to engage us. As I continue to evaluate how best to advance the club’s agenda at our monthly board meetings, I am going to keep in mind that the meeting will provide more value to each board member if I can engage them more fully in each agenda item. As the meeting facilitator, I will attempt to keep each topic “on the table” only so long as the entire Board appears to be engaged.

We also know that meetings serve a variety of purposes and the outcomes achieve different objectives. There are dozens of helpful tips and tricks for planning and running a successful meeting so I’m not going to go into those details here. (Side note: you are interested in learning more about creating a powerful meeting; the following link may be helpful: http://www.businessballs.com/meetings.htm. )

May every meeting you lead or participate in going forward meet not only your own expectations, but also those of every other person in attendance!

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One Response to “Meeting Expectations”

  1. Nik Stice, Employee of Pacific Continental Bank says:

    Mitch,

    Great post! I took a class on facilitation recently so I really appreciate your perspective on the subject. I think the phrase that stuck with me the most was,

    “People should never get out of a meeting and say, “OK now lets get to work…they should say, “Can we have a break first?!”

    Like yourself, I would want my meetings to be meaningful to the objective or the direction/purpose the meeting is being called.

    Great post!

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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