What comes to your mind when you’re invited to a meeting? Do you think about how bored you will be or about how much other work you have to do? Do you think about how frustrated and horribly unproductive you will feel by the time the meeting is finally over?

The typical meeting is perceived as – and is most likely – a waste of time. They are draining and you leave thinking, “I can’t wait to get back to work!” Is there any hope to making meetings something better? Yes!

At McLane Intelligent Solutions we are committed to having meetings that provide clarity and don’t waste our team member’s time. Our participants leave feeling energetic, clear, focused, and looking forward to the next one. Our meetings provide the time and place for us to get real work done, and provide a mechanism for us to do other work more efficiently.

Where do we start? Every meeting must have a PAL (Purpose, Agenda, & Length). It’s an easy to remember acronym with powerful impact.

Purpose: What specific objective are you trying to accomplish?

First determine if a meeting is the best method for finding a solution to accomplish your goal. Is the meeting worth the cost of time? Could your goal be accomplished through an email or one-on-one conversation? An email is a great way to ask a question and get an answer; however, a meeting facilitates troubleshooting an issue. If a meeting is required to accomplish your goal, create a detailed meeting invite that tells attendees exactly what question you’re trying to answer and why it’s important.

Agenda: What are you going to get done during the meeting?

A meeting agenda is the facilitator’s tool to keeping the meeting focused on the purpose. If the agenda is accomplished before the end time of the meeting, you know you can end the meeting early! (When was the last time you ended a meeting early?) There’s no reason to hold attendees indefinitely. If you see you are approaching the end of the meeting but still have some loose ends to tie up, assign next actions for those tasks to keep attendees accountable until the next meeting or conversation.

Length: How long do you have to stay focused?

Meetings should start on-time and end on-time. Starting the meeting on-time communicates to attendees that their time is valuable. Concluding the meeting 5 minutes before the end time allows members to make it to their following engagements on time. When this practice is routine, everyone knows they must stay on track to accomplish the agenda and will not be held over due to poor planning. In general, timeliness is respectful to others and their commitments, and it teaches others to do the same.

Like what you read?

Keep an eye out for part two in our series to see how we can help you improve your meeting experience!