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Increase the Benefits from Meetings You Can’t Get Out Of

Increase the Benefits from Meetings You Can’t Get Out Of


    Are you beyond tired of sitting through endless successions of meetings, with no time between to organize your thoughts and capture follow-on actions?

    Much is made about shorter meetings, having no formal meetings at all, making everyone stand so they stay focused in shorter daily or weekly meetings, and myriad other ways to make people more effective via quirky or gimmicky techniques. Several articles have appeared here on Lifehack recently about improving meeting productivity overall, and Chris Brogan’s Nail Meetings Down Tight and Take Your Laundry Off The Line are two great ones. Mike Vardy’s post on using MeetingBurner to support great virtual meetings is also a great resource.

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    Right now, though, I’m going to give you six ways to make any meeting more effective for you beginning right now. These techniques will work for you even if you have no control over the meeting content, length, or style.

    Read the pre-briefs.

    Seems obvious, doesn’t it? It is obvious, but it often doesn’t get done. If you knew how many leaders – from junior to very senior – of major and not-so-major public and private organizations I’ve seen walk into meetings with absolutely no foreknowledge of the meeting’s content, except maybe the topic, you would be appalled. And it would instantly become obvious why progress moves with glacial slowness. Read the pre-briefs. Have some idea of what you’re likely to hear. Then, you’ll have an idea of where to look for problems and opportunities.

    If the pre-briefs are terrible, privately tell the person who prepared them. They should appreciate it; no one wants to look like an idiot in public. If you don’t have the horsepower to approach them, use your network.

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    Pay attention.

    Don’t use the time to prepare for your next meeting. Don’t have impromptu meetings with your neighbor. If the meeting isn’t worth your attention, it isn’t worth attending. Focus your attention on what is being said and presented. Are they congruent? Is the speaker presenting information you know to be inaccurate, or overly optimistic or pessimistic? Are all stakeholders present, or is something being discussed someone else really needs to know about or contribute to? Engage your mind on the meeting, even if you don’t find the meeting engaging.

    No messaging.

    Yes, I could have put this under  “Pay Attention,” but enough people violate this that it deserves a separate mention.

    If you are reading email or texts, or writing new ones, you cannot be fully engaging your attention on the person speaking or on their presentation. And I often find the real information is hiding on a slide and never mentioned aloud, while the conversation goes on around it.  And, messaging during a meetng is just bad manners.

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    Take notes on printed presentations (as well as notepaper).

    I have a system of flagging and coding critical information I need to remember, and to visually cue my eyes to follow a certain path through the notes. I also have a special coding system to flag actions for me and others, and to indicate at a glance whether I initiated the action or it came from someone else.

    Use an assistant.

    Even if it’s a peer. A good executive assistant’s worth is immeasurable, especially one with the ability to learn what you need to know, and when you need it. If you’re fortunate enough to have one, let them tell you what he or she believes is important for you from the meeting. Integrate the insight into your own notes. If you don’t have an assistant, try reaching an agreement with a peer to provide this support for each other. You’ll both gain greater benefit from the meetings you attend, and you’ll have a greater incentive to pay attention for the entire thing.

    Taking notes on the presentations themselves allows you to jot questions, concerns, or follow-up actions next to the material, automatically creating a connection and preventing you from having to write as much. A paper-saving alternative is to write a memory-jogging note first on your notepad, and then jot the slide number or subject so you can refer back to it. I also typically write the name of a presenter and their main subject at the section of my notes where they begin speaking. If I end up with no notes for them, then it’s only cost me a single line on the note page and I can go back and see who spoke on a given topic if I have a question later.

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    Walk out.

    Really. Get up and walk out. Is it rude? That depends on how you handle it.

    Make it clear you have limited time when you accept the invitation. Show up for as long as it takes to glean what you need, and then quietly leave. If you’re one of several attendees, it should be clear you have other commitments. If the meeting is for you, then you just made it clear your time was being misused.

    Take care, and have productive meetings,

    (Photo credit: Bored in a Meeting via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

      How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

      Does it ever feel like the things you want to accomplish always end up on the back burner? If the answer to that question is “yes,” you’re not alone. Only about 33% of people consistently work toward their goals. In some cases, their goals may seem too lofty to accomplish, or else they aren’t sure how to make a plan for them.

      If you don’t come up with concrete steps to take toward your goals, they’ll remain dreams. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but being able to turn your dreams into goals you can realize will help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

      Luckily, you can realize almost any dream when you harness the right goal-setting methods.

      In this article, I’ll show you how to achieve goals and get closer you success.

      1. Break your dreams down into specific and measurable steps

      We couldn’t talk about goal-setting without mentioning SMART goals.

      SMART goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.

      Specific and measurable steps are so important because if we don’t know what our target it, how can we ever hit it?

      Take all those beautiful dreams you have for yourself and make them into things you can actually do. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, a step toward realizing your dream might be researching what you’ll need to start your business.

      Find out more tips about utilizing SMART goals here:

      How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

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      2. Have at least one clearly defined goal for every interest and role in your life

      It’s so easy to become complacent or stagnate. We often think that our careers are the only places where we need to set goals, but we aren’t only what we do.

      To make the most of your life, take the approach that you’re always learning and growing in everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well after all.

      Set goals whether you’re sponsoring an activity for your child, taking up guitar lessons or trying to prove your worth at work.

      You’ll notice that this approach forces you to constantly develop new skills. It can also be fulfilling to put more focus and value into all areas of your life— not just the ones related to our careers.

      3. Align your goals with your life’s mission, purpose and passion

      Take the opportunity to do some soul-searching. What is it that you want to do with this precious life of yours?

      Anything that conflicts with your life’s purpose is bound to cause discontent. Staying in a bad relationship, doing a job that goes against your values, or maintaining the status quo just because it’s comfortable are not options for you.

      Thinking about your goals in this way can help you eliminate things in your life that don’t serve you. This frees up mental space that you can use to do the things you care about the most.

      Many of us struggle to find the time to work on our goals, but this strategy enables you to make more time.

      4. Create goals that ignite your spirit and inspire you to take action

      If you can’t be fired up about your goals from the start, they might not be good goals for you.

      The road to success is often tough. You’re going to have times when you might feel tired or discouraged.

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      You need to feel inspired enough that you’ll be able to overcome obstacles as you encounter them.

      If what you’re doing motivates you to be the greatest version of yourself, you’ll be much more resilient.

      5. Write down all your goals in specific, measurable detail

      This is your road map for what success will look like. The more you define what you want the finished product to be, the greater the chance that you’ll reach that vision.

      When you write down your goals, you’re creating a document that you can revisit to make sure you’re on track.

      When you’re in the middle of trying to achieve a big goal, it can be hard to see what’s working for you. The things you write in this step will help you stay on-message as you take your goals out of your mind and into the real world.

      Don’t just write down your goals and stash them away in a folder somewhere. Take the extra step to put them somewhere where you’ll see them.[1]

      If you have too many goals to post on your desk, write a summary or choose one or two steps to work on for the day. Just seeing them will keep them in the front of your mind.

      6. Commit to hitting each of your targets without exception

      You wouldn’t have created the target if you didn’t think it was necessary. Hold yourself accountable for taking the steps to succeed.

      You can always adapt your strategy or break your targets into smaller steps if you find that they aren’t attainable as you originally wrote them.

      Hitting even the smallest target is cause for a celebration. It’s a step in the positive direction. Your success will make you crave more success.

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      We often make excuses when we get tired or overwhelmed. Take away the option to make excuses. You will only be satisfied with the best effort from yourself.

      7. Share your goals with others to motivate each other

      There’s something so powerful about people sharing their goals and dreams with one another. Doing so gives voice to some part of us that could remain hidden (and therefore never be accomplished).

      When other people know about your goals, they can cheer you on and hold you accountable. When people share their vision with you, you can do the same for them.

      This strategy is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. Post about your workout on social media, or do a healthy eating challenge with your best friend. You’ll be less likely to slack when temptation arises, and you’ll probably encourage someone else to reach for their goals too.

      8. Set a series of daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and deadlines

      Many goals never reach realization simply because the goal-setter doesn’t check their progress. People tend to forget what they set out to do, or their goal gets crowded out by other obligations.

      Forcing yourself to revisit your goals at regular intervals breaks them into smaller steps and it reminds you to think about them.

      Giving yourself regular deadlines for smaller tasks related to your goals also helps you reflect on your strategy. You’ll figure out what works for you, whether your timeline is realistic, and whether or not you need additional help to stay on track.

      In addition, celebrating small wins helps you stay motivated. Here’s how:

      How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

      9. Take 10 minutes every day to imagine how great it will feel to achieve your goals

      Visualization is such a powerful tool. Some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and business people take time each day to think about how success looks and feels for them.[2] Imagining that feeling of satisfaction can be a great motivator.

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      When you do meet your goals, take some time to be grateful. Thank yourself for showing up and doing the work. Be grateful when the stars align properly to help you advance to the next step.

      It’s not just getting to the destination of your goals that matters. How you take the journey is important too.

      10. Take an action step toward reaching your goals every day

      Your goals can easily get buried in the hustle and the bustle. Even the smallest step in the right direction is still moving you forward.

      Keep chipping away at the work every day and before long, you’ll start to see those dreams come to life.

      Maybe you didn’t start your business today but you designed the logo that’s going to go on your website and business cards. Doing that task well is going to help you so much in the long run.

      Concrete actions day by day draw your dreams out of obscurity and into the realm of possibility.

      The Bottom Line

      Dreams can inspire and overwhelm us. By turning our dreams into goals that we can work toward, we increase our chances of success. Things that once seemed impossible are suddenly within reach.

      It’s time to start turning your dreams into goals and your goals into realities. Change begins today.

      More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

      Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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