In This Episode…

As someone who specialises in productivity, you’d perhaps expect me to be the perfect example of great productivity in action.  

Well for much of the time that is true.  

However, the reason I embarked on this journey was to improve the quality and consistency of my productive behaviours.  That’s because at one point they were extremely lacking.  

Today they are just lacking, hence my continued drive to improve.  

So occasionally I get things wrong.

In this episode I share how a mistake of my own making created the potential for a bad meeting.

I explain how I recovered and what I’d do next time to make the meeting a success.

Episode Transcript

Hi, and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s your host, Michael Tipper. Who else would it be?

Today I want to talk about the anatomy of a really bad meeting.

This week has been my new Virtual Assistant’s first week working for me. I’ve spent all week, working and developing her and helping her understand how things are done around here.

I had planned to have a catch up meeting at the end of the week so that I could share all the things that she’s done that have gone really, really well. We’d also use the opportunity to identify all the things I can do to make things even better for her to fit into what we do.

Now because there’s a time difference, I had planned to have the meeting at 9:00am my time. That ties in with the end of her day.

But when I was planning it last night, for some reason having committed to the 9:00am time I planned it in my schedule to happen at 10:00am.

When I told her about the meeting I sent the agenda and explained the outcomes and the purpose so that she’d have some advanced warning.

So that that’s one thing I did, right.

And then this morning I was going to use the time between 9:00am and 10:00am to gather my thoughts and make sure everything was ready.

I Got The Timing Of The Meeting Completely Wrong!

So I am at my computer this morning doing some LinkedIn marketing at 9:20am when I get a message on Hangouts from my VA. It was an answer to all the questions I’d posted before.

Because I had 10:00am in my mind as being the time of the meeting, I thought, “Oh, that’s really, really keen.”

I thought that was good but I did wonder why she’s doing that when that was what the meeting was for.

I was about to send her an email saying, wait, so I don’t need you to do that, we’ll do that in the meeting.

I then realised I’d got it wrong. I am late. I’m a good 25 minutes late for the meeting. And I was horrified.

I was caught that at that point, when I hadn’t done the preparation I’d planned to do.

So I apologised profusely for being late. It was my bad for doing this. It’s my fault.

We started the meeting and went through the agenda and because I started the meeting a good 35, 40 minutes late, it was too close to the end of her day.

And that meant we weren’t able to apply as much time as I felt was necessary. The meeting didn’t run very well, because I was slightly flustered because I didn’t have the preparation in place I’d normally have done.

I didn’t capture the actions and I didn’t capture the decisions very well. I can go back and do that and capture that because this was done over Google Hangouts on the chat.

So I can go back and look at the text information that we had, but it didn’t go very well because I didn’t plan it.

And the reason I didn’t plan it was because I got my timings wrong.

So that’s the anatomy of a bad meeting.

And if I just left it there, I could beat myself up about it. But what I’m doing is I’m thinking, okay, well, that’s what went wrong.

What went right?

Well we did have a meeting and I was able to positively reinforce her for all the great things that she’d done this week.

And we were able to look a couple of things we want to do next week to make it even better. We had some clarity gained over how are we going to use the project management tool that we’re looking at.

So I asked her what she thought. She gave me her view. I asked her a question that highlighted that perhaps her way of doing it, wasn’t going to fit in what we wanted to achieve with it.

But she came to that conclusion rather than me telling it. So that was a good piece of guided facilitation.

And so she’s pleased that she’s started working for me. She enjoyed the week. She appreciated the support I’ve given her through the week and she’s looking forward to next week and I couldn’t ask for anymore.

Here’s What I’d Do Differently Next Time

So what would I do differently if I was to do that meeting again?

Well, I did the agenda. That was good. I would get clear on making sure the time was the right time. And I would do my preparation for the meeting probably the day before, so that if I got caught in something in the run up to the meeting, I wouldn’t find myself flustered again.

During the meeting, I would probably capture the decisions and the actions. A long time ago, I let go of the need to actually capture the minutes of a meeting because I realised that all you need to get in a meeting is capture the decisions and capture the actions, that’s all.

So I’d capture those and put them in a shared drive where we could see and archive them and go back to and refer to them.

I’d also probably not leave it to right at the very end of the week or the very end of her day on the very last day of the week, because it’s so easy to have pushed over or to have lost that time.

I was also very conscious that I didn’t want to eat into her personal time. So we finished just before the end of her working day.

Today has been a big lesson for me in being more effective in delivering meetings and not turning up on time, although I didn’t intend to turn up late. It’s just that circumstances that I created meant that I did just turn up, but I think I managed to recover it reasonably well.

We’ve got some good lessons, some good thoughts on how are we going to make it even better next week. And we’ve both got into the weekend, relatively happy with the way the week has gone.

So that’s my anatomy of a bad meeting and what I would do next time to make it even better.

Effective Meetings Are The Life Blood Of Any Organisation

Meetings are an important part of any organisation and especially any business. It doesn’t matter where they are face to face and in person or whether they are done over tools like zoom.

Meetings that are run well are kept short and kept focused with lots of accountability for the actions that are handed out and with very clear decisions that are recorded.

They can really add to the success of any business or organisaion in moving forward when done well.

But done badly, as I did a little bit today, they can be a drain on the energy and on the motivation. They can be confusing. They can lack any form of contribution or value to the business, to the point where meetings can just not seem to be very productive at all.

And then when they’re actually needed to be productive, they don’t do the job that they’re supposed to do.

So it’s an important skill to be able to develop.

It’s an important approach to doing business. It is vital for its success when you start involving more than one person in your business.

So that’s today’s episode.

Until tomorrow.

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