E24 | Let’s Meet Better: Elise Keith
For the last 10 years, Elise Keith has been on a mission to fix the thing that most people spend the most time doing at work: meetings. Who hasn’t been in a terrible meeting?
Elise witnessed people who should have been in conflict come together and have a great meeting. She has worked out what types of meetings there are, how to approach these meetings and how to get the best out of everybody.
Today’s episode is all about getting things done by using well-structured, well-designed meetings. Don’t miss out!
On today’s podcast:
- Meetings don’t have to be gruesome
- What makes a good meeting?
- Everybody needs to speak during a meeting
- Companies need to respect people’s time
- How to make an important decision
- Book recommendations
Meetings don’t have to be gruesome
The thing about meetings is that there is a giant body of work out there telling everyone that meetings are a terrible waste of time.
Elise has found that meetings are places where you can bring together your team to talk about your work, and you get an opportunity to create alignment and solidify your company identity.
Meetings are amazingly powerful moments within companies that, when they are done well, the whole dynamic of the employees’ activity can change.
What makes a good meeting?
In companies with chronically bad meetings, you have lower performance overall and bad employee engagement and retention.
What makes a good meeting?
- A positive experience of the people in the room. Did the people feel that that was a good use of their time? The meeting also has to be relevant to them and they have to participate.
- The external perspective. Did this time investment we made of our people and our energy yield something of business value?
There are 16 distinct types of business meetings. Each one of them achieves a different kind of goal.
Companies need to respect people’s time
This is how a well-designed meeting flow for a leadership team looks like:
- Managers know when they’re going to decide on their strategy, they know when they’re going to check progress and how they’re going to make decisions.
- There’s no guessing. It’s structured and clear.
Teams that adopt this flow perform better.
What does the structure of a great meeting look like?
- Within the first 5 minutes, everybody speaks.
- At the end of the meeting, there needs to be a review of what happened.
- Notes are taken and they are visible to everybody.
Organizations should respect people’s time. There are companies where is entirely acceptable to do your work during a meeting. If someone has just a 5-minute contribution, they shouldn’t be forced to stay in the room.
How to make an important decision
The biggest thing Elise helps clients do is to implement a successful meeting operating system. It’s very much about taking a look at what you’re trying to achieve as a business and then finding model meetings that can help you achieve those goals.
The hallmarks of a quality decision at a larger level are:
- It’s a decision you’ve made a million times before and your intuition is probably correct.
- When you’re not an expert in the particular area of the decision you have to make, you need a decision-making framework that will give you at least three viable options. Then bring these three options to a meeting together with their background information and have some criteria to evaluate them against.
Books Elise would recommend include:
- Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think by Dave Gray
- Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and Al Switzler