Top-Shelf Tip No. 177:

"Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things."

Byron Dorgan

End Every Meeting With These Calls To Action

Meetings make up a good portion of the day for many professionals—especially those in leadership positions. Going to another meeting might be the last thing you want to do when you have a full to-do list. When you're sitting in a meeting, you're pulled away from your job and the tasks you need to accomplish. While many people tend to dismiss meetings as a waste of time, meetings can actually help things go smoothly and save time when they serve a real purpose and are well conducted.

Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of Lead From Within, says what happens after a meeting is just as important as what unfolds during the conversation. In her work as a leadership coach, Daskal has helped hundreds of organizations develop a simple system for having the kind of meetings that get the best possible results. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Daskal's advice for three things you need to make sure you do before adjourning any meeting:

1. Confirm key decisions. Make sure everyone is on the same page about any decisions that were made. Daskal says it's important that everyone comes away with a shared understanding because it will help focus everyone to move in the same direction. You can ensure this by putting two quick questions to the group:

  • What topics did we discuss?
  • What decisions did we confirm?

2. Agree upon next action steps. Daskal says it's also important to have everyone agree upon next steps and what actions will be taken. Make it clear that you expect each step to be fulfilled as agreed upon and that any changes or unforeseen obstacles need to be discussed as soon as they emerge. Ask the group these questions related to next steps:

  • What was agreed upon for next steps?
  • What are the deadlines?

3. Create commitments. Be clear about the commitments and responsibilities that are made during the meeting so you can follow up by sending everyone involved a communication about the key objectives and actions items. The goal is for everyone to commit to accomplishing their tasks on schedule. Make sure to assign someone to check in at appropriate intervals to ensure that the commitments are being kept and, when necessary, re-evaluated in light of unexpected issues. These three questions ensure that commitments are understood:

  • Who is responsible for what?
  • How will we communicate this information?
  • Who will conduct follow-up?

When you take the time to develop a good system for meetings, you can limit distractions and keep everyone focused. As a result, you can achieve the results you want. Meetings are going to happen whether you want them or not. What you do during and after meetings makes a difference, so approach your next meeting from a smarter standpoint.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lolly Daskal is the president and CEO of Lead From Within, a global consultancy that specializes in leadership and entrepreneurial development. Daskal was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by and awarded the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World by Huffington Post.

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