“The sweetest part is acting after making a decision” – Indigo Girls, Hammer and a Nail.

There is a subtle wisdom in these lyrics.  We talk a lot about the decisions meeting leaders face in this podcast, but we also recognize that none of these decisions matter without corresponding actions. 

Episode 090 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast covers the pitfalls of inaction regarding meetings, and provides a handful of suggestions to help you become a more active meeting facilitator. By the end, you should have a firm grasp on steps you can take to become more decisive in your approach.

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00:00 – Show Opening

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the meeting leadership podcast with Gordon Shepherd.

00:27 – Podcast content starts here!

Welcome to another episode of the meeting leadership podcast. My name is Gordon Shepherd. I just want to say thanks for being here and thanks for being the person that comes to this podcast to get meeting leadership tips because you understand that meeting leadership, it’s a step up. It’s the kind of thing that you aspire to and you work on kind of everyday. And that’s why you’re here at the podcast to get another skill, get another strategy so that as a meeting leader, whether you’re running the meeting or you’re participating, you’re going to be able to make that meeting the best that it possibly can be. Thank you so much for being here. And if you are a meeting leader who is looking to get more value out of every meeting that you’re in, then you’re going to get a lot out of today’s show because today we’re going to talk about why taking action creates highly effective meetings.

01:20 – Hammer and a Nail – Acting after making a decision

And let me set the stage for this episode by pulling some lyrics out of one of my favorite songs by the Indigo Girls. In 1990, they released Hammer And A Nail. And here I’m going to just try to sing this for you, but really you’ll get the point in just a second. It goes like this, “But my life is more than a vision. The sweetest part is acting after making a decision.” Now don’t let my singing kind of cloud what you’ve just heard. I really want to emphasize that second line, “the sweetest part is acting after making a decision.” What happens when we don’t take action to create highly effective meetings? Well, we know that nothing gets done. People are disengaged. People feel disrespected, like their time is being wasted. I can tell you right now, you could look at any office tower in any major city and know that we are actually burning out our best people by sending them to too many daytime meetings.

02:18 – The benefits of taking action

That’s another one where we’re not taking action to figure that out. Projects are slowing down. We’re losing time, we are losing money. I mean, the list just goes on and on and on. And of course, the opposite of that happens when you do take action, right? When you’re prepared, when there’s an agenda, when you’ve taken the time to learn how to be a solid facilitator, when you can handle a passionate disagreement in a meeting, when everybody is engaged, when everybody’s doing their followup, you know that those types of meetings are highly profitable and are the kind of thing that will actually move your entire organization forward. So what can you actually do about this? Well, here’s a couple of suggestions that will help you to take action so you can create highly effective meetings. Number one, fail faster. Now we can draw this type of idea from entrepreneurs, right?

02:51 – Suggestion 1 – Fail faster

Great entrepreneurs try something, and in a certain period of time they see if it’s working or if it’s not.if And when it fails, they iterate and they iterate and they iterate until they get it right. Well, we can take that spirit into our next meeting and actually start to apply it and fail faster, there’s a good chance that we can turn over the bad habits that are producing really unproductive meetings and start to get to the good stuff. For example, if you have the wrong meeting facilitator, fire them. Get somebody new. If you’ve got a bad meeting agenda, change it. If you don’t know why you’re there, and I can’t tell you how often when I’m at a conference and I’ll say, okay, everybody put your hand up in the air if you’ve ever been in a meeting and you didn’t know why you were there. All the hands go up for the most part. It is unbelievable. I mean professionals, engineers, doctors, it’s rampant. So if you don’t know why you’re in a meeting, cancel the meeting. If in your followup after the meeting, the mass email is not working because only half the people are opening it, then find another way to communicate. Fail faster, try, fail. And I mean do these things within a month. Turn your regular meetings around quickly and there’s a good chance they’ll become a lot more productive. 

04:06 – Suggestion 2 – Measure your meetings costs

And the second suggestion that I have is to actually measure your meeting costs. Add up the wages, add up the food costs, add up whatever the costs are to run that meeting and then find out what your meeting return on investment is. If you’re getting more for having that meeting than you weren’t, then great. Keep doing it. And if not, cut that meeting. Take action, know your cost and know your return on what you’re putting in.

04:30 – Suggestion 3 – Get inspired

And the third way that I think you can take action to create better meetings is to actually find out what inspires your meeting team collectively. Now this takes a bit of work. You got to go around the room and actually find out maybe what the individual inspirations are. And then you pull that vision statement and from the strategic plan. And it could be something that you either all understand or you don’t, and you start to create discussion around this area. And maybe it’s not money that motivates everybody. Maybe it’s actually inspiration or efficiency or whatever those things are. Find out what your common inspiration is, and maybe that’s the thing that will cause action. 

05:05 – Episode Recap

And now let me take a moment to recap the key concepts for why taking action creates highly effective meetings. Number one, fail faster. Number two, measure the actual meeting costs. And number three, get inspired. And like the Indigo Girls say, and thank goodness they’re outstanding singers and you don’t have to listen to me say it, “the sweetest part is acting after making a decision.” In this case, the sweetest part is acting after making a decision to create highly effective meetings that ultimately inspire your team, drive your organization forward, and help you to serve your community and your customers at the highest possible level. 

05:47 – More on effective meetings – MLP 044 – MLP 020 – MLP 071

And if you’re looking for some more great resources to help you take action to make your meetings better, then check out these episodes on the meeting leadership podcast. In episode 44, it’s called how to be a good facilitator. It’s the first part of a three part series and I think if you listen to that, it will really move your facilitation abilities forward pretty quickly. And you can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/44. And then in episode 20, well it’s called how to measure the real cost of a meeting. And when I mentioned that concept around measuring your meeting return on investment, that’ll kick you off into that idea. You can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/20. And of course every great meeting needs a great agenda. So if you need some help with that, check out episode 71 on the podcast. It’s called, how to create an effective team meeting agenda. And that’s the first part of a five part series on the podcast. And I think you’ll get a lot out of that one as well. And you can get that one by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/71

06:49 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy

And I also want to let you know that this episode of the meeting leadership podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. Now one of the great components in there, if you want to go forward pretty quickly individually, is there’s actually one on one coaching on offer. And that’s by me and that’s to help people really kind of accelerate their journey as they become outstanding meeting leaders. You can check that out by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/Academy. And as always, thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you tomorrow on the meeting leadership podcast.

07:20 – Podcast Outro

Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader, and don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on the meeting leadership podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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