Stop the wasted time and money from ineffective meetings by giving your next meeting a POWER Start.

Show Notes

According to a recent Atlassian survey, professionals waste 31 hours each month on unproductive meetings.  That’s about four full days wasted each month.  In the U.S. alone, unnecessary meetings cost businesses 37 billion dollars in just in salaries.

You can help stop this madness by giving your meetings some POWER.  We’ve likely all received (or sent) meeting invitations with little more than a meeting title.  This means that attendees likely won’t be properly prepared, the meeting may not achieve its intended goal, and you’ll likely waste time in yet another unproductive meeting.

The POWER Start technique was developed by the Agile Coaching Institute to address the root of unproductive meetings.

POWER is an acronym for Purpose, Outcomes, What’s in it for them, Engagement, and Roles and responsibilities.

As you’re planning your meetings, think about the POWER Start.

Begin with the Purpose.  What’s the purpose of the meeting and why is the meeting necessary?  Are you trying to inform, persuade, or make a decision?  Perhaps it’s possible to get to this purpose by other means, such as distributing information through an email broadcast.

Think about the right medium for your purpose.  If you need to collaborate to make a decision, it’s likely that email isn’t the right channel.

Next, consider the desired Outcomes of the meeting.  What do you want to achieve by the end of the meeting?  What does success look like?  By considering and communicating the intended outcome of the meeting, attendees can come prepared to achieve that outcome.

That might mean doing some homework before the meeting, extending the invitation to someone else, or not going at all if you’re not the right person to help get to that outcome.

Once you understand the Purpose and Outcomes, think about why the attendees should come to the meeting.  What’s in it for them and why should they care?  Without the ‘what’s in it for me’, people may not be motivated to attend or help achieve the goal of the meeting.

The first three pieces (Purpose, Outcomes, and What’s In It for Them) all lay the foundation for the meeting.  It ensures that the meeting is actually needed, provides a clear focus for the meeting so that you’ll stay on track, and helps ensure the right people attend.  It can also help avoid the numerous follow-ups and the meeting after the meeting that we so often see.

But you’re not done yet.  Next, you’ll need to consider how you’ll engage the meeting attendees.  That engagement may span before, during, and after the meeting.

Before the meeting, you may need to contact attendees individually or in a group communication to ensure that they understand the purpose and intended outcome as well as what’s expected of them in the meeting.  Is there any information they need to bring to the meeting or any work they need to do to prepare?

During the meeting, you may want to have an icebreaker to get people communicating and collaborating.  Create a plan for how you’ll keep attendees interested and engaged during the entire meeting.

After the meeting, you may need to engage stakeholders by sharing key decisions or following up on action items.

The final piece of POWER Start is Roles and responsibilities.  Think about the different roles that may be needed to have a successful meeting.  Do you need a facilitator, a time keeper, a scribe?  If so, who will fulfil those roles?  Who will contribute what information during the meeting?

Making roles clear before or at the start of the meeting helps everyone understand expectations. Taking a little time to consider the elements of the POWER Start technique and including appropriate information about the purpose and outcomes in the invitation will lead to more productive meetings.  The time, money, and headaches you save are well worth the extra effort you put into planning effective meetings.

Listen to this episode to ind out how to use the POWER Start facilitation technique and what to do if you’re in the receiving end of an invitation to a possibly ineffective meeting.

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