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Meetings, Galore! How to Host Meetings That Don't Suck With Freakonomics Radio

Posted by Sophie Troxell on Aug 26, 2020

This week, we tuned into Freakonomics Radio as we embark on our journey to master this whole virtual thing. As we listened, we came to the conclusion that our daily meetings could use some improvement. It's no surprise to find that professionals spend anywhere from 50-90% of their time in meetings. With this knowledge, a couple of questions surfaced: Why do we have so many meetings, what do we expect to happen in them, and how can we make them better? Join us as we get a grip on how to make virtual meetings less terrible. Here's what Stephen J. Dubner taught us: 

Starting up
Kicking off a meeting by asking group members to share a snippet of their weekend might put a crunch in your timeline. Try utilizing a strategic opener to create better connections between members of the group. Prompt with Rose/Thorn: ask them to share their rose (something great), and thorn (something not so great) to bring a brief sense of reality into the discussion.  

Understand the value of time
As a leader, take control of your meeting. Set an agenda and stick to it. Research shows that 50% of agendas are recycled, leaving plenty of wiggle room for time to be wasted on topics that might not be relevant to all meeting attendees. Frame your agenda not as topics to be discussed, but rather questions to be answered. Distribute this beforehand so everyone can come prepared. Ask your employees: is this meeting relevant to you? Giving them the option to opt out can be a time saver for those who might not have the answers - saving time for everyone.

Bring in the heat
Foster an environment for a healthy debate to arise. Get loud when discussing and decision making. If your goal is to come to a conclusion for a given plan of action (whether large or small), talk it out. Ask each group member to share their thoughts. Be inclusive - dont allow for lingering along the sidelines. Remember, as the meeting host you hold the un-muting power

Closing out
We all know when a meeting has come to an end, but how do we make it official? Issue a last call. People want to feel that their time was well spent. Decide what you want your attendees to remember, and reiterate. Give them a sense of direction when the laptop closes. 

Tip: Ask your attendees to rate each meeting. Offer the opportunity to provide feedback on what they enjoyed and what they would like to see done differently. This will allow you to make adjustments for the future.

Like what you read? Check out Freakonomics Radio for a more detailed take on why these tips can lead you to success