Monday, 19 October 2015

5 Questions to ask yourself to ensure a productive meeting with your manager

I'm hazarding a guess here that we probably all know what a bad meeting feels like...pointless, drawn out, direction-less and a waste of time!

When I first moved from working in the private sector into the voluntary section it was quite a culture shock.  I found lots of things different but for me one of the most glaringly obvious differences was the approach to having meetings.  Meetings were always long affairs and I mean loooooong!  Regardless of what or how many items there were on the agenda (which coincidently wasn't followed) the meeting would be several hours! Everyone would arrive and kind of sit back and settle in for the day with a cuppa.  Thankfully things did become much slicker, more business like productive and efficient, phew!

Meetings are expensive and time together precious so we need to make meeting time with our manager as effective as possible which is why I have put together these 5 questions to ask yourself...

5 Questions to ask yourself to ensure a productive meeting with your manager

1. Do I have everything prepared for the meeting?
Whether it is reporting back on progress, case load updates, monthly sales figures, productivity stats or offering new ideas and innovations, prepare the date your manager is expecting to see.  This not only shows that you are in control and on top of things but also that you are aware that time is precious and have a grip on what's needed.

2. What do I need from the meeting?
You've provided your manager with what's expected but you also need to focus on what you need from the meeting.  Good meetings should be a two way process, working together so play your part rather than risk it becoming one sided.  What questions do you need answers to?  What aspects of your work / performance do you need clarity on?  Do you need the go ahead, approval  or sign off permission?
Write it down beforehand as a reminder.  If there is no agenda for the meeting this will provide the focus and keep the meeting productive and on the track you want it to be on.

3. Am I sure I know what my manager needs from me?
Make sure you're clear on what's expected of you before leaving the meeting.  Ask the questions you need to get the direction, shared vision and clarity you need.

4. Am I running to schedule?
An agenda really helps with keeping within the time restraints of the meeting and keeping on subject.  If a certain item is taking more time than originally thought, having an agenda means you can look at what else is planned for discussion and re-prioritise as appropriate.

5. Do I have a clear action plan and time frame?
Either after each topic or at the end of the meeting carry out a little run-down, keep it snappy and to the point but go through each item to check mutual understanding and agreement.  Do you know what you are responsible for and when you are expected to have it completed.

Those of you who have followed my feature "Hannah Fox's Diary" will know that Hannah had a tricky meeting with her manager which didn't go brilliantly at first but with some careful preparation she managed to pull it around.  I have put links to the 3 posts I'm referring to below but if you aren't familiar with the Work Smart Work Savvy mini soap opera then you can click on the Hannah Fox tab above and read them all.

Hannah Foxs Diary - How not to have a meeting 16th April 2015

Hannah Foxs Diary Fact feel want 23rd April 2015

Hannah Foxs Diary - The big meeting 28th May 2015

Happy meetings!

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