Video: If You Want More Effective Meetings, Use This Tool For Ending 17 Minutes Early
Want more effective meetings? Here's a very simple way to cut 17 minutes from almost every team meeting you sit in. Have a statement of achievement. What is that? Well, we did a survey recently. We asked people coming out of meetings: "Was the meeting you were just in, did it accomplish its original objective?" We gave people 3 choices, "yes," "no," and "I have no idea." Sadly, the most common answer wasn't "yes." Most common answer wasn't "no." The most common answer was, "I have no idea." Why? Because they didn't have a clear objective for the meeting they were just in. How many times have you sat through a team meeting where you're like, "I don't really know what the point of this meeting is, or I don't know how I'm supposed to judge other than looking at the clock when it’s over."
A statement of achievement makes for effective meetings. It’s one sentence that basically says, "As a result of this meeting, we will have achieved, blank." I don't care what blank is, but blank has to be something. As a result of this meeting, we will have picked a price for the proposal we're submitting to the Johnson account. As result of this meeting, we will have decided which of the three clinical safety protocols we're going to move forward with. As a result of this meeting, we will have decided who is going to be in-charge of next week's employee lunch, whatever.
As long as you have a crystal clear objective, you’re almost guaranteed to have effective meetings. Because you now have two important things. One, you have some purpose which is great, but two, one of the reasons why the typical team meeting gets fluffy and last too long is that we don't have a clear objective. The only way we know that the meeting is over is when the bell rings, when the 60 minutes is up or whatever. If you have 20 minutes of content in a meeting but a 60-minute time block, how long does the meeting last? 60 minutes, right. If you have 37 minutes worth of content in a 60-minute time block, how long does the meeting last? 60 minutes. Why? Because we don't have a crystal clear objective that says, "As soon as we accomplish the statement of achievement, the meeting is over. And that’s the key to effective meetings."
With the statement of achievement, it says, "As a result of this team meeting, we will have achieved picking a new price for the proposal for the Johnson account." Wonderful, is you can say. Once you have that, you can say to the rest of the group, "Listen folks, here's our objective, here's our statement of achievement for the meeting today. As soon as we accomplish this, meeting's over." That means everybody around the room now starts looking at each other gown. "Yeah, let's not talk about last night's basketball game. Let's not talk about the episode of The Bachelor who won or whatever," I'm not that still on, "but now let's settle that aside and let's just get this thing done, so we can all get out of here."
What we find is when organizations implement a statement of achievement in all their meetings, these newly effective meetings end on average 17 minutes early. Is that the end of the world? No. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you can take a 60-minute meeting down to 2 minutes. Probably not going to happen, unless it was a team meeting that shouldn't happen in the first place, but 17 minutes per meeting on average spread across the 20 meetings you sit in every week. Well, now all of a sudden we're talking about real time, and the only thing we need to do is one sentence that says, "As a result of this effective meeting, we will have achieved something."