8 Ways to Fix Your Broken Monthly Meeting


business meeting. Professionals asked to present

Having spent over 25 years in senior management roles I was often troubled by a particular pattern I saw in almost every meeting. 

If I were to describe an image of what I believe I typically saw each month it would look something like this:

– Each person sitting in the same seat they always occupied.

– Each manager taking it in turns to update the room on their exhaustive list of Key Performance Indicators.

– Much of what each manager reported on was of little relevance of importance to everyone in the room.

– Every month or every quarter each update sounded practically identical.

– The meeting was always dominated by the most senior person in the room.

– Each update felt like a ‘floorshow’ for each manager to say how hard they had worked.

– The executive demonstrating how bright they were by challenging each manager or finding flaws in their presentation.

– A lack of engagement as the room knew that they were only really there to impress the most senior manager.

That was  over 10 years ago, but of course everything has changed since then; businesses don’t operate like that anymore.

Or do they?

Unfortunately I don’t believe it has changed too much.

When we begin the journey of designing bespoke presentation skills solutions for our clients we are often afforded the opportunity as part of our research to ‘sit in’ on these meetings where of course many of the presentations take place.

Despite size, brand or success many of these old patterns still exist today.

Imagine just how much businesses would thrive and excel even further by challenging and breaking some of these unhelpful patterns.

It’s not that difficult

The leaders who have already disrupted the status quo and are using their management’s time wisely, respectfully and productively have changed the game and you can too.

Any update is a chance to connect people in the team with the rest of the business, its mission, vision and purpose.  It’s an opportunity to engage the executive and other stakeholders in the business to achieve 4 key goals:

– To inspire confidence, belief and excitement in you and your team

– To enhance synergy across the business and break down silos

– To ensure clarity, understanding and to draw on support and help where needed

– To encourage and generate ideas and thinking that can propel you further and faster 

It’s not a platform to bore everyone to tears with how hard you’ve worked, how other departments have let you down or simply impress them with your knowledge of your side of the business.

The solution

1. Make certain that everyone takes a different seat each month, including you.

2. Don’t let them present on every  single KPI.

Focus on the ones where they are struggling and need help or the ones they met that were a significant challenge that the business needs to learn from. That doesn’t mean their other achievements get overlooked as the chair should acknowledge and congratulate the manager before they give their update.

3. Everyone at that meeting should be sent a full update report in advance with all of the detail they need with a request to put forward significant questions, issues or concerns in advance. Cut down on the surprises.

4. Don’t go around the room in the same way you always do. Keep people awake by pulling names out of a hat as to who will present next.

5. Request that everything shared is relevant to the whole group. If it isn’t take it outside of the meeting to the respective parties.

6. Encourage the team to think differently each month about how they present their update. The objective is to make it interesting and engaging, otherwise they may just as well send everyone an email.

7. Don’t let the same people dominate the meeting each month regardless of their seniority; that includes you.

8. Send everyone on a suitable presentations skills training course or coaching programme so they know exactly how to craft and deliver their message with impact.

Monthly and quarterly update meetings can be very tedious and frustrating. Often managers will have a great deal to say and this might be their only chance to say it. Unfortunately, most people in the room won’t want to hear it all so its vitally important that you get to the part they do need to hear quickly. 

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If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.


Image: Courtesy of flickr.com

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