The Right Way to Challenge How Meetings Are Run
When meetings veer off track, everyone’s time gets wasted. But what if you’re not in charge and the meeting leader is the source of inefficiency? It can be daunting to question a superior, but you can do it without challenging their authority. First, think about the standard procedures for planning a meeting: inviting the right people, sending out pre-work, and developing an agenda. Start your feedback there, since focusing on procedures won’t feel like a personal attack. If you do need to address the way someone runs a meeting, tread with caution. You certainly can’t say, “This was a lousy meeting, and here’s how to make it better.” But you can offer some quick assessment mechanisms to help the meeting leader reach their own conclusions: a meeting process checklist that people fill out anonymously, a survey that participants complete online, or quick questions that everyone discusses at the end of every meeting. We all are accountable for keeping meetings effective, whether we are leading them or simply participating.
Adapted from “Keeping Meetings on Track When You’re Not in Charge,” by Ron Ashkenas