There is nothing worse than a meeting that isn’t going anywhere. It literally zaps energy right out of your day.
Boring meetings that waste time are not good for anyone that could be doing something more productive; they can make you anxious and impatient and annoyed. On the other hand, focused, efficient meetings with clear objectives have flow and end with people happy and energized after for what was accomplished in that time. It also increases rapport with those that were in the meeting leaving with a feeling of accomplishment.
When I was the vice president of a non-profit's board of directors, I chaired board meetings in the absence of the president. Though new and inexperienced, the meetings I chaired lasted only 40 minutes rather than the normal two hours while covering the same content.
Personally I don’t like meetings that are not moving forward with momentum—my attention span fails and my energy depletes. Keeping things moving fluidly and limiting side line and irrelevant conversations allowed us to finish sooner, go home and be happy with the results of the meeting that didn’t drag on or disengage.
FOCUS = FLOW
When the meeting is moving fluidly, it is usually because everyone is fully engaged, paying attention, and there is a purpose. Keeping in mind what you want to achieve can help steer and tailor conversations to the original goals of the meeting. Not spending too much time on one topic unless it is a problem or high priority is important so you do not leave the meeting needing to schedule another one.
You want to foster an environment where everyone is encouraged to give ideas and brainstorm but still be able to shut off the mic when it is time to move on to the next item as the moderator of a meeting. Also listening to who is speaking and knowing when to intervene tactfully is important. Poorly timed interruptions can make the meeting last longer than necessary and can be disrespectful to whoever is saying their part.
GIVE CHOICE TO DECISION MAKERS
When you need to accomplish a list of tasks or objectives in a meeting, prep and bring the items necessary to help the influencer make decisions by having an organized agenda with priority items first. Giving choices will help guide the focus of the meeting and showing the best options rather than them having to think it out fully for themselves makes it easier for them and smoother for you to anticipate outcomes.
This is key when you are working with a busy executive already strapped for time. They will appreciate you making it easy for them while you have a meeting covering your objectives efficiently. In a sales context, it also harder to say no when you have more options.
Think about how things could play out in your meeting and try to anticipate outcomes and decisions that can be made during that time and plan the meeting and conversations accordingly.