Sometimes you need a disguise…

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Image by Nancy Sticke from Pixabay
I know, we’re a day early. But since many of you are already eating the candy, and I thought I could use one more pumpkin-and-costume graphic, with puppies, we’re posting a day early. This week I had a lovely time with connections and colleagues from the Toronto Product Management Association, where I was sharing a facilitator’s-eye view of meetings and how to make them work for you. My first rule: treat your colleagues like you would treat your customers – give them and their ideas the same level of respect and consideration.  No one likes meetings, for sure, but there are some key things that make them run more smoothly:

  1. Curate who needs to be in the room.
  2. Make sure you hold only one kind of meeting, per meeting (status update/info sharing, decision making/problem solving, ideation/creation, team building). 
  3. Set an agenda and communicate the 5Ws of the meeting in advance.
  4. Respect people’s time and contribution by ensuring they are heard, using their time wisely, and doing what you promised (and only that). 
  5. Make space for what doesn’t fit by using a parking lot.
  6. Use a tool like the Ivory Taboo Tower* to let people mention the unmentionable.
  7. Leave with actions.
  8. Follow up with notes that parallel the agenda, summarize discoveries, and give a who, when, what to the actions.

I was thrilled with the enthusiastic response, and I really empathized with some of the questions afterward. These included:

  1. How do I keep from getting stuck always being the one taking notes at the meeting? Note that this question almost always comes from women. (Check this out). 
  2. What if my boss brings someone along who isn’t on my curated list of who should be in the room?  (Give them an assignment like managing the parking lot or taking notes – another reason not to always be the person above). 
  3. How do I get someone to do a task that really is their responsibility, but I’m getting measured for it? (This is where those attractive costumed pups come in at the top of the page – disguise it as something they want to do. And also, if you’re being measured on the actions of people who don’t work for you…that’s a whole nother discussion).
  4. What can you do about a boardroom bully? (We talked about that here). 

What meeting challenges do you have? Steve and I are happy to try and address those in future posts. Let us know in the comments below, or email us with your questions. Product management (brand management, marketing management, roadmap management)…is people management. People are our specialty.

*The Ivory Taboo Tower is a “secret parking lot” out of the room, or on a discreet wall, where people can note topics that are taboo to talk about, and yet are having an impact on getting things done, agreeing, or moving forward. 

I’m Megann Willson and I’m one of the partners here at PANOPTIKA, along with Steve Willson. We help you and your company to see everything you need to know to make better decisions, so you can find, understand, and keep customers. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook, and if you’d like more news you can use, delivered straight to your inbox, click the handy button below to sign up. 

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