Review of Meeting Mastery: The Coach.me Leader’s Guide to Meetings with Impact
Why have meetings become as dreaded as trips to the dentist?
Face it, nobody likes them. As they proceed, nobody wants to offend anyone, nobody wants to stick out like a sore thumb with bright ideas, and definitely nobody wants the responsibility of organizing these unproductive “time-wasters”.
Perhaps that’s the case for your organization now. However, the reality is that you need meetings to advance and grow your business. Even the home-based solopreneur has to converse on the phone or chat online from time to time. A type of informal meeting, but a meeting nevertheless.
Fortunately, there are communications specialists who have what is needed to improve your meetings.
The Art of Mastering Meetings
Founded in 2011 and fueled by its cutting-edge Coach.me Habit Tracking app (over a million downloads to Web, iPhone and Android platforms to date), San Francisco-based Lift Worldwide, Inc. has quickly earned a reputation in leadership training circles for its high impact online coaching services and certification programs.
Coach.me is a digital coaching platform that helps professionals, managers and executives achieve business goals every day. It takes exceptional pride in offering realistic solutions that improve company meetings tenfold.
With that in mind, the organization known for app-based coaching services still believes in going old-school to reach people who can benefit most from its wisdom. That’s why Coach.me builders Tony Stubblebine, Alicia Liu and Terrie Schweitzer have written and just released the stunning Meeting Mastery: The Coach.me Leader’s Guide to Meetings with Impact.
Is Coach.me onto something, and if so, does “Meeting Mastery” deliver a strong bang for the buck?
The GAP concept to Impactful Meetings
When Meeting Mastery speaks of GAP, we’re not talking about the global retail clothing chain, although their success may be tied to solid meeting mastery! Instead, Coach.me uses this acronym to highlight three (3) critical concepts for meeting success:
- Goal: Clearly state the meeting’s purpose.
- Agenda: An ordered list of talking points (activities) that will be discussed.
- Preparation: Telling participants what they have to do prior to the meeting, and what they need to bring to make the meeting run well.
The e-book provides a sample GAP outline that they actually used to create this e-book!
Using Flare and Focus in Brainstorming and Decision-Making
You may already know about brainstorming and possibly even use it at meetings now. However, Meeting Mastery directs you to novel brainstorming techniques (e.g. Round Robin brainstorming) that leave nobody out of the idea generation loop. This especially benefits quieter, more introverted people in your circle who normally have a tougher time getting their voices heard. Brainwriting, a non-verbal reflective form of generating ideas, is also discussed.
Consensus building is a key element of successful political, social and corporate decision-making. It usually ensures better acceptance of chosen courses of action without overt revolt and repulsion from the final holdouts. As a reader, you will especially appreciate the Dot Voting and Prioritization Matrices tactics presented.
More hierarchical groups with clear chains of command can still use consensus to sharpen the focus on better ideas.
This makes it easier for whoever is in charge to make the best possible decision.
Various focusing methods are discussed towards the end of the book.
Collaboration and Facilitation
Coach.me’s meeting philosophy embraces collaborative tools for effective face-to- face communication. However, it also recognizes that “Meeting Smells”, i.e. obstacles to good meetings, often need to be addressed before groups can begin to improve meeting productivity.
To that end, Meeting Mastery includes two (2) pages worth of cross-referenced solutions for three major problems that affect companies today:
- Meeting is a Waste of Time.
- Lack of Decision-Making at the Meeting.
- Team Does not Work Well at the Meeting.
The book has a one-stop section that directs you to immediate meeting place action makes this Coach.me book stand out from its competition.
Before You End the Meeting…
Meeting Mastery reminds everyone that a good meeting must not only start well and run smoothly through the allotted time period. It must also have a strong finish, even if certain themes and conclusions seem obvious to the participants.
To that end, it invites you to use the Apple Inc. – inspired Direct Accountability Individual (DAI) chart to encourage accountability across both simple and cross-functional projects. Similarly, the Directly Responsible Individual (DRI) concept assigns responsibility wherever it is needed.
Managers and meeting facilitators especially are reminded to follow-up with team members as required.
Meeting Mastery: The Coach.me Leader’s Guide to Meetings with Impact is an easy read that is chock full of clear and simple actionable steps to better optimize your meeting time. Its strategically placed quotes from the likes of Helen Keller, Dr. Linus Pauling, and Tony Robbins at the start of new chapters help you focus on each upcoming topic.
In addition to the core meeting tactics and ideas, Meeting Mastery discusses:
- Its Meeting Mastery Checklist.
- Excellent advice on how to handle status meetings and one-on- ones.
- Stand-up, COPA (Clarifications, Opportunities, Props, and Action Items) and other meeting formats.
- RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) charts.
- Automation tools for confirming status updates.
- Novel methods to encourage meaningful discussion (Stand-up discussions, Rule of Three, 5 Whys).
- And much, much more…
Final Thoughts on Meeting Mastery
If you worship the PowerPoint meeting culture, Meeting Mastery may not be for you. This book offers a progressive new approach to meetings popular at behemoths like Amazon and Apple, but also start-ups headed up by millennials.
At a total of 82 pages, Meeting Mastery: The Coach.me Leader’s Guide to Meetings with Impact is a relatively short read that packs a punch without you realizing it. Make no mistake, there is jargon throughout the book, but because of its conversational tone, you won’t feel overwhelmed by it – quite amazing in the coaching/leadership-oriented niche.
Who is Meeting Mastery really for?
- Companies looking to improve their bottom line by eliminating wasteful meeting time.
- Managers and workers who want to use meetings to facilitate better cooperation and collaboration on the front lines.
- Anyone frustrated by worthless meetings and is prepared to look at “out of the box” solutions that end up being quite practical.
Biggest Takeaway from Reading Meeting Mastery:
“Execution is about keeping forward momentum in the work. Everyone should leave the meeting knowing what they need to work.”