Meeting Zombies - running effective meetings that don't suck the life out of you

You have been a meeting zombie, I have been a meeting zombie…We both are guilty of spreading the Zombie virus to others in the meeting room.

Zombies need to feed
  • You call people into a meeting. They have little to no understanding of why they are there.
  • They enter the meeting with energy, enthusiasm…or at least a pulse!
  • As the meeting progresses all the life is sucked out of the room.
  • People go limp in their chairs
You have eaten their brains!

Congratulations you now have listless meeting zombies, who will say and agree to anything, just to get out of there…Only to have meetings after the meeting where no one agrees or remembers what was agreed upon.

How can this be avoided?

There are a couple things.

Meeting Zombies thrive on apathy and mistrust

This can be cured by

  • The team leader / project manager being prepared for the meeting. This can be accomplished by having a project charter or a shared communication document that defines the ‘why are we here’ and the ‘what are the end goals’.
  • Utilizing the 6 MUST HAVES for Running a Team Meeting
  • Stating the purpose of the meeting in the agenda.
  • Before inviting everyone to the meeting – ask yourself “does x have to be here? Can x be informed about this part of the work?”
  • Being clear and concrete about the expected outcomes from the meeting.
  • Know how to deal with difficult team members this is the persons last fight against the Zombie…If people are being difficult it is usually the manager having a bad team meeting.
  • Avoiding overly vague objectives of the meeting, that just confuse everyone. I have sat in meetings where after about 20 minutes of some executive spouting nonsense I had to stop the meeting and ask “Why are we here? What do we need to accomplish in the next 30 minutes for us to leave here with some next steps?”

Below is a chart from Quality Tools For Quality Teams…interested in hiring Mike to lead this process for your company? Phone – 1.716.629.3678

Planning the project team meeting

What do you think?

How do you avoid meeting zombies? What advice can you share to make meeting better?

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