Have you ever been in a meeting that could have been an email? How about a post-lunch, Friday afternoon meeting where it was clear that nobody felt like being there? What about a meeting where one person dominated the conversation with negativity?
Check, check, check.
Challenging meetings are a part of business. They’ve always been around; and until the day when Amazon robots start running the show (joking, kind of), they always will be. But what if we told you there’s one way you could make any meeting a productive one? Yes, any meeting!
Here’s the secret: Always ask, “How can I/we add more value here?”
Asking how you can add value (and challenging others to think about the same) accomplishes a few things:
It turns a problem-focused conversation into a solutions-focused one.
Meetings have a reputation for getting off track and staying unproductive. Usually, this happens when one or two people dominate the conversation and only focus on the problem. By asking where value can be added, it shifts the conversation to a productive one.
It makes space for creativity.
We run from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting. When our schedules are jam-packed, there’s no room for thinking. When we have time to think, we have time to be creative and come up with interesting and innovative solutions. Shane says it best: “Creativity is somebody spending just a little bit more time thinking about something than someone else.”
It makes your teammates feel valued.
Can you imagine how good it would feel if a colleague initiated asking you if they could contribute? In a meeting with other people who might also chime in and offer to help? Facilitating meetings is hard, especially when people look bored or aren’t offering anything productive to the conversation. Trust us, your co-worker won’t forget how you added value to their meeting and project.
It clarifies a win.
How many times have you left a meeting feeling confused about why you were there or even what plan is moving forward? Probably a lot. Specifically, asking how you or your team can add value can give you the concrete answers you need to feel like the meeting wasn’t a waste of time.
Meetings are a necessary part of working in a business. But by asking how you can add value, you force yourself, and everyone else in the room, to think about solutions, channel creativity, and leave feeling productive.