How to turn boring meetings into productive discussions

For a moment, pretend you are me. Let’s pretend you called a status conference at work and invited your team. The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday at 3pm. You gave the meeting agenda to your team and explained the purpose of the meeting.
Then you informed your staff that it was optional.
What would happen? What would happen? Only 46% of your team would show.
This is almost half of your workforce that would prefer to be anywhere and do anything other than attend a meeting.
Some of your team members would rather have to go through a root canal, suffer in a DMV waiting area, or even get a mullet, than sit through your status meeting.
Why are so many employees afraid of meetings?
Because they are so boring. They are so boring that employees will resort to any means necessary for sneaking out of meetings or avoiding them altogether.
Meetings are still one of the best ways to foster innovation in the workplace. Google and other workplace pioneers recognize the importance of meetings. They have created entire departments to improve meeting effectiveness.
If we are going to get together, why don’t we figure out how to do so right? Perhaps we can have some fun along the journey.
Research shows that most meetings are not boring because they are boring in context, but because most meeting leaders and moderators have never been trained on how to conduct a meeting.
You don’t have to attend expensive management training or go to “meetings” conferences. Simply use these 13 techniques in your meetings and watch the results.
These are the tactics you can use immediately to make those unpleasant meetings productive discussions that everyone enjoys, not avoids.
First, let me emphasize one principle: Be prepared.
Your best bet to get your team into a boredom-inducing bout is to just waltz in and have no idea what’s going on. The whole meeting turns into a hemming, hawing session and a Snapchat frenzy below the table.
Planning ahead is key to running productive meetings. Planning ahead is key to running productive meetings, even when the odds are against you.
You might be new to the job and unsure of yourself.
You might not be able to understand what you are talking about…
You might even be the most charismatic manager on Earth…
You can defeat boredom if you do your research ahead of time. What should you do to prepare for the event? These are the steps to get you started:
Step 1: Outline and share the agenda for the meeting ahead of time.
Everyone is on the same page when they know the purpose and the agenda in advance.
Your agenda should be structured to highlight your goals. Include expectations about what each participant should contribute.
An agenda will ensure that you have a meeting that meets a specific need and not just serves a standard. Because it is easy to discuss, agendas can improve the outcome of any meeting.
Studies show that meeting participants are more engaged if they feel they are solving real workplace problems. People who believe in their work are more productive and engage in the work.
How do you create a meeting agenda? Here’s what I do most often.
I create a Google Drive file with the name of the meeting and the date. I also include the attendees and the main points that I will be covering.
I share the Drive document to the team. During the meeting I take notes directly in the document I’ve created.
Here’s an example so you can see how it looks.
Keep it simple. It doesn’t take a dissertation to make your agenda. Simplicity wins.
Step 2: Highlight the purpose and goals of the meeting.
We all know the importance and value of starting with why. But it is important to share your why with attendees at meetings. Se