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November 4, 2014

Break Free From Meeting Monotony

Adam Slutskin
Chief Revenue Officer
ConnectWise, Inc.
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Chances are you hold weekly or monthly team meetings. You probably take this time to update everyone on the progress you’re making as a team and talk through next steps. But what happens in between these meetings? Mostly, nothing.

No one has the time to chase accountability from week to week or month to month, so meetings typically become a repetitious cycle of recapping progress, repeating goals and/or reassigning tasks. In short, these meetings can quickly turn into a waste of everyone’s time.

I’ve seen this scenario unfold many times. If you’re anything like me and are fed up with the frustration of meetings that accomplish nothing, maybe it’s time to try something different. Why not switch to a meeting style that focuses on purpose and efficiency? It’s called a huddle, and by implementing this type of meeting in your organization, your meetings will become much more productive.

Running a successful huddle means you’ll be able to uncover action items quickly and have an easy plan for immediate follow-through. You’ll improve meeting efficiency with easy information exchange, and assigning ownership and task tracking will be clear to everyone involved. Here’s a quick guide to implement the dynamic huddle style meeting in your own business.

Stand Up, Don’t Sit Down

Meetings typically involve everyone sitting around a conference table, with colleagues only half listening and conversations going in circles. A huddle takes place while everyone is standing and thus keeps everyone engaged and on topic. This isn’t meant to be a problem solving session, but a quick status check to make sure all team members are on the same page.

Unplug

No electronics are allowed in my huddle meetings. With screens off and phones down, everyone is primed to engage in the meeting. No one is distracted by incoming emails or working on other projects. Topics are addressed quickly and everyone is tuned in.

Stay on Topic

Keep each huddle to no more than two main topics, and make sure they’re addressed without extra details. Keep the conversation short and to the point, and get people back to work quickly, armed with the information they need.

Cover What’s New

Huddles are the right time to share new information, but only if it’s relevant to the entire group. News that’s specific to individuals or subgroups should be saved for offline conversations. Use this opportunity to share bullet point style and stay away from long, drawn out conversations.

Keep it Short and Sweet

The ideal huddle should be no more than fifteen minutes. Again, this is a chance to quickly share news, short updates and assign necessary tasks. Avoid derailing the meeting with brainstorming or problem solving sessions, which can be saved for your standard monthly meetings.

When and Who?

Huddles work best first thing in the morning when focus is high, or at the end of the day when the team has a full day’s work behind them and can finally relax. Keep the time and place consistent to help maintain the day-to-day flow.

Switching to huddle style meetings will help your meetings stay on topic and keep your team moving forward. Roadblocks and objections will be easy to uncover and team members will all see who is accountable for what. Huddles have been essential to my personal and professional growth. Consider implementing them today in your own business and create a predictable structure for your team that results in accountability and better team alignment.

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Adam Slutskin Chief Revenue Officer
ConnectWise, Inc.

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