Meetings serve a vital purpose in the business world, but the way we’ve structured them is far from productive or creative. In fact, it can be time-draining, soul-sucking, and any other horrible adjective that you can think of. How To Create Awesome Meetings: A Step-By-Step Guide to Help You Make Your Next Meeting More Productive and Profitable!, written by a certified meeting facilitator, was created to solve that problem. Instead of perpetuating the “let’s get this meeting over with” mentality, the author wants readers to leave each meeting with so much enthusiasm that participants can’t wait for the next one.
What is How To Create Awesome Meetings About?
Meetings are a vital source of information in any group of humans, whether you are running a business, deciding who will pick up the kids from school, or trying to land a man on the moon. The problem is that they are just so … boring and inefficient. Meetings often start off with good intentions but can quickly derail into off-track conversations about travel plans, employees attempting to peek at their email, or a talking match between the two most dominant speakers of the group.
Most books on the “inefficient and boring meeting problem” focus on controlling the agenda and the speakers. How to Create Awesome Meetings asks a different question, “Where’s the fun?” Yes, the book says, meetings are supposed to be efficient. How to Create Awesome Meetings provides strategies for minimizing wasted time, taming the agenda, and performing efficient follow-up (highlighted by the book’s FAST acronym for efficient follow-up). The book also argues, however, that meetings should be fun. Meetings should engage. They should be something that people willingly want to participate in.
To get to that point where meetings are awesome, How to Create Awesome Meetings details a ten-step process that readers move through to shift their perceptions and expectations about meetings. Author Gord Sheppard begins by shifting the reader’s perspective from meetings being a “boring thing you do at work” to “a chance to actively connect with another human (or humans) to get advice and feedback” in every situation. He then walks readers through minimizing the internal and external barriers to an effective meeting from beginning to end. Along the way, Sheppard shares ways to maintain an engaging and active but focused meeting (Check Out the “Meeting Fight club” for addressing conflict) that saves money and time and builds morale.
Sheppard is a professional meeting facilitator, speaker, and owner of Create Awesome Meetings, a business that provides consulting services to save the world from bad meetings. A former corporate manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Drama, Sheppard went on to facilitate or participate in 2,000+ meetings in his professional career. He began his quest for a better meeting format after his wife told him to stop complaining about how many he had to attend.
What Was Best About How To Create Awesome Meetings?
The best part of How to Create Awesome Meetings is the simple way it challenges our unconscious beliefs about meetings. First, we typically focus on “meetings at work” while ignoring that we engage in meetings all the time. Secondly, the book challenges our excessive focus on meeting efficiency while forgetting to make those meetings engaging. As Sheppard points out, this imbalance doesn’t cure bad meetings. Efficient, but non-engaged meeting participants are still not efficient. The book does a good job demonstrating how simple strategies (not necessarily expensive seminars) can fix boring meetings.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
How to Create Awesome Meetings does a good job of discussing several of the broad obstacles that interfere with meetings (lack of engagement, lack of effective of follow-up, conflict, the flow of conversation, etc.). It is especially helpful in the area of post-meeting follow-up. The one area that could use more attention is adapting the book’s 10-step process to different types of meetings. One obstacle that perpetuates bad meetings is the lack of adaptability. Some situations, like a weekly update, may require a few minutes while others could take hours. These two types of meetings have different dynamics to wrestle with.
Why Read How To Create Awesome Meetings?
How to Create Awesome Meetings is a good fit for meeting participants and facilitators alike because it addresses meetings from a variety of perspectives. For meeting participants, the book provides practical suggestions for improving meetings on a personal level (for example, addressing your own preconceived expectations about a meeting). For meeting facilitators, the book provides an efficient system for controlling a meeting before, during, and after the meeting starts. This is a distinguishing feature of the book. As a reader, you might want to turn to How to Create Awesome Meetings if you are seeking to get a better financial and creative return out of your meetings.