Who Should Get a Meeting Invite?
Work meetings can be incredibly productive or they can feel like the biggest waste of time. Over the past two weeks, we’ve discussed how to prepare for a meeting, and how to run a productive meeting. This week let’s discuss who should receive a meeting invite.
One of the main ingredients that can make or break a meeting is its participants. Like having the right ingredients in a recipe, the right people in can make things happen – people discuss and conclude, decisions are made, and participants leave the meeting feeling like they have accomplished something. If too many people are present, or if the appropriate decision makers aren’t present, the meeting can quickly become unproductive, and participants leave feeling annoyed, defeated, and overworked, thinking about everything they couldn’t get done while they were in the meeting.
So how do you make sure you have the right people present to get things done in a timely manner?
Try these three general questions the next time you are planning the invitees to your meeting:
- will they contribute to the discussion, decision, or other outcome?
- do I need them there to obtain their input or approval?
- will they be affected by outcomes of this meeting? (no one likes hearing that they received an assignment in a meeting they didn’t attend.)
When you invite people from outside your own sphere of influence, copy the person’s boss on your invitation. You’re not inviting the boss, or even asking their permission, but giving them the courtesy of informing them that your requesting one of their team members. This is especially helpful when you’re inviting the subordinate of one of your peers.
How Big Should a Meeting Be?
When you are trying to solve a problem or come to a decision, smaller is better. Make sure that you have enough of the facts before you narrow down the list, but you really only want the people who can truly offer valuable input into the discussion.
When you’re running a brainstorming session, you can include more people. Generally, the more ideas on the table, the better. When you are providing updates or offering good news, include as many people as is practical. People love to be included, especially if the news is good, or if they might be recognized or thanked (hint hint!).
Keep in mind that the more people are away from their desks, the less work is getting done. Everyone today has more work than they can complete. If your meeting isn’t creating more value than the participant’s work at their desk, go back and rethink your meeting!
Coming next week: How to manage conflict in meetings