Plan Meetings Like Practice Sessions
Look behind the success of winning sports teams and you will usually find a coach who scripts team practice sessions down to the minute. Practices are scheduled weeks in advance and planned to produce specific outcomes. Every segment of practice is designed to work on the skills or issues the team needs to master to achieve game-winning results.
Because coaches know time is precious, their practice scripts are broken into distinct blocks where the team covers a skill or play and then moves on to the next issue. No wonder the best athletic teams operate seamlessly under extreme game pressure. They are highly prepared because of the intense and precise practice sessions.
Leaders in areas other than sports who take this approach to meetings generate similar benefits. When each segment of a meeting is designed to achieve a specific outcome, the conversation changes. This goes way beyond mere agendas.
The idea is for the leader to determine the purpose of each meeting segment, compose the key messages or takeaways for each discussion, and identify who needs to be heard from on each topic. This meeting practice script would not be commonly shared with others. It’s simply a working script to guide the leader throughout the meeting.
This approach pays big dividends in focus and discussion quality. Remember: Meetings are the practice sessions of everyday leadership. It’s time to get better at them.