A week of meetings and major no-shows

Better meetings breakfast

This was the first set of monthly trips to the UK to meet business partners, attend community events and, classic me, I over-did it.

All in all – I had scheduled 7 meetings in the week, 3 podcast interviews, 4 industry events/meetups to attend including the Better Meetings Breakfast Club on the morning of the last day of my trip.

Planes get delayed.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It doesn’t matter how well planned anything is, the unforeseen is always possible. The unforeseen in my case was a delayed flight to the UK that meant I would have to reschedule my Monday meetings.

I tend to think that the person or people I’m meeting should know straightaway what is going on – in the subject of a personally worded email.

I tend to start with ‘Oops, flights delayed, our meeting tomorrow is off’, at least they can immediately adjust their expectations and get on with planning/re-planning their day.

What is your preferred way of cancelling or rescheduling your meetings?

Just getting around is tiring

With my first two meetings rescheduled, I still had to get around London to meet some partners for some deep chats over food. London has a relatively small central area, made more accessible with a well connected transport system (even if often crowded and generally unfriendly!) – but I still find it really tiring to get about – especially when I have to work or collaborate when I get to wherever I’m heading.

How do you cope with fatigue between meetings?

In meetings I find I have a lot of energy – but it takes a lot of energy to sustain that level of engagement, actively listening and talking. So the added travel between meetings just adds to the fatigue. Food helps!

Always have an expressed agenda

Photo by Samuel Chenard on Unsplash

Lots of my meetings are with small groups – 2 maybe 3 other people. In these kind of cosy conversations, it seems inappropriate to have too many gadgets and meeting artefacts. So I try and have a core set of tools.

I always establish an agenda – even if only at a high level. I do this by offering what I want to get from the conversation and invite my co-contributors to say what they want to get out of the time too.

This week I got a compliment on that approach – a partner I was meeting said “I don’t often get asked what I want to get out of the meeting – I’m usually told. I like it, I feel like you showed me respect’

To be honest – I do this expressed agenda technique to make sure that my key things are covered, I’m king of the tangents and without this kind of technique we would soon end up talking politics, kids, science and any number of other interesting things.

What do you do to help set expectations , agenda and outcomes from your meetings and conversations?

Whoever comes are the right people

This week we also had our first Better Meeting Breakfast Club. It is meant to be a very informal community of practice (a space for meeting practitioners get together to learn, share and commiserate with each other!)

I wasn’t expecting many people to sign up on the Evenbrite events page, perhaps half of the advertised seats of 14. After all this is the first event for a topic that everyone endures but no one really wants to tackle. It’s like meeting about the common cold.

As it happened, only 4 people signed up. That’s ok.
This is not my first rodeo at sparking community. So I wasn’t phased at the low sign up.

But I was a little disappointed that none of the four that signed up actually showed up! They didn’t even cancel.

Have you experienced no one showing up to your meeting? How do you deal with that?

Well, it was 10:30am – I was hungry and I was in a breakfast restaurant. So there was only one thing for it. To sit and have a solid breakfast and have a meeting with myself and then later on with Ben – my marketing partner.

Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

It is not often we get time in a planned out day to ourselves. I have learnt now that when these opportunities for ‘me time’ come up, to use it wisely. Rather than rush off to something else, I now take time to reflect, perhaps focus on my own stuff.

One of the things I reflected on was that ‘Community is hard, people might not show up’ and I resolved to understand why and make improvements to the next attempt at the Breakfast Club.

There will be a next attempt and one after that, because this is important.

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