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3 Simple Steps To Run An Effective Meeting: The GAP Approach

I get asked about how to run effective meetings all the time. As I wrote about in my Daily Huddle Article, how you run meetings has a material effect on your business.

If You Run Poor Meetings, No One Will Show Up

If You Run Poor Meetings, No One Will Show Up

I believe that the difference between a dull meeting and an amazing meeting is how you organize it.

I originally heard about one meetings format used by a consultant to a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary and I think it works just great.

It’s called G.A.P and it stands for Goal, Agenda and Preparation.

I believe every meeting should have all three!

Goal

The goal, or purpose, of the meeting needs to be stated upfront. A good way to remember what goes into a goal (for meetings or anything else) is that it should be a SMART Goal as in:

S = The goal should be Specific

M = The goal should be Measureable

A = The goal should be Achievable

R = The goal should be Relevant

T = The goal should be Timely (it should be reachable by the time the meeting ends)

That gets you off to the right start to a SMART meeting!

Agenda

When you hold a meeting, you need to have an agenda…even if the agenda is to have no agenda. Huh?

What I’m saying is that you as the meeting organizer need to state how the attendees are going to use the time at the meeting. The agenda could be something as simple as:

  1. Description of Problem You Face (10 minutes)
  2. Input From Each Team Member (10 minutes)
  3. Recommendation on Next Steps (10 minutes)

Or, if you’re not going to have something so structured, then state that the agenda is:

  • Open Discussion (30 minutes)

Preparation

A key to most meetings is preparation (by you the meeting organizer and by the attendees).

So, if you call a meeting, tell the attendees what they need to do to prepare.

When they join the meeting, should they have already reviewed a spreadsheet that you sent out? Do they need to have collected information from someone inside or outside the company?

Tell them how to prepare…if there’s no advanced preparation then I like to just say: “No Preparation…Just Bring Your Brain.”

If you use online calendars to schedule meetings, you should put the entire Goal, Agenda and Preparation (GAP) within your calendar invitation.

Follow GAP and you’ll have better meetings.

Note: You may have heard of another “GAP” used in business: the GAP Analysis strategic planning tool. Read How to Do A Gap Analysis for more on this valuable tool.

14 Comments

  • Jay

    The R in SMART stands for Relevance, as in how it relates to a higher level goal.

  • Jay

    The R in SMART stands for Relevance, as in how it relates to a higher level goal.

  • robkelly

    Thanks for pointing that out, Jay. I just corrected it! +r

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    Thanks for pointing that out, Jay. I just corrected it! +r

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    Thanks for pointing that out, Jay. I just corrected it! +r

  • robkelly

    Thanks for pointing that out, Jay. I just corrected it! +r

  • http://twitter.com/managemeet The Managemeet team

    Have you tried Managemeet.com?

  • http://twitter.com/managemeet The Managemeet team

    Have you tried Managemeet.com?

  • http://twitter.com/managemeet The Managemeet team

    Have you tried Managemeet.com?

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    No. I’ll go try it out. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    No. I’ll go try it out. Thanks for the tip!

  • robkelly

    No. I'll go try it out. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://robdkelly.com/getting-things-done/gap-analysis/ 5 Simple Steps On How To Do A Gap Analysis | Rob Kelly

    [...] There’s a separate “GAP” used in business related to how to run meetings. Read The 3 Simple Steps To An Effective Meeting: The GAP Approach for [...]

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    A new favorite tip for effective meetings is to begin with an Awesomeness Report.

    The Awesomeness Report is simply a quick item that each attendee feels awesome about — it doesn’t have to be business related…in fact, it’s often more interesting/fun when it’s a personal/family item.

    The reason this is a good way to start is that it gives the meeting group a positive feeling…which propels you towards a more productive meeting.

    I’ve been trying it out with small one-on-one meetings (including with new contacts) and it’s been effective; and I believe it could also work great for group meetings.