Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Idea about Improving Meetings with Busy Executives

One of the things I’ve learned, is that when you’re meeting with a busy executive, don’t mix issues.  If you are talking to them about “A”, don’t mix “B” into the conversation.  You might see them as related and influencing each other, but from their perspective, this meeting is about “A”.  Hopefully they prepared for or thought about “A”, but bringing up “B” comes as a surprise to them.  At best, they’re caught off guard, more likely, they don’t see any connection between “A” and “B”.  They thought you were working on “A”.  Alluding to “B” confuses the issue.

When talking with co-workers, who focus on and think about these work items regularly and see the interactions between A and B, mixing the two makes sense, in fact, that is how you move things forward.  Remember, a co-worker spends all day thinking about these issues, a busy executive has maybe 15 minutes in a week.

Ideally, create an agenda and clearly state topics to be discussed.  If they need background material, it should be less than a paragraph and included in the email.  If they choose to jump between topics, that’s their choice.  As an executive, they have the option to drive the bus.  As someone working for an exec, if you control the agenda, to the greatest degree possible, you structure the meeting.

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