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  • InsideTrack
  • November 18, 2020

    Mastering Meetings: Tips for Staying on Track

    Without good meeting management, your meetings can go off the rails. Stacy Devlin, director of client success at Affinity Consulting, shares some tips.

    Nov. 18, 2020 – Meetings, either with clients or colleagues within the firm, provide an opportunity to assess work product, firm strategy, or other important matters that keep business moving in the right direction. But are your meetings achieving their goals?

    Without good meeting management, your meetings can go off the rails, says Stacy Devlin, director of client success at Affinity Consulting.

    Devlin was on a panel discussion on how to “Master Meetings from Anywhere” at the recent Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference (WSSFC), a virtual event this year.

    Devlin and Wisconsin attorneys Deanne Koll, Jeffrey Krause, and Michael Seung-Hyock Yang conducted a mock meeting to simulate what can happen in real meetings, and how to get the group back on track when discussions digress.

    One of the key issues is not following an agenda, Devlin said. “One of the things we do with our internal meetings and with our clients is to share an agenda ahead of the meeting or the call.”

    The agenda will include specific time frames for each segment on the agenda and all meetings will start and end on time, with clear expectations on what the meeting is attempting to accomplish. But what if attendees get off track?

    “There’s some rules of engagement that we like to share with our team members,” Devlin said. That includes the expectation that meeting managers will interject if the agenda is not followed or individuals get off track.

    “You definitely need somebody running the meeting who feels empowered,” Devlin said. “And for those who understand this will happen, they tend to welcome it.”

    Measuring Success

    Devlin’s organization follows meeting methodologies outlined in books by Gino Wickman, including Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.

    Accountability is a big piece of it. “Every team needs to have a goal that they are working towards,” Devlin said. “The only way to know if you are moving towards that goal is to have measurable metrics. We put together a scorecard for each of our teams.”

    “There are certain pieces of the business that each of our teams are measuring,” Devlin said. “They could be financial numbers, or caseloads. It could be any number of things.”

    At meetings, the agenda includes a check-in on the goals outlined in scorecards. Devlin says this is a good way to keep everyone on the same page and moving forward.

    “If you are attempting to solve a particular problem, each team will also have what’s called an issues list to identify, discuss, and solve the issue,” she said. Future meetings include check-ins with those individuals tasked with implementing the solution.

    “You are holding yourself accountable, and your peers are holding you accountable to actually do what you said you were going to do,” Devlin said. “Once everyone buys into that concept, it actually works really well.”

    If You Missed It

    2020 wssfc logo

    All WSSFC sessions were recorded and will be replayed via webcast in the near future. Check out the WSSFC schedule, and check the WisBar Marketplace soon to register.

    Those who registered for WSSFC can access all replays as part of the registration package, in case you missed a session. Members who did not register for the event will be able to access WSSFC sessions at a specified registration price.

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