Too many of our meetings start with little more than a quick agenda and a whole lot of wishful thinking.
We hope the right people will attend, that they’ll know offhand whatever information we may need, and that we can talk ourselves into a workable consensus. What we often get are partly-attended sessions with partly-informed participants, often only able to accept or reject the meeting scheduler’s ideas rather than come up with intelligent thoughts as a group.
There’s a better way: The Flipped Meeting.
It’s a new format that any organization can adopt overnight—all it requires is a simple, fundamental change in two of the expectations we have for our meetings.
Once you’ve gotten all the parties at the table, your basic flipped meeting is easy. There’s just one catch: once you’re all at the table, you’ve already missed the opportunity to flip.
Flipping a meeting requires the meeting organizer to plan—and communicate—ahead of time. Whether your next flipped meeting succeeds or fails almost always depends on the work done before anyone even opens the conference room door.
To ensure the success of your flipped meeting, there are three essential elements you’ll need to prepare and share ahead of time:
In terms of lead time, 24 hours is the gold standard. If you’re just testing out the flipped meeting format, start there and see how people react. You may find 48 or 72 hours is more suitable for your team, or instead that just a few hours notice for meetings scheduled later in the day works perfectly.
In terms of sharing information, this too will be something to test and optimize with your team. You may find the same PowerPoint deck you already create works perfectly, or that a brief bullet point outline via email suffices. Or, you may find that adopting a new model improves the outcome – Amazon now famously organizes meetings around 6-page Word documents.
Whatever your format, the crucial part of information sharing is actually sharing enough information for attendees to make informed decisions. Early on it may be helpful to use a documented framework to ensure the right information is shared as you work out what’s right for your organization.
While a flipped meeting requires a little more work up front, you’ll reap the rewards during the session. The key is that your role now is not to lecture, but to guide the discussion and work.
A few tips to keep your flipped meeting running efficiently:
As with any new process, it may take time for your organization to adjust to this new way of doing business. Look for opportunities to optimize the way your team flips its meetings—to save even more time, get even more done, and make even more happen.
Download our latest free white paper, “Turn Your Meeting On Its Head: A guide to flipped meetings.” In it you’ll learn why this approach is both revolutionary and simple, and we’ll walk you through using it to change the meeting culture within your organization.