Were you ever in a meeting with someone who was asking you to do something, and by the end of the meeting you realize you have absolutely no idea what he or she is asking you to do? And the explanation was so long and so circuitous that you’re too embarrassed to say: “So, what are you actually asking me to do?”
I hate those meetings
I hate them because they’re worse than not having a meeting at all. They’re confusing. They’re usually conflicting. And worse of all, they’re paralyzing. Because you really don’t know what was asked, you spend the next few hours, days or meetings trying to figure out the meaning of the original meeting.
You pick a course of action and pray for the best. You know you have to do something, I mean; you can’t ignore the request (even though you have no idea what the request was asking). You chart a course and off you go. You have a 50/50 chance of being correct.
Ah, but that’s the fallacy. You actually have a .000001% chance of being correct.
Odds are, you’ve now wasted time, energy, resources and passion on the wrong thing. And there’s a very painless and easy way to avoid all of this: the meeting recap.
It’s a lost art. But saves thousands of hours doing the wrong thing.
At the end of the meeting, instead of thinking “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” you say these magic words: “OK, to recap, next steps are…”
If you’ve guessed correctly, everything is fine. If you’re wrong, then the meeting organizer will say “No, let’s me be tell you exactly what I’m looking for.” And while for about 30 seconds you may feel like you’ve failed – you’ve actually helped everyone in the room. You’ve won. 30 seconds of pain is nothing in comparison to all the wasted hours with the wrong or bad direction.
There’s also another benefit. Everyone else in the room will love you. Trust me, you’re not the only person in the room who had no idea what was being asked. Most times, the entire room in clueless. Nobody wants to admit it.
So there you have it. Move forward. Fear not. You now have a secret weapon against bad direction. The upside: you have better meetings. The downside: everyone starts recapping all of my meetings.