Google's HR chief says this 1 simple exercise makes meetings more productive

If the people present at meetings are not paying attention or committed to its objectives, the meeting will likely be a huge waste of time. However, if meetings are used correctly, they can serve as positive opportunities to help teams address goals and achieve higher performance. According to Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock, there is a simple pre- and post-meeting habit that can help improve efficiency in meetings, according to Business Insider.

In his book "Work Rules!" Mr. Bock tells managers to ask employees how they plan on making the most of a meeting before it starts. Once it's finished, he tells managers to ask employees what they have gained from the meeting. Managers should also ask themselves these questions to ensure meetings stay focused and concise.

According to the report, Mr. Bock picked up this technique from Frank Wagner, Google's director of compensation, when they were both consultants with Hewitt Associates in 1994. Mr. Wagner, who was Mr. Bock's superior at the time, would ask a series of questions to get him prepared for meetings with clients. On the drive home from the meetings, Mr. Wagner would pose reflection questions, such as, "How did your approach work out?" "What did you learn?" and "What do you want to try differently next time?" Mr. Bock says in his book that these debriefing exercises were a defining element of his career development.

According to Mr. Bock, these exercises help ensure each meeting is an active, valuable and engaging experience. Additionally, they create viable opportunities to incorporate discussions regarding employees' personal goals.

"It also trains your people to use themselves as their own experiments, asking questions, trying new approaches, observing what happens, and then trying again," Mr. Bock says in his book.

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