How Aragorn Holds Effective Office Meetings / by Tze Hern Yeo


Let's face it. Office meetings are the absolute worst.

No one ever goes into work saying they look forward to a meeting with a smile on their face unless they're trying to be ironic.

Yet we still walk into one meeting after another, expecting things to be different but they still remain the same.

Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Whether you're in the position to organise or attend meetings, there's one thing you should know.

All meetings are not created equal.

Let's just admit that office meetings (in-person ones that is) are a time suck. 

It's even worse now with social media thrown into the mix because meetings don't ever have an actual start or end point when the discussion can continue on a group chat. F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

However, it goes without saying that some meetings are more important than others. 

Granted that a meeting with your superior holds more significance than say your average team brief, there's still a lot that make meetings suck in general.

The question I keep asking myself is this:

What is the agenda?

The premise of any meeting assumes that all involved are important to the discussion and even towards the completion of certain goals.

But clearly this isn't always the case.

Nothing grinds my gears worse than sitting in on a meeting with absolutely no clue what the objectives are.

When leaders gather their team without providing clear direction, they run the risk of setting both the team and themselves up to fail.

It should be an obvious red flag to anyone in a meeting if there isn't already a prior agreement on what is supposed to achieved.

This lack of communication and planning only begets more miscommunication and mismanagement. And you bet this cycle only gets worse.

All this can be easily avoided if team leaders take one simple step right from the get go.

Outline your plan of attack.

Before every battle scene in a movie, the hero always always delivers a speech that outlines two things:

1. What the good guys are up against
2. How they plan to win

In my book, Aragorn's speech at the Battle of the Black Gate in Lord of the Rings is the gold standard. 

Team leaders could learn a thing or two from this.

It could be as simple as using bulleted lists to prep the team in advance, or adding a simple description into the meeting invite.

All this serves the greater purpose of having the entire team aligned and able to prepare ahead of time.

With a clear plan of attack, team leaders can be assured that their members will be more focused and able to contribute to a fruitful discussion in the great fight against deadlines, projects and clients.

The battle cry at the end is optional of course.