Friday, 1 February 2019

Building good meeting habits

We all get asked to attend meetings, and then when we get there, feel that there was no reason for our presence; that we didn't really contribute enough to be worth our time away from our main role. There was no WIIFM (what's in it for me).

However, there are some simple things you can do to make any meetings you call more effective. They are:

  1. Call a meeting only after considering other options: especially question the value of regularly scheduled meetings. Pass information to others in writing instead of a meeting.
  2. Different meeting formats: Consider holding the meeting standing up, or a walking meeting, or don't provide refreshments (make it feel snappy & people will treat it as being snappy). Meet in someone else's busy office, or in a high traffic area.
  3. Agenda: ensure all know of the meeting's purpose and use a written agenda. Send it and any relevant written material well before the meeting
  4. Have a FIRM start & finish time: Don't wait for late-comers, and don't recap when they arrive; they can catch up afterwards. Finish on time so everyone can get away as expected.
  5. Have the Right People there: See that only the people who need to be there are there. If applicable encourage people to attend only the parts of the meeting that concern them, and tell them when that time will be (and stick to it).
  6. Keep to the agenda: Use the agenda and don't let people introduce new ideas - that is outside the terms of this meeting. If a new idea is very important, halt this meeting & then set another one at a later time when everyone is briefed on the background for the new state of play.
  7. Be focused: keep your meeting concise, constructive and on-topic. No phones. Limit verbosity.
  8. Minutes: Assign someone to record recommendations, decisions and actions - ie item action by who? by when? Then distribute the minutes & actions it as soon after the meeting as possible.

These all sound like easy things to do, but it is surprising how often these things don't get done. 

Let's all build good meeting habits!


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