Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More better meeting ideas.

Post 466 - Someone once told me, “A meeting is an event where minutes are kept and hours are lost.” Here are some more ideas about how to avoid this:

During the meeting:

- Start with a crisp summary of purpose.
This will minimize digressions later on and will help you to keep the meeting on track. And on top of every agenda, put the $$ cost of the meeting (cost of salaries times two for opportunity).

- Encourage everyone to have their say.
Invite people who haven’t spoken to contribute in their area of expertise. Show that you value everyone’s opinions.

- Don’t let individuals dominate the meeting.
Intervene and cut people off when they’re going on too long or are obviously pushing a personal agenda. Steer the discussion back to the main point, tactfully but firmly. The other participants will thank you for it.

- Be ready to learn and change.
Change your course of action if new information pops up. Sticking to the script isn’t always the appropriate way to proceed.

- Get closure and move on.
When you sense consensus is emerging, push for a decision and move on to the next topic. No one wants to spend more time in a meeting than is absolutely necessary. Few meetings achieve much after the first two hours.

- End by summarizing what was learned.
“We’ve decided on A, B and D, and need to give further consideration to C and E.” That way, participants can leave with a sense of achievement and everyone knows what has to be done next.

After the meeting:

- Follow up quickly.
Send copies of the minutes to those who attended ASAP, and remind them about what they’ve agreed to do.

- Meet with participants who were unhappy with the meeting’s outcomes.
Take time to soothe the egos of those whose support you may need in the long run. These conversations can also provide you with helpful feedback.

- Send a memo describing next steps.
This document will provide a roadmap for future action by spelling out responsibilities and timelines going forward. It may also point out to dissatisfied participants that they’ve been heard and the issues they raised will be addressed in the future.

- Give people appropriate resources.
When people have been assigned a task to complete, make sure they have the means to accomplish it. If not, explain why.

- Act quickly to implement decisions made in the meeting.
People are judged more by what they do than what they say.

Like the meeting of the seagulls and the waves, we meet and come near.
The seagulls fly off, the waves roll away and we depart.

- Rabindranath Tagore in Stray Birds

No comments: