A Few Notes on Effective Meetings

Meeting Management is a valuable skill for a leader to possess and yet, many individuals fail to recognize the value of effective meetings (major pet peeve!).  Here are a few thoughts on meetings: In a recent study, it was found that 11+ million meetings take place every day with business professionals attending 61.8 meetings/month.  If 50% of one-hour meetings are productive, this means that 31 hours/month are wasted in meetings equating to almost four work days.

Questions to ask prior to scheduling a meeting... > Has a goal been set for the meeting (purpose, goal)? > Has an agenda been created? Distributed prior to meeting > Will appropriate stakeholders be attending (Important decisions will be put on hold without proper attendees)? > What is the role of each participant? > Could the information be covered in an email or memo? > What is the process of handling issues outside of scope of meeting objectives? > Do I need a call plan? > Do I need to "prep" key participants?

Preparation and organization are the key to effective meetings... > Define clear objectives (create agenda, topics for discussion, define presenter or facilitator for each topic, assign time allotment for each topic) > Define participants (role, expected contribution, available schedule ) > Circulate meeting information to attendees prior to meeting (objectives, agenda, location/date/time, background information, assigned items for prep)

Leading meetings means making time an effective investment for participants... > Start meeting on time despite late arrivals > Provide overview of agenda, topic leaders and meeting objectives > Document notes from the group > Outline decisions made during the meeting > Maintain "parking lot" > Identify action items, assign ownership and due date > Create meeting notes including action items and distribute post-meeting > Minimize interruptions (phones, pagers, other...) > Include previous meeting's action items / notes in start of next meeting

Guiding principles for meetings can help keep them on track... > Focus - Concentrate on meeting objectives and associated outcomes in the time allotted > Manage time - Finish early or at a minimum, at the designated end-time > Mediate - Praise in public, criticize in private > Avoid groupthink - Avoid pressuring or swaying others' opinion > Document - Outline meeting highlights, action items, ownership and due dates > Solicit / Engage - Encourage participation > Cancel - Terminate meetings when there is no longer a purpose > Measure - Evaluate success of meeting (participant feedback) > Self-Discipline - Stay focused (as a participant) on the desired meeting outcome