Mastering Meeting Management, is, for most of us, a chore.
Most of us would really rather not have to have meetings, but they are hard to avoid.
If, like me, you attend lots of meetings where you come away thinking ‘what was that for?’, then the following tips may help you to run your meetings more effectively.
- Be clear what the meeting is forMeetings are for sharing information and then making decisions based on that information. Nothing else.
- Limit attendee numbersDon’t invite anyone (or attend) to a meeting if they aren’t crucial to the purpose. The effectiveness of a meeting will drop off rapidly beyond about 6-8 attendees.
- Send out an agenda in advance of the meetingHow will people know how to prepare otherwise?
- Don’t have AOB on your agendaIt just encourages the wafflers, the complainers and the unprepared.
- Put agenda items in order of importanceThat way you have a fighting chance of getting the most important stuff done.
- Set a time limit for the meetingThere is nothing worse than not knowing how long a meeting will last. Meetings generally shouldn’t last more than 2 hours – people will not stay focussed for longer. If you need to meet for longer – have 2 meetings. Long meetings also encourage wafflers, the complainers and the unprepared.
- Set a rough time limit on individual agenda itemsIf one item is getting bogged down, you probably need a separate meeting to sort it out.
- The chair should chairYou can’t chair a meeting effectively if you get embroiled in the details of an agenda item. It’s like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Some clever individuals can do it, but most of us end up looking foolish and doing neither well.
- Pick a location without interruptionsThis might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how often people don’t do this.
- Don’t allow anyone to have their mobile phone onIf they are waiting for a call, they won’t be focussed on the meeting.
- Get someone other than the chair to record decisions and actions Don’t note down all the waffle that led to the decision. If anyone wants this, they can either take their own notes, or attend the meeting in person (the usual reason for someone taking detailed notes).
- Don’t wait for the record for your actionsIf you have agreed to do something, write it down yourself. You are much more likely to do it when you should that way.
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