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Monday, January 13, 2014

I don't like meetings. Unless...

If you know me personally, you know that I do not care for meetings.

This reaction to meetings hasn't always thrilled my bosses.

I have worked some places where I spent way too much time in meetings.

What I have realized in the past several years is that I sincerely do not have a problem with meetings, as long as the meeting is productive and a good use of my (and my teams) time.

These are the things I think are crucial to a meeting:

First and foremost, an agenda. I want to know what we'll be talking about so I know in advance what might be expected of me and what I need to be thinking of before the meeting. Walking into a meeting without an agenda definitely takes the meeting down a few notches in regards to how strongly I can participate.

Please start the meeting on time. If the meeting is a weekly or monthly meeting and there are folks who consistently arrive late, please address them (privately of course) and let them know how important it is that we begin on time as a group.

Please don't have a meeting just because you always have a meeting on that day at that time. If you as the person charged with the meeting believe that all is well that week or month and that meeting isn't necessary, make the leadership decision and cancel the meeting. Brilliant!

Please make your meeting a safe place for expression. If the meeting is about asking those attending for an opinion, pleas ensure that the meeting is a safe place to express such an opinion. I have been fortunate in my career that this has always been the case and it certainly adds to the honest productivity of a meeting.

If you have a meeting over the lunch hour, please serve lunch.

If you are planning to go over something that those attending needed to read, please make sure you have given them ample time for the reading. I personally would like one week. There is nothing worse (except not having an agenda) than being in a meeting where more than half of the attendees have not read what you are discussing, especially when you took the time to read it. It's important to give folks ample time.

Please keep the meeting on topic. Believe me, I know how difficult that can be. I love the words "let's discuss that outside of this meeting"! That's a great way to honor the point but continue with a focused discussion. I also think it's fine to create another meeting from the current meeting so folks present can talk further about something that has come up.

Please honor people's time. So important. And in my view just plain courtesy. People plan their days around meetings and in many cases go from your meeting right to something else of equal importance.

Thinking of all of this can make your meeting more productive, and create an environment where staff actually want to attend!

I would love your thoughts of what makes a meeting better.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Well said Dan - we are kindred spirits of the typical meeting calamity!