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Hosting Better Meetings

Meetings are necessary tools – but not in the manner many are run. Let’s recognize we’re all to blame for ineffective meetings. Good meetings, like good time management, come from a clear model of how time should be spent, plus the self-discipline to make it so. Applied to a regular meeting format, these guidelines can gain more time for you, but you’ll need to recruit some colleagues to really make them work.

It begins with a ‘can-do, let’s get results’ mindset.

Begin with a positive win-win attitude. Start looking at time wasted as squandered human life… yours! Start thinking ‘how can we make the process a win-win for everyone?’ Begin by determining if you even need a meeting in the first place… and if so, ask yourself these 3 questions:

What do I want? (be selfish)

Who’s involved in my getting what I want? (will limit the number of participants) and, finally,

What do they want … This is a key question. If you don’t know what they want, the meeting will be twice as long as it needs to be. If you don’t know – get the facts and talk to people in advance. The more you know, the more bargaining chips you have to ensure a win-win solution.

Key Points

  • Ensure agenda states the purpose and provides a ‘roadmap’ with times shown for all items.

  • Start on time with a direct restatement of the purpose, the time frame, & the agenda

  • Don’t begin the meeting until everyone agrees to the agenda & the time frame

  • After each item – summarize! And only then fill in the ‘meeting minutes form’

  • Summarize at the end of the meeting, highlighting assignments & achievements

  • Set agenda for next meeting… As you close the meeting, go once around the room for everyone’s last words (no discussion) on the meeting & how to make the next one better. Everyone comments.

Holding Better Meetings

Uses of meeting minute forms enable you to hand out the minutes on the way out.

If it is not your meeting to chair – be proactive. Never hesitate to ask “are we on topic?”

or, “let’s hold that idea until our next meeting so we can complete t

his item.”

Help the chair succeed – don’t just sit there.

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