So much of what we call "meeting" is actually joint, aimless conversation. And, feeling helpless to make a difference, we tend to blame others for the situation. I have good news: we can make our meetings more energetic, more effective, shorter, and more fun. Here are some insights that can help.
- If you're considering inviting some people, but you don't want to hear what they have to say, don't invite them.
- Holding four conversations in parallel makes the meeting last four times as long.
- To make the meeting shorter, speak less.
- A meeting should be as short as possible and no shorter.
- The best antidote for dull, boring meetings is humor.
- Unless you want to relive an agenda item next time, assign some kind of an action item to move it forward.
- Meetings are for issues. Email is for announcements.
- If the length of the meeting's time slot, in minutes, divided by the number of people attending is 4 or less, either the meeting is too short or you have way too many people.
- Withholding the agenda until the meeting starts is a good way to surprise everybody.
- The best antidote
for dull, boring
meetings is humorIf some people aren't talking enough, consider the possibility that other people are talking too much.
- Screaming people make bad decisions.
- Bad decisions make screaming people.
- Interrupting people is the best way to get them not to hear you.
- We're not here just to discuss. We're here to resolve.
- Rushing to a resolution gets you to the wrong place as fast as possible.
- All meetings take at least as long as you have set aside for them.
- If the agenda remains unchanged after the first item, maybe people aren't really engaged…or maybe they're being railroaded.
- Unless you agree in advance about how to run the meeting, most people assume that it will be run their way.
- If the chair doesn't intervene when the meeting boils over, leave — or get cooked.
- Robert's Rules are too much baggage for any group with fewer people than the number of rules in Robert's Rules.
- If you can't make a decision because you're missing some information, talking about it some more probably won't help.
- You'll be assigned fewer action items if you actually attend.
- Raising topics that could result in action items for others invites retribution.
- To make the heavy lifting easier, start the meeting with appreciations for the contributions of specific people.
- When someone speaks from the heart, listen to the beat.
Get together with some buddies and pick your top five from this list plus your own items. Together, take action at your next meeting. Notice what works and do more of that next time. Repeat until meetings are fun. Top Next Issue
Do you spend your days scurrying from meeting to meeting? Do you ever wonder if all these meetings are really necessary? (They aren't) Or whether there isn't some better way to get this work done? (There is) Read 101 Tips for Effective Meetings to learn how to make meetings much more productive and less stressful — and a lot more rare. Order Now!
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More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- First Aid for Painful Meetings
- The foundation of any team meeting is its agenda. A crisply focused agenda can make the difference between
a long, painful affair and finishing early. If you're the meeting organizer, develop and manage the
agenda for maximum effectiveness.
- Keep a Not-To-Do List
- Unless you execute all your action items immediately, they probably end up on your To-Do list. Since
they're a source of stress, you'll feel better if you can find a way to avoid acquiring them. Having
a Not-To-Do list reminds you that some things are really not your problem.
- Teamwork Myths: I vs. We
- In high performance teams, cooperative behavior is a given. But in the experience of many, truly cooperative
behavior is so rare that they believe that something fundamental is at work — that cooperative
behavior requires surrendering the self, which most people are unwilling to do. It's another teamwork myth.
- This Is the Only Job
- You have a job. Even though you liked it once, those days are long past, and a return is improbable.
If you could, you'd hop to another job immediately, but economic conditions in your field make that
unlikely. How can you deal with this misery?
- Preventing Sidebars
- Sidebar conversations between meeting participants waste time and reduce meeting effectiveness. How
can we prevent them?
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming October 25: Workplace Memes
- Some patterns of workplace society reduce organizational effectiveness in ways that often escape our notice. Here are five examples. Available here and by RSS on October 25.
- And on November 1: Risk Creep: I
- Risk creep is a term that describes the insidious and unrecognized increase in risk that occurs despite our every effort to mitigate risk or avoid it altogether. What are the dominant sources of risk creep? Available here and by RSS on November 1.
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