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Meaningful Meetings

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

How much time do you waste in meetings? I know I’ve wasted lot of hours waiting for something to happen. People generally hate meetings because they seem to last forever, and nothing gets accomplished. I’m not concerned that we don’t get to decisions fast enough as much as I am that the process doesn’t move along. I am a great believer in team involvement and decision making. This can take time.  

Meetings are a way we make decisions, plan actions, and move goals forward. When you chair a meeting, you are responsible for the well-being of the group dynamics. You must know how to speak so others will follow.

Running a meaningful meeting is a learned skill that takes practice. A well-planned meeting will avoid time killers and keep the meeting meaningful. Avoid meetings that are boring and go nowhere. Meet for a purpose. No purpose, no meeting.

Team involvement can be managed if a few checklist items are enforced.

  • Know what is important and conduct any needed research before the meeting.

  • Decide who needs to be there (and who doesn’t).

  • Prepare, distribute, and follow an agenda. Gently refocus those who attempt to advance their own agenda.

  • Be aware of your dress and posture – look and act like a leader.

Four Stages of a Meeting

Planning: (Before the meeting)

  • What do you want to accomplish – be specific?

  • What sequential steps need to be followed?

Setup: (Just prior to the meeting)

  • What type of environment do you want?

  • What type of room will you need?

  • How do you want tables and chairs arranged?

  • What equipment and supplies will you need?

Running the meeting: (During the meeting)

  • Who will lead the meeting?

  • Who and how will the results be recorded?

  • Will you use a facilitator? Desirable for a meeting of 8 or more participants.

Follow-up: (After the meeting is over)

  • Who will communicate key decision made during the meeting?

  • Who will follow up on any action items?

You may want to solicit feedback from the team members. Probe for suggestions how you and the team can make future meetings even more meaningful.

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