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Ugghhh…I Have to Go to a Meeting!

December 10, 2012

Meetings are considered the #1 time waster in most organizations. Some organizations run too many meetings and some run too many ineffective or unproductive meetings. When you run a “good meeting” you are almost considered a star in your organization.

So, to help you run your meetings more effectively, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Choose the Appropriate Format – Different formats will drive different results. If you need to make a decision, use a format that encourages discussion, brainstorming and sharing of new ideas. If you need to introduce new procedures, the format can be more informative with a question and answer session at the end. If you want to help employees build a skill, make sure you use a format that which allows for practice and feedback.

2. Develop an Agenda – Two of the biggest complaints employees have about meetings are that there is no structure and that the meeting goes off on tangents. Both of these are big time wasters. The best way to plan for a meeting is to lay out an agenda which includes the topics, the time for each topic, what you want to achieve by covering the topic and what needs to happen after the meeting to make sure your time was well spent.

3. Stick to the Agenda – As the meeting leader, don’t be afraid to “protect” the agenda during the meeting if someone tries to go off on a tangent. Having the agenda written down can be a great tool to use when someone brings up a subject that you don’t have time to cover. You can refer to the agenda and say,

“Bob, that is a good point. If you look at what we are covering in this meeting, that topic doesn’t align. And then say…

i. Why don’t we discuss afterwards?

ii. Or , Why don’t we make it the first item on the agenda for our next meeting?

iii. Or, if we discuss it now, our meeting will run late. Is everyone okay with that?

Meetings can be a great tool to increase productivity, enhance skills and disseminate information if they are run effectively . Using the tips above are a good start.