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:
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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
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- Sometimes people judge as incompetent colleagues who are unprepared to carry out their responsibilities. Some of these "incompetents" are trapped or ensnared in incompetence, unable to acquire the ability to do their jobs. Available here and by RSS on April 1.
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- When we report the status of the work we do, we sometimes confront the temptation to embellish the good news or soften the bad news. How can we best deal with these obstacles to reporting status with integrity? Available here and by RSS on April 8.
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Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.