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:
- Email Antics: I
- Nearly everyone I know complains that email is a time waster. Yet much of the problem results from our
own actions. If you're looking around for some New Year's resolutions to make, here are some ideas,
in this Part I of a little catalog of things we do that help waste our time.
- Intentionally Unintentional Learning
- Intentional learning is learning we undertake by choice, usually with specific goals. When we're open
to learning not only from those goals, but also from whatever we happen upon, what we learn can have
far greater impact.
- Contextual Causes of Conflict: I
- When destructive conflict erupts, we usually hold responsible only the people directly involved. But
the choices of others, and general circumstances, can be the real causes of destructive conflict.
- The Utility Pole Anti-Pattern: II
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organizations from achieving their objectives. In this Part II of our examination of these complexities,
we look into what keeps processes complicated, and how to deal with them.
- Red Flags: II
- When we find clear evidence of serious problems in a project or other collaboration, we sometimes realize
that we had overlooked several "red flags" that had foretold trouble. In this Part II of our
review of red flags, we consider communication patterns that are useful indicators of future problems.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness and Effective Meetings for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming March 29: Time Slot Recycling: The Risks
- When we can't begin a meeting because some people haven't arrived, we sometimes cancel the meeting and hold a different one, with the people who are in attendance. It might seem like a good way to avoid wasting time, but there are risks. Available here and by RSS on March 29.
- And on April 5: The Fallacy of Division
- Errors of reasoning are pervasive in everyday thought in most organizations. One of the more common errors is called the Fallacy of Division, in which we assume that attributes of a class apply to all members of that class. It leads to ridiculous results. Available here and by RSS on April 5.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenZLkFdSHmlHvCaSsuner@ChacbnsTPttsdDaRAswloCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
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