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:
- Getting Around Hawthorne
- The Hawthorne Effect appears when we measure employee attitudes or behavior — when people know
they're being measured, they modify their behavior. How can we measure attitudes with a minimum of distortion
from the Hawthorne Effect?
- The Perils of Piecemeal Analysis: Content
- A team member proposes a solution to the latest show-stopping near-disaster. After extended discussion,
the team decides whether or not to pursue the idea. It's a costly approach, because too often it leads
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- Wacky Words of Wisdom: III
- Adages are so elegantly stated that we have difficulty doubting them. Here's Part III of a collection
of often-misapplied adages.
- Issues-Only Team Meetings
- Time spent in regular meetings is productive to the extent that it moves the team closer to its objectives.
Because uncovering and clarifying issues is more productive than distributing information or listening
to status reports, issues-only team meetings focus energy where it will help most.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 8: Multi-Expert Consensus
- Some working groups consist of experts from many fields. When they must reach a decision by consensus, members have several options. Defining those options in advance can help the group reach a decision with all its relationships intact. Available here and by RSS on July 8.
- And on July 15: Disjoint Concept Vocabularies
- In disputes or in problem solving sessions, when we can't seem to come to agreement, we often attribute the difficulty to miscommunication, histories of disagreements, hidden agendas, or "personality clashes." Sometimes the cause is much simpler. Sometimes the concept vocabularies of the parties don't overlap. Available here and by RSS on July 15.
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