Ten Tips for Effective Meetings
Here are ten things that you can do to hold more effective meetings.
1) Avoid meetings. Test the importance of a meeting by asking, "What happens
without it?" If your answer is, "Nothing," then don't call the meeting.
2) Prepare goals. These are the results you want to obtain by the end of the
meeting. Write out your goals before the meetings. They should be so clear,
complete, and specific that someone else could use them to lead your meeting.
Also, make sure they can be achieved with available people, resources, and time.
Specific goals help everyone make efficient toward relevant results.
3) Challenge each goal. Ask, "Is there another way to achieve this?" For example, if
you want to distribute information, you may find it more efficient to phone, FAX,
mail, e-mail, or visit. Realize that a meeting is a team activity. Save tasks that
require a team effort for your meetings.
4) Prepare an agenda. Everyone knows an agenda leads to an effective meeting. Yet,
many people "save time" by neglecting to prepare an agenda. A meeting without an
agenda is like a journey without a map. It is guaranteed to take longer and produce
fewer results. Note, without an agenda, you risk becoming someone else's helper
(see tip #6 below).
5) Inform others. Send the agenda before the meeting. That helps others prepare to
work with you in the meeting. Unprepared participants waste your time by preparing
for the meeting during the meeting.
6) Assume control. If you find yourself in a meeting without an agenda walk out. If
you must stay, prepare an agenda in the meeting. Collect a list of issues, identify
the most important, and work on that. When you finish, if time remains, select the
next most important issue. Note: you can use a meeting without an agenda to
recruit help for your projects.
7) Focus on the issue. Avoid stories, jokes, and unrelated issues. Although
entertaining, these waste time, distract focus, and mislead others. Save the fun for
social occasions where it will be appreciated.
8) Be selective. Invite only those who can contribute to achieving your goals for the
meeting. Crowds of observers and supporters bog down progress in a meeting.
9) Budget time. No one would spend $1000 on a 10¢ pencil, but they often spend
40 employee hours on trivia. Budget time in proportion to the value of the issue. For
example, you could say, "I want a decision on this in 10 minutes. That means we'll
evaluate it for the next 9 minutes, followed by a vote."
10) Use structured activities in your meetings. These process tools keep you in
control while you ensure equitable participation and systematic progress toward
Certified professional facilitator and author Steve Kaye helps groups of people hold
effective meetings. His innovative workshops have informed and inspired people
nationwide. His facilitation produces results that people will support. And his books
show how to hold effective meetings.
Sign up for his free newsletter for more ideas
like this. Call 714-528-1300 or visit www.stevekaye.com">http://www.stevekaye.com for over 100 pages
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