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Friday, 20 April 2012

Meetings, meetings, meetings ..

11 Strategies to Tame Meeting Madness

Have you ever sat in a meeting and wondered why you were there and whether it would ever end, then read on. There is a better way.

1. Review the decision to hold the meeting. Only hold meetings if the desired outcome is a decision or a brainstorming session, or if input from everyone is needed. Do not hold a meeting if the only reason is to convey information or all issues on the agenda could be dealt with via phone or email.

2. If the meeting is one-on-one, consider a phone call or Skype meeting instead. This is particularly poignant if you or your counterpart has a long way to travel to a meeting. It is not worth spending several hours on travelling for a half hour meeting. 

3. Review the decision who to invite. Only invite attendees who need to contribute to the decision making process or whose input is important for the brainstorming session. Consider the cost of each attendee, their hourly rate, their travel costs, etc.

4. Always start meetings on time. If there are some latecomers, simply acknowledge them by telling them where on the agenda you are, but don't bother catching them up . They'll soon get the drift and be on time the next time.

5. Always have an agenda. The content of the agenda determines the length of the meeting. Each item on the agenda has a clearly marked length and who is involved/responsible/presenting. This will help you to stay on track and keep the meeting moving along. 

Make sure to include the purpose of the meeting in the agenda. This will act as a reminder to keep the meeting on track.
Include the agenda in the invitation to the meeting, so that all participants can arrive prepared.

6. Always finish on time, or even early if possible. Participants will be grateful and meetings will be more productive since everyone will be eager to fully participate.

7. Establish ground rules, such as
a. Only 1 person talks at a time
b. No mobile phones or text messaging during the meeting
c. No laptops

The reason for these rules is so that everyone pays attention and focuses on the meeting and doesn't try and multitask. If your meetings are flowing well and always keep to timings, there is no need for people to constantly contact the outside world.

8. Keep a written record of the meeting but only insofar as recording next steps and who is responsible for them. Don't bore your participants by minutely detailing everything that happened at the meeting. Honestly, nobody will read it. Keep it brief, simple and to the point. Action steps - who is responsible - by when - that's it.

9. At the end of a meeting, do a meeting review - what worked, what didn't - and make it an ongoing learning experience to improve your meetings from one to the next.

10. Before you leave the meeting room, decide whether you are holding a follow-up meeting set the date (while everyone is there with their diary) or discuss the next regular meeting, and also the agenda for the next meeting.

11. If the meetings go on for several hours be sure to include energisers to keep people engaged and to maintain a high energy level in the room. This is especially important if people had to travel to the meeting.

And that's it: 11 strategies to tame your meeting madness.

Isi Dixon

Consultant, Motivational Speaker & Author

Well Organised

Professional Organising & Decluttering

Tel: 07732 915456

www.wellorganised.org

http://wellorganised.blogspot


Author of Get Twice As Much Done In Half The Time – 10 Productivity Strategies for Your Office Available on  Isis website (with a special bonus edition of Printable Forms, Templates & Worksheets), Via Amazon for Kindle

Via Smashwords (in the following formats: .mobi, Epub, PDF, LRF – for Sony reader, Palm Doc – PDB – for Palm reader)

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