Everyone has suffered through far too many meetings that took up too much time and accomplished far too little. Unfortunately, this state of affairs has happened so often to most of us that we may find ourselves becoming numb to the fact that our meetings aren’t as good as they could/should be, if we just had some ways to fix them. You can make your meetings better, and you don’t have to tolerate meetings that accomplish little or nothing. The power is within you, whether you are a meeting leader or participant. Do you want to find out how? Here are some time-tested techniques to ensure better meetings.
ü Be prepared: Meetings are work, so, just as in other work activity, the better prepared you are for them, the better the results you can expect.
ü Have an agenda: An agenda – a list of the topics to be covered during the course of a meeting – can play a critical role in the success of any meeting. It shows participants where they are going, but it’s then up to the participants to figure out how to get there.
ü Start on time and end on time: We’ve all sat through meetings that went way beyond the scheduled ending time. That situation would be fine if none of us had anything else to do. But in these days of faster and more flexible organizations, everyone always has plenty of work on the to-do list. If you announce the length of the meeting and stick to it, fewer participants will keep looking at their watches, and more participants will take an action role in your meetings.
ü Have fewer (but better) meetings: Call a meeting only when it is absolutely necessary.
ü Include, rather then exclude: Meetings are only as good as ideas that the participants bring forward.
ü Maintain the focus: Meetings can easily get off track and stay off track. Meeting leaders and participants must actively work to keep meetings focused on the agenda items.
ü Capture and assign action items: Unless they are held purely to communicate information, or for other special purposes, most meetings result in action items, tasks, and other assignments for one or more participants. Don’t assume that all participants are going to take their assignments to heart and remember all the details. Instead, record every action item on a sheet of paper.
ü Get feedback: Every meeting always has room for improvement. Be sure to solicit feedback from meeting attendees on how the meeting went right for them, and how it went wrong. Was the meeting too long? Did one person dominate the discussion? Were attendees unprepared? Were the items on agenda unclear?
Once again, the power is within you, whether you are a meeting leader or a participant to benefit from those simple steps as you plan for a future full of successes to your organization or community.
Source of this item: The Complete MBA for Dummies by:Dr. Kathleen Allen, USC Marshal Business School & Peter Economy, Coauthor, Managing for Dummies.
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