Top 7 Tips for Having an Effective Meeting
By Steve Kaye
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Your time is too valuable to waste in prointless meetings. Here are seven ways to make the most of your meetings.
- Ask everyone to arrive five to ten minutes early. This gives everyone time to socialize, obtain coffee, or organize materials before the meeting. It also ensures that everyone is present at the scheduled starting time. Make this part of the agenda.
- Discuss sensitive issues with the key participants before the meeting. Use this as an opportunity to listen and gather information on the issues. From this you will understand the different views, needs, and histories. This information can help you prepare the agenda and conduct the meeting. In addition, you may be able to facilitate solutions or strategies for solutions before the meeting. In either case, the result will be a more efficient meeting.
- Plan small meetings that focus on a single issue. People work more effectively over short periods of time (such as 45 minutes). This also allows you to match experts with issues for more productive meetings.
- Only invite those who can contribute to at least 50% of the items on the agenda. For meetings lasting more than 30 minutes, invite special participants only to the part of the meeting that deals with their contribution.
- If the chairperson seems to have allowed the meeting’s intent to drift, ask: “What do you want to achieve?” or “How can we help you?” or “How will we know when we are done working on this?” These questions can help focus the meeting on a goal.
- If a meeting seems out of control, suggest adjourning and reconvening at a later time. This will allow you to clarify goals, prepare strategies, and better understand the issues.
- Work with a sense of appropriate urgency. Life is finite, and the discussions in meetings should be the same. Plan a time budget and then use it to guide your meeting. Spend extra time only when an issue warrants it.
Steve Kaye helps leaders hold effective meetings. He is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, author, and speaker. His meeting facilitation and leadership workshops create success for everyone. Call 714-528-1300 for details. Visit http://www.stevekaye.com for a free report.
Article Submitted On: June 27, 2006