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The Productive Meeting

“I’m stuck in a meeting.”
“I was in meetings all day!”
“I couldn’t get anything accomplished today – too many meetings.”

We’ve all heard and most-likely said those very words. If you or your team exit meetings feeling like they were unproductive time-wasters, you are going about your meetings all wrong.

We need to ‘meet’. Someone (maybe you) thought it would be beneficial to get a group of co-workers together to resolve something, hash-out something, or move forward with something. It’s important to design a meeting your team finds productive and worthy of the time spent to get that ‘something’ we just mentioned accomplished.

  • Send a calendar invitation with the topic in advance of the meeting. People want and need to know why they are gathering. Sending the notice in advance gives your team the opportunity to prepare, and we all know preparation is the key to success.

  • Invite only those who need to attend. Having the right people in attendance is key for project success. Be sure everyone there has a clear purpose and reason for being included.

  • Set an agenda. Don’t walk into the meeting you organized with a loose idea of what needs to be discussed or accomplished. Know in advance what type of meeting you are expecting. If others will be required to report or have input be sure they are notified of this well in advance.

  • Be timely. Everyone’s time is of value. Show your team you respect them and their schedule by being punctual with your arrival and the meeting’s start. Don’t spend more than a sentence or two on a greeting. Get down to business and allow everyone to keep the rest of their day on-track.

  • Keep it brief. Granted, there are times and topics that require long discussions and extended debate. Plan your agenda accordingly and set the meeting length to accommodate needed materials and deliberation. It’s much easier to adjourn early than to keep a group of frustrated people at the table.

  • At meeting’s end be sure everyone has a clear agreement on their next step. What a waste of time if everyone heads out the door without assigned follow-up and ongoing action plans.

These are very simple tips that will guarantee better meetings and organizational results.