How to have meetings that don’t suck!

by Kate on September 12, 2011

Despite our increasingly virtual world, meetings by phone/Skype and in person are big part of how we do business. Sadly, many of them suck, but when done well they can be a fantastic way to connect, address issues and spark ideas.

Naturally, there’s a whole industry built around meetings management. However, most of us can get immediate improvements by doing some common-sense stuff.

Here are some tips to help your meetings go better:

  • Consider whether a meeting is needed. Sometimes we stick with having particular meetings our of habit when there’s a more effective way to get the outcome.
  • Agree in advance the meeting purpose and outcomes, what will be discussed and the process you’ll use. Ask participants for input. Then create an agenda and circulate it. For less less formal or impromptu meetings, agree the topics and goals at the start of the meeting.
  • For the impromptu/informal meetings simply jot the key points down on your notepad.
  • Set a time limit based on the agenda. Start and finish on time.
  • Do your pre-work. It really helps when people come into the meeting with their brain in gear!
  • Bring a positive mindset. A ‘meetings suck’ attitude causes meetings that suck.
  • Document decisions and next steps, including the process for reporting back and accountability.
  • Ask what worked well and what can be improved.

Some meetings benefit from having a dedicated or outside chair or facilitator. This can help keep things on track and encourage participation.

As with many things, the up-front investment for a quality meeting can seem like a hurdle (hence we are tempted to ‘wing it’), but it does pay off. And remember, it takes time to become good at running (and participating in) meetings, so persevere with it!

Your thoughts

What makes for a good meeting?

What makes a meeting ineffective?





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