Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Leadership Tip: Get the Most Out of Meetings

I have attended hundreds of meetings in my BDPA career. Board meetings. Committee meetings. You name it and I've either attended or chaired it. Add on another few hundred of meetings during my career in Corporate America.

Meetings have a bad reputation as being ineffective and a waste of time. They don't have to be, if you follow some simple guidelines:
  1. Don't call a meeting to ask your team's opinion if the decision has already been made. If their recommendation is different from what is going to happen, they will feel more resentment and anger than if they had never been asked in the first place. If you want to announce a decision, send a memo. Meetings should be dialogues. If they turn into monologues, eyes will quickly glaze over.
  2. Head off interruptions. Be sure the room will be free for the duration of the meeting. If there is a phone in the meeting room, it should be turned off or messages should be forwarded.
  3. Do the brainstorming first. Don't waste meeting time. Brainstorm through e-mail or using social networking technology before the meeting to develop approaches to the issue at hand.
  4. Establish a clear time frame for meetings -- and keep them short! -- Meetings show diminishing returns after the first 30 minutes, and little good can be expected to come after the first hour of the meeting. Establish a clear time frame for the meeting. To encourage quick decisions, meet in a room without chairs.
What are some tips you've used in the past to get the most out of meetings?


Martin Lindsey. said...

I haven't heard of the room without chairs tip. I like it. That one has to make people want to move quickly on decisions.

I love it when a meeting leader gets to the point and aggressively pushes to keep things under an hour.

Appreciate the tips.

Villager said...

Martin - I keep trying to share these leadership tips ... however, it is hard to keep up. I'm glad that you felt this one was helpful...