Learn and Lead

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10 Tips for Better Meetings

A question was asked on Twitter for some tips on running better meetings. I sent out a series of tweets and then added a few more to make this blog post.

Here are my tips for better meetings:

  1. Question the need: Ask yourself, do you even need the meeting? Do what you can over email to avoid meetings.

  2. Have an agenda: Not points to discuss but decisions to be made. If the meeting is to review progress, make sure you have status against goals.

  3. Keep'em short: Schedule shorter meetings. Force participants to take decisions in the short time.

  4. Review actions: Review status of actions in last meeting. If no action for 2 meetings, question if you really need the action.

  5. Have the right participants: What are you expecting each participant to contribute? Do you have the decision makers in the participants? Do the participants know what's expected from each of them?

  6. Summarize actions: Not just summarizing the actions but also be specific, who is required to do what and by when.

  7. Avoid gimmicks: Just stay focused and have the meeting. Don’t have silly gimmicks that are supposed to make meetings more effective. You don’t really want to start measuring meeting effectiveness, passing tokens etc. Hey, you’ll probably end up in having more meetings deciding the gimmicks.

  8. Who is running the meeting: Identify who is really running the meeting? The meeting chair should help participants stay focused on the meeting agenda.

  9. Be prepared: with your agenda, data and decision points. Better preparation means shorter meetings.

  10. Follow the hygiene: of being on time and stopping on time.

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-barth/ / CC BY 2.0


Kirsty said...

I'm a firm believer of avoiding meetings that are unecessary. I hate sitting in meetings that are unstructured and have no clear outcome other than 'Let's have another meeting', so I fully support the tips here. I agree with all the tips, but I would question the advice to do what you can over e-mail to avoid meetings. My experience is that excessive use of e-mail is the usual trigger for a meeting. Picking up the phone, or going to someones desk is invariably more effective.

Unknown said...

You are right Kristy, phone or face to face conversation is indeed preferable over email.

Venkat said...

Great points. On a lighter note, there is a study on how meetings are run based on where they sit at the table. The person sitting diagnol to the entrace to the meeting room is the leader. On the left are people who agree with the leader, people sitting opposite or to the right will oppose the leader. People sitting closer to the entrace are not interested in the meeting. Check it out next time you are in a meeting.

Leandro Codarin said...

very good article. We are making meetings with Webex because suppliers and customers are outside the city.

I think this article summarizes the key points for meetings, face or virtual. Do you have special topic for virtual meetings?

Unknown said...

Hi Leandro

I guess for virtual meetings, the Be prepared would include ensuring that the equipment works. Ensure that plugins are installed well before the meeting. Ensure good connection (phone and Net).

In addition, there would be a set of guidelines for communicating (like waiting for your turn to speak, announcing yourself before speaking each time etc.)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.