Inspired by The Rules of Management by Richard Templar
We all have been to meetings that appear to drag on forever. Or meetings in which much was said but it was largely fluff and had no concrete substance. I personally used to hold the school of thought that most meetings were a waste of time, which I gradually revised to be as a necessary evil. Truth be told, there should only be four reasons ever why a meeting is held:-
– Pass down or disseminate information
– Obtain information (and make decisions)
– Brainstorming (and make decisions)
– Bonding between a team
Call Me the Meeting Man
Before even calling for a meeting, decide on your agenda and what your objective is (based on the four reasons above). Sometimes we may combine more than one reason, but often it makes much more sense to schedule a different meeting for a different purpose. Next send out the meeting requests, not too near to the meeting date and not too far away – to make it less likely for others to give excuses for missing the meeting. Meetings are best held late in the day so everyone is eager to quickly finish the meeting. It is even better if the meetings can be done by email, phone or one-to-one. If a meeting has more than six people, consider breaking it down to committees which hold their own meetings and get the committees to report back.
Don’t Fall Off the Train
For meetings to be effective, as the chairperson you need to be firmly in charge. Effectiveness will mean you need to ensure no one refuses to shut up, overpowers the meeting, or tries to change the topic. Meetings must start punctually. Do not wait for anyone nor go back over stuff for latecomers. If someone has missed something vital, they can ask others after the meeting, and it teaches them to be punctual next time. Other ides would be to hold meetings standing ala West Wing to keep the meeting short and concise.
Meetings are Fun?!
We should all use meetings to tell stupid jokes and waste time. Just kidding (seriously)!! We do NOT mean that meetings are there as a ‘Haha’ affair. Instead, having fun in meetings means that we allow everyone to be themselves. Fun means not being stuffy. Fun means allowing people to share things and laugh if something is funny. Fun means allowing people to tell stories and anecdotes to lighten the situation (and knowing when to say ‘Alright. Let us get back to business.’)
Last Words and Mission Complete
By the end of today, we should be viewing meetings as an effective way to achieve the objective. At the end of the meeting, we should be able to say clearly and definitely whether the meeting has achieved the purpose we set out to achieve. Good luck!
What suggestions do you have on holding effective meetings?