At least two items in my stream today have to do with effective meetings. One comes from CIO.com, Eight Steps to More Effective Meetings, and the other from the BusinessWeek Climbing the Ladder podcast on Managing Teams.
The basics should be familiar to just about anyone, right? Don't have too many meetings. Make sure the right people are in the room, and that the "wrong" people aren't (don't waste their time). Put together an agenda and publish notes at some level. Make it clear why you are having the meeting. Don't have meetings to do things that are better done in other ways.
It seems to be surprising, the number of ways and times discussions like this arise. I've been in business for a while and have worked with people who understand the importance of planned meetings. When I find myself in situations where people have gotten into a rut of meeting-because-it-is-2:30-on-Tuesday, I am amazed (again) at how little gets done.
Interestingly, I have also seen the value of Open Space Technology meetings, where there is no agenda other than what the attendees devise during the meeting. But even these style meetings / events are "planned" in that the people who attend are more likely to WANT to be there.
The BusinessWeek podcast focused on dealing with teams at the high level of an organization, but a lot of the discussion was around meetings and bringing people together. It should seem obvious that the CEO and Presidents of the company would be very focused in their work, but even they have the bad-meeting-syndrome that affects everyone. Importantly, they can also set the tone for the whole organization. Whether we like it or not, what happens at the top levels comes down to the rest of the organization.
The CIO.com article by Diann Daniel gives these eight tips (with details in the full article):
- Schedule only necessary meetings.
- Eliminate status meetings or reduce their frequency.
- Create an agenda.
- Prepare for how you want to run the meeting, not just what you want to cover.
- Review agenda and objectives at the beginning of the meeting.
- Encourage participation with active listening.
- Give a recap at the end of the meeting.
- Deliver meeting minutes in a reasonable time.