Copyright Jennifer Britton, All Rights Reserved, 2013 : Originally published on the BizToolkit blog, 2013
Meetings are a huge time-consumer in today's workforce. What is the state of your meetings? How efficient are they? Today's blog post includes five ways to keep your meetings on track, so you can avoid what Patrick Lencioni describes as "Death by Meeting" syndrome.
Some key tips to keep in mind are:
1. Assign a meeting facilitator. Facilitation comes from the Latin word "facilis" or to make easy. The facilitators role is to keep an eye on the process. As the facilitator, the focus is on:
- starting and ending the meeting on time,
- keeping the flow moving,
- summarizing and capturing key discussion points,
- identifying issues which may need to be shifted to other events (use of a parking lot)
- summarizing key action steps
2. Have an agenda, and assign timelines to it. Does each meeting have an agenda, which has been circulated before the meeting to ensure that nothing else needs to be added? Putting time-frames on each item, and sticking to them, helps to manage time, as well as identify issues which may need to be carried into other venues. What does the agenda for your next meeting look like? How much time will it take?
3. Ensure who you need is at the table. A common challenge in effective meetings is not having who you need at the table. This may be someone who has specific information, background on a topic, or authority to sign off/give approval. Who needs to be at your meeting, based on the agenda?
4. Confirm Action Steps and Responsibilities - A common pitfall is that action steps, and who is responsible for moving things forward, is lost in the dialogue. Key action steps, and those who will take responsibility for making sure they are done, should be summarized at the end of each meeting. What are the major next steps? Who will be responsible for them?
5. Circle Back to Make sure Actions are being Actioned. What is the status of the action steps? How are they being moved forward immediately, and in the longer term. Who needs to know? Who is accountable? Action Plans are only as good as they are tracked and followed. What will support the implementation of decisions, and the reporting out of these actions?
As you consider your upcoming meetings, in which context might you be able to incorporate some of these ideas?
Author of From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) and Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
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