Poor Meetings are Front Page News

According to a popular newspaper, the number of business meetings is on the rise. What makes this significant, however, is that much of the time spent in meetings is unproductive.

The article was essentially on target in its discussion of the issue, and is one to which anyone running or facilitating meetings should pay close attention.

The article offered up a number of suggestions for how to improve meetings which are worthwhile reprinting here. Take this list, rewrite it, and post it where your meetings are held.

Successful Meetings:

  • Prepare ahead of time for the meeting
  • Have a reason for the meeting. Don’t get together just because of tradition.
  • Distribute an agenda to participants before the meeting.
  • Give participants at least one day’s notification
  • Participants should ask themselves what is expected of them, how they can prepare.
  • Limit attendance and designate a leader.
  • Keep a clock in the meeting room and have a specific start and end time.
  • Encourage everyone to talk while keeping with the agenda.
  • Foster rigorous debate and brainstorming while respecting each person’s opinion.
  • Use visual aids.
  • Follow up. Meeting leader should let participants know any outcome.

To their list I would add one more item:

  • Evaluate the meeting at the end and ask for input.

These suggestions have been around a long time...unfortunately, few people follow them religiously. However, as the need to improve work processes continues, our need to improve meeting processes will also grow.

A resource for meeting ideas is the 3M Meeting Network

Peter B. Grazier