Like a football team’s huddle, meetings should be held to bring players together, assign individual responsibility and energize the participants—all as quickly as possible. And yet a common complaint is that too many meetings are stressful and a waste of time. Below are some guidelines for successful meetings.
Define the purpose of the meeting
Without a clear purpose, achieving results is almost impossible.
Make an agenda
Be sure to focus meetings on key issues that require a meeting. As with anything else, poor planning produces poor performance.
Rigorously stick to your agenda
Allow discussion only on agenda items.
Begin and end on time
Doing so shows that you value the participants’ time and builds trust.
Establish a code of conduct for your meetings
This should include freedom for everyone to speak candidly and a willingness to air conflicts, so that meetings don’t become venues for silent but resentful acquiescence.
Agree on how decisions will be made
Discuss one idea at a time
Having a designated facilitator helps keep discussion on topic.
Encourage participation by all
Make sure that everyone at the meeting is part of the decision-making dialogue.
Reserve time at the end of the meeting to review decisions, so that all participants know exactly what they are expected to do.
Summarizing main discussion points and actions, and/or scheduling a follow-up conference call are only two ways to accomplish this very important step in a successful meeting.
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