33 Rapid-Fire Thoughts On Meetings

I have a confession to make…I don’t like meetings meaningless-gatherings-where-nothing-is-accomplished-but-someone-had-an-hour-to-kill.

I realize I’m not alone.

This list is probably the making of a “meeting manifesto” but for now…it’s just a list. Let the thoughts begin.

1. Do we really have to have a meeting? That’s my first thought when someone calls a meeting. It’s a good question. I think life is too short to have to sit through meaningless meetings. Sometimes I even think this thought out loud.

2. Don’t make the meeting longer than it has to be. Most meetings don’t have to be long. If you can get it done in 10 minutes, don’t take 20. Even if you’ve blocked out an hour on your schedule for this meeting…you don’t have to use it all. I give you permission to not go the whole hour.

3. Try meeting standing up. Makes for shorter meetings.

4. Only include people necessary for the meeting. If I’m not necessary, I won’t be mad at you for not inviting me.

5. Let people know beforehand what the meeting is about. Send me agenda, let me know the purpose of the meeting. I want to be prepared…not surprised.

6. Speaking of sending me an agenda…you should probably have one. Let’s deal with the important items first in case we start to go over the allotted 10 minutes or you get tired of standing up!

7. Don’t finish a meeting without summarizing the meeting. Make sure we know what we all know what we’re supposed to do when we leave.

8. Hopefully people will have something to do after a meeting. So write down all of the next steps, deadlines, and responsibilities. We don’t want to have to do the same thing all over again.

9. People will respect you more if you know how to run an effective meeting.

10. Preparation for a meeting is exhibited during a meeting. I can tell. You can tell. So be prepared.

11. Having nothing completed from your last meeting kills momentum for your current one.

12. Keep brainstorming to a minimum (set a time limit). Ask people to brainstorm an idea prior to a meeting with others.

13. Take good notes and minutes at a meeting and then send them to everyone who needs them.

14. Follow up.

15. Make note of tangents and request those involved to meet separately after the meeting.

16. Let your creative, non-linear thinkers come for the parts of the meeting where they’ll be most valuable and then let them leave. They’ll really appreciate this.

17. Start on time. End early.

18. Have someone come in and observe your meetings. Get feedback on interactions between group members. This is especially helpful if you meet on a regular basis (like weekly staff meetings).

19. Change the location of regular meetings every once in awhile.

20. Welcome conflict in your meeting.

21. Speaking of conflict, it’s probably the most exciting thing that happens at a meeting. It adds some drama and people start to actually engage with passion and interest. Conflict is the ingredient that most meetings are missing (thank Patrick Lencioni for that one).

22. Have a meeting before the meeting. Talk to a key person who will be influential in the decision making processes to see where he or she sits on an issue. Help people be prepared for potential points of conflict.

23. Learn how to break the ice and get everyone on the same page at the start of a meeting.

24. You will typically carry your current emotional state into a meeting. This will affect how you run the meeting.

25. People’s body language during a meeting often communicates more than their words.

26. Evaluate our meetings on a regular basis. For example, during my last evaluation, I realized we needed to have less meetings. I call that a successful evaluation.

27. Exit strategy 101 — If you’re meeting one-on-one with someone else, meet in their office. It’s easier for you to get up and leave then to ask them to get up and leave.

28. Ask yourself: Is this meeting costing more than it’s adding value?

29. Think about the setup of the room. Can everyone see each other, talk to each other? What about a/v equipment…can everyone see it? Does it work?

30. Who else do you need there to effectively run your meeting? Maybe you should think about selecting someone to be the facilitator?

31. What are the rules of order? You may not choose to use Robert’s but you need to use someone’s. Make it known to the group what kind formal or informal process the group will use.

32. Use a timer! (Thanks Google)

33. Speaking of Google…google the term “effective meetings” for more advice then you will ever need.

Want a tool to help you organize your meetings?

Download the Meeting | Planner | Organizer | Worksheet from my Resources (FREE PDF!!)

Your turn…Why do meetings get a bad reputation? What are some of your thoughts about meetings?

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Rajan Bansod

    Nice information.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407111014 Brodie

      Hey Annie,Of topic here, but I would like to hear your take on Ann Coulter’s views on single moms in her lasett book. I am sure if you were to face her, you would put her in to complete silence and utter shame. I know you are a wonderful mom with great kids, and that you are a very smart person. Ann Coulter’s views are basically inflammatory in regards to how single moms are the reason for criminals in our society,due to not raising our kids in a nuclear family. Also that single moms have destroyed the nuclear setting. Such arrogance! Anyway, take care and best wishes.