Productive Meetings Every Time

People Meeting Conference Seminar Audience Concept

“The purpose of meetings is not to talk – the purpose of meetings is to arrive at ideas, solutions, plans and decisions.”   —  Alexander Kjerulf, Happy Hour is 9 to 5

When we want most anything to go better, the basic how-to can be easy. Making the needed changes is much harder, so the problem persists. We all dislike boring, unproductive meetings.

In 2017, will we continue to complain, and struggle? Or could we make meetings valuable by adopting a few basic habits based on research and common sense?

Here are some expert-recommended practices that caught my attention, followed by my curated list of quick-read sources.

  1. Define a clear purpose and intended result for any meeting. Obvious? If only.
  2. Don’t hold “updates” or “reviews” and call it a meeting. Conveying information is Assuring understanding of that info is training. A meeting is best used for idea generation and plan development.
  3. Start on time* and set a time limit. Some organizations go for just 15 minutes. Use a timer.
  4. Retention and understanding go up when notes are taken by hand instead of on a phone or laptop. (If a key player is late, reschedule and let everyone get back to what they were doing.)
  5. Leave the conference table and hold stand-ups, or walk-arounds (do accommodate those with difficulty standing)
  6. Face to face is best .Some 70% of ‘conference call’ or video meeting participants report doing other work meanwhile.

And, from me: Consider the temperaments on your team. Many extroverts want (need) very much to talk through their ideas.  To share what they’re thinking about, wondering about, and excited over.   Meanwhile, more reserved team members may not get their say.  Create separate times for the expressive thinkers to do their thing, then organize their thoughts for a full-team gathering.  And, provide similar support so that the quieter thinkers can contribute when they’re ready.