a majority of America’s workforce, the weekend
offers a much needed opportunity for relaxation
and rejuvenation. Quite often during the course
of a weekend, we find ourselves wrapped up
in conversation for hours on end with someone
near and dear. Generally, the conversation
will meander through a variety of topics from
current events to more abstract discussions
including what you plan to do when, not if,
you win the lottery. Now, imagine the weekend
is over and you are sitting in your Monday
morning staff meeting struggling to keep your
familiar? Well, think about this. Does your
meeting format bear some striking similarities
to the conversation you had over the weekend?
If you are unclear about the purpose of the
meeting or find yourself and your colleagues
failing to make any decisions, you might just
be passing time again. Without a doubt, that
is not the intended purpose of any meeting.
Have a Meeting or Not to Have a Meeting?
Today, it seems as though the resolution to
each and every business issue begins with a
meeting. While some meetings simply can not
be avoided, others can – and should. Before
you organize a potentially unnecessary meeting,
consider some other ways to accomplish your
objectives. If it is advice you seek or you
have a need to disseminate information, many
tools are at your fingertips including a simple
email, phone call, or impromptu hallway conversation.
So, when is it appropriate to conduct a meeting?
inform workers about changes that will
impact them directly.
build consensus – the success of a project
may depend on it.
assemble the information required to make
a sound decision.
brainstorm. The synergy of the team may
yield results greater than those provided
by each individual.
deal with highly complex topics.
provide a forum for conflict resolution.
so you think having a meeting is the right course
of action. What can you do to conduct an effective
meeting in addition to having a well-defined
purpose? You must plan for the meeting, assign
action items during the meeting and make provisions
for assessment afterwards.
– The Benefits of an Agenda. To have
an effective meeting, there needs to be a
clear understanding of the objectives to be
accomplished. Following that, there must be
a determination of who needs to be in attendance.
Other logistical arrangements such as time
and place may follow at this time along with
the designation of someone to take minutes.
It is very important to document who was there
and exactly what decisions were made. What
else? An agenda.
agenda is always a good idea to keep focused
on the task at hand. An agenda typically includes
such items as a review of notes from previous
meetings, a discussion of new issues and an
evaluation of progress toward goal achievement.
To build an effective agenda, it may be a
good idea to seek topic ideas from team members.
If participants know that their topic of concern
will be addressed, they are less likely to
interrupt! On the other hand, if the topic
does not fit into the overall purpose of the
meeting, it should not be included. Finally,
the agenda should be distributed well in advance
of the meeting. This allows participants to
prepare, thereby making the meeting far
the Meeting. Many meetings fail because
no one person is facilitating the meeting
or because someone is dominating the meeting.
Acting as a facilitator, you may want to establish
and enforce some ground rules at the onset
to enhance productivity. The starting time
and planned duration needs to be decided on
and adhered to. In addition, participants
should be prepared and, at all times, mutual
respect should come into play. Finally, as
facilitator, it is your job to keep the discussion
on course. Sticking to your agenda is a good
way to do this. And remember, as a general
rule, new issues that arise during the course
of a meeting are best handled in another meeting
Action Items. All right, your meeting
is going well and decisions are being made.
If no plans are being made to implement those
decisions, however, the train is leaving the
tracks. To resolve this, specific action items
need to be assigned along with dates for completion
and plans for assessment and reporting by
the appropriate parties.
can be a positive communication tool! Planning
allows for more accomplishments in less time.
By working to improve your meeting skills,
your whole team benefits.
to improve your efficiencies in other places
as well? As performance management consultants,
we can help you maximize productivity in many
areas of your company. Give us a call today.