Have you ever come out of a meeting feeling annoyed that so little was accomplished?
Meetings are a fact of business and can be very valuable. But they can also waste people’s time and frustrate participants if not run properly.
You and your organization’s line managers can lead more productive meetings by adhering to these guidelines:
- Set an agenda. Before the meeting, give participants an outline of the topics to be discussed so they can come prepared. Be realistic about what can be accomplished and limit the agenda to a few items. Make sure everyone needed to discuss and/or make a decision on a particular topic attends. And stick to the agenda! If other topics absolutely must be discussed, you probably need a separate meeting.
- Listen without interrupting. This seems like a no-brainer, but the fact is that people want to make their own position known once a debate is under way. The views of soft-spoken or less assertive colleagues can be ignored or trampled. Insist that everyone in the meeting listen while someone else is talking and not interrupt.
- Create trust. Make sure participants understand that what is said in the meeting stays in the meeting. Discourage gossip about what went on behind closed doors because it will only make employees wary of speaking their minds at meetings and will undermine the group’s work.
- Attack problems, not people. Stay focused on the agenda and do not permit the discussion or debate to get personal. Letting participants snipe at each other can derail the meeting and will discourage an open and honest dialogue.
photo credit: mikebaird
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