Do More with Less: How to Lead a Productive Meeting

Your high performers dislike meetings — especially if they run long. They see meetings as a wasteful interruption to their structured work day. The more meetings they have, the less satisfied they feel with their job.

Others enjoy meetings, though. Specifically, people working in teams require collaboration in order to get their job done, so they look forward to them. But no matter what, everyone appreciates it when they are well run and organized. Here are some tips on how to do that.

Pre-Meeting

  • Write up a bulleted agenda – email it out a few days before the meeting (along with any other pertinent info) so attendees can prepare.
  • Set an objective for the meeting – make sure it is accomplished before the time is up.
  • Only invite those who are needed – explain in their invite why their input is important.
  • Break the meeting up into time blocks – and stick to your schedule.

During

  • Cut people off if they are straying from the topic – but make sure the issue they raised gets addressed later.
  • Take notes – write it down even if it seems unimportant now or you think you’ll remember later.
  • Dual purpose the meeting by adding fun; you can get stuff done while bonding with each other too.

It is 2010

  • Consider whether an IM/chat session, a few emails, a dedicated discussion thread, or a conference call might be more efficient instead.
  • Get unified focus – ban cell phones and laptops unless you are holding a brainstorming session.
  • Conference in coworkers who are working from home or traveling. Take a video and send it to those who couldn’t make it.
  • Don’t hog the spotlight – cycle meeting leaders to provide on-the-job developmental opportunities for your team.

Post-Meeting

  • Follow-up on action items and review the items discussed via email after your session.
  • Get anonymous feedback on the meeting. Ask questions like “was this meeting helpful/necessary?” or “could we have achieved the outcomes in a better/different way?” Then read it and consider the suggestions.

What are your tips for leading meetings? How do you add fun?

Eva Rykrsmith

Eva Rykrsmith is an organizational psychology practitioner. Her passion lies in bringing a psychology perspective to the business world, with the mission of creating a high-performance environment. Follow her @EvaRykr.

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  • Alexandra Levit

    Great suggestions. I like the idea of getting anonymous feedback on the meeting itself. I bet this would improve most meetings tenfold!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.tiffanyforsale.com tiffany jewellery

    Get anonymous feedback on the meeting. Ask questions like “was this meeting helpful/necessary?” or “could we have achieved the outcomes in a better/different way?” Then read it and consider the suggestions.

    [Reply]

  • http://twitter.com/EvaRykr Eva Rykr

    Thanks. I like the concept of anonymity because it's less confrontational, poses less of a threat to our egos and perceived status, and it can avoid conflict or a tense interpersonal situation. That being said, I think those things are only true if the feedback-giver would be willing to stand behind their words, anonymous or not!

    [Reply]

  • Alistair

    Great suggestions – I really like the idea to video the meeting, would be be a good learning opportunity for the person leading the meeting to watch it. I watched a good video on fixing a busted sales meeting at http://www.signpostststem.com

    [Reply]

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