Both Meeting Conveners and Meeting Participants consistently cite Meetings at or near the top of their list of “Professional Aggravations.”
In order to improve meetings – which typically take up to four hours of every professional’s workday, The Lakeland Group uses an explicit Guide to conducting (and participating in) Effective Meetings.
Use a Flip Chart
Makes things visible, keeps sequence, keeps focus.
Record Issues, Decisions, Actions (Who, What, By When)
Post Agenda Set At Last Meeting
As the last item of each meeting, the group will always set its own agenda for the next meeting. This becomes a rolling agenda.
Individual Action Items
Check on status of individual action items committed to at last meeting.
Add any new Items/Issues needing Attention
What has happened since the last meeting?
What’s most urgent, what’s most important; these are not always the same. Things can be urgent but not important, or important but not urgent. Recognize that you will rarely get all the way through an Agenda; things can be carried over. Remember, it’s a rolling agenda.)
Work the Prioritized Issues
- Define the issue (not the solution) so everyone agrees it is described correctly
- If it’s a problem, identify causes
- Make decisions about what needs to be done.
- Make an Action Plan: Who will do What by When; never leave the room without being clear on this.
Set Next Agenda
And time and place for meeting, if not a regular routine.
Five minutes total. Each person talks briefly about how things are going, how the meeting went, what he/she thinks is great, what he/she needs more of or less of from others. Don’t skip this step, it creates a habit of telling people what they’re doing well, and getting any concerns on the table. It insures that things don’t get suppressed and fester.