We have all been in meetings that are a waste of our time.
These tips, from a Harvard Business Review article, can guide you in making any meeting you run or attend more effective:
1. Prepare Your Key Points. Before you get to the meeting – decide what the most important things that you want to say are. Pick your spots and make your points.
2. Provide Purpose. If you are leading the meeting, start with this. If you are not the leader, suggest something like “Before we dive in, maybe we can take a step back and set the context for today’s meeting.”
3. Prepare Guiding Questions. This is connected to Purpose. “Given the purpose of the meeting, what are the most important questions we want to address today?”
4. Make Sure You Listen. Often times we can get so excited about what we want to say that we do not carefully and sincerely listen to others.
5. Redirect Detours. Respectfully, but firmly, suggest that extraneous topics be put in a “parking lot” for later in the meeting or be added to a future agenda.
6. Don’t Overdo It. Make your point and be quiet. I have had people kindly tell me “The horse is dead, Rob.”
7. Give Credit. You don’t need to give a long speech, but make sure that people get credit for their good ideas or accomplishments.
8. Make a Record of Next Steps. Make sure that there is a summary at the end of the meeting of who has agreed to do what – and that it is written out and shared with everyone. Start with this at the beginning of the next meeting.
There are many other basics to running a good meeting – like starting and ending on time – and having an agenda (see this link for other basics). But this list will help you take your meeting productivity to the next level. People will look forward to attending meetings you run!
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Schwartzberg, J. “10 Tactics to Keep Your Meeting on Track,” Harvard Business Review online, January 5, 2022.