Thursday, October 13, 2005

Three Tips To Better Meetings

Internal Meetings. Yuck. Most people would rather stick pins in their eyeballs than sit through most of the meetings at their place of business. I once worked for an organization that had more in-person and telephone conference calls in a week that we had local employees. The boss would call "mandatory" meetings on a whim, or cancel long-scheduled meetings at the last second. And the length, they would last for hours. No matter how much people like to hear themselves talk, rarely should a meeting go more than one hour.

Here are three tips to make sure that your internal meeting run smoothly and are more productive:

  1. Have an agenda. Never hold a meeting where an agenda is not distributed to attendees at least one hour in advance (preferably longer). This allows those participating to understand the purpose of the meeting, and add any important topics to the agenda in advance. Having an agenda will also help keep the discussion focused and make sure that important topics are not overlooked. Also, assign a time value to each topic and be sure to hold to that,.... don't allow meetings to run longer than planned.
  2. Respect other's schedule. Try not to call meetings at a moment's notice, but more important, if the meeting is regularly scheduled (like a weekly sales call), do not make it a habit of canceling at the last minute. Treat internal meetings like you would any other important event on your calendar. You would not cancel on a huge client because another prospect wanted to meet at that same time (you would tactfully find another time).... so do not cancel on your team. By canceling internal meetings cavalierly, you are sending the message that meeting are not important.
  3. Take notes and follow up. Have someone take notes and send out a follow-up email recapping what was discussed and highlighting any action items that were assigned to specific team members. Make sure that people are held accountable to what they agreed to accomplish before the next meeting.

Adherence to these tips will make your meetings more productive. And productive meetings are better than sticking needles in your eye.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

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