Imagine Your Next Meeting Being ... Great!

Think of the worst meeting you attended in the past month.  If you're like me, you can quickly recall a 30-60 minute period of time called a "meeting" that was less than stellar.  It might have started late or lacked an agenda.  It might have had too many or too few attendees.  

Sadly, these happen all the time.  Meetings... can't live with them and can't live without them.

But what if they could be different?  What if your next meeting was a gem?  With a little bit of work, it can be possible. 

I was a guest this past week on Principal Center Radio with Justin Baeder.  He's a genius when it comes to thinking through traditional problems in a creative way.  We talked about effectiveness and efficiency and it struck me- maybe we need a new set of "rules" for meetings.  

So here goes:

  1. Don't call a meeting unless you have to.
  2. Begin on time, even if it means that someone will walk in late.
  3. Give folks permission to end early.  
  4. One hour should do it.  A half an hour is even better.
  5. Take notes so that you can follow up.
  6. Meet so as to decide rather than inform.
  7. When you're finished, stand up and leave.  

You might be asking yourself, "I'm not the one running the meeting but I am the attendee.  What can I do to change how meetings go?"  Great question!  It's easy for a boss or manager to put these seven rules into practice but not as easy for an attendee.  My invitation to attendees would be to challenge the person running the meeting with the seven rules above.  You can ask in advance for an agenda.  You can ask when the meeting will end without being a nudge.

Your next meeting doesn't have to be terrible.  It really doesn't.  

Why not give the seven 'rules' a try and watch the difference they make in your next meeting?

*Photo courtesy of FDP