A recent meeting experience reminded us that no matter how important a meeting seems, it also needs to be run effectively – even ruthlessly. The meeting environment should be focused and goal-oriented, with an eye very firmly on moving business forward rather than discussion and conversation.
How to avoid the tangents, gossip and wasted time, and keep it brief and to the point? With some wonderfully Machiavellian ideas!
- Firstly, choose the right person to run the meeting. One post recommends, ‘don’t let a pansy run a meeting, even if the pansy is you.’ You can’t properly moderate a meeting if you are worried about hurting feelings, or you lack confidence in your judgement if someone needs cutting off mid-flow;
- Hold the meeting in a slightly-too-small, or a slightly-too-cold, room. It keeps people awake, slightly uncomfortable, and eager to get the meeting finished;
- Have a walking or standing meeting. ‘If people have to stand, they are less prone to rambling, to distraction, and have the sense they are on their way to something else.’ For a brief, status-report meeting, this is perfectly appropriate – and it makes good ergonomic sense!
- No snacks;
- Know the difference between a discussion and a meeting. An in-depth exploration of ideas, or some brainstorming, is a discussion; keep the group small and expect a longer duration. A meeting is about status reports, announcements and updates. If someone talks for more than 60 seconds in a status meeting, that should spawn a separate discussion group for the few individuals who actually need to hear about it.
Do you run meetings that everybody dreads?
Make sure your meeting is worth the time and trouble by trying out some of these tips next time around, and let us know how it goes!
With thanks to http://scottberkun.com/2008/how-to-keep-meetings-short-5-tricks/