Greetings Leaders!

This is the second posting on How to Run Better Meetings.

In the first posting, we discussed the importance of getting executive sponsorship to improve meeting effectiveness across the organization. Today we are going to look at the first tactical step in improving the outcomes of meetings that YOU lead. I am defining a meeting as a group meeting of three or more people.

Before you read further, I want you to print out your weekly schedule and circle all of the meetings that you will be leading. Seriously… go do this now and come back.

Look at your list, and for each meeting, I want you to answer the following questions…

1) The purpose of this meeting is to…

  • Plan strategy (Strategic)
  • Short Term planning (Tactical)
  • Provide Status
  • Resolve Issues
  • Other

2) The meeting is primarily being held to…

  • Discuss
  • Inform
  • Decide

3) What I want to accomplish in this meeting is…

These are important questions to ask BEFORE you schedule the meeting. Why? Too often, meetings are held… just because. Here are some tips…

  1. If the purpose of the meeting is “other” – be careful. Ask yourself, do I really need to have a meeting for this. Will others think a meeting is needed for this purpose?
  2. If you do not have something specific that you want to accomplish, then why have the meeting? By “specific”, you should be able to measure this outcome. For example, how can you measure that something was “discussed”. If you can’t find a measure, then you still don’t have a purpose.
  3. If the purpose of the meeting is to inform – can this be done some other way?
  4. If it is a status meeting, how can you measure the effectiveness of the meeting? If you aren’t able to come up with something, then you probably don’t need the meeting. You can provide status or information in another method. If you want to ensure people are collaborating, that is different from a status meeting. If you have to get people together to share information, you may have a bigger problem… silos. People should be able to share information without having to sit in a room and have status shoved down their throats.
  5. If the primary purpose is to discuss – why are  you discussing this in a meeting. What is the purpose of the discussion? To gather information? To look at alternatives? Who is capturing this information and how will it be used.

Your takeaway from this posting, is that every meeting should have a specific purpose that is measurable in some way.

If you can’t answer these questions about a particular meeting, cancel it.

All the best,
All the time,

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