Some folks will tell you that meetings are a complete waste of time. They don’t have to be — as long as you know why you are meeting, you have verified that a meeting is the most efficient way to accomplish the goal at hand, and the meeting is well-run and organized.
determine if the costs of the meeting are justified by the objective
add up salary, overhead, travel time, expense, and lost productivity
multiply that by the number of attendees to determine the cost
then ask why you are meeting — what you hope to accomplish
is your goal to disseminate information? brainstorm? make a decision?
if the objective can be reached without a meeting, skip it
take care of the issue via phone, e-mail, or a memo instead
ask if all the people on your list need to attend
remove “dead weight” from the list (slows down the meeting)
develop an agenda before the meeting
agenda should explain why, when, where, who, and what
ask participants to contribute important items to the agenda
distribute to participants at least a week in advance
ask attendees to review the agenda and prepare questions
confirm with attendees the day prior to the meeting
decide on the ground rules before starting and list them on a board
includes attentive listening, not interrupting, being prepared, etc.
designate a recorder (other than the leader) to keep minutes
designate a timekeeper to keep everyone on track
stick to the agenda and assign a time limit to each agenda item
if discussion gets off course, don’t be afraid to cut people off
write down topics to be tabled for future discussion on a list
schedule a separate meeting to discuss that issue, if necessary
establish a firm start and ending time
choose an odd time to begin — 11:05 AM — to improve punctuality
schedule in advance to allow participants to plan their schedules
schedule before lunch or quitting time to keep it short and focused
reward those who arrive on time with a treat
don’t wait for latecomers unless they are critical to starting
question whether your attendance is necessary
confirm the location and time the day before the meeting
get directions, if necessary
review the agenda and prepare any questions or concerns
be on time and prepared
stay focused on the discussion at hand so you can get out on time
establish clear wrap-up procedures
ask for a signal from the time keeper a few minutes before the end
leader should reach a conclusion and summarize group’s progress
develop an action plan based on the meeting discussion
assign follow-up items to specific members of the team
set a deadline for reporting back
ask for status reports prior to next meeting to include in agenda
state the next meeting time, date, place, and adjournClick here for reuse options!
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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