I know a hugely successful businessman who once told me the secret of good meetings is never to let people sit down – I’m still not sure whether he was joking or not!
But sometimes a meeting is the best way of communicating. Apart from removing all the chairs from your meeting room, what can you do to expedite proceedings? These are my fundamental guidelines:
1. Think about timing – nobody I know is exactly in sparkling form just after lunch or late in the afternoon.
2. Set an agenda and circulate it to all participants at least a day before. There should be no excuse for turning up unprepared.
3. Always start and finish on time – don’t interrupt to recap for latecomers.
4. If you are not going to finish within an hour, take a break every 45 minutes or everyone will be nodding off.
5. Have clearly defined roles agreed beforehand. You will need someone who can firmly but tactfully keep things on track – don’t allow the discussion to slide into gossip or to go off at a tangent.
Also someone to take minutes – concise minutes – and distribute them afterwards.
6. The whole point of a meeting is ACTION so don’t allow people to leave without making their action points clear.
7. Do you really need to attend at all? If you feel you have nothing to contribute, ask for the minutes to be sent to you.[sc:publicidad ]
Andy Britnell is an executive coach who works with high achievers in both the private and public sectors who wish to fulfil more of their potential by thinking and behaving more effectively.
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