Leadership & Training

JS Tip 177: From the Managing Meetings Workshops: Three Keys to Lessen the Pain

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be: meetings.” (Dave Berry, 25 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years)

Everyone hates meetings, but there are ways to make them better. 

Meet only when necessary. The scheduled weekly meeting is a waste. “Do you have anything?” “No.” “Do you have anything?” “No.” Okay. Let’s meet again next week.” If you have information to pass along, send a group e-mail. If you have tasks to assign, talk to the individuals.

Identify the objectives and publish an agenda. Take a blank sheet of paper and write “By the end of the meeting, the participants will be able to . . . .” and complete the sentence. The agenda items must serve the objective (or objectives). Distribute—well before the meeting—the agenda items with those who must be there.

Always, always, always start on time. Starting late “just to let the stragglers get there” encourages people to be late and insults those who are on time. Five seconds before the meeting’s start time, stand at the front of the room, hold up five fingers, and count down. Four. Three. Two. One. “Welcome to the meeting. We’re glad you’re here.”

According to The Wharton Center for Applied Research, using meetings effectively can save up to seven hours a week and $9,000 to $16,000 per year per manager. (Source: The Wall Street Journal) 

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