Top Ten Rules for Effective Meetings
Peter Drucker once said, "There are two kinds of management activities - work and meetings and they never happen simultaneously." Meetings are the #1 time waster in business. A well designed and run meeting can accelerate progress. Poor meetings can hinder results. Many companies post meeting rules in every conference room. Here are ten "Rules of Meetings" you can circulate in your company to insure results. Our "top ten" meeting rules that we suggest:
1. Communicate the objective for the meeting. Everyone must understand the purpose of the meeting, know the desired outcome AND really need to be there.
2. Insure that everyone knows what to prepare in advance. Unless defined as a "brainstorming session," people should arrive prepared to make decisions and get results.
3. Respect people's time. Have an agenda, time frame, timekeeper and stick to the schedule.
4. Have a facilitator. The facilitator is responsible for keeping the group on track, focused on the meeting goals but not involved in meeting content. Meeting facilitation training is a great investment.
5. Have ground rules to insure proper meeting etiquette. Rules such as "one person speaks at a time" or "stay on topic" set a tone of efficiency and respect for the meeting.
6. Do not "freight a ton of words to express a spoon of thought." Everyone needs to communicate succinctly and only if it moves the group closer to the defined outcome.
7. Limit complaining time - it doesn't yield results. Don't allow people to use airtime to vent without offering constructive solutions.
8. Keep the meeting moving forward! Individuals as well as the entire group should frequently check to insure that what is being discussed is moving the meeting towards the desired outcome.
9. Set reasonable meeting expectations. Be realistic about what can be accomplished. Think about the most efficient ways of completing a project so time can be maximized.
10. Encourage and value diverse opinions. Differences of opinion often produce powerful results. Find common ground and build toward solutions. Studies show we learn more from those who disagree with us.
Educating your people on how to conduct and facilitate effective meetings can save you substantial time and money. Have a set of rules for ALL your meetings.
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© 2007 St. Aubin Haggerty & Associates, Inc.