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Effective Meetings 101

October 08, 2009

One thing that really bothers me is long in-effective meetings.  Here are a few basic meeting tips.

  1. Always have and distribute the objectives of the meeting beforehand.   (Hint: if you don't have an objective, then you don't need a meeting.)
  2. Meetings do not always have to be 1 hour in length.  If you just need 15 minutes, then schedule 15 minutes.
  3. Once you complete the agenda of the meeting, end it.  Do not fill the rest of the meeting time with something unrelated.
  4. Take notes and distribute them after the meeting to all attendees.  This makes sure everyone is on the same page and does not forget any conclusions.  Often handy for any follow-up meetings.
  5. Start on time.  If people are frequently late, it becomes a trend and more people will show up later next time to avoid waiting for the late people!
  6. If there are action items identified, note them and be sure to assigned to an owner.
  7. Always come prepared with any documentation or diagrams to facilitate the conversation.  (For example, I don't need to spend 15 minutes watching you draw our existing network diagram on the white board.  This is what printers and projectors are for.)
  8. Stay on point.  It is easy to lose focus and have attendees push discussion onto something unrelated to the objectives.  Table any off topic discussion and move on.
  9. Limit the attendees to only those people required.  It is very difficult to keep everyone on the same page when there too many people in the discussion.  (Keep in mind that presentations can have lot of people, however presentations are not meetings!)
  10. . Lastly, improve every meeting.  After the meeting think about how the meeting went and how you can make improvements. What tips do you recommend to make a meeting more effective?