Yes, meetings can be awful. They can drag on pointlessly, and adjourn without progress or closure. If you want to run great meetings, it’s your job to make it crisp, focused and efficient. Try some of these tips to run great meetings.
Start early and don’t apologize:
Let everyone know that you want them to arrive at least five minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin. You’re not kidding, you’re serious. Then start the meeting two minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin. You warned them.
Don’t even acknowledge people when they arrive late. Don’t stop what you’re doing, don’t bring them up to speed, and don’t give them the ability to explain their tardiness. It isn’t relevant to the meeting and it’s distracting. Plus you want them to know that everything doesn’t grind to a halt when they choose to make their appearance at your meeting. If you want to run great meetings, you let people know the meeting is fine without them.
Cut it short:
Announce at the very outset that that you’ve only allocated a specific period of time for the meeting. Make sure that period of time is substantially less than everyone was expecting. You can then announce “we don’t have time to waste here, let’s get right down to it.”
Be aggressive about pointing out when a discussion is off topic. You don’t have to be rude, just show people that you intend to stay on topic. They don’t get to choose what to talk about. Be quick to manage people to take off-topic discussions off-line.
Drive the agenda:
Have clear transitions for agenda items, and let everyone know how much time is allocated for each. A few minutes before it’s time to move on, announce “let’s wrap this up, we’ll be moving on in a few minutes.” That means it’s time to make a decision or assign action items.
Promise to assign action items:
If you’re meeting is any good, people will be leaving with action items. Lots of time gets wasted while negotiating who will do what after the meeting is over. Tell everyone at the outset that they can volunteer for action items, but any unclaimed ones will be assigned. By you. Starting with people who haven’t volunteered already.
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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.
Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.
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Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.