Friday, October 18, 2013

Effective meetings - Some best Practices

It is just amazing how so many people manage so efficiently to bypass some basic meeting etiquette. Imagine the following:
  1. People don’t accept/reject/respond to the meeting requests you send
  2. People don’t invite the right participants for the meetings/discussions they call for
  3. A clear agenda is not sent out
  4. All the participants have little idea of what their fellow participants’ role in the meeting will be
  5. Meetings are always called for more than an hour
  6. No one moderates a meeting with participants exceeding 5
  7. Minutes of meeting is nonexistent as a practice but in a few rare instances, when minutes are sent out, nobody reads it
  8. Context setting never happens in any meeting
  9. At the end of the meeting, participants leave with no clear action items and next steps defined
  10. People take calls in the middle of the meeting, return and expect other participants to update them
  11. Half of the participants always come late to the meeting
  12. Most meetings are sent out with no location details
  13. Most people don’t take any decision in most meetings
  14. Most people do not talk even when the points discussed concern them
 Now, imagine this: 
  1. Only in cases where decisions/outcomes have to evolve during the course of the meeting, meetings are called for more than an hour
  1.  The right participants are invited to the meeting
  1. Before the beginning of the meeting, the participants know -
    •  The objective of the meeting and consequently the outcome expected 
    • Their respective roles
    • The context of the meeting 
    • Where the meeting will happen
    4.      If the participants number more than 5, the meeting is moderated 

     5.     The participants arrive to the meeting on time and if they have to take calls/attend    to  other work, they get updates after the meeting (on what transpired in their absence) from fellow participants/meeting minutes

     6.     Participants participate when it comes to topics that are related to them

     7.     After the meeting ends, participants
  •                  Know the action expected from each of them
  •                 Know the time by when they should complete their action items 
  •                 Are aware of the next steps  
  •                 Get the meeting minutes from the person who called the meeting or the participant  who volunteered/is assigned the note keeper. 

It doesn't require an understanding of rocket science to see which set of practices is  better and more conducive to effective meetings. 

After all, in a collaborative world where decisions increasingly involve concurrence from multiple stakeholders, conducting effective meetings (and consequently productive meetings) is an art in itself!

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