Conducting Effective Meetings at DevLink 2010
August 6, 2010 6 Comments
I’ve sat in a lot of really poorly run meetings. Meetings that didn’t start on time, didn’t end on time, and didn’t accomplish anything. What a waste of time! And time is a precious resource in any organization.
Early in my career, I didn’t think it was my place to try to improve the meetings. Later I assumed it was just the way things worked. Eventually I realized that I was wrong on both accounts. Meetings can and should be better than they are.
So, I actively sought ways to make every meeting better. After much research, trial, and error, I’ve discovered some best practices for conducting meetings. I’ve also learned some things I can do to help improve meetings that I attend but don’t run.
Here’s a summary of my best practices:
- Distribute an agenda prior to the meeting. Without an agenda, people won’t know how to prepare ahead of time and the meeting will wander
- Have clearly defined purpose & outcome. Let your attendees know exactly what you expect to accomplish during the meeting.
- Start the meeting with a welcome, an agenda review, introductions, & ground rules. This sets the tone for the rest of the meeting.
- Keep to the agenda. Don’t drift; don’t run over.
- Create and document action items. Make sure everyone leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of who agreed to do what by when.
- Appoint a scribe to take & distribute notes. The notes don’t have to be fancy; just cover the decisions reached and action items assigned.
- Have I missed a good practice?
- Are your meetings productive?
- What do you do to make the run smoothly?