Conducting Effective Meetings

Have you ever received an appointment request for a meeting that you knew was going to be unproductive? Nothing was accomplished the last time this team met; the only thing that was decided was that we needed to meet again. What a waste of time!

Meetings are not free, even if everyone is local and there are no travel costs to consider. The loss in productivity alone can be staggering.

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Personal Productivity at the Expense of Team Productivity

I used to just “grin and bear” it as the saying goes. I used to take my laptop to those meetings under the guise of “taking notes”. But what I was really doing was being productive on my own. I was sifting through email in pursuit of InboxZero. Or I remoting into a client’s server to do some “real work” while the meeting languished.

But I’ve learned that although I was being productive as an individual, I was contributing to the ineffectiveness of the team. My mental absence was hindering the team as a whole. My personal productivity was at the expense of the productivity of the team. In essence I was part of the problem, not part of the solution.

I’ve written about some of those experiences and my short-sightedness in a prior post entitled “Closing Your Laptop in Meetings.”  If you haven’t read it, I’d encourage you to do so and then take the challenge.

Conducting Effective Meetings

Something had to give. I didn’t want to spend scores of hours each year sitting in meetings that even most of the attendees would say was worthless. So, I did a lot of research and experimenting, looking for ways to make the meetings I conduct and the meetings I attend more effective.

I finally found a few critical points that have helped me immensely in making my meetings more productive. I’ll be the first to admit that these are not rocket science; they are common sense approaches that just seem to work.

Now, your turn. What techniques have you found for making meetings more effective?

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