"Meetings are places where minutes are kept and hours are lost"
I recently attended a webinar that ran through some very interesting ideas about meetings and how to make the more effective. The webinar was run by Citrix GoToMeeting – if you want to watch the whole thing, click on the link but for me the main points were:
When setting up the meeting, ensure you meet the PACE format
- P: Purpose – set out a clear purpose for the meeting, what needs to be done
- A: Agenda – send out an agenda (with timings) so that people know the content both before and during the meeting and you can keep things moving
- C: Ensure that the meeting has a Chair who is responsible for managing the discussion, keeping it on track/ topic and moving things on/ to time
- E: End result focused – what does the output/ outcome need to be
Consider who is attending and what their role is. People invited to attend should provide one of the three things:
- Input: Has views or information that will inform the meeting
- Support: Is required to lend support to the decision making
- Authority: Is required to ensure that the project has authority within the business
Anyone else is superflous and should not be there. Also, consider whether these people may only be required for part of the meeting – or indeed, as a 'absent presence'.
Tips to keep a meeitng effective included:
- Ensure everyone is clear on the purpose.
One CEO asks everyone at the meeting to state what the purpose is in no more than 5 words. This ensures everyone is focused and 'on the same page' – and if they can't it shows that either the meeting has nto been set up correctly or that person should not be present (they have not prepared, they may be superflous)
- Ban devices.
This is not just that devices are distracting for the indivdiual using it, but also for everyone around them (e.g. a senior manager texting on their phone whilst someone is trying to impart important information to them)
- Stand up.
Meetings where everyone is standing have been shown to be shorter, focused, more creative and less defensive (people are more open minded)
- Incorporate silences.
People cant think when they are talking, and in order to make decisions or assimilate information often need some 'reflective' time. This is not about asking them to share their thoughts, but more about allowing time for that information to 'land' and be absorbed.