Thursday, February 4, 2016

Good meetings

Good meetings have a purpose.  Cancel the meeting when it serves no purpose.

Good meetings have agendas.  Every item on the agenda supports the purpose.

Every attendee should receive the agenda before the meeting.

The best meetings are not "working" meetings.  The best meetings accept completed work assignments in the form of member presentations.  The best meetings determine a path, a series of tasks, that lead toward the purpose.

Good meetings hand out those tasks to the participants with the expectation that they will be completed before the next meeting and the results will be reported.

If the task is too big to complete before the next meeting then you are having too many meetings or you need to break the path down into smaller tasks.....or you are inviting drones instead of the power people.

Good meetings have minutes where results are captured, decisions are documented and assignments (with expected deliverables) are published.  If the secretary is on the ball, minutes can be published within minutes.  Folks who can do a masterful job of both running the meeting and taking notes are rare. 

If your corporate culture forces you into that situation then keep the agenda simple enough (say, three major task streams to be reported and reassigned) so you can replay the meeting in your head.  If the overarching goal demands more than three or four initiatives, consider more frequent meetings and alternating the task streams on the agenda. 

Good meetings have the Master of Ceremonies working off an agenda that is printed on paper in large font.  Large font provides more space to make notes.  Cross off each agenda item after it is closed.  It allows you to keep your place and projects finality.  The trend to work from an agenda on the screen of a smart phone is not very productive.

The person running the meeting must walk a fine-line.  He must foster discussion but stifle whining and self aggrandizing.  It is OK to run ahead of schedule.  It is OK to allow discussion if it is on-topic (or jumps ahead to a future topic), constructive and concise and it is within schedule.  Quick recaps are fine but don't let the floor re-plow the entire field.

The parameters for running a good meeting have not changed since Roman times.  Google is your friend.  If you don't like my recommendations you can find a hundred experts help improve your game.


  1. Robert's Rules of Order... :-) And throw the self-aggrandizing idjits out...

  2. Robert's Rules of Order... :-) And throw the self-aggrandizing idjits out...

    1. Is it safe to assume you have run into a few of that species?