Are your meetings delivering what you want?

Most of my clients spend a large chunk of their time in meetings. Either their own meetings or meetings scheduled by others. If we just concentrate on the meetings you organise, I’d like you to give some thought to whether they’re delivering what you want?

The starting point is of course to be clear on what you want. Why are you bothering to meet? Sounds pretty obvious but its amazing how often this fundamental question gets lost in the traffic. Meetings that should be sharp and focused end up over time encompassing a broad range of issues that are not relevant to most people in the room.

Last year I did some work with over 200 people managers at Mirvac, one of Australia’s leading Property Development and Construction companies. One of the things we did was come up with a simple guide to running meetings. The combined wisdom of the group is set out below and I thought it was worth sharing.

  1. Have clear meeting objectives and ensure they are clearly understood by participants
  2. Have a clear agenda (don’t try and do too much)
  3. Only invite people who really need to attend
  4. Send out agenda to participants prior to meeting (to allow them to prepare)
  5. Appoint a strong chair
  6. Have a comfortable environment to meet
  7. Have clear ground rules (phones off, one person at a time, be punctual, respectful etc.)
  8. Stick to time and agreed topics. Start on time and finish on time
  9. The Chair must ensure all participants are heard and have their say
  10. Challenge each other respectfully (have the “hard conversations”)
  11. Chair to direct items to be taken “off-line” (outside of the meeting) when appropriate
  12. Ensure decisions and agreed actions (who, what, when) are clearly communicated
  13. Hold people accountable for actions (follow up at next meeting)
  14. For ongoing meetings periodically ask: How can we do this better?

Not rocket science, but a useful reminder to make sure your meetings are well run and delivering what you want.

Have a great week.

Mark Rosenberg

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