Effective meetings

  • Keep numbers as low as possible if decisions need to be made.
  • Schedule meetings for precise times, like 10.15.
  • Maximum duration one hour ideally.
  • Keep meetings shorter by starting at 11.30 a.m. or 4.00 p.m.
  • Prune – the number and size of meetings.
  • Remember the first 2 minutes set the tone, so start crisply.
  • Environment – no interruptions.
  • Prepare a timed agenda, which will force the pace.
  • Understand the type of meeting:
communication – everyone, visual aids, questions
monitoring progress – short, formal, tough, efficient, chart
team – regular, short, confidential, positive, all have 5 minutes to speak
problem-solving – focus on problem, safe to suggest ideas

Clear objective –

stated at the start
agreed by all

Everyone agrees finish time to aim for.
Each topic: summarise the arguments on either side before opening the debate.
Group problem-solving rules:

involve the quiet ones
avoid compromise or voting if possible
appoint someone to wear the black hat (think about what might go wrong)
no talking-over or dividing into sub-groups

   Influencing techniques
   use visual aids to take control
   summarise when it’s swinging your way
   Actions
   written down
   assigned to one person only (and accepted)
   issued immediately afterwards (e-mail or photocopy hand-written)
   followed up at the next meeting or before
Summarise actions at the end