Never Run Another Bad Meeting. Here’s How.

This week, we’re going to talk about meetings (yes, again). More specifically, how you can run a “good” meeting:

 

Many meetings fail because they try to do too much. The problem is that the meeting becomes so jam-packed with stuff that it has no focus; it’s a messy closet where you can’t find the thing you need most. That’s why the most important part of the meeting happens way before it starts. This is when you take time to work on two fundamental elements: Objectives and an agenda.

First, set objectives to create clarity about what the meeting needs to accomplish–your desired outcomes. Limit the number of objectives to one to three (and no more) outcomes that matter most.

But there’s one aspect of meetings that sets them apart from other forms of communication: action. […] After all, you’ve brought people together, in person or virtually, and now they’d like to do something. So if your only objective is to share information, choose another communication channel.

Second, develop an agenda to map out how you’ll accomplish your objectives. Once you’ve set objectives, the best meetings are carefully designed to achieve them. Structure your meeting to have a flow that makes sense, build in opportunities for participants to . . . well, participate, and to manage time so that you get everything done.

As you develop your agenda, think about time differently than the way you usually do. Here’s one key step: build your agenda to devote at least one-third of the time to participation. That means going beyond asking, “Are there any questions?” Instead, stimulate discussion by posing smart questions and allowing plenty of time to explore them.

 

This approach takes time, but at least you’ll never run a bad meeting ever again!

For more on this, including pointers on how to make objectives and develop an agenda, visit Inc.com.

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