Monday, January 21, 2013

MEETINGS: How to Conduct A Very Effective Meeting



Guaranteed tips to conduct much more effective meetings. Since everyone seems to attend either long, boring, or seemingly unnecessary meetings, here are a few tips to ensure they go significantly better.  As a presenter or participant you have a role to play.

The purpose of the meeting should decide the method, such as it being in person, teleconference, video conference, etc. Each method has it's pros and cons.

STRUCTURE / GROUND RULES 
1. Arrive on time to ensure starting and ending on time;
2. Have agenda and come prepared;
3. Be concise, stay on topic (use "parking lot" items);
4. No disruptions: phone, email, text, side conversations;
5. Ask clarifying questions if you don't understand;
6. Value the strength of diverse input;
7. Demonstrate mutual respect, no negative criticism;
8. If you disagree, propose a solution;
9. Respect confidentiality;
10. Have fun / use humor.

TIME KEEPER
Assign someone the task of time keeper and the "Parking lot" to ensure the meeting stays on track. The "Parking lot" is a note sheet to write down items for addressing later, either during the meeting or afterwards.  The "Parking lot" sheet can either be an easel page on the wall, or someone assigned to keep charge of parking lot items. Everyone including the presenter should respect the interruptions of the time keeper to stay on task. 
 
PRESENTER
1. Recognize that you own personal (personality) style impacts what gets your focus of attention when speaking and listening.  Pay attention to "Mind the Gap" to notice your diverse audience.  Your audience is thinking 7x faster than you are speaking.  Since it might not be possible to know how each person is hearing what you expect, ask clarifying questions  or turn statements into questions.  It will keep your audience engaged and help you to ensure that everyone is hearing what you expect.  These tips are separate from developing your own presentation and communication skills.

PARTICIPANT
1. Pay attention to "Mind the Gap."  Since we think 7x faster than we speak, everyone is listening and hearing through their own filters. Before you speak ask yourself if the comment is relevant to the outcome (reference "Ground Rules").  Every comment becomes a stopping point.  It will create a reaction.  If you're having an ah-ha moment, it might not be necessary to share it with everyone during the meeting. 

Click here for a print version of the "Ground Rules"

- Ken Sergi

(c) 2013 Ken Sergi