Before you call your next meeting, the FIRST step is to decide if it is really essential. To determine that, ask yourself the following:
- Is this meeting essential?
- Can we do without it?
- Can we accomplish the task without a meeting?
- Can it wait another week?
- Can we get things done with few meetings?
Then, if you have decided a meeting is the best way to accomplish your objective, the following tips can help you conduct more effective meetings:
- Start and end meetings on time. Make sure everyone knows what time you are to start and to end. If you have an ending time, you will find your time is more productive in the time allotted.
- Have an open agenda on the chalkboard or flipchart. Participants can add an item before the meeting. However, they must be prepared to lead the discussion if they put an item on the agenda.
- If an item isn’t on the open agenda, reschedule it for discussion at a later time.
- Give each item on the agenda a time limit. If action or discussion cannot be completed during the allotted time, it must be delayed until the end of the meeting.
- After all agenda items have been discussed, address the delayed items and estimate how long it will take to discuss them. Decide if the item can be discussed today or needs further action before a decision can be made.
- Any delayed item should be the first item on the next open agenda.
- Summarize and record action items before adjourning the meeting. Identify who is responsible for which action.
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