The Seven Stones Blog

Great Meetings are Required for Great Work

By Gina LaRoche

Business Discussion

Many of us spend a lot, no really a ton, of time in meetings. During a meeting of my client’s I sat in on to observe recently, I noticed no clear requests were made and subsequently no promises either. In the debrief meeting, the first question I asked was, if there was an agenda? There was a topic list e-mailed but to my thinking, no agenda was published. I realized that for many of us it seems like we have prepped for our meetings and have made requests and received promises. Yet, we haven’t. Not really.

A thought arose, are meetings becoming a less and less effective tool for getting things done? Is meeting management becoming a lost art? I am often surprised how many of us forget the basics of meaning management.

There are best practices to making our meetings effective. Here are some reminders:

  • Understand why this group of people need to meet (Do we have the right people in the room?)
  • Publish an agenda before the meeting (How are we going to spend our time together?)
  • Have meeting outcomes clear before you begin (What is the purpose of spending this time together?)
  • Have meeting norms and ground rules that you all work from (What are the rules of the road? e.g. is it acceptable to send text messages during our meetings?)
  • Share facilitation (Who is going to guide us through today’s process?)
  • Understand what type of conversation we are having (Is this a conversation for action, opportunity, completion or relationship?)
  • Make clear requests to move projects and conversations forward (What do we need completed and by when?)
  • Make clear promises with deadlines and accountabilities (Who will accomplish what and by when?)
  • Ensure to allow for pauses in the conversation so introverts can process and contribute (Are we allowing for all voices to be heard?)
  • Review commitments and next steps (What will happen when we all leave here?
  • Schedule the next meeting if appropriate (Does this group need to meet again to fulfill on our commitments?)

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