It is easy for managers to become inundated with meetings. What can be done to make meetings more productive.
Joe Kerr: I do not really like meetings, but they are part of the job. I go to about 6 of them per day. I’m not sure how to make them more efficient, but I do know how to use them to my advantage. I’ll let you in on my 4 simple rules of thumb.
- If it is only your team members in attendance show up a few minutes late. You are the boss. It’s expected. It shows everyone how busy you are.
- Pipe up early on in the meeting. It too shows you are in charge. You’ll be surprised. You really do not need to know what is going on. Just use something like “collaboration” in a sentence. You can’t go wrong using the word “collaboration” in any meeting.
- If your boss is in attendance, make sure you repeat one of his/her favorite sayings from one of those leadership books. For instance, There’s no silver bullet. Let’s not focus too much on the tools. Let’s tend to the process first. If this strategy does not get you a raise, nothing will. Your boss will just eat it up.
- Close strong. It’s always good to throw in a peppy ending. I try to work in “blocking and tackling” at least once in every meeting. Then I mix in any other cliche I can think of. It can be a good way to close. For example, “Guys, this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s basic blocking and tackling. Let’s look through the windshield and not the rear view mirror. Buy low sell high. Let’s get ‘er done!”.
Wanda B. Goode: Most meetings are very unproductive for a few reasons. First, they are run poorly. Second, the attendees do not come prepared. Third, there are usually too many attendees, making the meetings useless to some and extending their length. Here are a few rules of thumb that I use for most of my meetings.
- If you can accomplish something without a meeting don’t have a meeting.
- Invite only those that need to attend. Additional parties can be included in the distribution of minutes or can be contacted as needed afterward.
- Send out an agenda.
- Prepare for the meeting beforehand and insist that others do the same.
- Arrive on time.
- Start on time. If you start on time all the time, people will begin to get the message that they must be on time as well. Oh, and dropping off some of you personal possessions on the conference table doesn’t count! You need to be in the chair.
- Keep to topic. Tactfully cut off the ramblers. Ensure you accomplish what you set out to accomplish.
- Take minutes with action items that have teeth.
I find that when I execute these rules, things actually get accomplished, people tend to show up and show up on time, and interestingly enough, there do not have to be as many meetings.