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Tactics to help run effective meetings


Stop as soon as possible

It has been shown that, in order to complete a task, people will make use of all the time that has been reserved for it.

This has led some productivity experts to arbitrarily set deadlines in order to push themselves to act instead of waiting for the last minute.

In the context of meetings, this means that even if a meeting could be completed in half the time, it will very likely take the whole duration.

Do not shy away from breaking this pervasive default. Instead, display energy and align everybody on a clear objective.

If the topics at hands have been addressed, just give back some time to the participants and they will be happy, knowing that your meetings are not conventional.

Drive the meeting

Even though some meetings may not need the full duration to be completed, chances are that you have been to meetings where it was the exact opposite, reaching the end of the allocated time with most of the topics left on the agenda untouched.

When you start the meeting, do not hesitate to assign the role of keeping track of the agenda to someone else who will intervene to indicate that the meeting needs to move on to the next topic.

You can do it yourself too but remember that distributing the responsibility helps increasing willingness to collaborate.

Take notes

Many meetings are run without notes being taken. This is bad for two reasons.

Some of the participants may have missed one part or just do not remember precisely what had been discussed or decided.

Also, some people may not have been required for the meeting to take place or simply could not make it. They however likely need to be made aware for them to stay in the loop.

This is also true when you have a meeting with an investor, customer or prospect. Do not hesitate to write down some information that could prove valuable in the future.

Define action items

The single most frequent mistake people make in regards to meetings is not to act upon them.

At the end of the meeting, the participants vacate to their daily chaotic schedule and it feels like the meeting did not actually bring a concrete change to the progress of the topics discussed.

The one thing that you should always do at the end of a meeting, not alone but with all the participants, is define the action items, the tasks that must now be worked on to make what has been discussed a reality.

For every topic, summarize the decision, define the action items and, for each item, assign a participant. He or she will be responsible for moving this topic forward.

It is then their responsibility to create, for instance, one or more tickets in their project management system.