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9 common-sense rules for getting the most out of meetings

Watch out for assertive “fast talkers

They things faster than they can be assessed, as a way of pushing their agenda past other people’s examination or objections. 

If you’re feeling pressured, say something like, “I’m going to need to slow you down so I can make sense of what you’re saying.” Then, ask your questions. 

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9 common-sense rules for getting the most out of meetings

9 common-sense rules for getting the most out of meetings

https://ideas.ted.com/9-common-sense-rules-for-getting-the-most-out-of-meetings/#

ideas.ted.com

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Key Ideas

Goals and directors of a meeting

Without someone clearly responsible, meetings have a high risk of being directionless and unproductive.

Every meeting should be aimed at achieving someone’s goals; that person is the one responsible for the meeting and decides what they want to get out of it and how they will do so. 

Align objectives with appropriate types of communication

Make clear what type of communication you are going to have in light of the objectives and priorities. 

If your goal is to have people with different opinions work through their differences (i.e., open-minded debate), you’ll run your meeting differently than if its goal is to educate.

Asertiveness and open-mindedness

It is up to the meeting leader to balance conflicting perspectives, push through impasses and decide how to spend time wisely.

If you’re running the conversation, you should be weighing the potential cost in the time that it takes to explore opinions of inexperienced employees versus the potential gain in being able to assess their thinking and gain a better understanding of what they’re like.

Watch out for “topic slip"

Topic slip is random drifting from topic to topic without achieving completion on any of them. 

One way to avoid is by tracking the conversation on a whiteboard so that everyone can see where you are.

Enforce logic in conversations

People’s emotions tend to heat up when there is a disagreement. Remain calm and analytical at all times; it is more difficult to shut down a logical exchange rather than an emotional one. 

Assigning personal responsibilities

Often, groups will make a decision to do something without assigning personal responsibilities, so it is not clear who is supposed to follow up by doing what. 

Be clear in assigning personal responsibilities.

The “2-minute rule”

It establishes that you have to give someone 2 uninterrupted minutes to explain their thinking, before jumping in with your own. 

This ensures everyone has time to communicate their thoughts without worrying they will be misunderstood or drowned out by a louder voice.

Watch out for assertive “fast talkers

They things faster than they can be assessed, as a way of pushing their agenda past other people’s examination or objections. 

If you’re feeling pressured, say something like, “I’m going to need to slow you down so I can make sense of what you’re saying.” Then, ask your questions. 

Achieve completion in conversations

Conversations that fail to reach completion are a waste of time. 

When there is an exchange of ideas, it is important to end it by stating the conclusions. If there is agreement, say it; if not, say that. When further action has been decided, get those tasks on a to-do list, assign people to do them, and specify due dates

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The first 5-7 minutes of a meeting

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Begin right on time

During a meeting, do not penalize the people who were there on time by waiting for others who are late. 

Assume that the latecomer is not coming at all and get right on with the meeting.  

Encouraging open discussions

Leaders should take up the role of facilitators and avoid dominating the discussions.

During meetings, it’s very important to get input from everybody, not only from those eager to contribute but even from those who are shyer and less likely to speak up.  

5 more ideas

What makes meetings effective

  1. They achieve the meeting's objective.
  2. They take up a minimum amount of time.
  3. They leave participants feeling that a sensible process has been followed.

The Meeting's Objective

An effective meeting serves a useful purpose. This means that in it, you achieve a desired outcome.

For a meeting to meet this outcome, or objective, you have to be clear about what it is.

To prepare an agenda, consider the following factors:

  • Priorities – what absolutely must be covered?
  • Results – what do you need to accomplish at the meeting?
  • Participants – who needs to attend the meeting for it to be successful?
  • Sequence – in what order will you cover the topics?
  • Timing – how much time will spend on each topic?
  • Date and time – when will the meeting take place?
  • Place – where will the meeting take place?

one more idea

7 ways to have efficient meetings

  1. Decide if the meeting is necessary in the first place.
  2. Establish a clear purpose for the meeting and write up an agenda.
  3. Start on time and stop on time.