For many people, next to e-mail overload, unproductive meetings are one of the most frustrating aspects of organizational life. There are several good book out there on the subject with my favorite being Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. But instead of rehashing his book (click here to see some of his tools) I am going to share just a couple of things that really make a difference for me.
First – decide what you are really wanting to accomplish in the meeting. What is the ONE thing you want to walk away with at the end of the meeting? Write it down and even put it on the top of your agenda.
Second – after you build your agenda, cut it in half! Force yourself to truly rank order the topics and only deal with the most important half of them. And then, spend more time arriving at better decisions on the most important issues.
Third – after cutting your agenda in half, then assign time frames to each agenda item and stick to the time! Force discipline into your meetings.
Try these three simple things for a few meetings and see if the quality of your meetings improve. You might be surprised.
Have a blessed Thursday!