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Meetings Can Seem Like Mountains

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Meetings Can Seem Like Mountains

We all know the pain of being in too many meetings that take too long.

Sometimes these meetings conclude without much being decided, and in some cases, people go away feeling more confused. As a result, these types of meetings can start to feel like a morale sucking waste of time.

I would like to share with you some of the common blocks to successful meetings that I have observed along with some suggestions to overcome these. These things are all common knowledge however they are also some of the most regularly overlooked or forgotten parts of running a meeting.

Tips for tackling meeting barriers:

Purpose.

Not having a clear purpose can blow your meeting out of proportion. All meetings should have a clearly articulated purpose that can be expressed through any of the following:

  • A discussion statement that fully explains the topic;
  • well defined questions;
  • or an agenda.

Ideally, you can combine these, but the reality is that some meetings only need to be convened around one topic or question.

Time.

Not being aware of the timing when creating your meeting or not being aware of time while in a meeting can set you back. As well, timing can also be interrupted through too much small talk or social talk prior to the meeting starting or even within the meeting itself.

When constructing your meeting think about the time needed for your topics and or questions. The facilitator needs to remain aware of the time and hold the group to the chosen format. The group can also be reminded of their responsibility or commitment to remaining timely.

Tangents.

Tangents must be one of the most common things that extend the meeting time. Too many tangents in a meeting can take you too far off topic and extend the life of your meeting.

One of the meeting facilitator’s jobs is to stay on top of this and to bring tangents back to the topics at hand. Meetings participants also need to hold themselves accountable for their own tangents.

Meeting agreements.

Sometimes when people who regularly meet get together, unhelpful processes can emerge that can add to the duration of your meetings. It can be a good idea to have a common set of pre-agreed upon processes and structures for meetings.

These can be things like:

  • Who facilitates.
  • Who takes minutes.
  • Who does the agenda.
  • Timing.
  • Location.
  • Decision-making processes.
  • Conflict resolution processes.
  • How to deal with tangents.

Accountability.

Sometimes tasks get lost in meetings, and this can lead to incomplete work and more confusion. I suggest that at the end of every meeting you review what tasks have been identified and confirm who is responsible for each one and then add this to your minutes. I also recommend that near the start of every meeting you review the tasks from the previous meeting.

You don’t have to die a slow death by meeting.

It is okay to insert some fun and celebration in meetings, in fact, this can add to success.

A few laughs and some recognition of accomplishment can go a long way. This does not have to add to the meeting length but can actually be incorporated into the way meetings are run.

Meetings do not have to be mountains. Of course, I too can forget to do some of the things I outlined in this article, but I have experienced how using these tools, or even just a few of them can make attending meetings a better experience.

If you remember to adopt some simple techniques, your meetings can be more efficient and even enjoyable.

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