10 Tips for Better Meetings

A question was asked on Twitter for some tips on running better meetings. I sent out a series of tweets and then added a few more to make this blog post.

Here are my tips for better meetings:

  1. Question the need: Ask yourself, do you even need the meeting? Do what you can over email to avoid meetings.
  2. Have an agenda: Not points to discuss but decisions to be made. If the meeting is to review progress, make sure you have status against goals.
  3. Keep’em short: Schedule shorter meetings. Force participants to take decisions in the short time.
  4. Review actions: Review status of actions in last meeting. If no action for 2 meetings, question if you really need the action.
  5. Have the right participants: What are you expecting each participant to contribute? Do you have the decision makers in the participants? Do the participants know what’s expected from each of them?
  6. Summarize actions: Not just summarizing the actions but also be specific, who is required to do what and by when.
  7. Avoid gimmicks: Just stay focused and have the meeting. Don’t have silly gimmicks that are supposed to make meetings more effective. You don’t really want to start measuring meeting effectiveness, passing tokens etc. Hey, you’ll probably end up in having more meetings deciding the gimmicks.
  8. Who is running the meeting: Identify who is really running the meeting? The meeting chair should help participants stay focused on the meeting agenda.
  9. Be prepared: with your agenda, data and decision points. Better preparation means shorter meetings.
  10. Follow the hygiene: of being on time and stopping on time.

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-barth/ / CC BY 2.0