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Terrible Meetings: How to Avoid Them

Terrible Meetings: How to Avoid ThemIf there is one thing that people despise about their week, it’s having to sit through poorly run meetings. Meetings are never really fun, but when they are poorly planned and executed it wastes everyone’s time. Do meetings have to be a waste of time? Absolutely not. Meetings can be incredibly effective for your team. Here are a few tips for conducting efficient and effective meetings.

Communicate the Agenda

Meetings can go downhill fast when there is not a clearly defined purpose or agenda. You need to give your team (and yourself) something to hold onto. If there is no clear purpose or agenda, there’s no real way to stay focused and get good results.

Additionally, keep the agenda concise. When there is too much on the agenda, you’ll end up either missing discussion topics or speeding through everything on the list. If you have to break your agenda into two, short and efficient meetings, do it.

Roles & Participation

A great way to keep your meeting on track is to implement key roles to make sure all of your bases are covered. Now some of these can be managed by more than one person, but it’s important that each piece is present.

  • Overseer – This role oversees the agenda, making sure that the group stays focused and on topic.
  • Timekeeper – This role makes sure that the group is being time efficient and helps move the agenda along by keeping everything on schedule.
  • Note Taker – This role is responsible to jotting down solid ideas that came up in the meeting to discuss at a later time.
  • Participants – Individuals that are there to simply learn and share their thoughts.
  • Summarizer – This role summarizes the meeting and then assigns key action items for the team or individuals to start running with.

Communicate Meeting Style

It’s important to communicate the style of your meeting to your team. If there isn’t a clear definition around what type of meeting it is, it can quickly go off the rails. Some may think the meeting is for the purpose of creative discussion or sharing information when your intention was to make a decision on something. Three key meeting styles include Information Sharing, Decision Making and Creative Discussion. How a person perceives the style of a meeting will directly determine how they prepare for the meeting and how they participate in it. Make it very clear what type of meeting it is so that everyone can be on the same page and so that no one wastes time with unnecessary preparations.