The Considerate Manager’s Guide to Running Meetings

10 Ways to Ease the Pain While Ramping Up the Results

So you don’t like meetings? Well… nobody likes meetings. But there are ways to make them tolerable, as well as efficient and effective. Here are 10 that work for me.

  1. Limit the time as much as you possibly can. Most meetings can be accomplished in 15 to 30 minutes. Even the most important should not last more than an hour.
  2. Begin on time. End on time. Even if you have to schedule a follow-up meeting for something you were not able to cover completely. This is about respect – respect for everyone’s time.
  3. Make attendance and punctuality mandatory. This, too, is about respect.
  4. Work from an agenda. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It shouldn’t be. But it should address every question that needs to be answered.
  5. Publish that agenda ahead of time – early enough for everyone to be able to do the preparation they need to do in order to contribute.
  6. Invite only those that are necessary for the conversation. Inviting extra people makes for extra time and unneeded complications.
  7. Put one of the attendees (someone not afraid to interrupt) in charge of keeping pace with the agenda. Put another attendee in charge of taking notes.
  8. For every decision made, identify a temporary champion – someone that will make sure the decision makes its way out of the meeting and onto a calendar of business objectives.
  9. For every decision made, assign a completion date. This can be changed later, but it will be helpful in prompting the champion to move forward with his job.
  10. However difficult the subject matter, end the meeting on a positive note. Studies show that a disproportionately large factor in evaluating the enjoyment and/or usefulness of an experience is how it felt in the final moments.