Let’s face it, long meetings are torture. Worse still, they often accomplish very little. Here are some tips on how to have more fun and get more done:
1. Find Clever Ways to Get People to the Meeting On Time.
We’ve seen some good ones!
Make late attendees sing a song in front of the group.
Have people pay $1 for every minute they are late.
Ask tardy folks to bring donuts to the next meeting.
Require latecomers to take all the meeting minutes for the next meetings.
….You get the idea. And you’ll find that if you stick to your guns and actually make people do it, everyone will show up on time!
2. Create an Agenda (and This Part is Key) WITH the Time Allotted for Each Topic.
No agenda and no timeframe means no structure. People feel free to pontificate and get off track. With an agenda, and ideally time allotted to each topic, the meeting moves along. When the time for that topic is up, wrap up and go to the next topic. Any issues that need more time or deviate too far from the agenda can be addressed later.
3. Assign Meeting Minutes to a Different Person Each Week.
First choice: the person who’s calling in from home or the road. Second choice: the person who’s answering emails during the meeting. Clever, hmm? This accomplishes several goals. First, it helps ensure people show up for the meeting, which by default makes them more productive. Second, it gives people an incentive to pay attention. Third, it allows the team leader to run the meeting without having to worry about note-taking.
4. Keep a Running List of Action Items on the White Board…with Owners Assigned.
As you move through each meeting topic, write the action and the owner next to it. At the end of the meeting, you can take a picture to ensure the minute taker has written everything down. Ask the minute taker to distribute the notes with actions within 24 hours to give everyone enough time to address items assigned to them before the next meeting. Then at the next meeting, start by reviewing everyone’s actions, not allowing any excuses for unfinished tasks.
Although it’s not an absolute slam dunk that your meetings will always go as planned, these tips should get you on your way.