Why do we have meetings?
Did you ever ask yourself: Why do I sit here in this meeting room?
The idea is to bring the right people together to solve a problem!
So how to make sure a meeting serves its purpose?
Bring together the people you need!
There is no need to invite people who cannot contribute to a problem’s solution. A lot of problems can be solved in direct communication between few people. Walking over to the person you need to ask, is the quickest way.
There is no need to show up to a meeting where you cannot contribute. Hanging around in meetings does not mean you are important. It just shows you have nothing better to do.
Set a short timeframe
Short one-on-one meetings are more efficient than big meetings. Long discussions do not help to find a solution but only open a space to discuss the problem. Details may be cleared between experts after the meeting has finished.
Find the solution for the problem:
Define the goal
If you cannot state the purpose of the meeting and the desired outcome, there is no reason to bother people. “But we meet every Monday” is not a reason to have a meeting. Before accepting a meeting make sure you understand the goals.
Have an agenda and stick to it
Every meeting should have a written agenda. The minimum might be: Objective, find solution, next step. Stop diversions as soon as possible, you do not want to waste other people’s time.
Define the rules
Often it helps to set some rules for the meeting. Who is the one leading the meeting? How can we make sure that each participant can contribute? Do not interrupt others! Stick to the agenda!
Make sure decisions are sustainable:
Define next steps.
At the end of the meeting define the actions to take , the persons in charge and the time frame. This includes also the follow up: Who is in charge to track if actions are taken ?
Spell out the results.
A meeting that ends without a clearly communicated result is pointless. Every participant at the end of the meeting summarizes the outcome and writes down the decisions taken and the assigned actions.