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Seven Keys to Effective Meetings

A meeting need not be boring...

by Emile Alexander Dodds


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People assume that a meeting has to be boring, non-productive and just generally a waste of everybody’s time. However, this does not need to be true. A meeting can actually be productive, motivating and even interesting! Here’s how:

1 Set an agenda and stick to it.

Many small companies skip the agenda as they want to have an informal environment. However, the agenda gives the meeting structure and focus. The agenda itself can be informal – but it should be there.

2 Set objectives for the meeting.

State the objectives clearly at the beginning. Otherwise, people may wonder, “What am I doing here?”

3 Take minutes.

Just like the agenda, minutes give focus and make sure action is carried out. And just like the agenda, the minutes need not be too formal.

4 Set a time limit.

How wonderful it would be if all meetings lasted less than one hour!

5 Encourage everyone to participate.

A meeting should never be just one person talking. Otherwise, a circulated memo would do the job just as well! A meeting should be a free exchange of ideas with no one left out.

6 Avoid hidden agendas.

Make sure the participants are thinking in terms of the group’s interests and not their own.

7 Be sensitive to others

People do not like to be criticised in front of a crowd. Remember, when giving a negative comment, to criticise the idea and not the person. And keep it constructive.