About 25 million meetings take place in corporate America daily. Can you imagine how much we could get done if we just stopped meeting so much?
Actually, the secret is not to get rid of meetings, but to take a different approach. How? Read on to discover how you can become a world-class leader of high performance meetings.
The Challenge: ELIMINATE UNPRODUCTIVE MEETINGS
The 60 Second Solution: Become a world-class facilitator
Want a quick escape from meeting hell? Take charge! Be a leader. And use the following 10 ideas to become an expert meeting facilitator. Editor's note: These 10 ideas were taken from "It's Time To Rebel Against Unproductive Meetings" by Alf Nucifora.
1. Arrive and end on time. Clearly communicate the "start" and "end" times for the meeting (and make sure the meeting ends at or before the allocated time). Embarrass the late arrival offenders in open court. Better still, fine them. A dollar for every minute late to meeting irrespective of the excuse. Repeat offenders do it because they know they can get away with it.
2. Always appoint a facilitator (on the spot, if necessary) to control the agenda and guide the proceedings. And make sure that the meeting always follows an agenda, preferably written and agreed to by all parties in attendance. It's also the facilitator's responsibility to insure that every discussion item closes with a "next steps" directive...what's the action item, who "owns" it and what's the due date for action/results.
3. No tangents please! Stick to the topic at hand. If someone has other matters to raise, hold them until the item under discussion has been fully resolved.
4. No gossip! Keep the discussion focused on the issues over which the group has control. If it titillates, it's generally counter-productive.
5. One person speaks at a time. No side conversations please. It's thoughtless, rude and distracting to engage in parallel conversation. Always pay attention to the person who has the floor. Be respectful of others. Good listening is always the hallmark of a collegial environment and a productive session.
6. Speak up! Don't be a chair warmer. Everyone has the responsibility to contribute. Don't leech off the group's collective brain. Be frank, honest and candid where appropriate.
7. No whining. Unless it's a twelve-step program meeting, be positive in your comments. If there must be criticism, make it constructive. Avoid value judgments and always try to suggest alternatives.
8. Spare the oxygen. Don't dominate the conversation or try to impress. Speak freely, but remember that rationing comment can often establish expectation for what you're about to say next. As always, quality is worth more than quantity.
9. Leave united. After it's over, remember that the group speaks with one voice. Ideas belong to the group, not the individual.
10. Time is money. As the meeting wanders into the no-man's-land of idle banter and non-productive speculation, calculate the number of wasted man hours in the room and then multiply by direct labor cost plus overhead factor. It's scary when you convert wasted minutes to wasted dollars.
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