Jan 27, 2011

The Meeting Zone

Nothing challenges my sanity faster than a long, unproductive meeting. 
A productive meeting can be tremendously valuable, a big time-saver, and even exhilarating.  Here are some strategies to try to make a productive meeting happen:

Start on time, and end on time.
Spend a little time in chit-chat. People need to build friendships, they need a chance to show their personalities, they need to establish rapport. 
Everyone needs to contribute, find a way to draw people out
Have an agenda and stick to it
Never go to a meeting if you don’t know why you’re supposed to be there
Regular meetings should be kept as short as possible and very structured
For longer meetings, schedule breaks when people can check their email and phones.  Establish ground rules for actual meeting time - pagers on stun, no checking email, phones silent.
Take action items for meeting follow-up.  These need to be summarized with owners and due dates prior to adjournment.
Using these tips can prevent you from having a Haunted Meeting :o) 
[One of my favorite Bob and Tom skits, and a recurring entry in my little world]


  1. Oh, the weekly meetings at the lab used to be the WORST. (This was when that one guy was the manager, names withheld.) They sometimes went on for an hour and a half, because people would be allowed to just ramble on. I don't think I've ever seen such poor management when it comes to meetings. Those of us that were present then still laugh about them.

    Then there was the meeting that was a pretense to talk about something else, and it was basically an ambush in which we were all put on the spot and asked our feelings about a personnel matter.

    What NOT to do!

  2. At our meetings, the chit-chat is out of control and every person present has their own personal agenda. That's why I get so much doodling done.

  3. Good points for a meeting, just not normally followed.

  4. I used to hate long, boring meetings! Waste of company time.....nothing got resolved except people loved being away from their desk drinking coffee and eating donuts........Ugh.

  5. Ken, when I worked at AT&T in finance, there were some pretty brutal meetings. The "leaders" of those meeting didn't use this advice. Those were long meetings sometimes.

  6. Nothing worse than being in a meeting where someone falls asleep and starts snoring.


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