So, the agenda’s been issued, you’ve read the papers thoroughly before arrive at the meeting on time, what else is needed to keep a 90 minute limit on meetings?
This is where self-discipline comes in. For meetings to be purposeful and effective, we all need to eliminate unproductive habits:
- Avoid waffle;
- Remove repetition;
- Don’t drift off (or process e-mails!) – be there or be productive elsewhere.
Also, we need to develop/hone some positive behaviours:
- Ask insightful questions that get to the heart of the matter;
- Listen properly – i.e. to understand what is being proposed and why. If you don’t listen to me (or, even worse, interrupt me), I’m likely to prolong the discussion to make sure that my point has been made and understood. Also, if you don’t listen, you run the risk of answering a question that I’m not asking.
- Pause after someone has spoken, to allow your brain to process what’s just been said;
- Summarise and capture actions as we go – don’t leave this all to the chair;
- Concentrate on the objectives of the meeting. Help to police your colleagues by pulling them back on topic when they drift.
Feel free to add/challenge all of the above.