MILITARY TRAINING Brings Peace of Mind to Legal Clients: Court proceedings and legal negotiations are often framed in military terms in which... Is There Gold in Your File Cabinet?: How to really help your clients and make money— where you're not trading your time for... California Case Summaries Civil™. Organized Succinct Summaries of New Civil Cases.: CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT - Civil Code - National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. v.... Growing Your Practice: Small Law Firm Quick Guide: Turning Business Development Ideas into Reality - Growing your firm is essential for... 13 “MORE” SEO SPECIALISTS Share Their Best Tips for Lawyers: "IF YOU WERE WORKING WITH AN ATTORNEY TO IMPROVE A LAW FIRM'S SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION,... Balancing Act—Lawyers, Time, and Life: Finally, it is all coming together. You’re licensed. You are ready to practice on your... Community News – August 2018: Hughes & Hughes, LLP, a family law firm in Tustin, was recently honored as the 2018... Occupying the Leading Edge With Innovative Style, Proven Strategies, and Lasting Relationships: Madison Law, APC, has shown remarkable growth and has developed the knowledge, expertise,... Tenacity and Instincts: “Business litigation is where I thrive.It’s where I began my career, andI cannot... 20 Traits of the 100%- Capable Rainmaker: What does it take to be a great rainmaker, able to generate millions of dollars in...
Executive Presentations-468x60-1

Seven Steps to Productive Meetings

Meetings are the most expensive periods of time we spend together. Try, for example, adding up the loaded employee cost of a simple weekly status meeting. Your answer will make it immediately clear why meetings need to be highly productive to justify the expense.

EFFECTIVE MEETING ELEMENTS
Let’s focus on the components of a meeting, and how you can use a new structure to produce more efficient meetings that get the job done. These seven simple steps make every meeting more productive:

1. Set an Agenda
How can meetings occur without an agenda? It’s like scheduling a business trip without an itinerary! Agendas are simple to construct and distribute. The road map they provide not only prepares attendees for what will be covered, but agendas are a terrific way to keep the meeting on track. The more specific, the better the road map, and the more likely you are to accomplish the stated objectives.

2. Make Sure There is a Hard Start and Hard Stop
Meetings need a physical structure, which means predetermined start and end times. The old saying that “work fills the time allotted” is completely true. Always state the start and end times at the beginning of a meeting. This serves as a reminder and sets the parameters for everyone involved.

3. Prepare Necessary Materials—Only
A lot of work can go into preparing for a meeting, so prepare (or instruct others to prepare) only what is truly necessary to communicate effectively during the meeting. One thing that should be eliminated from virtually every team meeting is PowerPoint slides! Read that sentence again because it’s important. Most people use PowerPoint to put their speaking points on the screen. BORING! We can read speaking points, so why are we here in a meeting? Moreover, creating a list is much easier to do in an email or Microsoft Word than in PowerPoint—and there’s no setup time required to fiddle with the projector and such.

4. Distribute Materials in Advance
Send out materials well before the meeting—preferably, the day before—with a request people review them and come prepared to discuss the items listed. You don’t want to waste everyone’s time by reading your summaries to them! You want to leverage that time for input.

5. Moderate the Discussion
If this is your meeting, it’s your job to “run” or moderate it. That means staying quiet most of the time and acting as a guide to keep everyone on course (topic-wise) and moving forward (productivity-wise) within the time allotted. Think of it as a referee or facilitator role. You want to marshal these valuable resources (people and their ideas) toward an effective end. If you, as the leader, participate too much, you’ll run the risk of commandeering the meeting, which is not an effective use of team members’ time.

6. Confirm Decisions and Action Items
It’s the moderator’s responsibility to confirm, out loud with everyone in attendance, the decisions made, the action items determined (if any), and the people assigned to those action items. This can be reduced to a follow-up email and placed on a future agenda for updates. This is a huge point of failure for many meetings—the failure to articulate decisions, action items and attendant responsibilities. Ironically, it is generally the stated reason for meetings! Fix this hole by stating things clearly before everyone disperses.

7. Identify Follow-Up Expectations
The final point of any effective meeting is identifying and stating the next point of follow-up, if there is one. Place parameters around the work so people have relatively shortterm goals for producing a result. Make the follow-up period reasonable within the context of the work to be performed, but make it date-certain.

THE PATH TO MEETING PRODUCTIVITY
Group leaders and managers are charged with using their own time effectively, as well as leveraging their team’s time. Meetings are a perfect opportunity to do both! Make a checklist in Microsoft Word or Evernote so you have this meeting checklist available whenever a meeting is approaching.

Previously published in AttorneyatWork.com.

 

Paul Burton

Paul Burton is a recovering corporate finance attorney who helps people regain command of their day. As a nationally recognized time management expert, Paul regularly speaks to audiences about getting more done and enjoying greater personal and professional satisfaction. He is the author of five books on productivity. Learn more at quietspacing.com and follow him @ QuietSpacing. Previously published in AttorneyatWork.com.

More Posts

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
en.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

Filed Under: Business ManagementFeatured Stories

About the Author: Paul Burton is a recovering corporate finance attorney who helps people regain command of their day. As a nationally recognized time management expert, Paul regularly speaks to audiences about getting more done and enjoying greater personal and professional satisfaction. He is the author of five books on productivity. Learn more at quietspacing.com and follow him @ QuietSpacing. Previously published in AttorneyatWork.com.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

  • Polls