Getting the Best Results From Meetings

Today more than ever, time is a highly precious commodity. Wasting it in meetings is not only unacceptable, it’s a crime.
Here’s what to do:
1. Start on it
2. Optimize it
3. End on it
Assemble the team. Present the three critical elements of successful meetings:

Planning
Purpose and expected outcome
• Why do we need to have this meeting?
• What results do we seek?
• Can the result be achieved without a meeting?
• Do we need supporting material?
Agenda
• What issues must be addressed?
• In what sequence should the issues be addressed?
• How much time should be allotted to each issue?
• Who will facilitate the discussion?
• What information should be presented? By whom?
• How will the agenda and supporting material be distributed to attendees? By what date?
Attendees
• Who is essential to the success of this meeting?
• Have they been invited? Will they attend?
Logistics
• Where should the meeting be held?
• What supplies and materials will we need? (e.g. flip chart, a/v, food, etc.)

Conducting
Timing
• Begin and end the meeting on time
Ground Rules
• Meeting time frame
State the projected length of the meeting
Have someone act as a time keeper (or time the meeting yourself)
• Team Roles
State and explain the roles of the leader, facilitator, minutes-taker, and timekeeper
Determine and clarify any other essential roles
• Decision Making or Consensus
Determine if and when consensus is mandatory
Define consensus as: all of us being able to live with the decision even if all of us do not agree
• Conflict Resolution
Separate business from personal conflicts
Use the tension in business conflicts as creative energy to generate positive results
Resolve personal conflicts by restating the viewpoints of both parties and reaffirming their value to the process
• Commitment
Underscore attendees’ vested interests in staying focused on the issues of the meeting and seeking a mutually beneficial result
Insist on respect for all attendees’ points of view
Establish, clarify, and confirm responsibilities for follow-up actions

Note:
After presenting the Ground Rules at the start of the meeting you may need to review one or more of them as the discussion goes on.
Ground Rules may seem restrictive to some well-seasoned professionals. Convey to these people that the rules are not to limit but to facilitate a frank and productive exchange of views.

Agenda Items
• Discuss all items on the agenda
Consensus on Actions
• Reemphasize the importance of ultimate consensus
• Agree on follow-up actions and who will be responsible for carrying them out
• Have the minutes-taker record who is responsible for the follow-up actions, and who will monitor the progress of their work

Concluding
Minutes Review
• With the minutes-taker, determine how and to whom the minutes will be distributed
Meeting Evaluation
• Ask all attendees:
What did we accomplish today?
What can we improve upon in future meetings?
Next Agenda
• Reconfirm follow-up actions, individual responsibilities, and any next steps

Taken from The Disney Way Field Book

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