Effective Meetings

While effective meetings are essential to any organization
and to getting work done, most of the meetings I attend
leave me looking for a decision. These meetings also leave
me tired and somewhat disillusioned on the vision of the
company. I think a good meeting is not dissimilar to a
football teams huddle. It should bring people together,
facilitate decision making, assist people in taking
responsibility, energize the participants, and contribute to
building team effort within the organization.

From attending and running more than my share of
meetings I feel successful meetings are ones where attention
is paid to three areas; content, design and process.

Selection of content is crucial. At a meeting I recently
attended we discussed issues which would have been
better resolved with a couple of phone calls. At the same
time core issues remained unmentioned. I felt the meeting
would have been more productive if it was focused around
key issues, the ones that motivate the attendees and let the
meeting participants identify the priority of items to be

I felt the second thing that went wrong with this meeting
was there was no design. This hindered the decision
making, problem solving, and the informational task at
hand. If I were running that particular meeting I would have
paid close attention and designed a

method of idea generation methods, such as brainstorming.
I would of also had decision processes, a clear agenda,
with clearly defined time frames and problem solving steps.

The third thing that went wrong with this particular meeting
was the facilitator did not make sure the individual needs of
the meeting participants were met. I would have made sure
people were participating, included in the discussions, and
made them feel there was room for their ideas and that their
ideas were welcome. I also felt that dysfunctional behaviors
were not dealt with properly and there was no positive
energy in the group. Overall I did not feel people were
committed to the task at hand. We must insure people are
enthused about the way the group is working to complete
the task.

As you can see this meeting was a disaster. It was our first
all hands meeting with the new venture group I am currently
working in. After the meeting several of us discussed the
meeting and all agreed to take our concerns to the boss.
Surprisingly, he received us well. As a matter of fact we are
getting ready to have another all hands meeting and my
boss has hired a consultant to organize the meeting. The
consultant is in the process of interviewing all of the
attendees and asking them for their input on how to make
this meeting a success. I felt very good about this process
and hope this meeting is a great success.

Category: Business