3 Tips for Better Meetings

Meetings suck. Not just because they’re long and boring and wastes of everyone’s time. Though they are that. But also because they all too often get nothing accomplished, result in more confusion, and lead to even more meetings.

It’s time for a meeting revolution. Meetings done well certainly still have a place in today’s office culture. But they have to be done right. And that means rethinking meetings in their entirety.

Here are three tips for better meetings:

  1. Clear agendas. A good meeting is one where the agenda was prepared well in advance of the meeting. There was a clear reason why a meeting was necessary. The meeting has a goal. An agenda was created and shared with everyone for feedback ahead of time via email. Everyone knows who is leading the discussion and what role they’re expected to play during the meeting. Nothing ever comes up for the first time in a meeting. If it’s not on the agenda, it is not discussed.
     
  2. Clear outcomes. The conclusion of any meeting should be a clear set of next steps. Decisions should be made, and work should be assigned. Someone should be assigned to take notes, create a task list, and distribute a copy of those tasks to all meeting participants directly after the meeting is over. Those people that have work assigned to them should know when it’s due, and a follow up should be set to see that it’s done on time and to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
     
  3. Strict time and attendance limits. The biggest problem with meetings today is that they are overcrowded and never-ending. No meeting should last a second longer than it absolutely needs to. Along with the agenda, there should be clear start and end times, for each topic if necessary. If a discussion requires more time than the meeting allows, reconvene at a later time. Commit to ending the meeting on time, every time. And only those people directly involved in the decision making process should be involved. If a team member is not deemed critical to the topic being discussed, don’t drag them in.

Keep them lean and short. Prepare ahead of time. And get things accomplished. That’s how you do meetings right.