Meeting Magic

The title could also be "Meeting Miracles."  Or possibly "Santa Put the Perfect Meeting in my Stocking," would have worked as well.  Getting the right people in contact with each other to obtain a specific objective is one of the business world’s greatest tools. 

If done improperly or haphazardly though, meetings are ineffective and a waste of time.  The most crucial parts of a meeting are stating the clear objectives and goals to accomplish, and including a feasible agenda to make it happen.

Pop quiz:

Which one is a "good" meeting?

A.  In conference room B, all employees and managers on the 2nd floor will meet to talk about the five current projects, their progress, and how they can be improved.  Their last meeting was three months ago.

B.  Team B will have an audio/web/video conference meeting about improving their part of project 3, specifically getting Widget 117 to work properly.  Only the six members of the team—and their manager—will join in, and all work on the same floor.  They already meet weekly.

The answer is both… or neither.  It was a trick question.  The meetings in both A and B have good and bad elements to them.  Their success depends largely upon the organizers. 

In A, there is danger in bringing "everyone" into a meeting as most of them don’t need to be there.  They can be filled in later on what they need to know.  A rigid agenda is required to keep things on track, and a system is needed to capture great ideas and table digressions for another time.  Also, with so much ground to cover, the meeting could be rushed, incomplete, or just very long.

In B, we have the right people whose opinions or ideas matter.  It may seem a bad thing to do an audio/web/video conference with everyone within shouting distance, but it’s a great advantage if they use the technology to collaborate on documents and other files in real-time.  The real danger lies in the scheduled, automatic meeting, or "we’re having a meeting because we have one each week" meeting.  If they approve the necessity each week, then they will continue to have effective meetings.

How do you keep your meetings effective?  Leave a comment and tell us about what you’re doing.