10 Tips for Running Effective Meetings

Photo of a Food Lobby Coop Meeting that occurred at the LA Eco-Village

Tonight (Tuesday, June 15th), from 7pm to 9pm, I’m leading a Running Effective Meetings Workshop at the LA Eco-Village, and I invite you to attend.  To rsvp, contact crsp@igc.org or 213/738-1254.  $35 sliding scale.

Many of us spend much of our times in meetings.  Having attending numerous meetings as a facilitator and participant, I’m happy to share the following 10 quick tips for running effective meetings with you:

1. Designate a Facilitator: Whether it’s a member of the group such or your group decide to bring in an outside facilitator, the facilitator’s role is to help keep the group focused and moving forward.

2. Develop an agenda before the meeting:
At the core of a good agenda are items that require the group to make decisions.  Project how much time each item will take and assign the outcome you hope to accomplish.

3. Stick to the agenda during the meeting:
Many temptations exist to stray off topic.  Stay focused to get the work done you need to get done and record other ideas brought up at the meeting for future meetings.

4. Record decisions made:
Have a notetaker at every meeting to take minutes and have them record each decision, who is responsible for implementing it and if any future actions need to happen.

5. Start and end on time:
When groups slide from starting and ending on time, people loose motivation for attending meeting.

6. Set groundrules:
Groundrules help ensure civility between members. Some examples:  test assumptions, share all relevant information and focus on interests, not positions.

7. Address conflict when it comes up:
Dealing with conflict can be challenging but not dealing with it and letting it fester can potentially be worse.

8. Use graphics:
Have someone scribe notes on a dry-erase board or poster paper to visually record people’s thoughts.

9. Evaluate:
Occasionally ask what about the meetings work well and what could be improved…experiment with ways to improve meetings.

10. Thank people for attending:
If folks feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to show up at future meetings, especially if they are a volunteer.

If you’re group needs an outside facilitator to make your meetings more effective, please contact me.

4 thoughts on “10 Tips for Running Effective Meetings

  1. I learned from working at Xerox Corp., which used the Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence format for meetings, that designating a time keeper is also very useful. The timekeeper makes sure the meeting starts and ends on time as well as limiting each topic on the agenda to its requested time. Topics that require more time than allotted are moved to subsequent meetings or “offline.” This allows the facilitator to focus on the task of running the meetings.

  2. Ron,

    For those that are on meetings by conference call, Google Wave seems to provide a good virtual whiteboard, as everyone see the changes in real time. I’ve been using it for most my meetings.

    Jason

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