It Works: Stories From The Book

Transform from random to results

Sandra’s days are full of back-to-back meetings that she needs to attend. Most of her meetings have a set agenda that is emailed out the day before to the team members.

She classifies these as formal meetings with a set structure, not really flexible enough to change the current process. She also has a lot of random meetings that are usually scheduled for 60 minutes, so she decided to experiment with changing them to 25 minutes only.

Sandra reported a definite improvement in the way the discussions fl owed and people interacted and even committed to the tasks they were given. She made valiant attempts at facilitating the meetings more effectively by asking open-ended questions and waiting for people to answer.

Although it’s a hard thing to do, she finds silence very powerful, as everyone looks around to see who will speak first. The other concepts she has adopted and now religiously uses are:

  • sending a short agenda out to the participants ahead of the event, so they feel informed and not ambushed
  • keeping to the agenda and only introducing new topics if the discussion leads that way and is relevant, so the discussion is focused
  • arriving early and setting up the room so that they can start straight away — she looks professional and doesn’t waste time
  • taking notes live on the screen or on paper so that everyone has input, and agrees on the next steps
  • sending minutes out to the team within 24 hours, so everyone is kept informed of agreed deliverables
  • rescheduling if key people are late or cannot attend at the last minute; there’s no point wasting people’s time by having the meeting anyway.

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It Works!

I took a contract a few years ago that involved spending a lot of time in an office, and in long, boring meetings. There was one colleague, however, who used to do his meetings while walking around the... More
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