Meetings…meetings…meetings! Part One

There are times when many of us feel as though all we ever do is plan and attend meetings and we never have enough time to do the 'real' work. We then wonder when the 'real ' works get done! Sometimes the meetings we attend seem unproductive and a waste of time. And there are some who will use it to catch up on sleep, plan their next day of meetings, do their grocery or errand list……. The message here is that we often dread these things and it is true that it is not the most productive use of time. In this world, time is a very precious commodity…we cannot afford to waste it.

This is a three part series on meetings. This first part is about agendas and the role they play in successful meetings. Part II will focus on the process and forum of the meeting. Part III will discuss roles of the participants including leadership, gate-keeping, etc. Agendas are tackled first because they need to be done prior to the meeting and will help to set the tone for the efficiency of the meeting.

  1. All meetings should have an agenda. There should be no surprises! The agenda should be done in advance enough so people can be prepared and plan accordingly,
  2. All agendas should be detailed enough to tell the participants exactly what to expect and who it will be discussed by and the time frame allotted.
  3. Participants should have input on the topics to be discussed. This will give the feeling it is 'our' meeting rather than 'your' meeting.
  4. The agenda should be realistic in terms of amount of information to be discussed and decisions to be made. Too much on the agenda is over-whelming and each meeting starts with left over items plus the 'old business' that needs follow-up. Too little on the agenda tends to make people it was a waste of time if they scheduled around it.
  5. The agenda items should be ordered in such a way as to maximize member time. Are there certain items that need to be discussed by everyone and others which do not? This communicates value for others' time.
  6. Make sure your agenda has only what is necessary to be discussed. Consider other means of communication for information dissemination.

In summary, people appreciate consideration for their time. You are using their time as you would your own. A well thought out agenda using the tips described above will help set the climate for a successful and productive meeting. In the next article, we will tackle the process and format for a meeting.

 Please use this information as it is intended but if you copy, copy in its entirety with appropriate copyright information. All articles are copyrighted and owned by Lisa Pervin, PhD, RN, CRRN & Best Business Practices Consulting, Inc. 2015