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How to Stop Running Away from Runaway Meetings

workplace-meeting.jpgHave you ever had a boss who just simply couldn't run a meeting? I mean really, this person was terrible at it. It was negatively impacting productivity, employees were complaining about wasted time... Oh, this is your current boss? All the better! You have a great opportunity to help your boss and yourself. Here at Trumpet, we’re always brainstorming ways to make your job run more smoothly and more productive. We’ve come up with a few ideas about how to run more effective meetings. Let’s take a look as to why meetings aren't working out as planned and how you can help keep your boss 'managed up' on meetings.

Problem Solution
Meetings constantly get derailed
  • Validate each speaker’s point and steer the conversation back to the original topic.
  • Suggest adding the ‘off topic’ point to the next meeting’s agenda and redirect discussion to current agenda.
Meetings are always running later than scheduled
  • Alot a specific amount of time for discussion of each agenda item.
  • Suggest an official ‘timekeeper’ for the meeting who will alert everyone to time overages. Don’t be afraid to decide/shelve/reschedule contentious topics.
Meetings are not productive
  • Suggest an agenda review to ensure only pertinent topics are addressed.
  • Offer to shoulder the meeting prep task; copy the agenda to participants.
Meetings consistently begin late
  • Note expectations on the agenda (ie. ‘Meetings will begin on time - please do not be late as we will miss your valuable input’.)
  • Support management and employees alike by advocating the same expectation and reminding both about  the value of their time.

Just as some people are not effective at running meetings, some are not effective at attending meetings. When you send your agenda to meeting participants, consider including a list of ‘Meeting Ground Rules’ such as:

  • Debate the issue, not the person
  • Begin and end on time
  • Be present - no distractions (no email, no texting)
  • Share all relevant information
  • Disagree without being disagreeable
  • Listen to understand
  • Participate 100%

Whether you’re mentoring a manager or a participant, your coaching will have exponential impact as management and staff alike will benefit from productive, timely meetings attended by mutually respectful and focused staff. Just remember to coach outside the meeting. Otherwise, your colleagues might take you to task for not sticking to the agenda.

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Jo Day

Jo Day

Jo loves learning about interesting problems and how people are solving them. Jo is well known for connecting people and ideas and is a great catalyst (moo!) to change. Where some people see the world through rose colored glasses, Jo sees the world through processes. When Jo isn't hanging out with her family, Jo's favorite hobbies are being anywhere outdoors and coming up with new business ideas – just for fun!