Keeping Meetings on Track When You Are Not In Charge by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In General
Nov 21st, 2013

Sometimes, the person in charge of a meeting doesn’t do what is required to help keep the meeting on track…and then it becomes necessary for someone in attendance to help do that. If that person is you (and it might as well be you!), then here are some tips:

  1. Ask the person in charge to send an agenda ahead of time.
  2. If the person in charge doesn’t think an agenda is needed, offer to help put one together with his/her input.
  3. If, however, an agenda still has not been sent prior to the meeting, ask that one be generated at the start of the meeting.
  4. Always bring your planner/calendar (paper or electronic) to the meeting and encourage others to do so, also.
  5. Bring a few pads of Post-it® notes, flip chart paper, and markers to the meetings, just in case they are needed and aren’t readily available.
  6. Listen intently to the exchange during the meeting so that you can interject helpful comments and redirect people by asking cogent questions.
  7. If no one is designated to take minutes, volunteer. Keeping the minutes forces you to listen differently and to ensure that details are included (e.g., decisions, names of those responsible, etc.) The recorder is the most powerful member of a group as s/he determines the written history of the session.
  8. Send out the minutes (or comments related to the meeting) via email as soon as possible after the meeting has concluded.
  9. Ask that the next meeting be scheduled before the current meeting ends…and since everyone will have their planner (see #4), this should be doable.
  10. Be prepared to be a leader. Leaders sometimes have the title, but many times, actions are the distinguishing factor.

Often people think these ideas sound too bold.  Here’s my response…Be bold, for crying out loud!  Be productive and help others be productive, too.

bettermeetingsAnd to learn more strategies for productive meetings, then you need the Get a Plan! Guide® to Waayy Better Meetings. As a society, we cannot afford to be losing productivity to meetings that are poorly designed, unnecessary, or to whom the wrong people have been invited.