Holding Productive Meetings: Rick’s Rules for Meetings
One of the common issues that come up when I am working with any size of organization on essential communications skills is: how can we have (more) productive meetings?
Have a Plan & a Purpose
The worst-case scenario for group discussion is when everyone is against you and you’re fairly certain that you’re on your own. If you ever find yourself trapped in a tiny space between a rock and a hard place, then stop and re-group. Back up, back off, buy some time and step back into the fray when you have a plan and a purpose. Use the interim time to find your allies, because there is strength in numbers. If you can’t find anyone to support you, that is likely feedback that you’re on the wrong track. Lick your wounds, learn from the experience, and move on, all the wiser for it.
Focus on Ideas and Outcomes
The best-case scenario for group discussions is that they are focused, not on personalities and bad behavior but on ideas to be considered and outcomes to be achieved. But groups consist of individuals, and individuals do sometimes have competing interests, hidden agendas, and difficult behavior. The result is that it is all too common for group time to become wasted time, where arguments and angry conflict poisons the atmosphere and interferes with any possibility of progress.
Agree on Ground Rules
The way to make the best use of meetings and avoid the worst of people is with ground rules established at the outset. Also important: leadership that holds a group accountable for those rules. Once these ground rules exist, it is essential that they are posted someplace visible in the meeting room, and reviewed at the outset of the meeting. Then get consent from each person in attendance to abide by the rules.
In upcoming posts we’ll talk in detail about Rick’s rules for meetings, such as, hold the focus, listen when others talk, everyone gets a chance to talk, and more.
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