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You Want Me to Give a Meeting?

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You’ve been asked to give a meeting. OK, you were kind of told you were giving the meeting. But wait – you hate meetings!? There are too many and they’re too long. The last thing anyone needs is another boring one-hour lecture.

Are you to be a part of something you despise? Calm down and take some deep breaths—with a little planning you can show everyone how a meeting should be conducted. You can lead the way.

Before planning a meeting determine the purpose of the meeting then consider what type of meeting is best suited to the purpose. There are many types of meetings. Here are four of the basics.

Meetings and Productivity

© Flickr user Editor B

Four Types of Meetings

Status – A status meeting is used to stay current on the progress, results, and expectations of projects. Most status meetings should be short and to the point – primarily about the status of projects, and daily activities. It’s not best suited for discussing HOW to do it but rather WHAT needs done, WHO is doing it, and WHEN it will be completed. For example, I’ve been involved with daily production meetings that included manufacturing, design, installation, and sales teams. In these meetings we discussed who was doing what, who could help who, where we stood on deadlines, and what had changed. Procedural discussions were limited and usually done after the meeting between the parties directly involved. Status meetings should be held at the rate of status change in your organization. If change orders and new projects come in daily then 10-15 minutes may be needed every day. Tip – Having everyone stand for this meeting helps keep them short and on point.

Decision making and problem solving – These meetings, in some ways, are the opposite of status meetings. By their nature they will be longer and more involved. Using problem solving techniques to identify areas of improvement can help the team establish how to overcome challenges. Brain storming, involving the entire team in the process, opens up creativity often presenting new approaches and invests the team in a plan they helped develop. Although it may not be a bad idea to schedule regular problem solving meetings it’s not unusual to schedule meetings as needed. Tip – Part of your preparation should be asking attendees for their input before the meeting, you’ll know where it stands and who you can call on.

Vision, Planning, and Creative – This meeting type is used to set the course for an organization. Where are we going? What’s next? Some companies hold regularly scheduled meetings, monthly, quarterly, or yearly while others share vision and planning as opportunities arise. This type of meeting may be a group input session or a leader may share their vision and plans. Creating a Vision team or conducting a SWOT analysis are examples of this type of meeting. Tip – Assign a meeting note taker. It will be important to follow up on the conclusions of this meeting.

Training – Training meetings include basic training; follow up training, safety, procedural, and policy meetings. They should be continuous, ongoing and scheduled on a regular basis. The schedule will depend on the level of experience, how often there are procedural changes, required compliance – such as OHSA, complexity of tasks, and how often new hires come aboard. Tip – Develop and use checklists for these meetings especially those which, will be repeated.

Randy ClarkBy first determining the purpose of a meeting and what you want to achieve, you can plan the most effective type of meeting suited to the purpose. For example, attempting to plan in a status meeting or problem solve in a training meeting may lead to a lack of direction, a lot of confusion, and time not well spent. Today in America a majority of employees believe that meetings are a waste time. Is this true in your organization? Are there too many meetings, which are too long? Are meetings a time suck or are they productive and timely?

This Psychology Today post, Why Meetings Kill Productivity, offers valuable suggestions to make meetings more productive (the bullet points are on the mark)

Randy Clark is the Director of Communications at TKO Graphix, where he blogs for TKO Graphix Brandwire.  Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. The proud father of two educators he has four amazing grand children, and a public speaking wife who puts up with him. Twitter @randyclarktko  Facebook Randy Clarktko

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