Effective Meetings

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Effective Meetings

Agenda The importance of effective meetings The effective-meeting process: – Before meetings (Plan) – During meetings (Do) – After meetings (Review) A checklist to review meeting effectiveness

When Is a Meeting Effective? A meeting is effective when it achieves its objectives in a minimum amount of time to the satisfaction of the participants.

The Key Message Effective meetings are managed events – they don’t just happen.

Steps to an Effective Meeting Plan Plan Do Do Review Review Establish the need (why) Set a clear agenda (what and how) Arrange logistics (where and when) Define roles and responsibilities (who) Pre-position key contributions Identify and overcome barriers Follow the agenda Record group thinking Practice good meeting behaviors Enact meeting roles Identify next steps Note concerns benefits Evaluateand effectiveness Circulate meeting summary Follow up on next steps Incorporate benefits and concerns into next meeting plan

Planning Planning should take the most effort in order to maximize the effectiveness of the meeting.

We Participate in all Types of Meetings Presenting Facilitating Lecture/Presentation Do we really need to meet or can we do this without a meeting? 20% 50% 50% 80% Discussion/Decision 20% One-way information sharing meetings, briefings 80% Project updates, management reviews Source: How to Lead Work Teams: Facilitation Skills, Fran Rees. Staff meetings, standing committee meetings Decision-oriented meetings, problemsolving meetings, task force meetings, team meetings, project team meetings, focus groups

Good Reasons to Meet Require the Interaction of Multiple People To share different perspectives and gain understanding To brainstorm and further develop ideas To make decisions To develop action plans To explain and clarify complicated information To achieve consensus

The Not-So-Good Reasons Why We Meet Simply because the meeting is being held Because that’s what teams do To share risk and avoid responsibility To share information To wordsmith mission statements, etc. To be participatory NO Consider Saying “NO” To follow up on actions Because your presence is mandated thereis isno nogood goodreason reasonto tomeet, meet,find findanother anotherway wayto toachieve achieve IfIfthere yourobjective objective your

Seven Basic Steps For Planning a Meeting Assigning and agreeing roles in 1. Decide precisely what you want to accomplish duringadvance the meeting – a decision, a plan, alternatives, helps with understanding? attendance 2. Determine who needs to attend and who can be copied on meeting minutes. Plan roles for the attendees in advance. 3. Plan the content of the meeting — the agenda — and the frequency and duration needed. I prefer longer meetings that meet less frequently 4. Plan how you will present each part of the agenda for maximum effectiveness. Consider your outcome and Howbest will decisions be determine the methods and environment that made? Voting? supports it. Consensus?

Seven Basic Steps for Planning a Meeting (continued) 5. Plan what you will do after the meeting or between meetings to be effective and to make progress like status updates, teleconferences, sub-teams. 6. Plan how you will evaluate the meeting — as it is taking place and afterward. 7. Reach agreement on meeting agenda, issues, and materials with key participants, sponsors, and resources prior to the meeting in order to proactively set expectations, build commitment, and resolve issues. Setting up sub-teams and progress status reporting outside meetings saves meeting time for group issues

Guidelines for an Effective Agenda Identify the time, date, place, and participants Describe your objective Agenda Guidel ines Tell the participants how to prepare Set time limits on topics Ensure enough time for a proper discussion Schedule items in order of importance Distribute in advance

Anticipate and Overcome Barriers Barriers may include: Uninformed participants Uncooperative participants Lack of authority to accomplish objective Unresolved conflicts between participants Solutions may include: Disseminating information prior to meeting Proactively working conflicts prior to meeting Setting a more limited objective Deciding not to meet

Plan Which Materials You Will Need Before the Meeting . . . Bring drafts of documents to work on like charters, mission Prepare strawmodel documents for the attendees to review statements, etc. Do not start with blank pages. If needed, commission a sub-team to write drafts. Gather materials you will need in the meeting – Slides – Handouts – Tape – – – Flip charts Markers Previous meeting’s next steps and minutes Secure meeting room and equipment Arrive early enough to make certain the room is prepared before meeting participants arrive Post ground rules and other relevant materials on walls

Establish Ground Rules with Your Team at the Start 1. Look for faults in others 5. Allow two meetings at the same time No blaming or cya 6. Pass notes Team vynamics – Ground Rules 2. Be Lobon “grenades” whereby two or three time – within 5 minutes of start team members3.vieNo to distractions – phone, blackberry Ramble dominate the meeting One meeting, no side conversations 4. Come with hidden agendas conversation Limit anecdotes 7. 8. Be respectful Be candid Violate time contracts Everyone gets a turn Set up “lose-lose” situations Help clean up

Doing Doing is easy after all the planning.

Meeting Roles: Leader “Owns” the meeting and sets the objectives Guides the content of the meeting (Are we meeting objectives?) Determines the participants and assigns roles Develops the agenda Provides support, information, and resources Sets the tone, expectations, and direction Encourages creativity Makes decisions or determines how to make decisions

Meeting Roles: Facilitator Guides and monitors the process of the meeting (Is the meeting running well?) Makes it “safe” for everyone to participate Monitors time contract or uses time keeper Brings team back on-track when needed Helps headline and clarify ideas Aids team performance Provides feedback

Meeting Roles: Scribe Documents everything noteworthy that occurs during the meeting, not just what was written on flipcharts: Attendance, date, objectives Ideas, discussion threads, parking lot items Outcomes – decisions, next steps What’s due for next meeting The scribe scribeends endsup uphaving havingthe themost mostpower powerover overthe thecourse courseof ofthe the The meetingsbecause becausewhat whatis isdocumented documentedis iswhat whatgets getsenacted. enacted. meetings

Meeting Roles: Time Keeper Monitors time contract Brings team back on-track when needed

Meeting Roles: Resource Generates ideas and recommendations Adheres to the agenda Practices good meeting behaviors Enforces ground rules Completes assigned tasks Participates actively Giving everyone a specific role gives them more of a reason to attend and makes your meeting more effective. Consider assigning hats.

De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats The White Hat The White Hat calls for information known or needed. The Red Hat The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. The Black Hat The Black Hat is judgment -- the devil's advocate or why something may not work. The Yellow Hat The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism and how things could work. The Green Hat The Green Hat focuses on creativity: the possibilities, alternatives and new ideas. The Blue Hat The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process.

Running the Meeting Allow time for chit chat Review the agenda Remind team of the ground rules Remind team of assigned roles Record open ideas and issues in “parking lot” to be addressed later Help participants turn ideas, issues, and concerns into action plans/next steps Manage the agenda and the time Record next steps and decisions Summarize the meeting results Evaluate the meeting before leaving

Tips for Improving Meeting Effectiveness Meeting Meeting Do’s Do’s Build on others’ ideas 1. Use headlining approach 9. 2. Help others headline ideas 10. Use parking lots 3. Be constructive 11. Use multiple note takers 4. Use the “how to” (H2) or I wish I knew (IWIK) phrases 12. Set up “win-win” situations 5. Listen actively 6. Paraphrase for understanding 7. Observe time contract 8. Use behavior enforcers, e.g. money pot 13. Remember, “No idea is a bad idea” 14. Do benefits before concerns 15. Rotate roles 16. Ensure everyone contributes

Encourage Participation Through Hooks and Responses What I hear you saying . . . What I like about that . . . Let me build on that . . . How would we. . . Help me understand . . . I wish I knew what . . . Can you say more about that . . .

The Group Memory: Flipchart or LCD Recordings Helps the group focus Provides instant record of meeting content Encourages participation “Depersonalizes” ideas Increases sense of accomplishment

Leave Time at the End of the Meeting for Feedback Perform a process pro’s and cons or benefits and concerns: What went well? What should we improve for next time? If you don’t do this your meetings will never get any better. Perform a content pro’s and cons or benefits and concerns: How well are we meeting our objectives? What do we need to do better? Assign roles for next meeting

Reviewing The only way to improve meeting effectiveness is to evaluate it and determine what to do better.

After the Meeting Review meeting benefits and concerns Solicit participants’ individual feedback on meeting Compare notes and prepare and distribute meeting minutes Follow up on Next Steps via email, phone, etc. Set up sub-teams to work on larger actions Issue progress reports Start planning the next meeting Pla n Do Review

A Checklist Can Help Evaluate Meeting Effectiveness Yes No 1. Was an agenda sent out ahead of time with minutes and any prereading? 2. Were objectives clear? 3. Were handouts and meeting aides prepared in advance? Did participants understand what was expected of them during the 8. Did the meeting end on time? 9. Was there good participation in the meeting? 10. Were meeting roles followed? 11. Was the meeting summarized? 12. Were participants’ problems, concerns, and needs sought? 13. Were decisions made or action items assigned to resolve problems? 14. Were commitments asked for and made and documented? 15. Were follow-up reporting times established? 16. Did meeting leader practice good interpersonal skills: active listening, paraphrasing, and recognizing non-verbals Activity 4. Was the meeting room set up properly? 5. Did the meeting start on time? 6. Was the agenda followed? 7. meeting?

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