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Eliminate Meeting Mayhem

March 2, 2017
The cost of one one-hour meeting with six manager or professional technical attendees ranges from $600 to $1,500. Add in the cost of facilities and it is likely 25% higher. That’s just one hour, one time. To convene a group meeting, here are best practice suggestions for anyone leading or participating in the meeting:

Prior to the Meeting

  • Always publish an agenda prior to each meeting or ask for an agenda prior to accepting the invite to attend.
  • Ideally collect and publish agenda items and required reading within the Calendar appointment item.
  • Send out pre-meeting reading requirements one full day in advance. Any earlier and it will be lost. Any later and it will likely be read in the meeting.
  • Review all required reading of published details prior to meetings.
For the pre-meeting agenda and at the beginning of the meeting:
  • Label agenda items as Inform, Request for Input or Request for Decision.
    • Inform – the owner will inform others, providing facts and decisions made.
    • Request for Input – the owner will provide background information (establish focus) so that the leadership team can provide input.
    • Request for Decision – the owner will present adequate summary information and if necessary guide the leadership using the full 5-step conversation model to reach consensus on a decision. Discussion is allowed and encouraged to satisfy any needs for information.

Control the meeting

  • As a first item, review the agenda and ask participants to amend as needed. (Establish Focus for the meeting)
  • Inform items need to be quick and in summary format. Handle detailed informs with one-page bulleted handouts or offline via email updates.
  • Consistently apply the ‘5-step coaching model for managers’* to meeting management.
  • Keep participants within the flow of the five steps and recognize when a circular flow (step backward)is needed. Be aware of what step you need to be on.
  • Use meeting time for exception-based discussions.
  • Use consensus agenda items to approve or accept recommendations that don’t need discussion.

Carl Nielson is an executive and team performance coach. In addition to one-on-one coaching, Carl delivers in-house development programs for managers, teams and high-potentials. His latest initiatives include Leadership Acceleration Program for High-Potentials, Execution Leadership for NPD and IT Project Managers and *The Coaching Clinic for Managers. Carl also provides highly interactive team workshops including  Communication and Collaboration Skills for Teams using DISC and other assessments.

*The 5-step coaching model for managers is ideal for meeting management and uses the following coaching conversation flow:

  1. Establish Focus
  2. Discover Possibilities
  3. Plan the Action
  4. Remove Barriers
  5. Recap

To learn more, schedule a convenient information session with Carl, go here.

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