I recently shared a post giving you 7 ways to significantly reduce your meeting times. One of my loyal (and very experienced) readers Harry Brooks read the article and added these additional tips which I think are great!
How about making the meetings SHORTER; and also giving people a maximum of, e.g. 2, 3, 5 minutes to make their point, so that everybody focuses sharply on the key issues/suggestions/solutions?
Also, pick a meeting length that is not obvious. So, instead of half an hour or an hour, make it 27 minutes, or 56 and a half? That will get people’s attention. And don’t start on the hour, start at 3 minutes to the hour.
Get all the attendees to send the chairperson, in advance, a one-page summary of the points they want to make or raise, and questions they want to ask. On ONE SIDE OF ONE PIECE OF PAPER. (My favourite – Lynn)
I also used to record every meeting so that nobody had to pause to make notes. This speeded up the discussion and made sure nobody missed anything.
The second, unintended but very valuable, benefit of recording was that it also made people focus sharply on what they were going to say because they didn’t want to sound daft on the playback.
Finally, the crucial issue is the chairperson.
He/she needs to be a) totally prepared, b) able to grasp/expand/clarify/refute the points that every speaker makes, c) be fully in control whilst allowing everyone a voice, d) able to summarise the issues, determine all the required action, appoint the people who must take it, and set a date for the next meeting to review the results, AND e) be respected by everyone who attends.
Thanks to Harry for those additional ideas.