Great Meetings at Acme

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Your Great Meetings Template

This template is an in-depth step by step guide to running strong meetings. It gives you everything you need to make your next meeting your best meeting.



There you are stuck in back-to-back meetings, and right around four in the afternoon, when attention is flagging and stomachs are rumbling, you realize the day has been a colossal waste of time. Nothing has been accomplished. None of your projects has moved forward.

We've all been there. Discussion meetings with no real discussions - or worse, endless debates that go round and round. Meetings that go off topic. Decisions made, but no tasks assigned or follow up. There's got to be a better way.

There is.

You'll be tempted to say just avoid meetings altogether. You can do everything through email, right? Wrong, sometimes only a meeting will do. But if you take a firm hand in running meetings, they can be effective tools to push your planning process towards completion. "It's really about good facilitation skills," says Planning Boot Camp author and business planning expert Peter Wright. "Meetings have to be chaired properly. You have to have a clear agenda, clear outcomes and a clear plan of attack."

So how do you chair an effective meeting?

By making sure to start and end on time. By having a clear objective and sticking to a written agenda. A great meeting facilitator ensures people's opinions, issues, problems and fantastic ideas are heard, while curtailing side conversations. She sets next steps, accountability and deadlines. She ensures concise minutes are taken and follows up after the meeting to make sure tasks are completed. But most of all, a great meeting facilitator can rally your troops, build team moral and keep everyone motivated to finish the projects at hand.

Do you run effective meetings?

Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Do all your meetings last one hour or longer?
  2. Do your meetings veer widely off topic?
  3. Do you feel as if you're not being listened to in meetings?
  4. Are your meetings hijacked by one or two people?
  5. At the end of a meeting, are you unsure of what to do next or what conclusions have been reached?

If you've answered yes to any of these questions, you and your colleagues are wasting your time attending meetings. To run effective meetings, you must challenge yourself and your colleagues to take a firmer hand in the chairperson's seat. You can do so by honing your facilitation skills.