https://youtu.be/EygomiA7fGU\r\n\r\nI often hear about meetings that run over time and no major decision is made. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. A recent internet search returned 164 million results for “meeting productivity.” That’s quite a bit of interest on a topic that has been around for decades but seems to still show opportunities for improvement.\r\n\r\nIn my 30-plus years in the business world, I have spent thousands of hours (my best estimate is more than 30,000) attending or facilitating business meetings. Over the years, I have learned several lessons that I want to share with you this month:\r\n\r\n1. Pre-meeting:\r\n• Have the meeting objectives been clearly spelled out to all participants?\r\n• Has the meeting agenda been distributed?\r\n• Have the right people been invited? It doesn’t help to flood the room with people who will not add anything of value to achieve the meeting objectives. At a minimum, it’s a waste of time for these people.\r\n• Does each participant know exactly what is expected of them?\r\n\r\n2. Beginning of the meeting:\r\n• Do you set the tone for the meeting by ALWAYS starting on time, or do you usually wait until everyone shows up?\r\n• Do you review the meeting objectives and agenda as the first item and validate 100 percent understanding and buy-in?\r\n• Are there any ground rules about how you expect people to behave during the meeting?\r\n\r\n3. During the meeting:\r\n• Is there a time-keeper?\r\n• Is there a notes-taker?\r\n• Are the participants, especially if all are part of a team, acting in a dysfunctional way? If so, you may need to address this outside the context of the meeting. See this blog entry.\r\n• When concluding the meeting, do you summarize the agreements made, who is responsible for each, and by when? And do you validate this one by one with each responsible person?\r\n• Also at the end, do you regularly collect feedback from participants on how effective the meeting was?\r\n\r\n4. Post-meeting:\r\n• Are the meeting notes detailing the responsible parties, agreements, and deadlines issued to all participants within 24 hours? This is one of my most important suggestions: Unclear and delayed meeting notes usually lead to unclear and delayed actions from the team.\r\n• Do you have a follow-up system to track the meeting agreements? If you don’t, you will likely be calling several more meetings to discuss the same topics over and over.\r\n\r\nLet me close with a quote from the American writer Napoleon Hill: “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” Count on me to help you facilitate short 30-minute meetings or multi-day off-sites. In my blog entries during February, I will provide further insights and suggestions on this topic.\r\n\r\nI welcome your feedback! Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Consultant, Facilitator & Coach\r\nwww.cannon.consulting\r\n\r\nPS1: Use this link to buy my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life, with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code MU5Z7NLM.\r\nPS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues.