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     The most infamous collection of meeting-makers on Earth has to be “Boards.”  Consider how Board-Bored we must be.  We have Boards of Directors, Boards of Trustees, Boards of Advisors, School Boards, Medical Boards, Law Boards, Admissions Boards, Homeowner and Condo Boards,  Probation Boards, Boards of Overseers, Surf Boards, Snow Boards, Water Boarding (whoops! sorry) Editorial Boards, Boards of . . .  

     What’s the point?  If you’re Board-Bored, you are most certainly sick of meetings, right?  Right!  So, what can be done to make meetings better?  Here, following, for your Board-Bored pleasure: 

7 Steps To Making Meetings Work ©

Copyright 2009, Hal Alpiar 

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER ONE”: Use an agenda!  Circulate a draft of it a week in advance of a monthly meeting, a couple of days ahead of a weekly meeting, and 17 seconds before a daily meeting (If you’re meeting daily and you’re not in the White House, the Pentagon, or a police department, 17 seconds is enough time to pour some coffee and decide to find another job!) 

Ask for agenda input in time to add it and —before the meeting– post a clearly visible newsprint or whiteboard (YOW! another Board!) version of the agenda you can refer to, and check off as you go.  People will know where they are and where they’re going, minus the anxiety of potential surprises.

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER TWO”: Do NOT invite people to any meeting who are not actively involved in the decision making for the agenda points.  Meetings are not for training or parading egos.  If meetings do not end up producing results, stop having them!  Deal with those who need to attend for certain topics first and let them leave when those discussions end.

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER THREE”: STICK TO THE AGENDA!  When issues are raised that are not directly related to the agenda, thank the source and ask that she/he include the point on the next agenda for the next meeting, or –if there’s time left after the agenda is completed– to raise it again then, but that “this meeting is for this agenda.”

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER FOUR”: Always ADHERE TO THE EXACT TIMES SET for start and finish.  No exceptions ever.  If you do this twice in a row, no one will ever be late again, and everyone will stay on schedule for the day.  Also: resist the temptation to load the table up with snacks and beverages! Contrary to popular belief, donuts do not make for better decisions!

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER FIVE”: Emergencies aside, meetings work best when they are consistently set and conducted.  This means holding sessions at regular times (I recommend Monday mornings for weekly status review meetings as being 100% more productive than mid-week  which is too workflow-disruptive, or Fridays, when everyone’s thinking about their weekends.

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER SIX”Include compliments and small rewards (a toy car, a game or puzzle, a banana – preferably something appropriate to the deed) at the end of every meeting!  

HAL’S “MEETING STEP NUMBER SEVEN”: Follow up each meeting PROMPTLY with a simple bullet list report of decisions made and who specifically is responsible for the next step by what date.  

     If all else fails and meetings still drag on into the sunset, have the chairs removed from the room and hold stand-up meetings!  It works wonders for getting things done quickly. 

     Remember too that MBWA (Management By Walking Around) is still the best way to minimize or eliminate meetings, get decisions made and motivate the troops at the same time.  People LIKE seeing the boss outside the conference room and out from behind the desk. 

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302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

2 comments so far


  1. Del_Editoron 31 Jan 2009 at 1:59 pm

    FROM del_editor (Wilmington News Journal):

    I think I’ll post that on our bulletin board (or is it bulletin bored?)

  2. […] If you absolutely positively definitely have to have a meeting, do yourself a favor and work the following items into your meeting prep checklist: […]

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