How often do you see someone at a meeting typing away on a laptop? Are they capturing valuable information about the meeting or taking the opportunity to catch up on some e mails? What do you want to be the rule around mobile phones, Blackberry's and other potential distractions? Make the rules clear. How often do you attend meetings where one person talks over another? Or where small 'side' meetings kick off between small numbers of the participants? Maybe that's OK for what you are trying to achieve, or maybe not. Again set the rules up front and make sure people stick to them.
Closing the meeting down
At the end of the meeting check back to the purpose and outcome. Have you achieved it? If not what are you going to do as the next steps? Are all of the agreements and actions from the meeting documented (minutes taken)? Is everybody clear on them? Ideally put them up so that everyone can see them, if not have someone read through them so that, if anyone has any objections to what has been documented then they can raise them at the meeting. Don't forget to allow some time in the agenda for this.
OK, that's it. Some very simple rules for making meetings more productive. It's over to you now. Give it a go and see if you can make your meetings more productive
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