Since my boss was let go a couple of weeks ago, and since her replacement isn’t in place yet, my weekly meeting quota has gone up significantly. As a professional communicator I know that meeting time is essential. However, it’s a bittersweet task. Whatever you accomplish in the meeting only means more work, a longer “to do” list and more projects to take on. And when I already have several hundred things on my “to do” list already, the last thing I want is more.
Productivity, effectiveness and getting things done have taken on an entirely new importance in my daily life.
42 Folders has 9 tips for running more productive meetings that seem helpful:
- Circulate an agenda
- Have a theme
- Set (and honor) times for beginning, ending, and breaks
- No electronic grazing. Period.
- Schedule guests
- Be a referee and employ a time-keeper
- Stay on target
- Follow up
- Be consistent
The one I think will help the most is “No electronic grazing. Period.”
Laptops closed. Phones off. Blackberries left back in the cube. You’re either at the meeting or you’re not at the meeting, and few things are more distracting or disruptive than the guy who has to check his damned email every five minutes. Schedule breaks for people to fiddle with their toys, but fearlessly enforce a no grazing rule once the meeting’s back in session. Emergency call to take or make? They have to leave the room. No exceptions. If you’re too busy to be at the meeting everyone else has made firewalled time for, just leave.
And I’ll hope that I get some reprieve from meeting imprisonment soon.