Project Management

3 Tips to Avoid Frustrating Meeting Pitfalls

Useful meetings are like Bigfoot—it is hard to prove they really exist. It is possible to uncover the truth of better meetings without tinfoil hats and flat-Earth theories though. In an article for, Tom Catalini shares three tips about “balance” that can make for more productive meetings.

Walk the Middle Path

The first balance is between structure and informality. Most meetings have no structure and degenerate into a slushy mess within minutes. However, meetings that are too structured can suck the life out of the room too, imposing practices that inhibit useful communication. As a team leader, you can find the comfortable middle ground. Dictate enough structure to ensure people stay on topic, but allow the conversation to meander a little when people are speaking with enthusiasm. Serendipitous solutions might result from these reactions.

The next balance, related to the previous one, is between hierarchy and creativity. In a meeting, arriving at viable answers and solutions is more important than dictating the entire conversation. That means you should use your leadership power to facilitate rather than control.

Lastly, there must be a balance between information and action. For instance, too many trivial status updates can really stop a meeting’s momentum. About that, Catalini writes this:

Where status updates make sense, keep them short and to the point. Stay away from indulging people who don’t keep up by making everyone else suffer through this in real-time. Make it clear that updates are important, but not a good use of group time. Instead, put more time and energy into decision making. That’s a good use of time for a live group meeting.

Demonstrating a focus on action-planning by building on status updates that everyone should have read before the meeting is a good way to emphasize a forward-looking orientation.

You can view the original article here:

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