Meetingfrust instead of meetinglust?
Who does not know this: day by day appointments, conference on conference, one meeting chasing the next. This costs infinitely much time and energy - but the bottom line is rarely something tangible.
There are always the same problems that prevent the efficiency of meetings. In order for you to be better in the future and not waste your precious time with unsatisfying meetings, I have compiled the most important rules for successful meetings.
1. The goal is the way
One of the main obstacles to effective discussions is a lack of objective. Define clear objectives in the future - for each individual agenda item. As a leader, specify what is to be done by when; employees must ensure the implementation.
2. Invite competent participants
It sounds banal, but is often negligently neglected: Again and again I experience that not the most relevant and competent people sit at the table. Accordingly, the meeting can not lead to results. Therefore, when you are grouping the group, be sure to invite the right employees - those who really have something to say about the topic - as well as the decision-making power.
Otherwise, the topics will be discussed endlessly and finally postponed. And how do you get that other departments do not send anything? By setting up a simple rule: what has been discussed and decided in the group applies and can not be undone.
3. Without a suitable moderator, nothing works
Even small discussion groups benefit from being led by a moderator. Otherwise there is a great risk that the participants will always digress from the core topic and discuss the “whether” instead of concentrating on the “how”. As a manager, do not take on the moderation, because otherwise you can hardly intervene sufficiently in terms of content.
Usually neutrality is advisable because the moderator has to mediate between the different points of view. If, on the other hand, you do not want it to be neutral, choose one from the hierarchiest group. For the moderator to fulfill his function, certain rights must be assigned to him. Above all, he should have the authority to slow down debauched speakers and due to excessive discussions on the subject. It has proven very useful to limit the speaking time per participant and speech to two minutes.
4. For everything a rule
In many Company There are no binding guidelines for meetings, their success is left to chance. However, rules for a uniform procedure are essential - only in this way can useful results be achieved. The most important are:
- All the topics discussed in the group are visualized, for example, on the flip chart.
- Discussions take place as soon as the relevant question is understandable for all participants.
- Follow the ZDF rule and demand reliable “numbers, data, facts” for all discussion points.
- When clarifying the problem, clearly defined methods are used, such as voting, collection and weighting of the criteria or scoring points with regard to the relevance of questions.
- Each agenda item is closed with a WWW: Who does what until when?
- Have questions in a themed memory that have not yet been finalized during this discussion.
- Decision-making documents should have a uniform structure and should not be more than one page long.
Leave these rules in every meeting room!
5. To clarify what it is about
Not infrequently, there is uncertainty about the (sub) topic to be addressed. Therefore, clarify what the next agenda item is, so that all participants are on a uniform stand. This is a maximum of five minutes. so they all get used to delivering shorter word contributions. If this predefined time passes without results, proceed to the next topic.
6. Include target groups
Unbelievable, but true: Very often, the target groups that are the subject of the meeting are not asked about their concrete expectations. This means that the group should find solutions to problems, for example, from customers who were previously not sufficiently informed about the content.
The discussion then takes place in the airless space, whereby the failure is naturally pre-programmed. Therefore, ensure that all relevant information is prepared and made available to the participants in good time before the meeting. Strategic statements from management regarding the facts are also helpful.
7. Discussions are not sprawling
Who has not yet experienced this? In the course of a meeting, the degree of complexity increases so strongly that nobody can see through. The reason for this is often that some participants talk without giving any substantial support - simply to make them say anything at all. If the discussion is so far outdated, the topic is then often delegated to working groups for lack of solubility. So that it does not come so far, you should
- for each of the matters to be clarified, a temporal limit,
- To reduce the number of speakers;
- Even during the meeting.
If delegation of the topic is required, this should be linked to the project group with a clearly formulated work and solution mandate.
Extra tip: Structuring meetings with the Mind Map technique - and logging results
The contents of the meeting are made transparent and accessible to all participants when they are visualized on an ongoing basis (eg on the flip chart). The Mind-Map-technique, which also reveals the inner context of the topic, is perfectly suited for ideas gatherings. This is the best way to do this: Draw a circle in the middle of the sheet and write the topic into it.
The group members then collect the main problems and sub-points associated with them. In the third step, solutions are developed for the individual problem areas. Since this is often neglected, finally a recommendation. As a leader, you can create a log that keeps all relevant issues: progress, (intermediate) results, and open points to be covered in the next appointment.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965960886
English version: ISBN 9783965960893 (Translation notice)
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