As many of you know, I am a meeting facilitator. You may not know that I used to hate meetings. Probably for the same reasons you might dislike them: Bad timing, disorganized, conflict-ridden, running overtime, getting nothing accomplished. The list could go on and on. Then I learned that a good meeting could be a vehicle for getting things done and building stronger team relationships. So how could we have these helpful meetings instead of the other negative ones? Here are some thoughts:

• Try to limit the meeting to an hour or less. More frequent meetings will usually get better results than "marathon" meetings.

• Develop an agenda stating the five W's: Why are we having it, when it will happen, who is to attend, where will it be and what are we going to develop as an end product.

• As part of each agenda item, state the amount of time allotted for it, the person responsible and whether the item is for information, discussion and development, or for action.

• Have a person responsible for keeping the meeting focused on the agenda items, keeping within the time allotted and writing up results.

• Circulate the agenda a few days in advance so people can prepare.

• Write up the results of the meeting and get it out to the participants.

• Have some fun at the meetings. Laughter is good medicine.

Experiment with ways to enjoy yourselves while getting things done at meetings. It may take a little creativity, but escaping from the trap of deadly serious meetings will help everyone want to participate. And you team leaders, please remember to hold back a little in meetings and listen more. You'll be surprised at the good ideas your group develops. person or members of the group are doing. When you respond negatively, both you and the situation suffer.

* Keep the long view of things. In the worst cases, remember that "this too shall pass".

* Be ready to apologize when you're wrong. It nearly always helps.

When faced with a difficult situation, take the time to find out what the right response is, do it in the face of whatever odds, and watch your character develop. Then, when things get tough in the future, people will turn to you because of your record getting the best long-term results for the team and yourself.

Practice being calm and steady in the face of adversity. You'll be pleased with the results.

©Bruce Johnsen and Associates
824 Munras Ave. Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 373-5969 Fax: (831) 373-4604
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