The Business Hell We Must Escape: Meetings - InformationWeek

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The Business Hell We Must Escape: Meetings
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Ariella
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Ariella,
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2/11/2014 | 9:46:56 AM
meetings
One good thing I can say about meetings: they've inspired a lot of funny Dilbert strips, like these: 

RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 9:50:38 AM
Stick To An Agenda
From my experience, the first priority is to set an agenda ahead of time, preferably with input from meeting attendees, and then stick to that agenda. Then stick to that agenda. If you set a meeting for 45 minutes, no reason you can't end it in 30. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 9:51:51 AM
The Dreaded Status Meeting
I worked in a group where the weekly status meeting had a designated 10-minute block at the end for "moaning and whining." This was designed to keep the update portion of the meeting on track. The culture of the group was such that this technique actually worked. That messy stuff people were dying to bring up? It actually came up and got addressed. And people learned to discuss it in a concise way.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 10:36:05 AM
Re: Discipline
My pet peeve: Unnecessarily long meetings. I agree that 30 minute i best and all should be capped at 60.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 11:23:00 AM
Meeting is not brainstorming
This article lays out meeting "rules of engagement" about as well as I've seen. It's so important to have a good meeting leader who can set the tone, manage the clock and only cover what is essential. When a 30-minute meeting becomes an 90-minute "brainstorming session" you're screwed. Any meeting-runner worth his salt would never let it happen.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 1:27:42 PM
"Team building" exercises
The most torturous meeting element to me is when you're told to break up into ad-hoc groups and come up with some imaginary business plan for a new fro-yo slash social media brand. Please, are we in kindergarten?
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 5:13:25 PM
Re: Start Early!
J., how old is your son? Good skills to build early...not just meeting-organizational skills but also people management skills.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 5:25:39 PM
Re: Start Early!
That's fantastic, J_Brandt. Some adults could learn management skills from him! One reason so many meetings fail, I think, is that it's a skill few are taught and some don't learn on their own. When you become a manager you're taught all sorts of things but how to run a meeting isn't necessarily one of them. Sure, some folks review their own behavior and meetings, but some don't. 

We've seen what can happen as the result of a bad meeting (the AOL "town hall" springs to mind, although that wasn't a meeting in the true sense of the world; there was no sharing of info. It was one-way.). And hopefully we've seen how a good meeting can bring together disparate people or ideas and result in a real action plan that gets resuts.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 5:36:10 PM
Can You Hear Me Now?
Meetings' problems get amplified (or muffled?) when you add in phones or videoconferencing. It's not only technology's fault. It's how we, as people, behave when we use the technology! From interrupting each other to lurking, from disconnected calls to repetition, phones bring a new wrinkle to the meeting mix. 

If you haven't already seen this, it's worth the five minutes. Had me laughing hysterically the first time I watched it.



 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/13/2014 | 9:21:09 PM
Re: Can You Hear Me Now?
Spot on, from the very first line. Great video.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/14/2014 | 9:22:05 PM
Re: Dilbert has nothing over real life
People just love their meetings, even when a technology is implemented to help reduce the number necessary. Hard habit to break! Great anecdote.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
2/18/2014 | 9:12:53 AM
Re: Dilbert has nothing over real life
A healthcare and education CIO I know holds pretty effective monthly team meetings by rotating meeting chairs and note-takers. Each participant takes turns taking notes, writing and sharing the minutes, and setting the session's agenda. This way, all IT pros have a chance at management roles, facilitation, and time-management, according to Mansur Hasib. Also, each individual had to participate in the meeting and buy into an idea before moving on. That doesn't mean taking it as gospel; it means "polishing" a concept, coming up with a better idea, or completely taking it off the table, he said. 


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