Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 things you can to do make #meetings a little less painful

Meetings.  Any #workinggirl has a few words that come to mind upon hearing this term, many of which are not very positive.  Here are 10 things you can do to make meetings a little less painful.

  1. Be prepared.  Sounds simple, right?  You wouldn't believe how many people turn up completely unprepared to speak to the topics at hand.  Don't waste everyone's time, come ready.
  2. Know your objective.  What is the goal of the meeting?  If you don't have a goal, then you shouldn't be holding a meeting.  If it is a brainstorming session, then say so.  But if your aim is to make a decision, ensure you have presented all the items in order to do so.
  3. Have an agenda.  Again, sounds pretty basic, but I cannot tell you how many meetings I have been to that have had no real structure.  The more people you have in the room, the more important the agenda becomes.  
  4. Get the right people in the room.  If you can't make a decision without specific people or a department representative, ensure they are available to attend and actual plan on be present.  
  5. Listen.  We all know that one person that loves the sound of their own voice.  Don't be that person.
  6. Speak up.  There is nothing more infuriating when you can't get anyone to agree with you in the meeting only for someone to come up to you afterwards, saying they agree with you!  Thanks a lot, where were you when I needed you?!
  7. Keep everyone on topic. This is a tough one.  If you are leading the meeting, it is your job to keep the discussion focused.  Rein it back in if the conversation starts to go off on a tangent.  
  8. Start and finish on time.  Some companies are much better at this than others.  Remember when you were in school?  Your classes started and ended on time, with time to travel in between to your next class.  Meetings should work the same way, respect people's time.  
  9. Ask the right questions.  This is so important.  Some of the most successful people in business know what questions need to be answered.  Remember to connect the dots.
  10. Thank everyone for their time.  No matter how good (or bad) the outcome of the meeting was, always thank people for their time.  This often gets overlooked and it's important to remember that everyone's time is equally important.  
Meeting adjourned.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl


  1. 11. If you don't know something, instead of rambling on for 10 minutes with "i think" "it might be" etc. ... ask questions instead. If nobody knows the answer to the question then write down the question and work it out after the meeting. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a meeting while people ramble on trying to figure out something in real time. It isn't productive.

    1. Great tip Brett. This also happens all too often. It's OK for people to not to know all the answers, but always ensure you do indeed get to back people when you say you will.