Article by Herb Kimble.
A bad meeting wastes everyone’s time, but a productive meeting can lead to action items and real progress. The difference between the two has to do with planning and following through on the specific concepts the meeting is supposed to tackle. Here is some advice to turn any meeting into a more productive gathering.
Create an Agenda
An agenda helps provide a road map for the meeting, and may even detail who should speak and what they plan to talk about. It acts like a summary of the meeting and it helps to keep everyone on track. It also reduces unnecessary talking points and contributes to a better discussion overall.
Set Strict Limits
If you can set a schedule and adhere to it, you’ll notice a bump in productivity almost immediately. Set a firm schedule for the meeting and remember to draft talking points as needed. Be prepared, as leader, to step in and cut the meeting short if it drifts off topic. Additionally, set follow up meetings when you encounter dilemmas you can’t handle within the meeting itself.
Every meeting should include or entail action items of some kind. Tasks help prioritize the discussion, and provide a context for the next meeting. You also help everyone identify their own priorities and set some designated expectations.
Allow for Hard Stops
The final piece of advice is to allow for hard stops in your meeting, meaning a time when everyone (or some members) need to leave. Everyone is operating on their own schedule. A hard stop in the meeting allows your coworkers the chance to accomplish their goals while working on the tasks at hand.
Bio: Herb Kimble is both an entrepreneur and a film and television producer. His roots as an accomplished actor gave him a passion for the arts. Today, Herb Kimble is co-founder of CineFocus Productions and launching Urban Flix, an inclusive streaming company based in Los Angeles.