3 Ground Rules For Effective Meetings

Meetings are a persistent source of complaints. People complain that there are too many of them, that they aren’t productive enough and that they waste our time.

If you want to create more effective meetings for you and your team, try these 3 ground rules:

1. Lead to Make a Difference 

People get upset with meetings because they often feel like they’re a waste of time. They sometimes feel like there are other things they could be doing that would make a bigger difference to their duties. 

So, whenever you’re planning on leading a meeting, ask yourself two questions: 1) Does this meeting need to be held? 2) If so, how would I know this meeting was successful? 

You can then design your agenda so that every topic you cover is relevant to meeting your definition of success. This helps everyone stay on track and understand the purpose of their presence.  

2. Speak to Make a Difference

There are a lot of reasons you may speak during a meeting. You might speak to offer your opinion, to ask a question or defend your point of view. 

However, if your ultimate aim is to maximize the productivity and usefulness of a meeting, consider this: will what you’re saying add or distract from where the meeting is at in this moment? Is it relevant now? Will it contribute to the meeting’s progress, or will it detour it from its purpose?

Similarly, encourage others to do the same. Politely speak up when you notice the conversation going astray and let everyone know that the more we stay on track, the more productive we’ll all be. 

3. Listen to Make a Difference

Listening is often considered a lost art. During meetings, we all think we’re listening, but is that really being shown? 

If you give someone your full attention while they’re speaking, it shows them that they’re being heard. This in turn empowers them to want to keep contributing. As the confidence in what they are saying increases, so too will the value they add to future conversations.

Show people your listening by asking questions that add clarity to a topic for yourself or others. Repeating back the most valuable and relevant information from a speaker also shows others you’re actively listening.