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Leading Effective Meetings
72 Tips to Save Time, Improve Teamwork, and Make Better Decisions

Why suffer though another monotonous meeting? Conduct successful meetings where business is accomplished instead of time wasted.

You have attended scores of them. Probably even a few this week. And for some reason, the thought of sitting in on another one leaves you nauseated. They’re called meetings and they’re an integral part of business life.

Actually, they are a pretty good idea. Gather a group of talented people, pool their resources and expertise, hash out some issues, devise a game plan, and everyone is the better for it.

Unfortunately, not all meetings follow that agenda. Instead, busy people with complicated schedules reluctantly congregate to vent their frustrations, complicate matters, and pontificate pet peeves. And everyone ends up with more work.

Meetings are here to stay, and sooner or later, you’ll likely be asked to lead one. Understand the basics of how to conduct a meeting and you’ll be known as one who gets things done; neglect these basics and you’ll only waste everyone’s time.

Meetings can bring the world to peace—or kill fifteen hours a week for even the best time manager. Communicating ideas and creating solutions as a team take the best of attention and skill. These guidelines will help you lead and participate in team discussions both to contribute and evaluate ideas.

Tip 1: To meet or not to meet — study the question.

How many times have you accepted an invitation to a lunch meeting, only to realize that you’ve spent an hour and a half on something that could have been done in a 10-minute phone call or a 5-minute e-mail? The higher you go, the busier you get. And the meetings you attend must count.

If you get a reputation for conducting useless meetings, the busiest and best people won’t show up. If you’re asked to attend someone else’s typically unproductive meetings, defer with one of the following: “Is attendance mandatory?” “I’m unavailable. Is my attendance important enough to change my schedule?” “Could I send a representative?” “Would you mind if I offer my input in writing or in a follow-up phone call?” Others will generally surmise that you expect meeting time to be well spent.

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