How To Participate In Meetings Effectively

How To Participate In Meetings Effectively – We’ve all been stuck in a bad meeting. You arrive in time only for the meeting to start 10 minutes late. The agenda? Unclear. The person in charge? Also. Some start offering ideas, others shoot them down. Nothing is really decided and the meeting ends, while you silently mourn the lost hour. There is a better way. In the course of speaking to more than 500 senior executives for my weekly Corner Office column, I’ve learned the rules for running an effective meeting. These tips and strategies can work for anyone, regardless of title.

“Give me an agenda or else I’m not going to sit there, because if I don’t know why we’re in the meeting, there’s no reason for a meeting. ” —Annette Catino, chief executive officer of the QualCare Alliance Network.

How To Participate In Meetings Effectively

How To Participate In Meetings Effectively

It may seem like an obvious requirement, but many meetings start for no apparent reason. The meeting agenda can be summarized on a handout, written on a whiteboard or discussed clearly at the outset, but everyone should know why they are gathered and what they are supposed to accomplish. The agenda is a compass for the conversation, so the meeting can get back on track if the discussion goes off course.

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If leaders make sure there is an agenda before a meeting starts, everyone will fall in love quickly.

“If I don’t have an agenda ahead of me, I’ll walk out,” said Annette Catino, chief executive officer of the QualCare Alliance Network. “Give me an agenda or else I’m not going to sit there, because if I don’t know why we’re at the meeting, and if you don’t know why we’re there, there’s no reason there for a meeting. . It’s very important for me to focus on people and stay focused on them, and not just go into the room and talk about who won the Knicks game last night.”

Nothing can drain the energy from a room quite like waiting for the person in charge to show up. Why do so many in positions of power fall into the bad habit of being late for meetings? Is it just that they are so busy? Or is there a small joy in keeping everyone waiting for them, a reminder that their time is somehow more valuable than everyone else’s?

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Time is money, of course, and all that sitting around and trying to guess when the boss will arrive is a waste of a precious resource. When establishing informal group rules, employees take their cues from the person in the corner office. If that person wants meetings to start on time, meetings will start on time.

Running Effective Meetings

Terry Lundgren, the chairman of Macy’s, has never hesitated to implement a strict policy of on-time meetings. “If the meeting is at 8, you’re not here at 8:01, you’re here at 8, because the meeting is going to start at 8,” he said. “Busy people who can’t get off the last phone call to get there, [have to] discipline themselves to be there on time. “J

Just as important as starting on time is finishing on time. A definitive end time will help ensure that you complete your agenda and get people back to work quickly. “I like to have an agenda that we think about,” Mr. Lundgren said, “and we say, ‘This meeting is going to go for two hours,’ and it takes we have to carve ourselves through the agenda.'”

Leave the last few minutes of each meeting to discuss next steps. This discussion should include deciding who is responsible for what, and by what dates. Otherwise, the time you spend on the meeting will not be very long.

How To Participate In Meetings Effectively

Shellye Archambeau, chief executive of MetricStream, a company that helps companies meet compliance standards, likes to end her meetings by asking, “Who has the ball?”

Effective Meetings Bma Ent 3: Use And Model Concepts, Strategies, And Systems Needed To Interact And Present Effectively To Others Define And Model.

“When you’re in sports, and the ball is thrown to you, you own the ball, and you’re now in control of what happens,” she said. “You own it. It’s going to be a bummer.” -a very visible idea to make sure there is real ownership to make sure things get done.”

Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties – Atlanta, a real estate operating company, uses a phrase to end meetings that has become a common acronym in office emails: W.W.D.W.B.W., which stands for for “Who does what on time?”

“If someone says in a meeting, ‘We need to sign this lease,’ everyone knows what the follow-up question is going to be. I write the acronym so often in emails – “W.W.D.WBW.” – that my phone just fills up automatically. So we have trained ourselves and each other, but we also try to do it with the people we work with. We developed a system where we say, ‘When do you think I’ll get that, before we get on the phone with someone?’We keep track of people who deliver and those who don’t no.

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“We are very clear at the beginning of every meeting whether it is one person’s decision, or whether it is more of a discussion to reach a consensus.” —Carl Bass, former chief executive of Autodesk. Establish Ground Rules

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Ask yourself, “What is the role of the meeting participants?” The clearer you give about what you want to get out of them, the better; people are more likely to contribute if they know what role they should play. Is the purpose of the meeting to give orders? To meditate? To discuss an action plan? To help you clarify the type of meeting you’re running, try one of the strategies from these leaders or use them as inspiration to develop one of your own:

Be clear whether your thoughts are an opinion or a command. Dawn Lepore, the former CEO of, sometimes used this framework as a light-hearted shorthand for the purpose of her meetings: “People don’t always know if you mean something like just an idea, or if you want them to go do it. Light bulb means this was just an idea I had, so think about it. It’s a gun, I want you to do this.”

Who gets the final decision on a case? Sheila Lirio Marcelo, CEO of, a company that helps people find caregivers, developed this system to identify who is responsible: “Type 1 decisions are the only decision of the decision maker – dictator. Type 2: People can give input, and then the person can still make the decision. Type 3: It is consensus. It’s a great way to solve a problem efficiently.”

How To Participate In Meetings Effectively

Not all decisions are made by consensus. One of the main roles of a leader is to get as many ideas on the table as possible. But you need to be clear when you’re just looking for ideas. it comes down to a democratic vote. This is how he approaches it at the beginning: “We are very clear at the beginning of every meeting whether it is a decision of one person, or whether it is more of a discussion to reach a consensus ,” he said. “I think it’s a valuable thing to understand because otherwise people can be frustrated that they expressed their views but they don’t understand the wider context of the -final closing.”

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“Your job as a leader is to be right at the end of the meeting, not at the beginning.” —David M. Cote, executive chairman of Honeywell.

If you’re running a meeting, be clear on the agenda and what you want to achieve, but then it’s time to be quiet and let others speak. If you share your thoughts first, you’re likely going to look around a table of nosy heads, with people saying they completely agree with your instincts.

This is a lesson Navin Nagiah, head of DNN, a web content software company, said he has learned.

“Sometimes I have all the information about a particular thing beforehand, and there are times when I’ve announced the decision first,” he said. “Once you make the decision express, there’s no debate. You don’t get anyone else’s perspective, and those perspectives are still important to understanding the business or other decisions. So you have to hold yourself back.”

Ways To Communicate Better In Meetings

“Your job as a leader is to be right at the end of the meeting, not at the beginning,” he said. every idea, and in the end to make a good decision, because you will find out if you made a good decision, and not if it was your idea from the beginning.”

“If you’re not going to participate, that means you’re just sponging the rest of us.” —Julie Greenwald, chairman and chief operating officer of Atlantic Records.

Either of these situations can cause people to censor themselves, which leads to a lost opportunity to get the best ideas and make the smartest decisions.

How To Participate In Meetings Effectively

Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content and brand officer at Scripps Networks Interactive,

Types Of Meetings You Need To Cancel Now

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