Good meeting “rules” seed list and its use in practice

I like this meeting rules/tips list from Harry Hall (@harrythall). They’re all good, though I’d add “no open devices (e.g., PCs or tablets)” and “schedule the meeting’s end-time to allow people to get to their next meeting (e.g., end agenda at 9:50 AM vs. 10:00 AM)”.

One process tip: if this meeting will be an ongoing event or part of a project, have the participants make up the ground rules. In other words, don’t set a list like this — no matter how good — in front of the group. It says “here’s how we do business in my meetings”, which implies it isn’t their meeting. For one thing, some of these are meant only for the leader. For another, one loses an easy way to start one’s group norming, storming, etc.

My experience is that such lists are good aide memoires to that you can use to augment your team’s ideas…via a suggestion at the end.

A couple of “beyond-the-basics” meeting tips

Kevin Eikenberry (here) passes along a few strong thoughts on effective meetings from an e-mail thread w/ Susan Otto (her blog here).  The first item — not considering the true cost of meetings — is one that is influencing our approach to face-to-face interactions these days.  Especially when we need to pull colleagues from around the regions.  More from their discussion:

What is one of the biggest mistakes people make when attending meetings?  Not being prepared…each member attending should know what they need to do….  And, if you are invited to attend a meeting and you don’t have a clear idea of why you need to attend…consider whether your participation at that meeting is really necessary.

You know, too many people just show up.  Not attending sends a valuable message to the organizers that they many need to look at… 

What is one of the biggest mistakes people make when planning meetings?  Expecting the “usual” members to attend the meeting, which again follows what I was just alluding to. Only invite those members to attend who really need to be at a meeting.

I really like this suggestion…we have a regular meeting of the various PMO leaders and it is getting a bit unwieldy.  We’re looking to ensure that we have decision makers of consequence in the meeting.  Oh, and I love this last suggestion…

What can I do to evaluate my meetings’ effectiveness?  Ask someone to attend one of your meetings, paying attention to the interactions between team members…, who participates in the meeting, who talks to whom, etc.

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