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Old 08-31-2008, 11:37 AM   #8
Kodiak
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It sounds like you're learning invaluable skills for later, as horrible as it may seem after hour 4 of meeting 5 for the day...

Meetings are an everyday occurence and a necessary evil when operating as part of a team, no matter how small. Without coordination, the best team will achieve nothing.

The question is how efficient you can make them so that you get your most bang for your buck.

Have a plan before going in to prevent interminable ramblings and discussions that go nowhere.

Try to keep them less than 45 minutes long, or you'll lose the attendees attention. If they need to go longer, then consider scheduling a second one or including breaks to let everyone stretch out, relieve bladders and get some air. You'll come back more focused and better equipped to march on with the important projects.

Some people hide behind meetings rather than getting things done, so you have to be sure there is a very real reason for holding the meetings.

However, it is usually good to hold meetings, even if they are short (10 minutes or less), just to see that everyone is still on the same page. It's a great opportunity to network, ask for help on difficult points, and informally cover a lot of ground before and afterwards, as all the key players you may be looking for are there.

If you have a point that needs to be covered with a limited audience, it's better to hold them back after the meeting and speak just with them, rather than hold up the entire audience.

Make sure you've got somebody taking notes of any decisions that are made, so you can go back and refer to them...I tend to forget things the minute I stand up from my chair!

Most importantly, learn from what you are seeing others do now (good or bad) so you can use it to make your own meetings more effective in the future.

Just a few thoughts and tidbits I've gathered over several years of being stuck in them. And yes, most times you get out of meetings you feel as if you've just lost a few hours of your life you'll never get back again.

Just try to make sure that people don't leave the meetings you hold with the same feeling!
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