How Can We Facilitate Effective Meetings?

I was always wondering why it is one of the biggest complaint from software developers that they need to attend too many meetings that do not represent added value to their work. I guess we could easily solve this problem with a change in the mindset of meeting organizers, facilitators and attendees as well… SIMPLE STEPS could make a BIG DIFFERENCE in our meeting culture and our meetings could worth the time we spend on them if we would follow the hints below.

##Before the meeting:

  • Think through what is the goal the meeting and include agenda (this way everyone has the opportunity to prepare for the meeting and decide whether they should be there or not)
  • Put all necessary information (place, link to reach) in the meeting invite well ahead of time
  • Invite people you think are interested or influenced by the topic (“Required” should be people critical to the success or goal of the meeting, “Optional” would be those folks that might be interested to listen or learn, but if they are not there, you can still be successful in achieving the goal of the meeting.)
  • Try to find the time when the most invitees can attend
  • Consider the time you would need to discuss the topic and reserve accordingly

##On the meeting:

  • Prepare the projector and slides before the meeting
  • Don’t wait for latecomers, start the instant you’re scheduled to
  • Start with a short intro about the meeting
  • Keep to the topic
  • Agree on follow ups if needed
  • Finish the meeting 5 minutes ahead
  • (In special cases) Don’t be afraid to abort a meeting if its clear that nobody is prepared to chat about the topic effectively or prepared to make the needed decisions

##After the meeting:

  • Send out the meeting minutes
  • Organize follow up meetings if necessary

I hope that at least some people will benefit from this post and will have more valuable meetings from now on.

You can read further in the topic here: Seven Steps for Effective Meetings