Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Hold Meetings

Steven Sinofsky

How can you have a better meeting? Many of us find ourselves in more meetings than we want. Since some of these meetings are outside of our control and we have to be there anyway, why not make the best of the situation.

Steven Sinofsky, a major player at Microsoft in the development of Office and Windows 7 has written a long blog on how to have better meetings. Here are three of the keys from that blog post.

Define success. Make sure everyone knows what the outcome or goal of the meeting should be. To come out of a meeting after an hour and not be sure if it was beneficial is a letdown. Our job is to make sure everyone in a meeting gets something worth while and that a meeting can be judged as successful.

Know the details. If your manager or your team is interested in a certain metric - make sure you have the numbers and that you understand and can defend the numbers. It is a waste of time to be in a meeting and then have someone say that s/he will get back to you later with the number. Be prepared.

Brevity. Start on time and end on time. A meeting that wanders with no end point drives energy out of a meeting. When a group of people don't know when a meeting will end they are not sure what they can get done later and that causes anxiety. Having an end point forces the meeting to stay on point and stay meaningful.

One other thing. Below is a chart from Steven's blog that shows how meetings can be successful or not successful.

Meetings are a part of business and will happen. You may as well make them meaningful and effective.

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