Why are there so many bad meetings? Poor planning by the meeting's organizer and a lack of involvement by the participants. Many people have devoted a lot of time to making meetings work. They have developed some ground rules which can help you to get more out of meetings, in less time, and, often, with less stress.
Electing someone to the position of "process leader" helps the focus. The process leader can defuse conflicts, keep the discussion moving, and encourage those who don't often speak up to participate more. It helps if at least one person in the group has been trained in process consultation. Some companies keep process consultants on staff, either part- or full-time, to help other departments' meetings over stumbling blocks. Be cautious that the process leader does not squelch helpful discussions or take sides, two errors of carelessness or inadequately training.
"Problems" are often merely symptoms sometimes of things which are easier to fix. Instead of going directly for a solution, get more information on the problem and try to think of anything else that could be causing it. Quality professionals call this root cause analysis.
High-ranking people can help by ignoring their status during the meeting. Pulling rank during the meeting or seeking revenge for criticism afterwards, is sure... [continues]
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