Put a Time Limit on Meetings
Tell people that the meetings will start and end
promptly. To get people to show on time, make the last person to join the
meeting late pay $20 into a special kitty.
When I worked for a large consulting firm,
everyone's billable hours were very closely monitored. Lost time was lost
money. They conducted an all-out war against wasted non-billable meeting time.
They installed a high table with no chairs in the conference room. The idea was
to conduct short stand-up meetings
Use a Process Facilitator
If a meeting is important enough to occupy
people's valuable time, bring in a meeting facilitator. This person's job is to
ensure that the meeting flows smoothly, that process issues are discussed, and
that the objectives of the meeting are met. Instead of bringing in an outside
person to facilitate, bring in someone from another part of the organization or
rotate the responsibility among group members.
Pay Special Attention to the End of the
Too often, people leave meetings before they have
come to their natural conclusion. (Typically, they are running off to attend
another non-productive meeting.) This should be discouraged.
Ample time at the end of meetings should be
devoted to two critical activities. First, "next steps" should be discussed.
Who is responsible for doing what and what is the deadline for each activity?
Also, conduct a "good and welfare" discussion. Ask everyone to say what they
thought went well during the meeting, what did not, and what should be done at
the next meeting to improve the process.