Electronic Newsletter Issue 2009-09
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According to the National Statistics Council, an average of 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. During the average meeting time, agenda items are covered in only 53% of it.
Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated 38% of workers feel most of the meetings they attend are not effective in achieving what they were meant to accomplish.
To determine your meeting productivity percentage, read article Are Meetings Producing a Loss or a Gain? and use the FREE meeting evaluation forms at http://www.shirleyfinelee.com/FreeForms.htm to find your numbers. Then determine what to do to improve and keep measuring until goal is reached.
When teaching people to hold better meetings, the meeting wizard suggests the RARA Approach. This means planning with Roles and an Agenda. Then following up with Records and assigned Actions. However, change is hard for people - even when it is a good thing. So add in new components not currently used in subsequent meetings one at a time. If all 4 components are new, then start with the A's and add the R's in future meetings. This way current meeting members do not feel they are being forced to change too much too soon while all will see an immediate improvement in meeting productivity.
For those already using the 3T's (time, topics, talker) for creating a meeting agenda, meetings should be more efficient than they were before. To make meetings more effective, begin assigning actions using the 3 W's (who, what, when). This means making sure all action items are captured and assigned to a person to do outside the meeting with a due date before the current meeting is closed.
To make getting action items accomplished by team members seem more fun, turn it into an exciting game or friendly competition. For instance, at the end of a specified time period such as a business quarter, the team member who volunteered for and completed the most action items would win a prize or an honorary title. For some project teams, action items may not be equally distributed in relation to ease of work or time required for the action. For project teams, the project manager may want to use most hours outside of meetings to accomplish the actions as part of the prize or title requirement. However, this will only work if all members are equally part-time assigned to the project rather than a mix of full and part-time since the full-time members would always win.
The RARA book has a reproducible form for creating meeting actions and/or minutes in it that readers can use. Or the author also will email the form as a Word to document people who have read the book per instructions at
Another form option option for tracking meeting action items is to download the Meeting Minutes with Action Items short form Word template from the Microsoft site. If desired, there is also a long minutes form that may be found be doing a search on the site.
For tracking all team tasks, including meeting action items, Excel or Project helps to keep everything in one place. Using one of these tools makes it easy to add a "where" column as well indicating the status of each task - like not started, in progress, completed or deleted.
A Meeting Wizard's Approach
This is a a no-nonsense and much-needed self-paced guide to planning and conducting meetings so that they are as productive, effectual, and smoothly run as possible.
This newsletter became featured on BestEzines in 2008 where it has received multiple hits and some high ratings.
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