Golden Rules for Meetings

The invitation:

Purpose:
Is this meeting really needed? If not, tell the meeting organizer up front.

People
Are the right people, and only the right people, invited? If you cannot contribute, decline or leave the meeting once you realize it.

Time
Schedule the meeting to be as possible to maximize efficiency.

Agenda
Does the meeting invitation contain a realistic agenda with scheduled time for review of action items and specific topics? If no agenda is provided, decline the meeting invitation. Otherwise prepare your agenda topics ahead of time.

The meeting :

Come on time and be prepared
Delay decreases the actual meeting time. Team members kept waiting are not happy campers. If meeting attendees arrive unprepared, stop the meeting and postpone it. Add preparation to the new meeting’s agenda/invite.

Focus
One person talks at a time, and talks loudly. We all pay attention : this rule is CRITICAL. No mobiles and no laptops unless needed for presentations. We all need to hear and be heard. Do your part to stick to agenda topics.

The drivers have to do their job:
Meeting owner: The meeting owner initiates the meeting and provides the agenda.
Meeting moderator: Required. The meeting moderator ensures that all agenda items are covered in time. Usually, the meeting owner is also the moderator. He/she can delegate this responsibility to a meeting attendee. Meeting minutes should contain action items (assigned tasks).

Assign action items
Assigned tasked with names and expected delivery dates should be included the meeting minutes. Assign one meeting attendee as owner per action items to people not in the meeting; the owner can delegate later.

After the meeting:

Review the Meeting minutes
You have the right to receive meeting minutes on the same day the meeting occurred. They will remind you of your action items.

Other ideas…
Question assumptions, encourage gentle conflict, assume good faith, speak in turn and only for yourself, welcome discussions and improvement on your ideas, take personal responsibility for optimizing meetings.