Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

April 1, 2004

And Then There are the Meetings

Do your meetings last longer than necessary?

Do they have a vague agenda or none at all?

Are participants arriving late or unprepared?

Whatever the reasons, if ineffective meetings are your job’s bugaboo, consider the following tips, provided by Human Resources time management workshop facilitator Kristy Busija.

For meetings you call:

• Decide if the meeting is necessary. Meetings should meet one or more of the following purposes: Motivating a team; coordinating action; exchanging information; making a decision; discussing problems.

• Have a clear agenda, with time limits for topics. The agenda should be given out in advance and define the purpose for the meeting, the items to discuss, a list of topics to be covered and a brief summary of goals.

• Invite only the appropriate people. Make sure the decision-makers are at the meeting.

• Start and end meetings on time.

• Minimize socializing and sidebars.

• Schedule a follow-up meeting if more time is needed, instead of spilling over the time allotted.

• Re-schedule the meeting if essential people are absent, instead of anticipating their opinions or actions.

• Allow participants to leave when their part of the agenda is finished.

• Stick to the agenda.

• Determine the steps to be taken or other recommendations and articulate them clearly.

• After the meeting, follow up by distributing the outcomes or decisions to all participants.

For meetings others call:

• Say you need to get your supervisor’s approval before agreeing to attend.

• Attend only the portion of the meeting that relates to you directly.

• Be on time and prepared for your portion of the meeting. Designate time before a meeting to prepare your section.

• If you can’t attend, send a written statement as a substitute, or send someone in your place.

• Start the meeting on time even if you didn’t call it.

• Help to move along meetings that gets side-tracked.

—Peter Hart

Leave a Reply