Worthwhile Meetings: Part III - The Day Of & The Week After

Now that meeting participants' commitments are clear and you have prepared properly - here are the final steps to make a meeting worthwhile.

The Day Of:

  1. Start on time.
  2. Review meeting commitments.
  3. Designate a facilitator (and someone to create a decision summary – see #6).  If you anticipate the meeting going longer than 30 minutes and including more than 4 people, have someone designated as the meeting facilitator, ideally not the meeting host who is likely attached to the outcome, but rather someone who can:
    • Keep everyone on track and focused
    • Pause those who dominate the conversation
    • Bring to the table those who are quieter
    • Know when to allow for the discussion to flow when constructive
    • Mine conflict
    • Momentarily take off their facilitator hat and contribute to the discussion
    • Call timing for the decision
    • Hold the group accountable for accomplishing the purpose of the meeting
  4. Goal is NOT consensus. Rather everyone in attendance should have an opportunity to voice their input/feedback/questions/concerns.
  5. Achieve the purpose of the meeting.  “A decision is better than no decision…better to make a decision boldly and be wrong – and then change direction with equal boldness – than it is to waffle.” Patrick Lencioni.  The second best solution that is implemented is better than the best solution not implemented.
  6. Decision summary. Have someone who is recording decisions (even small ones) and action items(including WHO will complete those action items and by WHEN).  Does NOT need to be a play by play of the meeting.  At the end of the meeting, this person should review the decision summary and confirm that everyone is in alignment as to the outcomes of the meeting.  The finalized decision summary should then be e-mailed to all in attendance.
  7. Simple communication plan.   Lastly discuss what needs to be communicated to other team members and who will follow through with that communication.
  8. End when the purpose is accomplished.  Have the meeting end when the purpose is achieved – meaning if it takes 30 minutes to instead of 60 – don’t keep the conversation going simply to meet the time set aside.

The Week After:

  1. Take action, implement and follow through on commitments.
  2. Hold one another accountable for commitments. The host should provide a weekly progress report on the follow through of action items/commitments until all items are completed.  If appropriate, outline successes and obstacles that have resulted from the decision as well.  Individuals should provide the host with updates as to their progress on commitments.  And if there are items that are “falling through the cracks,” meet one on one with those who are not following through and simply have a check-in conversation.

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