The age old question: how can we improve meetings? #2:2012
I was reading Harvard Business Review over lunch last week when I stumbled on a really intriguing quote “Meetings hold such promise for movingyour business forward but are rarely executed well.” Certainly that is true in library land!
So, the age old question: how can we improve meetings?
- Does the meeting really have to be an hour? People often set meetings for an hour simply because that is how their calendar defaults. Shorten the meeting by standing up or, as we did at ALS, walk and talk. You’ll be amazed at the timely results and how much better you’ll feel.
- A well thought-out agenda is the ultimate timesaver. Additionally, if you aren’t on the agenda, you aren’t at the meeting!
- The measure of a meeting’s success is not in the volume of paper generated but rather the great decisions that are actioned! This is a tough one for librarians to implement; we tend to be verbose, long-winded, and circuitous in our writing and communications! Remember to KISS.
- On any agenda item, spend 1/3 of the time on the issue and 2/3 of the time on the actions to resolve it.
- Recently, I have been adding the total cost of the meeting to the top of the agenda. When folks realize how much it actually costs to get together, they are truly motivated to be more efficient and time effective. It’s a small idea, but just try it. I dare you!
- In the last six months, GPL’s board has initiated a “meeting checklist” discussion at the end of each meeting. Each board member shares his or her thoughts about what worked during the meeting and what didn’t. At first, it was tough going to get everyone involved, but with perseverance, it gives great insight into how we can improve the board process. Now, it is one of the best parts of the whole meeting.
It may be an age old question, but in the spring of 2012, perhaps it’s time for a few new answers! Have a great week, and may all of your meetings this week be 20 minutes or less!
Kitty Pope #2 March 2012