Effective meetings

Meetings meetings meetings…

In a recent major Effectiveness Review of a Governing Body we conducted a thorough desk research of documentation such as minutes and policy documentation.  This was followed by one-to-one interviews with governors, former governors, senior staff and clients.  By the end of the exercise, we had a pretty accurate picture of what is happening both very positive and where and how to address weaker areas.

Effectiveness reviews create an opportunity to research in more detail about things I encounter anecdotally in my work with groups.  Here’s the list of things that could drastically save time and lift morale among teams and boards:

Agree a meetings protocol.  This might include:

  • Always have a timed agenda
  • Guillotine the overall time of the meetings and keep to it
  • Agree to avoid circular conversations – Have we been here before? Make a decision or delegate authority
  • No-one has the right to ‘hold forth’ in a meeting. Challenge this behaviour.
  • Everyone be aware of unconscious bias. A good Chair helps the group to actively listen afresh.  Passive listening wastes time.
  • Change the energy through a few quick items in the middle of a meeting and a quick break half-way through. For more straight-forward discussion based agendas, walk around the building/organisation/site.  This helps with dynamism of meetings and profile, especially if strategic staff involved.

In sending out meeting documentation give thought to:

  1. What is the purpose of the information?
  2. Is there too much information/data/jargon?
  3. For the Board, is this information for governance or management? Strategic or OperationaL?  Is it well written?
  4. Does the information get sent out in time?
  5. What input should the Chair have?
  6. Setting a time each year to evaluate the format and style of meeting papers

So much of the working week can be taken up in meetings.  Surely it is good to take a step back and consider both the efficiency and effectiveness of time spent together to the benefit of your organisation?

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Fantastic course [Motivational Interviewing]! Totally relevant, understandable, practical and interesting. I look forward to using the skills and tools I learned. I was particularly impressed with Alasdair Cant. He is a brilliant trainer, knowledgeable, patient, engaging and clearly skilled at facilitating groups ensuring fun and learning.

Youth Justice Worker