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Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

7 Practices for More Effective Meetings

7 Practices for More Effective Meetings

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Here are seven practices I’ve experienced that worked well with meetings:

  1. Let a person finish their point
  2. Answer the question asked.
  3. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
  4. No leading questions or asking questions you know the answer to (see #3)
  5. Answer the question simply, and only elaborate if asked (this saves on long answers to the wrong questions or misunderstandings.)
  6. Make it safe to explore an idea and play out a thought -- help each other express/understand/be understood.
  7. Ask questions at the end – this builds momentum.

It’s really about momentum … we can spiral up or spiral down.  Energy is our best asset to spend on the right things.

On #7 -- Any time I've seen meetings have momentum (and I can think of multiple vignettes), it’s when somebody put their thoughts out on the table first, without being sliced and diced along the way.  I also think of examples, where somebody finishes painting the broad strokes of their picture  ... and we get the bigger picture, before needling at the fine points, and fracturing great ideas in the making … or at least getting the bird’s-eye view before chasing the rabbit down the hole.

When we practice #7, it builds trust, people are heard and understood, and people will be less long-winded, and defensive, etc.

Bonus --- Have a skilled facilitator, manage the shot clock, set time for things (timebox), take decisive actions, and have a parking lot to put things.