Even good meetings can get better. Hand out an evaluation form at the beginning of a meeting and ask for it back at the end. And give yourself a pat on the back for planning ahead.
BECOME A MEETING EXPERT
Take advantage of the 3M company's Web site, www.3m.com/meetingnetwork, which offers a library of readings, access to meeting tools, directories of meeting planners and trainers all over the country, andnightmare and success stories based on site feedback.
A booklet of tips - 39 Secrets for Effective and Enjoyable Meetings, by Peg Kelley and Will Gaulin - is available for $6 through the Facilitation Plus Web site, www.facplus.com. But don't let the tips in this booklet remain secrets: Consider ordering copies forall staff and employees so you're on the same page when it comes to meeting essentials.
QUICK TIPS FOR TOP MEETINGS
Peg Kelley of Facilitation Plus advises considering the kind of physical space and furniture that will support the meeting objective and tone: boardroom-style table and chairs, U-shape, or circle arrangement, casual living-room furniture or hardback chairs, on- or off-site location? Remember, being comfortable is paramount to facilitating the meeting process.
TAKE A BREAK
Bernie Young, a consultant for the Center for Creative Team Building in St. Petersburg, Florida, recommends taking a break or changing the type of activity every half-hour. “The adult attention span is about 27 minutes, and if you don’t keep the time flying and the energy high, you’ll lose the group. Forcing them to just listen lowers the learning curve.”
WRAP IT UP
Michael Begeman, manager of the 3M Meeting Network, says that the last minutes of a meeting should summarize three key areas: what’s been decided, action items assigned, and open issues.