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    Message of the Week 14 - 18 February 2022

    Week 7
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    How hard is it to run a productive meeting anyway?

    For many, it’s back to in-person meetings instead of online meetings and suddenly the productive meeting falls by the wayside. I thought that I’d share some ideas on how to run productive powerhouse meetings.

    Mostly the challenges lie in holding meetings that start, run and end on time, stay on point and allow the relevant attendees to get out of them what they need in order to do their jobs.

    The bottom line is that practically all productive meetings have a clearly stated desired outcome, shared through an appropriate reporting and action-oriented agenda, with a specific timeframe and the correct attendees.

    To me, meetings should have an agenda and a primary controller – unless they’re more about socialising and human connection. There should be an agreement that is verbalised in the first few minutes of the meeting, as to the agenda, how contribution will take place and the intended end time. Then a brief question of anything else that may have come up that needs to be discussed.

    Other simple tricks that can get meetings on track:

    Take it offline: Most meetings are hijacked by people trying to discuss the intricacies and unless that is the purpose of the meeting, its “game over”. Stick to the agenda and agree upfront that anyone in the meeting is allowed to say that they would like to discuss that matter offline. This will vastly reduce the amount of time needed for meetings. Another meeting to discuss the details also needs to be run under the same guidelines.

    A standing meeting: Have a meeting that is not in a boardroom or meeting room and have everyone stand. You will be surprised at how a meeting’s agenda is prioritised when you have been standing for 25 minutes.

    The Microsoft Outlook Calendar: Traditionally our world of meetings is constructed in 30 minute and 1 hour increments. I believe it’s because that’s how Microsoft built its universal calendar. Kill that idea and have a 15, 20 or 40 minute meeting. Shorter meetings are more focused and allow little room for a meeting-bully to dominate. The agenda needs to be brief, and you need to be clear about the outcomes you want. This also allows for space between meetings to socialise and chat, but without infringing on other people’s valuable time.

    Creating a culture of productive meetings: What works best is the boss and the most senior level execs leading by example by being punctual, to the point and clear about the intention for the meeting, as well as the wanted outcome. If they lead and set the culture of productive meetings, everyone cannot help but toe the line.

    One thing that we’ve learned through the pandemic, is that we can have focused and productive meetings. What is/was often missed in online meetings is the human interaction which is a key part of productivity and good communication. Finding the balance between business focus and relationship building in meetings is the tricky part and maybe we need to create spaces for the human connection part outside of meetings?

    Michelle Frenzel - HR Manager - KYOCERA Document Solutions South Africa

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