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May 25, 2015

Meetings Matter

Meetings can eat up your business day, especially if they go off track. We can find ourselves wasting hours every month in meetings where nothing gets done. Here are some meeting mistakes to avoid.Angry Boss Lady Pointing to Alarm Clock

Mistake 1: No or Incomplete Agenda

The agenda lets attendees know what the meeting is about, so they can arrive prepared to discuss the issues. Set specific times for each item and indicate who is responsible. List any documents that people need to bring and attach anything to be reviewed before the meeting.

Mistake 2: Failing to Send a Reminder

Don’t assume everyone will remember the time and location of the meeting; some people may not enter it in their calendars. Set an automatic reminder for the day before the meeting and re-send the agenda.

Mistake 3: Not Starting or Ending on Time

Meetings that start late disrespect those who arrive on time and send a message that it’s okay to be tardy. Failing to end on time wastes people’s time and can harm their schedule for the rest of the day. When you gain the reputation of starting and ending on time, people know they can rely on you to help them be positively productive.

Mistake 4: Not Keeping the Meeting on Track

When meetings go off track, all items on the agenda are not completed. Stay in charge of the meeting and keep things going by monitoring discussions and staying on the topic. If something comes up that isn’t on the agenda, put it in a parking lot—a list of items to be covered after meeting.

Mistake 5: Not Reaching Agreement

Failing to reach an agreement and recapping decisions is a major meeting mistake. Make sure everyone leaves the meeting with the same understanding about what was decided and who is responsible for further action. Reinforce this by sending meeting minutes as soon as possible after the meeting. For more information, see my blog post Take Good Meeting Notes.

When you avoid these common mistakes, you can make meetings work for you and everyone who attends.

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