Arguably all anyone does in meetings is learn, contribute, decide, or waste time. Some tips on managing the first three to minimize the fourth:
Learn: This is about the transfer of knowledge and information. Should be marked with some questions for clarification, but no debate.
Contribute: This is about putting new ideas on the table, building off them, and creating new ideas. This is where you "go broad" with an additive frame of mind. It's helpful if people can lead with headlines, but the important thing is to value the contributions.
Decide: This is the highest value activity in a meeting, where people select amongst the options. It's useful to be clear on how the group is going to decide: leader deciding, vote, consensus, unanimous.
- Context. Understand the meeting’s place in the broader journey. It’s not about the meeting itself, or even the meeting experience. It’s about how the meeting moves its participants forward along the path and fits with everything else.
- Objective. Set an overall single objective and clear expectations for learning, contributions and decisions by agenda item and attendee in line with that single objective, in line with the meeting’s place in the broader journey.
- Pre-work. Make sure to get appropriate pre-work and pre-reading to people far enough in advance for all to learn/contribute to their fullest potential.
- Delivery. Manage meeting participation and timing to optimize learning, contributions, and action-oriented decisions.
- Follow-through. Get meeting notes out promptly to memorialize decisions and actions, kicking off the preparation for the next meeting and implementation of the decisions and actions.