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3 Strategies that Make You a Productive Meeting Manager

By Jimmie Flores Subscribe to RSS | May 7th 2012 | Views:

For many of us, it’s one meeting after another. We can’t seem to get away from them. In many cases, a meeting is even unnecessary, but they are now known as “standing,” which means we keep having them, even when it’s difficult to find topics to discuss.

It’s surprising that we have so many meetings, given that most people complain about them, even the person hosting them. Some meetings are held to report on the status of one’s work. Isn’t there a more efficient approach to collecting this information? If all we’re doing is sharing what we’ve done, couldn’t it be done via SharePoint? Why do we have to physically meet?

Here are three strategies that can make you a productive meeting manager:

#1: Invite only the meaningful participants.

You must do your homework to determine who should attend your meeting. For example, if you are looking to re-brand a product, you will invite marketing, sales, finance, logistics, and so on. Who should attend the meetings from these departments? If you need to make critical decisions, make sure you invite managers, or the decision-makers.

There are cases where you can meet with stakeholders in one-on-one sessions. By doing so, you can collect information from these individuals. If you have the knowledge needed, it’s not necessary for them to attend the meeting. In fact, you might be able to gather all the needed information with the individual meetings, which means that a face-to-face session is unnecessary.

#2: Make sure to stick with the meeting time.

Meeting-goers become upset and frustrated when the meeting fails to start on time, and especially when it goes longer than anticipated. In fact, some attendees will leave a meeting that goes longer than stated in the invite. To keep meetings on schedule, make sure that you follow the agenda, and it’s recommended that you begin with the most critical items first.

An excellent meeting manager will ensure that everyone stays on point. You can get people back on task by using the following:

• “John, that is a good point. However, we need to make sure we discuss the market demographics to determine the ideal price point for our detergent.”

• “Martina, I understand you are concerned about the lack of resources for this initiative. However, from our standpoint, we need to determine if we have the right information system for our supply chain.”

#3: Assign action points to the right person.

A meeting should have action points. In other words, the right individual or team must walk away with clear expectations.

For example:

• “Rita, please create a flowchart that describes the most efficient approach we can use to roll out the 200 workstations.”

• “Alex, can we count on having the updates to the marketing plan by Friday EOB?”

The success or failure of meetings largely depends on the person who is running it. I find that people respect those meeting managers who develop an agenda and stick to it. To have a productive meeting, it’s important that only meaningful participants attend. A meeting is successful when the topics are discussed, and the action items are assigned to the right people.

Jimmie Flores - About Author:
Dr. Jimmie Flores,PhD,PMP,ITIL,SSBB,SPHR,GPHR is a seasoned organizational development and continuous improvement professional with 20 years of experience. In 2006, he founded the Flores Consulting Group, a company based in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Flores is also an expert in project management, ITIL, Six Sigma, Entrepreneurship, and Sports Officiating. Please visit our website at

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