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Created by S.A Albert Butarbutar

Copyright 2009

Balikpapan,East Borneo


Shorter Meetings but More Effective 01

What is The Primary Purpose Of Most Meeting?...Thinking or communicating?
Put another way,When do the thinking for an important meeting should be done?
If you have a key meeting coming up with your boss,or your best client,and you know its purpose,when should most of the thinking for that session is completed?

Right,The thinking should be done before the meeting
Unfortunately,in most meeting,in most organizations,thinking ahead of time happens too rarely.
Attendees have not thought throug what they need to say and to find out.When asked what they think they typically pause then chatter,
"Well I think that,ahh...well...(blah,blah,blah)".

They are Thinking by Talking Out Loud.As a result,meeting that should last 20 to 30 minutes end up lasting one,two,three hours or more.

Correcting the "Thinking by Talking Out Loud":Meetings
Can you imagine how advance thinking time by each meeting participant can cut hours off of a meeting?
You personally can play a big role in correcting this tremendous time waster by always blocking some Think Time to do the following simple preparation:Have you ever tried to write down your thinking before a meeting as the following:

1.The three most important things I need to say at the meeting are...1,2,3
2.The three most important things I need to find out are...1,2,3

With this simple effort done,when you are asked at the meeting,"what do you think Eileen?
"You can say,"I think that (1,2,3) and to move forward I need to know (a)from you Ida,(b)From you Brad,and approval of (c) from you Amin".
Instead of 10 to 15 minutes of rambling discussion,my most important points and input needed is delivered in one to three minutes.

By firmly implementing this one thing,expecting everyone to block think time in their calendar before every meeting, most organizations can cut meeting time by 50% or more.
By doing this religiously you will create a great reputation for your self.
You will also set an example and expectation that will improve the performance of others.

Now, should all meetings be this structured? What about brainstorming meetings? Don't we want a lot of thinking by talking out loud and cross polarization of ideas some time? Certainly.
But for staff meetings,project update meetings,budget meetings,client review meetings,Most Meetings...the primary purpose is communication.

The bulk of the thinking should be done ahead of time!
This doesn't mean you don't think each meeting.Certainly you do.
But having clarity of thought ahead of time keeps that meeting thinking focused on the current objectives.
When new,off subject thinking comes up; do not let it take you off the objective of the meeting.
If it is a potentially good new idea that comes up,capture it in writting.

"Put it in the parking lot" as some of our clients say,to return to with that individual later or to include in another meeting.
You can suggest that even if you are not in charge of meeting.
Otherwise,that new idea,which has not been thought through,will turn the current meeting into a meandering,nonconclusive,thinking by talking out loud meeting.
Successfully reaching conclusions and taking action on one meeting's purpose at a time is an achievement.

To be Continue ... Shorter Meetings but More Effective (part.2)