Five well-tried principles for useful meetings

nutzbringende Sitzungen

Just mention, what is really important

Meetings often suffer from an ‘overload’ of topics. One want’s to talk about much more as finally can be discussed calmly and intelligent within the available time. So it’s best to talk about as much as possible in advance, bilaterally, to only introduce those topics in the meeting, that could only be discussed there.

By also preparing all the meeting’s content in advance, checking potential solutions and alternatives first and so on, discussions can be much easier during the meeting for the participants – and also for you.


Consider what you want to achieve

Only and just when you know exactly what you want to achieve with an meeting, you will have orientation for planning and facilitating your conference. With an exact goal in mind, you can give your participants focus and answer the question “what exactly is the meeting’s purpose?” It’s important that your participants understand, what the meeting is supposed to bring.
Possible goals can be: “I want my meeting participants to be (better) informed about something” or “I would like to collect ideas or unfold expectations referring a specific topic” or maybe “when the meeting is over, I would like to have a decision made about something”. The more accurate your idea is about what exactly you want to achieve with a meeting the better you can provide orientation and the better the results will be.


Stay on track

Every conversation gains momentum. Without facilitation, meetings ripple along as meltwater on it’s way to the valley. You’ll get from one topic to another and suddenly no one knows how it has come to the topic that is being discuss enthusiastically, like “how did we get to that topic?” Therefore, focus on your topic and goal and ask your participants, if necessary, to put the subject into the context: “How does that belong to our topic, can you help me?” Use visualisation as an excellent instrument: “what should I write down?”


Plan concrete actions

Every meeting has just as much value, as the meeting’s outcome. That what was achieved is not always recognisable by the action-plan, but when measures are the goal, you should pay attention to those two aspects: On the on hand, ask for the actions purpose “what?, the goal of that recorded action. By doing this, you can easily be very specific. On the other hand formulate your actions categorically as specific and concrete as possible, in whole sentences, not only as a buzzword list.


Stay tuned

“There is nothing good, unless you do it” says Eugen Roth and he is possibly right. Measures that be left undone are more than useless – they are harmful. When you accept that decisions are not followed, you establish a culture of indifference like: “Making decisions is one thing. What finally gets done, is another.” In other words: “If you don’t take your responsibility for a measure seriously and don’t finish it, who cares?” What starts there in small, can establish a culture within your team or even within our company. So better ask for actions to be done, let you inform about the status by the responsible persons and maybe remind them of the importance or purpose.

I wish you further on effective meetings!
Your, Josef W. Seifert
(MODERATIO®, Seifert & Partner)