Friday, 29 October 2010

Running Successful Meetings

by WFC Resources

Jobs Vacancy, Employment, Employment Jobs

We're all trying to make meetings more productive, less boring, more creative, etc., and the Wall Street Journal (3-6-06) had an article that suggested some creative techniques. We thought they were worth repeating (although some are a little far out).

For instance, at Ruckus Wireless, a Silicon Valley start-up, employees remove the chairs from some meetings so participants get the point faster.

Mattel built a meeting room to resemble a tree house, complete with a large artificial tree sprouting through the floor. The design, they say, helps employees think unconventionally. (A picture shows a shaky rope ladder and a tire swing hanging from the balcony - they are a toy-maker after all.)

Intel requires all new hires to take a four-hour class in "Effective Meetings," featuring role-playing, quizzes and a 25-page handbook covering topics that range from agenda-writing to roles that should be filled at every meeting. A few of their tips: Don't mix up routine "housekeeping" meetings with those that aim to solve a specific problem. Avoid "rat holes" or off-track discussions; and always pre-publish agendas.

At Triumph Japan, the president convenes a speed-meeting every morning at 8:30 a.m. and does not circulate the agenda – the meeting lasts no longer than one hour and whizzes through about 40 topics, each in two minutes or less. Attendance is required for top managers, and if the president asks a question that no one can answer on the spot he gives them a deadline – usually the next day. (The article doesn't say what happens in the case of failure, but the company has posted 19 straight years of rising revenue and profits).

A sidebar offers these tips:

• Figure out the purpose of your meeting beforehand; make sure all the people in attendance have a reason to be there and know what the reason is;
• Have an agenda (despite Triumph Japan's success) and let attendees know what it is ahead of time;
• Don't let discussions get sidetracked;
• Set a time limit and stick to it.

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