Here are seven practices I’ve experienced that worked well with meetings:
- Let a person finish their point
- Answer the question asked.
- Say what you mean, mean what you say.
- No leading questions or asking questions you know the answer to (see #3)
- Answer the question simply, and only elaborate if asked (this saves on long answers to the wrong questions or misunderstandings.)
- Make it safe to explore an idea and play out a thought — help each other express/understand/be understood.
- Ask questions at the end – this builds momentum.
It’s really about momentum … we can spiral up or spiral down. Energy is our best asset to spend on the right things.
On #7 — Any time I’ve seen meetings have momentum (and I can think of multiple vignettes), it’s when somebody put their thoughts out on the table first, without being sliced and diced along the way. I also think of examples, where somebody finishes painting the broad strokes of their picture … and we get the bigger picture, before needling at the fine points, and fracturing great ideas in the making … or at least getting the bird’s-eye view before chasing the rabbit down the hole.
When we practice #7, it builds trust, people are heard and understood, and people will be less long-winded, and defensive, etc.
Bonus — Have a skilled facilitator, manage the shot clock, set time for things (timebox), take decisive actions, and have a parking lot to put things.