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Great Meetings!

Like all greatness, great meetings don't just happen. They become great only after the continuous investment of time, effort and intellect. They stay great only if this investment in improvement continues.

The Consideration-Conception-Conduct "Virtuous" Spiral

The following diagram describes this "spiral" or "evolution" of a "great meetings" approach in an organisation.

CCC Spiral Flipped

Looking at the axes in the diagram, we can see that Performance (that is, "great meetings") is dependent upon understanding what makes a meeting "great" and upon the capability to make a meeting "great". Or, to put it in the form an equation:

Performance = Understanding + Capability

To move a meeting from low performance (effectiveness and efficiency) to "great" performance requires many iterations of the Consideration-Conception-Conduct cycle, with performance continuously improving with each iteration. Lets look into each of the three "Cs":

Consideration

The making of a great meeting requires careful thought, and cannot be rushed. The first consideration — is a meeting necessary and appropriate? Meetings should not be called simply to transfer knowledge. Doing so risks wasting the time of all attendees and meetings are not always the best communication medium (especially if the need is "one way" communication). Meetings are appropriate when an exchange of views is required, when common understanding is sought or when solving a problem requires group work.
The next consideration is — what is the purpose of the meeting and what outcomes are sought? Having a clear purpose helps ensure that the structure and content of the meeting support the achievement of the stated objectives (outcomes) of the meeting.

Conception

Bringing a meeting into being is a matter of preparation and logistics. The venue must be appropriate (size, layout, location, facilities and so forth). Attendees must be invited (and accept). Material required for the meeting must be distributed to the invitees — and they must read that material and follow any other instructions provide by the meeting convenor. The obligation of the invitees is to become "attendees" and to do so before the meeting by making sure they undertake all necessary preparations for performing their duties and meeting their commitments to the meeting group.

Conduct

Meetings must begin and end on time and there must be adherence to the agreed meeting "rules". If this is a follow-up or regular meeting, the actions from previous meetings should be reviewed for completeness and effectiveness, and any performance gaps analysed and understood. The meeting agenda should be completed in its entirety. This may require careful planning and facilitation. Any new actions items should be agreed and responsibility delegated (to an attendee — do not assign actions to someone absent). At the end of the meeting its efficiency and effectiveness should be assessed by all attendees with the purpose of making the next, or other, meetings more so.

Consideration

The virtuous spiral continues! As well as circulating minutes and agreed action items, lessons learnt should be applied to making future meetings "great"; that is, used to improve the meeting process. Of course, all attendees should read the minutes and complete any assigned action items by the agreed dates.
A simple meeting effectiveness assessment tools is this questionnaire (based on the tips) is shown below:


Meeting Assessment

15 Tips for Great Meetings

The following Tips summarise the Consideration-Conception-Conduct approach to "great meetings".

Consideration

1. Is a meeting appropriate and necessary?
2. Confirm the purpose, desired outcomes and supporting agenda items
3. Decide on a process for completing each agenda item

Conception

4. Invite only those necessary to achieve the purpose and outcomes
5. Distribute material (purpose/outcomes, agenda, briefings, meeting rules)
6. Read any material you are sent

Conduct

7. Start and end on time and follow the meeting rules
8. Review the status and outcome of any previous actions
9. Complete the agenda
10. Agree action items and responsibilities
11. Review the effectiveness of the meeting

Consideration

12. Circulate minutes and action items
13. Complete all your action items
14. Monitor the completion of action items by others
15. Apply lessons learnt regarding meeting effectiveness


These tips are available as an Infographic.

Great Meetings CCC

The full size Infographic can be downloaded here