Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Effective Meetings

Posted on: November 19, 2010

You are not going to believe this – 3M has a dedicated information center / staff for making their business meetings more efficient and effective!

Yes. "3M Meeting Network" is their initiative for improved team collaboration and business presentations. Michael Begeman, its creator and manager is now respected as world’s foremost expert on meetings.

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We all spend at least few hours a day in technical / business meetings. Depending on the number of people attending it, a meeting can be a huge investment by the company in terms of money / time. If it is not done in an efficient manner, it’s a productivity loss to everyone concerned. That’s one of the important drivers for 3M to arrive at a set of best practices to follow so that we can make sure value is extracted from every minute spent inside those closed meeting room doors.

Here are few tips from Michael Begeman on a good business meeting. I summarized them from an article / interview in "Fast Company" Magazine –>

  • Meetings are real work! Not empty rituals / time-pass
  • Meetings don’t just happen – you need to think about them, plan them, design them with care
  • Different meetings need different conversations – Conversation for possibility, Conversation for Opportunity, Conversation for Action etc., – Choose your conversation right. Otherwise people will be in different worlds and focus will be lost
  • Understand participant’s expectations first and adjust the meeting rules / experience. If those expectations don’t match, agree at a common point
  • Have ‘open time‘ in your meetings, to encourage people to relate to each other. This will help everyone to focus on the meeting
  • Have toys in your meetings – Example: Squeeze Balls, Colorful Clays etc., – They are great stress relievers and creativity enhancers
  • Allot five minutes at the end of the meeting to do a small debriefing – ask everyone ‘What did we do in this meeting that really worked? What didn’t work? What we want to improve?’ Don’t make it a ritual, make sure the comments shared are used to improve future meetings
  • Don’t worry too much about taking detailed minutes / notes. Focus on 3 categories of information – Decisions Reached, Action Items & Open Issues



N. Chokkan …

19 11 2010


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