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Lesson 19. Make Meetings Matter - Pg. 74

74 Chapter 19. Make Meetings Matter In this lesson you learn how to use your presentation skills to run more productive meetings. Management guru Peter Drucker points out that "One prime indicator of bad organization and time wasting is a proliferation of meetings." He might have added that the length of these meetings often allows little time for anything else, including meaningful work. Many managers confess that so much of their day is consumed with meetings that they must stay after hours, and often far into the evenings, to catch up on important projects. Indeed, a recent survey shows that more than 50 percent of an executive's time is consumed in meetings. According to one study, a typical corporate meeting ... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Is held in a conference room and lasts at least two hours. Has no written agenda circulated in advance. Wastes a substantial amount of time on unimportant issues. Uses handouts as the most common audiovisual aids. Depends for its success on the effectiveness of the leader and his or her control of the agenda. What this study tells us is that too many meetings are unproductive and that changing this situation lies in the hands of the leader or facilitator. Do You Need a Meeting? Perhaps the first question you need to ask as you prepare for a meeting is: Do you need to call it? Some issues can just as easily be handled via e-mail or through several telephone conversations. It saves a lot of time, and often expensive traveling, and doesn't pull people away from their desks. Tip Do your advance work. Good meetings take planning and preparation. Like effective pre- sentations, a meeting will only accomplish its goal if you do some advance thinking before you get in there. However, meetings do serve important functions. They enable people to · Bounce ideas off each other and develop new insights. --The whole is often bigger than the sum of its parts. · Reach consensus among key players. --This may be essential to ensure success. · Listen to a report. --This serves as a key milestone in an ongoing project. · Make an important decision. --This may involve a discussion of alternatives before agreeing on a final course of action. Just remember that, before you begin to plan a meeting, you should always consider other ways of accomplishing your goal.