Project Management Institute

Meetings--productive or counter productive

Meetings are often an obstacle to getting work done. Too often, many professionals and executives waste valuable time in purposeless meetings that are more of a distraction than a solution, time they should devote to performing their responsibilities and accomplishing their objectives. This article outlines guidelines for holding productive meetings. In doing so, it describes five criteria for classifying meetings: size, purpose, frequency, protocol, and attendance (open and closed meetings). It also details the elements of structuring meetings: purpose, agenda, leader, schedule, secretary, and follow-up. It then describes the leader's meeting responsibilities: selecting the facility, setting the agenda, preparing for the discussion, and enforcing a schedule; it details the participant's meeting responsibilities: preparation and participation. It also discusses the use of professional expeditors to lead and control large meetings on controversial topics.
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