The Win-Win Meeting – How You Can Make a Difference

Our guest blogger today is Beth King, RP

KingBeth3Collaboration with stakeholders is usually a good bet if you want to achieve a common goal.  Unfortunately, collaboration usually means yet another meeting on our already full up calendar.  Most of us think meetings are a waste of time – after all, if we are always in a meeting, when do we have a chance to get the work done?  Because of this, it is important we find ways to make meetings productive.   Planning ahead and learning to manage meeting show stoppers plays a huge part in the success or failure of a meeting

1.  Have a clear agenda with a start and stop time.

2.  State the rules of the game at the start of the meeting.

3.  Allow only one person to talk at a time. 

4.  If people are having sidebar conversations while others speak, interrupt them.

5.  Limit talk time.  Be prepared to interrupt the orator who keeps regurgitating the same information.

6.  Allow some humor, but find ways to keep your meeting from being derailed by the continuous comic.  If you are the facilitator, smile and pull everyone back onto the agenda.

7.  Know your participants.    Lawyers, paralegals, law firm administrators, clients all contribute differently. Some are afraid to open their mouths – ask for their input.  

8.  Ask for everyone’s thoughts, especially their agreement or disagreement.  This will head off the last minute objections. 

9.  End the meeting with a summary of the decisions reached and individually seek verbal assent or dissent before closing the meeting.

10.  Distribute minutes of the meeting.

(Portions of this commentary were taken from The Wall Street Journal article by Sue Shellenbarger that appeared on May 16, 2012:  Meet the Meeting Killers)

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