“What was the purpose of your last meeting,” I asked.
Rupert said, “We met to select a new vendor. We immediately began arguing like siblings over who was going to sit in the front seat of the car. After an hour and a half, we were exhausted but had no solution. So we adjourned and agreed to address the issue at our next meeting.”
I observe a lot of meetings where people get together, perhaps with an agenda, and all start sharing their opinions spontaneously—not good.
By contrast, I sat with board committee where the purpose was to develop next year’s training plan. Shortly after the meeting began, Alisson opened a well-organized, three-ring binder and politely talked through a completed list of training topics with purposes, resources, and a tentative schedule.
Although no one had assigned this task to Alisson, all others expressed awe and support for her preparation. Members quickly supported some parts of Alisson’s plan and recommended modifications for other parts. In short-order, the team agreed upon a proposal.
One of the major reasons for long-lasting meetings, I think, is that participants show up and begin creating solutions during the meeting. Meetings are more productive, not to mention quicker, when members come with thought-out, tentative proposals. Members then devote time to critiquing and improving rather than creating from scratch.