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The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Leading Meetings: Getting Things Done and Having Fun

While at a conference recently, I attended a session entitled "Leading Meetings: Getting Things Done and Having Fun." It was led by Shelly Edwards. Edwards did not use PowerPoint, which allows us to focus on what we were discussing and not on a screen. (She did have two people take notes on flip charts.) Highlights:
  • People are either right or left brained. Left brained people are interested in content, analysis and participation. Right brained people are interested in the process, interpersonal dynamics, and organization.
  • People often think and listen differently depending on where they sit in a room.
  • There are three modes of analysis -- auditory, visual and kinesthetic (multi-processing). You need to present information in meetings that will appeal to those three modes as well as to whether people are left or right brained.
  • How do you engage the visual learner in a virtual meeting? Use online software that allows for interaction, use an instant messenger as part of the meeting, send information ahead of time.
  • What are the frustrations with a virtual meeting? Distractions, length, people being too polite or not being polite enough, not knowing each other.
  • How do people define a meeting from hell?
    • No agenda
    • No ground rules
    • Interruptions
    • People come with their own agendas
    • Unresolved issues
    • Conflict
    • People don't respect the time of the meeting
    • A few people dominate
    • Not organization
    • Presenters read their PowerPoint slides
    • The leader doesn't control the meeting
  • Edwards suggested that everyone find out their learning styles. (and you might want to find out the styles of those that you meet frequently with.)
  • She noted that the person who called the meeting may not be the meeting facilitator or the note taker.
  • You might ask people to take different roles during a meeting. For example, if it is a regular meeting, ask different people to run it.
  • If you decide to use Roberts Rules, explain to people what the rules are.
  • Consider using planning worksheets to ensure that you don't forget anything when planning a meeting.
    • Planning is 80% of the total time that goes into a meeting.
    • Consider calling people before a meeting in order to remind them and get them engaged before the meeting begins.
    • Have a pre-meeting checklist.
  • She mentioned these resources:

Shelly Edwards really kept people engage during the session by using several of the techniques she discussed. She proved that a 7 a.m. meeting without food or coffee (which this was) can be fun!


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