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7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings

 

Many times, leadership retreats and business meetings seem like an ordeal, rather than the revitalizing, decision-making events they were intended to be. People go because they have no choice, the experience turns out to be a non-event, and everyone has an impulse to cheer when it ends. As a result, very little is accomplished, those who attended are not energized, conclusions are not reached despite the fact that there are few distractions, and team relationships remain as weak as ever.

All of this happens because of the so-called “seven deadly sins” that can undermine business meetings. Once you know what they are, you can counteract them with these practical solutions, and the participants will find that they are both productive and stimulating:

? Unless the even has a predetermined objective, those who attend will have their own goals, or come with the preconceived notion that the meeting lacks purpose. To prevent this, make a list of the meeting’s main objectives from the most to least important, and determine when you will announce them.

? Be realistic about what you can accomplish at the meeting. If you attempt to cover too many points, nothing will be discussed in depth, and it is best to establish an action timeline and determine what the next steps will be.

? If your team is uncertain about why they are there, they will “tune out” almost immediately. Letting the participants know the agenda, goals and objectives of the event well ahead of time will enable them to come fully prepared and ready to participate as well.

? Note that if the boss is the facilitator of the meeting, the attendees will listen dutifully and then come up with what they feel is the expected response, rather than the one that would be most helpful to your company. Instead, you will need an experienced, objective leader who will ask challenging questions that will cause the group to become more involved in the discussion.

? Attendees often bring their office-politics notions and unofficial pecking orders to these events, and with the help of an objective third party, you can create a survey ahead of time to ensure that everyone will have an equal voice and that all ideas will be expressed. It should also identify what the participants consider to be key issues and what they would like to see accomplished at the meeting.

? Often, those with the most dynamic personalities dominate such an event and are quite enthused about the matters being discussed. When this happens, the leader usually assumes the role of debate moderator, and no substantive decisions are made. Since dynamism is a positive factor, you can discus the topic ahead of time with the leader and another key person. When the event takes place, both of them can assume the opposing positions they have “rehearsed” to stimulate discussion and then allow other participants to join in.

? The absence of follow-up to a retreat is the worse thing that happen. (Remember when you learned that a synonym for “graduation” is “commencement”?) The event will be a failure if it does not produce new ideas and programs, innovation and team-building. When you are ready to adjourn, indicate what the next steps will be and assign various projects to the attendees. You will also need a follow-up timetable and a method for keeping those who attended informed about the progress being made.

When planning your meetings, make sure to call Exclusive Sedan to ensure that all of your transportation needs are met smoothly and without problems.

Posted on Apr 29 2011

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