Part of a series inspired by Peter Drucker, an important mentor of mine
Meetings can be a life-drain on churches. Too many meetings burn our people out. An even bigger problem than too many meetings are bad meetings. What makes a bad meeting vs. a good meeting? Here are a few rules for holding effective meetings:
- Know the purpose. Why are we having this meeting? Is it for decision, information, or discussion? The purpose must be spelled out before the meeting is called; if it cannot be, there is no need for the meeting. Start with the key outcomes in mind. What are you trying to achieve? What do you want to walk away with? The intended purpose makes a big difference in what you choose to do at the meeting.
- Prepare an agenda in advance. What are the items for discussion, for decision, for information? Put them down in writing beforehand. Meetings ramble when people don’t know what they’re supposed to be discussing.
- Put items on the agenda in order of importance and indicate how much time to devote to each item. That way you don’t spend a lot of time on unimportant issues at the beginning and run out of time for what’s really crucial.
- Expect people come in prepared in advance. If there’s something they need to do or something they need to read beforehand, make it clear that they are expected to do it. If someone hasn’t read an item to be discussed, they can’t participate in the discussion.
Try implementing these four rules. You’ll find they dramatically improve the quality of meetings.