Part of a series inspired by Peter Drucker, an important mentor of mine

Consider the meetings you have in your church or ministry. Which of them have a clear purpose? Which of them are you having just to have? What can you do to improve the quality of your meetings? Check out the four rules of effective meetings from yesterday’s blog post for some ideas. But for today, here’s a strategy you can take and use.

One of Peter Drucker’s rules for making a meeting productive is: “One can either direct the meeting and listen for the important things being said or one can take part and talk. One cannot do both.” The cardinal rule is to focus your own contribution. You can choose one of those two options—directing the meeting or participating in it. You need to play the role that needs to be played and you can only choose one role.

I like to call this the “marker rule.” I often write down (or have someone else write down) important points that are being made on a whiteboard or flipchart. So the rule is… if you have the marker, you can’t say anything. If you really need to say something, you hand the pen to someone else and you sit down in the room. The idea is to break the habit of trying to dominate from up front.