Miri McDonald thinks unproductive meetings should be banned. And when a meeting is needed, it should be both productive and fun.
The communications strategist believes in thinking through every aspect of a meeting in advance—everything from the relationships between attendees to which open-ended questions will get a conversation going.
She recommends running through this list of questions to plan a productive meeting:
1. Why meet? First, get clear on the purpose and outcomes.
2. Who needs to attend? Confirm that all stakeholders are invited, so that no key individual is left out of decisions. You don’t want a meeting to stall because someone is missing.
3. Can technology enhance the experience? Consider using tools, such as mind-mapping software like FreeMind that allows for tracking the discussion or anonymous voting tools to capture real-time votes.
4. How can you set the stage? If the meeting is off-site, visit the room ahead of time, so you can decide on the layout of tables and chairs.
5. What refreshments do you need? Think about how the time of day will affect energy levels and mood. Accordingly, have food, healthy snacks and water or caffeine options.